for Rosie

Michael Helps Out

Michael Timothy Pearce
For Rosie, 6th March, 1998.
[This story was written over thirty years ago for our sons David and John, when they were seven and five. They enjoyed reading about their little brother Michael, aged two, and the adventures he had. John is grown up now, and is Rosie's father.]

Michael woke suddenly and jumped out of bed. Ever since he had learnt how to climb out of his cot and fall screaming onto the floor, he had been allowed to sleep in a proper bed like a Big Boy. He knew it was time to get up because it was still dark outside, and that was always the nicest time for going and jumping on Mummy's tummy.

Actually it was the first game of the day - a kind of race, to see if he could climb into Mummy and Daddy's bed and wake them both up, before one of them came into Michael's room and put the hook on the door to stop him going downstairs. This time Michael won, since he managed to wake David and John as well as Mummy and Daddy, by throwing a tin of beans down the stairs on his way into Mummy's bedroom. It went bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump all the way down!

Michael was just going back for another tin when Daddy came into Michael's room and hooked up the door, so a change of plan was needed.

Daddy climbed into Michael's bed, grumbling that it was the middle of the night, and Michael climbed in with him. He put his arms round Daddy's neck and kissed him and said "Dear Daddy" a few times until Daddy went to sleep, and then Michael crept out of bed again.

Careful, now! Don't wake Daddy! Michael looked first for his tube of ointment. There was work to be done!

He unscrewed the lid off the tube, and posted it carefully down behind the big cupboard. Mummy would have fun looking for that! Next he squeezed the tube until most of the ointment was spread on the floor. Then he dipped his hair-brush in it and spread ointment all over Teddy's fur! He looked such a lovely pink colour that Michael put ointment all over his own hair as well.

Good! That was one job done! Just then Daddy opened his eyes and looked at Michael. Michael smiled at Daddy and said "Bye-bye," and Daddy went to sleep again.

The next job was more difficult. Michael wanted to go downstairs, but the hook was on the door and he couldn't reach it. He pulled a chair over to the door and then tried to balance a stool on top of that. Crash! Michael and the chair and the stool all fell down, and Daddy woke up again.

Michael quickly changed his plans. No hope now of creeping downstairs unheard, but perhaps if he SCREAMED and SCREAMED at the top of his voice it might have some results. "Rink! Rink!" he shouted. "Rink! Rink!"

Daddy ran downstairs to get a drink for Michael, and Michael went down to get a banana. He waited until Daddy had his hands full of Ribena bottle and mug, and then grabbed the whole bag of bananas and ran into the living room with them. Daddy played a lovely game chasing him round the settee, and he managed to have a quick bite at three bananas before Daddy caught him! What a funny game!

By the time Daddy had got Michael and the Ribena upstairs again, Michael was feeling tired, so he only drank half his drink, and poured the rest into Teddy's mouth. Daddy was not very pleased about this, since Teddy spat it all out again, and the Ribena made the sheets a funny pink colour. "Wet!" said Michael to Daddy when they had got into bed again at last. "I know it's wet!" shouted Daddy. It's funny how cross grown-ups get when you tell them things, thought Michael.

Just then Michael noticed that Daddy had forgotten to hook up the door. A month ago when he was a baby he would have run and opened the door, and Daddy would have seen, and chased him. But he was a Big Boy now. He was something called Two, and that meant that he could help Mummy with the house-work!

Michael climbed out of bed and sat on the floor with his books. As he had hoped, Daddy went to sleep again in a few minutes, so that Michael was able to open the door and tiptoe downstairs.

Help Mummy! That was the next job. He took off his pyjamas and nappy and put them all in the sink. Mummy did the washing every day. Today Michael would do it for her! He stood on the little chair at the sink, put the plug in, and turned on both taps. Then he found a packet of soap powder and tipped it in. Just then he remembered something else.

Mummy always dressed him. He thought he'd felt cold with no clothes on! He went to the drawer of clothes in the hall and pulled hard. The drawer came right out and all the clothes fell on the floor. Good!

Michael found one of David's ties and a pair of trousers to wear, but it was hard to find which hole to put his legs in, so he just wore the tie. Then he put John's cap on to keep his head warm, and went into the living room.

Michael looked round hopefully. Help Mummy! But how? Things to play with, of course! He pulled all the toys off the shelf for Mummy to play with, and then got all Daddy's books out and spread them all over the floor for Daddy to read. Then he took all the records out of their covers and put them ready in a long row on the window-sill. That was better! One or two jigsaws were soon spread over the rest of the floor, and then Michael remembered breakfast.

