Saving Dad

August 11th, 2013 | Stories for children

Here is a story for children.

Saving Dad

On the way back from our holiday, we got a puncture. While dad was changing the tyre by the side of the road, he was hit by a passing truck. Talk about a mess! Bits of him were scattered all over the place. Eventually we retrieved them all and pushed them back together again – more or less. There was blood everywhere. Dad would have loved it. He loves blood and guts – especially his own.

He started to groan when we pushed the last bit back into place. He wasn’t up to driving us home, though, so mum took the driver’s seat, and we propped him up in mum’s seat.

He’s a pretty tough guy, dad. We figure’d he’d be OK after a couple of good nights’ sleep – or bad nights’ sleep. He’s a bit of an insomniac, actually. He looked pretty pale, though. He’d lost a lot of blood. We scooped a fair bit up and poured it back into him, but we had to leave a lot by the side of the road. Mum wants to come back for it next week, but I don’t reckon it’ll be much good by then. It’ll be all dry and dusty, and I’ve noticed it turns black after it’s been out of the body for too long, which is discouraging. I know it’s good to be an optimist, but sometimes mum’s just ridiculous! She feels it’s such a waste to leave it there. I suppose it is, too, but sometimes you just have to let these things go.

He’ll be OK once he gets his fangs into some red meat. I mean his teeth. He hasn’t got fangs. It’s not like he’s a vampire or anything – though you would wonder to look at him at the moment. He does look pale!

You know, I half suspect he threw himself in front of the truck, just for the thrill if it. He’s a bit like that, dad. You can’t always trust him. And none of us exactly saw what happened. We were all sitting along the edge of the road, on the other side of the car. Suddenly, Splat! Blood everywhere!

The poor truck driver got a hell of a fright. He pulled up down the road and ran back to see if he could help. We assured him everything was OK. This had happened to dad before,
and he’d been fine. The driver looked at us a bit oddly, but I think he was just too upset to argue. He walked back to his truck muttering and shaking his head.

I don’t know why everybody has to make such a BIG DEAL about everything. God, you’d think it was a matter of life and death sometimes, the way people carry on.

We had been planning to stop for an ice cream, but mum thought that, under the circumstances, we should press on and get dad into bed as soon as possible. I had to admit he was starting to develop a rather lop-sided grin. I bound his face up tightly with a tea towel, and he looked a lot better. He stopped dribbling, too.

An hour or so later I noticed he seemed to have wet his pants. Mum reckoned this was a good sign. It showed his vital organs were starting to function again. By the time we pulled into our driveway he even had a feeble pulse. He was still unconscious, though, so we had to carry him into the house. Unfortunately, this attracted the attention of our pesky neighbour, Mrs Johnson. She’s always interfering.

“Has your dad been run over again?”

We just ignored her. I reckon she’s a witch. The last time she tried to help she nearly killed poor dad. Mrs Johnson kept coming closer, muttering in some strange language. I got such a fright I dropped my bit of dad on the front verandah. Eventually, we bundled him inside the house, and slammed the door on crazy Mrs Johnson.

You know, sometimes I get quite annoyed with dad. Most dads are just happy to go the footy or go fishing for relaxation, but not ours. If he doesn’t jump in front of a truck every now and then and get himself smashed into a thousand pieces, he’s not happy. It’s a bit selfish, really. I mean, does he even think of us? It’s not that much fun to scrape pieces of your dad off the road, and then have to fend off busybody neighbours. To say nothing of the extra driving mum had to do!

I mean, maybe mum would like to throw herself in front of a truck, too, sometimes, but she knows somebody has to hold the fort together. It’d be a lot easier if he could just do it while we were driving to the shops or something, but no, he always has to do it when we’re on family holidays, and a million miles from home!

Maybe that’s the point. Maybe he has to relax a bit before he can ‘let himself go’, so to speak. Still, it’s tiring for us. I wouldn’t say it ruins our holiday, but it certainly does take the edge off things.

I mean, once we’d got dad inside, we still had to carry in all the suitcases and everything. Normally dad would have done most of that. And then he would have got us some take- away. Fish and chips, or something like that. Instead he just lay in bed, pale as a ghost. Mum didn’t have the energy to go out again, so we ended up having tomato soup and hot buttered toast – not terribly exciting.

We weren’t sure what to do with dad during the night. Mum didn’t really want to get into bed with him, because he was still oozing a fair bit. Sometimes if he gets too warm when he’s been like this he starts bleeding again wherever he’s been pushed back together, so it’s often better to keep him a bit cooler. Eventually we decided to put him out on the back verandah. It wasn’t a very cold night, and we figured he’d be fine with a light blanket over him.

The next morning, though, I was worried. Normally by now he’d be sitting up smiling and sipping a cup of tea. Instead, he was still unconscious. His breathing was shallow, his pulse thready. He was covered in a light sweat.

“Maybe he’s got an infection,” I said to mum. “That stretch of road didn’t look very clean.”

“We’d better call Mrs Johnson,” said mum.

I rolled my eyes. “That old witch! What is she going to do? Last time she only made things worse!”

“I’m not so sure about that,” said mum. “Let’s get her anyway.”

It wasn’t hard to find her. I could see her yellow eye peeking through a knot-hole in the fence.

“Don’t pretend you didn’t hear us, you old bag!” I shouted out.

Mum frowned and shook her head, urging me not to provoke her unnecessarily.

The eye quickly disappeared from the knot-hole, and soon we could hear the distinctive shuffling limp of Mrs Johnson coming up our path. She stopped briefly at the foot of the verandah before limping up the steps, peering over dad, and starting to mutter again.

“I can’t stand this!” I shouted, and stormed inside, slamming the door behind me.

© Stephen Whiteside 06.01.11