Saturday, June 4, 2011
The Long Shorts
‘I dunno Dad‘, I sigh. ‘It’s the fashion. They are all wearing them like that. Forget it….Did you have a read through those brochures?’
I attempt to bring Dad back to the matter at hand. I know he is struggling with the idea of his own mortality. It’s not my favourite subject, but it was his idea to get matters sorted. He said he didn’t want us to deal with it; not after what he went through when Mum died last winter. I said I’d help him, but I don’t think either of us is ready for this discussion.
‘Don’t they realise how bloody stupid they look?’ says Dad, completely ignoring my question, and sniggering as Nigel approaches.
‘What?’ asks Nigel, wondering what the joke is.
‘Nothing Love’, I say, waving him away.
‘It’s them shorts, Son’, Dad is laughing so hard he dissolves into a coughing fit.
‘What about ‘em? Don’t you like me shorts Grandpa?’ Nigel smirks and does a little jig.
‘They look shithouse!’
Nigel stands there for a moment looking at his Grandfather, who is now coughing and wheezing like a madman.
‘Settle down Dad. You’ll cough up a lung in a minute.’
‘Grandpa, me old mate’, says Nigel slapping his Grandfather on the back, ‘trouble with you is…. you’re old!’ Nigel scoffs in his Grandfather’s face before grabbing the keys to the Commodore, which lie on the kitchen bench. He laughs all the way to the front door, continuing his pants jig.
Dad stiffens, feigning offence, ‘Cheeky bastard!’
‘I’m off’, calls Nigel from the front porch.
‘Bye Love’. The front door swings shut and the V8 engine revs outside.
Dad leans in with gritted teeth and eyeballs me across the table. He’s not laughing anymore.
‘If he turns up to my funeral wearing those bloody pants, I’m gunna jump out of my fuckin’ box and kick his arse!’
I sit across from my father, holding his stare. Casually, I turn to the casket page in one of the funeral home brochures, ‘Pine, oak or mahogany?' I ask dryly.
Dad is silent for a moment, before a smile spreads across his face.
‘Mahogany, of course. I’m a classy bloke!’