Hello, book lovers. I thought I would share with you another of my short stories. This one’s a lot longer than the others I have on here, and I wrote it last year, so well before I actually started university. It’s called Dino’s Big Trip and is about an 18 year old who is pressured into spending his 18th birthday at a Bingo hall with his grandfather. I’ve tried to make it humourous, so please do let me know if you think I’ve done the job well! Or if not, how can I improve it? Feedback is always appreciated. Anyway, I hope you like it!
Dino’s Big Trip
“Dude, are you completely insane?” came my mate’s honest reply to my rather, well, embarrassing confession. And if you’d like me to go commando (I’m sure you would love that, flirty face), I had basically just confessed to my best mate Dan that I would be spending the night of my 18th birthday in a bingo hall with my Grandpa, Dino Dean. Yeah, I know, what a name! The alliteration of it has never ceased to make my eyes water. (They’re actually tingling as I write this).
But, yes, onto the topic at hand. Seriously, keep up! (God, some people just seem to have the attention spans of a bloody goldfish. Yes, I am talking to you, right there, you with the Tarantula on your face. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s your moustache?!)
It’s terrifying how carried away I can get sometimes. So, again, moving on. Saturday the 29th of December, 2012. My 18th Birthday. I was all set for a night out- me and my friends would celebrate with a night out on the town; seeing bright city lights and then finishing it all off by getting smashed out of our faces. And did I mention that there would be girls? Lots of girls. Yeah. That’s pretty important.
I headed up to my room to get ready. I had a quick shower- probably my quickest on record- and grabbed my best shirt and a pair of black jeans, and then put them on. I looked myself over in the mirror in the bathroom. Ran a hand through my dark hair. My hair was short and curled over itself on my forehead, making my blue eyes stand out against my slim facial features. Oh yes, Charlie, I thought to myself, pouting like a male supermodel or something. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, I just knew I was hot.
In that precise moment, Dad came up behind me. He rested a hand on my shoulder and my instant thoughts were, “Eww, get the fuck off of me,” but I couldn’t say that aloud. Or not today, anyway. I had to be a mature adult, and all that. So I just stepped to the side and he dropped his hand.
He looked as if he was about to say something.
Oh God, I thought to myself with a sigh. He’s about to go all soppy on me. And, what did I expect? Can I get a round of applause in here please?! Drum roll… yeah. He had tears in his eyes.
“I can’t believe you’re 18 today,” he said softly. “You’ve grown up so fast.” For God’s sake, what is it with parents? Why do they always say that?
I never once, until that afternoon, imagined it would be my Dad in tears at the fact that I’m now a man. I mean, wasn’t that supposed to be my Mum’s job? But, yeah, I suppose you can’t have everything.
Soppy bastard, I thought to myself, chuckling inwardly. I could use this against him in the future, if only I had a good video camera…
“Your Grandpa is here to see you,” Dad said next. He smiled. Dad and Grandpa had always been close. I suppose my Dad wanted me and Grandpa to be, too. “I think he has something he wants to ask you.”
“Oh, fuck. He’s not going to have me come and live with him this Summer, is he? Last year was hell enough.”
“Don’t speak that way about your Grandpa, Charlie. But no, I don’t think that’s it.” he smiled as if he knew something I didn’t. He covered his mouth with one hand. He was trying desperately not to laugh.
“Spit it out, then. Don’t make me beat it out of you.”
“You know you shouldn’t speak to me like that, Charlie Dean. I’m your father.”
“I also know you’re going to let me off because it’s my birthday. So, spill.”
He couldn’t help but to let out a chuckle. And a loud one at that. I knocked him hard on the arm.
“Maybe you should go and find out for yourself, my boy.” he said, grinning as if he knew exactly what was about to go down.
So, giving him a sly look, I turned on my heel and walked down the stairs. My Grandpa was sat in the lounge, waiting. He got up when he saw me walk in, and came over to me, his arms wide. I took his hug, and smiled. Though I wouldn’t admit it to anyone other than myself, I did love my Grandpa. We had a lot in common.
He turned to face me, and we sat down on the couch. “Charlie boy,” he said. “How are you?”
“I’m good, Grandpa.” I said.
“That’s great, my boy. How is everyone at home?”
