Creative Exercise #12

Endings Exercise: Read the following short story. The ending has been purposely left out. Create your own ending. It can be as long or as short as it needs to be: a sentence, a paragraph, a page. It’s entirely up to you.  (I'll email you the author's ending at the end of the week!).

The Wig

By Brady Udall

My eight-year-old son found a wig in the garbage dumpster this morning. I walked into the kitchen, highly irritated that I couldn't make a respectable knot in my green paisley tie, and there he was at the table, eating cereal and reading the funnies, the wig pulled tightly over his hair like a football helmet. The wig was a dirty bush of curly blonde hair, the kind you might see on a prostitute or someone who is trying to imitate Marilyn Monroe.

I asked him where he got the wig and he told me, his mouth full of cereal. When I advised him that we do not wear things we find in the garbage, he simply continued eating and reading as if he didn't hear me. I wanted him to take that wig off, but I couldn't ask him to do it. I forgot all about my tie and going to work. I looked out the window where a mist fell slowly on the street. I paced into the living room and back, trying hard not to look at my son. He ignored me. I could hear him munching cereal and rustling paper. There was a picture--or a memory, real or imagined, that I couldn't get out of my mind. Last spring, before the accident, my wife was sitting in the chair where now my son always sits. She was reading the paper, to see how the Blackhawks did the night before, and her sleep-mussed hair was only slightly longer and darker than the hair of my son's wig.

I wondered whether my son had a similar picture in his head or if he had a picture at all. I watched him and he finally looked up at me . . .

30 thoughts on “Creative Exercise #12

  1. Katherine Whelchel

    After a minute of confronting eye contact, I walked over to him and knelt down by his chair. I chose to get on his level. I thought it would help him to hear my request. Before I could open my mouth, he took the wig off and placed it on my own head. At that moment, all I could feel was the tear that followed the line of my nose, down my face. And all I could see was the tear that followed the same track down his face.

    1. Aundrea Pierce

      Katherine, what a short and clear ending! I like how you had the boy put the wig on the dad. I could visual see your ending!

    2. Michelle Cordova


      I think this is such a beautiful ending! I love that he put the wig on his dad and took a moment to connect through equally matching pain. Sometimes its difficult to know exactly what a child is feeling, but then they do things like this and the world seems to stand still.

    3. Monica Gallagher

      I love this. I wanted them to break out in laughter though. Laughter with tears would make this an incredible image and I can see it like a movie in my mind. Great imagery in just a few sentences.

    4. Cassidy Kramer

      Katherine, I love this! You did a very good job of explaining so much while keeping it simple!

  2. Sierra McCollum

    “I miss her, daddy.” His bright round eyes search for a reaction out of me, but I can’t move. I try to smile but the emotions are still raw, like a knife wound that hasn’t healed correctly. I walk over to my son, pulling out the chair next to him. I try to think of something to say, but I am unable to speak. My mind and body suddenly. numb

    “Do you miss her too?” His expression is soft and so so innocent. It kills me he has to go through this, he is too young to have to deal with such a loss. He turns away from his breakfast and face’s me now, searching for the answer I can’t seem to spit out. But somehow I find the words and courage.

    “I miss her too.” He nods his head at me and turns back to his cereal and his funnies. I can’t help but feel a pit in my stomach. I scoot my chair closer to him and look at the paper asking what he was reading. His eyes light up and begins telling me all about the best joke in the funnies. and at that moment I felt peace, peace that I haven’t felt since she left us.

    1. Aundrea Pierce

      Sierra, I enjoyed the inner struggle you wrote with the dad. I felt he was “frozen” as well. I enjoyed your ending because it left me with a sense of peace and happiness.

      1. Andrew Lange

        Sierra, I also feel you captured the inner struggle quite well; the emotions of the father, his own feelings and trying to make a decision on the spot about what to say, while trying to maintain composure and not just break down, trying to set an example for his son.

    2. Ben Knapp

      I really liked your take on this weeks exercise. My favorite part was the end, when his son is telling him about the funnies. Your story did a good job of capturing a feeling of recovery and hope.

  3. Leah Rego

    “I miss mommy” he said. He went back to his funnies and his cereal, almost as if he had said nothing. I wondered if he actually had, or had my mind conjured the moment up in answer to my unasked question. I ran my hand over his head despite the wig, I just didn’t have it in me to scold him right now, especially not after that confession. I missed her too, her smile, her laughter, and her ability to calmly deal with just these sorts of incidences. How long would it be till I stopped seeing her in everything around me? Would there ever be a moment like this when her ghost wouldn’t appear in my mind, an unbidden memento of the life we once had? I just didn’t know. I called in sick to work and did the same with my son’s school. I set aside the tie, poured a bowl of cereal for myself, and sat down next to my son. “Are you done with that page?” I asked him. He glanced sideways at me and pushed it my way. There would be time enough for work another day.

