“Mom Hood” Dark Short Story by LB Sedlacek

"Mom Hood" Dark Fiction by LB Sedlacek: LB Sedlacek has had poems and stories appear in a variety of journals and zines. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net. Poetry books include "Swim," "The Poet Next Door," "Happy Little Clouds," and "Words and Bones." Her latest fiction book is "The Jackalope Committee and Other Tales" published by Alien Buddha Press. Her fiction books include the award nominated mystery "The Glass River" and "Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories."  Her short stories
"Backwards Wink" and "Sight Unseen" both won 1st Place Prose for different issues of "Branches" literary magazine in 2022. LB also enjoys swimming and reading.

She asks first about the rest rooms. Then the stage. Both were over in the corner.

She navigated the crowd spaced out here and there in the brightly colored chairs. The walls were just as bright – all yellow. The stage was also bright, but in orange and pink.

This was her first gig. Her middle-aged dream. Just her, some sheet music, a mic, and the ancient acoustic guitar her mom had given her when she was a child.

Thirty plus years later, she’d learned to play it. A last-minute act cancellation at the restaurant next door to her day job selling mattresses and now she was taping her set list to the floor.

It was written in blue ink on cream paper. Construction paper was all she could find to write it out on.

She was supposed to play for an hour in exchange for tips and a free meal and drinks. She had nothing else to do on Friday nights, so why not?

She started by playing her favorite childhood song: “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers. It translated to acoustic guitar with a female voice well. Anyway, she liked it.

She followed it with covers of songs by The Mamas and the Papas, and other 70’s rock bands or singers. Her cup was full of tips when her hour was done. She ate at the bar and thought nothing of a grinning neighborhood kid who’d sat through her set and who she’d used to babysit except how could he be old enough to be in a bar now?

“Mrs. Jenkins?”


“Yeah. Saw your set.” He plopped down on a stool beside her. “Didn’t know you could sing like that.”

“I’m a novelty act. A mom with an acoustic guitar.”

He grinned. Slid a tanned hand through his dark hair. “Yeah, you are.” He held up his phone. “Look here. I uploaded a video of you playing – it’s gone viral. You’re good. I remember Mason telling me his mom, uh you, had gone to college for music but then you got pregnant and married or maybe the other way around after college and so you traded in music for mom-hood.”

“Yeah. Mom-hood. That sums it up.” She finished her drink and stood. “Good to see you again, Joe.”

Joe turned out to be more than a former baby-sitting job reconnect. His viral video got her texts, DMs, request for dates (she wasn’t responding to any of that), digital downloads of the one song she liked the best on Joe’s video channels and oh yeah, a small-time gig touring all around the US. Her husband told her to go, that the kids are off at college and that he had his job and he could, read, cook and do laundry, so go live your dream for a little while. And so she did. With Joe as her mobile manager. Joe gave her a cell phone and a credit card. Her new producer emailed both of them her circuit schedule. She’d play an hour at each gig. The clubs paid her producer and she and Joe got a cut. Plus, a free hotel room for the night, and free meals. Joe arranged for ride shares to each venue and back and forth to the hotels. She had to use the phone to live stream to her new social media channels Joe set up.

This was her mom dream – to play guitar and sing and be Jodi Jenkins for an hour or so. And so she was.

All she had was a backpack with her clothes, shoes, and toiletries, her favorite pillow, a small purse with her essentials such as cleaning wipes, lip gloss, tissues, aspirin, and a pair of sunglasses plus her wallet. She also carried her gun kit with holster and ammo.

There were long hours in the hotel rooms. The set up for her gigs was minimal, same with the take-down. So, she found herself like a character in a gritty movie, camped out near airports with a wad of cash, and no rules.

What were the rules of revenge anyway? What were the Mom-hood rules?

  • Act the same day you’re leaving town
  • Wear gloves
  • Don’t write, type or store your list anywhere, especially the cloud
  • Carry 2 guitars
  • Hide what you need in your spare guitar, not the case but the guitar

And of course, never leave a trace: pay cash for everything, use a disposable phone, no public computers, and don’t divulge too much to strangers. When you play bars, it’s easy to let your guard down. Jodi also added a Bonus Rule: Don’t let your guard down.

