SmokeLong Quarterly

Share This f l Translate this page

Fridge Flash: The Rubber Lizards Of Concord

February 22, 2017

In this week’s Fridge Flash, eleven-year-old Irene Meklin shares a story about the end of school days, jelly donuts, sleepovers, throwing rubber lizards, and the exhilarating exhaustion of childhood. We are excited to share this story from this talented young writer whose name we are certain to see again in the decades to come.


By Irene Meklin

Time is something that will not do your bidding. When you are waiting for something, it goes unbearably slow, and if you don’t want to go somewhere or do something it smiles and runs away from you at a mile a minute, grinning. I thought as I watched the clock. It seemed to slow down and dwell on one minute, one second even. Tick-tock, it went, as if it knew that I was waiting for it. Move! Move! I told it. Don’t you ever get tired of standing in one place? Move! Move, move, move! Finally, it struck two fifty. Only ten minutes left! Those ten minutes felt like ten hours. I zoomed out of what the teacher was saying, daydreaming about what was sure to happen that night. Then I noticed that everyone was packing up.

I stood up and got my stuff. I met Kesenia, my classmate, outside. We waited for her mother and when her mother arrived, we picked up Kes’s sister, Eliana. We drove to Krispy Kreme’s to get jelly donuts, since it was one of the nights of Hanukkah, also the last day of school before winter break in case you want to know. I remember clearly what flavors the donuts were. Some were maple, some chocolate with sprinkles, some glazed with jam, and some custard-filled. After that, we drove to Kesenia’s house. I remember that ride: Kes’s mother tried to make conversation as we drove on to her house in the rain.

When we arrived, Kes showed me around the house, even though I’d already been there, but not for a long time. We had dinner and, afterward, I chose my bed for the night. She had three “beds”, one a purple beanbag and a bunk bed with glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, so if you look up from the top bunk you would see “stars”. I choose the top bunk.

I asked Kesenia if I could see their cat, Patches, Patches Purface Lazerclaw Goldstein and yes, that is her full name. She Patches, not Kesenia, was hiding in Eliana’s bedroom. We walked to her room and quietly, ever so quietly, so as not to scare away Patches from her hiding place. For all our efforts to be quiet, she heard us and ran away. Kes called her and I petted her. Her fur was as soft as a bunny’s. I noticed something that was green, blue, orange, red, yellow and purple.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“That? Those are rubber lizards.” Kesenia replied in a tone of nonchalance. It was a bit bizarre, but what could I say? I’m not sure what happened next, but eventually we had divided the lizards equally (not so much) and drifted over to Kesenia’s room. There, for some reason, Eliana ended up on the purple bean bag, which reminded me of my own black bean bag at home, and my sister’s pink bean bag and how we used to slide down the stairs galump, galump, galump, and drag them up the stairs, thumping along and going down again. Kes stationed herself at the bottom bunk and me, as usual, on the bottom (sorry, top bunk). Then, we somehow ended up throwing our lizards at each other. I still wonder how it happened.

I am pretty sure that Kesenia and Eliana threw them at each other first. I mostly ran around the room like a crazy person and grabbed the fallen lizards who were lying there like wounded soldiers, waiting for medical help in a children’s battlefield. I started writing a book in my head like I so often do these days. The battle was lasting longer than she would have thought. She opens the guns and fires! She hears the ground control “They are right behind you.” “Roger that” she says into the headset. Lizards streaked across the room. Oh no! She is hit by an enemy plane! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… I raced up the ladder and climbed up to the top bunk. Safe! I balled up my lizards into a ball of color and prepared to fire.

“Time for bed, Eliana.” I froze.

“Five more minutes! Please!”

Mom ”Come on, Eliana.”


The door creaked as Eliana exited the room.

“So… What do you want to do?”


I woke up at around four thirty, wondering why was it that I had woken up. I did a mental run through of the day.

School. Check.

Pickup. Check.

Krispy Kreme’s. Check.

Dinner… Just thinking about it made me feel sick.

I happened to glance at Kesenia’s aquarium and saw the little fish, swimming in circles in their glow-in-the-dark prison.

Hi, fishies. I mumbled weakly.

They seemed to stare at me as I helplessly lay in bed, feeling… how can I say… terrible. I dragged myself to the bathroom, as slow as a turtle who has a broken leg. I stood over the sink and threw last night’s dinner. I sank to the floor and lay there, motionless for what seemed like an hour and might as well have been. I am not sure what happened next, but in what seemed like one minute to my delirious head I was home in bed, exhausted. My head hit the pillow as I gave way to sleep.


Irene Meklin is an 11-year-old with big dreams. She currently lives in Oakland, California. She aspires to one day be a professional author, but for now, she is but a sixth grader. She, as a young child, wrote short plays that she performed for her sister. Today, she spends her free time writing and reading.


Support SmokeLong Quarterly

Your donation helps writers and artists get paid for their work. If you’re enjoying what you read here, please consider donating to SmokeLong Quarterly today.

SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Book Now!

Included in the price of SmokeLong Fitness:

The Community Workshop in small groups
One live Zoom webinar each month with killer workshop leaders (recorded for participants unable to attend).
One open-mic party each month (or other live Zoom events)
Discounts on intensive workshops
Discounts on senior editor feedback
Surprises (good ones)