Mum's the Word

A clean start



Youngest and I are watching a film on the laptop. Friday night and all is calm. Until Eldest arrives home. He’s early, considering he went to a party. He puts his head round the bedroom door. Aggggghhhhh. He’s as white as a sheet.

“Are you all right?” I say. “You’re as white as a sheet!”

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Last time he was this white he passed out. The time before that he had pneumonia.

Beads of sweat sprout on his brow. “I’m…”

He makes a sharp exit.

“Oh God. He’s not well,” I say to Youngest.

“Hmmm,” she says.

“See if he’s OK. It’ll come better from you.”

“Do I have to?”


She goes. With extreme bad grace. Muffled conversation can be heard. She returns.

“He’s being sick in his bin.”

“Poor lamb. Maybe it was something he ate,” I say to Youngest. Neither of us believes this.

“Hmpppph,” she says. “Or drank.”

Next day he’s up with the lark, off to Manchester for a weekend gigging, out of the door before I can begin the interrogation. I’ll just check his room. Urrrgh. Right, he’ll be cleaning that up when he gets back.

Sunday night he returns, full of the joys. Manchester was the business, blah, blah. What have I been doing?

“Well, not cleaning your bedroom carpet that’s for sure.”

“Oh yeah. Hee, hee,” he says.

“Have you apologised to your girlfriend?”


“She had to bring you home!”

“Oh right. Well, it was just around the corner.”

“So thoughtful. What a catch.”

I hand him a sponge and carpet shampoo. Up he goes, singing.

Ten minutes later his pals arrive.

“He’s upstairs cleaning up vomit,” I say as I welcome them in.

They guffaw.

“Yeah, I was a victim of that party too,” says one of them.

“Really? Well....”

“I know, Janet,” he cuts in. “Only ourselves to blame, let ourselves down, very disappointed in us. I thought we were better than that.”

Aw, I wanted to say that. How are you meant to give them a hard time if they agree with you before you’ve even started? Where’s the fun in that? Killjoys. n