Tag Archives: children

2398. Wool over their eyes

Henri and Minerva were eight and nine respectively. Henri had a brilliant idea.

‘You know how those couple of wild ducks in the paddock don’t care about sheep? They waddle around the sheep without a care in the world. Whereas the minute we appear they fly off. So what if we pretended to be sheep? We could catch the ducks.”

Henri and Minerva put on large raincoats, even though it was a sunny day. They began crawling towards the ducks on all fours.

“Baa!” said Minerva.

“Baa!” answered Henri. They were certainly realistic sheep.

When they got within roughly a hundred yards from the ducks, the ducks flew off.

The experiment didn’t work.

“I have no idea,” said Minerva, “why the ducks still knew we were humans.”

Dear Reader – let me interrupt. As the narrator, interrupting a story is something I rarely do, but in this case an exception has to be made. As a hobby-scientist I feel duty bound to point out a fact: the ducks flew off not because they thought Henri and Minerva were humans. They flew off because they thought Henri and Minerva were ducks, and ducks don’t go “Baa!”

2395. Excuses excuses

Angus was a sales representative for a large chemical firm. He was constantly getting invited to attend this and that in the weekends by clients. “Come to dinner!” “We’re having a barbeque.” “Just a light Saturday luncheon with co-workers from the factory.”

Angus’ weekends were never his own. He had two children; a boy and a girl. He started by saying he could not attend because it was Algernon’s birthday or Gwendoline’s birthday. After several months of this he realized that that he had used seven or eight birthday dates for each child. What if the client repeated the invitation several months later? And which child’s birthday had he used for that client?  He could hardly have each child born twice!

There was only one thing for it; Angus began to keep a notebook. It worked perfectly.

These days he has six grandchildren. There’s no need for names. There’s no need for notebooks. It’s simply, “I can’t come sorry. It’s a grandchild’s birthday.”

2350. Family secrets

Even though Stacy had been told all her life that she was adopted she suspected in fact that her mother was her real mother and her father was her real father. Stacy was number six in a family of six children. In fact, four of her brothers and sisters were her full brothers and sisters, and even though she was ten years younger than they were there was nothing unusual in that. One of her brothers, the fifth sibling, had the same mother but the father was different; “Swedish” the DNA tests were to reveal.

To prove her point, Stacy had had secret DNA tests done of the family and the results proved her point: her mother was her real mother and her father was her real father. So why the adoption story?

Just as Stacy was about to confront her parents to learn the truth they were both killed in a traffic accident. Perhaps one of her brothers and sisters might know the story. Her oldest sister might know; mothers often divulged family secrets to daughters. But Yolanda, the oldest sister, knew nothing. Perhaps the Portuguese family living next door might know something; they had been great friends of the family. Possibly Stacy’s mother had divulged something, woman to woman, over a nice cup of tea. Nothing. Jorginho, the Portuguese husband, said that even if he knew something he was staying out of other families’ personal affairs. He didn’t know anything of course.

That was when Stacy’s “half Swedish” brother, Björn, stepped forward with an explanation. Their mother had had a torrid affair with a passing Swedish tennis player. The marriage broke up. The parents got divorced. Several years later the parents reconciled and Stacy was born “out of wedlock”.  After the re-marriage Stacy was formally adopted by her father.

All this doesn’t help to explain what the DNA tests missed: that all the brothers and sisters except for Stacy and Björn, were half Portuguese.

2133. To do away with parents

When Philby murdered his parents it had a profound effect on his siblings.

Gadsby, the oldest brother, put it in plainest terms on behalf of the others: “It’s not that you did it, it’s the way you did it.”

To have got into the family van and rammed into a power pole with just his parents between the van and the pole seemed accidental enough. But accidental it wasn’t.

“We know it wasn’t accidental,” said Shelby, the oldest sister. “It’s too much a coincidence to be accidental.”

“I’ve a good mind to report this planned murder to the police,” said Hannahby, the next sister down. “It was callous and thoughtless.”

“You can’t tell me we’re not pleased,” said Alanby, the youngest sibling. “We’re all victims of their abuse one way or another. Just the other day I was threatened with punishment for not tidying my room. But it’s how you did it. Shocking.”

“Disgusting is more the word,” said Gadsby. “Next time, and of course there can’t be a next time, just make sure you warn us first so we can all get into the van.”

2113. Mother Goose

Hello kiddies. If you would like to sit in a circle on the floor six feet apart and pretend to hold hands. Let’s sing some nursery rhymes behind our masks.

1.	Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater,
Had a wife but couldn't keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell
Because he was white and she was black.

2.	Baa, baa black sheep
Have you any wool?

Children! Children! We don’t sing this anymore. It’s John Doe stealing black wool.

3.	Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
On a cold and frosty morning.

It’s alright kiddies. Don’t cry. It was a black frost.

4.	Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the 


Stop! Stop! – What colour is the object we’re singing about?
Don’t say it! We don’t use that horrible word!

5.	Hickory Dickory Dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one.

Isn’t that typical?  I bet the one struck was black.

6.	Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men,
Put him back together because he was a brown egg.


7.	Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill said, you got your due you f**king racist.

Well done, children. Now it’s time to go home to the caregivers I have allotted you. They won’t brainwash you like your parents.

