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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2208910-Are-We-There-Yet
by Greg M
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Parenting · #2208910
Des begins to question the wisdom of taking his kids to the football.
V1 - Are We There Yet?

Des held the car door open, keen to ensure the best possible start to the journey ahead. “All aboard the Happy Bus!” he said, rather optimistically.

Joel climbed into the back. Michael followed, clambering in over the top, being sure to poke his brother in the ribs while passing through.

“Hey, what the Hell’s that for?!” demanded Joel.

“Move over, Loser” came the retort.

“Ah, another day in Paradise”, thought Des, fleetingly thinking he should have stayed home and watched the football on TV rather than committing to a day of male bonding.

Fleeting thoughts aside, he was today possessed of an uncharacteristically steely resolve, determined to provide his wife with a day’s peace and quiet in return for her suffering through the latter period of the school holidays. It does appear, Des reflected, that sibling rivalry can have a nasty edge once exposed by several weeks of sibling proximity.

Young passengers aboard and Des’s determination reinforced, he shifted the Happy Bus into reverse.

The end of the street hadn’t quite been reached when Joel posed the first inevitable question; “What do we have to eat?”.

“Nothing mate. We’ll only be in the car for 30 minutes before we get to the game. I’ll get you a hot dog or something once we get there”, Des responded. “Anyway Joel, you just had something to eat.”

“I don’t like hot dogs. What else is there?”.

Michael sits up eagerly, sensing an opportunity. “We could get McDonalds on the way! Mum said we’d get McDonald’s this week if we were good.”

Joel is quick in his support. “Yeah, yeah, she did! Can I have a Happy Meal with nuggets?”.

Des shifted uncomfortably in his seat as he began to replace his visions of a relaxing day at the football with his boys with less-than-relaxing visions involving gritted teeth, a headache and complaining children. “I don’t know boys. Look, we’ll work it out when we get there, just sit quietly for a while. Have a look out the window.”

Des, alone with his thoughts. Two minutes gone. Can’t stand the quiet. Radio on. Same old songs, not in the mood. Switch to CD. The Cat Empire’s latest offering begins blaring from the speakers.

Michael shouts above the mix of brass, drums and hip-hop inspired lyrics. “Turn it down Dad, it’s too loud!”.

“I like it loud.”

Michael persists. “Mum says you’ll send us all deaf you know.”

“Mum isn’t here”, Des responds, before secretly taking the volume down a couple of notches via the steering wheel controls.

Joel chips in. “Who’s playing anyway?”.

Des sits upright and braces himself, preparing for the inevitable. “Wests Tigers are playing Parramatta.”

“Why do we have to go and see the Tigers all the time, they always lose” says Joel, forgetful of past experiences and hence wonderfully oblivious to the impact of this comment upon his father.

Jaw clenched, neck muscles beginning to tighten, headache forming and heart simultaneously sinking, Des reminds his young charges yet again that he has followed the Wests Tigers for all of his life and that yes, while it’s true that they have not won a premiership for all of that time, they are this season close to doing so. He further confirms his desire for his boys to be with him for this final part of the journey, such that they may share in the bountiful joy that inevitable victory will bring.

“All the other kids go for the Panthers or Parramatta”, Michael helpfully adds. “Only old people go for the Tigers.”

Des breathes deeply, releases his clenched jaw for the moment, and turns the volume up a good five or six notches. He glances once again out of the side window, looking for familiar landmarks and wonders to himself; “Are we there yet?”.

V2 – Michael


Dad wanted to take me and Joel to the football. He didn’t ask if I wanted to go. He just said “That’s it, we’re going.” I really wanted to play the Playstation. I’m up to a new level on Ratchet and Clank and it looks a really good one.

I never get what I want.

We got in the car to go, and straight away everyone started picking on me. Joel wouldn’t move over so I had to climb over the top of him to get past. He’s such a loser. He just does these things to annoy me.

Then Dad started yelling at me. It’s not fair.

Dad didn’t even take anything for us to eat. I hadn’t had any lunch and I was starving. He said he’d get us a hot dog at the football, but I don’t like hot dogs. I suggested McDonalds but he said no. Typical.

Then he put the music on. That damned cat thing he likes. He put it up real loud and it hurt my ears! I couldn’t even hear what anyone was saying. I think you’re right Mum, he will send us deaf one day.

He did eventually turn it down thank goodness. Then Joel asked him who was playing. He went berserk when Joel said he didn’t want to see the Tigers because they always lose. He started carrying on about how they will win one day and then we’ll all think it’s great, but I don’t care. I don’t think they’ll ever win anyway.

It took us ages to get there, and of course they ended up losing. I said they would. It was a waste of time, and now I don’t have any time left to play the Playstation.

V3 - Des


All I wanted to do was to give you a bit of peace and quiet, and spend some time with the boys. I spent all week at work so didn’t think it was too much to ask.

They seemed happy enough to go, but as soon as we get in the car it starts. “What’s to eat?”, “Who’s playing?, “The music’s too loud!”. They were fighting in the back seat the whole way there. I could have happily stopped the car and throttled them.

Then Joel starts going on about the Tigers. “They always lose” and all that other stuff he goes on with. Drives me nuts he does. Michael then starts going on about McDonalds, saying that you promised him or something.

I got cranky after a while and they both got the sulks.

To make things even worse we bloody-well lost the game with 5 minutes to go.

No, no need to worry about dinner. I got them McDonald’s on the way home.
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