Don’t Blame The KidsGary moved his family to the country to fulfil a lifelong dream. The unyielding traffic of the city had finally gotten to him and it was time to get out. His stunning wife was all for the idea and so were their three young boys. Finally there was room to move, fresh air to breath and a menagerie of pets to keep them company.
Beryl and Ernie, the retired couple across the paddock, were happy with their new neighbours, welcoming them warmly from day one. But late one afternoon as Beryl was tending to her vegetable garden, she was shocked by the profane language blaring from the neighbouring property.
“Come here you little bastards!” she heard in the distance. “I’m gonna wring you bloody necks if you don’t come out here this instant!” Those poor little kids, she thought.
Beryl was flabbergasted but kept the incident to herself, but the next afternoon the neighbour Gary was at it again.
“You rotten little bludgers. When I get my hands on you, you’re all dead!”
It was enough to send Beryl back inside for a cup of tea and a good lie down. When she mentioned the ordeal to her husband over dinner he simply told her to mind her own business.
“Some kids just need a good kick up the backside. That’s all he’s doing.” Ernie said.
The following afternoon, Gary was swearing like a bawdy sailor once again. Beryl was not a nosey parker but something had to be done. Gary seemed like a nice enough chap but kids shouldn’t be treated this way. It just wasn’t right.
Despite the advice from her husband, Beryl decided to take matters into her own hands. She marched into the kitchen, picked up the phone and dialled the local cop shop.
“Yes sergeant, I don’t know who this man thinks he is. He’s treating those kids worse than a mongrel dog!”
The portly sergeant took the complaint seriously. There was no lower act than child abuse. He rose from his seat and got hold of child welfare immediately. There was a score to be settled out there on the farm.
It was only a fifteen-minute drive out to Gary’s farm. The police car, with welfare in tow, nailed it in ten – lights flashing, sirens wailing, the whole hog. The sergeant’s blood was boiling by the time he reached the front gate of the property. He took a couple of deep breaths and held his cool as he knocked on the door, but when Gary answered the door with a beaming smile and a welcoming handshake, all hell broke loose.
The sergeant grabbed Gary by the scruff of the neck and proceeded to read him the riot act.
“The jig is up you coward!” The police sergeant was not holding back. “You’ve been abusing those poor kids and we’re here to sort you out once and for all!”
At the sound of all the commotion, Gary’s wife came to the front door. She had been in the bathroom taking a shower. As she stepped out onto the deck in her bath towel, her face was a portrait of confusion. The sight of her husband being drilled by the portly sergeant held her speechless.
“So what have you got to say about your husband abusing the kids, little Miss Prissy?” The sergeant was on a roll. “Old Beryl has been beside herself at the treatment they have been getting from your hubby. Welfare are goin’ to throw the book at him!”
Just as the sergeant motioned to take Gary away, the penny dropped.
“Sorry officer,’ the wife offered. “I think I can explain. Gary hasn’t been screaming profanities at our kids. He has been yelling at the rabbits.”
“The rabbits?” the police and the welfare officers asked in unison. “What rabbits?”
“Look! Down near the veggie garden; there’s our pet rabbits.” The timing was perfect. “They keep escaping from their hutch and have been having a field day eating all Gary’s crop. He just can’t seem to catch the little blighters and they’ve been driving him up the wall.”
The police sergeant now understood the confusion and managed a chuckle. He was an old school problem solver. In an act of jest he offered Gary his sidearm to diffuse the problem right then and there. He also made a point of offering a great recipe for country-style rabbit stew.