Give Me a Break

Leave a comment

March 19, 2020 by The Citron Review

by D.H. Valdez 


After makeup and wardrobe, the three of us were led down to the Parent Lounge where filming would take place.

We’d seen our colleagues go through it before. Thirty minutes to create a lesson plan. The winner would receive an apple. The losers would spin the wheel.

The lights from the film set were like broilers, and I began to sweat. A crewmember saw this and threw a towel my way. I wasn’t ready for it and caught it with my face. It draped over me like an octopus attacking its prey. For a second I let it rest, taking refuge within the cloth.

“Filming will commence soon!” The director yelled. “Everyone to their places.”

I’m not sure what the other two teachers had done (though I’d find out once the show aired), but I was there because I had managed to piss off two families with one lesson. The vaunted double whammy! One thought my lesson was too radical, the other not radical enough. More common than you’d think.

The judges sat on couches. An ornithologist, plumber, and accountant. They would assess our performances to determine best teaching.

“3, 2, 1…action!”

“You have thirty minutes to deliver a lesson plan which includes the following components: kinesthetic movement, a courageous conversation, a real-life extension, and a community leader. You may start when the bell rings.”

I couldn’t come up with anything under the pressure. I lost badly. The judges awarded Mr. Watkins the apple.

Ms. Manuel spun first. It was a nervous spin. The clicking of the wheel sounded familiar, like wood cracking from a screw being tightened too much. The sound stopped. The arrow pointed to lawsuit. The host groaned. The judges applauded. Ms. Manuel fainted.

It was my turn.

“What are you hoping for, Mr. Garza?” he asked.

“The egging of my house,” I replied.

“Very good, very good! Spin away.”


“How was your break?” my coworker asked. “Tell me you at least relaxed a little.”

I sighed and told him not really.

He shook his head. “Try and move forward. Lots of year left.”

The wheel had not stopped spinning.


D.H. Valdez teaches Social Studies at his former high school. He holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching from the University of Washington. He and his wife Holly grew up together in Seattle and continue to live in the city. They are avid sports fans and desperately await the return of the Sonics. Valdez has previously been published in Lunch Ticket and Flash Fiction Magazine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Flower shop window

IMAGE CREDIT: Nathan Elliott. Fleurs. 2020.

🍋Our Tenth Anniversary


    Cheers to ten years of celebrating the short form.


🍋 Instagram

Leah Mueller's "escapee" is a resilient wisp of a poem. Books include: Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices (Czykmate), Death and Heartbreak (WeaselPress), & Cocktails at Denny’s (AlienBuddhaPress.)
Contributor @jerzypoet has launched a new poetry journal, The Night Heron Barks. @heronbarks We reviewed his poetry chapbook Demolition in the Tropics in our very first Zest - #amreading #litmags
A chiller from contributor Cathy Ulrich's Murdered Ladies series - in the excellent new issue of @adroitjournal. We reviewed her Ghosts of You ( @okaydonkeymag) #amreading #litmags
In "Polaroid" by @starlightgrrl, Charlotte Hamrick we see the big picture in a micro moment. Look closer in our Spring Issue! Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in Foliate Oak, Moria Online, Connotation Press, Gone Lawn, The Rumpus and elsewhere. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for Barren Magazine and lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets. #amreading #microcreativenonfiction
Thanks for tagging us @kaywestah! #TheCitronReview #spring2020issue #briefliterature #celebratingtheshortform #CitronStories #cnf #fiction #micro #poetry
A parental pair of Creative Nonfiction pieces that's music to our ears: "Opera Mom" and "Opera Dad" brings transcendent melody to our Spring Issue. Claire T. Lawrence is a Professor of Creative Writing at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She has a PhD in Fiction from the University of Houston - Creative Writing Program and an MFA in Fiction from the The University of Utah. She has published fiction, poetry, and memoir in numerous magazines including Crab Orchard Review, TriQuarterly Online, Event Magazine, Terra Nova, and Western Humanities Review. #amreading #creativenonfiction

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: