The Vacation is Ruined

Mark’s checked off just two items on his list before Marci commences meltdown. As always, he pretends to sympathize while secretly resenting Meg. She takes after you, his sullen mantra.

Meg is busy running through her own list. They’d slept the night before with the lights on. They’d FedExed Marci’s special food box directly to the hotel. Marci had the Trader Joe’s Honey Grahams and chunky Jif sandwiches, the Happy Cow vanilla soy milk.

Marci screeches and wails, flailing arms and legs, spittle flying while her parents hover and other tourists look on, clucking and whispering and shaking their heads.


Friday Fictioneers


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  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    Sounds like a nice kid to stay away from. Is mommy just a little indulgent? I hope your vacation went better than Mark’s. Well written.



  2. Alice Audrey

    It’s enough to make a parent want to just walk away. Frankly, sometimes I did, until the kids got it through their heads that melt downs wouldn’t get them anything.

  3. 4963andypop

    Many questions come to mind. What was on Marks list? How old is Marci and is her only reason for wailing the fact that she is “spoiled?” Meg seems pretty conscientious to me, as if trying to guess the source of the tantrum, assuming it is not, as Mark thinks, her bad genetic profile. And when do we get to see Meg have a tantrum?

    As for who will come out on top in this, my money’s on Marci.

  4. Dale

    I can’t help think this kid might have autism or some other issue of the sort… so difficult to travel with. (Well done, in the telling of it!)

  5. Ray Oram

    Friggin retards spazzin out while your on the canals. What is that New York?
    Maybe the princess and the pea figured out what Trader Joe shit sets’r spaz.

  6. pennygadd51

    Ow! You tell this with such realism. Poor kid! Indulged with everything she wants. Neither parent sounds capable of giving her what she needs instead. You’ve told that story ever so well, Josh. I’m literally sitting here smarting with pity for all those involved in this destructive triangle of well-meaning incompetence.

  7. Rowena

    Although I’m just a lowly reader and not the author or this story, my vote is that the kid is on the Autistic end of the Autism spectrum. I don’t know all of the food items listed, but to me that inclusion of Soy milk suggests something isn’t quite right and that she’s on some kind of diet. Also kids on the severe end of the spectrum can have very limited and inflexible food preferences…and have meltdowns.
    Personally, I’d like to give that Mum a cup of tea and a bit of understanding. It’s too easy to judge.
    This is very well done.
    Best wishes,

  8. jillyfunnell

    I echo Penny’s wonderful phrase “destructive triangle”. Your excellently-told story is a tragic word picture of an anxious over-indulgent mother who will some day look up from her little tyrant and realise her husband’s not there any more.

  9. Sandra

    I think Marci always catches the same flights as me, always sits right behind me, and always comes within a hair’s breadth of being throttled. Good one. The family tensions are rife.

  10. granonine

    My therapist brain is entertaining several possibilities here, but mostly I have to wonder why on earth these parents take their child on a trip like this, knowing the difficulties she has. And aside from the possible psychological diagnoses that could be considered, I think we could also consider that she’s just a really spoiled kid, with an enabling mom and frustrated dad.

  11. Fatima Fakier

    Luckily my kid never really threw tantrums! But I don’t understand the onlookers who shake their heads. Sometimes it is hard for new parents to get a handle on things.

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