The Runaway ‘Tweeny (with apologies to Margaret Wise Brown)

The Runaway ‘Tweeny (with apologies to Margaret Wise Brown)

By Shari Simpson


Once there was a little ‘tweenager who wanted to run away. So she said to her mother, “I am running away. Because you are, like, getting on my last nerve.”

“If you run away,” said her mother, “I will run after you. Because you are my little ‘tween. And because I grew up in the ’70’s and saw that made-for-TV movie about runaways starring Eve Plumb and it ruined ‘The Brady Bunch’ for me for the rest of time. Hey, we should watch more movies together! You know, for Mommy-Daughter bonding!”

“OMG, could you be more annoying?” said the little ‘tween. “If you run after me, I’ll go and hide in my BFF Tara’s basement because her parents are way cooler than you and let Tara have a sip of real champagne on New Year’s Eve instead of sparkling cider which is for babies.”

“If you go and hide in Tara’s basement, I’ll become a lock on the basement door so that I can keep you safe,” said her mother. “Especially from people who give alcohol to minors, dear God, what in the world are Bob and Carol thinking?!”

“I said ‘a sip’! You always make a big deal out of everything!” said the little ‘tween. “If you become a lock on Tara’s basement door, I’ll totally become a bird and fly out the window to escape to, like, a tree. Or the mall.”

“If you totally become a bird, I’ll totally become a BB gun and shoot you down. It might hurt a little, but it will be for your own good, like most things in life that build character,” said her mother, “and I would only shoot you because I love you so much, you know that, right?”

“Oh, puh-leeze.” said the little ‘tween. “‘If you become a BB gun, whatever that is, do you even live in this century, I’ll become a Quest Super Bruiser Longboard skateboard under the feet of Sam Jenkins, because he is soooo hot, all the 8th grade girls literally die every time he walks by, seriously, DIE, uh, I totally can’t remember what I was saying, oh yeah, and then I’d ride away from you!”

“If you become a Super Bruised whatever you said skateboard,” said her mother, “I’ll become a crack in the sidewalk that looks like nothing until you try to ride over it, then wham! you wipe out and you’re like ‘woah, what just happened?!’, and I’m like ‘I just happened, sweetheart, your mother just happened!, and hot little Sammy Jenkins is now in traction!”

“‘Okay, you are so freaking me out right now,” said the little ‘tween. “I’m just gonna become a child genius in the Gifted and Talented program so that I can go away to college, like, three years early, and get away from you.”

“If you become a child genius in the Gifted and Talented program,” said her mother, “Well, first, I’d be so proud because I knew it, I knew you had my genes, I told your father that!, but then I’ll become a guidance counselor who would advise you to not try to grow up faster because these years are so precious. Oh, and I would refuse to give you a letter of recommendation so you’d be stuck, but only because I love you so much, you know that, right?”

Whatevs,” said the little ‘tween. “I so can’t win with you. I might as well just stay in this prison and live out my days in emo angst.”

“That works for me,” said her mother. “What do you want for snack?”

“Hot Pocket,” said the little ‘tween. “Thanks, Mommy.”

Shari Simpson was the BlogHer 2012 Voice of the Year in Humor Writing and is currently adapting the YA novel “The Swap” for the Disney Channel. She lives in Hoboken, NJ with her bemused husband and four children (two human, two pug).