22 February 2019









Sitting up






They all sat up, as they called it, an action no doubt fixed in Rachel’s childhood, when sitting up, rather than sitting down, was compulsory.  Joe didn’t want to appear rude, so was sat bolt upright with his chest pushed out as far as he possibly could.

    While Joe waited, his eyes shifted along the oak runway silently counting the receptacles that cluttered the table.  The contents of the red cast-iron saucepan were then transferred to similar vessels perched at regular intervals on ornamental metal trivets.  In time, these spuds and sundry veg’ would find themselves on plates ready to eat.

    Derek had been sitting up for Rachel for thirty years and Natasha, their youngest daughter, for over twenty, but they didn’t seem to mind.  The Peterson family accepted having to sit up straight, and apart from slightly pronounced sternums, were (more or less) free of disability. 

    The wine hadn’t made it to the table yet and was waiting dutifully by the fire.  It was undoubtedly a good one, smooth as wine buffs say - very smooth.  Joe momentarily wondered whether it might be a fruity one, or perhaps possessed a hint of something or other, but he really hadn’t the nose for wine.

    Sat at the top of the table, Derek broke the silence, ‘Fifty pence a bottle in France.’  He then hoisted the bottle to eye level, pointedly examined the label, and in a soft Anglo-French accent, announced the grapes origin and hinted about the quality, ‘Produce of St. Emilion 1982,’ he then added with the softest of sniffs, ‘You can’t beat a good Bordeaux can you Rachel?’  Lowering the bottle to within a half-inch of his not inconsiderable nostrils, the connoisseur emitted a bolder sniff, and after a short pause, concluded, ‘Superb.’

    ‘Do you like Claret Joe?’ Rachel asked politely while Derek tilted the bottle and gave the label another once-over.  Joe, being Joe, knew Claret was wine, but what category it fell into was a mystery.  What he did know, was that if he drank anymore of the stuff, he’d have serious digestive problems later.  

    Natasha was placed sitting up straight next to her father.  Derek and Rachel were desperate for one of each and weren’t best pleased when Natasha came along.  It was such a nuisance having to have the extra child, and right up until the birth, Derek was convinced Rachel would give him a son.  

    It was after Natasha was born that Derek developed his theory: The Origins of Male Offspring.  According to Dr. Derek, the sex of the child was nothing to do with chromosomes or DNA, but personality.  If the parents were forceful enough, the theory went, a male child would be produced.  To Derek, this appeared the truth, and his theory prevailed, but even after their second daughter came along, he was unable to accept the science.  Derek had certainly tried his hardest, but he wasn’t convinced Rachel had put enough into it.  His persistence paid off in the end however, and a couple of years later, an oh-so-determined Rachel, produced Tarquin, and at long last, the Petersons were a proper English family...

Copyright © Anthony Bounds. All Rights Reserved | October 2021

Sitting up is Chapter 1 of The Expensive Cravat a 66,200 word comic novel that I am editing for publication in 2021Any resemblance between my fictional characters or places mentioned is coincidental.   More on The Expensive Cravat