NaBloPoMo -26 Short Story


It is day 26 of NaBloPoMo.  For today’s post I thought I’d post a short story.

The Encyclopaedia

Darren screeches to a halt on the street outside his upmarket Clifton home.   He manoeuvres the Porsche into the garage and then hops out racing through the door to greet his family.  He is ravenous, having worked flat out all day and he is looking forward to a hot meal.  But the only smells that meet him are the glue from the newly laid carpet and these only cause him to wheeze.    There is no one in the tiny compact modern kitchen and certainly no aroma of dinner emitting from the eye-level oven!   His heart sinks “She’s been too damned lazy to do anything again today,” he thinks.   He climbs the stairs two at a time and finds his wife wearily dressing their two year old son, Ashley, after his reluctant bath!   The baby is grizzling in his playpen. He hardly greets Lorna but takes his son into his arms eliciting an excited giggle from him.

There is a ring at the front door.   Darren shouts to Lorna – “I’m starving – when do we eat?”  He dashes down the stairs with Ashley perched on his shoulders and swings open the door.


A dapper young man, neatly dressed and smiling broadly greets him, “Good-evening sir.   And may I say what a beautiful young son you have there.  I am sure that one of your priorities is to see that he has a good start to his education?”  Now that is exactly what is close to Darren’s heart. The bright young salesman has hit upon his soft spot.

“Yes,” he replies – “I do want my son to have as much stimulation from a young age – I know the importance of this and I spend a lot of time seeing that he gets it.”

“Ah, sir then these books are just what you need to give your son a head start.  They will ensure that he will be ahead of the pack when he starts his formal education.” Darren invites the young man into the sitting room with its panoramic view across the Atlantic Ocean and ushers him toward a plush leather armchair.   The sales talk continues and is impressive.   Just what Darren wants for his infant genius.   In addition to the books there is an “if you buy now you will get free” option.   And music to the ears of a computer geek – a multimedia DVD, which matches the paper version.  No research does Darren do on price of said encyclopaedias and similar multi-media DVDs.   He is, after all, just a young dad who wants the best for his child.He has no real knowledge of what is suitable for a 2 year old.  And the excitement of games, images and interactive programmes is too much for him to resist.    He signs the deal and is completely taken in.   As soon as the salesman, incredulous at his swift success with this charming father leaves, Darren says to his son, “Come boy, let’s see what we have here.   He loads the programme onto the computer and is shows Ashley how to click the objects in the cyber-classroom and even when the boys becomes bored and slips off his lap he continues to explore the possibilities.   But – suddenly – horror of the worst nightmare – the screen goes blank!   Some glitch in the programme has caused his entire Hard Drive to bomb out.

Darren is shattered!.  He’s simply signed a credit card – no contact number – no way of getting that weasel back.  Lorna comes in to find out what the fuss is all about.   She listens with a jaded look as he rants about how he’s been cheated.

“You’ll find a way to fix it soon,” she says.  And knows she’s right because she’s spotted Ashley behind the chair with the P.C. plug clutched tightly in his little hand.


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