Monday, 21 May 2012

Proud Dad

Here is an excerpt from a new story, Proud Dad, volume 1 of a new series Pesky Parents and Ridiculous Relatives. It is only available online. Hope you like it.



            “Well done, Oliver.”
            “No that’s really very good. You did that superbly.”
            “What? Nobody could do it better.”
            “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad! It was opening a door.”
            That’s the trouble with my dad. He is way too proud. I mean, you want your dad to be proud of you. Really you do. But not too proud. Not so proud that everything you do is fantastic. Especially when it’s just opening a door.
            “Come on, Oliver.”
            “OK, Dad.”
            I close the door behind me.
            “Well remembered, Oliver.”
            “You closed the door. Without slamming it either.  Lots of boys would have left that door open and then thieves and burglars might have got in and stolen everything from our house.”
            “Er, Dad…”
            “No, Oliver. You have saved our house. Yet again I am very proud of you.”
            You see how it is. He’s proud of everything I do.


            But it’s one thing when your dad is proud of you when nobody else is around to see.
            In front of your teacher it’s terrible.
            We get to school.
            “Hello Mrs Murphy,” I say.
            “Hello, Oliver. Go and sit…”
            “Excuse me, Mrs Murphy,” says my Dad. “I was just wondering if we could have a chat about Oliver.”
            “What did you think of his last story?”
            “Well…” begins Mrs Murphy but she doesn’t get any further.
            “I’m sure you’d agree it was excellent,” says my Dad. “Very advanced for someone of Oliver’s age. I think he could probably be a famous writer when he grows up.”
            “Hmm,” says Mrs Murphy.
            “What about his science project?”
            “There are a number of things to…”
            “Really superb wasn’t it?  I think he’ll have his work cut out deciding whether to be a famous writer or a famous scientist. Thought of the idea all by himself and then finished it in only two weeks.”
            “It was supposed to be finished in one,” Mrs Murphy tells him.
            “Yes, but that’s where Oliver is so clever,” explains my Dad. “He knew that you hadn’t given him enough time to do the project properly so he changed the time he had to make it more realistic.”
            Mrs Murphy starts going red.
            “I really wouldn’t advise changing deadlines…”
            My dad looks at his watch.
            “Sorry, Mrs Murphy. I’m late for work. But it’s been wonderful to hear how well Oliver’s doing. Goodbye.”
            And he’s off.
            It’s so embarrassing!    

            But there’s one thing that’s a million billion times worse than when my dad is proud of me in front of my teacher. That’s when he’s proud of  me in front of my friends.
            It’s after school and we’re in the park. I’m playing football with my friends for the local team, Barca Juniors. My dad’s watching.
            I pass the ball to Josh. It’s an easy pass.
            “Great pass, Oliver!”
            Josh kicks the ball to Dan and gives me a strange look.
            “Dad!” I think.
            The ball comes back to me. This time I look up and take a shot.
            “Wonderful shot, Oliver!”
            The ball goes well wide of the goal.  Josh and Dan both give me strange looks.
            The next time the ball comes to me I go to pass it but I mis-kick it and it flies out of play.
            My Dad starts applauding on the touchline.
            “Fantastic play!”
            The whole team are looking strangely at me now.
            I can hear my Dad shouting to Josh and Daniel’s dads.
            “Did you see that? Really good football.”
            Josh and Daniel’s dad look puzzled.
            “He put the ball safely into touch. If in doubt, kick it out!”
            It’s terrible. My Dad thinks everything I do is fantastic. I spend the rest of the game trying to avoid the ball so he can’t be proud of me.
            In the changing rooms after the game, Dan and Josh come up to me.
            “What’s with your Dad?” Josh says.
            I look down. I don’t want to say anything against my Dad even to my friends.
            “It’s OK,” Dan tells me. “My dad was like it last year. I know what you’ve got to do.”
            I can’t stop myself asking.
            “What have I got to do?”
            Youve just got to be rubbish at everything for a while, he explains. Really rubbish. Then he cant be proud of you.
            Im not sure.
            Trust me, Daniel says. You have GOT to do it. It seems cruel but in the end its for his own good.


