Something Beginning With Chaos

Mum’s driving the station wagon, Jenny, Jack and Grace in the back. Butch and Becky in the footwells grizzling. Esky, bags, towels, birdcage. The back-back is full. Suitcases on the roof rack.

Butch looks guilty. 

'Mum, Butch farted.'

'You kids behave yourselves. Your father needs a break.'

Into the city. Dad’s waiting at the lights, jumps in, briefcase in hand. Expressway.

'Did I leave the iron on?'

Back home, run up the drive, run inside. Iron’s off. Run to the car. On the road again. 

Friday afternoon. Pacific Highway banking up. 

'I spy with my little eye something beginning with C.'


Three runs through the alphabet. Dad puts the radio on. Boring ABC.

Grace needs to wee.

We get to the sea. Dad’s singing. Oh I do like to be beside the seaside. Oh I do like to be beside the sea. Dad likes a song. Soon he’ll be pumping yabbies in sandels and thongs.

But first a shopping stop. Sausages. Sausage Rolls. Bread rolls. Breadcrumbs. Crumbed fish, fish fingers, scotch fingers, Scotch marmalade.

'Anything else you kids want?'


'In the esky!'

Open the beachhouse. It stinks. 

'Where did I put my purse?'

Mum’s lost her purse. 

'I must have left it in the trolley. It’s not the cards and money. It’s granny’s rings I’m worried about.'

Back to the shops. Mum’s crying.

'Is this your purse?' 

Mum’s astounded.

'Everything’s there! It’s those rings. They were granny’s.'

Mum’s happy. Dad’s happy. Nothing’s lost. Dad calls the Paper, tells them the story. It’s a good story. The Paper wants to publish. Dad tells mum.

Mum’s furious. 

'Now everyone will know about the rings! We’ll be robbed!'

Dad calls the Paper. 

'Forget the story.' 

'What about a picture?' 

'No story! No picture!'

Mum’s not talking. She’s gone to bed and shut the door.

Backyard cricket. Jack’s bowled out. Dad hits a six. Dad gets hit in the face, glasses go flying.

Dad’s got a crick in his neck. Mum gets the sunlamp.

'Your father’s in pain. Be good you kids.'

Becky and Butch start fighting. Dad starts yelling. 

'Get those bloody dogs outside!'

'Mum I’m bored.'

'Go down the beach. Take your hat.'

Jack gets sunburnt. Jenny gets sunburnt. Grace gets a rash. Butch gets a hook in his mouth. Becky craps in the laundry. Mum packs the car. Dad drives.

'Did you turn that sunlamp off?'

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