Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Just Staying By Liz Rich


“Dad! Me again, Carly, y’know, your daughter. Are you coming? Nigel said he hadn’t heard from you, I texted you his number, well, social services number but they’ll put you through. He don’t work tomorrow so you gotta call today or you’ll get some nobody who knows nothing and can’t do anything. You have to get me out of here. Wasn’t even allowed to go and buy a poxy bag of crisps today; they said someone‘d have to ‘accompany’ me, like I’m a child. Told them not to bother. Seriously, I get about in London on my own. Not here, no! In Birmingham I’m not even allowed over the bleedin’ road to a shop I can literally see from the lounge window without an ‘adult’. It’s not fair. Mum breaks the law and I end up in a prison too. I properly hate her. I’ve decided I won’t live with her when she’s released. You always said I could live with you. And now Mum’s not here saying no. Remember, you need to call Nigel today to sort it. See ya, love ya.”

As soon as she’d ended the call Carly messaged her uncle, reminding him to get her dad to phone urgently. Then, placing the mobile into her pocket, she slammed the lounge door shut, screaming in unison with the bang. In the hallway she screeched as she took a picture off the wall and threw it into the radiator with a loud clang.

“Kettle’s just boiled, fancy a cuppa?” a voice asked as she stepped through the kitchen doorway.

“Nah. Any lemonade?”

“Help yourself, it’s in the cupboard by the fridge. Why not have a look and see what we can sort for dinner. It’s supposed to be pizza tonight, but we can change it this once. You can help organise the menu for next week later, so think about favourite meals.”

“Pizza’s fine, and Meg… I don’t need to worry about next week. I’ll be living with dad then. He’ll be driving here now so I might not even get pizza. He’ll have to drive us back, so we’ll probably stop off somewhere, or he’ll cook when we get home.”

Meg stirred her tea, and as she put the milk back into the fridge softly cleared her throat. “Okay, if pizza’s alright that’s nice and easy for me. I’m just relieved you didn’t say rice, I’m notoriously bad at rice! How about a cake for afters, you know, if you’re here?”

“We ain’t got any.”

“We have all the ingredients though; we could make one.”

“What? I don’t know how to…”

“That I can help with, come on, wash your hands; we’ll make a baker out of you yet.”

“It won’t have them mouldy grape things though, like that thing earlier?”

“No currants if you don’t want, you’re in control. It could be a chocolate cake if you like?”

“I s’pose,” Carly smiled, “and then maybe Dad can have some if he gets here.”

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