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