TITLE: The Boy Who Failed to do Nothing!
There were three close friends, who had been at Primary School and then were at Senior School together. Their names were Phil, Bob and Ken. Of course as they grew older they developed their own character traits, their likes and dislikes, just like you do. Phil and Bob were never separate, as they lived next door to each other and were constantly having sleepovers at either house. Phil was careful with his pocket money, saving it for what he really wanted to buy, never wasteful, although always ready to share his toys and games with his friends. Bob, on the other hand was always ready to pay for an ice cream or cinema ticket for his two friends, and even other friends very occasionally. So Phil and Bob had gained a nickname, “Scrooge an’ pay”. For our younger readers, a bob is a nickname for what is now 5 pence coin in the UK, giving an extra twist to their nickname!
The third close friend, Ken lived at the other side of the village. He tried to meet Phil and Bob when ever he could, on Saturdays and Sundays and after school, going walks or playing games together as they decided to. Ken was quite different to Phil and Bob. He was the funny one, always getting into scrapes and making the others laugh, and also very unreliable! His nickname was a joke, “Mr reliable!” Mr reliable would always volunteer to bring games to play, such as cricket stumps, bats and a ball, and invariably failed to bring them. Then he would have to explain why he hadn’t brought them. His latest reason was that his dad needed them for a village cricket match, or he just couldn’t find them until he arrived home and saw them hiding by the front door.
So that day they ran to the village cricket field to find no-one there. The notice said the cricket match was on Saturday. They met on Saturday to watch the match and Ken said his dad had hidden the equipment after cleaning them, so Ken couldn’t take them. However they enjoyed the men’s cricket match, even collecting the ball when ever a six was hit, as it was a small field. When ever a fielder was at short leg, Ken walked around as if he had a short leg, almost falling into the village duck pond except that “Scrooge an’ Pay” laughing at his antics were on hand to pull him back! So Bob ended the day buying ice creams for the three of them and deciding they would go fishing with Phil’s rod in the morning. Of course Ken volunteered to bring two more fishing rods so they would each have one. Then they could have a competition to see who caught the most fish, but always carefully releasing the hooks and putting the fish back in the river.
Tomorrow soon came and the friend’s excitement grew as Phil and Bob walked to Ken’s house before going to the river. Ken was not at home, he had gone out an hour earlier but his mother couldn’t say where to. Just as they were discussing what to do, Ken rather sheepishly walked up to them from the direction of the village, with nothing in his hands! Phil and Bob shouted a greeting, “Hi Ken, where’s your fishing rods?” Ken couldn’t answer straight away, but mumbled he couldn’t find them and the sports shop was shut! Phil and Bob said “Well it is Sunday, it would be shut. However you have to go and knock on his house next door and he would have sold you two rods. He can’t resist not getting a sale!” Ken felt terrible having let his friends down yet again, but he didn’t want to walk back into the village. So they walked slowly to the river just outside the village and settled down to taking it in turns to fish. An hour each and they had paper and pencil to mark the number of fishes caught under their names. As Ken forgot his disappointment, he became himself, pretending to be a fish waddling around on his tummy and suddenly standing up with a yell as if caught on a hook. His friends were in stitches and almost didn’t catch any fish at all because of their laughter. So guess who won by one fish? Of course it was Ken! Now that was too much for Phil and Bob who pushed Ken into the river, and just as quickly overcome by remorse they hauled him out. As it was a sunny day they ran around the nearby field to try and dry Ken’s clothes, which only partly worked, so they ran home for Ken to have a hot bath and new clothes on. His mother had a few questions to ask of each of them, but behind her seriousness there was a crease of a smile and eventually she couldn’t hold it in. So they all laughed and had to admit that they had had a good time together!
As time went on and they were another year older, Phil and Bob grew more frustrated with “Mr Reliable” and his un-reliable nature and the many disappointments caused. They discussed their friend who they liked very much and eventually cooked up a plan to show him his failing. Knowing how Ken always listened to what they were planning, so he could volunteer, it was easy to lay the bait. They were going to give Ken three chances to take nothing and do nothing. The first two times Ken took a ball and then a skimmer to play with them, which they did, but making it clear that he had failed to take and do nothing. They would give him one more chance to take nothing and if he failed they might have to stop being friends.
They had checked the weather, when it was likely to rain in a few days time. Phil and Bob said they were going in two days time to ‘far field’ as it was called, as it was more than a mile from the village. However they would take nothing and do nothing when there! Ken’s curiosity was roused, and he said he couldn’t understand why to take nothing and do nothing when there. Ken kept asking and asking his two friends every day before and after school, “Why to do nothing?” But Phil and Bob would not elaborate.
It seemed a very long two days for Ken to live, and with unanswered questions to find the answers to. The day started sunny so Ken went in his shirt sleeves at the appointed time to far field and took nothing as instructed, as he didn’t want to lose his two best friends. He waited and waited, doing nothing but he never saw his two friends. They were hiding amongst some nearby trees with their raincoats ready for the promised downpour, watching what would occur. Then dark clouds came over but Ken didn’t seem to see them, he was looking for his friends. Then the rain came in spots before gradually turning into a long heavy downpour. This was hard for Phil and Bob to watch without helping their friend, but they were determined to carry out their plan. Bob started running down far field towards the village, even falling down on the wet grass at least once. He arrived home soaked to the skin and muddy just as the rain eased off. Phil and Bob kept at a safe distance but saw Ken safely home.
It was Monday after school before Phil and Bob met up. However Ken was not at school. This worried the two friends, so as they walked home they first called on Ken to see what had happened. His mother said he’d got a stinking cold and couldn’t come to school or play with his pals. Worst of all he’d said he doubted if they were his friends as they had not turned up at far field on Saturday, even to do nothing.
Then Phil and Bob on the verge of tears explained their plan. How they had got frustrated with Ken’s unreliability with his many promises unfulfilled, and how they wanted to show him what it felt like for them. Then Ken, rather sheepishly Kent around the front door, having recognised his friend’s voices, almost in tears himself and asked, “Are we friends again?” Phil and Bob let out a screamed “Of course we are, even if you fail your promises again!” Ken replied, “I’ll try to be better, not to always volunteer, but rather just to bring what is needed. Better to have more than less!” The three friends agreed with this and arranged to meet as soon as Ken’s cold was better.
When they met, to make up to Ken for their successful and unfortunate plan, Bob paid their cinema tickets to see their favourite Star-wars film, Phil for the first time ever paid for their ice creams and afterwards Ken took them to his house to play a game of Monopoly. They were glad they were still friends and had enjoyed the day very much, so they promised to always be friends for ever!
Do you now think their nicknames are correct? “Scrooge an’ Pay and Mr Reliable”? And was Ken a boy who had failed to do nothing? Remember he forgot to check the weather and so didn’t take his raincoat even though he took nothing to play with and just waited doing nothing. Perhaps his undoing was that he had succeeded to well!
Author Notes: This story is complete fiction, so do not get worried if your first name is Bill, Phill or Ken, but the idea for it came out of real life!