Lisa Reiter’s latest memoire flash fiction challenge (http://sharingthestoryblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/bite-size-memoir-no-2-jinks-and-japes/) asks about Jinks and Japes. As a child I was rather shy and serious and tended to see the danger in challenging authority before I undertook a Jink or a Jape. And the idea of pulling the tail on the Archaeologist appalled me; his retribution would be swift and without mercy. So things happened to me, as the easy and willing butt of others’ humour. That might seem a touch self pitying; it is not meant to be. I’m grateful because I’m sure it made me very aware of others’ feelings and gave me a determination to understand how others tick – sure, it came out of a defensive measure as a youngster, but I know it has stood me in good stead as an adult in both my working life and at home.
So Lisa’s prompt (actually hers would be better described as ‘a tempt’) had me thinking about those times and how, so many times, the Archaeologist used me as his tool and stooge. I was happy to oblige as it meant that he had actually acknowledged my presence as something (note: not someone) vaguely useful to him. This little piece reflects back on those happy days when his approval counted for more than anything else.
Jinks and Japes – Geoff Le Pard (UK) now 57
I’ve killed my nana. He made me. She’s going to die. He says they aren’t real spiders and, anyway, they were dead so it doesn’t count. He says it was a joke but I know she was meant to see them in her tea. Nana hates spiders; she always screams when she sees one. Mum does her tutting thing and goes down the garden. She goes down the garden a lot when Nana comes to stay.
Nana just swallowed them whole and had a garibaldi biscuit after. Garibaldi’s have squashed flies in them; Mum says. That’s how I know Nana’ll die. It’s in the song Uncle sings me.
‘There was an old lady who swallowed a spider that wriggled and tiggled and squiggled inside her. She swallowed the spider to catch the fly. I don’t know why she swallowed the fly; perhaps she’ll die.’
PS. History should note that my relationship with the Archaeologist is now far healthier. Indeed I’m dead proud of his many and varied passions and eccentricities. If you want THE work on Dorset and its coast then check out his books: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gordon-Le-Pard/e/B003XSWQ1M. See I’m still doing his dirty work…