AKA A Spot of Bother
I’m sitting in a restaurant in Budapest with four old friends, after a busy day of electric scooter riding, when I receive a message that chills me to the core. It’s from Zsuzsa.
“Mila is talking about your arse being spotty and not so nice. She says she saw it when you were lying in bed naked. She told this to my mother.”
I stare at the screen, wide-eyed and mind racing.
“What are we doing after this?” asks one of my friends.
But I don’t respond. My mind is elsewhere. To be specific it’s at my flat watching my three-year-old traitor give my mother in-law unflattering reports on my anatomy.
Spotty!? Do I really have a spotty arse!? Could my arse really be spotty without me realising? I mean, I guess it’s possible. It’s always behind me after all. Rarely in full view.
“Are you alright?” asks one of my friends.
And what has possessed Mila to spout this slanderous diatribe? What have I done to smite her? I know she doesn’t like it when I wash her hair or force her to eat vegetables, but really, does that warrant such treachery?
“Earth to Gaz. Hello?”
I snap out of my trance and show them the message. Cue guffaws, sniggers and chortles (which as an aside I’ve recently discovered is a cross between a chuckle and a snort), from three of my friends. One simply seems a little puzzled.
“How has your daughter seen your arse?” comes the rather left-field response from the puzzled chum.
“What do you mean?” I respond, slightly confused.
“Are you often naked at home?”
Eh? Is my friend, unbeknownst to me, one of those never-nude people? Someone who refuses to ever be nude even when alone? Showers in his jeans, that sort of thing.
“At bed time I am.” I reply
They all stare at me open mouthed, as though I’ve just told them I punch the tits off kittens for fun on weekends.
“What?” I ask, perplexed by their reaction.
“You don’t wear...pyjamas!?”
Gasps all round. This is weird.
“What do you...what do you wear to bed then?”
“Nothing.” I say with a shrug. “Do you all wear pyjamas or something?”
They all wear pyjamas. The idea of sleeping naked apparently horrifying them. I secretly pity them and hope that one day they too will discover the liberating joys of duvet on bare skin.
It’s now two days later and I’m in the bedroom trying to steal a glance at my naked bottom in the mirror. I can’t see any spots! Not one! I knew it! LIES!
“What you doing Daddy?” says Mila, suddenly appearing at the bedroom door, quizzical look upon her treacherous face.
This is the moment. I’m having it out with her.
“What were you saying to Mamma a few days ago?” I say accusingly.
“What?” replies Mila.
Ah, deny everything. The old Trump trick. That may work on the American public sugar pie, but not on this sharp-shooter!
“I heard you were spreading vicious lies about daddy.” I say.
She’s a tough nut to crack.
“I heard that you were telling Mamma that Daddy has a spotty bottom!”
A huge grin spreads across Mila’s face.
“I told Mamma! I say Daddy has a spotty bum!”, she laughs.
“But Mila. It’s just not true. I don’t have a spotty bum!”
“Yes! Daddy has a spotty bum!”
I crane my neck and again gaze upon my form in the mirror. I can’t see a single spot. In this light at least, it’s as smooth as a couple of boiled eggs!
“See?” I say. “No spots!”
Mila approaches me for a closer examination and then starts pointing.
“One, two, three...”
Slowly, my eyes adjust to the light and I see what Mila is pointing at and counting.
“What’s going on?” says Zsuzsa, suddenly appearing at the door carrying Lola. Both stare at the scene perplexed and judgemental. Daddy, trousers around his ankles, Mila, pointing at my bare rump, counting.
“Counting.” says Mila with glee.
I pull my trousers up, trudge off to find some vegetables and decide that tonight is probably a bonus hair wash night in the Hutchins/Ferencz household.