Sunday, 25 September 2016

In Cassidy's Care: 3: Last Tuesday

3. Last Tuesday

The next morning Cassidy prepared breakfast for his boys. He also needed to prepare them for bad news; their beloved ‘Grumps’ had passed away the night before. He looked at the box of cereal in his hands. ‘Cheerios’. Who says Americans don’t do irony, he thought.
“What’s ‘irony’ Dad?”
Cassidy rubbed his forehead. Breakfast was always ‘Question Time with Archie’.
“It’s like insincere wit, sarcasm. The Brits are experts at irony Archie. I can’t even spell it.”
Daniel looked up, tilted his head, said ‘I. R. O. N. Y.’ and returned his attention to the back of the cereal box.
“Yes Archie?”
“What’s a ‘cactuscunt’?”
Cassidy choked on his Cheerios.
“Where did you hear those words Archie?”
“Isn’t cactuscunt one word?”
Bloody Bill I’ll bet, thought Cassidy. He knew that the term was applied to dry old spinsters, but wondered if it had been a fresh insult leveled at him.
“It wasn’t Uncle Bill Daddy” Daniel protested, “and he’s not bloody…” Both boys looked at each other and bowed their heads.
Cassidy steadied himself.
“Where, Archie?” he said in as even a tone as he could muster.  “Where and in what context?”
“What’s ‘context’?”
Cassidy lost momentum, wasn’t sure that he wanted to pursue this.
“It means ‘situation’ or ‘circumstance’ Archie. Like this moment in the kitchen”
Maybe best not give the words too much attention.
“You, me and Daniel sitting here eating breakfast, that is the context to our conversation.”
Archie wrinkled his nose, puzzled.
“Now, finish your cereal kiddo. Less talk, more walk.”
A seamless deflection, thought Cassidy. Best to let that one slide, although he doubted that he’d heard that particular term for the last time. Daniel and Archie were persistent and pretty worldly; they too had developed edges, the influence of Amelia, the benefits of a ‘broken home’.
And what a shitty term that is.
“Dad, you cursed.” Cassidy winced; he was making a habit of thinking out loud. Daniel side eyed him disapprovingly; since Amelia’s departure his first son had become Cassidy’s conscience and moral mediator keeping both he and Archie in check and on track. Archie chuckled into the canary yellow sleeve of his Arsenal shirt. Cassidy noticed that Archie always wore the team’s away strip when staying at his apartment; now that was fucking irony. He’d be wearing it the next night when Arsenal visited Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea. The boys didn’t know it yet, but Cassidy had wangled tickets. That might soften the blow.
“Listen you two. You know that your Grandpa has been poorly? Well last night, in his sleep, peacefully, no pain, with Granny Annie by his side he….”
“Grumpa Harry’s dead?” chirped Archie.
“He passed away”
“So he’s dead?”
“Correct Archie.”
“Will he go to heaven?”
“Absolutely. He was a good man. Good men go to heaven.”
“Yes Archie?”
"Did Grumpa curse?"
"He taught me everything I know Archie"
"And cursers can get into heaven?"
"As long as they know that they shouldn't curse and say sorry in their heads after they've done it" parried Cassidy. “Sometimes it’s ok to curse. It all depends on the… context.”
"Yes Archie?"
“Can we have pancakes for breakfast?”

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