This is just a bit of mid summer madness- hope it gives someone a laugh.
I’ve been at some crap parties in my time, but this one has to be the worst yet. Most of my family are here and a few of their spazzy friends, so I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much. A best-of –the Eighties cd is playing, it’s tinny electronic sound more annoying than anything else. They haven’t been shy about laying into the beer either and an hour in, they are all starting to fall around the place. Ann and Mark – one of the most mismatched couples I’ve ever come across – are up to their usual antics. Ann is ‘chatting’ to some young fella, her ample bosom accidentally-on-purpose falling out of her top. She has some nerve – that’s the second one she has hit on tonight. Mark is standing a little bit away from her, nursing his pint smiling away like it’s ok for his girlfriend to throw herself at other men.
“Come on, be a man,” I feel like saying to him. “Show her who’s boss.”
Ann suddenly remembers she has a boyfriend.
“Get us another glass of red, will ye Mark? Oh, and one of those sausage rolls.”
Sausage rolls. So last century.
And as Mark turns to make his way to the kitchen, she adds:
“Be carefull of baby David, will ye? Ye don’t want to spill any drink on him.”
Well if they had any sense, they wouldn’t have put me sitting in my baby seat in the middle of the room. I’d be much better off out of harms way in my buggy.
Here comes my daddy. Oh, he’s had one too many. My mam’s gone out, so he’s supposed to be taking care of me. Well it’s clear he hasn’t taken Mammy’s advice.
“ Drink and babies just don’t mix.” She’s always saying that.
“Wha you doing there, little Davy Wavy? Are you a good boy? He picks me up a little clumsily. I hope he’s not going to drop me. He’s a little unsteady on his feet.
“Give Dadda a big kiss. A big kiss. “ He’s rubbing my face with his nose now. That’s fine, Pops but haven’t you noticed the whiff.? The nappy is seriously in need of changing. Only one thing for it but to communicate my needs in the only way I know how – cry my little eyes out.
“Ah, whas wrong? Come on little fella.” He’s rocking me to and fro now for all the good that’s gonna do. Time to take it up an octave. Waaa, Waaa. My face has gone bright red now and my tears are dropping on to the carpet. I think I’ve got the attention of nearly everyone in the room.
“What would ye say’s wrong with him?” Daddy’s starting to sound a little flustered.
A young woman with a bottle of beer in her hand arrives over.
“Try the nappy first,” She’d sound authoritive if it wasn’t for the fact she’s slurring her words
“If it’s not tha, he probably wans a bottle.”
Daddy takes a look.
“Oh Christ. I better change him.”
He takes me outside and does the job. Not very competently, I might add. Not the way Mammy does it. In fact, I think he’s put the new one on back to front. Ah Well. I suppose he’s doing his best, considering his condition.
The doorbell rings.
“That’ll be your granny and granddad. No more crying now. They’ll think I’m neglecting you.” Dad gives me a conspiratorial wink. I gurgle happily. At last. Someone who’ll look after me in the manner that I’m used to. They arrive in and Granny practically ignores Daddy, making a beeline for me.
“How’s the baba? How’s the baba.?”
She picks me up and tickles my stomach. I give her a baby chuckle, much to her delight.
“I hope you’re taking proper care of him.” she says to Daddy.
“There may be a party on but my little man still has to be looked after, doesn’t he? Doesn’t he?”
She addresses the last part of this to me. I’m not going to argue about that.
“He’s fine. I’ve just changed his nappy,” Daddy is starting to sound a bit more sober.
“And have you given him his bottle yet? He’s supposed to have one every four hours.
“Oh here. I’ll look after it. She knows by the look on his face he hasn’t done it. I settle contentedly into her arms. At last. Someone who knows what they’re doing.
I’m sucking away on the bottle when Daddy arrives over to talk to Granny.
“Did Dad say anything to you about my proposal?”
“You mean the big loan you want us to give you?” Granny sounds a bit weary.
“I’d describe it as more of an investment than a loan. After all, you’ll be getting shares in my new company for your money. Once the business takes off, you stand to make your money back with added interest.
“Yes, but isn’t setting up a business a bit of a risk in the current economic climate. 50000 euro is a lot to invest. I’m not sure…….”
“Mam, I’m not setting up a business willy nilly. I’ve done extensive research into this. There is a definite gap in the market for quality, well finished oak furniture. None of this flat pack rubbish. I just need this money to get me started. After that, it’s going to be self financing.”
Hold on. I stop sucking for a second. Quality furniture? Doesn’t that mean expensive? And aren’t we in one of the worst recessions this country has ever experienced? Everyone’s buying flat pack because that’s all they can afford. I look up at Granny. Surely she’s not going to agree to lend money to this turkey of a project.
“I’ll have to talk to your father about it. We’ll let you know when we reach a decision.”
