Friday Fiction: Eau De Teenager’s Bedroom

Photo Prompt Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

Eau De Teenager’s Bedroom


Ellen pins her resolution to the noticeboard: No more picking up other people’s shit.

‘Mummy swore!’ says her youngest, Lucy.

‘Challenge accepted,’ says her eldest, Danny.



A ripe pungency escapes from Danny’s room.

‘What’s that smell?’ asks Lucy.

‘Smell?’ says Ellen, adjusting the clothes-peg on her nose.



Danny’s room disappears under magazines, washing, junk,

‘What are the candles for, Danny?’

‘Can’t find the light switch,’ says Danny. ‘Or the window.’



‘I give up,’ Ellen adjusts her gas mask. ‘I’m coming in!’

‘Stop!’ Danny points at her feet. ‘Shoes off first. Were you born in a barn?’


(100 words)

Following on from a couple of comments I received, and having a few hours to pass on a train yesterday,  I wrote an extended version of this called No More Picking Up Other People’s Shit. Find out about Ellen’s next resolution, Lucy’s secret obsession and Danny’s future ambitions in this 500 word story!


For those who don’t know, Friday Fictioneers is a challenge to write a 100 word story from a picture prompt. It’s hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and anyone can play. Thanks for hosting, Rochelle! Check out the link below to see what other fictioneers did with this week’s prompt.

Need more Friday Fiction? Click the blue frog to read more stories from other fictioneers!

Need more stuff to read? Give Firewords Quarterly a go (there’s one of my stories in Issue One!)

51 thoughts on “Friday Fiction: Eau De Teenager’s Bedroom

    • Thanks Jackie
      I was trying to capture the illogic of teenagers, where a scummy room is fine but not shoes indoors, and not washing for days is ok, but clothes have to be cleaned (by mum)! They’re a fascinating species 🙂


  1. Dear El,

    I need a ‘love’ button to click for your stories. Danny’s acceptance of the challenge was masterful and this story is fantastic. i want to read her next resolution posted to the board.




    • Hi Doug
      You are lovely, and fast on your way to becoming my favourite commenter! You’ve also got me pondering what Ellen’s next resolution might be. Hmmmm, I will have to have a think.
      Take care


  2. Dear EL,

    I didn’t know anyone had seen my eldest son’s bedroom as a teenager. I used to tell him that you could lose a body there and no one would know.
    Well it nearly happened. One morning I went to wake him for work. He slept on a mattress on the floor. All I saw were clothes, books, shoes, socks, dirty dishes, you couldn’t tell bed from floor. After an hour I grew frantic as I imagined him dead in the street somewhere. Then a voice came from his room.
    “Mom, why didn’t you wake me? I have to work today.”
    Good job as always, EL.




    • Hi Rochelle
      That’s hilarious (and a little scary for you). As a student I always went for the cheapest digs I could find so lived in all kinds of squalor. In those places it was definitely shoes on! My kids havent come close to replicating that… yet.
      All the best


    • Funny Rochelle! Nan 🙂

      Dear Elappleby, I read the longer version and commented there. In my opinion, you win this week’s funniest story award – for me (I have 4 grown boys) it was so right on and then you have humor thrown in all over the place – great job! Nan 🙂


  3. Hey, everyone has their standards!! My brother’s room used to be a bit of a tip and my mom heroically let it be. Thanks for the laugh and congratulations on your story in the magazine. I wish I could buy one in the US without a horrendous shipping & handling.



    • Hi janet
      I am like Ellen, I cave in eventually!
      Sorry Firewords is so expensive to ship to the US. I’ll let them know the price makes it a non-starter and see what they say. Maybe they’ll do a special price for Friday Fictioneers!


  4. Well, I’ll say that’ll do it for him. Never underestimate the power of “Mom On Strike” day. Great “notice” you had on the noticeboard! Good one!


    • Thanks Kent
      I wasn’t sure about the ending on this one -it wasn’t a big punchline this week but something more subtle. Seems to have worked though 🙂


      • Listen, don’t worry about the laughs. Humor is hard to write. Just be yourself. If there are laughs, great. If not, great, too!

        It’s like when you’re at the grocery store and you put your ear to the grapes, you don’t hear them groaning, “Ugh! Uggggh! I gotta grow!” No, you hear this sound: “Zzzzzzzzz” because they’re quietly resting in the vine.

        THINK GRAPE!


  5. El, That was hilarious once again. My daughter used to have two clothes piles on the floor. One was for clean clothes and the other for dirty. Your stories are always well written. 🙂 I’d love to order the magazine with your story, but I’m in India and my kids are in the U.S. My money is in rupees and I’m afraid to used a credit or debit card here. —Susan


  6. A great story, El. Your structure worked extremely well. I’m with Doug, and want to watch the story unfold further. It works as it is, but I really liked these characters and want to see more of them.


    • Hi Karen
      Doug’s comment and yours together have inspired me to write another episode, so I spent my train journey today scribbling down some ideas – watch this space! (It won’t be a Friday Fiction sequel though, I’m not a fan of those, I’ll do it as a separate post.)


    • Same here – my daughter’s the messy, scatty one and my son’s pretty organised. But all the stories (mine included) are about messy boys. funny.


  7. That was hilarious! Nice, punchy last line!
    (I absolutely love these images: “…adjusting the clothes-peg on her nose,” and “Ellen adjusts her gas mask.”)
    Your story-structure was perfect. Thanks for a good chuckle!


    • thank you – I wasn’t sure about the last line but it seems to have worked. I did a full twelve month version of this story in my next post, which gives Lucy a few more lines.
      Glad you enjoyed this one!


  8. Oh Lord, there was a flashback! Years ago, as a last resort, I bagged up all the shit sitting on my son’s bedroom floor and threw the bags out on the porch. He came home and looked at me dumbfounded – like I had lost my mind! Thanks for a hilarious reminder of days gone by!


  9. The bare-faced cheek of it! She has to wear shoes or who knows what she might tread on. I love where this prompt took you.


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