The Pleasure of Mother’s Day

FURIOUS FICTION ENTRY (May, 2021)

Your story must be set during a storm.
Your story must include the words MOTHER, APPLE, YESTERDAY
Your story must include the phrase: SIT/SITTING ON THE FENCE.
Your story must not be any longer than 500 words.

The day had started out rather innocently enough – a picnic to celebrate Mother’s Day in Banksia Park under the tree of its namesake with my mother and sister. We’d eaten the apple pie I’d baked, my mother complaining I’d used too many cloves in the filling and that I’d left it too long in the oven. Still, she pecked at it, burnt crusts and all.

Then, while Sabrina was telling us all about her latest date – Reg, a fireman with ‘particular attributes’, the sky darkened, the wind suddenly picked up and kicked our plates and cups and gifts across the lawn like teenage gate crashers.

‘Oh, no! My gift voucher!’ my mother complained, watching it fly up and away and into a lake. ‘I knew this would happen. Whose idea was it to have a picnic anyway?’

‘Mine,’ I said, sheepishly.

‘Did you check the forecast?’

‘Yesterday it said – ’

‘Yesterday? What good is yesterday? We’re talking about today.’

‘Yes, I know, but – ’

‘Oh, Jeremy! You know what Melbourne weather is like.’

‘I know, I know.’

‘Mum, Jeremy was only – ’

‘Oh, shut up Sabrina. Your brother is an imbecile just like his father.’

‘Mum! You can’t say that.’

‘Oh, yes I can!’

‘Look, the weather,’ I said. ‘I’m sure it’ll – ’

And then came the rain, hard as bullets, shooting into us as if we were soft as cottage cheese. RAT-TAT-TAT!

‘Arrgh!’ my mother shrieked. ‘The car! We must get to the car!’

She grabbed her handbag and ran, leaving Sabrina and me to clean up. But that never happened.

A white hail of rain carried on muscular gales sent the picnic blanket and all and sundry across the park so far and so fast we barely had a chance to collect them.

‘Keys! Who’s got the keys?’ It was my mother, ragged, haggard and as wet as one of her cocktail straws.

‘Er…’ Sabrina fumbled in her pockets.

‘Stupid girl! You should know where your keys arrreARRRGH!’

And just like that, a fat gust of wind knocked us to the ground. Except for my mother who, small-framed and birdlike, was carried high and nigh into, yes, a rather tall banksia tree.

‘HELP! HELP!’

But Sabrina and I did not move.

‘You put too many cloves in the apple pie on purpose, didn’t you?’ Sabina asked.

‘And you pretended you couldn’t find your keys.’

She nodded.

‘GET ME DOWN FROM HERE, THIS INSTANT!’

‘What are we gonna do?’ Sabina asked.

‘”Do?”. Why do we need to “do” anything?’

‘YOU LOUSY, UNGRATEFUL, USELESS CHILDREN!’

‘You mean…do nothing?’

‘Exactly. Why burden ourselves with a decision.’

‘But…we can’t sit on the fence all day.’

‘WAIT TILL I GET DOWN FROM HERE! I’LL DISINHERIT YOU BOTH.’

‘How long did you say?’ Sabina asked.

‘Not sure.’ I looked at our mother, who was now hanging upside down by her cardigan.

‘Let’s just enjoy, for the first time in our lives, Mother’s Day.’

Russell