R. J. Kinnarney
Dad and Lad Scenes #vss365 #vsspic #FlexVSS #whistpr
Short scenes written in response to daily word prompts or weekly picture prompts on Twitter. Each has to fit into the 280 characters Tweet length.
This is how my days start!
I'm singing The Carpenters.
"Your Ma loved that song, didn't she?"
"You know what her favourite line was?"
We chorus, "Don't matter if it's not good enough for anyone else to hear, just Sing, sing a song."
"Aye, lad, tone deaf your Ma was!" We laugh.
"Your Ma caught me once with my fingers in my ears. She was singing that 'Loving you is easy cause your beautiful'. I'd legged it into the garden before...you know, THAT bit...but I could still hear her, wailing like a banshee."
We both shudder. And laugh.
He holds his breath.
So do I.
This is a precision operation. Steady hands are a must.
After at least an eternity, he turns to me, triumphant. "There you are, lad. I've still got it!" He holds up his glass of stout. "Is that or is that not a perfect head?"
He puts his comb down. "Remember when I had a full head of curls, lad? Your Ma used to say I looked like whatshisname."
"Y'know, sang Happiness."
"Had those Diddley Men."
I laugh and wait. I know he'll get there.
"Here, lad, hold this on it." He hands me a bag of frozen peas.
"Now do you see why your Ma was always going round banging the cupboard doors closed."
"But...Never mind." I don't remind him that he is the one who now forgets to close the doors.
"This bloody computer."
He pauses his conversation. "What's up, lad?"
"I'm trying to get online."
"D'you want me to hang the phone up?"
I shake my head.
"Got to go, Gordon." He puts the phone down.
"You were about 20 years late with that idea."
"What are you doing up the window?"
"Number 42 have got a new car. Must have set them back a bit."
"You're so nosy."
"You know what your Ma used to say, lad..."
"I'm not nosy, I'm just curious," we chorus.
"Do you remember that scent our Janine used to wear? Looked a bit radioactive."
"Cat licks, lad? Funny name for a scent. She bought your Ma a bottle one year."
"She loved it."
"Aye. Mind, she loved cat licks, too." He smiles and closes his eyes again.
"Do you want to watch an old movie?"
"Do you want to watch an old film, then?" I know he doesn't like it when I call them movies.
"No, lad. I'm just going to rest my eyes."
I put on The Bishop's Wife, one of Ma's favourites.
There's not a sound from him.
"Sunrise is a lovely colour, lad."
"That's the sunset."
"You've slept right through."
"Why didn't you wake me?"
"I couldn't." I clear my things from the chair in his bedroom.
"What have you been doing all day then, lad?"
"Oh, nothing much. Cup of tea?"
His face is grey and he's puffing hard.
"What's the matter?"
"Bit of gripe, lad." He gasps.
"This is the 3rd time this week. Please let me book the doctor's."
"No need, lad. It'll pass."
I'm not so sure but there's no arguing with him. "Cup of tea?"
He can only nod.
"I've told you to open the bathroom window when you've finished. I swear the smell in here is toxic."
"Nothing wrong with a bit of carbolic, lad. Your Ma swore by it."
"For scrubbing the quarry tiles, yes. Not for scrubbing herself!"
"Are you decent?"
"Hold on, lad. Naked!"
"Right, you can come in now. Didn't want you to have to see me in my birthday suit."
"Probably not quite your 'birthday suit', is it?!"
"Ha, you're not wrong. That reminds me, can you iron my trousers." He laughs.
"Do we have to have the telly on in here and the radio on in the kitchen?"
"House is too quiet without 'em."
"We could always just have a conversation."
"OK, you start."
"Your Ma could chat for hours about anything."
"Put the telly back on, lad.
He's in the kitchen making breakfast.
"Just use a cloth when you're taking the bowl out of the microwave, instead of making a sound like a joik." I've told him this thousands of times.
"Speaking of yolk, lad, do you want 2 eggs or 3?"
"It's there again, lad, that bloomin' cat. Can't be after the blue tits now. It's dark." He stares up at the cat on the fence. "What's it after?"
"Could it be the chicken roasting?"
"No need to be sarky!"
But there is.
He slams the front door. "I've just been round No. 32. About that cat."
"Turns out their old cat died 3 weeks ago."
"So, whose is that then?"
He looks at the cat, still on the fence.
"Looks a lot like your Ma's old Dinky Cat."
"Why can you never put lids on straight, lad?"
I don't answer.
"Look at this one. Why is it all skewiff?" He's staring at me.
"What are you 5, or something?"
"Might as well be." I slam the kitchen door.
He's examining the folder of hotel information.
"Why don't you just sit down and relax?"
"I know your Ma used to get in, unpack and, wallop, new home for a week. Proper nomad she was. But I'm not her." He pauses. "Sorry."
I touch his arm. "You don't have to be."
"Look at that cheeky cat on the garden, lad."
It's Mister Tom from next door but one.
"He's after those poor blue tits again."
"He's only doing what comes naturally."
