Last One In

Photo Prompt: C.E. Ayr


“They’ll kick us out!”

Darlene shook her head. “They won’t know.”

“Dad will kill us if we get caught.”

Darlene sighed. Shirley was such a wimp. Never took any risks. Never had any fun. “We won’t.”

Shirley peered out of the RV at the shimmering pool. Darlene never met a rule she didn’t want to break, and somehow both of them would end up punished. “It says ‘Guests Only.'”

“We’re guests.”

Without a permit. Shame rose like hot bile. They were always the ones without, the ones left out.

“C’mon then,” she blinked away tears. “Last one in cleans up!”




For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers



40 thoughts on “Last One In

    • I’m such a goodie two shoes (by training, at least …) that I’d likely be the one who fretted and wrung her hands and ended up not enjoying the breaking of the rules for fear of being caught and punished and and and and … But my upbringing was not one that allowed rule breaking … and I was good at surviving … πŸ˜‰ But, yeah, I get the fun! AND, I think some rules don’t make sense to begin with and need challenging … so there’s that … πŸ˜‰


    • Thanks, Penny! Shame is a powerful emotion and motivators, isn’t it? Not one I’d recommend and one I work hard to not cause others to employ (and try to be mindful of not reacting from it in myself), but certainly one that is present in too many. I’m glad it came through in both girls’ coping. πŸ™‚


      • Yes, by and large I agree. Positive reinforcement of good behaviour does seem to work best. But aren’t there times when shame is both appropriate and useful? For example, if a pupil at school has behaved in a way that hurts others, is it not appropriate for the teacher to say “(Pupil’s name), I’m so disappointed in you. Your actions hurt so&so etc” coupling the shame with the specific incident and an explanation of why the actions were wrong?

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      • I think that pointing out wrongdoing and developing empathy via understanding the impact of one’s action or inaction on others, as well as voicing disappointment in action or inaction, are all appropriate to do.
        Some feelings of shame may be felt by the child, which can be helpful in learning to curb impulses as means to try and avoid feeling that painful feeling again. However,
        I guess I would be careful about inducing shame, because of how often it becomes toxic shame.
        So, pointing out disappointment in an ACTION (or inaction): “So and so, I’m disappointed that you didn’t listen and that took two cookies instead of one, because now so and so won’t have a cookie at all and is feeling very sad about it. It is okay to WANT two cookies but it doesn’t mean you may TAKE two cookies when everyone was told to take just one. …”
        I realize it can seem a subtle distinction, sometimes, and the intrinsic FEELING of some shame can be instructive, but I feel that inducing it is less constructive. Does that make sense to you?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is a great piece, both girls coping with never getting what others have. One rebels and breaks rules that are never on her side, the other is ashamed of something she can’t change. I read it as them being poor and always excluded.

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  2. I feel for Darlene. It seems she has something to prove. I’m the kind of person who sees a sign that says, β€œKeep off the grass,” and that’s all I want to do … step on the grass. Beautifully written as always, Na’ama!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Brenda! I can understand pressing against some boundaries, especially those that seem arbitrary or are unfair or … well … painful or not always aware of the blind-spots that come with what can SEEM a perfectly reasonable rule …
      So, here’s to always being open to reassessing rules, and flexing what can be flexed, and explaining and finding willing and helpful solutions to what cannot be flexed enough. …


      • Yeah, I hear you. πŸ™‚ I’m a miss goodie two shoes myself … partially because of how I grew up but also because I can appreciate the logic behind organizing principles of rules … That does not mean that I don’t question rules and sometimes argue mightily to change what does not make sense … πŸ˜‰


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