Ever since her teenage son had come home from school, raided the fridge, and had a fry-up, Stacey had labelled everything in the refrigerator. She wasn’t going to be stuck at home for a weekend again with no cat food. Ryan had cooked it and declared later that it was quite delicious. Stacey had threatened to throw him a bone intended for the dog if he ever did it again. That explains why everything in her fridge was named and dated.
Stacey had been a solo Mum all these years. Husband Robert had gone for a bike ride, hit a car, and never came home.
Ryan in his teenage years enjoyed relabelling everything in the refrigerator. Butter was cat food; cheese was dog food; leftover couscous was canary food. Even tapioca pudding was frog’s eggs, and a raisin dessert was fly-cemetery.
Then Stacey met Nick. He didn’t have a sense of humour. It is amazing how one person can change everything.
It certainly produces ennui when stuck inside on a rainy day. In fact, Syd had stayed in bed with the curtains drawn. The only thing that would happen if he got up would be to have breakfast before discovering that there was “nothing to do”. He wasn’t allowed much time on his phone, he wasn’t allowed much time watching videos, he wasn’t allowed much time on his computer, he wasn’t allowed much time doing sweet nothing. And now his parents were telling him to “go look for a summer job during the holiday time.” His parents sucked. The world sucked. It was hosing down outside. He might as well stay in bed. So he did.
When his father came home around one in the afternoon he went into Syd’s room and said “Get out of bed you lazy sod and do something useful.” Syd saw red and leapt out of bed and he and his father had a shouting match. Syd threw on some clothes and stormed out of the house.
What Syd’s father then said to Syd’s mother shouldn’t necessarily appear here unedited. But he swore that their next two sons would have their teenage years circumvented and they’d go from age eleven to twenty-two in one go. It’s a wonder the falling rain outside didn’t steam and hiss and evaporate once it hit the roof of the Maddock household. Syd’s father mowed the lawn in the rain he was so fed up to the back teeth. Then he tidied the garage. Then he fixed the broken cupboard door handle in the kitchen.
When dinner time came Syd came home and everything was normal.
Rex was by nature a little withdrawn. He didn’t exude social confidence. I suppose it was natural for some boys of fifteen. Anyway…
He was on a boys’ camp. Everyone was sitting around the camp fire and telling jokes. It was really funny.
Harry told this really funny joke about a rhinoceros. Everyone shrieked with laughter. And Rex said, “If pigs oink and geese honk, what do mouses do?”
No one listened to him and Nigel told this really funny joke about a pet gnu. Everyone shrieked with laughter even though some didn’t have a clue what a gnu was. And Rex said, “If pigs oink and geese honk, what do mouses do?”
No one listened to him and Alistair told this really funny joke about this stallion with a big donger. Everyone shrieked with laughter. And Rex said, “If pigs oink and geese honk, what do mouses do?”
No one listened to him and Dennis started to tell this really funny joke and Rex got up and went back to his tent and listened to some music.
The teacher of a class of fourteen year old boys at a prestigious school was a bit of a scallywag. The English examination comprehension question contained the following sentence from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:
Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the marriage of her nephew; and as she gave way to all the genuine frankness of her character in her reply to the letter which announced its arrangement, she sent him language so very abusive, especially of Elizabeth, that for some time all intercourse was at an end.
Stuart came home from high school absolutely famished. His mother wasn’t home, but he could fend for himself.
There were no leftovers in the fridge so he cut himself two fat slices of bread and threw them in the toaster. In the pantry there were a couple of cans of tuna, so he opened them, profusely buttered the toast, and enjoyed two bits of toast heaped with scrumptious tuna.
Of course, that only lasted a few hours, while he did his homework. His mother came home and prepared dinner.
“What’s for dinner, Mum?” asked Stuart as always.
So now, while dinner was being prepared the family lay on the carpet in the lounge, except for Dad who sat in an armchair, and watched television.
Mum appeared from the kitchen.
“Has anyone seen the cat food? There were a couple of tins in the pantry.”
Grace had three teenage sons. They ate any and everything. What a relief it was when she made chicken pasta. Just a bit of chicken and piles and piles of pasta. All in a white sauce. The whole thing was then baked until golden brown on the top.
“I’m full as a bull,” said Logan at the end of the meal. The other two agreed.
“Thanks, Mum,” they said. “I’m stuffed. Couldn’t eat another thing.”
It was always pleasing to Grace when she had so filled them with food that they were no longer hungry. She sat down to watch a bit of television. Just for an hour. At the end of it, she heard a rustling in the kitchen. The three teenage sons were there.
Ridgwell was Brendan’s friend from high school days. Both youths were sour and anti-everything, especially when it came to parents. They were becoming impossible, stroppy, rude, belligerent.
It was the summer vacation. Brendan’s mother said to Brendan, “Why don’t you take my car, and you and Ridgwell go on a trip? Just be responsible.” Brendan’s mother’s car was old. It was a 2001 Pontiac Montana. It was inclined to overheat, and the temperature gauge didn’t work, so it had to be driven via the nose. The driver had to smell the way along the road, sniffing for hints of overheating.
Oh! The excitement! Oh! The planning! They couldn’t decide where to go. In the end, they settled on just the one summer vacation rule: IF THERE’S A CLOUD IN THE SKY, WE DRIVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.
Off they went! What fun!
And indeed it was. Not a hint of rain; just the occasional cloud in the two weeks away that necessitated a change of direction. They laughed their way through miles and miles in the two weeks. They slept in a tent. They cooked on a fire. They got a puncture; just the one. They went through quaint villages and down desolate country roads. They acted responsibly. They came home.
What chatter-boxes they were! They couldn’t stop talking to their parents about the trip. They never looked back. Brendan’s mother thought, “I guess, if there’s a cloud, you change direction.”