I have it all—skill, speed, and the determination to win the Eagletail Summer Camp’s relay race. The only thing I don’t have is a partner with the slightest bit of focus. How do I pull things together and cross the finish line first? Or am I destined to be DEAD LAST?
The story of Dead Last came about like quite a lot of my short works—with a theme and word count in mind. Not only did I want to write about the difference of receiving attention for right and wrong reasons in 500 words, I wanted it to be lighthearted. And so the conflicting duo was born. A kid with a ‘go-getter’ attitude and another with a ‘go-get-anything-for-a-laugh’. I think I wrote the entire thing with a smile on my face, as I hope it will bring a smile to yours. Without further ado, I give you:
By: E. J. Nowicki
It was the third day of Camp Eagletail. We were assigned a partner and given instructions. A three-legged race across the yard, a guided blindfolded race back again. First three teams win. I wanted to win but my team member, Reese, had other ideas.
“I ate a bumblebee!” Reese yelled as we tied our legs together to run three-legged across the lawn. He waved his arms wildly.
The teams next to us pointed and laughed. Reese yelled louder.
“No, you didn’t. That would hurt,” I told him.
“Yes, it did! It flew right down, buzzing the whole time.” He flapped his arms around. “I’m going to die!”
“Lemme see,” I turned to Reese and demanded he open his mouth wide. I couldn’t see anything in his throat. I told him, “No bumblebee.”
One of the camp leaders shouted ‘GO!’ and all the laughing stopped as everyone ran forward.
“Then why does my stomach feel like it’s moving all around. Like a bumblebee is trying to escape,” Reese said.
“Maybe you’re hungry.”
“Oh, that’s right. I am hungry.”
We maneuvered across the lawn, tripping only three times and getting to the next station with grass stains on our knees. About half the other teams were ahead of us.
Reese volunteered to put the blindfold on and I would talk him through walking around the set of cones back across the field.
“Go right—not that far right. Good—wait, no! Where are you going! Right! I said right!”
People giggled as they passed. “Look at Reese!” “Ha ha! Reese, don’t get lost!”
Reese smiled and gave a thumbs up in the wrong direction to his fans. “Look at me! I’m a blind zombie!” He straightened his arms and stomped his feet to the left.
More people laughed and whispered to their blindfolded partners, who also laughed.
“They’re no more people around, Reese. Go to the right,” I said when we were the last ones on the field.
We did not win the game. We came in dead last. It made sense since my partner had been acting like an animated dead guy for the last fifteen minutes.
We got across the field and everyone went in for lunch. As we ate the camp leaders passed out the awards.
I sat at my table and sighed. Dead last. There was no award for coming in dead last. I finished the last of my cookie. A plate scraped across the table and in front of me was a whole slice of chocolate cake, my favorite. I looked up.
One of the camp leaders smiled at me. “Good work out there.” He walked away.
I looked around. No one else got extra dessert. I may have come in dead last but I had kept my cool and now had extra double chocolate cake with chocolate icing with chocolate shavings on top. It wasn’t an award but it sure was tasty.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places or businesses, and incidents or events, are a product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, alive or dead, places or businesses, events or incidents, is purely coincidental. The author does not have any control and does not assume responsibility for other websites and their content.
© 2018 E.J. Nowicki All Rights Reserved. This short story may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the author, E.J. Nowicki, with the exception of brief quotes used in any comments or reviews. You can send a permissions request on my CONTACT page.