• Gemma Catherine Malak

The Diary of Jenny McFluff: The School Run



“SHIT!” I yell as the smell of burning toasts wafts across the kitchen. I rush to pick the cremated bread from the smoking toaster using the tips of my fingernails and plonk it onto a plate. I clumsily spoon a dollop of jam on and almost launch it at my son who is currently engrossed in an episode of Octonauts.


“What’s this?” Charlie enquires.


“That, my dear heart, is called ‘toast in a rush’. It’s my speciality.” I wink at him.


“Oh. I thought your speciality was eat your bastard cereal and don’t spill the sodding milk.” He states.


Why do kids remember all the times you’ve been in a rush and called every inanimate object under the sun a swear word?


“What’s this red blob in the middle?” He asks innocently.


“It’s jam, Charlie. You have had jam before sweetheart.” I reply.


“It looks like a boobie.” He chuckles.


“Ok, eat your boobie while Mummy gets ready.” I tell him. I am suddenly alerted to the smell of burning acrylic and notice that one of my fake nails is melting quite firmly to the toaster element.


For the sake of Dairy Lea triangles, now I need to buy a new toaster and I look down at my hand to notice one naked pitiful nail amongst the row of nine ‘death by midnight’ talons.


I look like a twat now.


Then I spy a black felt tip pen on the kitchen table and quickly remedy the nail situation by colouring in the bare one. Ha, genius! I mean, genius if no other ideas have come up for comparison, which so far this morning, they have not, other than my idea to actually get out of bed, and even that is starting to seem like a mistake.


I pull on whichever clothes are clean and closest to me (you will understand this if you have young children.) Half the time they’re not even clean to be fair, but it’s only the school run. I count the fact that I am not dropping him off in my dressing gown as a wild achievement so let’s not be picky about a little bit of dried snot on a sleeve.


Hair goes up into messy bun which is less ‘casual/chic’ and more Ms. Trunchbull in a rush. In fact it does rather look like Mrs. Tinkles my cat has just laid a turd on my head. Oh, fuck it, it’s only the school run.


However, I can’t go anywhere without my eyebrows on. It’s a woman thing. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have a shred of make-up on anywhere else, but if my eyebrows aren’t on I feel as though I look like Matt Lucas.


I check on Charlie, who is staring open mouthed at the TV, untouched pile of school uniform beside him and untouched ‘tit toast’.


“Charlie, the TV is going off if you don’t get dressed.” Voice is semi-firm in tone, acceptably firm but not too threatening—rather like the texture of a Jaffa Cake.


I go to the bedroom and locate my eyebrow brush, pencil and pomade and make quick work of eyebrow 1. However, eyebrow 2 is not looking much like eyebrow 1. Eyebrow 2 looks like a fucking angry bird.


You get those days where your coffee tastes like heaven, your hair looks all swishy and your kid does exactly what you’ve asked them to do. Today isn’t one of those days.


I wet wipe off my scary eyebrow.


“How are you getting on Charlie?!” I shout to the other room, still in Jaffa Cake tone.

“Good.” Comes the reply. This reply always arouses my suspicion, and I run in to check if he’s dressed. I walk in to find that my beloved womb nugget has managed to put on 1 sock, and a pair of pants inside out. I promptly switch the TV off, and now Charlie is making noises like a baby wombat and flapping his arms about.


“All you need to do is get dressed and the TV can go back on.” I reason with him.


“It’s not fair.” Charlie protests, and sits in the middle of the floor, cross legged like an angry buddha.


“You know what’s not fair?” I say, voice rising to a moderately firm rich tea biscuit. “Children in poor countries that don’t even have TV.”


Oh my God, I sound like my mother.


“Well, send them a TV then.” He retorts.


Little shit is getting on my last nerve, stay calm Jen.


“We are leaving in ten minutes Charlie Frederick McFluff, if you aren’t dressed I will take you to school just as you are.”


