Mum Knows Best

The prompt at this week’s Inkslingers Workshop in the Irish Writers Centre was “advice”…
She sighed. She hated it when Mum has these “little chats” with her. Usually it was to do with the state of her room, or playing music too loud, or how she should be nicer to her little brother. Today, though, after the day that she’d had, would be different.

“I’d just like to offer some advice,” said Goldilocks’s Mum. “Firstly, never walk through the woods alone.”

“Little Red Riding Hood walks through the woods on her own,” said Goldilocks sulkily.

“I see,” said Goldilocks’s Mum. “And if Red Riding Hood stuck her hand into the fire would you do it too?”

“Why would she stick her hand into the fire?” asked Goldilocks.

Her Mum was secretly horrified at herself. She had sworn to herself that she would never pose this ludicrous question to her own children. The fact that she had done so proved that she was turning into her mother, and since this is a fairy-tale that might not just be a turn of phrase.

“Secondly,” she went on hurriedly, “what you call ’going into a cottage because there was no-one there’ is what the police call ’breaking and entering’.

“Thirdly, if you do find yourself in a cottage where one of the chairs is too large, the chances are that that is because someone or something very big lives there. This is rarely a good thing. The Scream movies should have taught you that.

“Fifthly -”

“Fourthly,” said Goldilocks.

“Fourthly, then,” said her Mum, “three bowls of porridge sitting on a table, two of them still at least partly hot, is a fairly big hint that the residents have not gone far. It is not a good idea, therefore, to eat one of the bowls, after presumably having spat the mouthfuls you didn’t like back into the other two. The residents whose return is so obviously imminent are unlikely to be pleased.

“Sixth, er, fifth, er, whateverly, if you have actually done all of the above then Housebreaking for Dummies, and you can be pretty sure that such a book exists, would probably advise a getaway at this point. It is unlikely to suggest going upstairs for a snooze.”

“I’m grounded, aren’t I?” said Goldilocks.

“You are indeed,” said her Mum. “You can go to your room, and just be thankful that Mr and Mrs Bear were so good about the whole thing. And leave your mobile here, I don’t want you to spend the whole time texting your friends, you can tidy your room.”

Goldilocks gave that deep sigh that only young girls can give when dealing with their mother, slammed her mobile onto the kitchen table and stomped upstairs to her room. Once there she started to text her friends.

One of the mobile phones in the cottage had been too big, one had been too small, but the one that she had now was just right.


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