787. Tigers for punishment


It was a fairly sunny day. Bruce, retiree, thought he’d sit on his veranda and have lunch. No one had phoned. No visitors had called in. He was on his own, so why not make lunch special and sit on the veranda and enjoy the sunshine?

But who is this coming through the gate? Three young guys, gangly teenagers, probably from the local high school. But they weren’t dressed for school; they were wearing work clothes.

“Good afternoon, sir,” they said.

“Goodness! Is it afternoon already?” How Bruce hated being called Sir. It made him feel old. It made him feel overbearingly authoritative.

“We’ve been bad boys at school,” said one of the lads. “The principal’s sent us out to do an hour of community work. Have you got any jobs?”

“You can mow my lawns,” said Bruce. Their faces dropped. “Don’t worry. It’s a ride on.”

The three young guys had the time of their lives; out of the classroom, working in the sun, driving the lawn mower, wielding the weed-eater, rotary-hoeing the garden, water-blasting the mossy paths… They were there for three hours. They loved it.

“You’ve made our day, sir,” they said. “It’s better than school. Can we come back?”

Bruce had supplied them with cold drinks throughout the afternoon.

(And I might add, they ate all of my birthday cake too. Finished it off in no time.)

53 thoughts on “787. Tigers for punishment

  1. thecontentedcrafter

    Well now Sir, was it really your birthday, and did three naughty boys really turn up to do community work for the elderly and infirm? But most importantly do you really have a ride on mower? It was lovely here, but today it isn’t though I expect tomorrow or possibly this afternoon it will be lovely again.. Happy belated Birthday Sir, just in case part of this story is true ❤

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thanks, Pauline. My b’day is just beginning! There was/is no one to mow my lawn. And, no, I don’t have a ride on and these days mow the lawn between showers. Raining today, raining yesterday, raining the day before… Lit the fire two days ago! We always have French Onion Soup for my birthday – so the weather today is appropriate!

  2. arlingwoman

    HAPpy BIRTHday! HAPpy BIRTHday! Happy birthday! Happy Birthday! HAP-PY BIRTHDAY!! (sung to the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel’s Messiah). French onion soup! Lovely. I hope someone shows up with a pie if there’s to be no cake. Many happy returns!

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thanks Lisa. I think the only pie I will get is Pie in the Sky. But we shall set fire to some grapes sprinkled with cognac. That should take the place of birthday candles – if it doesn’t burn down the house!

  3. Keith Channing

    Happy birthday, Bruce. I could do with some kids like that, but my ride-on (a Snapper, as driven by F-forest Gu-ump) is hors de combat at present, waiting for me to get off my fat behind and fix it.

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Well Keith, as you know I write only fiction, so when it comes to lawn mowers I push the f***ing thing. And at present – in the antipodean spring – that’s three times a week for an hour and a half (between rain!) Oh – and thanks fir the b’day wishes!

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      “Detention” at my high school involved rolling the cricket wicket (that’s the area of field that cricket is played on!) with a huge roller because the person in charge of discipline was also the head cricket coach!

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thank you! Although as one gets older the more others forget ones birthday the happier the day! I can only conclude from your “Blistering Barnacles” that you are a Tintin fan!


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