12 Aug 2008

The Adventures of Jack Scolfield


Jack awoke this morning feeling good. It's Saturday he said aloud I have no school for two whole days. Now what sort of a day is it he wondered? Is it raining? or is the sun shining? He crawled along his bed until he arrived at the bottom and reached over towards the curtains; then quickly drew them apart with excitement, oh no he cried! As he recoiled in horror and disappointment, what a terrible day Jack said. Every school day this week had been a replica of itself, blue sky’s, brilliant sunshine, and very hot. And now this scene that he viewed through the window was more reminiscent of a winter’s day not of a summer’s day. Jack could see the rain as it bounced off neighbour’s roofs, and then flowed into awaiting gutters, and onward to the down pipes that gurgled their protest at the vast volume of water that tried to exit the gutter’s all at the same time .It’s just not fair said Jack. He crawled back up the bed, snuggled under the bed covers and said, If I cant go out and play, I’m not even getting up to-day.

Jack! Said a demanding voice from down the stair, Jack! Come on the voice continued, up you get, It’s nine o clock, Remember your promise to me. Jack groaned as he recognized his Mother’s voice urgently calling him. Why had he promised her that he would clean and tidy his bedroom to-day, he thought. Jack peeled back the bed clothes from his face and said, in a minute Mum. Now! was the angry reply from down the stair? Jack was out of his bed in a trice and standing by his bedroom door yelling to his Mother, I’m up Mum, really I am, I’m up.

Jack heard the kitchen door down stairs slam shut with a bang and knew he was safe for a little longer. He shuddered as he remembered the last time he had attempted to lay in bed till late in the morning against his Mothers wishes. His Mother had crept into his bedroom and surprised him by drenching his bare back with ice cold water administered by way of a flannel. That lesson he would never forget.

Jack’s heart sank as he surveyed the scene that surrounded him. How did my bedroom become so untidy he thought? There were dirty clothes so high on the computer table, that you wouldn’t have known the computer was there hiding under them. Among the pile of clothing Jack recognized his football kit still caked with mud, though some what more dry now than when he had shed them on the Wednesday. What a match that was remembered Jack, as he once more savoured the moment that his skilful kick of the ball had resulted in the winning goal against St. James College. Jack struck out with his foot at an imaginary football, and then ran round his bedroom shouting GOAL till he collided with his guinea pigs cage, and fell into a tangled heap on to the floor.

Jack lay there breathless waiting to hear his Mother’s angry protest about the sudden noise he had made, but it never came. Phew! exclaimed Jack that was lucky she never heard me. Jack sat up and gingerly untangled his feet from a mass of computer wires and football boots. Eh! what’s this said Jack out loud, as he withdrew his clenched fist from underneath of the guinea pig cage. Jack opened his hand to reveal a massive conker still attached to a length of string. My champion Conker he said. He examined the battered nut that had survived countless battles to remain the champion. Jack put the conker to his lips and kissed it with affection. He could still smell the odour of vinegar, the secret ingredient for toughening the nuts armoured shell. He then buried this treasure deep into his dressing gown pocket.

Jimmy, Jack called as he rattled the guinea pigs cage with his finger. Jimmy are you all right. As if in answer to Jacks Question there was a Russell of straw from inside the guinea pig’s house, then a head popped out and a pair of sleepy eyes asked “what’s all the commotion.” Thank goodness said Jack, I thought I may have injured you. Good grief Jimmy said Jack, you don’t half smell badly, Jack backed away from the cage holding his nose. PHEW something will have to be done about this said Jack. But Jimmy didn’t seem to mind the smell, he just waddled over to his feeding bowl and began to munch his breakfast. That reminds me said Jack as he watched his pets face once more disappear into his feeding bowl. I’m hungry, you’ve got the right idea Jimmy said Jack, eat first, work after. With a last look around his bedroom taking in the huge cleaning task that he hoped would some how be all done when he returned, he made his way down to the kitchen.

Molly Scolfield was in the kitchen on her hands and knee’s. There were puddles of wet mud everywhere, and muddy streaks that ran down the walls creating patterns of unwanted decoration. Molly stopped her labours and threw the floor clothe into the bowl of black soapy water. She turned her head to the corner of the room and stared in disbelief at the filthy bundle of fur cowering in its bed. You dare move from your bed till I’ve finished, she said, furiously waving a finger in Jed’s direction. Jed slung even further down towards the floor, he hoped the floor would open up and swallow him whole, away from that wagging finger and angry voice. Having once more exchanged the dirty water in the bowl for clean Molly resumed her task, breathing heavily from the labours of her toil.

