Inspirations for stories often come at the oddest moments and in the most unusual places. While John Steinbeck worked as a migrant worker in California, he witnessed a farmhand kill the boss that fired the farmhand’s friend. This single incident later served as inspiration for Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men.
Last year, I watched an interesting interaction between a woman and her two sons at a bank. We stood in line. The boys were twins and didn’t appear to be more than five years old. One of them bounced a tiny rubber ball.
“Stop it,” the woman said.
The boy stopped, but the moment her attention moved away he started again. Carpet covered the floor. He struggled to control the ball and had to chase it around the other customers standing in line.
“I said stop it,” the woman said again, her tone snippy.
This stop/start tug-of-war played out a couple more times until she bent and yanked him by the arm. “Wait til we get home.” The warning in her eyes was clear.
He looked crushed.
The teller motioned the woman up to the counter. The boys followed. The other twin, who up to this point had been as quiet as a mouse, snatched the ball from his brother’s hand. After noticing his mom was busy with the teller, he bounced the ball. It rolled into a nearby office. A customer talking with a banker rose and picked it up. He walked out to the lobby.
“Does this belong to anyone?” he asked.
Everyone turned his way.
When the woman saw the ball, anger shone in her eyes. She stared at the boys.
They pointed at each other and said in unison, “It was him.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but out of that simple five minute interaction sparked an idea for the short story I wrote for an anthology for Gilded Dragonfly Books. My paranormal story, Metamorphosis, (title may change) deals with the mystical aspects of being a twin. And while my characters are not kids, the two boys in the bank inspired my plot.
So be sure to visit the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers blog in February to learn more about my story and read an excerpt.