I can fix this

Stella Tyson
Stella Tyson
The ceiling is a sea of monochrome waves

Shrouded by thick plumes of smoke rising from the toaster.

Mum's screaming, I don't understand why, this is terrific!

But Mum looks scared, I don't like it when she's scared, so I'll fix it.

The smooth butter knife glints in the room's light.

I can fix this.

We don't need firefighters in a big red truck.

They're for helping catch escapee rabbits or freezing dogs whose heads get stuck.

I'll fix this.

All I need to do is put the sleek, steel knife into the smouldering toaster.

The air is thick and scratchy now.

It reeks of stale crumbs and burning.

Mum's calling me but she can't see.

Now's not the time for petty obedience,

Now's the time for childlike ignorance!

I discover that I cannot breathe,

Up here on the bench, with ease.

I inhale and exhale with a wheeze.

But I'm up here now and there's no going back,

I stagger on soft feet towards the toaster

Which is beginning to look like an indoors fireworks display.

My head reeling from smoky fumes,

I continue forward on wobbly feet with a knife in my hands

And a head full of plans.

I reach towards the metal grate,

When suddenly I hear a shout from above.

Hands surround me, grasping at the knife.

I realise sheepishly

I can't fix this.

The toaster thuds on the grass beside me

And, as Mum frees the smoke out the windows,

I sit back and begin to eat my badly charred toast.

•  Stella Tyson, Year 11, Waitaki Girl's High School