Pass The Parcel

Entry by: Jim bob

25th December 2015
Little Horrors.

Laura thought it was unfair the way her friends deliberately paused when one of them received the parcel, holding on to it in anticipation of the music stopping; a chance to remove another wrapper, a chance that, unexpectedly they’d win the prize. No, Laura didn’t like this. After all she was the birthday girl. Shouldn’t she be the special one on her special day. Shouldn’t she be the one in the spotlight? Little Debbie though, was different. When Debbie received the package, reluctantly surrendered from George- a spiky haired fat nine year old, she did tear sheets of wrapping from it, however, she tore them slowly and with care. And when the music started again, she immediately passed it to her friend.
'Here you are Laura.'she said.
' Thanks Debbie,' said Laura taking the package from her friend, and removing some of the now loose wrapping, awkwardly, with her fat hands. A little snot trickled from her nose. Denise, Laura’s Mum noticed this, and quickly produced a Kleenex from her apron. She wiped away the wetness. Laura looked up at her mum, a small smile appearing on her face, then quickly disappearing.
'Dont be so soft, Laura' said her mum for no apparent reason, stroking her head. 'You must learn to stand up for yourself, Birthday girl'.
The rest of the kids applauded with squeals of laughter on hearing this. But not Debbie. Debbie, who'd grow up one day to be a beautiful woman, had, it seemed, as best friends do, a loyalty. A rare thing that isn't always apparent among a very young generation, but, is always there. She watched her friend unravel another coating of the parcel, smiling, as she engaged and struggled excitedly with the package. Denise had disappeared to the kitchen, and Ian, Laura's stepfather, who was controlling the music, started it again. Reluctantly, Laura surrendered the parcel to Ewan, who, for an eleven year old, sported a lot of acne. He snatched it from Laura’s hands.
'Gimme' he snapped grabbing it from her, his party hat falling from his head, due to his sudden movements.
'Your a little fatty girl,' he said quietly to her sniggering.' And you stink' he concluded. Laura, apparently ignoring this remark, picked a biscuit from the tin on the table, in the centre of the kids circle. She chomped away on it, while 'Rocking all over the world' played loudly. The music excited some of them to the point that Simon, another skinny lad, got up and started dancing. His friend, Barney grabbed him, telling him to sit and wait till the end of the game. Barney who'd been eating chocolate ice cream and had splatters of it over his red trousers, hit him across the face.
'Get away wanker' said Simon, and slapped him back as hard as he could , to which a brawl ensued. The game came to a halt briefly as Ian, aware of the disturbance interrupted.
'Hey stop that you two' he said, breaking them apart. Simon managed to pinch Ian on the back of his hand during the grapple, to which he recoiled, and reacted by slapping Simon hard across the cheek.
'Sit down, the pair of you,' he wailed. ' If this nonsense doesn’t stop, Laura will be asking you all to leave.'
They all watched him pacing the room, eyes randomly scrutinizing a few of the kids.
'Are we clear on this?' A few murmurs of yes was the pitiful but resigned response. Moments later things appeared back to normal, except for Barney, who was cursing from the sting resulting from Ian's slap. Several of the kids giggled at this, then 'Rocking all over the world' resumed, and the parcel continued around the circle. Ian left the music playing while he went in to the kitchen to grab a cold beer. When he came back the shrinking package was back in Laura’s hands. Debbie encouraged her on.
'Come On Laura' she shrieked, excitedly, as all the others looked on, mostly with disgust. 'You may have won it'. Laura, again struggled with sheer excitement, negotiating the paper wrapping, feeling deserved of this prize, being the birthday girl, yet, at the same time, unfamiliar with this new experience of being the focus of attention. But, she hadn't won it, and the music commenced to the sound of The Rolling Stones this time- a favourite of Ian’s. Laura picked another biscuit from the tin, a star shaped one this time, coated with dark and white chocolate. She examined its pretty shape closely through her glasses then popped it in her mouth. Ewan stared at her, examining her, sneering at her mannerisms that were abrupt, almost sporadic. The package passing had, typically slowed down, now that the excitement of a win was looming. Denise returned from the kitchen carrying more party treats. She arranged them on another table next to her husband, who looked at the items briefly in apparent disgust.
' How much are you feeding these little brats' he asked through Mick Jaggers ranting.
'Oh shut it Ian, they’re just kids, and its our daughters birthday' she replied.
'Your daughters, love, your daughters' he replied. She gave him a look of awe, something she'd done a lot of lately, and returned to arranging the food on the table. Ian finished his beer, then pressed the pause button on the music machine, instigating several shrieks from the direction of the kids. The package had landed in Jimmy’s hands, and quickly the nine year old unravelled the rest of the paper to reveal the latest Samsung Galaxy phone.
'Wow' yelled Jimmy 'Its just the one I want.' He turned the box containing the phone over and over in his hands. Everyone, looked at him, envy raging from them.
'Youve already got a phone' shouted Billy, a tall ugly looking boy with a biggish nose. Then they all started ' Yeah you've already got one' they all jeered. Except for Debbie that was, who was holding Laura's hand.
'I know it should be yours, Laura,'she said. 'I'm sorry its not.' She buried her head in Debbie’s arms and sobbed. Drama with the adults abated as drama amongst the children grew; each of them accusing the other of possessing a phone, and not actually needing one. However that seemed to make no difference, as they all challenged for their rightful ownership of the prize.