I leave him to think about his actions while I sort out the eyebrow. I’m not getting anywhere here, it looks less Cara Delevingne and more Susan Boyle circa 2009—I look like an angry draft excluder!


Sod it, I’ve got clothes on and a pair of eyebrows. Albeit questionable eyebrows.


“Five minutes Charlie, I hope you’re dressed.” I enter the room where my tiny pear drop of a son is still sitting, in exactly the same angry buddha position, with exactly 1 sock and 1 pair of inside out pants on.


“Are you absolutely friggin’ kidding me child!” I yell, in probably the firmest voice I own. This one is on the scale of a ginger nut biscuit. “Right, get in the car!” I command, throwing a coat over him on the way out, followed by some shoes and the rest of his uniform.


Charlie, now realises I mean business and starts reluctantly trying to put his uniform on as I’m driving to school with Rage Against the Machine blasting out of the speakers.


We arrive at school, Charlie dressed but dishevelled as I march him up to the door.


“Why do you look so angry?” He asks.


“Because you have been a little pain in the butt this morning, and my eyebrows went wrong.”


“You said ‘butt’” He chuckles. “This will be a good thing to write about for our project.” He mentions casually.


“What project?” I ask.


“We have to write about our morning routine every day this week.” He tells me.


Oh friggin’ wonderful, now he tells me, on Friday, when he’s been writing about our morning antics all week!


As we approach the classroom, his teacher gestures for me to come over. She is eyeballing my dishevelled child who I have just noticed has his jumper on back to front.


“I’m hungry.” Charlie whinges right in front of her.


“Haven’t you had breakfast?” She asks.


“Mummy gave me a boobie for breakfast, I didn’t like it.”


I am internally cringing so much, I fear I might swallow myself up from the inside out. The teacher glares at me, and I unintentionally look angry at her courtesy of the eyebrows.


“Ha ha ha, you go inside now while I talk to your teacher.” I tell him, and off he skips with not a care in the world. “Kids, eh?” I try to come across as jovial, but it doesn’t really work with the eyebrow aggression. She keeps looking down at my face, like she’s talking to the tip my nose.


“We have been writing about our morning routines in class this week. Charlie really has a wild imagination doesn’t he?” She laughs nervously, still looking at my nose. What is wrong with this woman? “He said his Mummy was upset because of a visitor, I just wanted to check everything was ok.”


Oh shit. Charlie was in fact referring to my period, which I told him was a monthly visitor that made me a bit unstable (a bit more unstable than usual that is!) Now I feel like I have to go along with the implication that it is about an actual visitor.


“Oh, yes. It’s just my aunty…Flo. She’s a bit passive aggressive, y’know just pops in whenever she feels like it and um…anyway, it’s fine.”


“Ok, if you’re sure.” She says to the tip of my nose. Then she clears her throat and gestures to my trousers. I narrow my eyes at her, I’m not sure that this woman isn’t a sandwich short of a picnic the way she keeps looking at me. She clears her throat again and looks at my trousers.


“Bye then.” I say, backing away from Mrs Starey-Weirdo.


What a bastard morning, I’m mentally planning on having a cheeky miniature when I get home that I stole from a minibar yonks ago when I look down to see that I have a sanitary towel stuck onto my thigh. Thankfully it is an unused one, and clearly, I did not check my clothes after I put them about my person this morning, sticky adhesive fuckers.


Charlie, at no point mentioned that I had a sanitary towel stuck to me, but he noticed his toast looked like a tit—go figure.


I rip it off, stick it in my bag and am glad to get into my car and get the hell home, when I look in the mirror, a little startled by my eyebrows that look a little angrier than I thought in broad daylight—but a little more worrying than this is the perfect circle of black ink I have perched on the tip of my nose like a fucking panda.


Bloody brilliant.


The ink from the nail I drew in somehow managed to print onto my nose, again, something that seemed to completely escape Charlie’s attention.


Bugger it—I’ll have 2 miniatures when I get home.


© 2020 Gemma Malak

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© 2020 Gemma Malak