Sunday, February 9, 2014

"Loose Lips Sink Ships." A #YA Short Story


Douglas Winslow Cooper and Brian Maher

“Rick, who are you taking to the Junior Prom?” Tess asked her older brother.

“Fran Donatelli. You’ve met her. We’ve gone to the movies a few times, and I like her a lot.”

“Are you two serious about each other?”

“Not very…yet…but who knows what will happen in the future?”

Fran was Rick’s classmate, smart, rather pretty, not particularly popular, perhaps because she was a bit of a book-worm, not surprising for a doctor’s daughter. Her family had moved into town earlier that year, and she had not made many friends, but Rick liked her. She was good to talk with and appreciated his sense of humor. She seemed pleased to have been invited to the Prom by him. It did not seem likely that someone else would be asking her.

Rick bought the prom tickets early, spending much of the money he had earned from his part-time job. The tickets were not cheap, and he would be renting a tuxedo and would be buying Fran a corsage. He knew that Fran would likely be spending a lot of money on a fancy dress especially for this dance, although, being a doctor‘s daughter, it would probably be easier for her to come up with the money than it was for Rick.

A couple of weeks before the Prom, Rick learned that Fran had told a friend of hers that she would have preferred to go to the Prom with another classmate, a friend of Rick’s, Brian Mullins, a particularly good-looking guy, a popular athlete. When Rick heard this, it hurt.

A day or two after learning this, Rick called Fran and asked her if she had said what he had heard that she had said: that she would have preferred to go to the Prom with Brian. She was honest and admitted that she had said it, and Rick replied, “Well, I’m not taking you, so you are free to go with Brian, if he asks you.”

It wasn’t an easy decision for Rick, as he did not like to let anyone down. He did not want to spend the evening and a lot of money on someone who would rather be there with someone else. He still had those tickets, though. He discussed it with Jeanne, the girlfriend of one of his buddies, Billy, a guy who was away in the Navy. Rick and Jeanne had always been good friends, but just friends. She would not be going to the Prom because Billy was now overseas. They agreed to go to the Prom together, which was fine with Billy. They had a great time.

Brian never did ask Fran to the Prom, preferring to go with another girl, so Fran was stuck at home that night.

Rick’s parents were glad that he did not let Fran treat him with open disrespect. She should have not accepted the date or she should have kept quiet about wanting to go with another guy.

“Sometimes, ‘silence is golden,’” Rick’s mother commented.

Mr. Williams added, “You know, Rick, during World War II, there was an expression that was widely used, ‘Loose lips sink ships.’ It meant that information like the sailing dates and routes of troop ships and supply ships should not be talked about, for fear that enemy agents would use the information to aid the Germans or the Japanese we were fighting against in attacking our ships.”

“Well, Dad, her loose lips sank Fran’s Prom.”


One of our series of fifty instructive short stories for young people.

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