Mini Pentathletes: 2013 365 Challenge #300

Spot the speeding bullet

Spot the speeding bullet

A while ago I wrote a post about children playing with guns and how I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not. By the end of my post I had talked myself into the view that gun play was fine and I worried too much.

Still, it was with an element of trepidation that I let my son buy a magazine that came with a free ‘Nerf’ like gun, yesterday. The children had been promised a special treat, however, after enduring the scrubbing and combing that comes with head-crawlers hitching a ride home from school (sigh), and that was his choice.

For a cheap toy, it packs a punch, and as my son is at an age where fighting with his sister is his main form of entertainment, I had to closely supervise his play to make sure he didn’t aim it directly at her. It was encouraging for me to see that he was just happy to be ‘gunning’ as he calls it, and the target wasn’t that important.

Our son aiming his 'pistol'

Our son aiming his ‘pistol’

We started with trying to knock down skittles, like they did in the fencing lesson our son had this week, but that was too hard. Then I had the genius idea of using our football goal, which has target holes in the back, with a point for each bullet that made it through a hole.

Hubbie rose to the challenge and set up a tournament between the siblings that went on for a good hour, while I did the ironing. It’s rare that a game is devised that hubbie doesn’t find boring after a short time (although I have to say, he’s brilliant at inventing games – especially games that mean he gets to sit still while the kids run around).

Then it occurred to me: Fencing, Pistol Shooting? I’m training modern pentathletes. They’re already good at swimming and like being on a horse. And running? Well, what child doesn’t love running?

So it isn’t a gun, it’s a pistol, just as a fencing sword is an epee. Just changing the name, and turning the play into an Olympic sport (in my head) rather than Grand Theft Auto, makes me feel a whole lot better. I’m a writer: the nuance is all in the words!


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


“Oh my goodness, what happened to you?” The manager’s face creased in horror as Claire limped in through the hostel reception.

She tried to smile, but the movement pulled at the scabs forming on her face, so she settled for a tiny crook of the mouth.

“I had a falling out with the cliff-side path. Nothing serious. I don’t think it was even hurt.” She took a few more steps, before slumping against the wall. “I don’t suppose you have any plasters?”

Hurrying forwards, the manager took her arm and guided her to a chair. “Do you need to go to hospital? It’s only ten minutes away.”

Claire thought about sitting in another A&E for hours, waiting for a nurse to tut-tut at her and roughly dress her wounds. Been there, done that. “No it’s fine, thanks. I’ll just have a cool bath and stick some plasters on. It’ll be fine.”

The manager frowned. “If you’re sure. We don’t have a bath, though. Only showers.”

With a sigh, Claire nodded. “Of course. God I miss baths. A shower, then. If you could find some plasters, that would be great.”

The manager nodded and went to retrieve some from his first aid kit. As she waited, Claire looked around for a clock. She had no idea how long it had taken to walk back along the coast path, and her phone battery was dead.

When the manager came back, she took the plasters gratefully, hoping they’d be enough. “What time is it, please?”

“It’s around 4pm.”

“Seriously? Crap. I have to be in Plymouth for six and I haven’t packed up or anything. Is there any chance I can stay another night or two?”

The manager checked his computer and nodded. “No problem. We can sort the money out later, if you like?”

Claire gave him a grateful nod; then pulled herself upright and shuffled back to her room. She wasn’t sure if it was shock, or the tumble down the hill, but every bit of her body ached. All she wanted was a long bath, a glass of wine and a sleep.

No time for that. Like it or not, I have to go and face Conor. Maybe if he’s sympathetic about my trashed face, he won’t press me too much about the report.

The shower was slow and painful. Claire hadn’t realised how much of her body she had grazed in the fall, and even tepid water felt like knives cutting into her skin. Cautiously rinsing bits of rock and dirt from the deepest wounds, Claire cursed as several of the abrasions began to bleed again.

I’m just going to have to wear long trousers and hope the restaurant has air conditioning. She looked in the mirror, wondering whether to put plasters on her face or leave the wounds bare. Not much I can do to hide that.

Unsure whether to laugh or cry, Claire pulled out the contents of her rucksack and tried to find something suitable that wasn’t crumpled or dirty. For the first time in weeks she missed her pristine rows of dry-cleaned suits and dresses; now folded and packed away at the storage unit.

I might as well sell the lot. Conor’s going to sack me and I’m never going to need a suit again. For some reason the words didn’t make her feel as miserable as she thought they would.

By five o’clock Claire had managed to ease herself into the car, ready to drive to her meeting. It was going to be tight, and she hoped that Conor met traffic and was late. It was only as she put the car into gear that she remembered the dead battery on her phone.

Damn. I hope I don’t break down.

Manoeuvring the car down the twisting driveway pulled at the wounds on Claire’s arms and she gritted her teeth against the pain.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea booking in for another night. She thought about trying to do the drive in the dark, after a night out, and with her muscles stiffening from her fall.

Ah well, if it comes to it, I’ll have to sleep in the car. 

2 thoughts on “Mini Pentathletes: 2013 365 Challenge #300

  1. Poor Claire. I feel her sores. 😉

    I think you’re right on the toy guns or pistols. So many of these things become overburdened in thought. It is a skill to be able to take aim and fire whether that be in archery or target practice with pistols. I tried archery and was rubbish at it. I’ve tried my hand at carnival pot lucks. Rubbish again. Hand eye co-ordination is obviously not my thing. Can’t even play pool or snooker without nearly ripping up the baize. 😉
    My kids all went gaga over the movie/book ‘Hunger Games’ and made themselves bows and arrows. Took them hours. And I’m talking big kids here. 16 and 18. Constructed a target out in the garden and spent hours practising. The challenge is obviously one that gets the adrenalin going and they’re not going to fire at people. We do tend to become obsessed with the negative aspects of things because of stories read. But, a skill is a skill if kept for the Olympics! I’ll watch out for the future competitors. :)x

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