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Chapter 9: Misdirection

April 11, 2013

Fred had been awake for a while, dozing on and off in the sleeping bag, next to his brother. He’d got no idea when Mark had come back last night. Not his problem, really, except that it had been really cold in the night. He could have done with a bit of fart power to warm the tent up.

The sun was getting high now, and it was hot and stuffy. One extreme to the other. It was his bladder, though, that finally forced him to crawl out of the tent.

The grass was wet and the air outside surprisingly fresh, so he grabbed a jumper along with his washbag and the bog roll. He pulled on the jumper, over his pyjamas, and slipped his feet into his trainers, not bothering with the laces. Headed for the toilets. He hoped they’d been emptied since yesterday – his last whiz of the night had been disgusting. Thank God he wasn’t a girl, at least.

When he got back, Mark was up too. He was standing outside the tent, just his boxers on. Flexing his muscles. Bloody show-off.

He yawned. “What you doing today?”
“Haven’t really thought about it,” shrugged Fred.
“Come on then, get dressed. I just phoned Daisy, she says to go and fetch her.”
“I’m not hanging about with you two all day again.”
“Good,” said Mark. “But you’ll come with us for breakfast, right?”
Fred groaned. “No way.”
“Come on,” wheedled Mark. “I need backup, man. She says her Dad’s being all weird about her staying out late last night.”
“Why should I care?”
“I’ll buy you breakfast?”
Fred gave in. “Proper fry-up, right?” He was a sucker for bacon.
“Course.”

So they got themselves sorted and went to find Daisy’s tent. Her dad’s tent, anyway. It was massive, practically a landmark. Looked like it cost a fortune too, all day-glo guy ropes and titanium poles.

Daisy was sitting outside her tent, doing up the laces on her boots. She saw them and stood up, stretching, graceful. He liked the way she moved.
“Hey, Daisy,” said Mark.
“Hey,” said Fred, half-hearted.
“Morning,” said Daisy. “I’m just getting fixed up and then we can head off, alright?” She bent over to get something out of her tent and Fred admired her back side.

“Hey!” Her dad came out of his tent. Fred jumped. Felt his face redden. “Morning, lads. You must be Daisy’s new friends?”
“Yeah,” said Daisy.
“Nice to meet you.”
Daisy sighed theatrically. She was one of those girls that did everything theatrically, like she thought her life was a movie. She pointed at Fred. “That’s Fred,” she said. “The other one’s his brother. Mark.”
“I see,” said Daisy’s dad. “This is who you were with all day yesterday?”
“Yeah. Fred and Mark. Like I said. Anyway, we’re going for breakfast in a minute.”
“Great,” said her dad. “I’m starving.”
“You’re not invited.”
“I’ll have to invite myself, then.” Fred was quietly impressed, had to admit that was an interesting move.
“Alright,” Daisy said at last. “But you’re paying.”
“Fair enough.”

“Can I come?”
A kid in pyjamas. Where did he come from?
“I think you should stay with your mum and dad, don’t you, Falcon?”
“Mum! Dad!” The kid called back into the little blue dome tent that he had crawled out of. “I’m going for breakfast with Mr Ian.”
“You’ve made friends, too, I see,” said Daisy. Snippy cow.
“Does Mr Ian say you can?” It was a sleepy voice, a woman, inside the blue tent.
Falcon looked back at Daisy’s dad. “Can I?” he repeated.
He sighed. “Alright,” he said. “If your parents say so.”
“Yes!” Falcon shouted back into the tent.
“Come straight back though, OK? Bye sweetie!”

“Don’t you need to get dressed first?” said Daisy.
The kid shook his head. “I like my pyjamas. They’ve got dogs on. I like dogs.”
“Fair enough.”
“Don’t you need to get dressed?” asked her dad.
“I am dressed,” she said. She had on a pair of leggings and a dress so short it barely covered her arse even when she was standing up straight.
Her dad sighed. He was onto a loser and Fred was glad he decided not to fight it. He was getting hungry.

The five of them set off. Daisy made a great show of larking about with the kid. He must have been around eight, Fred guessed. Funny name.

“Where are you camped?” Daisy’s dad asked him.
Fred gestured vaguely. “Over there. Not far.”
“Did you sleep well?”
“OK.” Trying too hard, Fred thought, not sure a free breakfast was worth the effort.

