Gadgets the great escape, p.34
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.34

           David Hancock
 

  Zack was in one of the worst sulks he had ever thrown. He was walking around muttering to himself and Jake knew it was best to keep out of his way. He tried arguing his case with his mother again. ‘Mum honestly it’s Jake who is telling lies. We found the toaster down towards the bottom of the garden. You have to believe me.’ He started crying with frustration.

  Rebecca just sighed, tried to stay as calm as she could and said: ‘It’s bedtime Zack dear. Sweet dreams…’ and then her voice cracked: ‘Now get up those stairs immediately,’ she shouted. ‘And you can stop that crying for a start.’

  Zack wasn’t the brightest button in the box, but even for him things didn’t seem to add up. He lay awake in bed mulling things over in his mind. If mum had put the toaster in the dustbin how come it was down near the bottom of the big lawn? If the burglars had escaped that way why would they risk going back to pick up an old toaster that had already been thrown away? Unless, of course, mum was lying. But why would she do that? What if she knew who the burglars were and had helped set up the whole thing to claim the insurance. But why would she do that? Dad had plenty of money. The nagging question kept going over and over in Zack’s head. Why was the toaster on the big lawn? Eventually he fell asleep.

  The next morning Sebastian arrived home from hospital in an ambulance even though he had protested it would be perfectly all right for his wife to come and drive him home. He’d had a bump on the head, that’s all, he complained. Why all the fuss?

  ‘It’s policy,’ was the bland reply.

  Policy or not Zack loved it. An ambulance outside the house was cool as far he was concerned. He looked up and down Fairfield Avenue to see if anyone was watching, but no one was. So he approached the ambulance driver. ‘Can you put the sirens on please,’ he asked politely.

  ‘I’m sorry son we can’t do that unless it’s an emergency,’ came back the reply.

  ‘Aw, go on. Just for a bit. The ice cream man does.’

  ‘Sorry, it’s policy son.’

  ‘But some of our neighbours might need an ambulance and you can let them know you are here,’ Zack replied with a hint of desperation in his voice.

  ‘Zack what are you doing,’ shouted Sebastian. ‘Come here immediately and stop bothering the gentleman.’

  ‘Yes dad’, shrugged Zack and headed back into the house.

  The household all assembled in the conservatory to welcome Sebastian back from hospital. Little Lucy ran straight up to him smiling and shouting: ‘Daddy, daddy’, as he caught her in his arms.

  ‘Hello sweetheart.’ he replied swinging her up in the air. ‘Have you been a good girl for mummy?’

  ‘Yes she has.’ interrupted Rebecca. ’She’s a little angel, which is more than can be said for those two,’ pointing accusingly at Zack and Jake. ‘They would test the patience of a saint.’

  Sebastian looked sternly at his two sons. ‘So what have you been up to now?’ he said.

  ‘Nothing,’ they both replied in unison.

  There was a silence then Sebastian said: ‘OK let’s try again.’

  Strangely enough it was Zack who was the first to crack. ‘Dad, we found the toaster down on the big lawn but mum said she had put it in the dustbin and the burglars hadn’t taken it. But they must have come back for it and got it out of the bin.’ He started blurting things out. ‘But then they must have dropped it…..’

  ‘Stop right there Zack. Didn’t I expressly forbid you from going down to the big lawn?’

  ‘Yes but, if the toaster wasn’t what they wanted then it must have been something else from the kitchen, that’s why they took everything,’ he was babbling on, thinking out loud. ‘Maybe one of them contained a diamond.’

  ‘Zack!’

  ‘Yes dad,’ he replied as if he had only just noticed his father was there.

  ‘You disappoint me Zack you really do. You are my eldest son and yet all you do is set a bad example to your bother and sister. You never do as you are told, you make your mother’s life a misery and you are an unmitigated liar.’

  ‘But dad…’

  ‘No buts son, let me finish,’ interrupted Sebastian with a calm weariness. ‘We have tried everything to pull you into line and nothing seems to work. There is nothing more I can do except get professional help. I am going to talk to Social Services and see if they know what to do with you.’

  Zack’s mouth dropped open and he burst into tears. Even Rebecca was horrified. She looked at her husband imploringly, thinking the bump on his head must have been more serious than she had thought.

  ‘It’s too late for tears Zack, you’ve been turning them on and off for years,’ said his father. ‘I’ll give you one last chance. This afternoon, after I’ve rested, we will go down the garden and if you can’t show me any proof of your ludicrous story about the toaster then I’ll be on the phone to Social Services. Now get out of my sight.’

  *

 
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