Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain

Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain by Steven Herrick Read Free Book Online

Book: Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain by Steven Herrick Read Free Book Online
Authors: Steven Herrick
comes to the table wearing an eye patch. Beth groans. ‘What are you, a pirate?’
    â€˜Beth, show a bit of sympathy,’ says Mum. She reaches across and pats Dad’s wrist. ‘I think he looks quite dashing.’
    â€˜Like Johnny Depp?’ Dad suggests.
    Beth almost pours the gravy on her lap she’s laughing so much. It’s hard not to join in. Dad is tall, skinny, with a shock of blond curly hair and big ears. He looks as much like a movie star as I do.
    â€˜Being a farmer can be quite difficult at times,’ Dad explains.
    â€˜A farmer!’ says Beth. ‘Six fruit trees, a watermelon patch and two garden beds doesn’t—’
    â€˜Doesn’t mean we’re not making a contribution to saving the planet, Beth,’ Mum interrupts.
    â€˜Yeah. Imagine if everyone grew their own vegetables,’ says Dad.
    â€˜There’d be more food for the starving in Africa,’ I say, nervously.
    Mum and Dad nod in appreciation. I pretend to be very interested in pouring myself a glass of iced water.
    â€˜Jesse’s right,’ says Dad. ‘Each of us, in our small way, is helping.’
    â€˜How is growing peaches helping the starving Somalis?’ asks Beth.
    â€˜Ethiopians,’ I correct her.
    â€˜Ethiopians, Somalis, Burundians, they’re all starving,’ says Beth, ‘and none of them are eating Dad’s peaches.’
    Mum sighs. ‘Beth.’
    This could go on all night. ‘An eight-year-old boy in Ethiopia has never seen a peach, I reckon. He’d think it was a,’ everyone is staring at me, ‘a mini football or—’
    Beth scoffs.
    â€˜It’s true,’ I say, thinking of my friend, Kelifa. His favourite sport is football and he wants to be a professional player when he grows up. If he grows up. He probably wouldn’t actually kick a peach around. He’d eat it. Somebody should warn him about the hard pip in the middle. And to be careful about getting sprayed in the eye with peach juice.
    As if on cue, Dad removes his eye patch. ‘This thing is irritating me.’ He laughs. ‘What’s a bit of peach juice,’ he looks at me, ‘compared to the starving in Africa.’
    I can’t help myself, ‘We should try to help the Ethiopians.’
    â€˜Yeah, let’s send them Dad’s peaches,’ says Beth.
    â€˜Beth,’ says Mum.
    â€˜I know my own name, Mum, you don’t have to keep repeating it.’
    â€˜Maybe the school could take up a collection, Beth. You could suggest it to Larry tomorrow?’ says Dad.
    â€˜He only wants to save the environment, not starving African kids,’ says Beth.
    â€˜Bet—’ Mum stops herself just in time.
    â€˜We could donate money,’ I suggest.
    â€˜Only yesterday, I gave two dollars to a lady in the street collecting for the Salvos,’ says Dad. He picks up a drumstick and takes a bite.
    â€˜Will she pass it on to the Ethiopians?’ asks Beth.
    Dad looks hurt.
    â€˜Every little bit helps, Beth,’ Mum counters.
    â€˜We could sponsor a child?’ I suggest.
    Dad glances quickly at Mum. Maybe they’ve already been thinking about it. I have to try, for Kelifa.
    â€˜For twenty-seven dollars a month, we could sponsor a boy in Ethiopia. Maybe someone who doesn’t even have a mum.’ Mum looks at me. I continue, ‘Or a dad. Someone who’s stuck in a small hut with lots of sisters and only a bag of rice.’
    â€˜Yes, well. That’s a good idea, Jesse,’ says Dad, hesitantly. ‘Maybe not this month though. What with school fees and—’ He notices he’s still holding the chicken drumstick and places it back on the plate.
    â€˜Forget your peaches, Dad,’ says Beth. ‘Just send cash.’
    I wonder if Kelifa has a picture of Trevor on his wall.
    â€˜We could just donate once,’ I suggest.

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