by Jon Hepworth
It all started when mother decided to invite the Williams, who had just moved into number four, to tea. Dad decided that, as the Williams were coming he would invite Diedre as well. Dad rather liked Diedre and was partial to a bit of flirting with her when no one was looking. Mother frowned when she heard that Diedre had been invited but said “Oh well – I suppose that she can come – after all she has had to live all on her own since her George died.”
Young Sam announced “As Diedre is coming I’m going to ask Lizzie!” The response was a firm no, followed by a stinging blow just behind the ear from mother for being cheeky.
Lizzie was really the cause of all the trouble. Sam, at fourteen years old, had fallen in love with Lizzie as had most of the boys in his class. The big question was – who was going to take Lizzie to the school Disco at the end of term?
Lizzie, who was a bright girl, soon realized that she had leverage. She would drape herself around the back of the chair by her desk and cast what she hoped were sultry glances at the boys. At thirteen years old precociousness was overriding self-consciousness. She decided that she rather liked a bracelet that she had seen in the Argos catalogue and hinted that whoever bought the bracelet for her could take her to the disco.
On the day that Sam heard this he rushed home after school as he knew his mother had a catalogue. He was dismayed to find that the bracelet would cost twenty pounds. There were only so many times that he could wash his father’s car. His pocket money was one pound per week and he worked out that if he did not buy any cigarettes that would still take him twenty weeks to save and the disco was in four weeks’ time. The tea party inadvertently provided the answer.
Mother put the antimacassars on the backs of the armchairs in the front room, so everyone knew it was to be an occasion. Sam would be allowed to come in and say hello briefly.
Diedre arrived ten minutes early and mother still had things to do – so Dad entertained their guest. The Williams arrived punctually and noticed Dad looking rather flushed.
Introductions were made and it soon became apparent that George and Jean Williams were rather nice.
Sam, as instructed, reluctantly came in as cake was being offered around. In with Sam came Whisky, the family dog, of mixed breeding with an inclination towards a Spaniel influence.
Whisky made straight for Diedre and buried his nose in her tartan skirt.
“Oh!” cried Diedre, startled by this unexpected familiarity and she spilt her tea. She felt the warm liquid spreading along her thigh. Whisky, pleased with this reaction, wagged his tail feverishly and put his front paws on Diedre’s knee. The paws slipped and tore a long ladder in Diedre’s stocking.
“Oh!” cried Diedre again. She forgot about the plate that she was holding, so the cake was thrown over the floor and nice George.
Dad was furious, envious at the intimacy that the dog had managed to achieve with Diedre and angry that her skirt had been spoilt. Mother was upset that Dad was looking at Diedre’s laddered stocking with rather too much interest.
“Damn dog!” shouted Dad, “I’ll kill him – I’ll kill him – wretched animal – useless creature – deserves a damn good thrashing. Sam – you shouldn’t have allowed him in here. Take him out of here – Get rid of him!”
Sam did not move.
“Now!” bellowed Dad.
The Williams said that they rather liked the dog and asked Dad not to be too hard on Whisky. Sam pulled the dog away and dragged him into the kitchen.
The next day mother noticed that Sam seemed very happy and Whisky appeared to be missing. Lizzie had a nice new Argos bracelet that adorned her wrist and she announced that Sam was taking her to the disco.
Sam had taken his dad’s words literally and got rid of the dog in a deal that earnt him twenty pounds.
Two days later the Williams, who were very pleased with their purchase, were seen walking a dog that looked suspiciously like Whisky.
Sam was in a lot of trouble.
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