Jed felt better now the angry voice and wagging finger were occupied in another direction. He visibly relaxed. I don’t know what all the fuss is about, he thought. My master Jack wouldn’t have shouted at me. He would understand that when a dog is finally freed to the garden after a hard night on guard duty, in the house, there are certain rituals that must be done. First he must alert the neighbour hood by barking loudly to convey to all that, Jed the big black mongrel, from a long line of proud mongrels, was still here, and ready to do battle with any that dare to come near to his master’s property. Then a few jumping exercises up against the garden gate, he could still accomplish forty such gymnastics’ without a rest. A sure sign to other’s how fit he is Then to finish off the ritual a tour of his garden to dig up and to replant his treasure of juicy bones. Yes indeed thought Jed a fine mornings work. My master would be pleased with me. Jed sneaked a glance in the direction of the wagging finger and satisfied that all was well, settle down to sleep.

Molly wearily raised herself from the floor for the last time. She made her way to the kitchen sink carrying what was now, a relatively clean bowl of soapy water. She emptied it away down the kitchen sink .Molly turned and surveyed the result of her hard work. There she said that’s much better. Now, said Molly where is that boy? Hardly had the words left her lips, than the door was violently swung wide open and there in the open doorway stood Jack .Is breakfast ready Mum I’m starving said Jack.

Now some people say, it was about this time that Jacks Mum had to start dying her hair to hide the grey. Because it was as if suddenly a terrible war had just broken out, and at the same time as Jack took one step onto the wet slippery kitchen floor, and started to loose his balance, Jed woken by his master’s voice decided to give his master the old traditional mongrel greeting. Only the start of a protest emerged from Molly’s lips before both dog and master collided, in approximately the middle of the room. There was a resounding crash, as kitchen table and chairs scattered as if their lives depended on it. Two muddy wet figures rolled over and over the floor. Jed was attempting to lick every inch of Jacks startled face, while Jack was still wondering how he had managed to arrive in his uncomfortable position so quickly. Meanwhile Jed Stepped back to view his master's wet gleaming face, and satisfied with his handy work, did what any satisfied, respectable, wet, muddy mongrel would do. Jed gave one almighty shake of his entire body in an attempt to get dry. The scream that had been building in Molly’s throat, wailed out like the sound of an old steam ships siren, sending out warnings to other shipping, in the fog. Jed knew it was time to depart. Jed moved his long legs so quickly that it was several seconds before his paws gripped on the wet floor, but when they did, a bolt of lightening would not have moved so fast. With Jed’s departure came such a silence in the kitchen that you could have heard a pin drop onto the floor. Jack sat resting his arms on his legs and surveyed the battle field that once was a clean and tidy kitchen and looked into his mothers despairing face and said I suppose this means that breakfast will be late then, A! mum?.

Jack stood looking out of his bedroom window idly stroking Jed’s head. Although the scene at the window had improved in as much as the day appeared to be considering a change to better weather, Jed was too deep in thought to see it. There was no need for me to have a bath, thought Jack. My pyjamas and dressing gown needed washing I can understand that, but I didn’t. It isn’t even Sunday, not till tomorrow. Well I’m not having another bath tomorrow that just wouldn’t be fair thought Jack. I’m sure to be soaked in so much water, so often, must be bad for you he thought. It may stiffen my arms and legs and they won’t work properly, just like my bike when that gets wet. Jack moved his limbs to test out his theory. To his surprise everything seemed to work just fine. Still I mustn’t take chances he thought, I hate cod liver oil, and it would be the only remedy to cure such problems. I must remember to tell mum about the dangers of too many baths she obviously doesn’t know.

Jed sat by his master’s side enjoying his head being stroked. What a morning this had been, he thought. The wagging finger had finely caught him, but it had been a lovely chase. He had been his usual slippery self, dodging in between legs and escaping grasping hands. He had double back on his tracks, first up the stairs, then down, then back up. Along the landing, into bedrooms, under beds, then out again. All the time he was hotly pursued by the wagging finger, it was great fun he thought. It had been when he was feeling at his most confident that disaster had struck. As he had turned the corner of the landing Jed spied another open door. He made a perfectly timed right hand manoeuvre which saw him directly into the room. He knew at once the terrible mistake he had made. He was in the bathroom. Before he had time to turn around and make his escape, he heard the slam of the door as it closed. He was trapped. He had put up a good struggle right to the end, but the end did come, and in the form of the dreaded bath.

Jed now sat with his master clean and dry, and smelling of the flowers in the garden .This was a terrible disadvantage when stalking cats, and an item to have to fight about when the neighbouring dogs receive his newly acquired sent. Ah yes Jed thought, not all bad then.

Written by, Graham Alexander Phillips

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