As a little light relief I thought I'd post an extract from a book I'm working on. It's taken from a chapter about a children's party. They are attempting to play a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
When Mike and Jane realised that none of the children was likely to get within a stone’s throw of the donkey, let alone its nether regions, they decided to let them have a go without blindfolds. The first child stuck the tail on the donkey’s nose, the next on its hindmost hoof. Three children opted for the pleasantly rotund mid-portion of the donkey, one for its eye, another for its ear. The rest of the guests went for the hindquarters, or rather the back half of the animal. No-one came anywhere near the right position, which made Mike wonder if any of them had ever seen a donkey, or horse, or cow or indeed any quadruped with a tail.
‘Does anyone know where a donkey’s tail goes?’ Mike asked cheerfully.
The tiny doll-sized girl’s hand shot up. ‘I do,’ she yelled. ‘On his bottom,’ and she giggled. The rest of the children went into paroxsyms of laughter at this rude word and repeated it excitedly to each other behind their hands, eyes wide with shocked delight.
Mike looked despairingly at his wife who was struggling to maintain a straight face.
‘Very good,’ he said. ‘Would you like to show me where his bottom is?’
The tiny doll-sized girl put her hands over her face and peeped out at him through her laced fingers. She shook her head.
‘Would anyone else like to show me?’ he appealed, but his words were lost on his audience, who were rolling around on the floor, clutching their stomachs and gasping as they cackled.
‘Can anyone show me where the donkey’s tail should go?’ he asked, hoping that sanity might be restored, but the children were seized by hysteria and a couple were going red and starting to cough and splutter. From experience with his own children, Mike recognised that overexcitement would soon lead to tears and possibly vomiting and loss of control of other bodily functions.
‘I’ll show you, shall I?’ he boomed and lurched energetically towards the donkey whose cheerful smile exhibited a mocking aspect he hadn’t noticed before.
In his haste to reestablish normality he failed to notice his shoe laces were tied together until he was brought to a sudden, undignified halt. Overbalancing, he crashed to the floor, narrowly missing a small ginger child who had been watching him since he entered the room. The cherubic blond boy was also watching and Jane thought she detected glee on his face.
‘Shi- shall I show you?’ Mike bellowed, heroically resisting the urge to swear loudly and profanely. The small ginger child stuck its third and fourth fingers in its mouth and its little finger in its nose and gazed at Mike as he fumbled his laces undone and struggled to his feet, rubbing his knees. The tiny doll-sized girl giggled suddenly and said, ‘You’re funny, you are. You’re funny. I think you’re funny.’
She looked at the other children and said, ‘We all think you’re funny. You’re funny, you are.’
All the children started chanting, ‘You’re funny, you are, you’re funny.’
Mike bared his teeth in what he hoped was a smile, which Jane later informed him looked about as convincing and heartwarming as Hannibal Lecter’s menacing leer. He picked up the donkey’s tail and attached it to the correct part of the animal’s anatomy.
‘There,’ he said triumphantly. ‘You see? Now, which one of you would like to have a go?’
The tiny doll-sized girl looked pityingly at him and said in tones of infinite patience, ‘Well, it’s there now, so you’ve won, haven’t you?’
The small ginger child sucked harder at its fingers, the cherubic blond boy muttered some more about pass the parcel and Alexander burst into tears and punched his father in the groin. Mike gasped and sat down heavily on the sofa. As he fought to prevent the colourful Anglo-Saxon words that were trying to force their way past his teeth, Jane took control and called the children to the kitchen for tea.
The ensuing fracas was eye-opening. The tiny doll-sized girl stood on her chair and reached across the table to grab a bowl of crisps. She sat down and put a protective arm around the bowl, shrugging off all comers with a snarl and cramming crisps into her mouth at an astonishing rate. The blond cherubic boy took bites out of several slices of pizza before replacing them on the plate. Another boy, one of the tough-looking kissing duo, spat out everything he tasted and disliked, which proved to be most things. Alexander licked his finger and swiftly marked half a dozen chocolate fancies before snatching the plate with all the cheese and pineapple skewers and disappearing under the table.
The small ginger child piled its plate with cocktail sausages, ate one and knocked the plate off the table as it suddenly realised it desperately needed the loo. It asked Jane to help with the intricate buckles on its shoulders. Thus it was that Jane was able to ascertain that, despite all appearances to the contrary, the child was a boy. She had been fooled by the long ginger ringlets and the elaborate rings and bracelets he was wearing. His name was androgynous – Kim. His clothes, too, gave little clue to his gender. He was wearing dungarees, true, but they were red and white gingham with flower motifs over a silky pale blue polo neck. The shoes on his neat little feet were black patent with big silver bows.
‘Kim,’ she asked as she fastened him back into his outfit. ‘Have you any brothers or sisters?’
He gazed at her, long lashes shading his wide eyes. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I’m the one and only, never lonely.’
‘Oh,’ said Jane, somewhat taken aback.
‘Mummy and me, together we’re free,’ he said.
‘That’s good,’ she murmured.
‘I love her and she loves me,’ he added.
‘Lovely,’ breathed Jane.
‘Together till eternity,’ he sighed.
‘What a strange child’ thought Jane. ‘Does he always speak in rhyme?’