Sabotage – A Winter Memory

This is one of many out-takes from my novel. I re-wrote it in a first person voice and gussied it up a little, so it could stand alone. Now I don’t know what to do with it, so I guess I’ll just post it here:


Sindy PosterThe hot item for girls that Christmas was a bedroom set for Sindy, Barbie’s poor English cousin.

My twin sister coveted it, but at 10, it was far beyond my narrow means, so I decided to make it. Necessity, invention’s mother, gave birth to an odd child that day.

I begged a pile of material from my mum, and borrowed a Stanley knife, scissors and a roll of black electrical insulation tape from my dad. When I say borrowed, I mean I stole them from his tool chest as soon as my mum left for work.

My initial plans involved a four-poster bed, but my mum had convinced me that would be beyond my carpentry skills, which were minimal, and the available construction materials, which were non-existent. She gave me some cardboard instead. For your future reference, cardboard is not well-suited to the construction of a four-poster bed, or, for that matter, furniture of any kind.

Other than cardboard, my main construction material was the stolen tape. I used it to add strength and integrity to the headboard and frame. I used it to fashion a kapok mattress, and to cushion the headboard. I used it, and I used it, until, in a moment that brought my heart almost to a dead stop, the tape jerked in my hands, like a dog on a leash. I had used it all up.

My heart, which a second before had almost given up on me altogether, was suddenly racing. My dad would kill me. I couldn’t put an empty roll of tape back in his drawer. I would have to salvage some.

It took hours. I unpeeled layer on layer from the bed, and painstakingly re-applied it to the empty roll. There was one problem: I could only salvage a few inches at a time. More and the bed would be ruined.

When I had finished, stuffing was escaping from the mattress and headboard in spots. Where the bed had been firm and solid, it was flaccid and twisted.  When I tried to stand it foursquare, it pitched drunkenly. Tape which had been placed and replaced one too many times peeled free and waved in defiance.

The roll of tape was in a bad way too. I had tried to match each piece to the last, and to roll it back flush, but the reel still had the fuzzy, dishevelled look of a sweet which had spent a month in my trousers’ pocket, and had picked up all the lint and fluff only a young boy can generate.

I put it back in my dad’s tool chest, and hoped he would never need insulation tape again.

Months later I was there when he went to the tool chest, looking for his tape. He pulled strip after strip from the roll with increasing anger and perplexity. Why would anyone cut an entire roll of insulation tape into little pieces and then tape it back on the roll? Good question dad.


2 responses to “Sabotage – A Winter Memory

  1. Do you think dad ever figured it out?

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