by Joe Bedford
It was a three-uncle job. Strictly no aunts.
“Uncle-stack!” I had suggested, my father stumped, expecting something more mundane. But no; there would be no toy cars, no pyjamas or pogo-sticks. What I wanted was a stack of uncles — more precisely Uncle Bobby, Uncle Jack and Uncle Nicholas in ascending order. I was about to turn six. My mother tried to appease me with a trip to Scarborough. It would have to be the uncles.
November 1st 1991 would have been the day. The party was probably a cake-and-jelly affair. Maybe somewhere a party-bag trinket still lingers in someone’s attic.
They assembled in my back garden: the uncles and everyone else.
Uncle Jack crouched; Nicholas shook like a party horn as he stepped up onto Jack’s shoulders. Jack straightened out. A flutter of applause. Bobby (a rugby referee) crouched down and cracked his knuckles. Jack, clutching Nicholas by the jeans, manoeuvred towards Bobby’s shoulders. The family was egging them on. Bobby backed up under Jack’s pencil legs. Jack lifted a foot, Nicholas’ weight brought it down. He lifted again, dropped it on Bobby’s shoulder. Bobby slapped at the other leg. A moment of withheld breath, and the other foot stepped up. A severe wobble brought a bubble of ohh’s. The stack was stable, but Bobby was still squatting. He caught my eye then; I remember it perfectly. With veins a-popping, he rose, his powerful knees unbending, heaving with glorious triumph, allowing himself a sportsman’s grunt. He stood there, his hands at Jack’s ankles, the man, the uncle. I was, apparently, speechless, as my family erupted in cheers.
It is impossible to remember, I think, what it is like to be six years old and weeping with joy …
At the age of seven, requests for an auntie-stack were abruptly declined.
Joe Bedford is a writer living in Brighton, the U.K. His work has been published in Adbusters,Storgy and through several online culture-zines.
Jan Bedford said:
I love it!
What was that about? I know I will be labeled as the sarcastic cynic erupting from the covey of admirers, but what really happens here? There is no interesting action that takes place. I know it is hard taking blunt comments, but I learned more about how to improve my writing from my detractors than from my admirers. Memories of a birthday party when you/the protagonist were/was six? Now if you had been sixty and at gunpoint had forced your three eighty-year-old uncles form a human pyramid with their aging side-chicks, then you would have had something. But then I write horror and dark fiction, so maybe I just don’t get it.
Bob Busby said:
Fame at last
paul beckman said:
Loved this story
Great little story with a laugh at the end!