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Shirley Temple

A sad tipple for the Snacktime Sonata Challenge

By Suze KayPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 2 min read
Second Place in Snacktime Sonata Challenge

I'll take a little something when I feel like it. I'll sip the gin

and taste the diet tonic. I'll squeeze the lime and lose it

under ice, round and hollow, speared through with the red end

of a cocktail straw. It's all different alone, with a book at the bar,

on the other side of youth. It'd be better with grenadine.


Girlhood was a dance through diner booths, elbowing brothers

over forkfuls of mac 'n cheese and floppy fries. It was side salads,

untouched, ice-sweat plastic cups with cartoon bears outside

and Shirley Temple inside. Tart 'n sassy. Cherry red. I bet them a dollar

I could tie a soggy stem into a knot with my tongue. It was my magic trick.


In the book I'm reading, Shirley Temple tells me she's been bad.

Crying isn't cute, even if you're three, even if you can tap dance

circles around the big boys of Baby Burlesks. So they lock her up

in the soundbooth. They give her a block of ice for a chair and she sits,

cherry on top. And then they make her dance some more.


My brothers have drawers full of crinkling candy wrappers. They drink

milk by the gallon and never worry if it's whole. I stopped

when I outgrew my favorite shirt. They still order Dirty Shirleys and shoot

their straw wraps over dim bar tables, they still stick out dyed-red tongues.

I sin. I steal a sip. I only taste the sugar now, on the other side of youth.


The little lady lost her job when she couldn't shake the baby fat.

The little lady had to wear fake teeth to fill in all her baby gaps.

The little lady was poked and prodded, tugged and tickled, cast aside.

She made those big boys money and they hardly left her any. They even

took her name and poured it over ice. Cherry on top.


Author's Note: If you also want to ruin some childhood memories, the book I'm reading is "Child Star" by Shirley Temple Black. She turned out just fine, but that's more a credit to her than to the Hollywood machine that built her up, abused her, and spit her out like a cherry pit.

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About the Creator

Suze Kay

Pastry chef by day, insomniac writer by night.

Find here: stories that creep up on you, poems to stumble over, and the weird words I hold them in.

Or, let me catch you at www.suzekay.com

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

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    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (29)

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  • PK Colleranabout a month ago

    Excellent. Heartbreak and beauty flow together in the way you use words. 🍒

  • LM Segalabout a month ago

    This is amazing!

  • Esala Gunathilakeabout a month ago

    Congrats on your victory.

  • Susana's World2 months ago


  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    This absolutely deserved its place. Bittersweet and eloquent, just perfect.

  • Susan Fourtané2 months ago

    Congratulations! This was a fantastic read.

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    Congratulations, Yahhh!!!!!👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽💗🎉🎉🎉

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    Congratulations on the win, Suze! This is truly a phenomenal piece!

  • Konrad Kramp2 months ago

    Congratulations. What a beautiful piece. I loved all the red references. If MAC made words - this would be their campaign.

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Crikey. Good work.

  • Wooohooooo congratulations on your win! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Lacy Loar-Gruenler2 months ago

    Congratulations! This is such a fabulous blending of childhood, growing up, and how different Shirley Temple had it when we were in such awe they named a children's drink after her. Beautifully, done, Suze!

  • Andrea Corwin 2 months ago

    CONGRATULATIONS 👏🎉🥳🎊🍾🎈👯‍♀️ I loved this, especially at the end about little Shirley, how apropos!!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Congratulations on 2nd place win!!!🥰

  • Again such delightful and tasty words for the challenge

  • Christy Munson2 months ago

    Congratulations on earning Second Place in the Snacktime Sonata Challenge. Loved your story! Thought I'd commented previously -- must have gotten too caught up in your Women Who Stay series! Great piece. Very happy for you!

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Just noticed this got Second Place. well flipping done. This is just...exceptional :) Well done well done well done!

  • Natasha Collazo2 months ago

    You’re a goddess with a pen. 👏 🧚‍♂️

  • Joe O’Connor3 months ago

    Love the interplay between past and present, and "It's all different alone, with a book at the bar, on the other side of youth." is a striking image Suze. The contrast between innocent childhood memories and what happened to the star is stark, and sobering too.

  • Worship at the temple & watch her fall. Human beings are human beings, whether smiling dancing toddlers or those who exploit them & toss them aside. Be amazed that she survived & thrived & hold them accountable.

  • Shirley Belk3 months ago

    Suze, this is incredible! So glad you wrote this and gave us Shirley Temple's story. She was a government ambassador, but I can't remember the country she went to represent us.

  • K. Kocheryan3 months ago

    This was so good, but sad. I didn't know anything about the topic and now I have to look into it.

  • Wow. This is remarkable in its depth. The journey from happy-go-lucky to punished and used was truly something. The Hollywood machine, and really the machine a lot of women face, is a monster. Beautiful poem!

  • Sara 3 months ago

    It’s kinda sad that I relate so deeply but this is such an artful way of saying it - I almost don’t mind ;) thank you for this

  • angela hepworth3 months ago

    Awesome work here! Love Shirley Temples!!

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