International Writers Magazine: Glittering Prize litter
off the Block
Block hated every other weekend.
For it was on such occasions when Guy had to do the parent thing.
Ever Goes Right for
Let's get this clear,
Guy is married, not divorced. But for some long ago and now unfathomable
reasons he no longer lives with the woman he wed way back in the early
80's. An action which, it must be said was undertaken for now unfathomable
And so early one Saturday morning Guy headed out of the safe leafy environs
of academic life mentally preparing himself for the leafy suburban war
zone that is his domestic set up to collect the children and face up
to his wife. Alone with his thoughts Guy pondered optimistically that
the day would go well.
On such clear and crisp early mornings with hardly a soul about and
only the roar of the MG and the music of Focus for company, Guy would
wonder the mysteries of the universe and would later come to the much
God was definitely sleeping in that morning.
For nothing ever goes right for Guy Block.
That is the one certain thing in the universe.
The early indicator was stepping out of the MG and into a large and
unforgiving dog turd.
Ah and here is the melodious French accent of the woman Guy took for
his wife calling across to him in greeting. "Clean that up before
you step in here!"
Francine Block, feminist and French.
Guy wondered if God ought to buy a new alarm clock.
"Yes dearest" he replied before going at his shoes with a
clump of grass.
At the door behind him Guy could hear giggles.
Ah the children.
Guy finished his task and turned to greet them.
The giggling stopped and Guy was treated to his usual greeting in return.
The sight of two identical twins, boy and girl, turning their heads
to one side in unison like an uncertain dog. And with that, Jeremy and
Jemima Block ran from the doorstep back into the hall, leaving Guy to
trundle in after them, the fruit of his loins.
Guy was never entirely sure what to make of his children. They were
either very silent or asked far too many questions of him. Now as he
took tea with Francine, they were indulging in the former. They were
packing their lunch and assorted things into knapsacks without a glance
at the objects or the sacks. Instead they were content to stare at daddy
from beneath their matching helmets of blonde pudding bowl hai r- a
Block family trait that brought back unwanted memories of Guys
own hideous childhood- their clear bright blue eyes unblinking and harsh
and, despite being their daddy, Guy had to admit it, too damn far apart
You could land a helicopter on the gap between each eye, Guy had often
"Jeremy, wipe your nose" Francine ordered and the boy Block
magically reversed a trail of green slime back up his left nostril with
a sniff so stomach churning that Guy immediately stopped eating his
Bath Oliver and Jemima began to giggle.
"Where would you like daddy to take you today children?" asked
mummy, lighting up a Gauloises.
"Yes where?" Guy asked with attempted good humour.
"Not particularly bothered" came the simultaneous reply that
Guy expected, for he knew they had now reached that difficult age, an
age that left them with the all empowering decadent, elegantly wasted,
life is oh so tedious attitude that comes when you reach
the milestone that is... 8 years and three quarters.
An age where Guy could take them to the moon and beyond, show them the
eight wonders of the world, have them meet Harry Potter in the flesh
and overdose them on LSD and still when asked what they thought of their
day their attitude of such amazing events would be the same
That it was nothing to text home about.
Guy foresaw this whole apathy in his children when at their 7th birthday
party they proclaimed they had a migraine and that they grew tired of
celebrating. A migraine? Jesus, Guy waited til he was 24 before
he suffered his first migraine and even then he could not be certain
if it was one, it may just have been a hangover.
Guy had once harboured hopes that the twins were not his, however these
hopes were crushed once they arrived into the world as blonde as he
was and probably just as annoying as he had been during the precocious,
pre-pubescent period. Instead Guy simply had to admit that they were
his and that the results of their abnormality was clearly down to his
glum and Gallic wife demanding children at the ridiculous ages of 41
for her and 47 and a bit for him.
It must be admitted that these two specimens of antiquated Block love
were clearly treading water open mouthed at the shallow end of the gene
"Merde" Mrs Block muttered silently, "Guy can you come
into the kitchen please? Dahlinks stay here for a moment and play nice."
