Short Stories

The Importance Of Looking Happy

My name is Eliza Anne Thomson. I am eight and three quarter years old. I have a dog called Amber, a cat named Bono, and a mum that I wish was someone else’s.

We are standing in the car park outside Morrisons ‘cos mum just got thrown out by the security guards. This sort of thing happens quite a lot.

It’s Friday afternoon and mum had just picked me up from school. We were in the car and her friend Tracey phoned and said she should get her arse down to Morrisons – something about cheap champagne. I hate Tracey ‘cos my mum says she fancies my dad. She sells posh underwear and my mum says she’s a slut from Moss Side.

When we got there, they told us that champagne was all sold and my mum went mental until the woman told her there was some other stuff they were selling for half price. We got to the checkout with everyone looking at us ‘cos all we had was bottles in the trolley. It took ages to put them all on the belt. All the people who work in Morrisons are white and fat and old and look as if they have special knees, or whatever it’s called when you’re not right. Mum calls them ‘Timmys’ and says they only work there ‘cos no one else would work in Morrisons, even in a recession.

The woman on the checkout looked sad and I felt sorry for her. She said something and pressed a buzzer and a more important woman came over and said to my mum she could only have three bottles.

My mum asked why, and the important woman told her it was a special offer, and it was Morrisons’ policy that everybody had to have a chance to buy it. Mum said it was Morrisons’ policy to stop the bloody Scousers buying it and flogging it at car  boots, more like. The important woman didn’t think my mum was funny. I noticed she had an enormous mole on her neck and there were lots of hairs growing out of it. It looked a bit like a coconut.

We put the champagne in the car and mum remembered she’d not had lunch, so we went back into the café. Mum had two sandwiches and a bowl of tomato soup and I had a toasted tea-cake and a yoghurt. Mum said she was ravenous ‘cos she’d not eaten since she’d been to the gym. Dad says when mum goes to the gym she just parks her arse on a bike and yaps to Maxine who has fake tits and lives in Wilmslow. He says the only part of her that gets any exercise is her tongue. When we got to the checkout mum asked the woman if it was ok to have two sandwiches or should she just have one so everybody else could have the chance to buy one? She didn’t think mum was funny either.

We sat down and a fat man who looked as if he was walking on a tightrope brought the soup. It was cold, so mum complained and when he brought it back she burned her mouth on it. The fat man looked happy as he walked away.

On the way out of the shop Mum had an idea. She said that there was nothing to stop her coming back in and buying three more bottles, and as long as we didn’t bump into the woman with the coconut on her neck, no one would know. I tried to stop her ‘cos I knew she’d get done but she went to two different check-outs and got six more bottles and she looked happy. That doesn’t happen very often.

Then she had one more go. She tried to be clever by using the self-checkout thing, but because she was buying alcohol she had to ring a bell so someone could check that she was over eighteen. Like anyone would actually think she was under eighteen! We had to wait ages for someone to come.

There was a huge security man on either side of the woman with the coconut. They were walking towards us.

None of them looked happy.

A MUSEUM SLIP-UP

My name is Eliza Anne Thomson. I am eight and three quarter years old. I have a dog called Amber, a cat named Bono, and a mum that I wish was someone else’s.

We are standing outside The British Museum ‘cos mum just got us thrown out by a security guard. In fact, everyone’s got thrown out, thanks to her. This sort of thing happens quite a lot.

It’s half term and we’re in London. I don’t like London much ‘cos it’s full of foreigners and thieves. Last night Dad had his wallet nicked at a tube station and lost all his cards and stuff.

Mum took me to the British Museum ‘cos I’ve got to do a project on Afghanistan for school. There’s a room called “Crossroads of the Ancient World” that my teacher Miss Honey said we should go and see it ‘cos it’s got jewellery and stuff from Afghanistan that’s not been seen for ages.

Mum had to pay twenty pounds for us to get in; she wasn’t happy ‘cos she said we were only going to be five minutes, to get leaflets and things. She told the man on the desk she wanted to be done well before the shops close and hadn’t come here to be mugged by the Taliban.We had to take our suitcase with us ‘cos we’d got to meet Dad after and catch the train home. It’s got a handle and wheels you could pull it along with and it’s bright pink. Dad had to meet someone on business at a place called Lord’s. Mum said that meant he’d be sitting on his arse all day watching cricket and drinking beer.