“But Mam. I need the money today. I promised my new business partner I’d have my half no later than tomorrow. Please, this is the first chance I’ve had of carving out a new career for myself since I was made redundant last year.”
Talk about emotional blackmail. I start to yawn. That’s just taking advantage of Granny’s good nature. That bottle has made me sleepy. I can’t keep my eyes open any longer…………………
I wake up. I’m back in the thick of the party, strapped in to my buggy. Mark is standing beside me, still grinning like a hyena. Ann is over the other side of the room, talking animatedly to some tall blonde guy – her latest conquest. Mark puts his hand in to his pocket and takes out a white envelope. He calls over to Ann.
“Sweetheart, could you come over here for a second?”
“In a minute, love. Craig is just telling me how he set up as a surfing instructor.”
“I’ve something you’re going to really like. You’re not going to want to miss it.” Mark whines pleadingly, waving his envelope in the air.
“Oh, ok. Can you hang on a sec, Craig?”
Mark hands her the envelope.
“Open it.” He’s beaming from ear to ear.
She obeys, pulling out what looks like tickets of some sort.
“Remember you said you’ve always wanted to go to Tuscany. Well, now you are. I got this deal. A week in a villa right beside a vineyard. Your dream is about to come true. I was going to wait until your birthday to tell you , but I couldn’t keep it a secret any longer.”
“Wow,” says Ann. “When are we going?”
“14 July” Mark can hardly contain himself he is so happy.
“14 July ? But that’s when I’m going away to a spa with Tara and Bernice. We’ve been planning it for ages. It’s going to be the girly weekend to beat all girly weekends. Would they change it for you, do you think Mark?”
“But would you not prefer to go to Italy with me?” He sounds a bit like someone has stuck a pin in him now. I can almost hear the hiss of air as he deflates.
“It’s just that weekend, love. It doesn’t really suit. I’m sure they’d swap it for another one.”
“But it was all booked out. I don’t think I’d get it for any other date.”
“Look,” says Ann dismissively. “Ring them up tomorrow and explain. I’m sure they’ll sort something out.”
“And if there’s nothing else available. What am I going to do then?”
“You’ll just have to cancel it. You’ll get most of the money back. They might charge you a booking fee but it shouldn’t be too much.”
“Yeah but I was so excited about it. I thought you’d feel like that too.” Mark now sounds like a little boy who’s lost his favourite toy.
Hello, Mark. Hello. Can you not see the woman just doesn’t care about you? Why can’t you just do the right thing and dump her. What is it that makes you stick around and let her treat you like this?
“See, if Davy could talk, he’d say you were getting into a tizzy about nothing. He’d say – “Let Ann go away with her girlfriends, isn’t that right little fella? You’re a little cutie, aren’t you?”
She’s picked me up now and is swinging me around. I would say nothing of the sort and I’m about to give voice to my real feelings, when she gives me a little tickle under the chin, her blue eyes level with mine and her blonde hair resting on my shoulder and for some reason I don’t cry. Instead, I find myself smiling a silly smile. Is there no end to this woman’s temerity? Not content with charming every grown man in the room, she has to win me over as well.
Waaa, Waaa, Waaa.
“What’s wrong with him?” Daddy sounds worried.
“He’s not due a bottle. He doesn’t need a nappy change. Why the hell is he crying?”
“He’s a baby,” answers Granny. “Sometimes they just cry for no reason.”
If only Granny knew. I’m crying for a reason alright. 50000 euros worth of a reason. She took her cheque book out of her bag about 2 minutes ago and I know she’s about to give Daddy that loan. I have decided to employ delaying tactics.
“Have you got a soother for him just to calm him down?”
“Oh no. Lisa doesn’t agree with soothers.” He looks horrified at the suggestion.
“His face is going very red isn’t it? Maybe he’s coming down with something.” Granny is rocking me in desperation and I feel bad that I’m causing her worry. I have to remind myself that this is for the good of her bank balance.
“Do you have a thermometer? We should really take his temperature . We might have to ring the doctor if it’s up.”
“I might have one upstairs in his little set of drawers. Wait here, I’ll go up and have a look.”
Yes! Mission accomplished.
“His temperature is slightly up alright. Did you notice his neck seems a bit floppy.”
“Oh God, that’s one of the symptoms of meningitis isn’t it?”
“You have to act fast when it’s meningitis. It can kill a baby in the space of a few hours.” Granny is starting to hyperventilate.
Steady on, lads. It’s only a bit of crying after all.
“It could be too late if we bring him down to the doctor. I think we should put him in the car and bring him straight into the hospital.” They’re panicking so much they haven’t noticed that I’ve stopped crying.
“Come on, you get his car seat, we’ve no time to waste”
And as they strap me into the car, I start crying for real this time. I’ve seen the state of the Irish hospitals on the news, how short staffed they are and how overcrowded. I don’t want to end up in one of those places. Waaa. Waaa.