Thursday, June 12, 2008

There are fifty different types of crisps.

"Have you got anything?" Elly says.

I look at her and think "Oh shit, I haven't got anything. The next 17 minutes of my life are going to be fairly challenging. Try to distract her."

"Look here, can you see in this picture? It's you, Shellfish and Ipod when you were all in Reception!"

I've been flicking through a book of "Early Years Photographs" that are on the table outside the school hall where I wait for Elly to finish Drama club. I am dissapointed to find loads of photographs of Elly thus shattering the illusion I've bitterly created that nobody at the school realises that Elly is alive.

"Daddy, look at ME Daddy, Daddy, have you got anything?" she asks.

"Umm, look, I've got something to tell you. I've left your box of smarties at home. We'll have to pop in at home on the way to collect Mick,"

"Don't do a joke Daddy, It's not funny." says Elly.

"It's not a joke," I say.

Elly's bottom lip immediately starts to quiver.

"Stop that. We're going straight home to get your Smarties, unless you kick up a massive fuss, in which case there'll be nothing."

I am Superdad. Or a cock. You decide.

"O.K." she shoves her thumb into her mouth and starts stamping towards the car, each footstep drilling a message of hatred towards me through the concrete.

"No, you don't walk like that, you walk normally, otherwise no smarties."

"O.K." she takes my hand and we walk to the car. As I open the car up I notice 2p on the seat and say "Elly, I've got 2p. Shall we go to the shop and buy a 2p sweet or two 1p sweets and skip the Smarties?"

"YES, Oh yes Daddy, 2p. A 2p sweet. Or two 1p sweets. They've got 1p sweets and they've got 2p sweets. I don't know what to get." Elly is giggling and skipping towards the sweet shop.

This is brilliant. I really am not a cock. I really am a Superdad. Instead of a big box of Smarties Elly is going to have just 2 little milk bottles which will fool her into contentedness . I am doing my two favourite things - buying sweets and conning my daughter.

I truly am the shit.

Emphasis on the am.

Notice use of "the" and not "a"

We walk into the sweetshop and turn to where the wall of 1p and 2p sweets are.

It is full of crisps. There are fifty different types of crisps.

When did crisps become so diverse? It's as if the shop has some kind of equal opportunities policy that's been extended to the world of crisps. "Here at Mace we believe that every crisp flavour should have an equal opportunity to reach it's full market potential,"

Seems a bit ethnic cleansing to do it at the expense of the 1p and 2p sweets though.

"First they came for the 1p and 2p sweets,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't particularly fond of 1p and 2p sweets,"

Good. I can use that bit for stand up. And then have to make a joke about how I knew all along that it wasn't particularly funny when nobody laughs. On with the story...

"Oh look Elly, they've got crisps where the 2p and 1p sweets used to be."

"OH NO, NO DADDY, NO," Elly's thumb shoots into her mouth and she starts trembling silently.

"Come on, we'll go straight home and get the smarties from there.

We walk out of the shop and she begins crying a crescendo of misery until her body is wracked with sobs. After about 10metres she stops walking and screams "I CAN'T WAIT FOR MY SMARTIES THOUGH DADDY, I JUST CAN'T WAIT...I HATE YOU, I REALLY REALLY HATE YOU."

I stand and look at her. This is really so unfair. I was trying to do something nice, I was totally up for spending the 2p on sweets, it was going to be brilliant. Who exactly are these idiots who demand fifty different types of crisps? Where are the 1p and 2p sweets? Why can't there be any consistency in this shit world? Can't a shopkeeper show some commitment to the sanity of people like me who make blind yet not unreasonable promises to their kids? Is that really too much to request?


In my head I summarise the situation.

Elly is screaming.

Elly wants some Smarties.

I intended originally to give her some Smarties.

I have no Smarties.

I only have 2p.

Summarising in my head isn't really helping Elly to stop screaming.

I approach Elly, kneel down opposite her, reach out to her shoulders and look deeply into her eyes. Then I say to her, very gently...

"Elly, listen, I really want to get you some sweets but I haven't got any money so this is what I'm going to do," I glance from side to side up and down the street and then look back into her eyes and whisper "I'm going to go into that shop and I'm going to steal you some Smarties."


"Don't tell anybody, ever, but I know how to do it. I can just go in there Elly and I can steal some sweets. If the shopkeeper catches me I could get into a lot of trouble with the police, but I really need to get you some sweets and I haven't got any money, so let's go and do this."

"No Daddy, no, you can't steal."

"Why not?"

"It's wrong."

"I know, but come on," I pull her towards the shop. "You really need these Smarties, I can see that because you're so sad. I've never done it before but I'm sure I could get away with it. If I get in trouble I don't care. As long as your happy. Let's go."

Elly looks at me, with an expression on her face that I've never seen before. It dawns on me that it is pity. My six year old is pitying me.

"Daddy, no, it's wrong to steal Smarties. Let's go and get some from home."

As I drive off she says to me "Daddy, I know you were joking about doing the stealing. Now put your seatbelt on."

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