Another hour, another semi-story! Spark word was travel, here is the resultant mess. Again, only written in an hour, so please forgive any mistakes, but enjoy!
“I’m bored,” said George, kicking the back of his mother’s seat. “I’m bored. I’m bored. I’m bored. I’m bored. I’m bored bored bored bored -“
“Ok George, keep your pants on,” said Liz, turning her attention again to the satnav. “It says left here,” she told her husband.
‘It isn’t,” he countered. “I checked the route before we left and we turn off at the next junction.”
“Well, the satnav says…”
‘The satnav’s wrong!” snapped Greg. He’d been driving for a little over three hours now, and was starting to feel the effects of the second cup of coffee he’d had before they’d left.
“Mummy, can we turn the radio back on?” asked Phoebe. The radio had been turned off during a particularly heated discussion over temporary traffic lights and whether or not they’d be better going round the back streets.
“In a minute, darling,” said Liz.
‘Why not now?” chipped in George. “It’s boring in the car. I’m bored, bored, bored, bored -“
“Because I said in a minute, darling – it really is left here, this is the turning.”
“It isn’t, I assure you,” said Greg, through gritted teeth.
“Ray-dee-oh,” chanted Phoebe. “Ray-dee-oh, ray-dee-oh…”
George joined in and the two children enjoyed a good 30 seconds of repeating the same word over and over, until their dad turned round furiously and bellowed at them for the love of God to shut up. They shut up.
It had been that turning. Shit.
They drove in silence.
At the motorway service station, and after a well-deserved trip to the bathroom, Greg was feeling more optimistic. Yes, they were now on a slightly different route, but as long as they carried on going south, that would be all right. Where was Dover? South. Where was he heading? South. All fine, he consoled himself. What’s a scenic route anyway? The ferry didn’t leave until the next day, and they had no rush to be in heir bed and breakfast. As long as he went in vaguely the right direction, he’d find it, eventually.
Liz came over to where he was sitting, holding Phoebe’s hand. Phoebe was clutching a bag of crispy M&Ms – the kind that no one else liked – and singly softly to herself.
“Have we got the next part of the journey worked out?” she asked, then stopped. “Where’s George?” she asked, her voice pitched higher than usual.
“He’s with you,” said Greg, then realised the idiocy of the statement, for George was not with Liz.
“Is he though?” shrilled Liz. “Look at me, Greg, how many children am I currently holding, eh? How many?”
“One,” said Phoebe helpfully. Greg shot her a murderous glance.
“That’s right Phoebe, I am holding one child. Tell me Greg, how many children do we have again?”
“Two!” squealed Phoebe, delighted to help her mother out yet again.
“Right again, Phoebe, we have two children, Greg. One, two. I take Phoebe to the toilet; that’s one child; you take George to the toilet; that’s two. How hard is that?”
“Well, he can’t have wandered far,” said Greg, beginning to panic a bit. “We’re on a motorway. It’s not like he’s got out onto the road…”
‘I’m not worried about him walking out onto the motorway!” screeched Liz. “I’m worried about him being taken by someone!”
“Why would someone take George?” asked Phoebe. “Do they want him for something?”
Liz was saved from answering by the tugging on her sleeve.
“Hello mummy,” said George. “Who wants to take me?”
“No one wants to take you,” said Liz.
“Mummy, why are you crying?” he asked.
“Because I’m happy,” explained Liz through her tears.
“That doesn’t make any sense mummy,” said Phoebe, confused.
“It’s something grown-ups do,” said George, with an air of great knowledge. “Daddy’s done it too.”
“Have I?” said Greg.
“Yes, daddy, don’t you remember, it was when you were on the phone that time to the credit card people -“
“Ok!” said Greg, making as much noise as he could. “Who wants to go and buy a doughnut?”
“Me!” said Phoebe and George.
“I don’t want a doughnut,” said Liz in a dangerous voice. ‘I want to hear about the time daddy cried because he was happy.”
Back in the car, George and Phoebe were tucking into their doughnuts. The radio was playing and the mood, in the back at least, had lightened. In the front of the car, the mood had considerably dipped.
“I said it was that turning,” said Liz, for about the fifteenth time.
“And I said I’m sorry,” said Greg, again, for about the fifteenth time.
“Good thing we can afford a trip to France, isn’t it,” said Liz.
Greg gripped the steering wheel.
“I told you we’d talk about it later.”
“I know how much it is,” he said, staring intently at the road.
“That’s a lot of money,” piped up George.
“Isn’t it just,” said Liz. “We could have gone to Disneyworld with all that money – would you like to go to Disneyworld?”
“Yay!” said George and Phoebe together.
“Or would you rather play silly spinny round games?”
“No, I’d rather go to Disneyworld!” said George.
“See, Greg,” said Liz, “even a six-year old child can budget better than you can.”
“Shut up,” muttered Greg. ’Shut up, shut up…”
“Mummy,” said Phoebe, out of nowhere, “where are we going?”
“To France,” Liz answered shortly.
“Oh right,” said Phoebe. Curiosity satisfied, she went back to licking jam off her fingers and humming.
‘To a charming little village called Roulette -“ Liz continued.
“I said shut up!” shouted Greg thumping the steering wheel.
“Why did the car hooter, daddy?” asked George. “Is it broken?”
“I bet it is!” said Phoebe, with real hope in her voice, She had always wanted to break down and be towed away by a big truck.
“Do you bet it is, Greg? I bet daddy bets it is, too! Come on daddy, what do you bet?”