She should have known at the casting call, should have taken her son and walked out. Instead, she’d signed the contract. The lure of money was too powerful, and she’d been desperate.

A prank show, they said, like Candid Camera. Her son would be among other children at the museum, all in uniform. On cue they would begin screaming. The organizers wouldn’t say more.

When she studied the contract afterward, she found the rider about the chemical agent at the very bottom, in tiny print.

It was weeks before she knew the full scope of what she’d helped them do.


Friday Fictioneers


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  1. James Pyles

    When our children were young and we lived in Southern California, we had a neighbor whose child did some acting. The little girl’s grandmother was her agent and she suggested that she could get our kids modeling and acting jobs. We turned her down cold. Hollywood ruins so many children, no matter how good the money is.

    • J Hardy Carroll

      Initially it is supposed to be the story of a Russian assassination in a public place utilizing poison gas. The speedway Randy story has the other side of it. The children are supposed to provide a distraction. The woman got paid but the children were killed. A pretty Grim story

  2. AMelodyPearson

    Wow, just wow. Never mind her guilt….if the children survived, think of how they must have been traumatized.

  3. Lynn Love

    That’s a terrifying scene you’ve painted there. I yearn to know what the final fallout was, whether it was a targeted killing, a terrorist attack, a sinister organisation testing a chemical … Intriguing possibilities and a well written tale

Don't just stand there.