Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Strawberry Jam Incident

Pam was sitting at the kitchen table sewing name labels on the inside of Tommy’s school shirts. She wasn’t sure which she hated more, having to buy new clothes every term as he had a growth spurt, or the hours of sitting sewing name labels on everything.

Tommy and Jeanette, the girl from next door had been racing around the house for the last twenty minutes and from the general hullaballoo she thought it was cops and robbers. There had been a lot of noises like shots being fired and what she could only assume was a child interpretation of a police siren. Pam had just finished sewing the last label in, and had pulled the needle and thread up to her mouth to bite it off when she heard a noise that made the blood in her veins freeze.

She dropped the shirt with the needle and thread still attached and raced out into the hall just as Tommy’s tumble down the stairs finished at her feet.

‘Oh my god, Tommy, Tommy,’ Pam cried as she dropped to her knees and cradled Tommy’s head on her knees.

‘It’s okay Mrs Jones. I think I got him,’ shouted Jeanette from the top of the stairs.

Pam looked up and saw Jeanette still pointing her plastic gun at Tommy.

‘I don’t think you understand Jeanette. Tommy’s really hurt.’ Tommy lay still and limp in his mother’s arms. She could see his little chest rising and falling but who knew what damage had been done.

As she watched his chest she noticed for the first time the red stain. Slow spreading on the upper left hand side of his shirt was a large red stain.

‘Jeanette. I need you to put the gun down and go and get your dad.’

‘But he’s only playing dead Mrs Jones. He’s going to escape if I don’t keep the gun on him.’

‘I’ll keep an eye on him and you go next door and get your dad.’

‘But Mrs Jones…’

‘Jeanette this is important. I need you to go now.’ Pam was trying to keep her voice steady but she was starting to panic and she needed help.

Jeanette walked down the stairs and handed Pam the gun. ‘Don’t let him out of your sight.’

‘I won’t. Now hurry.’ Pam was starting to cry and she needed the girl to hurry and not get distracted.

Jeanette raced out of the door and Pam looked down at her son. As soon as the door clicked closed he opened his left eye.

‘Oh thank God. Are you okay sweetheart?’

‘Has she gone?’ Tommy whispered.

‘She’s gone but you lay still sweetheart. I think you’ve hurt yourself and we need to get an ambulance to look at you.’

‘Nah, I fine thanks Mum.’ Tommy shook his head and jumped to his feet.

Pam managed to grab hold of his arm before he had chance to go racing off. ‘I don’t think so. You’re hurt and you need checking out. For a start let’s have a look at your chest.’

Pam whipped his shirt off over his head. There was not a mark on him. She held his hand and spun him round and round. Next she held up his shirt and looked at the stain. The blood stain she had seen earlier didn’t look quite right. She looked at her son and he smiled sheepishly.

‘Jeanette was going to arrest me and lock me up in prison so I had to escape. She thought she shot me so I could escape.’

‘And what is this?’ Pam pointed at the stain.

‘Well… you know the jam sandwiches you made us for lunch?’

Pam was just about to explode at her son as Jeanette’s father came flying through the open door.

‘See I told you he wasn’t dead,’ Jeanette cried as she grabbed the gun and started chasing after Tommy.

At tear stained Pam picked herself up off the floor and smiled sheepishly at Jeanette’s dad. ‘Well now you’re here do you fancy a cup of tea?’

‘Why not?’

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