Once, I had one hundred imaginary dogs and my nursery school classmates decided to have imaginary dogs too. Siddhartha decided to have imaginary elephants instead with names filled with letters strung together like the pretty glass beads my teacher wore around her neck. I liked Siddhartha because he always shared his crayons.

Once, Justin, who lived in my grandmother’s building and showed me how boys could pee standing up, told me he was eating my imaginary dogs. I watched him bring his grimy fingers up to his mouth and ran away angrily. Loneliness tainted the rest of my day, and I kept turning my head to look mournfully behind me as I walked, now void of one hundred imaginary puppies that always frolicked in my wake.

The next day, he came up to me again. “Yum, yum, yum,” he said, gnashing his pearl-white teeth together around the necks of my dogs. “Your dogs are delicious.”

“Nuh uh,” I retorted, my hands planted firmly on my hips. “I left my dogs at home today. You’re eating imaginary worms.” Justin, who wore batman underwear and always scored in kickball, stared at me with his mouth open as I walked away triumphantly knowing that his stomach was now filled with imaginary worms.

Justin asked me to marry him at recess the next day. But unfortunately for Justin, I had already asked Siddhartha, who had very politely, said yes.

by Amelia Jane Nierenberg


Amelia Jane Nierenberg is a Junior at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York. She is a Fiction Reader for the Adroit Journal, the Fiction Editor and co-founder of the Fieldston Literary magazine, The Icebox, and spends much of her free time painting and writing. Her work either appears, or is forthcoming in Amazing Kids! Magazine, Tap Magazine Issue 25: Bare, Prick of the Spindle, the Blue Pencil Online, the Doctor T. J. Eckelburg Review, the Emerge Literary Journal, the Eunoia Review, the Postscript Journal, the Poydras Review, the Rusty Nail, the Black Fox Literary Magazine, Torrid Literature Polyphony HS and the Blue Lake Review. She received an Honorable Mention for creative nonfiction in the Young Authors Competition in addition to five regional Honorable Mentions, eight Regional Silver Keys and three Regional Gold Keys from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and a National Gold Key for Flash Fiction.

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