Important Work

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Story continues from yesterday:

A few weeks earlier, Luke and Joe had been doing some important work after school.

“Hold the bag open.”

“Hang on.”  Joe had let go of the bag while he searched the brambles and weeds.  He stepped back to open the bag for Luke who dropped another three half-metre lengths of barbed wire into it.  “I want a go with the bolt cutters now,” said Joe.

“In a minute,” said Luke as he went back to the line he was on, “I wanna get all of this, up to the tree.”

The field hadn’t had any crops in it for as long as the boys could remember.  It was just grass.  Sometimes there were deer, early in the morning, or just after sunset.  That’s what made Luke want to get the barbed wire.  It had been strung up a long time ago, between the field and the woods, and a lot of it was loose and trailing across the ground, partly hidden by dead leaves. Or it was hanging slackly between the trees.  It was a hazard for wild animals and needed to be removed.

“Okay, here you go,” said Luke, generously sharing Joe’s dad’s bolt cutters with Joe.

“Thanks,” Joe cut the strand he’d found into manageable chunks and dropped them into the bag.  “Is there any more?”

“I think that’s the worst of it,” said Luke, “there’s plenty of safe gaps for the deer to come through now.”  He lifted the bag to test its weight.  “I think we’ll have to come back another day for the rest.”

“Okay,” said Joe, making a mental note to be the first with the bolt cutters next time.  He tucked the implement under his coat and Luke carried the bag.

“This can prob’ly be recycled,” said Luke as they walked back into the village, “it’s good metal.  They could melt it down and do somethin’ useful with it.”

“Yeah, like make …. something,” said Joe when his imagination failed him.  “Anyway, see ya.”

Luke turned right into the cul-de-sac and Joe continued for another five minutes before coming to his own house.  He usually went in through the front door but because he needed to return the bolt cutters to the garage first, he went in the back.  He opened the door just in time to see his mum dividing a tray of minced lamb between the large casserole dish and the small one.

Joe was stunned.  “What are you doing?”

“Oh good grief!” exclaimed his mother with her hand on her heart, “you gave me a fright!  What are you creeping about for?  Make some noise when you sneak into a room!”

Thursday was shepherd’s pie night in the Currant household.  Joe’s mum used minced lamb for everybody else but she made him a separate one with soya mince.  He loved shepherd’s pie.  He’d always loved it.  It was his favourite meal.  That’s why, in spite of everything she’d said at the beginning, she made a separate one, just for him.  It was so nice for Joe to know that his mum was finally listening; finally respecting his choices and doing her best to accommodate them.

“What are you doing?” Joe asked again.

His mum paused briefly before baring her teeth in an embarrassed grin.  “Ah, you caught me.”

“Why are you putting lamb in my dish?” Joe’s pained expression made her feel a little bit guilty.

“I’m sorry love, I ran out of soya.  I hoped you wouldn’t notice.”

“I would notice!” said Joe angrily, “I absolutely would notice!”

“Is that right?” said Mrs Currant, her sympathy chased away by her son’s insolence, “well you haven’t noticed for the last three months!”

Joe’s jaw dropped.  “Three months? You’ve been giving me meat for three months?”

“What’s the difference?  You didn’t notice!  I ran out of your stuff in December but I knew how disappointed you’d be if you couldn’t have your precious shepherd’s pie so I used real mince.  Just this once, I thought.  What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.  And I was right, you couldn’t tell the difference.  You loved it!  So I took that as a sign.”

“A sign of what?  That your son’s an idiot for trusting his mother?”

“I don’t like your tone young man and if you don’t apologise this minute I’m going to tell your father!”

“Me apologise?  You lied to me!  I can’t believe I’ve been eating meat for three months!  I feel sick!”

“Oh stop being so melodramatic!  You ate meat for years before you started on this fad.  And the rest of us still do. Do you find us disgusting?  Is it so disgusting to eat food made in this kitchen?”

“It depends on the food,” said Joe, “and it depends who made it!”

“Really?” Mrs Currant was outraged.  She’d never seen this side of Joe before and she didn’t like it one bit.  “Well, since I’m the only one in this house who makes the food, that’s going to be a problem for you isn’t it?”

“No,” said Joe firmly, “because you’re not going to make my dinners any more.  I’ll make them myself!”

“Will you?  Okay, well you can do your own shopping as well then! I’ll give you a food allowance and you can do your own shopping, your own cooking and your own washing up!”

By the following day Joe’s anger had given way to shame.  He was ashamed he hadn’t been able to tell he was eating lamb.  Even more ashamed that he’d enjoyed it.  He decided then and there he could never tell Luke.  Not ever.

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Story continues tomorrow, but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegetarian, short story,

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