2046. A typical life

As if expecting her third baby wasn’t difficult enough. It was made a thousand times more difficult now that Clifford has run off with his secretary. The two boys were under the age of five, and there was still four months to go before the arrival of the third boy. Clifford had wanted a girl. It was Lynette’s fault – the third male.  It didn’t cause the dissipation of her marriage but it certainly hastened it. And now Clifford was refusing to pay for anything until “matters were cleared up”.

Thank goodness Lynette’s mother lived just around the corner. At least someone was “there” – although she drank heavily and couldn’t be trusted after seven in an evening. Still, she could help with the two boys for an hour or two in the mornings while Lynette went off to her part-time motel-cleaning job. At least it meant that there were a few pennies coming in.

And then Lynette’s mother died suddenly. Who was going to pay for the funeral? Lynette was a relative. It was her responsibility. Would the motel owner mind if she brought her two little boys along while she cleaned? The motel owner had enough on her mind without having to worry about other people’s toddlers. The answer was no.

Lynette was at the end of her tether. She walked the street with her two boys in search of some “help for the helpless”. It was not something until recently that she had ever given half a thought to. She couldn’t find the place. She stopped and asked a gentleman in the street if he knew of anywhere.

“Excuse me,” said Lynette as politely as she could muster. They got talking. That is why today Lynette is now Lady Lynette Snodgrass-Grbin, married to billionaire Lord Hector Snodgrass-Grbin, and they have five boys counting Lynette’s three, who run around the manor grounds playing hide-and-seek when they’re not at their excellent school.

Clifford recently contacted Lynette and said he was destitute. The secretary had fled. He had no job. Lynette sent him a thousand dollars and told him to stay out of her life permanently. She subsequently learned that he had taken “permanently” to mean more permanent than she had intended.

Oh! And did I forget to mention? Lady Lynette is now expecting her sixth. It’s a girl.

1978. Bedtime story

A change of tone… This is a fairy story to read to children at bedtime.

Once upon a time a man had three wives. The three wives were very jealous of one another. The first wife caught the second wife and put her through the mincer to make ground meat. She fed the ground meat to the third wife who died having the most terrible convulsions caused by the horrible meat.

The first wife was now the only wife left. When the husband found that she had brutally murdered the other two wives he cut her head off. Out popped a terrible venomous snake from her neck. The snake bit the husband and he died of snake poison.

Now there were four dead people. The snake escaped and has been seen only twice, each time under a bed.

I’ll turn the light out now. Sleep tight.

1898. The dead tree

I don’t know if you can see the photo of these two old trees. One’s dead, and the other is barely alive. My husband and I planted these trees years and years ago. He’s dead now – the husband. He planted the dead one. I planted the other one, the one that’s gnarled and barely alive. I’ll be eighty-seven this coming October.

There used to be a house roughly where the person taking the photo would be standing. That was our house. The first and only house we had. The two children were born there. It was our dream place; a lovely house, not too big and not too small, set on twelve acres of what could only be described as park land. We planted those two trees (and a number of others here and there) as part of the “landscaping” of our park. Our life was like a perpetual honeymoon.

Jude had built the house himself. And I helped of course, as best I could. I sewed drapes and did the painting and wall-papering and so on. Jude was the one with the saw and the hammer and the screw driver and the muscle. It was like a dream come true!

After the birth of the second child things fell apart. We’d been in the house for four years and we put it up for sale. No one ever bought it and Jude disappeared before any divorce proceedings began. I leased out most of the land to a neighbouring farmer and stayed in the house with the children. They’re gone now – the children. Tony’s a lawyer up in the big city, and Rachel manages a business that teachers adults how to do basic computer things.

My current house gets quite cold in winter, so I’ve asked Tony to come and cut down that dead tree for firewood. The one that’s barely alive has a few more years left in it. It might sound cruel but I’m looking forward to burning logs of Jude’s tree throughout the winter. It’s good he’s serving some purpose at this stage of my life. Apart from building the house he wasn’t much good for much when he was here. In fact he was useless. And mean; really mean. It’s why I did him in.

1895. Cruel names

Merry was called Merry because she was born on Christmas Day. Clearly her parents didn’t realize that the proper spelling of Mary had also some connection with Christmas. Merry spent her entire life, as a punishment for her parents’ lack of knowledge, saying, “No! That’s not how you spell it!”

Just over two years later, when her little brother was born, it was New Year’s Day, so he was named “Happy”. It was a providential name because when he grew up and began a career in looting he shot a couple of policemen and was known within close circles as “Trigger Happy”.

There was a third child in the family. He was called Roger; short for Roger Mortis. The parents thought it a huge joke because he was born on the very day that Grandma died. Spelling was not the parents’ greatest strength so “Rigor” was registered as “Roger”. Otherwise if he had been born on an ordinary day of the year they had in mind to call the baby Plain Jane if a girl, and Joe Blogs if a boy. And then Grandma stepped up to the plate. Roger had escaped from having a life lumbered with silliness.

Honestly, a number of people were relieved that the parents didn’t create further children. “I’m sure any uncreated children would be more than grateful that they never came into this world,” declared a neighbour, Ms. Stacey Meldrum. Stacey herself has a host of kids. I can only remember the names of three of them; Tabernacle, Vernacular, and Genuflection. After these three Stacey developed an interest in organic chemistry.