Feb 26th – Mashed tator’s and creamed corn cake
It was one of those days.
Surely something as simple as a title could be right? But no. There was this. Whatever it was supposed to be.
She could cope with names not on the papers. That was standard. And fairly easy to sort out, in the grand scheme of things, but this was another level entirely.
It should have been pretty simple. A creative writing exercise, write for ten minutes. That was it. Ten minutes. It wasn’t that complicated a task, and because it was only ten minutes she wasn’t expecting wonders, but this crock of shite had surpassed all expectations. And now there was this.
She really didn’t know where to start. Capital letters, probably. After all, she’d told them enough times about setting out work, titles for texts, clearly underlined, and capital letters. Capital letters.
Not. Very. Hard.
Except, obviously, int this case, it was. ‘Mashed’ had a capital letter, though, so that was something. It was a start. And she always tried to look for the positives, even when she was marking Year 9 homework on a Thursday evening.
She was going to have to break a rule.
No wine until you’ve finished was a good one to work with. It was an incentive, a way to get through the marking and feel rewarded at the end, not by the satisfaction of having done the job: that disappeared after the first eighteen months of teaching. No, it was the satisfaction of not having to do any more marking to be able to take her glasses off, move from the table to the sofa, and sink into a glass of wine. And another one.
She opened the wine. This one needed it. She poured herself a glass and returned to the table. A long sip fortified her as she picked up the red pen again.
What the fuck does that mean? ‘tator’s’? First of all, there was that apostrophe. Whose ‘tator’s’ was she talking about? No-one’s. Because there was no one there. Because it was followed by ‘and’, meaning that even if, by the slimmest of slim chances, ‘Mashed tator’ (ignoring the capital letter) was a person, or a thing, then following it up with ‘and’ just knocked that fucker into the bin.
She took another swig of wine.
What in the name of all that’s holy was a ‘tator’, anyway?
She looked it up. It was nothing. Because, as she already knew, it wasn’t a word. It could, perhaps, have been a ‘tater’, like a ‘tater tot’, but even that was hideous, and wasn’t ‘Tater Tots’ a brand name? If it was, then it needed capital letters, and if it wasn’t, it was in the title, and it needed a fucking capital letter!
She finished the glass.
‘creamed corn cake’.
The alliteration was, she had to admit, an unexpectedly bright spot. An alliterative triplet, no less. Without capital letters, admittedly, but it had potential. Even if she had no idea what ‘creamed corn cake’ was. That didn’t really matter.
She poured herself another glass, ahead of reading the ten-minute masterpiece.
She needed it.
It was shit.
Inspired by a prompt from here