A Rush Job

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #137, where we write about the image below.

A picture containing grass, outdoor, nature, smoke

Description automatically generated

“Oh, come on Dad. Just one more time.”

“No, I’ve just told you! I’ll tell the story again, another day.”

“Please…”, whined Toby.

His father issued a rather melodramatic tut, before relenting.

“Okay, you want to hear about Great-Grandpa Joe?”

“Yes, yes, yes”, squealed the boy in delight.

“Well, this all happened a long, long time ago. Long before you were born, long before I was born, long before even Grandpa Jack was born. It all happened when Great-Grandpa Joe was a little boy.

“Great-Grandpa Joe was just starting to be useful around the house – just like you are – and one summer, Joe was helping his daddy, the way you sometimes help me. His name was William, and he was your ???”

“Great-Great-Grandpa”, interrupted Toby, gleefully.

“That’s right. He was your great-great- grandpa. Well done.”

Dad paused, to let the praise sink in.

“One summer”, continued Dad, “Joe was helping William to put up that summer house over there.” He nodded. “It took them the whole summer. Three long months they worked, and in the end, they were done. There was only one thing left to do.”

He turned to the boy. “Do you know what?”

Toby, who had heard the story a million times before, immediately answered, “they had to paint it.”

“That’s right. And the very last weekend of the summer, with the leaves starting to drop from the trees, that’s exactly what they did, to protect it from the winter storms.”

“Go on.”

“Well, they were just about done. William had gone to get cleaned up and had left Joe to complete the last tiny bit. He had just about finished when…”

“This is the best bit”, rasped Toby.

“Well, Joe must’ve been feeling kinda hungry, because just then, Great-Grandma Jilly arrived, and announced that tea was ready. I guess the lure of Jilly’s homemade Ginger Cake was too much for poor old Joe, and he turned and sprinted back to the house, dropping the brush in this pasture on his way.

“And when he came back the next day…”, chimed the pair in unison.


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