Action Man | Chris Field


Action Man

by Chris Field 

The Never Been Pissed Award


Jim welcomed the gathered family. “I invited you tonight to hear first hand. With mum’s passing I’m finally leaving.”

“What?” they chorused. “You can’t be serious?”

“There’s a buyer, so this is our final gathering.”

“What?” came greater outrage. “You can’t sell!” “What’s got into you?”

“Young man, this place holds us together,” Aunt May blurted.

“I rode my trike on the verandah,” Vern reminisced.

“It’s all that’s left of Pearl and George,” others prompted.

“Why leave?” Millie gasped.

“This place doesn’t suit me any more,” Jim explained.

“That’s ridiculous,” Sal contended, “you live where your roots are?”

“My roots are within me.”

“What drivel. Johno, Jim doesn’t give a hoot about this place.”

“Jim,” Johno responded, “there’s part of each of us here.”

“You’ve always been a selfish bastard,” Aemon accused.

“I’m happy to sell to anyone in the family.”

“Who?” May called.

“Whoever has the money.”

“Well, don’t sell to Vern, he’d never look after the place.”

Jim left to fetch dessert.

“I can’t believe you’re doing this,” cousin Ellie sighed in Jim’s kitchen.

“People move all the time,” Jim replied. “You always planned to get away.”

“Mum won’t release me.”

“She never will. So you choose.”

“It’s not that easy.”

“Come with me. It’s just a choice.”

“Mum will be mad.”

“She’s always unhappy. Don’t let her steal your future.”

“Listen here,” Aemon blurted, barging in, “there’s no way you’re gonna sell.”

“Help carry this,” Jim responded.

“I say you’re doing the wrong thing. Aren’t you gonna fight me?”

“Are you allowed an opinion?”

“I sure am!”

“Then I’d be wrong to fight it.”

“I mean it,” Aemon continued, uncertain, juggling a dish.

“I can change my mind,” Jim announced, everyone attentive.

“Just show me the happiness of our shared lives.” With that Jim enjoyed dessert.

“Well,” Aunt May started, urged on, “we’re family. We’ve always been family.”

“Is that why you thrashed me for upsetting Johno?”

“Why,” she blurted, “that was years ago. You were just a child.”

“I was me. The same me I am today.”

“You’re being selfish as usual, and upsetting everyone with your plans,” Sal challenged.

“I’m making the best choice I can think of.”

“Well, don’t come running to us when your life falls in a heap.”

Jim left again, to organise drinks. Again Ellie joined him.

“How can you do that?”

“What?”

“You’re upsetting everyone and you don’t care?”

“Not every breeze is a twister.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I don’t have to fly in their whirlwind. I choose to act, not react.”

“You must react, or you’ll upset everyone.”

“People upset themselves. Let them react. I won’t.”

Jim carried coffee to the sideboard. “So?” he queried.

“You’re being irresponsible,” Aemon accused, “just like your father.”

“Don’t bring Earl into this,” Aunt May countered.

“It’s all your fault, Vern, with your snooty ideas.”

“Oh!” blurted Sal, “Look who’s talking.”

As the gathering descended into malice Jim pulled papers from his pocket and signed.

At the door he grabbed his coat and caught Ellie’s attention, brows raised in question. She hesitated. He counted to five, then was gone, leaving the family to enjoy their future together.

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