AT THE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM FOR MAJOR JOHNSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL • by David Macpherson

2:55 The girl with the Supergirl t-shirt and the frilly purple skirt runs into the after school program. She greets the afterschool teacher with her arms in front of her, flying as fast as her sneakers can go. “I’m a super girl. Not the Supergirl on TV because her show is on past my bedtime so I can’t see her, but I am a super girl and I have fights and I rescue people from bad guys and I have arch enemies, and they are all girls too.” She sprints past all the other children, assessing the risk level around the block area.

3:45 The super girl is saving the day. She is helping the kindergarten kid with the fire red cheeks and runny nose tie his shoelaces. The little kid thanks her and the super girl beams and flies off.

4:40 The super girl watches another child leave with their parent. She waves and tells them to do no crime. She is the last one here. There is no one else in the room. Just her and the afterschool teacher. The super girl stands with her legs out and her fists resting on her hips. If there could only be a superimposed American flag waving behind her, the image would be complete.

5:25 The cd playing Mozart for Kids stops and the afterschool teacher decides to not put in another disc. The afterschool teacher reflexively looks at her watch. She can’t stop herself from mumbling, “Again. She’s going to be late again.” The super girl is in the art area pushing a crayon across a coloring page picture of pumpkins with forceful motions. She is not staying in the lines. She rips the paper with the force of her coloring.

6:05 The afterschool teacher leaves a message on the number she has for the super girl’s mother. “Yes, hello. As you know, the final pick up is 5:30. I am calling again to see if there is any issue and please, if this number is not good, please supply me with a better one. Thank you.” The super girl built a 12 block tower and is now pushing teddy bears off the top. At first, she was catching them as they plummeted, Now she only watches them slam onto the the carpet.

6:26 The super girl’s mother is not happy with the attitude the afterschool teacher has. The mother was busy. Her car was giving her problems. She knows when she has to do pick up but crisis happens and her daughter understands. And no, she will not pay the fine for being late, how can she be expected to pay the fine for a bad car? The super girl gathers her bag and the art she made. She runs over to the afterschool teacher and whispers in her ear, “I am not the supergirl you know. I’m her arch enemy who looks just like her. I’m the Anti Super Girl. I’m in disguise. I’m pretending to be good. Don’t tell anyone.” As she crosses the room’s threshold, the little girl in the supergirl t-shirt and frilly purple skirt turns and bestows on the after school teacher a large smile, full of teeth and knowledge.


David Macpherson is a writer living in Massachusetts. His first e-book, Tales from the Reanimator’s Saloon, was published in November 2016.


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Rate this story:
 average 3.9 stars • 28 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    I think you’re a writer in complete mastery of his voice and his craft. Your stories here make that clear to me, and I feel there isn’t much point in bringing up the sorts of technical issues I find important in creating and sustaining narrative voice and individual characterization. Your stories show, to me, authorial confidence and basically just a brilliant mind. So the question for me isn’t “is the story good, or not?” but “does it satisfy, or not?” I loved the last line–it seemed to contain the whole story all by itself; there was a sort of purity to its voice that wasn’t entirely achieved for me in what preceded. I gave this three stars.

  • I was intrigued by the title, pulled in with the opening paragraph, and through the story which held my attention until the end.

    I felt the child’s internal conflict, masked with her two personalities which cloaked her from reality. It wasn’t so much what actually happened, but what I, as a reader, could imagine was coming as the child made her way to adulthood.

    I was glad to have read it.

    ****

  • S Conroy

    I tried to comment on this earlier, but what I liked was so vague it was difficult to pinpoint.
    Jeff’s line that the story ” wasn’t so much what actually happened” but what the reader projects into the situation does the trick. The story got me thinking of children in general and how easy it is for people in positions of responsibility to ignore signs of neglect or how difficult it is for an outsider to really know what is going on. I liked how the kid had such a real personality and wasn’t a cardboard cut-out. Talented writing for sure. ****

  • Teacher

    An intriguing story, that fared much better a second time around while paying attention to detail. The character’s emotional shift is subtle but an absolutely honest representation of a good kid. I loved how you captured this. If I had stopped after my first read, I would have given this three stars, but now that I’ve fully absorbed everything this is definitely worthy of four. Great voice, the prose is excellent, and I loved the subtle hints of a plot as if we are just witnessing an afternoon at after school care when in actual fact what’s going is much more interesting. **** well done.

  • Z.L. Porter

    This also gripped me from title to finish. Great pacing. Psychological depth. The characterisation of the spirited little girl was exquisite. Like Jeff, I found myself wondering about life would hold for her. Thank you for a great read. Five stars.

  • Interesting concept, writing with time indicated. I tried it with a story and failed. This story uses it with finesse. The subtle change in the child’s personality shows some real understanding of a person when confronted with a situation over which he or she has no control. The gradual change in the “little girl in the supergirl t-shirt and frilly purple skirt” was so well done.
    Even the brief comments on the mother’s reaction gave us another avenue of understanding.
    Well done. A four and I don’t know why it’s not a five for me, but it isn’t. Maybe it’s good but not super good.

  • MaryAlice Meli

    I enjoyed this story and the characters so much, I’d like to see a much longer story to show us what surprises they still hold.

  • Michael Snyder

    I agree with the others. Fine piece of writing. The last line was perfect.