On Tuesday after school Mummy banned us from using screens and made us all go out into the garden. We didn’t really mind. No-one wanted to watch TV anyway because William D had sat on the remote that morning and somehow made the screen go orange and we couldn’t turn it back.
“It’s Father’s Day on Sunday,” Mummy said as I wandered past the kitchen door. “Go and ask Daddy what he wants.”
Just then William D raced past and sprinted out into the garden.
“Put some clothes on!” Mummy yelled after him, but he ignored her. I trudged off down the path to the greenhouse at the bottom of the garden. Daddy was standing inside holding an empty flower pot and staring into space as the radio burbled away, playing the test match. The commentator had got excited because it seemed like someone had got out but it turned out that he wasn’t out at all so actually nothing happened. That’s how cricket works.
“Daddy,” I said. “What would be your perfect Fathers’ Day?”
“My perfect Fathers’ Day would be a day when they decided they weren’t going to have Fathers’ Day anymore,” Daddy said.
“What? Don’t you like Fathers’ Day?” I asked.
“It’s not that I’m not grateful for the effort you all put in,” he said. “But I don’t like a fuss. I’m happiest when I’m just pottering about in the garden, or snoozing in the shed, listening to the test match….Hang on.”
He stopped talking and peered through the greenhouse glass. “What is William D up to?” We looked over at William D who was completely nude and bouncing up and down on the trampoline calling out to Mr Coleman over the fence with every bounce.
“Hello. Mr. Cole. Man. Your. Tomatoes. Are. Looking. Great.” Daddy shook his head sadly. We’re all a bit different in our house, but William D is the most different of us all.
“Also I feel bad,” Daddy went on. “Mummy already does so much for us. She’s the one who should be putting her feet up, not me. And, nothing personal, but the presents I get are always a bit rubbish.”
I had to admit this was true. Last year he’d got some battery-powered nose trimmers which gave him an electric shock. He also got some socks, a tie and a five-pack of M&S underpants. Oh and last but not least, a Darth Vader alarm clock which kept going off at 3.27am in the morning for no apparent reason.
“And please don’t feel we need to go somewhere, and do something,” he said. “It’s supposed to be lovely sunny weather and the last thing I want is to be stuck inside at the cinema, or a restaurant.”
I went back into the house to tell Mummy what Daddy had said. I could see hundreds of tiny bugs zipping around in the late evening sun. There was a row of foxgloves in the borders and big fat bumblebees buzzed around them, popping into the purple bell-shaped flowers one by one. Mummy was in the kitchen looking at Daily Mail online.
“Daddy says he doesn’t want anything for Father’s Day,” I said. “He says he just wants to be left alone.”
“No-one leaves me alone on Mothers’ Day,” Mummy said, without looking up. “I don’t see why he should get any peace and quiet.”
But then I had an idea.
When Father’s Day arrived, the weather was lovely, like Daddy had said. We’d decided to let Daddy lie-in but William D had got the rest of us up super-early. We started off trying to be quiet but we forgot quite quickly and there was a bit of shouting. Daisy had taken a photo of William D wearing one of Mummy’s bras and said she was going to put it on the internet.
“No you are not!” Mummy said.
“Oh please!” William D said.
Also, Mummy wasn’t in a completely sympathetic mood. William D had woken her up three times in the night, complaining first about a sore knee, then being too hot, then finally having a nightmare about being chased by a talking spoon. So when Jacob got back from his job at the all night garage, we went up with Daddy’s breakfast tray and his presents and woke him up.
“6.58am,” Daddy said, peering at the alarm clock. “OK.”
“I’ve had less than three hours sleep,” Mummy said, waving her fitbit at him. “So I don’t want to hear it. Why won’t that boy sleep?”
“He hasn’t slept properly in six years,” Daddy said, tousling William D’s hair. “Why are you surprised?”
“I’m not surprised,” Mummy replied. “I’m TIRED.”
Jacob handed Daddy a plastic bag with OILCO written on it.
“Happy Fathers’ Day,” Jacob said as Daddy peered inside.
“Windscreen wipers,” Daddy said. “Very nice.” Mummy glared at Jacob who refused to meet her eye. It’s possible Jacob might have forgotten about getting a present and just grabbed something from the garage.
Daisy had got Daddy some aftershave. “Wow! Thanks Daisy,” he said as he unscrewed the lid and sniffed it.
Daddy coughed and his eyes watered a bit.
“Do you like it?” Daisy asked, eagerly.
“It’s certainly very powerful,” said Daddy, sneezing. “Would you like to have a sniff, Polly?”
“No. I can smell it from here, thanks,” Mummy said.
William D had got Daddy some My Little Pony socks. “Thanks for these, William D,” Daddy said. “This one is Rainbow Dash, and that one is Applejack, if I’m not mistaken.”
“That’s right, Daddy,” William D said. “Rainbow Dash is very stubborn, and Applejack is always honest.”
“I shall wear them tomorrow,” Daddy said. “I have an important meeting in which stubbornness might be just the ticket.”
“And honesty?” William D said.
“Maybe not so much,” Daddy said. Just then Clematis jumped up on the bed and took a great bite of daddy’s scrambled egg. There was a mad panic as we all chased him away and found the bits of scrambled egg and put them back on Daddy’s plate.
“Thanks everyone,” Daddy said. Then he turned to me expectantly. I passed him my present which was just a small envelope. My heart beat nervously as he opened it. When he saw what was inside he couldn’t hide the disappointment. “Cinema tickets,” he said. “That’s brilliant, Chloe.” But I could see in his eyes that he didn’t think it was brilliant at all. He’d specifically said he didn’t want to go to the cinema, especially as it was going to be such a lovely day and there was cricket on. He sighed, but then he saw me watching and he smiled at me.
“Thanks you,” he said. “But there are only 5 tickets. Who’s not coming?”
“You,” Mummy said.
“You’re not coming,” she repeated. “We’re all going to the cinema this afternoon and leaving you here. You can snooze in the potting shed and listen to your cricket for two hours.”
Daddy blinked in surprise. “What? Really? You’re leaving me behind?”
“Yes,” Mummy said. “But after we get back you’re taking us out for a meal. How does that sound?”
“That sounds perfect,” Daddy said, beaming. “Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me,” Mummy said. “If it was up to me we’d all be going to the cinema. This was all Chloe’s idea.”
“Thanks Chloe,” he said, leaning forward to give me a kiss.
“You’re welcome,” I said, giving my Daddy a hug. “Happy Fathers’ Day.”