The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

April/May 2006 Humor Contest Winner
Best Short Humor!

Skylah and the Domestic Science Class


Margaret B. Davidson

"You're going to bed without supper, Skylah," yelled Mother.Skylah suffered this punishment often. The only thing I couldn't figure out was why my sister wasn't thinner, considering how many meals she missed. Instead she had a chubby, buttery little body that appeared not in the least malnourished.

Perhaps, though, Skylah was hungrier than I thought and that's why, in eighth grade, she signed up for the domestic science class. I felt she was more suited for general science where she'd get to perform brain surgery on hooded rats.

Skylah didn't talk about the class much, but she was always proud of the stuff she brought home. I remember the cupcakes.

"Why is the icing black?" I asked.

Skylah's lips turned black as she licked frosting from one of the cakes. "Sylvia had some licorice sticks so we melted them in with the powdered sugar. Mrs. Fairweather said I was creative, but I could tell she didn't really like them."

I picked up a cake to get a closer look.

"You'd better not eat it, Elizabeth."


"Mrs. Fairweather had to go to the dentist right after she tried one. She always does a taste test, so she can grade us. I think I might get a D."I accidentally dropped the cake and it rolled off the countertop, chipping the edge of the formica.

"More likely an F."

"She doesn't give Fs."

"This might be an exception. How come they're so hard?"

"I left the eggs out, because Sylvia said we could use them for Halloween, but they cracked in her pocket and stuff ran all down her dress and made her smell so she had to go stand in the corner."

A few weeks later I was given the responsibility of making sure my little sister got home from school without getting in trouble — this after an incident involving an abandoned house and a policeman. So now I couldn't walk with my best friends, Gillian and Noreen, because their parents had told them to have nothing to do with Skylah, even if she was my sister.Feeling put upon, I waited at the school gate for Skylah. As usual she was the last one out the building, and she was carrying one of Mother's metal kitchen bowls. Something pink and slimy was slopping over the rim and running down her yellow gingham dress.

"What's that?" I asked."Jello."

"Doesn't look like jello."

"It's not set, stupid."

"When's it supposed to set?"

"Mrs. Fairweather doesn't think it will."


"She saw me eating some of the crystals you make it with."

"Looks like another D to me. Why don't you tip it out?"

"Nope. I'm taking it to show Mum." She clutched the bowl tighter, afraid I was going to grab it. More of the sticky pink liquid spilled down her front.

"Look at the mess you're making on your dress. You'll be covered in it before we get home."

We walked another block, Skylah leaving a trail of pink splotches on the pavement. "There'll be none left by the time we get home," she wailed.

"No great loss."

Skylah's eyes brightened. "Hey, I've got an idea," and before I could stop her she'd put the bowl down on the sidewalk and grabbed her straw panama from her head. "This will make a better bowl—"

"Skylah, don't you dare! That's your school uniform—"

She upturned the bowl and poured the remainder of the jello into her hat.

"You're going to bed without supper, Skylah," yelled Mother.

This time I was punished also because I hadn't taken proper care of her. It wasn't fair.

"Don't worry, Elizabeth, we won't get hungry."

"How's that, you little baggage?"

Skylah disappeared under her bed and came out with a brown paper bag full of chocolate chips.

"Where d"you get those?"

"Remember we made chocolate chip cookies last week?"

"I've still got the burned rubber taste in my mouth."

"Well, Sylvia didn't put her chips in the dough. I told her I'd tell if she didn't give me half."

"What else you got under the bed?"

"There"re those red cherries to put in fruit cake, and some grated coconut. Oh, and lots of raisins – want some of those?"

No wonder the brat didn't mind missing meals.

©2006, Margaret B. Davidson
Margaret Davidson was born at the end of WW2 in Staffordshire, England. But 35 years after she met the love of her life. married him, and he whisked her away to the suburbs of Rochester (yes Rochester, NY.) She still lives there where they have raised a family and where she still happily lives.

Her main activity, though, is writing flash fiction, and as of 2008 she has had close to three hundred of her stories published in on–line journals and small–press print magazines such as Long Story Short, The First Line, Thema, Laughter Loaf, Retrozine, and Cenotaph Pocket Edition, Mouth Full of Bullets. Her proudest achievements, however, have been receiving an honorable mention in the "02 Writer's Digest competition, and being nominated in ‘06 by Mindprints magazine for a Pushcart prize.

You can view more of Margaret's work at her Website.

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