            The next day I decide I’m going to give it a Daniel’s idea a try. So when we’re leaving the house I forget to close the door. Just as he’s getting into the car my Dad notices.
            “Oliver. You didn’t close the door!”
            “No, Dad,” I tell him. “I for…”
            “Of course,” he interrupts. “You remembered that your mum is going to go into work late today and so you don’t need to close the door. Instead you thought it would be better to let in some fresh air. Smart thinking!”
            I pretended to forget to close the door but I really did forget that my mum didn’t have to go out to work today. So I’ve given my Dad another chance to be proud of me.
            We get to school. My dad takes me into the classroom. Mrs Murphy is standing in the doorway waiting.
            “Bet you’re glad to see your favourite pupil,” says my Dad.
            Mrs Murphy smiles nicely.
            “I’m always happy to see…”
            I interrupt Mrs Murphy. Which you are never ever supposed to do.
            “I forgot my reading book,” I tell her. You’re supposed to bring your reading book every day. 
            “Oliver!” she says in a shocked voice. “You know you are never ever supposed to interrupt me.”
            My dad doesn’t wait for a second.
            “Of course Oliver knows that,” he tells her. “But it’s just that he’s such an honest boy. He wanted to tell you that he’s forgotten his reading book straight away rather than hide and hope he could get away with it. I’m really proud of him. Well, done Oliver!”
            “I forgot my numeracy book too,” I tell Mrs Murphy.
            “More honesty,” says my dad proudly.
            “And my PE kit,” I add.
            “Mrs Murphy,” says my Dad with a beaming smile. “I think that Oliver might be the most honest boy in the whole world. How many other boys would say that they had forgotten their reading book and their numeracy tables and their PE kit?”
            “Not many,” admitted Mrs Murphy. “But that would probably be because they hadn’t…”
            “Exactly,” said my Dad. “Not many! Oliver is one of a kind! He really is special! Now I must get off to work or I’ll be late again.”
            My dad ruffles my hair to say good bye and then heads back to the car to drive to work.
            I look at Mrs Murphy. She’s looking after my Dad and shaking her head.

            “It’s not working!” I tell Josh and Dan in the park after school.
            “What did you do?” they ask.
            “Loads of things!” I tell them. “I didn’t close the door to the house and then interrupted Mrs Murphy and then I forgot to bring everything I needed for school.”
            “And?” says Josh.
            “My dad was still proud of me. I think he might be even prouder now.”
            We all shake our heads. This is not good.
            “I think you’re going to have to be worse,” said Daniel finally. “Only by being Super Mega Rubbish can you stop your Dad being proud of you.”
            “So what’s Super Mega Rubbish enough?” I ask.
            “Could you lose your sister?” suggests Josh.
            “Dude,” says Daniel. “That’s Extra Super Mega Rubbish.”
            “Too much?”
            Daniel nods.
            “We’ve got to get to super mega rubbish without going over the top and being extra super mega rubbish.”
            There’s a narrow line between the two. Forgetting your homework is rubbish whereas burning down your house is Extra Super Mega Rubbish. We’ve got to find something that’s exactly in between.
            “How about losing next door’s dog?” says Josh.
            “Perfect!” says Dan.
            “No,” I say. “I couldn’t lose next door’s dog. Mrs Baskerville lives for her dog.”
            “You wouldn’t really lose it,” Josh says.
            “No,” agrees Dan. “We’d look after it just until your dad had stopped being proud of you and then we’d bring it back.”
            I’m not sure.
            “I’m so proud of you, Oliver,” says Dan.
            “We’re both really proud of you,” says Josh.
            “Extra Super Mega Proud of you.”
            And they start laughing.
            Josh is right. I’m going to have to do it for my Dad’s own good.

If you would like to know what happens next then follow this link... Proud Dad.

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