The Surprise.

Tommy slipped into his clothes then crept out the back door. Mum was still asleep and he wanted to surprise her. His blond hair was spiky in the cold morning air and he shivered as he pulled his jacket closer around his slight frame. He was growing so fast now that his mum couldn’t keep up. All his clothes seemed inches too short. His sneakers were too small too but he didn’t want to worry her more than she was already.

At night his mother cried in her room, after he’d gone to bed; he often heard her. Dad had gone to Kalgoorlie. He wasn’t coming back. Tommy wondered what made his dad leave like that. He guessed it was because he, Tommy, didn’t help enough on the farm. Poor Mum, I’ll have to be the man now.

So this morning he intended to dig up the old stump Mum’d been asking Dad to remove for yonks. She wanted to plant a garden there. Last night he’d left the hose running on it so it should be good and soaked, easy to dig, by now. He collected the pick and shovel then made his way back to the stump.

After an hour’s digging Tommy had quite a hole. These roots must go all the way to China, he thought, and grinned at the image of illegal Chinese coming through his hole to start a new life. That’d be somethin’. We could charge them a fee. He kept digging.

“Tommy, what are you doing?”

His mother’s shrill scream startled him. He jumped, almost falling over in the muddy hole. He stared at her white face, then back at his work. He tentatively jabbed at the blue mound at the bottom of the hole.

“M-Mum?” he quavered.



Joined April 2008

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