No Show

Image © Molly Rose Dyson 2015


by Archie Aston November 11, 2015


The kids ate my weed biscuits. I came down for breakfast and saw that Daddy’s biscuits’ box wasn’t where I left it last night. I looked at the little shits around the table, scoffing down their sugared puffs, slurping through the guilt. They knew I knew.

‘Kids, have you seen Daddy’s biscuits?’

Slurp. Slurp.

‘Listen up, did you eat Daddy’s biscuits?’

Slurp. Slurp. Silence.

‘It’s really important guys. You’re not in trouble. Just tell the truth.’

I opened the box and showed them the crumbs. The buggers stared down at the table.

‘There were four biscuits in here. Now there’s just one left. Tell me, please, who has eaten them?’

All three of the little people raised their hands. Their naughty grubby thieving hands. I stared out of the kitchen window to the yard. It was one of those days that the weather was so vile you wanted to scream, but I made do with a pathetic sigh. The kids lowered their hands back to the table as I did my great long Dad sigh. They all looked so adorably compunctious. I ran myself a glass of council pop.

‘Right, I have good news and bad news.’

They finally turned to face me.

‘The good news is, you all have the day off school.’

This was followed by a round of high fives.

‘But what’s the bad news, Dad?’

I thought for a while on how best to word the bad news. In a short while, you all might start feeling a little?

I stared over at the last biscuit. I had made them pretty fucking strong. They were good. I picked it up and munched it down.

‘There’s no bad news kids. Everything’s going to be groovy. Real groovy.’

They smiled beautiful smiles.

I made everyone a hot chocolate and beans on toast. They told me about the lessons they were looking forward to missing most. Miss Tinsley, Mr Carroll, Mr Martin, and of course, Mrs Harper. I figured I’d best ring the primary school and the secondary school before my biscuit kicked in.

I said into the receiver, ‘I’m sorry but they wont be coming in today.’

‘And why’s that, Mr Aston?’

‘Do they need a reason?’

‘Yes of course. They need to be in school every day, Mr Aston. Every single day. Do you not care about your children, Mr Aston? Do you want your kids to end up working at McDonalds?’

I used to work at McDonalds. I didn’t like her turdy tone.

‘Ok then, they are not feeling well.’

‘What’s wrong with them, Mr Aston? It must be serious for them to be absent, very serious. They will need a doctor’s note and… ‘

‘No school can hold my kids,’ I cheered before hanging up.

My biscuit had just kicked in.

I returned to the kitchen to find silence. I could get used to this! The youngest and the middle one were cogitating over the back of the cereal box. The eldest had his headphones in, brooding over a bad novel.

‘Everyone listen up. Who wants to build a den?!’

‘Me me me me me,’ cheeped the younger chicks.

‘Meh, okay,’ said the eldest with a secret smile. So we built a bad ass den.

We sat in that den and I replenished the red-eyed troops with butties and juice. We sat in that den and we chatted. We chatted as sons, as daughters, as brothers, as sisters, as dads. We talked about football, girls, boys, TV shows, teachers (idiots), bullies, computer games, burgers, chips, drawing, smartphones (no you’re still not getting one), skateboards, babies, cousins, grandparents, and football. We talked about how we won’t ever eat Daddy’s biscuits again as next time you will have to go to school and see how you like that.

I told them stories about Uncle Derek. The one about the white cider. The time he got busted by the FBI in a late-night working ladies house in San Francisco. The time he tried to pay with a Terry’s Chocolate Orange on the bus. The music video. Poland. And how he got so sunburnt he turned the colour of Daddy’s wine.

The middle one told us all about what they’d do if they were Bill Murray for a day.

The eldest told us all about Eratosthenes, who calculated the circumference of the Earth two hundred and fifty years before Jesus was born, and he was only two hundred miles off. He starved himself to death after he lost his sight when he was eighty two. He couldn’t take not being able to see the trees and the skies and the stars.

The youngest one imagined what his Facebook page would look like after they died. I promised them all that I’d keep them online, memorial style.

And we talked about Mom, and how much we all missed her.



Archie Aston is a writer. He was born in Birmingham, England in 1986 and now lives in Madrid, Spain. His new collection, Coal and Slaughter, will be available December 2015.

Molly Rose


Back to top