TJ Moore Books

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"Don't squander my advice."

Marsha Holbrook, School Board Director of Stonewall Creek School District

The Dangers of Roadside Lemonade

A Super Short Story by TJ Moore

Note: The following is a memo from School Board Director Marsha Holbrook to the parents of Stonewall Creek regarding summer safety. The letter was mailed to all parents who have children enrolled in the Stonewall Creek school district.

Greetings,

Do not be alarmed by what you’ve seen on the news.

I have not actually seen the reports because I replaced my TV cable with subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Many of you have written to me with complaints. I have not read these complaints either. I don’t have to. My secretary spends most of her mornings shredding these letters. Please don’t send any more. Now that you know what I do with them, save a tree and just knock it off.

That being said, I want us all to be on the same page as we try to keep the members of our small town safe. In order to attain the highest academic standards in our school system, it’s important for us to remain informed.

Summer is filled with memories of swimming, laughter, and possibly poisonous lemonade. Well, I guess that depends what kind of lemonade stands you visit. From one-stop shops to all day extravaganzas, there are a limitless variety of lemonade vendors. Usually, minors run these establishments. That’s because they don’t have anything else to do with their time. Not even two weeks into summer, they’ve already done most of what they longed to do during the school year.

I’ve compiled a short list of these activities. (Some of them may be shocking, but I’m challenging you to be aware of what your children might be doing behind your back.)

  • Smoking pot.
  • Watching five hours of SpongeBob Squarepants in the morning (on a Tuesday).
  • Eating sugary cereal without permission.
  • Filing up water balloons with fake blood.
  • Publically urinating into the creek near the minimart.
  • Removing springs from your trampoline.
  • Mowing the neighbor’s lawn without bagging the mulch.
  • Playing with yo-yos indoors.
  • Jumping on pogo sticks indoors.
  • Lighting fireworks indoors.
  • Playing basketball in the driveway until their hands turn orange.
  • Having unprotected you-know-what.
  • Collecting bugs from the backyard.
  • Inhaling spray paint fumes.
  • Smashing TVs with baseball bats.
  • Running black market baseball card sales in your garage.
  • Holding their breath underwater.
  • Staying up way too late playing video games (a.k.a. murder simulators).
  • Catching more than three fish from the creek.
  • Polluting the creek with candy wrappers.
  • Leaving Legos outside in the rain.
  • Goofing off around the railroad tracks.
  • Digging for buried treasure under the missing plank in the Rec. building.
  • Signing up for tennis lessons without attending.
  • Playing street hockey with rice cakes in the park.
  • Bullying that neighbor kid who doesn’t have an iPhone.
  • Intentionally smashing watermelons in the minimart.
  • Covering their room in rope lights.
  • Playing loud music (which damages hearing).
  • Reading banned literature (including those damned vampire books).
  • Eating entire rolls of Hubba-Bubba Max Gum Rope.
  • Selling questionable roadside lemonade.

I could list more, but there’s no use.

Your children, yes, your little angels are the reason our local news station is turning into tabloid-quality programming (I’m told). As parents, you are responsible for the actions of your children. You should always know where they are. If you don’t, they’re probably participating in one of the aforementioned activities. I’ve seen enough delinquents trot their sorry butts through this school system without so much as a slap on the wrist. But I will be making major changes to our discipline approach. By the end of next year, the juvenile center up the highway will be full of little punks from Stonewall Creek. Mark my words.

Now please understand, not all of your children are punks. Some of them are very bright and have loads of potential. Jordan Kingston recently won the student science fair for reanimating a deceased toad. (After it had croaked. Get it? A little joke, mind you. We board directors enjoy humor just as much as anyone else.) And Zane Thompson, a high school senior, completed a six-foot statue of a Coke bottle to spread happiness across campus. That, my good guardians, is social progress.

Unfortunately, the majority of your children are borderline certifiable.

