Tuesday, 1 May 2012
MayDay Flash - 'Don’t Cry Wolf, Cry Mayday' by Josephine Corcoran
“To avoid confusion,” says Dad, “don’t shout ‘Wolf!’, because I’ll think you’re ‘crying wolf’, like the boy in the story.”
He has this way of talking that makes Dreevy think he’s scolding her. Like she was the boy in the fable who caused the whole flock of sheep to be eaten.
“If you see a wolf”, says Dad, “shout ‘Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!’ And I’ll come with my gun.”
She wants to tell him it’s not the same. That they only have six sheep and that they’re not theirs anyway but part of this whole Survival Holiday deal. That if one of the sheep was eaten, it would be sad, but not like in the fable, because there’s plenty of food in the shop at the foot of the mountain.
Dad starts walking away. “Three times is wasting breath!” she calls. “And wasting time!”
He rolls his eyes. “Three times is correct procedure.”
Nobody’s seen a wolf but Dad says it explains the smell. The stench, he calls it. Mum says it's probably the overflowing bins outside the shop and that Dad shouldn’t believe everything he reads. Dad says “Why do you always undermine me?”and Agnes says if there are mines, will there be gold and will it be warmer there?
Then Agnes throws up and Mum says “I’ll take the children home”. But Dreevy says she’ll stay with Dad.
It’s late when the shop goes dark. Dad says “They’re money-making bastards. Next time we’ll drive further out and find our own spot to camp.”
Dad's right about the stench. It wakes her up. There’s a low growling. The sheep are nowhere to be seen. What had Dad said? She knows what to shout if it’s a wolf. But what would Dad want her to cry if it's a bear?