"Aye. Red in tooth and claw." He hammers on the kitchen window. "Well, that's what comes natural to me!"
I wheel him out of the bakery.
"See you next week, flower."
"Flower! No one says flower any more."
"I do, lad. And your Ma always did."
"You never wanted her to call you petal though."
We both chorus, "Now listen, PETAL..." and laugh.
He's watching the racing. "Your Ma loved a little flutter every now and then, didn't she?"
I nod. "I never understood why she always wanted to back the outsider, though."
"Lucky for me she did, lad." He winks.
"I'll never understand it, lad."
hat? The meaning of life? The internal combustion engine? Why your glasses are never where you apparently left them?" I smirk.
"No, I'll never understand why your Uncle Gordon's so stuck up. Can't get why he'saTori."
"Get out of the car!" I shout.
"Relax, lad. I'm not going to drive. I just needed the headlights to find something I dropped earlier."
I sigh. "What's so important?"
He holds up something gold and shiny. "My last chocolate eclair toffee."
He goes indoors.
He's sorting through the linen basket on the kitchen table.
"What are you doing with that? Everything's been through the wash already."
"Aye lad, and thanks to someone leaving a pair of scarlet drawers in the whites," he holds up a pink shirt, "it's come out all reddy!"
"You look smart, lad. Where are you off to?"
"It's Sara's book launch. Her debut into the book world."
He huffs. "What's wrong with 'first'? Fancy French words."
I don't answer. There's no point.
"Are you going for dinner after? Nice restaurant?"
It's 80s hour on the radio. I'm singing. "Fame! I wanna live for ever."
"I don't. Have you got a better song?"
"OK Google, play Joe Dolce."
"One hit wonder. Shaddapa Your Face!"
He slams the door.
"This kitchen stinks! What are you cooking?"
"Don't be obstropolous. It's good for you."
"Not when you boil the life out of it. And that's the 2nd time this month, you've called me that!"
"It's not the 2nd time this month you've been it!"
"I thought I'd bake us a cake, lad."
I'm worried. "Not one of your Victoria sponges?"
"Nothing so cheap. I thought I'd bake..."
He splutters...."Madeira cake."
"Not funny! So not funny."
I leave the room. And laugh.
"Are you awake, lad?"
"I knew a twin room was a mistake. Next time we go away, you're having your own room."
"Sorry, lad. Go back to sleep."
I put the light on.
"That's a bit bright, lad. I'm trying to sleep."
"You could never be accused of being agelast."
"Where d'you get that word from?"
"Wasn't that where you got your favourite insult from?"
"Aye, that's it." He pauses, winks. "That reminds me, you need to add loo roll to the shopping list."
I'm singing Jerry Lee Lewis. "You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain."
"You want to get looser trousers, lad."
"They'll help with that."
I carry on singing. "Goodness gracious, Great balls of fire!" I turn away. "You're not funny!"
He is, though.
"Look at this one, lad." He's going through the photo album. "That's when you collected a prize one year. What was it for?"
"Your Ma was so proud."
"You never get to the end of the album. Finifugal, that's you."
"I know how it ends." He sniffs. "Latin, indeed!"
"I'm sure there were more egg custard tarts left." I hold up the box.
"Were there, lad?"
I know he's guilty.
"It's like they're barmecide," I say.
"Nothing barmy about it." He pops a whole tart into his mouth and attempts a grin.
I get the dustpan and brush.
He's squinting at the newspaper.
"Why don't you put the lights on?" I flick the switch.
"Y'can turn that off, lad. It's not even dark out yet."
"Then sit in the garden and read your paper."
He doesn't move.
"Or sit there and go blind. Your choice." I slam the door.
"Hurry up, lad, the tide's coming in!"
"I'm pushing as hard as I can," I gasp.
"Whose idea was it to come down onto the beach anyway?"
I don't answer.
"I'd've been happy enough sitting on the prom. Like me and your Ma used to."
"So would I. Now!"
He's putting a DVD into the old machine.
"Where did you get that from?"
"A bloke come to the door. Thought he was selling the Watchtower at first. This was your Ma's favourite. Colporteur's Night and Day."
The film starts.
"You were robbed. This one's in French."
"What are you doing with that thermostat, lad?"
"Turning it up. It's freezing."
"No rhyme nor reason to have the heating on before November."
"There's rime on the windows. There's your reason." I'm pleased with myself.
He's not. He turns the thermostat back down.
"I told you to go before we left."
"You shouldn't have had that last drink."
"Your Uncle Gordon had my favourite stout."
"You can always say no."
"And YOU can just help me out of this car and behind those trees before there's an accident!"
"What was that book you studied in school, lad? The Chiliad?"
"I've told you a thousand times it wasn't that. Homer's spinning in his grave again."
"Aye, well, if it'd been set in Iceland, that would've worked."
"And a thousand times you've made that 'joke'!"
"Remember how livid your Ma was when she went round Uncle Gordon's and found her whole Jackie Collins collection?"
"I do. There is such a thing as being a biblioklept, you know."
He parrots my tone. "There is such a thing as being a cheeky rotten tea-leaf, you know."
