I don’t know if you ever watch Baseball, but if you do you’ll be familiar with the full speed slide that the average baserunner will hit as they burn every energy reserve they have and risk permanent skin trauma to make sure they slide dramatically into home base before that ball makes it back before them and knocks them out of the points. Now, imagine that same scenario but starring an overweight yet decidedly handsome father as he tries desperately to stop a toddler heaving his only set of house keys down a sewage drain. Let me explain..
I’d just picked up The Destroyer after he’d spent the day at his Grandparents house, which conveniently is only walking distance away from our own home in case the wee man falls and picks up a scrape to the knee, and needs an emergency 10cc’s of Grandma kisses to the afflicted area to heal it immediately, since his own parents lips are clearly poisonous and not to be approached by ‘big boys’ like his good self. We were heading back home in the dark, having escaped the “Grandad’s Gonna Get You” scenario where Grandad or Grandma chases him down the street and he flips out like a fat kid who’s just won a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s new pie factory, and to distract him from his usual routine of inspecting every single loose stone or drain cover in the street for upwards of fifteen minutes each, I gave him the house keys and told him that since he was a big boy now it was his job to carry the important bundle of keys and ridiculous fobs back to our house to unlock the door with.
He stopped dead in the middle of the pavement, the massive Pom-Pom on top of his black wooly hat quivering slightly as his brain seemed to freeze briefly at the sudden weight of responsibility that had been thrust upon him at such a young age. After what felt like an age had passed, He slowly looked up to fix me with a steely and resolute gaze, before turning and sprinting off down the street toward our home as fast as his little kids size 6 and a half shoes would carry him.
“Excellent!” I thought, thinking that he’d decided that this was a huge responsibility that he’d been handed and he had to carry it out as quickly and as efficiently as he could, pride filling my chest as my wee boy waddled at speed toward our home and his new future as a responsible participant in the Taylor household. As I stood there with my proud chest puffed out and my hands resting on my substantial hips like Superman after kicking the tits off of another bad guy, I noticed through my gloating that the wee hero was veering dangerously off course, and was instead heading toward one of the large storm drains that flank either side of the road at the end of our cul-de-sac.
As my sluggish brain wondered what the hell was going on, my oversized feet had already taken matters into their own hands and took off at a sprint toward the now crouching and laughing Destroyer, his hand slowly extending out over the drain with the keys dangling precariously from his tiny, stupid chubby fingers. As my body hit Mach-3 whilst trying to catch up with my now rubber sole melting boots, I watched in slow motion as The Destroyer turned his head slowly toward me, and with a devilish grin splitting his face I watched in horror as his fingers opened and the keys started their slow tumble down toward the drain grating. I leapt forward with my arm outstretched, crashing to the ground and sliding toward the drain as the keys clattered against the metal grating and danced a millimeter back into the air before falling straight toward the open space below. Just as they entered the open space into the stinking, nappy juice soaked pit below, my finger somehow grew an extra few inches and managed to slip into the ring holding the fob and the key together just before they disappeared into oblivion.
“Hahah! Daddy down on the ground!” Screamed The Destroyer, before waddling over and frog-splashing my poor road-rash covered body laying prone in the middle of the road. All of this, (of course because fuck my luck), in full view of the neighbour sitting in their car who’d been waiting until the road was clear before pulling out of their driveway in their car. I’m not sure if they were dying laughing at me laying in the road like someone had taken a shotgun and humanely ‘put-down’ Shamu the whale in the middle of a quiet Scottish cul-de-sac, or they were genuinely suffering a coughing fit through illness. But I won’t lie and say that as I got back to my feet trying to smile and pretend that this had all been some kind of planned activity, I hoped that they coughed so hard that they ended up shitting all over the interior of their car.