They stopped at a place called Merlin’s Teapot, a khaki-coloured marquee, ex-army by the looks, but covered in rainbow bunting and peace signs.
Vegan breakfast!” said the sign. “Egg (optional), beans, tomato, mushrooms, toast, veggie sausages plus tea or coffee.”

“Looks alright,” said Daisy.
“Yeah,” said Mark.
Vegan breakfast? What kind of fry-up is that? What about the bacon?

They went in. Daisy’s dad ordered five breakfasts.
“Thanks, Mr… er…” said Fred
“Call me Ian.”
“Thanks, Ian,” said Fred.
“Yeah,” said Mark. He was being oddly quiet.

They found a table big enough for all of them, but then Daisy went off straight away with Falcon. There was another table with board games, and she started showing the kid how to play Connect 4. Fred used to like Connect 4 when he was little.

“And what do you young people have planned for the rest of the day?” Ian asked.
You young people. Blimey.

“I’m going to the Discussion Dome,” said Mark. “There’s a talk on veganism in the permaculture lifestyle.”
“Are you vegan?” asked Daisy’s dad.
“Course,” said Mark. Bloody liar. He’d eaten a Big Mac on the way to the festival the day before.
“Daisy is, too.”
“Is she?” said Mark, innocently.
The only reason Mark was carrying on this vegan crap was to impress her.
“How about you, Fred?” Ian turned to him. “Are you a vegan as well?”
“No,” he said.”I’d rather jump in a bucket of sick.”
Ian laughed, overly jovial. “Yes, yes. I can’t say I blame you.”
Mark looked like he was going to say something earnest, but Fred interrupted –

“What are you doing?” he asked Ian. He didn’t care, but he didn’t want to end up spending the rest of his breakfast listening to Mark drone on about vegan shit.
“I was thinking of going to the Yurt of Man,” he said. “Have you seen it?”
“The what?”
“They do men’s activities, discussions. Being a man in the modern age, that sort of thing.”
Bloody hell. Fred concentrated on his tea.
“It’s not gay or anything,” said Ian.
“Oh,” said Fred. “Right.”
“I checked.”

The waitress came over, a skinny woman with thick brown dreads and a nose ring. Seemed like everyone was skinny here. Must be all the vegans.

Anyway, breakfast. At last. It looked alright, apart from having no bacon. Daisy and Falcon came to eat. He sat next to Mark and then, although there was more space on the opposite side of the table, Daisy squeezed in next to Fred and Ian. Fred could feel her thigh pressed up against his.

“So Daisy, what are you doing today?” asked Ian.
She shrugged carelessly. “Dunno. There’s a vegan thing over in the Discussion Dome. Might go to that.”
Now there’s a coincidence, thought Fred. What a surprise.

“Looks like she’s going to abandon us for your big brother,” said Ian, grinning at Fred.
“Er.”
“You can come come and check out the men’s yurt thing with me if you feel like it.”
“Um,” said Fred.

What?

“I think they’re doing spirit drumming this morning. Sounds – intriguing?”
“Yeah, you said you wanted to go drumming,” said Mark, smirking. Bastard.
Fred couldn’t think of a polite way of saying no.
“We can meet up with these guys after,” said Ian. “I’ll treat you to lunch?”
Christ, did the man not have any mates his own age?

“Maybe you and Daisy can hang out this afternoon,” said Ian meaningfully. Like it was some kind of special offer.
“Dad!” said Daisy. But she was smirking, too.
“Sorry,” said Ian, smoothly. He winked at Fred.

Suspicion finally dawned. Fred became suddenly very aware that Daisy and Mark had been completely ignoring one another all morning.

Oh.
God.
Why did shit like this keep happening to him?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2013 10:08 pm

    Word count – 1409
    Prompt – cringe (Squash Blossom Fibres)

    Please leave a comment with a prompt suggestion for Chapter 10
    (Check the sidebar for a link to more info about this interactive project!)

  2. April 11, 2013 10:29 pm

    time

  3. brendaalicante permalink
    April 11, 2013 10:36 pm

    I like the characterization – very believable players on your stage.

    Prompt – aspirations.

  4. cath permalink
    April 12, 2013 8:45 am

    im enjoying reading your work , very descriptive , always looking forward to the next installment 🙂

    prompt ; bridge

  5. April 12, 2013 2:37 pm

    Thanks all 😀

  6. April 12, 2013 3:22 pm

    I’m enjoying this so much- prompt; disappointment and a crows feather. I’m feeling really fond of Fred.

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