by Mo McAuley
One Saturday morning Abby’s Mum came upstairs to see Abby in her bedroom. Or tried to. There was so much mess on the floor she could only poke her head around the door. Abby sat in the middle of it all reading a book.
“What a tip,” Mum said. “You need to have a clear up in here.”
“Why?” Abby asked.
“Why?” Mum repeated. “Because things get broken or lost when they’re all willy-nilly like this. Come on, have a tidy up now.”
“But I’m very busy,” Abby argued, “and it’s boring on my own. Can’t you help me?”
“No I can’t, I’m busy too. But I’ll give you extra pocket money if you do a good job.”
When Mum came back later all the toys and clothes and books had disappeared.
“I’m impressed,” said Mum. “But I’ll inspect it properly later.”
“It was easy,” said Abby. “Can I have my extra pocket money now?”
“All right. Get it out of my change purse. It’s in the kitchen tidy drawer.”
In the kitchen Abby went over to the dresser and pulled open the tidy drawer. She hunted for the purse.
“Any luck?” Mum asked.
Abby shook her head.
“It must be lurking at the bottom,” Mum said. “Let’s have a proper look.”
She pulled the drawer out and carried it over to the table. Abby kneeled up on a chair to look inside. There were lots of boring things like staplers and string but there were lots of interesting things as well.
“What’s this?” Abby asked, holding up a plastic bottle full of red liquid. Mum laughed.
“Fake blood, from a Hallowe’en party years ago. Your Dad and I took you to that, dressed up as a baby vampire. You were really scary.”
“I don’t remember that.”
Abby carried on looking through the drawer. She found some vampire teeth, white face paint, plastic witchy nails and hair gel. Mum pulled out a glittery hair band. It had springs with wobbly balls on the top that flashed disco colours. She put it on her head while she carried on looking through the drawer. Abby found some sparkly hair elastics to match the hair band. She made her Mum put lots of little bunches all over her head so she looked really silly.
“I remember this,” Abby said as she pulled out a plastic bag. “This is from my pirate party.” Inside there was a black, false moustache and some big gold earrings.
She peeled the sticky backing off the false moustache and stuck it on Mum’s top lip then found a paint brush in the drawer and painted a fierce red scar down her cheek using the fake blood. Mum clipped on the pirate earrings.
“Come here,” Mum said and smeared white face paint all over Abby’s face. She dribbled the fake blood so it looked as if it was coming out of Abby’s eyes and mouth. She put gel all over Abby’s hair and made it stand up into weird, pointy shapes. Abby put in the vampire teeth and slipped on the witchy fingers. She made scary noises at Wow-Wow the cat. He ignored her and carried on washing himself on the seat next to her.
“Wotch thish?” Abby asked, holding up a flat rubbery thing. It was hard to speak through the vampire teeth.
“It’s a whoopee cushion,” Mum said. “You blow it up and sit on it. It makes rude noises.” She blew it up and gave it to Abby.
Suddenly there was a knock at the back door. A voice called out. “Hello, it’s only me. I’ve let myself in.”
It was their nosy neighbour, Mrs Hislop. She was always interfering and complaining.
Mrs Hislop entered the kitchen. Her mouth dropped open.
“We’re jush wooking for the change pursh,” Abby explained.
“Yes, well, er,” Mrs Hislop said, “I just wanted a word about your fence. Some of it’s blown down on my side.”
At that moment Abby sat on the whoopee cushion and let out an enormous, rude noise. Wow-Wow jumped off his seat and ran away.
“Well!” said Mrs. Hislop and hurried from the room and out of the house.
When the door banged shut Abby and Mum burst out laughing until Mum’s moustache hung on by a whisker and Abby’s vampire teeth dropped out.
Abby came to sit on her Mum’s knee.
“It’s fun doing this together,” she said.
“Maybe. But we still haven’t found the change purse.” They both looked at the enormous heap of things spread over the kitchen table.
“Well, you know things will get lost, or broken, when they’re all willy nilly,” Abby said.
“You cheeky monkey!” Mum laughed. “But what shall I do with it all?”
“I know, it’s easy,” Abby said and began to scoop everything off the table into her arms. She dumped it all back in the kitchen drawer.
Mum looked at her suspiciously.
“Let’s go and inspect your bedroom shall we.”
Abby followed her upstairs and into her bedroom. Wow-Wow was sitting in front of her fish tank looking hungrily at the goldfish. He dashed under the bed when he saw Mum and Abby. Mum kneeled down and lifted the bed cover to get him out. Underneath were heaps of Abby’s toys, books, tapes, clothes and shoes, empty plastic cups and wrappers and a half-eaten sandwich on a plate.
“Abby! What’s all this?”
“It’s my tidy drawer,” Abby said. She wrapped her arms around her Mum and gave her a kiss. “Let’s sort this one out together now.”