The day was ugly with the weather; rain and grey skies, a typical December day, Denise thought as she approached the bay window behind the squawking kids. She noticed the large Christmas tree in the distance, its lights illuminating through the on set of late afternoon dark. Ian looked on from the living room, lighting a cigarette, his patience with wife and children sorely challenged. He didnt like being upset with Denise. She hadnt done anything to deserve his vicious tongue, and he felt bad for his inappropriate reaction moments ago. This had been happening too much lately. The kids on the other hand, he'd had enough of, and after noticing the fracas erupting over where they were sitting, he decided to take a stand. He crushed the cigarette in an empty cup cake wrapper, its burning tip sizzling against fragments of frosting.
' What the hell is going on here, you lot?' he screamed. Most of them were at fisticuffs with each other, including Barney who'd seemed to have forgotten about the slap Ian had administered earlier. The remaining biscuits had been thrown- crushed confection everywhere, the empty tin lying upside down on the floor. Laura, obviously upset, was still being consoled by Debbie, and Denise feeling embarrased and disgusted at what was happening turned away from the tireless rain outside. Ian looked at Laura, then Debbie.
'This is your party Laura, and I think you should ask your friends to leave' he said quietly as Mick Jagger’s voice was fading to silence. She didn’t answer and the other kids now looked on,their faces inquisitive. Brad though, a small child wearing shorts despite the time of year was more focused on playing with the Christmas decorations. He tossed several baubles in the air, and watched them as they shattered on the table. No one, except Denise took any notice, whose eyes bee-lined her husbands in anticipation of him taking action.
'Come on Laura' he said . 'ask your friends to leave' Her eyes were red from the sobbing, but she didn’t reply. Someone made a farting sound, and this time, Ian did take notice, instantly looking up from his step daughter, anger flushing over his face. Giggles and sniggers erupted to a racket. He put his hands on his hips, and surveyed the surrounds. Quickly he turned towards Jimmy, noticing it was he who had the prize.
'I'll have that son' he said, snatching the phone from his grasp, so quickly he almost dropped it
'Hey that’s mine- I won it, gimme it back' screamed the kid.
'You’ve won nothing boy' he shouted this time. Ian knew his daughter wasn’t in the position to instruct her so-called friends to leave. He supposed it was better for him to take action.s
'Get out all of you' he wailed.
'When I get my phone' said Jimmy, who'd stood up, however, his height did no favours to support his bravery. Denise was looking on now, dismayed at these friends of Laura’s, who were not what she’d come to expect as her daughters choice of pals. She continued looking across at her husband of three months. He returned the gaze now, then looked at the kids, disregarding little Jimmy who now faced him.
'Move it' he said suddenly and, although he should have known better, thrust his hand into the boys mid riff causing him to stagger backwards on to the carpet. The ginger cat who'd briefly made an appearance, scarpered under the table and out the cat flap.
'Get the hell out of my house, NOW' he yelled.
Slowly the kids began to move. One of them, a very short girl with long green hair kicked the biscuit tin in a defiant gesture, looked up at Denise, and pulled a face.
'I hate you' she said, then walked passed. her. Denise raised a hand to her mouth in surprise. Outside the cat surveyed its home, from a safe distance, its head close up to the french window, clearly unconcerned about the rain. Ian now ushered them out towards the front door as they filed through the narrow passageway. Ewan was text-ting something on his phone, in-fact it seemed most of them were doing something or other with their devices. Debbie and Laura remained in the living room. Debbie hoped that one day Laura would be moving to her school. She brushed back the hair from Laura’s eyes, and smiled her sweet attractive smile. This usually brightened Laura up, but not today. There friendship was almost a year old now, from when they’d met at a hockey match contested between both there school teams.

Ian came back in to the room.
' You don’t have to leave, Debbie.' he said to her, then handed the phone to Laura.
'This is for you, love' Those little horrors don’t deserve any prize.' he said, and smiled. 'They've all gone'
'Oh thank you Ian,' replied Laura, and the first smile in ages broadened across her face. But it quickly turned to sadness again as she remembered the day.
'They were horrible' said Laura.
'Well why did you invite them, sweetheart' asked Denise, joining them. 'Why?'
'I didn’t' she said turning to her mother.
'So why did they come then.'
''They asked me in the playground if they could, and I said they yes they could'
'But why, Laura.' her mother asked again. Debbie looked at her, her face awash with sympathy.
'Because no one else wanted to' she replied.