It is inevitable that some parts from The Road Out aren’t going to make the journey all the way to publication. It’s a fairly large book, and brevity is necessary to keep the pace steady and the flow correct.
I agonized for some days over one particular piece, and finally made the decision to cut it tonight.
Throughout The Road Out, there are cameos from Arthur and Tess Reagan’s son Jimmy. Why did I do this? I’m not really sure, to be honest. I guess I had Jimmy in mind as a sort of comic relief, although his adventures do come to the fore later in the book.
I guess I wanted to share my own experiences, to a certain extent. Jimmy is of an age with me, older by just two years. He is a dreamer, with an overactive imagination. Those polite terms, while popular today, were a condemnation in my younger years. Kids like us were seen as weird, weak, lazy, stupid or worse. We were a prime target for bullies, as Jimmy discovers in this first volume of the Highfields Saga.
We would escape into a dream world, often getting disciplined for not paying attention in class. School is a place I would rather forget.
Anyway, I thought some might find the removed section interesting. This, therefore, is the first sample of the lighter side of The Road Out, the first volume in the Highfields Saga.
I hope you enjoy it.
Jimmy thought the tube frame of his billy cart looked terrific. Ziggy and Dad had done a great job. He was busy screwing on the panels while his Dad drilled the holes for the screws. Jimmy would wait until the whole thing had a good coat of red paint on it before he fitted the steering rope to the front axle. His Dad had taken the wheels Jimmy borrowed from Susie’s toy pram and put them back on for her. She wouldn’t let Jimmy near it, even to re-fit the wheels. She was pushing her luck, she was. Kept on poking her tongue out at him when Mum wasn’t looking and dobbing him in for doing stuff he didn’t do.
Well, maybe he did do the stuff she dobbed him in for, but that didn’t mean she had to be a dobber. Sisters were horrible things, Jimmy thought. He couldn’t understand why they existed at all. They didn’t serve any useful purpose. They wouldn’t get dirty, hated cap guns and toy soldiers, played with stupid dolls and dobbed you in all the time.
What’s worse is they grew into Mums. Jimmy was lost as to why grown men would marry them and turn them into Mums. He couldn’t see the attraction at all. Something funny happened to boys when they grew into men. Their brains stopped working properly. They started wanting to kiss women and turn them into Mums. That was something which didn’t work out that great for the boys those Mums had.
They’d been discussing it at school recently, and Fat Bum Walters said it was called Pew Berty, whatever that was. Apparently boys started growing hair under their arms and wanted to kiss girls all the time; it sounded awful. Brain reckoned it was an American invention, which is why so many American movies had kissing in them. Edgie wanted to know how a girls lips could possibly taste anywhere near as good as a chocolate biscuit. This prompted Spud Noggin to dare Edgie into kissing Four Eyes Simpson, or hand over double lunch cut. Edgie just handed over two sandwiches and stormed off.
Mums were useful, that much was true. They made the food and the beds, kept the fridge full of chocolate biscuits and so on. They even kept your stupid sister amused so you didn’t have to keep belting her to get rid of her. Mums came with rules though, which they spent all their spare time reminding you about. At least Dad would just tell you off, smack your backside, and you were good to go. Not mums, though, oh no. They would go on and on about tidying rooms, putting clothes in the laundry basket and getting in the bath. It never stopped.
Even when you actually did whatever it was they were going on about, they kept going on about it. Yapping on about what would happen next time, what would your Father say, and so on. Why did they need to keep rabbiting on about it? If the job was done, there was no need for any further discussion on the subject. Just shut up, grab a chocolate biscuit from the fridge and get on with your life.
He paused in his work and looked around at all the machines and tools in the workshop. He started to imagine a world where boys were manufactured, instead of needing men to kiss women and make them into Mums. Come to think of it, such a world wouldn’t need Mums, would it? All the jobs could be done by robots. And if you didn’t need Mums, it followed that you didn’t need sisters. He grinned at that thought. A world without sisters or Mums.
Maybe men’s brains wouldn’t go all funny and Pew Berty if there weren’t any females around. They wouldn’t need to get all serious and grown up any more. They could play with their sons all day. There wouldn’t be any sisters to take Dad’s attention away, either. He loved that idea. A world full of men and boys all playing together and women weren’t allowed. It sounded terrific!
They’d have to let him keep his Mum, though. He loved his Mum. But, that was different.
His sister could go, though.