Final part today. Some quick feedback questions at the end.
A woman screams as the car swerves back towards the road.
The remaining people in the queue were similarly hard to place; all of them looked like they could be parents, but they could just as easily be here on their own, or seeing another film.
Robert’s palms were getting sweaty as he edged his wheelchair forward. It would not be the end of the world if he couldn’t secure the tickets, but it might feel like it to a ten year old. His next free evening was several days away, and he knew that would be hard to accept by his son.
The electronic board changed to read ‘few’ alongside the Spongebob film time that he was looking for. Robert shook his head slightly and looked back at the queue, trying to gauge if he would be one of the few. He cursed himself for lingering in the office; Dan had stopped him on
the way out to talk about something. Comics? TV shows? Robert couldn’t exactly remember, but he did remember being caught near the coat rack and talking to Dan for several minutes about something that clearly interested him. Not Robert but, nice guy that he was, he stayed to listen, waiting for a break in the conversation to say his goodbyes and leave. When no break was forthcoming, Robert made his own; pointing to the watch he was not wearing, he told Robert that he was sorry and that he needed to be somewhere and rolled out of the office without waiting for a response.
Five minutes earlier and he would have caught the ten past bus, but he wasn’t and he missed it. The bus stop was up a slight incline, and the pushing had been hard going. The driver must have seen him coming, but he didn’t wait and moved off into traffic.
Perhaps if I was quicker, he thought, I would have made it in time. And he gave another shake of his head. Would he really be defeated by a missed bus?
He was reaching the head of the queue. The ‘few’ light was still flashing alongside the film. There was a young couple in front of him now, and they stepped towards the counter. They absolutely were the right age to have a child that liked that annoying yellow sponge. He tried to listen to them.
The screaming woman is joined by a woman pushing a buggy with a small child, as the car veers back across the road.
The couple were going into a film now, and Robert rolled up to the counter and ordered the tickets. When he slipped them into his pocket, he offered up a silent prayer to a god he knew wasn’t there.
The journey home was a lot easier with the task accomplished. Robert’s son greeted him at the door with questions about the tickets. Yes he had them. Yes it was for the evening performance.
They had just enough time to throw some food down their throats before grabbing their coats and heading back out. Robert’s son had a yellow rain mac with a hood that he had pulled down over his eyes. Two large white pieces of plastic stuck down from the hood, supposedly Spongebob’s teeth, and Robert thought they made his son look ridiculous, but it was his night, his treat, and he could wear whatever he wanted.
The bus came exactly when it was supposed to. The whole journey, Robert was regaled with the antics of the aquatic sponge, who had some very interesting friends. Well, interesting to his son, at least.
Robert sank a hand into his jacket pocket and blew out his cheeks as he felt the tickets. He patted his trousers and felt his bank card, which would be needed to pay for popcorn and drinks, in preparation for their film-watching ritual. Maltesers. They were his snack of choice. He was cheered by the thought of having a bag to himself. He looked down at his son, who smiled up at him, his head framed in the yellow mac’s hood.
That was when he heard the squeal of tyres.
The car misses the buggy and heads straight for the opposite pavement, the driver now in full-panic mode.
Robert watches as the car comes around the corner. Too fast, he thinks as the driver almost collides with a parked car. As the car approaches them, he can see the driver fumbling with his mobile phone. The car jumps the kerb as the driver pulls hard at the steering wheel, dragging the car back into the road. Robert winces as the car skims past a woman with a buggy. Standing on the opposite side of the road, Robert puts a hand across his son’s chest halting him. The car is now rushing back across the road towards them. Robert notices that the whites of the driver’s eyes are big. He pushes his son to the side and tries to manoeuvre his wheelchair backwards.
Curiously, the last thing Robert remembers is Spongebob. Two large white teeth look down at him, and there is crying. Spongebob is crying.
- Have you enjoyed reading this story?
- Have you enjoyed a story told in this format (present / past tense)?
- Has splitting it over 3 days worked in your opinion (vs all in one go)?