Hop-o'-my-thumb, a modern version.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Poor family decide to get rid of their son.

Somewhere in a small decrepit London worker house, there lived a poor family of three, a father, a mother and their son.

That evening, the parents were sitting around the kitchen table, looking grimly at a piece of paper.

This time, they are going to take the house from us, Marge.”

Marge had always been the most optimistic of the two, but even she couldn't lift their spirit, today. Her husband, Tom, had lost his job at the fabric one year ago, and, though he had tried, and was still trying, he had been unable to find another position since then. No degrees and too old...

She still had her cleaning jobs in the neighbouring houses, but, even with Tom's unemployment benefits, they simply didn't make enough to pay all the expenses.

They were six months
with the house mortgage. The bank letter was the last warning.

A cheerful thumping echoed from above.

Tom looked at the ceiling with angered frustration. Marge cringed.

One day, he will fall through the ceiling, with all that jumping around! How can the little freak be so energetic, anyway?”

He looked at her suspiciously:

You've been giving him extra food portions again?”

Tom!”, protested Marge weakly. “He's only a child! And he needs the extra meals! He's in the growing phase!”

Tom slammed the table with his fist.

Marge! Our son is twenty-five! The only good the extra food is going to do him now is making him even fatter. If at least he was helping with the costs! He finished school three years ago! But, no, can't stand being given orders, poor baby! All he does is staying in his room all the time, playing with his friends online. Or that stupid dance!”

Marge kept silent. What could she say anyway? She also hated that thumping noise.  At least Timmy was wearing his
as his tastes in music was even worse than the dance.

But Timmy was theirs. Their only son, and God knew how much they had prayed for his coming. He had been born premature, so tiny, and, for as long as she could remember, he had always suffered from one allergy or a sickness. As he had also been a picky eater until he reached the puberty, she always had an image of her baby as a too thin and sickly looking child. She had to help him.

The thumping stopped. They heard Timmy come downstairs.

She forced a smile on a face just before her son entered the room.

Hi Mum, Dad! Don't mind me, I am just grabbing a beer!”

Marge saw the thunderous expression on her husband's face. She grabbed his hand, squeezed it hard, before Tom said something he would regret later. Tom glared at her.

Unconscious of his parents' silent discussion, Timmy walked to the fridge and helped himself to their last beer, without further comment.

She  looked at him critically. Yes, Tom was right. Timmy was not her sickly baby anymore. He was taller than they, brimming with unused energy, and would be even good looking if he went outside more often, cut his hair and stop wearing that Death Sabbath t-shirt and a boxer.

She had always taken his side, till today, always used the saved pennies so that Timmy did not notice how difficult their financial situation was, lately.

The bottle was already one third empty when Timmy left the room. He didn't even asked about the letter.

It was really time to act. Marge cut Tom's irrate comment with a hand gesture.

You're right, I was wrong. No more extra portions from now on.”

This was my last beer, Marge!”

She sighed and pointed at the letter.

Tom, I'll buy you another pack, but it won't solve our main problem.”

He grumbled.

I don't know how we are going to solve this! We owe the bank two thousands pounds!”

Maybe we should speak to the manager?”

Again? It won't do any good!”

The thumping started again. It was too much for Tom.

And the bloody fool is now wasting his time stupidly, instead of looking for a job and supporting us! When I think of how much...”

Tom stopped in mid-sentence and looked at the ceiling again. His expression went from angry to thoughtful, to resolute. He looked back at her with the first smile she could remember seeing in a month.

Can you get our boy out of the house for an hour?”

Marge found this sudden determination a bit frightening.

What do you have in mind?”

I've just thought of a way of saving our house from the vultures, Marge, but I need your help.”

Marge was not stupid. If Timmy needed to be away from the house, it meant Tom wanted to have access to their son's room, and she had an idea about how her husband intended to raise the needed money. She wanted to protest. For Timmy's sake. His computer games were everything to him. And she didn't look forward to the confrontation that would ensue.

But, well, they needed the money. Desperately.

We have this invitation to Carla's wedding next week. It's time for Timmy to get his hair cut and a decent suit to wear. But I will be visiting Mum after that, okay?”

Tom understood he would stand on his own against his son's wrath, but somehow the prospect didn't frighten him so much.

Tim would probably threaten to leave the house as well, but Tom didn't believe in that much luck.

He remembered the few times when he and Marge had helped Tim settle somewhere else. Like Hop-o'-my-thumb, the boy always found his way back, unfortunately without the famous pot of gold.

Only, there was in fact a pot of gold in the house, and it was time they used it.

While he heard his wife coaxing Tim out of the bedroom, Tom was already thinking on how to transport all the material stocked upstairs on his own.

There were at least four thousands pounds of equipment up there. Nothing had ever been too expensive for poor little Timmy, and all the pay cheques the boy had ever brought in had been used to upgrade his game consoles.

Even if the second-hand shop owner he was thinking of proved greedy, Tom would get enough to pay the mortgage.

One could hope: this might be a new start for the whole family, when the screaming and resentment part will be over.

Tom heard the front door close. He climbed the stairs.

Submitted: May 14, 2017

© Copyright 2020 Ada Haynes. All rights reserved.

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