I regretfully see a bleak summer ahead…one where the emergency room buzzes with constant visits from lemonade poisoning. Yes, parents, I’m talking about the dangers of roadside lemonade. 

You must stay cautious when dealing with kids who attempt to concoct “fresh” lemonade in the summer heat. When temperatures rise, clear thinking often evaporates, causing young minds to melt like gooey ice cream. Of course, it’s tempting to stop and purchase cold beverages, especially when they only cost twenty-five cents. But even Mr. Washington’s face printed on a coin cannot keep his eyes open as he witnesses the sketchy decision to purchase deadly lemonade.

Not every recipe is deadly. However, I must be frank. More than likely, the kids making roadside lemonade just finished catching crickets and forgot to wash their hands.

Yeah, it’s “hand squeezed” alright.

Here’s what happens next. They add sugar, water from a backyard hose, and try to make the lemonade more appealing by putting it in a sad Dixie cup with a Hawaiian plastic umbrella. The real punks in this town have filthier methods. There’s always some stinker who urinates in an empty pitcher and waits to see how long it takes before some poor soul tosses them a quarter for their “labors.” Usually, even the honest kids seem nice when they take your money.

But there you’re not getting the full story.

The cheeky twerps don’t tell you how they spent fifteen minutes fishing out stubborn seeds with their grubby little paws. Their grimy, greasy, nose-picking, never-washed fingers.

My advice: don’t give them anything. As authority figures, you don’t want to encourage their lemonade pursuits. If you must buy some lemonade; if your lips are so parched that you absolutely cannot wait to use the water dispenser in your fridge at home; if you are so desperate for a sip of liquid gold; and if, and only if you just spent your last ounce of willpower resisting a double-bacon-cheeseburger; you must, I beg of you, stay strong in those crucial moments. But if you happen to toss them a quarter, don’t loose hope. The most they’ll ever make is four dollars an hour (sixteen customers), and then they have to split the profits with each other. Every kid needs the proper funds to afford an occasional comic book.

These little masterminds have to split the money because they usually work with their friends. Rarely does one see a loner running a lemonade stand. They usually harass passersby in pairs.

If your children are guilty of producing questionable lemonade, I advise you to give their business a run for its money. You heard me. You must not let them win. Go ahead, they will thank you for your tough love when they get out of juvie.

Here’s a secret: Set up a stand right across the street. With competition, they will spend more time and effort producing a quality product; or, they will simply shut down when your stand runs them out of business.

The lemonade stand industry is cutthroat. (Again, I’m not speaking from personal experience. I’ve never engaged in solicitation. It’s the lowest form of sales strategies).

Most kids pack up shop before the end of the afternoon. These failed businesses never figure out that location is key. If they really wanted to succeed, their best bet would be to setup shop in high traffic areas like the local swimming pool or neighborhood park.

Once again, some basic summer survival advice: drink roadside lemonade with a high level of skepticism. Let’s say pintsize Susan wants to buy lemonade from Johnny and Stephen. Little does she know that one sip will lead to an E.R. visit later that afternoon. Unfortunately, Susan’s so thirsty from her failed attempts to sell roadside floss bracelets that she is willing to take the risk of her life.

I’ve given you plenty of tools to stay alert, parents.

Don’t squander my advice. I’m sick of hearing about all the shit your kids start in this community. So, I want to put the ball back in your court. You can stop things before they get out of control. The summer has, as you know, just begun. 

We will be holding monthly meetings for those of you interested in self-defense classes. With all the violent garbage readily available on the Internet these days, you need to know how to protect yourselves. No child is too small to be dangerous.

My son almost pushed me into the Grand Canyon last summer. He’s now living with his father.

 

Let that be a lesson, parents.

Own the pants. Wear the pants. Stay vigilant.

 

Marsha Holbrook

School Board Director

Stonewall Creek School District

MarshaHolbrook@StonewallCreek.edu

 

© Copyright 2018 by TJ Moore