Imaginary Friends by Andrew Ball

“Mum, when I grow up, can I be a tourist?” 

“Well, it’s not a full-time job you know, sweetheart. Anyway, whatever gave you that idea?” “’Cos then I could go lots and lots on Virgin.” 

“I suppose you could. Where would you go?” 

“Straight to Heaven, of course.” 

“Oh... that kind of tourist.” 

“Yes. My friend Khalil at school said he’s going to be a tourist like his uncle, and he told me all about it.” 

“What exactly did he say, honey?” 

“Well, we were arguing ’cos he said his maginary friend could beat up my maginary friend. And I was like ‘No way!’ and he was like ‘Could so!’ Mum, what’s a maginary friend?” “It’s sort of like Father Christmas, sweetheart.” 

“Khalil says he doesn’t believe in Father Christmas; he believes in Santa Claus instead. But I told him that Father Christmas could beat up Santa Claus anytime. He could Mum, couldn’t he?” “Umm...” 

“Of course he could, Mum. He could get the elves to help him.” 

“Well, what happened then?” 

“Then... then we had a bit of a fight. Just to sort out which of us was right, you know?” “And who won?” 

“It was the end of recess, so we had to stop and get in line. And then Miss Snodgrass made us both write lines as a punishment for fighting; and in our best joined-up writing, too.” “Good for her. What did you have to write?” 

“‘I must learn to turn the other cheek’, which was silly because he hadn’t hit my cheek.” “And Khalil?” 

“He had to write ‘I must learn never to resort to violence.’” 

“I think I like your Miss Snodgrass.” 

“But Mum, can I be a tourist when I grow up? Can I?” 

"No, I don't think so."

Published in Issue #7

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