Starring Erick Davidson: The Tantrum
Submission by Terrence Moss, TNG contributor
Terrence Moss is a short fiction writer and media commentator with articles featured on Associated Content and Suite 101. “Starring Erick Davidson” also appears in the blogosphere section of www.frontiersweb.com. More Erick Davidson stories, performance pieces and other works can be found at www.terrencemoss.blogspot.com
Erick was doing his weekend grocery shopping at the Trader Joe’s down the street from his apartment. While picking out apples from a display in the fruit section, he overhears a conversation between a woman and her young son.
“Mommy, I want this cereal with the colors!” the little boy says as he reaches up and pulls down the box of fruity cereal he wants.
“No. The cereal we are getting is a lot better for you. It’s going to make you big and strong like your father,” the woman tries to explain as she pushes the cart ahead and continues shopping.
“I won’t eat that cereal!” the little boy asserts.
“That’s fine. My job is just to feed you, not make you eat. That’s your choice. Now put it back.”
“No! I want this cereal!” the child says in a much louder voice. Erick turns around to see what’s going on.
The woman walks back to her son, takes the box out of his hand and places it back on the shelf. “We are not getting this cereal,” she says very firmly and very calmy as she pulls him by the arm toward her cart. Erick notices the mother also has a toddler, which is sitting in the cart clapping and laughing with its legs dangling.
The five-year-old yanks his arm away and starts screaming. “I WANT THE COLORY CEREAL!”
Like many other customers, Erick is trying hard not to stare but is wondering how she is going to quiet down the screaming five-year-old. Slightly embarrassed, the woman starts looking around to see who’s watching. For a brief moment, her eyes meet Erick’s.
“Is everything alright over here?” a clerk asks as he walks by.
“Are you kidding me?” The woman replies as she diverts the clerk’s attention to her screaming child, who is now crying and reaching up to once again grab the box of the fruity cereal.
“Is there anything I can do?” the clerk asks.
“Yes, take him home with you.”
“What seems to be the problem?”
“The problem is that he’s a child and is therefore acting like a child.”
“Why don’t you just give him what he wants?”
“Do you have children?” the woman asks as she puts a hand on her hip.
“I do not.”
The woman stares as the clerk for a moment. “Go away.”
Erick walks over to the screaming child, kneels down on his right knee, bends him over his left knee, smacks him firmly on the behind three times and then places him back on his feet. Confused, the little boy stops crying. He looks at his mother, who folds her arms. The little boy looks back at Erick, who stands up and stares back at the him with his arms folded. Erick high-fives the woman and goes back to the apple display.
The child puts the box down and walks sheepishly in defeat toward his mother.
The words “IT TAKES A VILLAGE” appear on the video screen for ten seconds before fading to black. Erick’s boss Steve chuckles.
“This PSA came out great,” Steve says to Erick in the conference room of the Lefty office.
“It’s quite true to life.”
“Don’t tell me you actually did this.”
“No, but who doesn’t WANT to from time to time?”
“Not that kid’s mother.”
“On the contrary — she applauded me after every take.”
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