What Goes around, comes around

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

The children's bickering depletes the family's Menagerie.

What goes around, comes around.

Harry was nine years old when his father set light to Paradise, the family parakeet. Harry, you see, had been fighting with his sister, Henrietta, and no amount of cajoling from their mother would quiet them. In a sudden moment of rage, their father stood up from the table where he’d been reading the evening newspaper, opened the door to the cage, took a cigarette lighter from his pocket, and sternly spoke these words: “Right, if you won’t listen to your mother, I’ll get your damned attention!” He pushed his hand into the cage and held the lighter’s flame under a squawking bird. Harry, as usual, couldn't resist having the last word, at which point Henrietta nipped her brother's arm. Harry screamed in feigned pain. That was the moment the bird went up in a puff of smoke. Paradise was lost! 

The children’s constant squabbling had already been the cause of death of their pet rabbit, Floppy, who was dropped from the third floor of their apartment block a week earlier after Henrietta had broken one of Harry’s tin soldiers, and a fight ensued between them. Before that, Snuggles, the family cat, had met his fate in the bathtub. Snuggles might have been spared his life at the last minute had Harry not squealed, “It's all Henrietta's fault.”

It seemed the two never learned. The latest in the saga of murdered pets due to infighting was Sludge, the goldfish, who had lived uncomfortably in the murky water of a six-inch-round fish bowl until speared on a toothpick and flushed down the toilet. The demise of Sludge was over whether Harry should eat all the vegetables on his plate. 

The family had only the dog left. Bruiser, a miniature poodle, lived most of the time in a cupboard under the stairs. He ventured out at mealtimes to sniff under the fidgeting feet of Harry and Henrietta sat at the kitchen table, and would eat secretly dropped morsels of unwanted food. 

Paradise had been lost almost a month when Harry was celebrating his tenth birthday. His mother had made him a cake. A fruitcake with pink icing. Harry loved icing, but hated fruitcake. He stood up to blow out the ten candles, knocking over a glass of orange juice, which ran across the table and into Henrietta's lap before splashing to the floor. Bruiser lapped it up noisily. The father continued to pay no mind, preferring to sit reading his newspaper.


Henrietta burst into tears. Mother hurriedly ran around the table to console her daughter and mop up the table. Father didn't stir from reading his newspaper. 

“Now let's all sing happy birthday to Harry.” Mother said, stroking her daughter's hair. 

“I'm not singing to him, look what he's done to my new dress, mummy.” Henrietta lamented. 

“Now, now, darling, it will wash up like new.”  And she began to sing…”happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Harry…” but Henrietta sat sulking, as her husband turned the last page of his newspaper. Harry started yelling at Henrietta because she hadn't joined in singing his birthday song. Bruiser then made a hasty retreat for the cupboard. 

The two of them continued to squabble at the table. Henrietta threw icing at Harry.

“Mummy, Henrietta threw pink icing at me!” 

“Henrietta!” Mother pleaded, young ladies don't throw food across the table now, do they?” 

“Harry spilt orange over me!” She protested. 

“That was an accident, Henrietta. Harry didn't mean to spill his orange.” 

Harry thumbed his nose at his sister. 

“Mummy now he's making faces at me. Tell him not to.” 

“Who would like another piece of birthday cake?” Mother asked, hoping to bring an end to the squabbling with a food bribe. 

“Harry isn't eating the fruitcake, mummy. He's dropping it to the floor for Bruiser and only eating the icing.” 

“No I'm not. You liar!” 

Henrietta burst into a flood of tears, “I'm not, it's the truth, mummy.” 

None had noticed that father had left the table until he was holding Bruiser by the neck at shoulder height. “I'm trying to read my damn newspaper. If there's another word, I'll shoot the damned dog!” 

Bruiser hung there like a shaggy mop and shook. 

“But Henrietta started it. She took my pink icing!” 

“You spilled orange juice over me!” 

Father left the table and went to the yard. On the way he collected his shotgun, used on a Sunday for shooting pigeons. One shot rang out. The children jumped. 

Harry sobbed at the table. Henrietta sat poker faced. Mother held her head in her hands. 

Father returned and locked the gun back into its case. 

The birthday cake was still sat in the middle of the table when the policeman knocked at the door. 

The mother opened the door. 

“Good evening, a gunshot was reported coming from your back yard.” 

“Yes. That was my husband. He shot the children's dog. I put the children in their bedroom.” 

“May I come in, please?” The officer asked. 

“Yes, of course. I’m in trouble I'm afraid.” 

When the policeman entered the room he found her husband sitting dead and neat at the table. He had a carving knife sticking out of his back. 

The policeman turned to the slight of a woman. She was sat looking calmly at her husband. The newspaper spread before him. His eyes still shocked open. 

“I told him. If he killed another family pet, I'd kill him! He always said I shouldn't make a threat unless I was prepared to carry it out.” 


Submitted: December 16, 2014

© Copyright 2022 VikingMoon. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Chris Green

I notice that this has had a lot of reds but only one comment which is a shame because it is a great piece of writing with an interesting premise, animated dialogue and a twist. What more can the readers that have missed this wanted from a story. Well done. Don't be put off. I enjoy your work.
Regards
Chris

Sun, December 21st, 2014 3:21pm

VikingMoon

Adil, thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment. It is deeply appreciated.

VM

Sun, December 21st, 2014 8:28pm

VikingMoon

Hi Chris:

As always thank you for dropping by to read and comment. Your own writing is of such a standard that when you offer encouraging remarks for mine, well, it is very satisfying.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

VM

Sun, December 21st, 2014 8:31pm

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