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The birthday gift

Dawn placed the last dinner plate in the dish washer and looked up at the clock. She then glanced over her shoulder at her husband.

Brian sat at the table, scouring the classified advertisements in the local newspaper, trailing a finger down the small type, his spectacles balanced on the tip of his broad nose.

“Keep an eye on the time,” said Dawn, “or you’ll miss the kick off.”

Brian looked at his wristwatch, got to his feet and removed his reading glasses.

“Can’t find anything in the paper. Are you really sure it’s what she wants? It seems a strange birthday present for a girl.”

Dawn nodded and pressed the button to start the machine. “That’s what she wants. And she's excited about it, too.”

Brian shook his head, staring at his wife’s back. “I mean, she didn’t ask for a pony this time?”

Dawn turned, folded her arms and leaned back against the sink unit. “She knows we can’t afford that, silly.”

“Well, a puppy or a kitten, then." Brian rubbed fingers along his bristled chin. "Young girls love cats.”

“No, not Zara, not our daughter.”

“But are you sure. I mean, fish? Really?”

“Yep,” said Dawn, smiling at her perplexed husband. “Not any old fish, though. Not a common and garden goldfish. Must be tropical fish with a tank and all the gubbins. You know, temperature controlled with pebbles and all that stuff on the bottom to make it look like a sea bed.”

Brian shook his head again and turned to leave the kitchen. “Okay, okay,” he mumbled. Then, louder, “I’m going to watch the match.”

And he wandered off towards the lounge and soccer on the TV, still muttering and shaking his head. “Fish!” he declared. “Unbelievable! No wonder I’ve never understood women. Even a nine year old baffles me.”

“Oh, another thing,” Dawn shouted at his retreating back, “she wants a model shipwreck in it as well.”


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