The first bit was a video. It told you about Afghanistan and why no one’s ever won any wars there. Mum said that that idiot Tony Blair should have watched this first. There were lots of old people watching the video ‘cos it was somewhere you could sit down and old people always sit down when they see a bench or a chair in case they have to stand for ages. The room smelled of fart.

There was a big picture on the wall in the second room of somewhere called the Hindu Kush. It’s a mountain range in the middle of nowhere where lots of people have died trying to conquer it. I don’t know why they wanted to as there’s nothing there but I liked the picture anyway.

The exhibition was set out a bit like a snake. Mum said that was to make it look bigger and spread people out. But when we wanted to look at anything, there was always this fat American woman in the way. She wore white trainers and black tights and a coat that smelled like Amber when she’s wet and kept saying “awesome”.

Dad says that if you look hard enough in a museum you’ll find something that’ll change your life. I said that to Mum and she said that the only thing that’d change her life was finding the door out and getting a decent cup of coffee that you didn’t need a bank loan for. That, and Silver Asset winning the 4.20 at Haydock.

The bit I liked the most was the Gold Crown. It’s supposed to shimmer with the slightest vibration ‘cos that sets the petals off. It’s made in four pieces so they could store it away as they were always moving around.  Mum said it looked like something Posh Spice would wear.

Then mum’s phone went off and she got told off by the guard. She had short black hair and looked dead snooty. She wore a black trouser suit and mum said she was probably a Lesbian. I don’t know about that, but she definitely looked foreign.

I said to Mum I didn’t think she could be a Lesbian ‘cos Miss Honey had said that Lesbos wasn’t in the EU and Dad always said that only people from the EU can work here unless they’re terrorists. I didn’t think she was a terrorist either, unless that was why she had the radio.

Mum told her that as she’s had to put up with her radio crackling since we came in, she didn’t see why she couldn’t use her phone. The guard was tall and had a mole on her neck with hairs growing out of it. She told mum that the signs were quite clear that you couldn’t use your phone and if you did you’d have to go outside.

We walked round the corner where there was more jewellery just like the other stuff. We got stuck behind the fat American lady with the smelly coat then mum’s phone rang again. The American lady said something to Mum and Mum made a rude gesture to her with her middle finger.

The guard from Lesbos was coming towards us so Mum put our case in the corner and grabbed my hand and then we went out of the exhibition by a side door with a circle and a red line in the middle of it. The door slammed behind us and an alarm went off but Mum didn’t notice ‘cos she was busy talking on her phone to Maxine from Wilmslow. Maxine’s got massive fake tits and sells posh knickers and bras. Dad says she’s just a slut from Moss-side. Mum was getting dead excited ‘cos Maxine said that Silver Asset had just won at 100-1 and mum had put fifty pounds on it. I wish I could have a pony but Mum says she spends enough on horses already.

Then the door we’d just come through burst open and the guard with the hairy mole came through and looked very cross. She was holding her radio that had made all the noise and was talking into it loudly. The alarm was still going off and everyone started rushing past us out of the building. Other guards in black suits were showing them where to go. The fat American woman waddled past us in her trainers and made the same rude gesture to Mum but Mum didn’t notice ‘cos she was still yapping to Maxine.

The guard from Lesbos made us go out of the building and Mum stopped talking to Maxine and then remembered she’s left our case in the museum. She told Mum that she couldn’t go back inside ‘cos there was a bomb scare. Everyone who had been in the museum was standing outside behind a line of men wearing yellow vests. Then some soldiers arrived in a green Land Rover with a blue flashing light and ran into the building by the door we’d come out of.

A fat man in a suit with a loud speaker said that there’d been a suspicious pink object found in the Afghanistan bit of the museum where we’d been. He said because of security they would have to make it safe with something called a controlled explosion. I don’t know how exploding something can make it any safer.

Then Mum went mental with the fat man in the suit with the loudspeaker ‘cos it was our suitcase and she just remembered that her betting slip was in it.

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