Guy followed her out before pausing briefly to consider patting his
twins on the head, at the last minute he decided against it, he was
sure Francine had mentioned an outbreak of nits in her last email.
Once in the kitchen the following exchange occurred between Jeremy and
Jeremy; " Do you think Mummy is a Froggy Dyke, Jemima?"
Jemima; "Why do you say that Jeremy?"
Jeremy; "I did not, I am merely repeating what Daddy called her
in his last email, Jemima"
Jemima; "Oh yes, now I remember. Do you think Daddy is an adulterous
bastard then, Jeremy?
Jeremy: "Probably, Jemima"
Jemima; "Yes youre probably right, Jeremy"
Out of the mouths of babes.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, Guy looked at his wife as she poured another
strong cup of black coffee and thought back to the heady days he first
met her on the academic scene in the mid 70's. How she, this radical
feminist firebrand Sociology student from France had captured his heart
with tales of being at the front line in student demos in Paris
and how she would become an important lecturer one day and change the
world. Guy at that time was going through a political phase and wore
a pathetic straggly blonde Zapata moustache and he was hooked.
Now as the sunlight shone in from the rather apt French windows Guy
could see that a far more impressive Zapata moustache was growing on
Francine and he was no longer as hooked as he once was.
"You must take them somewhere Guy, and somewhere nice yes? Not
the bloody zoo again"
Ah yes, the zoo, staple of all part time dads. Well that and McDonalds.
Though Guy could not take them to McDonalds, the little buggers were
"They hate the zoo, they are overdosed on the zoo, you have taken
them so many times now they remember when half the animals were mere
"Ok, ok, not the zoo." Guy replied.
"And take them out for at least four hours. I have my Women
lecturers' against Bush meeting today, remember?"
How ironic thought Guy, a room full of the butchest group of lesbians
this side of Holloway Prison all against Bush?
Finally the children and Guy were ready to go and the dilapidated 2CV
that Francine had owned since they first met was wheeled out to take
them out, for Francine hated Guys MG.
"Goodbye dahlinks" Francine waved from the doorway
"Get into the car, sprogs," ordered Guy.
The destination was the park a mere forty minutes away. It wasnt
quite the spot Guy had in mind, but he had all he could take of the
Alanis Morrisette tape that was a permanent fixture of the 2CVs
"The park?" the twins derided
"Yes the park, its fun?" said Guy, knowing they would disagree.
"The park is crappy" said Jeremy
"Double crappy" countered Jemima
"Pants" said Jeremy
"Pant-O-Rama" opined his sister.
God you really need to wake up now.
At least Gregory Peck only had one Damien to cope with in The Omen.
Guy Block has two of the blighters.
What is 666 times 2?
Trouble, thats what.
And Guy had just stepped into another dog turd.
After a while Guy had persuaded both children to play on the slides
and roundabouts and despite scaring of most children around them, a
particular knack they seemed to take great enjoyment out of, all was
going well. So well in fact that Guy bumped into an old student of his,
also out with his child.
"Professor Block, remember me?" asked the man.
Of course Guy remembered him, it was Dean Davison, a good student who
had gained a good degree and if Guy remembered rightly the best supplier
of grass Trenton University ever had.
"What do you do now?" Guy asked.
"Same as ever, I deal drugs."
"But you got a first?"
"Yeah, but theres more money in this."
Sometime later Guy set off back home with the twins and with some grass
purchased. The children arrived home, slightly less glum looking as
usual and perching on the settee began to munch on their fish fingers
and chips in stereo.
"Did you have a good time?" asked Francine as Guy was about
"Oh yes" both kids replied in unison between munching mouthfuls
"We went to the park
" started Jeremy
And played on the swings
" said Jemima
And the slides
" countered Jeremy
And the roundabouts
" opined Jemima
And on the grass
" uttered Jeremy
"And then daddy bought some grass from some man," they both
Heads to one side, uncertain in one swift and unanimous motion they
swallowed their fish finger and asked with an evil glint in their eyes;
"Whats grass mummy?"
And with that Guy Block was gone.
© Mark Cunliffe November 2006
Until next time:
More adventures with Guy Block
More new Fiction in Dreamscapes
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