Short Story Sunday 183: Under

Short Story: "Under"

            “Are you going to come out yet?” Iris asked with a frustrated grunt. She leaned against the wall by her son’s bedroom door with her arms folded across her chest.

It was early in the morning and she was already dressed with her hair and teeth brushed. She had fed breakfast to both her and her son and her car was even already started warming up from the chilly frost on the late October morning. They were all set to go. Well, except for Russell.

“Hello?” Iris said when there was no answer. She rolled her eyes when her seven-year-old son ignored her again. “Russ, I know where you are.”

She still remained in the doorway, but stared directly at Russell’s bed. He had crawled underneath the frame and was hiding.

“Can you come out from under there, please?” she asked again exasperated.


Iris sighed.

It was her own mistake. She told him the good news before the bad news. Then again, he probably still would have hidden under the bed anyway upon realizing where he was going, but at least she could have tried to prevent it a little bit more.

It was a Friday and Iris had told Russell the night before that he didn’t have to go to school. He was so excited! But then she had to mention that he wasn’t going because he had a doctor’s appointment. He seemed less enthusiastic, but he didn’t complain at all. Iris thought she was in the clear.

They woke up that morning like it was any other morning. Russell asked to play in his room for a bit before they had to go to the appointment and Iris made the mistake of telling him yes. So, he went upstairs to his bedroom and crawled underneath the bed. Now he wasn’t budging and being six months pregnant, there was no way Iris was going to get him out from under the bed.

“Russ, I told you that we’re going to have a lot of fun playing this afternoon after your appointment. We can’t do that thought unless you see the doctor.” Iris reminded him. She had planned on taking him to the park afterward because the weather was supposed to warm up a little bit. With the way he was behaving, though, she wasn’t sure if that was a good idea. Was taking him to the park bribing him for coming out of the bed and going to his appointment? She had no idea, but she was going with it anyway. No one was there to witness and judge her parenting skills at the moment.

“Can we go instead of the doctor’s?” Russell asked.

Iris sighed. “No, I’m afraid we can’t.”

“Oh, well.”

Iris grunted. He was just like his father.

“It’s just a check-up, Russell. We’ll be in and out, I promise.” Iris explained. “We’ll get there, I’ll fill out some paperwork for you while you play with the toys they have, then they’ll call you in. They’ll take your weight and your height and your temperature. Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

“Not really…” Russell muttered. “How tall am I? Am I growing?”

“I bet you are.”

“How tall?”

“I don’t know. We have to go to the doctor’s and find out.”

There was silence and in that short period of time Iris held her breath hoping Russell would come out from under the bed.

“I don’t know…” he replied.

Iris rubbed her temples. She wasn’t too sure what else she was able to do to get him to come out from under the bed and go to see his doctor. She was just glad that she came up to check on him an hour before the appointment started. If she didn’t, they would have missed it by now.

“If you don’t go to your appointment then I’m going to have to take you to school.” Iris said and then held her breath again. She knew second grade wasn’t agreeing with Russell because of the two kids he sat next to. He was super excited to have a long weekend away from them.

“Okay,” Russell poked his head out from the bed.

Iris stared at him with a deadpanned expression. Well, it was a start. Though it wouldn’t do any good to put him in the car and take him to the appointment when he thought he was going to school. Then he wouldn’t get out of the car and he would just be making a scene out in public as opposed to the comfort of their own home where no one would be able to judge the way Iris handled the situation.

“Come on, Russell… If you go to the doctor’s you’ll get a lollipop. Your doctor always gives you a lollipop. And then you can I can go to the park and get ice cream after.” Iris said.

She realized that she had added two more incentives to going to the park after the doctor’s. That had to have been bribery, but she didn’t care. At this point, she needed to do everything she could in order to get her son out from under that bed and out the front door.

Russell nodded his head as he thought deeply about what his mother was saying. He shimmied out from under his bed. Iris scoffed surprised that Russell was still able to even fit under there.

He stood up and walked over to her. “Okay, I guess I’ll go.”

“Thank you,” Iris rolled her eyes by taking him by the hand and leading him down the stairs. They had to leave now if they were to make the appointment on time. The doctor’s office was 10 minutes away and she knew she would most likely get all the red lights because she was in a rush now more than ever.

“Wait,” Russell said digging his heels into the ground.

“Russell, we need to go.” Iris said annoyed.

“Can we go to the park, get ice cream, and get a new toy at the store?”

“Don’t push it.” She glared at him.

Russell hung his head and continued to walk with his mother to the car.

Words: 1,029

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