The words from the kitchen were
harsh and cruel. On the one hand, my brother’s familiar tones raised in
frantic accusation. On the other, my father’s deep tenor distorted
by near obscenities.
How stupid it was, the fragile
harmony of the holiday weekend fractured, on the point of ruination,
because of that damn’d car key. And there was no reasoning with these two.
Egos were bruised, defences were up and battle stations had been assumed.
The friction between father and
eldest son, having traveled the 150 miles or so in the family car to
visit, was heating up the atmosphere fast! Now Dad was a lousy
driver – a few miles with him at the wheel could be quite terrifying – and
Colin possessed all the tact of a rampant, raving rhino. So when Dad
shut off the engine, put the key in his jacket pocket, locked the car
doors, neatly folded his jacket and placed it in the trunk, the ugly scene
that followed was irrevocably set.
“Only an old fool could, would
lock a key in the boot of a car!” yelled my brother.
“And only a rudeword idiot son
would forget to bring the spare key with him!” screamed Dad in
The thrust and parry of
intelligent and controlled argument was reduced to hack and chop, rip and
tear. No rationality here.
The serviceman glanced at me
and, although he spoke no words, his eyes betrayed his understanding. He
worked quickly, opening the door of the car. He then removed the
back seat. Through one of the penetrations through the bulkhead, he
reached into the trunk and felt around. He located the jacket pocket
and retrieved the key.
Dad and Colin were still in
full song as I triumphantly held the shiny key up in their faces. The
yelling stopped. “How did you get that?”
I explained that all I had done
was the obvious and the rational. I had called the Automobile Association.
Silence. Then sheepish
And then, “Well then, let’s go
to the pub for a drink.”
© 1999, 2004