Tigers on the Beach

Tigers on the Beach by Doug MacLeod Read Free Book Online

Book: Tigers on the Beach by Doug MacLeod Read Free Book Online
Authors: Doug MacLeod
emptied all his stones onto the floor and is placing them in size from biggest to smallest.
    â€˜Put the stones away,’ I tell him.
    Xander doesn’t look at me when he speaks. He never looks at
anyone
when he speaks to them.
    â€˜I don’t want to put them away,’ he says.
    â€˜You have to.’
    â€˜Why?’
    â€˜So I can murder you. You are a haemorrhoid.’
    â€˜If you murder me I’ll tell on you.’
    â€˜Don’t you want to know
why
I’m going to murder you?’
    Xander says nothing. He has two stones that look the same size. He’s trying to work out where to put these two stones in the arrangement.
    â€˜Your tractor beetles escaped,’ I say.
    Xander remains quiet as he studies the stones. There are a dozen shoeboxes lining the wall next to Xander’s bed. They contain various species of beetle. Our employee Nathan knows the technical name of every species. He keeps telling Xander that he shouldn’t keep beetles in boxes, but it doesn’t stop him. Xander has punched airholes in the lid of each box. Typically, he has made some of the holes too big. Not only do they let the air in, they let the beetles out.
    â€˜I found your tractor beetles, Xander. Do you want to know where?’
    By now Xander has found a third stone that seems to be the same size as the other two. I can see this
really
bothers him.
    â€˜They were in my hair,’ I continue. ‘I was at the store with this amazing girl and your beetles fell into my milkshake.’
    At last I get a response from Xander. He chuckles.
    â€˜It gets worse,’ I say.
    I tell Xander the terrible story of how I removed the tractor beetles from my pants, and was observed doing so in the security mirror. Xander explodes with laughter.
    â€˜That’s why I’m going to murder you,’ I say.
    â€˜You won’t murder me,’ says Xander, ‘because I will murder you first.’
    As usual, we start to murder each other. We do this on Xander’s bed, because the floor is covered in stones and if we try to murder each other on the carpet we might hurt ourselves. We wrestle around and put each other in headlocks. I’m stronger than Xander, so I go easy on the headlocks. We are both caught by surprise when Grandma appears in the doorway. She’s been out with Mum.
    â€˜What on earth are you boys doing?’ she says.
    We stop murdering each other because we know Grandma doesn’t like that.
    â€˜Just mucking around,’ I say.
    â€˜Adam is being gay with me,’ says Xander.
    â€˜Don’t say such stupid things,’ says Grandma.
    â€˜Only if Adam stops being gay.’
    â€˜Xander is being a haemorrhoid,’ I say.
    â€˜I’m very angry with you, Alexander,’ Grandma snaps. ‘You threw those stupid balls at me, didn’t you?’
    â€˜I don’t know what you mean,’ says Xander, innocently.
    Grandma holds out four wacky balls.
    â€˜I was walking around with balls on my back, until your mother told me.’
    Xander giggles and Grandma frowns.
    Mum enters behind her. ‘Apologise to Grandma,’ she says.
    Xander looks sullen.
    â€˜If you don’t apologise,’ says Mum, ‘we’ll confiscate every single one of your wacky balls.’
    This is a severe threat. Xander knows Mum is serious.
    â€˜Sorry, Grandma,’ says Xander, softly, ‘if I upset you.’
    â€˜That isn’t a proper apology,’ says Mum.
    â€˜Sorry Grandma,’ says Xander.
    Grandma turns to Mum. ‘Georgia, you really need to use a firmer hand with these two. When I was a naughty girl, the teachers caned me.’
    â€˜I bet you caned them back,’ says Xander.
    Grandma leaves, but Mum stays behind.
    â€˜I don’t want any bad behaviour tonight,’ she says. ‘Grandma will be staying for dinner.’
    â€˜Why does she have to come here all the time?’ says Xander.
    â€˜Because we love

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