Copyright C.J. Lindsay 2020
Eddie was bored. He decided that it would be fun to make his sister squeal. He reached across his brothers lap and thumped her.
"Muuum make him stop" Brenda cried.
"Its your fault that they're like this you know" said her father.
"My fault" said her mother "what about you?".
"I'm at work all day, you're the one who's unemployed you should be spending more time with them but no, you spend all your time doing Yoga or weaving baskets at that woman's centre".
"Muuuuuum, make him stop" Brenda cried.
"I hate the way you say that, you always say "that women's centre" like it's some kind of disease or something. Anyway, Mrs. Perry is perfectly capable of ..
"Muuuuuuuum. MAKE HIM STOP!" Brenda screamed.
"Oh yeah Mrs. Perry. You use my hard earned money to pay a complete stranger to look after our kids." said Brenda's father who then looked at her mother with a "beat that" expression on his face.
"You need petrol" she said.
"You need petrol" Brenda's mother insisted.
"Christ!" her father said through his teeth.
Eddie got bored again and stopped hitting Brenda. When they had stopped at the petrol station her father got out without looking at her mother.
"Mum, my arm hurts" Brenda moaned.
"My arm hurts"
"Here" she said, handing them a dollar each "Go and get yourself an ice cream, that'll make your arm feel better". The two children launched themselves out of the car and ran past their father towards the shop. Their mother changed the radio station and then realised that their was a child still left in the car.
"Oh! sorry Jeremy, do you want an ice cream too".
"No" he mumbled.
"Oh, don't sulk Jeremy we'll be there soon. Why don't you go out and play with your brother and sister".
Jeremy wasn't sulking. He didn't feel like going after his brother and sister. He was looking at the "NO SMOKING SWITCH OFF ENGINE" sign and was trying to imagine what would happen if the whole place blew up. He imagined fists of flame punching people through windows. He imagined the petrol pumps shooting into the sky with his father still holding onto the hose. Just then a man rode into the petrol station on a motor cycle. While the man went into the shop Jeremy watched him and wondered which prison the man had escaped from and how many people he had killed. Jeremy imagined himself saving his whole family when the biker tried to hold up the station.
"Jeremy!" his father said through the window. "I have to go and find the others, can you watch the machine and stop it when it gets to fifty dollars?".
Jeremy nodded and got out of the car. He stood at the pump and looked through the car windows at the counter inside the shop. He couldn't see the biker, and the man behind the counter was missing. "He's probably unconscious in the cool room out the back" Jeremy decided. "yuk!" he yelled when the petrol tank overflowed and showered his feet with petrol.
"What have you done now?" his mother said as she got out of the car. Before he could make up a story his father was standing over him screaming "eighty eight dollars!, eighty eight dollars! I told you to stop at fifty, what the hell were you thinking of? huh? answer me! Christ!" His father got back into the car and honked the horn impatiently while his wife tried to clean up her son and get him back into the car. "Muuuum, Jeremy smells like petrol"
"You shouldn't have yelled at him like that, he'll wet the bed again" said Jeremy's mother.
"The boy has got to learn. He's got to wake up to himself' said his father. "Muuum, Jeremy smells like petrol...
Jeremy hated being talked about as though he wasn't there so he ignored his family and pretended that his father was racing with the other cars other road. When they reached the picnic site his mother held three towels in the air and said "go and have a swim while we get lunch ready". Eddie grabbed a towel and began to whip his sister with it as she ran towards the water. When Jeremy collected his towel his mother said "Watch your brother and sister okay".
Jeremy didn't feel like a swim so he walked out onto the pier and watched the people fishing. He walked up and down the pier looking in the buckets of fish to see if any of them had teeth. finally, in desperation he approached one of the men and asked "are there any piranhas in your bucket?".
The man smiled and shook his head. He knelt down and reached into his bucket and said "No but this one is a Flathead, and this is a ... "
"Thanks anyway" Jeremy said and turned to walk back down the pier. When he reached the beach he saw his brother and parents talking with the lifeguard who was pointing to the rubber boat which was out on the water. Brenda was nowhere in sight. Jeremy knew that he was in trouble again, but while his father turned his back and stared out to sea his mother held onto him tighter than she ever had before.