"This was a lucky snap, wasn't it, lad?" It's Prince, racing down the garden. "I was snapping me roses, when that old dog jumped to his feet and ran inside. Your Ma was frying sausages."
"It's called macrosmatic."
"It's called knowing which side your bread's buttered!"
He's looking through old photos. "Ah, here's old Prince. He was a proper old groke, he was."
"Ugh, more like gross. Drooling everywhere."
"Aye, lad, but your Ma loved him. Daft old thing."
"That's no way to talk about Ma."
Then we smile.
"This bloody computer!"
"Finishing that report?"
"No, I've missed something off the shop."
"Oh well, can't be that important, lad."
"It's your stout."
"How about turning it off and on again?" He's worried.
"Soon, I'm just going to defenestrate something or someone!"
"Come here, lad, your tie's all cockeyed." He reaches up and frowns. A laugh. "It ain't easy to do this widdershins. I'm going to need a minute."
Looking down at him, I realise that the last time we stood like this, he was a giant.
He still is.
The raindrops are huge now.
"Hold on, I've got a brolly somewhere."
"No need to furtle in your bag of tricks, lad. I've got one." He pulls out Ma's old pink confection. "No need to look like that. If it were good enough for your Ma, it's good enough for me."
"That was your Uncle Gordon on the phone, telling me how he's 'wabbit'." He huffs. "One wet weekend on Loch Lomond and he's suddenly a native speaker!"
"You were uncommonly nice to him."
"Aye, well, lad, he's apparently got me a bottle of single malt." He winks.
"Turn it down!"
"Turn the music down!"
"I said turn - the - MUSIC - down!"
"I can't hear you, lad. I'm listening to me music."
I groan and retreat to the kitchen. Presley's Hound Dog makes the windows rattle.
"Are you ever going to throw away that old dressing gown?"
"Plenty of life left in it yet. I've not had it long."
I avoid looking at the threadbare elbows. "Ma bought it for you when I was still in Juniors."
"Aye, and I've worn it every day since."
"You're bleeding all over the place."
"Hold this on it to stem the flow." I hand him a wadge of kitchen roll. "What were you doing with that knife, anyway?"
"I'm old, lad, not incapable."
"I'm talking about your clumsiness not your age!"
"Want a drink?"
"Yes, cup of tea?"
"Yes, a whisky, maybe?"
"Yes. What are you, my echo all of a sudden?"
"Echo, lad?" He winks.
I leave the room.
He calls after me. "Large one, please!"
I don't answer.
"Are you going to speak to me at all today?"
I look up. "I've got to get this presentation finished for tomorrow."
"Oh right. Aye. Sorry, lad." He goes back to his newspaper. "Look at this, lad."
I sigh and close the laptop.
He's in the kitchen. "I'm having me a piece of toast, lad. I'm famished."
"That's because your breakfast was so jentacular."
"Oh no, lad, it were just a bit of porridge. Nothing special."
"No, not spect... Oh, never mind."
He crunches his toast.
He's watching the news. "She's a strong woman, isn't she, lad? Not many like her."
"That's her name, isn't it, the Scottish leader?"
I don't respond. I've got tea coming down my nose.
I slam the door.
"'No need to be obstropolous, son', that's what your Ma'd say."
"The word is obstreperous."
"I'm sure she'd got it right. You'm in a strop all right."
"She didn't get everything right you know."
"Aye, I know, otherwise she'd be here now."
"You know how our Janine's boy gets obsessed by things?"
"What's the latest?"
"Rollercoasters. Can't get enough of them, she says. They spent their holiday going round one theme park after another."
"So, they had a multifarious holiday, you might say."
"No, YOU might!"
"What are you doing with those big boots on, lad?"
"I'm going up to look at that archaeological dig where they're supposed to be building the by-pass. Fancy it?"
"I do not! It's freezing out and if I want to see ancient remains, I can look in the mirror."
He's at the window, looking out onto the garden.
I join him. "Look at that fractal snowflake in the corner of the window."
"There's a fractal load of them, lad, and they're killing all my fractal plants!"
"Your cousin Janine has sent me a postcard from her holidays."
"Who sends postcards these days?"
"People who aren't glued to screens all day."
I look up from my phone.
"Anyway, the hotel's got one of those finity pools."
"So, just a pool, then?"
I adjust my tie. "I don't know why I'm bothering. I'm not going to get the job, anyway."
"Don't be so negative, lad."
I look at him and he knows what I'm thinking.
"Yes, it's rich coming from me. But sometimes I wish you were a bit less me and a bit more your Ma."
"I'll hold the end of the tape, lad. You measure it out."
"What're we doing this for?"
"Need more trellis."
"Can't do metric! What is it in old money."
"15 feet. Passion flower don't normally grow this much, surely?"
"Your Ma planted this one."
"Do you know what should make a comeback, lad? Purple hair."
He's finally lost it.
"I did used to like it when your Ma would go for her shampoo and set and come back with purple hair."
"Didn't stop you taking the Mick."
"She knew I was kidding. She always did."