Fiction: Bernardo’s Backpack


“Mom,” my son said that day. “When I bring my trombone to school this year, will you drive me? There’s not enough room in our seat on the bus for it.”

I raised my eyebrows at my son. My first-born. “I thought there were only two of you in the seat.”

“There are,” he said, so earnest I could have died. My kid’s loaded with charm-in-waiting. It needs to be properly unlocked and groomed. “But Bernardo’s backpack is so big, it’s like there’s three of us in the seat. Once we add my trombone and our winter coats, well, he already sticks out into the aisle.”

“Why’s his backpack so big?” I ask my son, giving him a sidelong look. After all, my son has brought home exactly one textbook so far this year. One.

My son shrugged.

“You don’t think he stuffed a dead body in it, do you?” I asked.

All that gorgeous robust color drained from his face. “I… don’t … think so.”

I leaned in to whisper, “Does it smell?”


“Then there’s probably no dead body in there. But what else could be in there?”

What followed was a feast of the imagination. An inflatable raft. A fold-up bike. Rabbits, multiplying. But no books. No textbooks. Certainly no papers that had fallen to the bottom and jammed up the works; it was only the third day of school.

“A first-aid kit! Lunch! A little school bus that magically grows to the right size when it’s pulled out, just in case he misses the bus! A monster! A giant stomach that will eat the bus seat if it escapes! An operating table!”

On and on we went. I’m sure that no matter how hard we try, we’ll never figure it out.

“You know,” I drawled after awhile, when our ideas had started to run low. “We could ask Bernardo what he’s got in there.”

“Mom,” my super son said, “what’s the fun in that?”

Believe it or not, this really is fiction. Based on real life. Maybe. Perhaps. I’m not telling. At any rate, it’s a Three Word Wednesday piece, and I’ll hook it up for my Friday Flash as well as link it over at the Weekend Writer’s Retreat. It fits over at Sunday Scribblings, too! Be sure to stop in all those sites and check out more good fiction!



  1. Marisa Birns

    September 10, 2010 2:49 pm

    Laughing! Loved the easy camaraderie mother and son have as they share their funny imagination.

    And ask Bernardo?

    Liked super son’s answer. What’s the fun in that, indeed.
    .-= Marisa Birns´s last blog ..Alfresco =-.

  2. Alice Audrey

    September 10, 2010 4:11 pm

    LOL. If this is what you’re household is like, it must be fun living there.

  3. Robin from Israel

    September 10, 2010 5:50 pm

    ROFL. Love it.

    My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!
    .-= Robin from Israel´s last blog ..Shana Tova – Happy Jewish New Year =-.

  4. Ann (bunnygirl)

    September 10, 2010 7:50 pm

    Hey, no matter how big the backpack is, the trombone probably still won’t fit. Those bus seats are pretty small.
    .-= Ann (bunnygirl)´s last blog ..Flash Fiction- Unknown =-.

  5. Jane Doe

    September 12, 2010 1:15 pm

    Sounds like some of the conversations I used to have with my daughter before she became a teenager and got all surly on me.
    .-= Jane Doe´s last blog ..Screaming Silence =-.

  6. ThomG

    September 12, 2010 4:06 pm

    Great stuff. I love this.
    .-= ThomG´s last blog ..Video Friday- Mighty Mouse =-.

  7. Deborah

    September 13, 2010 5:34 am

    I did enjoy this :o)
    .-= Deborah´s last blog ..Writers Island Prompt 20 – Last Redwood =-.

  8. Laurita

    September 13, 2010 7:12 am

    Fun story! These are the kinds of games I like to play with my kids. This gave me a much needed smile this morning. Thank you.

  9. Kari Fay

    September 13, 2010 9:56 am

    “Does it smell?”
    That really made me laugh. I like it a lot!
    .-= Kari Fay´s last blog ..74 – No =-.

  10. Dee

    September 13, 2010 10:59 pm

    I miss that age. The one where imagination ruled before being cool was too important. Every now and again I get a little glimpse of that boy in the young man who used to be my little curly haired long lashed baby boy – now you’ve gone and made me all weepy….
    .-= Dee´s last blog ..September 13 =-.

  11. gautami tripathy

    September 14, 2010 8:39 am

    A pleasure. As always! 😀

    a child’s play

    And do get aboard the Poetry Train every Monday mornings and thereafter!
    .-= gautami tripathy´s last blog ..a childs play =-.

  12. flyingscribbler

    September 16, 2010 12:58 pm

    What fun! Love it. The multiplying rabbits made me think of popcorn in a microwave bag.

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