I almost sighed in frustration, it was always the same conversation. To fast-forward for you a bit, in case you hadn’t already guessed, he basically asked me if I wanted to come and play Bingo with him this evening, since it was my 18th and I was now legally old enough to play the game. “I think it would be great for the both of us, Charlie. It’s fun, you’ll meet all of my friends and, just between the two of us, I usually manage to sneak in some whiskey. I love spending time with you.”
He looked at me with hopeful anticipation. I didn’t know what to say. I already had plans for my birthday, but I didn’t want to upset my Grandpa either. Friends, or family? Get drunk with Dan and the others, or drink Whiskey at Bingo with Grandpa? I turned around.
Stood behind me, in the doorway of the lounge was Dad, staring at me with wild laughter in his eyes. He was finding it all hilarious, I could tell. When Grandpa turned to him, he burst out laughing.
“David, stop all that irritating noise, will you?” called Grandpa. But this just seemed to make him laugh all the more.
“Dad, what the hell is so funny?” I retorted. I was annoyed now.
I only just managed to work out what he was saying when he started talking; his laughter made it too difficult. “I…your Grandpa…Bingo, my 18th… It was hilarious… He embarrassed himself in… front of everyone…drunk…wheeled table…face-first in cake…Charlie…I knew he’d ask…You have to go… Hilarious.”
That was basically the gist of it, minus the missing words and the hysterical, gut-hurting laughter. I didn’t know what to say, I turned to Grandpa. He was staring at Dad with an expression of pain and anger on his face. And I suddenly knew what I had to do. I had to go with Grandpa, to make him feel better. Besides, he had whiskey, it could be worse!
“Grandpa?” I said. He turned his face towards me. “Ignore Dad, he’s done so much worse than that. I’ll come to Bingo with you. It’ll be fun.”
He was sceptic at first. “You’re not just saying that so you can watch me embarrass myself again like your Dad said?”
“No!” I replied, the smallest bit hurt that he’d think that of me. “I want to go.”
He must have seen the expression on my face because he smiled. “Besides,” I continued. “If anything happens, I’ll embarrass myself too and we can be idiots together.”
I was surprised at what I was saying, but I was glad Grandpa was happy. Bloody hell though, I was turning into my Dad.
When we left, Dad could barely wave, he was holding his stomach and curled over in laughter. He clearly knew something was going to happen. But I didn’t care. I called Dan and told him about tonight, and he was as shocked as I knew he would be.
“Dude, are you completely insane?” he said. “I was so excited for tonight! Bingo? Fuck, Charlie, you fucking idiot!”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Maybe next time, Dan.” I said, chuckling inwardly. I hung up. I could almost feel his anger through the phone. I guess he was right to be angry, though. He’s my best mate and I’d just ditched him for my Grandpa.
When we got into the taxi, Grandpa got out the whiskey. He took a swig, wiped the rim, handed it to me. I drank it in one gulp.
“Oh well!” he said, looking at the empty bottle and pulling another out of his (apparently very large) coat pocket. “I have more!”
I laughed. “I never knew you were into Alcohol so much, Grandpa.”
“And I never knew you were into partying so much. Your Dad told me you’d had plans to go out to a club tonight.”
He’d caught me there. I chuckled. “Mm, touché.”
He laughed. We smiled at each other, his blue eyes shining. If he was like this all evening, I could see us really enjoying ourselves. I didn’t bother to look out the window during the journey. I was just enjoying my conversation with Grandpa.
“What was Dad like as a kid, then?”
“You mean when he was around your age, or younger?”
“As a teenager.”
“Loud, but I’m sure you’ve guessed that already. Much like yourself, in fact. He loved to party as much as the next boy, he loved to drink. He was very social, had a lot of friends. But he had a bad attitude, it got him into a lot of trouble. At school, at work, and with the Police.”
I almost laughed out loud, I’d always imagined my Dad as the dorkiest boy of the year with his square glasses and stripey shirts. But he had been, well, a lot like me. “Did he ever get arrested?”
Grandpa laughed. “No, but he got a few warnings. But it was usually the people he was with that got him into trouble in the first place, shouting, egging houses, that kind of thing. He was just the one that was always there in the background, didn’t really do much to participate but was still there and so got into trouble with the rest of them.”
