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Pink Feathers

The Messy Room

Teenage Tales of Terror


The time has come again. You take a deep breath of fresh air and throw the door open wide. Immediately, you wish you had invested in that gas mask you saw downtown on the day your husband dragged you into an army surplus store. The room is shrouded in a certain smell that screams, “a hormonal teenage boy lives here” – a potent mix of body odor and sweaty feet with a side of fried onion.

You wonder if you could make it to the window and throw it open before passing out. Unsure, you decide not to chance it until a niggling doubt creeps into your head. It would be so much easier to clean the mess yourself. Or nuke it from space.

A resigned sigh escapes your lips and you go in search of the smelly bigfoot who left his clothes laying in the floor where he shed them instead of throwing them two more feet into the clothes hamper. You follow the sounds of chewing and grumbling till you find him, surrounded by potato chip crumbs and teenage misery.

“Son,” you’ll say, “it’s time to clean up your room and do some laundry.”

An indistinct grunt will come from the general direction of the boy. Once again you give serious consideration to just doing it yourself so that you can sit down with your phone in the quiet and play a mindless game for thirty minutes before it’s time to cook dinner. Again. Then you think of a future woman out there; one who will be like you someday dealing with your son and wishing he would pick up his clothes and you know that for her sake and the sake of all the women to come after you, he must learn this lesson. So, you steel yourself for this mission, one you may or may not come back from.

You put on your most serious mom face. The one that says, “Do as I say or else.” The one he barely registers anymore. “Turn off the computer and go clean your room. It smells.”

He rolls his eyes and you can feel a murderous rage bubbling up in your chest. You brought him into this world and….well you know how it goes.

“Can’t we just spray it with Febreze?” he asks with a look on his face that says this interruption is the worst thing since Youtube froze up that one time.

At this point, it’s perfectly acceptable to roll your eyes until they reach the inside of your skull. Instead, you usher him upstairs listening to him stomp and sigh in disgust like he’s been asked to take a bath in a sewage tank. Which probably wouldn’t make him smell much worse.

It takes an hour but he’s finally managed to pick up his clothes and take his dishes and trash out of there and into an approximation of being put away. You stand at the stove throwing noodles into boiling water and wonder why his dirty dishes are now sitting on the kitchen table when he only needed to walk three more feet to put them in the kitchen sink.

You set the timer for the noodles and go in search of the boy. There is water running in the bathroom and you realize he’s gotten into the shower without being asked. You consider that a win and with a smile on your face, you put his dishes in the sink for him and are secretly glad your mother-in-law isn’t here to judge you for it.

Thirty minutes later, dinner is on the table and you’re yelling at him to get out of the shower and come eat before it gets cold. If he doesn’t eat soon, he might wither away. It’s been a whole two hours since he’s eaten anything, after all. He comes into the kitchen smelling like pine needles and licorice. A distinct improvement. He asks you what’s for dinner.

“Spaghetti and garlic bread,” you tell him.

His face lights up. Making his favorite meal reminds him that he loves you and he wraps you in a rare bear hug. The hug fogs your brain and you forget all about the stomping and grunting.

At least until next time. . .


We’d like to thank Rachel Kolodziej for this gem of a story. Raising teenagers is serious business! Rachel is a guest blogger and writer who has been published in several anthologies. When she isn’t joking around with her son you can find her writing articles and creating fantasy worlds at her computer. She loves to hear from fellow readers and writers so feel free to tweet her at @RachelsWorldx2 or catch her other work at Thank you, Rachel, for your honesty, humbleness & humor! 


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