Seriously Signed... Dad.

19 3 7

(prompt: 'fast' 31/5/2019)

"Dad, Dad... " Customers turned in surprise to see a blur of motion, rushing to kiss the butcher. It was little Christine, unaware of anyone else on the planet. "Mrs. Downer says I have to get a note from you for the Butcher's Picnic next week." A deep frown furrowed her pretty little forehead. "She says I can't have the day off school otherwise, and... and... she says I've got to bring it tomorrow." And although she was puffing hard from running all the way home, she scrambled to reach the pencil tucked behind his ear. "Write it now, Dad... p-l-e-a-s-e? So you don't forget?"

The waiting customers were grinning. They all enjoyed this talkative child... but none could match her father's love and pride. "Little tyke. You truly are a one." His voice softened, eyes twinkling. "I'll write it tonight - AFTER tea, Christine - when we're in the office, OK?" And she was off again, now on the next important part of her routine... to the kitchen to tell Mum.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Later, bathed and snug in her pink and white puppy pyjamas and cosy dressing gown, she squirmed all through the counting of her dad's takings for the day, unusually clumsy in her haste to get to the real business awaiting. At long last, he finished filling the last calico money bags - coins and notes carefully separated - totalled the final neat row of figures in his ledger, and firmly closed the book. If she'd had to wait a moment longer, she'd have burst, he thought, barely containing his mirth.

"NOW," he said, "... now I'll write THAT note. Wouldn't want you to miss out on our 'extra-special, you beaut' holiday, would we, possum?"

She shook her head, eyes shining and tiny teeth gritted tightly behind her widest grin as she watched him writing. His pen flowed smoothly in his special handwriting - up lightly, down strongly - on his best writing pad. "I love that end bit, Dad. When you write your name," she hesitated. "It's a sig-uhrr, a signame? No, that's not it. Dad?"

"A signature... that's what it's called."

Her eyes glowed. "You're so fast... and with that great big wiggle at the end, too." And she laid her head on her bent arm, leaning on his shoulder and looking adoringly at him. "I love you Dad," and she kissed his ear. He hugged her tightly. She'll never know how precious she is to both of us, he thought as he remembered the breakdown his Winnie had suffered after their toddler son died in her arms. He mentally shook himself - hard - and purposefully turned his attention back to his little darling.

When the note was carefully folded and tucked into a crisp white envelope, she asked, "Did the Butcher's Picnic start when you were a little boy, Dad? THAT long ago?" She knew he loved to reminisce. Easy to guess what she was hoping... he'd forget her bedtime for a bit longer, and maybe... just maybe, she would outwit him.

"... but D-a-d-d-d..." Her most woebegone plea didn't stop him picking her up and blowing a raspberry into her neck, tickling her with his night-time sprout of whiskers, and making her laugh instead. In his firmest no nonsense tone of voice, followed quickly by a chuckle, he said, "More tomorrow night. I'll make it your bedtime story. Owzat?"

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