by Anton Wills-Eve
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sliced Bread.”
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/sliced-bread/”>Sliced Bread</a>
“Put that bread knife down, Nicky! How many times do I have to tell you? And don’t argue back. Seven year old little girls don’t use dangerous kitchen utensils.” Her nine year old brother was not so sure. He was a pompous little boy whom many people fantasised about strangling.
“I say mother, no really that is a bit much. Why only yesterday I caught you showing young Nicola – he never called his sister ‘little’, he thought it insulting – how to use the electric mixer to make cakes. Seriously, now, which is the most likely to harm her? An electric machine that could short circuit and kill her in seconds, or a blunt, outdated knife that might just scratch her if she’s unlucky?”
Nicola said nothing. She was just beginning to realise the advantages of having a pompous older brother. She simply stared vacantly at her mother awaiting the court’s decision on whether or not she should continue hacking the loaf to pieces. She did a superb imitation of an angel.
“Christopher! How many times has your father told you not to start stupid debates with your elders?…..”
“Up to this morning at eight o’clock, seventy three times, that I can remember. He may of course have done so before I was two years and eight months old, but were that the case I fear my small brain would have been unable to recall such a censure. A shame, for I am certain I would have made a hilariously amusing reply, would I not?” His mother knew when she was losing and was letting the matter drop when little angel faced Nicola joined the conversation.
“Oh, Christopher. I can’t believe your brain was ever small. You are far too clever and must have said something if Daddy had told you off at that age. But he would not have done, surely?” Their mother was not the only family member becoming worried that her daughter was starting to imitate her brother’s way of talking.
Finally the parent took matriarchal control of the situation. “Christopher, your sister does not use a bread knife because her mother says so. That is the only authority either of you need in order to do what you are told in this house. Understand?” Christopher did not look as if he understood.
“Isn’t that a bit thick on poor papa?”He queried. “I mean to say if he can tell me how to behave seventy three times, and that on one subject only, he surely must have some standing in the judicial hierarchy of our little quartet?” Nicola liked ‘hierarchy’ and ‘judicial’, they were new words to her and she stored them up. Fortunately for all three of them the tone of the conversation changed as their father came in from doing an hour’s gardening. He looked none too happy.
“That bloody mower needs sharpening, I’ll have to take it to pieces again. The electric lead’s too short as well!”
Christopher looked at the head of the household with great disapproval.”Father, I may at times use words a little too esoteric for my audience in this house, but on your orders I never swear. Not very good at practising what you preach are you? Bad language, fiddling with a machine that will electrocute you and giving poor, innocent Nicola here the idea that she can play with really sharp things whenever she pleases. I don’t know what we are all coming to, I really don’t!”
At this point father and mother united to lay down the house rules once and for all. No arguing with elders, no swearing under the age of twenty one and no playing with or trying to use potentially dangerous tools and implements. The children meekly agreed, fully aware they had won the day. Their mother rounded off the talk with the following remark.
“That charter of behaviour – Christopher liked charter and looked at his mother with fleeting admiration – is the best thing to enter this house since sliced bread.”
Nicola looked at her stunned. “Mummy do you mean you can buy bread already sliced?”
“Yes, answered Christopher, and it is even rumoured they are soon bringing out self-sharpening lawn mowers that run on batteries and don’t swear!”