It’s not surprising how long a mom’s list can be for justice. There’s the bully – mine and my kids. The evil relatives who stole and much worse. The wicked neighbors. The lying teachers. The backstabbing volunteers. The absent friend. The evil boss. The co-worker snakes. The __________________ (you name it).

There is not a right way or wrong way to serve up revenge or one mom’s vigilante form of karma. Illegal. Legal. Not to worry. She chose the punishment based on the crime.

At first, she did it so she could fight back some of the times when she wasn’t able to stand up for herself or kids. Then it became amusing to while away the tour time. She only talked to her husband once a day in the morning. The kids were both graduated, in college, moved on and supportive! Flowers in the dressing room and positive texts in every town!

There was no one looking for her. There was no one smart enough to put any of it together.

Start simple. Keep it simple. Finish simple.

For the bullies, she told the truth (at their new jobs, to their new spouses – anonymously of course.) For the friend’s dad who tried to have his way with her, she told his grandkids about it (in a note). The relatives who were thieves, that was harder but also easy cause when you owe money to the wrong people they often want it back. The people who spread ugly gossip – that was simple too she just made up a newsletter with plenty of made-up stories (printed up copies at an all night copy service) and left them on the cars in the parking lot of the most popular big box store in town.

She limited herself to 3-5, total. She figured she could buy and dispose of that many weapons without being caught. But who would the lucky recipients of her vengeance be?

  • An arrow was her first choice. She liked it cause you can be like Hawkeye or the Green Arrow and take your shot from a distance then break down and dispose of the bow in a flurry. Goodbye you sleazebag lawyer that caused me to lose my house,
  • She found a knife to be the most fun but unlike Crocodile Dundee it was also the hardest to use. She didn’t want to leave any prints. She passed it around for show and tell after one of her sets asking for a sharpener to get it covered with innocent prints. The two women who stuck themselves into her business during her first marriage and ultimate divorce didn’t care how their behavior affected her kids. She reasoned they deserved what they got cause they ended up going after each other when the married one thought the single one wanted her hubby. She had left the knife, wiped clean of her prints, in the perfect place and read later it was a bloody scene with body parts everywhere. There were no suspects, only two friends who turned on one another.
  • Jodi didn’t care for the Stun Gun. It was difficult to use because she wasn’t super strong and she worried someone could get ahold of it and use it on her. She used it on the ladies who told lies about her and her family thinking now they get to experience the same thrill of having stories told on them because everyone wondered and still talked about it to this day as to why they were together, stunned, in the same room! No one would speak to them afterwards and both their husbands left them.
  • She saved the best for last. She grabbed the dirt bag up in West Virginia where he’d lived pretending to be a lawyer, married and also a financial wiz even though he was none of the above. There’s a lack of cell service and lot of people minding their own business in West Virginia. He was good target practice and later bear food for Yogi and his buddies. Not one soul missed him.

Jodi spent a few minutes sitting in her dressing room, such that it was, after each gig. She wrote a song about each act of vengeance. Soon, she had an album and record deal. The venues for her tour vaulted from clubs to performing arts centers. Her kids came to some of her shows. Her second husband did, too.

She sings for a living now. Her justice served up in song lyrics – killing someone in a song is a whole lot easier to get away with and you don’t ever have to worry about anyone finding the body.

LB Sedlacek has had poems and stories appear in a variety of journals and zines. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net. Poetry books include “Swim,” “The Poet Next Door,” “Happy Little Clouds,” and “Words and Bones.” Her latest fiction book is “The Jackalope Committee and Other Tales” published by Alien Buddha Press. Her fiction books include the award nominated mystery “The Glass River” and “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.”  Her short stories
“Backwards Wink” and “Sight Unseen” both won 1st Place Prose for different issues of “Branches” literary magazine in 2022. LB also enjoys swimming and reading.

If you would like to be part of The Chamber Magazine family, follow this link to the submissions guidelines. If you like more mainstream fiction and poetry with a rural setting and addressing rural themes, you may also want to check out Rural Fiction Magazine

Please repost this to give it maximum distribution.

Leave a Reply