“Stickers,” by Erica Lianne Inglett

Apr 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

I stood on my weather beaten front porch and waved to my sister as she pulled onto the road. Her daughter wrinkled her nose at me through the rearview mirror but I ignored it. Daniel tried so hard to be a good single mother to Grace, but she went overboard frequently. My niece was only six years old, but had the personality of a princess with a wand up her butt.

I shut the door and exhaled loudly. They were only here for a single night, but in that time Grace drove me to pluck my eyelashes out. Nothing on television was good enough, my stellar cooking “tasted like poop”, and her squealing made me want to pull the metaphorical wand out of her butt and shove it through my eye (after I cleaned it, of course).

“She has a strong personality that the teacher says is a good thing. She says other kids part like the Red Sea for her when she walks in a room,” Daniel informed me while we ate dinner. I rolled my eyes at the statement and dropped the subject.

I grabbed a vacuum to clean the guest room before dinner, but dropped my jaw when I opened the door. The mocha-colored walls in front of me were littered with stickers. Not just little stickers, but large ones as well. Stickers from kids’ meal fast food joints, festivals, drug stores, coloring books, and dealerships were stuck to the walls and dresser drawers. My gaze dropped to the bed frame that was somewhere under the stickers, then glided over to the door handle, then to the closet.

Ten minutes later Daniel was apologizing profusely and trying to justify Grace’s actions through lame excuses.

“I’m so sorry, Amanda. I don’t when she could’ve done it, but she’s only six. I’m sure if she knew it was wrong she wouldn’t have done it.”

I’d heard it all before. That little bratty brunette niece of mine knew just how wrong it was. I could imagine her climbing on top of the dresser to pluck stickers on the wall with glee.

It took a week of peeling and a day of repainting to get the room to look normal again. Pockets knives were littered all over the carpet from where we had to peel the large advertising adhesives from the bed post. I hissed at every princess pony and cursed at each smiling jungle animal that I had to rip off.

“How does a kid even accumulate these many stickers? Did she poop them out when she got here?” My husband asked as we peeled monotonously. I was livid when I responded “Nope! I bet the little sticker-addict had this stash of them in her suitcase.”

He looked at me with pity and said “Do you think you’re going a little overboard with your reaction? After all, she’s only six. What six-year-old has motives like that?”

“I’m not overreacting to this, Fred! She’s not as innocent as she looks and one day people will realize that I’m right.”


Ten years later I downed a mixed drink that I pulled out of Daniel’s fridge when no one was looking.

“So what did you get Grace?” Daniel asked me as she flipped her dark hair behind her shoulder. Grace’s sweet sixteen was everything I expected it to be, completely unnecessary and spoiled rotten.

“It’s a surprise, but I think she’ll like it,” I said with a smile. Daniel face lit up as she said “Well, I know she will.”

Grace sat down on the middle of the living room as Daniel handed her presents with a smile. She was wearing a sash across her shoulder that read sweet sixteen princess in bright purple letters.

“Open mine first,” I said. “I’m just dying to see your reaction.” Grace pulled my large present next to her and ripped off the paper. She gasped and said “A sixty inch television with surround sound! Oh, my God, it’s exactly the one I wanted,” she said as she marveled at the box’s picture.

I was satisfied to see the joy spread across her face. “Open it up and take a look,” I urged. She clapped her hands together in excitement and barked at her friend to hand her a pair of scissors.

Once she cut through the packing tape, she shook the television out of the Styrofoam along with the speakers. Her perkiness fell abruptly when she took the last piece of foam off to view the television. I saw Grace connecting the dots in her mind as I, along with the rest of the room, gazed upon the numerous stickers that covered all sixty inches of the screen.


Defenestration-Erica Lianne InglettErica Lianne Inglett grew up in Pensacola, Florida with white beaches and intense humidity. She was an only child surrounded with bookcases that were falling under the weight of so much literature, an influence that led her to the writing world. Her high school years were spent listening to her teachers say “Put down that book and listen!” Now she studies graphic design in hopes that one day it will accompany her writing to make a great career.

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