Recycled #3: The Marmite Trilogy

Marmite small v106

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An inadvertant excercise in perspective writing

Narrator

‘I hate it, it’s horrible!’

’There’s nothing wrong with it. Get it down or there’s no afters’

‘But Dad!’

‘Sammy, I’m warning you!’

‘Jason says it’s witches’ poo!’

Samantha!’ (‘Samantha‘– that meant trouble) ’Finish it now or you go to your room with no TV, understand?’

Sammy’s mouth turned down at the edges. Her bottom lip started to protrude and quiver. Her shoulders started to chug up and down and her fists tightened on the Sunday tablecloth. She sucked in a huge breath though distress-flared nostrils and she howled. It was an eyes-screwed-up, face the colour of the abandoned tomato on her plate, turn your lungs inside out kind of howl. Then, from somewhere beneath a tract of pink corrugations, tears of outrage and impotence budded onto whisper blond lashes and hung there as the decibels mounted.

Further down her blotched red face and occupying centre stage in the purple cavern that was her mouth, a piece of marmite sandwich could be seen hanging, unmasticated, upon a tongue that could not shrink away. Marmite was disgusting, it made her teeth curl up, sucked her cheeks dry and smelled like, like…. She couldn’t think what it smelled like because nothing in her world stank like marmite and here it was in her mouth again. Well, a long howl requires an equally long inhalation and this brought some welcome relief.  A tiny crumb, drawn in with the compulsive breath, caused Sammy to cough, splattering the claggy brown muck across the table and into her dad’s tea. Lunch seemed suddenly to be over.

Samantha

‘I hate it, it’s horrible!’

’There’s nothing wrong with it. Get it down or there’s no afters’

‘But Dad!’

‘Sammy, I’m warning you!’. That’s dad’s Serious Voice but I’m really going for it now.

‘Jason says it’s witches’ poo!’ I pull my best yeuk face and stick my tongue out.

Samantha!’ (Uh-oh) ’Finish it now or you go to your room with no TV, understand?

Right. Now he’s for it. Mum wouldn’t go for this but – I pull my mouth down at the edges, I stick out my bottom lip and make it tremble. Is he looking? Good! Now for the shoulders; up and down, up and down, wobble the lip a bit more and pull at the Sunday tablecloth. I sneak a peek at dad out of the corner of my eye but now he’s doing ignoring; I can tell because he’s staring hard at the football page and he hates football.

‘Sammy, pack it in with the drama queen performance, I’m not impressed!’

Time to bring on the yelling then so I screw up my eyes, open my mouth and howl my hardest and longest. My face should be bright pink by now, I practised this in front of the mirror when  me and Jen played at being babies last week. If squeeze my eyes until it hurts, well, nearly hurts anyway, and think of the time I got grounded for taking a skipping rope to the old quarry on a fishing trip I can make tears. Yes! Now for the sobs; I’m going for broke so I open my mouth and let it out; it’s the loudest wail I can do. Stick my tongue out again with the glob of marmite sandwich stuck on it. Marmite is just gross; it makes my teeth curl up, it sucks my cheeks all dry, and it smells like, like…. Well, I really don’t know what it smells like because nothing else ever could smell like that. Have to breathe in again now and he’s still not looking! It’s a big breath, I bet I was purple, Jen would so not be able to go purple because she’s got asthma so she has to use her puffer all the time. Come to think of it….

Caaaaagh!’  Before I can stop it, there’s a bit of something in my throat and I’ve let out a cough to end all coughs and out goes the claggy, marmitey muck across the table and into dad’s tea. Serves him right. He won’t stare at the football page next time.

Dad

‘I hate it, it’s horrible!’

‘There’s nothing wrong with it. Get it down or there’s no afters’

‘But Dad!’

‘Sammy, I’m warning you!’  She’s doing this on purpose so I aim for the Authoritative Father tone; controlled, moderate but firm.

‘Jason says it’s witches’ poo!’

Samantha! Finish it now or you go to your room with no TV, understand?’ Jason must be that precocious little brat with the melodramatic airhead of a mother who thinks she’s an artist. All carefully placed paint splodges and fake distraction, well…

Jeez, now what’s she up to? Any time her mother leaves me in charge, the little blighter ups the ante. Time for the tears… and here they come.

‘Sammy, pack it in with the drama queen performance, I’m not impressed!’ Ignore her, that’s the strategy. I focus hard on the paper, peering with as much interest as I can muster at the football page. It’s the local derby with photos of milkmen, posties and solicitors hunking about in the mud and striking poses like whatsisname, el Ninho. Or is that a weather feature? Ah, this is more like it – cheerleaders! Some of them are spindly legged adolescents and a few are definitely a little too chubby for the costumes but there at the back, eyes bright as tiny stars in endless heavens and a body made in the same place, is Elena. Elena the exchange student from Venice teaching dance to overweight kids in year eleven. Elena the fabulously opportunistic encounter over shared cigarettes in the dark at the last parents’ evening. Elena my wonderful…

Shit! A glob of something disgusting (marmite sandwich?) has described a short but effective arc across the table from Sammy’s oxygen-deprived mouth and into my tea! Shit shit shit! Witches shit. Evil muck. Maybe Jason was right, the pretentious little prat. I watch as the tea seeps into the newspaper and runs Elena’s exquisite features into a blackened pool of inky obliteration. Something similar happens to my gathering erection. So much for the golden goal.

©suzanne conboy-hill 2010