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News & Features » April 2019 » “It’s OK, When You Have Two, They Play Together!” by Simon Pinkerton

“It’s OK, When You Have Two, They Play Together!” by Simon Pinkerton

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, Simon Pinkerton transcribes a “fun” day with his two boys.

It’s OK, When You Have Two, They Play Together!
by Simon Pinkerton
Seven- and four-year-old

Transcript from a fun day with Dad. 

At the Imaginary Ice Cream Shop (Underneath the Slide)

Zak: “Hello Oscar. Would you like an ice cream?”

Oscar: “Yes, please.”

Zak: “What flavor?”

Oscar: “Um . . . chocolate!”

Zak rummages around behind the slide a bit. “We haven’t got any chocolate. What other flavor?”

Oscar: “Strawberry!”

Zak: “No, we haven’t got any of that either. Would you like caramel?”

Oscar: “Uh . . . yes!”

Zak: “We don’t do that flavor. How about vanilla?”

Oscar: “Um . . . OK!”

Zak: “We’ve run out of ice cream. You’ll have to have medicine instead.”



Zak: “I want to go in goal!”

Oscar: “OK!”

Zak: “Try to score past me.”

Oscar runs up and kicks the ball into Zak’s face. “Goal!”

Zak, crying: “Oscar, don’t kick it in my face! I’ll tell Daddy!”

Oscar: “OK, I won’t.”

Zak: “Have another go.”

Oscar runs up and falls over on the ball as his leading foot slides right over it. He does the splits and falls backwards. Zak is there immediately to sit on his head. 

Zak: “Goal!”

Oscar, crying: “Get off my head! I’ll tell Daddy!”

Zak: “OK. Try again.”

Oscar picks himself up and puts the ball on the spot to kick at goal. He runs past the ball and kicks Zak directly in the groin. “Goal!”


Doctors and Patients

Zak: “I want to be the doctor!”

Oscar: “No, I want to be the doctor!”

Zak: “You can’t be, you’re too young and you’ve got flu.”

Oscar: “No, you’ve got flu!”

Zak: “Get into bed, you’re too ill to be walking about!” Zak pushes Oscar onto the couch and holds him down. 

Me (Dad): “Remember your Hippocratic oath, Zak.”

Zak turns to look at me and momentarily takes his hands away from Oscar. “What?” Oscar gets up and kicks Zak in the eyeball. Zak screams and runs over to me.

Oscar: “Now you’re sick! Your eye is broken. Get into bed.”

Me: “Oscar, go to your room.” Oscar pouts and thumps up the stairs to his room.

Zak: “Oscar is a poo doctor! Oscar? You’re a poo doctor!”



Noise coming from the bedroom. I can’t even tell who is shouting what.

“I want to put a quartz block there!”

“No, stop it! You’re ruining it!”

“It’s my go! Give me the controller!”

“No, I’ve got to build a swimming pool!”

“I don’t want a swimming pool!”

“I’m building a swimming pool and your guy will drown in it.” 

The noise transitions from yelling to thumps. I finish crying lightly and go into the room to find the boys rolling around on the floor, wrestling. Zak has his thumb jammed in Oscar’s eye and Oscar is punching Zak’s flank repeatedly. I separate them. Minecraft is supposed to be a creative game. God help us if they figure out how to load up Battlefield.

Basically Any Activity Ever

The kids wail on each other.

Watching Netflix on iPad

Complete silence, boys hug tightly, look at each other with eyes of poetic love and laugh in perfect synchronization at the funny bits of whatever cartoon is on. They are best friends. I lock the doors to the outside world and go for a nap. I want to nap until their mother gets home from work. I set the alarm for ten minutes before that time so it seems like I haven’t been napping for an hour and a half. 

When she arrives and asks how they’ve been I say, “Great, but I’m beat. Do you mind if I pop upstairs for a nap?” As I settle under the sheets I hear them start to scream at each other again. I smile and put on my noise-cancelling headphones.


SIMON PINKERTON is a writer of novels, short fiction and humor, from London, UK. He writes for a ton of the best magazines and is currently seeking (stalking) representation for his first or second novel. He has two beautiful boys, aged seven and four at the time of this story, and a broken house. Find him @SimonPinkerton


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Apr 30, 2019

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,