Before I knew it, we’d arrived outside the Bingo hall. We were late, and when we entered the room, everyone stared. It was all old people, as I had expected. But there were a few younger people too, a girl of around my age. Was she being dragged along by Grandparents and relatives, too? I was tempted to go over to her, with curly red hair, bright green eyes and slim figure, she was gorgeous. But I didn’t, I had to remember, I was here for Grandpa.
We sat down at one of the tables and they handed us each a booklet. Grandpa snuck me the full bottle of whiskey under the table and I took it, and hid it behind my ankles. God, my Grandpa the rebel. I was learning more about my family in this evening than I had in my entire life. And I liked it. I realised that I had a lot more in common with them then I had originally thought.
The caller started doing her calling, and Grandpa started stamping numbers with his big, fat yellow pen. I almost laughed, it looked out of place in his tiny hand.
I was looking around for a huge Vanilla cake, surveying the room. Oh God, there, on the prize table. And guess what? Wheels.
After lots of numbers, Grandpa shouted, “Bingo!” And the lady came over to check his booklet. When he went to the prize table, I had visions of the same thing happening again.
“Grandpa, what is it you want? I’ll go and get it for you.”
He caught on straight away. “Why, the Whiskey of course.” I laughed. Got to my feet, collected his Whiskey for him. “You keep the one I gave you,” he whispered. “Don’t tell your Dad, though, it can be our little secret.”
I smiled slyly. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”
We changed booklets. I drunk some Whiskey and observed Grandpa. I wasn’t getting any numbers anyway. Every now and then, he would sneak a glance behind him at a woman on one of the other tables. The woman was pretty, around the same age as him, her hair white, her eyes a pretty blue. (Not that I am into older women, but if I was his age she would definitely be someone I would go for. God, that sounds weird. But whatever.)
I moved closer to him so he would hear me better. He was only opposite me but he was so engrossed in his booklet that I didn’t imagine he would actually be listening properly.
“You should go over and talk to her.” I said.
He stared at me, clearly thinking I hadn’t seen him staring at her. His expression said who? Until my eyes pointed it out. Then he knew.
His cheeks blushed crimson. “No, I couldn’t… I mean, I wouldn’t… How, Charlie?”
The situation was so close to laughable. My Grandpa asking me for relationship advice. Dan would be having a fit if he was here right now. I would be too, but I didn’t want him to think I was laughing AT him.
“Just be yourself,” I said softly. “Ask her for her phone number, or something.” – If she even had a mobile, I couldn’t help but think. God, I was so mean.
He nodded. “OK, I’ll go after Bingo finishes.”
I smiled. “Good, and if she says no, you just smile and walk away- show her what she’s missing.”
The games passed quite quickly. I managed to win a few prizes, a bottle of Vodka, some wine for my Mum (God, were these people were obsessed with alcohol?), and a large box of chocolates.
It was when they finished that the action started. I watched and waited while Grandpa walked up to his special lady and started talking to her. She seemed fairly happy to see him, she was smiling and laughing at what I presumed were the little jokes he often made when he was nervous. Well, that was better than nothing.
But when he got to the prize table, everything went wrong. He was walking with his lady, (they were holding hands and smiling and laughing!), but just as they passed the table, the table cloth with the prizes on top fell down from where it had been neatly tucked under the chair and got trapped under Grandpa’s feet, which caused all of the remaining prizes to fly off the table and straight at the two of them. The worst part was that the cake, vanilla flavour, ended up flying straight into the lady’s face. Grandpa spent the rest of the evening drunk and lonely. He cried all the way home.
“I just wanted her to love me,” he sobbed into my shoulder. I just uttered soothing words and held him.
I wanted to be optimistic. “At least you didn’t get a face-full of cake this time.” I said softly, laughing to myself, imagining my Dad’s face when we appeared in the doorway of the house.
Grandpa looked up at me with an angry expression on his face, then fell suddenly asleep on my shoulder and forgot all about it until the next morning.
The poor bugger. He’d gone over there expecting her to be all happy with him, and then when she had been, he’d messed it up by covering her face in cake. You had to feel sorry for him.
But we had a good night, and it was definitely an… interesting way to spend my birthday. I look forward to telling Dan all about it when we go back to college on Monday. That is if he’s even talking to me since I ditched him and all.
So, I guess the moral of the story is if your Grandpa asks you to Bingo for your 18th birthday, don’t let him anywhere near the wheeled prize table, under any circumstances.
Because believe me, if you do, you will not be happy the result.