    1. Aundrea Pierce

      Leah, I think it was a nice touch to have the dad run his hand over the wig. I almost included that image in mine as well! You did a good job describing his inner turmoil with the situation. I absolutely love how dad called in sick!

    2. Monica Gallagher

      Very sweet! I like how the Dad just stops everything and makes time to sit with his son in their way of mourning. It’s really heart warming. Good job!

  4. Aundrea Pierce

    “You won’t believe the score dad, it’s immmpressive!”

    I froze and dazed in his mother’s blue eyes. My chest filled with prickles of ice. My wife was always gloating about her love for the Blackhawks. I had to make a major decision here in our empty house that holds my son and me. A house where every lamp and fiber in the carpet keeps my wife alive. He misses her just as painfully as I do. Now I must make a choice. I can demand he removes the wig and never speaks about this again. Or I can join in on his wish because it’s the same wish I have too. A desperate wish that will never come true.
    I let my tie dangle freely around my neck as I walk over and sit down next to him.
    The feeling of comfort and reassurance warm my lungs as my eyes glisten.

    “Tell me all about it my love.”

    1. Andrew Lange


      I like how your piece glistens with a tiny bit of help/optimism/coping/something else right at the end, as though despite the difficult moment there is a future holding brighter times.

    2. Monica Gallagher

      Aw. I like it. The way that you tie in the tie is good. The interception of the memory of his wife reading the score and now his son doing it is very psychological and intriguing. The characters choice to allow the slip in consciousness to continue with his son makes me think that this could end up in almost a ‘Bates’ type scenario. Kind of sweet, kind of eerie. Nice job!

  5. Andrew Lange

    I didn’t have it in me at the moment to scold him. I knew he felt the same way I did, or at least on a similar level. Trying to fight multiple emotions, wanting to react in several different ways at once, I sat down next to him, fighting back tears. “I miss her too”. I said, my voice quivering as I spoke. As much as I missed her, I had to set a good example, had to maintain some composure. Despite knowing my son quite well, I still couldn’t see things from his perspective perfectly, and he couldn’t see things from my perspective perfectly either. We hugged, tears glistening in our eyes, breaths quaking with sobs. All I could do at that moment, standing there, in my work clothes, was hug my son and cry, the divide between us bridged by our mutual loss.

    1. Monica Gallagher

      Nice Job! My ending was solely dialogue, so it was good to get a full write up perspective on what I was trying to portray, Great ending!

  6. Michelle Cordova

    I watched him and he finally looked up at me . . .

    smiled the most innocent smile as milk dribbled down his dimpled, little chin. He drew in a deep breath as his almond-shaped eyes filled with tears, slowly exhaled, then asked, “Do I look as pretty as mommy did, daddy?”

  7. Monica Gallagher

    “What is it Dad?”

    I just shook my head slowly back and forth trying to hold back the tears that were welling up in my eyes.

    “Do you see her too?”

    And there they went, “Ya, son, I do.”

    “It’s okay Dad, I’ll take it off.”

    He came over and hugged my side awkwardly. He’d never seen me cry before. I pulled it together as best I could.

    “It’s alright buddy, we’re gonna be okay. Hey, how about this weekend we go up to the attic and bring some of Mom’s things down?”

    “Uhm, like what?”

    “I dunno bud, maybe that pillow she always had on the couch or her favorite blanket that she always had on movie nights, remember?


    “Alright, we can do that and we can remember her that way okay bud?”

    “It’ll be like cuddling with Mom!”

    Tears welling up again, “Ya, bud, it will…I love you, son”

    “I love you too Dad”

    1. Caitlyn Williams

      I like how your ending has dialogue and it ends with a problem, the stink wig, solved. Great ending!

  8. Ben Knapp

    I froze. It was my son all right, no doubt about that, but there was something different about him, something oddly familiar, almost as if…


    “Hello Jim” he said in a voice that was somehow both Danny’s voice, and not Danny’s voice.

    “I-I don’t understand. H-how?”

    “What’s the matter Jim, don’t you love me? Why are you afraid?”

    “No!” I scream. “This isn’t right, this isn’t right!” In my haste to get away, I kicked the table into Danny, knocking him into the ground. The wig flew of his head, landing across the room. I hurriedly ran over to Danny, who was lying on the ground.

    “What’s wrong daddy?” He said, “Why am I on the ground?” I breathed a sigh of relief to hear my son once again speaking in his normal voice.

