Several years ago one of my sisters was going through teenager-hood and would repeat one phrase over and over and over again because she thought it was witty and hilarious. One of these phrases was “There’s been a terrible accident.”

She would say that after just about everything, but especially whenever someone would as where another person was.

“Where’s Mom?”

“There’s been a terrible accident.”

“Where’s the cat?”

“There’s been a terrible accident.”

“Where did the ice cream go?”

“There’s been a terrible accident.”

She’d even put extra emphasis on the word terrible.

It got incredibly old really fast, but nothing any of us did would make her stop saying it.

So one day, I found a way to get her to stop.

It was a normal day, Mom and I were the only ones home for one reason or another, when the phone rang. It was my sister.

“Martha, is Mom there?”


“Where is she?”

“In the car with Sami.”

“Where are they going?”

“To the hospital.”


“What happened?! Is everything all right!?”

A beat.

“There’s been a terrible accident.”

Dead silence.

Mom was cracking up right next to me the whole time.

“Put. Mom. On. The. Phone. NOW.”

She never used that phrase again.

Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompt: