Those Formative Years by Paul Beckman

Sari yelled at her boys and later felt bad about it. After all, people say “boys will be boys” and hers were only four and five years old.

She felt miserable for days after giving the four year old a spanking. A lighter, much lighter swat on the tush would’ve accomplished as much as the over the knee with his pants down slaps.

When the boys were seven and eight the pattern continued—mostly with the seven year old. He had a mouth on him and the eight year old sat and read and Sari never found out he really had been the bad one until much later in their teen years when the police came and took him away.

Now she blamed the younger son for not telling her what really happened all those years; forgetting every time he did he got punished for telling lies.

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Paul Beckman’s story, “Healing Time” was one of the winners in the 2016 The Best Small Fictions and his 100 word story, “Mom’s Goodbye” was chosen as the winner of the 2016 Fiction Southeast Editor’s Prize. Paul lives in Connecticut and earned his MFA from Bennington College. His stories are widely published in print and online and via audio. and blog is


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