The car seat’s all sticky on my legs. They make a squishy-squishy noise when I move them.
‘Are we nearly there yet?’
Mummy doesn’t say anything.
I don’t think she can hear me so I ask my Moominmamma. She’s got smiley eyes and an apron and a big handbag. My Mummy’s exactly like Moominmamma – kind and looks after people. The only time my Mummy isn’t exactly like Moominmamma is when Daddy comes home from the army.
When Moominpappa accidentally breaks a plate, Moominmamma says, ‘I’m glad it’s broken, it was pretty ugly.’ When Daddy breaks a plate, Mummy cries and runs upstairs until he’s gone to the pub then comes down and clears up the sharpy bits so we don’t get them in our feet.
‘Are we nearly there yet?’ I ask Moominmamma really loud, squishing my legs.
‘Flippin eck Jessie,’ shouts Pauly, ‘can’t you see she’s driving?’
Pauly thinks I’m talking to Mummy.
‘She can’t listen Jessie because she’s concentrating and we’ve only been going twenty minutes and will you please stop doing that flamin thing with your stupid legs.’
Mummy looks into her little mirror.
‘Alright Pauly,’ she says then, ‘No Jessie love, we’re ages away. Why don’t you two play a game of I-spy to pass the time? This traffic’s awful and I need to concentrate.’
‘I’m not playing with her,’ says Pauly. ‘She doesn’t even know the alphabet.’
‘Come on Pauly love,’ says Mummy, ‘be kind to your little sister. She’ll never learn if we don’t teach her how.’
I do my special smile at Pauly, the one that’s like sticking your tongue out and we play I-spy for a bit.
‘Bugger,’ shouts Mummy and the car starts stopping on the little road next to the big one.
Mummy puts her head on the steering wheel breathing all heavy like she’s been skipping.
‘Don’t worry,’ she says, ‘the engine’s overheated that’s all. It’s probably all the stopping and starting.’
She gets out and opens the front of the car. All smoke comes out and I say, ‘Look Pauly, it’s on fire.’
‘It’s steam stupid,’ he says shaking his head, ‘don’t you know anything?’
He’s very clever our Pauly but he’s not always kind. Mummy gets back in and turns the key two or ten times. It makes a clicky noise. Baby Charlie wakes up. She’s in the front in her baby seat.
Mummy looks at her then turns to us, ‘I think Rusty’s had it this time kids.’
Our car’s called Rusty because it’s knackered. ‘I’m going to have to telephone for someone to come and rescue us. It shouldn’t take more than fifteen minutes. There’s emergency phones every mile down the motorway. You two must stay in the car.
I’ll take Baby Charlie in the sling.’ She’s very serious now, looking right at us. ‘Paul, I’m relying on you to
look after your little sister.’
Lorries swoosh past as she walks away.
‘Pauly,’ I say, squishing my legs really fast, ‘I need a wee.’
Jan Kaneen is a mum, wife, sister and pug servant who recently got a distinction on the OU’s course A215 in Creative Writing. She loves flash fiction and writing short stories and is learning as much as she can about teeny tales to get match fit as she writes her first novel.
Let Jan know what you think of her story in the comments below!