Hemingway On Summer Homework

The mother was once dreaming of Africa.

Rochelle E. Fisher
Slackjaw
Published in
3 min readAug 10, 2021

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Illustration by Dan Shultz

The mother looked forward to summer vacation. She thought of the homework struggle that happened every night. It was ugly like a bullfight. She did not want to supervise mathematics problems. She wanted to travel to golden beaches. She did not want to go over third-grade spelling. She wanted to go to the zoo on any day but a Sunday. The mother did not care if she sounded like a bitch. She was tired. She wanted to feel new again, like a pair of baby shoes, never worn.

Soon after school ended, the mother went to clean out the daughter’s backpack. The backpack was purple and it was made of nylon. It had a horse on the front. The horse had a horn on the top of its head. Inside the backpack was a packet. The packet was yellow. It was thick like a tuna fish.

“What is this?” The mother asked her daughter.

“Summer homework,” the daughter said.

The mother concealed a cuss behind her closed lips. Was she not, a moment ago, dreaming of Africa?

The mother found twenty-four mathematics pages to complete. Thirty pages of spelling words in Spanish and French. There was also a list of required reading. The list was printed on a sheet of paper that was green like the sea.

The mother knew it would mean a lot of bribery. Now there would be less sleep. Her life tended to fall apart when she was awake. It occurred to her that this was the worst form of unlucky. She could not believe this shit of bulls.

In her day, she had no summer homework. She thought that while she did not grow wiser in the summer, she grew careful of bees in the outdoors.

Soon the mother found another yellow packet in the bag. The mother rubbed a hand against her brain which she felt was cramping inside her skull. It could not be more summer homework, she thought. But it was. The second packet was as thick as a marlin fish.

The packet contained forty-six pages of more math problems. There were also instructions to write a report on the Spanish Civil War. There was also a map with fishing villages to learn.

The mother could not believe it. Everything was right until it was wrong. The mother went out of the…

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Rochelle E. Fisher
Slackjaw

Top writer in Satire & Parenting, Rochelle's words can be found in McSweeney’s, Slackjaw, The Belladonna, Points in Case, Weekly Humorist, Frazzled, and others.