    “It’s going to be okay son; it’s all going to be okay.” I comfort him. I then walked over to where the wig had landed, and, picking it up, I hurled it into the fireplace. As it burned, I thought I could hear a faint scream, and then it was gone.

    “Daddy, I don’t understand. Why did you do that?”

    “Come on son, let’s go outside. It’s time for us to stop living in the past.”

    1. Corbin Knapp

      Hi Ben!
      I really enjoyed your ending. It was a little bit twisted, but I liked how you chose to do something totally unique and unexpected. Nice work!

  9. Caitlyn Williams

    “Hey Son” I say, hoping to get a response.

    “Yeah Dad?” He responds after eating another bite of his favorite cereal.

    “You look like your Mom did when she was still with us..except her hair was in lots better shape.” I said trying to lighten up the mood.

    He finally puts the funnies down and looks at me with his sparkling blue eyes.

    “Yeah, her hair wasn’t as smelly.” He chimed in, a smile forming on his face.

    “I thought of her and decided to put it on; I couldn’t leave it in the garbage.”

    “Alright, alright, but we’re washing that thing right after school, got it?”

    “Yeah Dad, I miss her.” He said with a weary smile.

    “I miss her too, son.” I reply, hugging him tight remembering our family hugs with my late wife.

    After a few moments of hugging silently, he races upstairs to get ready for another day of school.

  10. Corbin Knapp

    “ Are you and Mommy ever going to get back together?” he said as he took off the wig and set it on the table.

    “I don’t know son, Mommy and I made each other really mad.” I said as I remembered the day she had left. Our relationship had been strained for a long time, but one incident had made us finally snap. I had accidentally put a dent in her car, and she was mad about it. I lost my temper and was yelling at her that she cared more about her car then she did about the family.

    She had yelled back at me, “At least I have a job!”

    Shortly afterwards she decided that she wanted to divorce me. In the following legal battle I had won custody of our son, but I had lost the woman I had loved.

    I sighed and stared at my son as he sat up and grabbed his bowl, how different it might have been if I had kept my mouth shut.

    “At least I found a job,” I thought to myself as I struggled with my tie before finally giving up. Grabbing the wig, I left the room and put it in the trash along with the bad memories of my wife.

  11. Mekayla

    “Mom?” He said.
    “Yes, sweetie?”
    “When can we go visit Mommy?”
    “As soon as you’d like. today is visiting day at the prison. First you’ve got to take that wig off, though.” I said with a hollow laugh, “The prison guards will think you’re hiding something under there.” And like that, the filthy wig was off, and we were on our way to visit my wife. Visiting days were always our favorite.

  12. Aubri Stogsdill

    “Aunt Linda said that I have her eyes, Daddy… What do you think? I thought maybe this wig made me look more like her..” tears begin to roll down his cheeks, “Daddy… why did she have to go?”

    FIlled with compassion and concern, I rushed to my son, hugged him and said, “Oh buddy, you do. You have her big beautiful eyes. But she didn’t leave.. you will always have her here.” I put my hand over his heart. “Could I just keep the wig anyway, Daddy?”

    “Yes son, you can keep the wig.”

  13. Jessica Honebein

    With a curious voice he asked “Why are you pacing Daddy?”

    I didn’t quite know how to respond so I just nodded at him and told him to finish up eating before the school bus comes.

    “Okay buddy, school bus is here come give me a hug,” I said picking up his backpack and motioning him toward me. He jumps out of his seat and comes running, embracing me in the biggest hug he had to offer. I looked down at him and told him it was time to take off the wig, he unwillingly peels it off and a little tears trickled down his cheeks.

    “I was only pretending Daddy, I miss her,” he sobed.

    “I know me too Buddy, me too.”

  14. Naimy Schommer

    We buried the wig that afternoon. I’d called in sick, and had told our nanny to take the day off. We held a proper funeral in the backyard and buried that wig under the big cherry tree she used to read under. This was a silent funeral, unlike the first. There were no weeping mothers or wailing siblings to distract from the distilled emptiness of the open hole in the ground. My son placed the wig carefully at the bottom, and I sprinkled dirt on top in silence. We understood. We sighed heavily and returned to the house eventually.

    We made banana splits that evening, her favorite.

  15. Cassidy Kramer

    “I love you, son. Your mother did too. Don’t ever change for anyone okay?” I told him.
    “Don’t worry dad I won’t. I wanted to wear this wig to make you laugh because I know how sad you have been. I love you too. Mom is still with us” my son smiled.
    I smiled back and a tear dripped down my face thinking of how I never want to break his innocence. It is just the two of us now.

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