Silly of him to forget that! He rushed into the hall and stared in delight at the kitchen door. Water was trickling underneath it from the kitchen, and running all over the hall floor. Mmmm! Lovely! Michael paddled round in the water for a few minutes, and then opened the kitchen door to get breakfast. Splash! Woosh! Water poured out into the hall, and Michael slipped and fell flat on his face! Bother! Now his tie was wet. Still, it was fun having a bath in the kitchen.

All sorts of things were floating about , like a pair of Mummy's shoes and a packet of corn-flakes. He opened the food cupboard and pulled all the other packets out into the water. Some of them floated and some sank. Interesting. He tipped a big bag of flour into the water and it all mixed up with the soap- suds.

Then Michael looked up at the sink. His washing! He tried to climb up onto the chair to turn off the taps, since the sink was full, but there was so much water pouring over the edge that he didn't bother. The sink couldn't get any fuller, after all, so he left the taps running and opened the larder.

Mmmmm! Hungry! Michael stood on tiptoe and pulled at a box of something. it fell off the shelf onto the floor, and several eggs popped out into the water. Michael banged them all carefully as he had seen Mummy do, and emptied the lovely yellow stuff into the soapy water on the floor. What a pretty colour!

Just then Michael remembered that Mummy always got milk out for breakfast, so he paddled over to the fridge and carefully emptied a bottle of milk on top of the corn-flakes which were floating all over the kitchen. Sugar next! He found a packet, and tipped that in as well. Suddenly Michael remembered that Mummy usually used a plate to put his corn-flakes in, but it was too late for that now! He knelt down on the kitchen floor, picked up handfuls of soggy corn-flakes and soap-suds, and stuffed them into his mouth. Ugh! Horrid! Perhaps he hadn't put enough sugar in. He tipped in another packet, but the taste of soap was still there, and the bubbles tickled his nose. Michael decided to wake everyone up.

He dripped his way upstairs, and went first into Mummy's room. He still had a handful of soapy corn-flakes, so he tried to put them into Mummy's mouth. Mummy spluttered and woke up, spitting out soap-suds. She looked cross, so Michael ran quickly into his own room, where Daddy was still fast asleep. "Wet! Tea ready!" he announced.

"Go away!" grumbled Daddy, then he opened his eyes. "Where are your pyjamas?" he asked.

Michael felt very proud. "Wet! Wet! Done washing!" he said. Daddy jumped out of Michael's bed and ran straight downstairs."MICHAEL!" he shouted. Michael had never heard Daddy shout so loud. He must be very pleased with Michael for helping so much.


Half an hour later the whole family was having breakfast in the garden, waiting for the kitchen to dry out. Michael couldn't quite decide if he'd been a Good Boy or not. Mummy and Daddy sounded VERY CROSS for some reason, but David and John kept laughing, and they came and whispered to him that they thought he had been very helpful!

After breakfast Michael went into the living room to tidy up Daddy's drawers, but Daddy took him out into the garden instead. "Stay out of mischief!" said Daddy. Michael thought he would like to make Daddy extra happy. What could he do?

Just then the dustman came through the side gate. Michael slipped quickly through the gate, and ran down the drive and along the footpath. He would do the shopping!

On the way to the shops Michael noticed a big van. It was very big indeed, and two men were carrying tables and chairs and beds out of a house and putting them into the back of the van. Michael watched them carry in a lovely little bed. He waited until the men had gone back into the house, and then climbed quickly into the back of the van. Beds were for sleeping in, and Michael knew that Daddy liked him to go to sleep. Sleeping was a Good Thing to do. So Michael climbed into the little bed in the van, pulled a rug over himself and closed his eyes. It had been a long morning's work, and it was nice and warm and dark in the van. Michael went to sleep.

Five minutes later the men carried the last of the furniture out of the house, and shut the back doors of the van. "We've a long journey ahead," said one of the men, as he climbed into the driver's seat. "Scotland, here we come!" Michael slept on. And on. And on.

Back at Michael's house it was some time before anyone missed Michael. John and David thought how peaceful it seemed, but they were busy playing with their cars. Daddy thought that Michael must be helping Mummy make the beds. Mummy thought that Michael must be helping Daddy in the garden. Half an hour went by.

Suddenly Daddy and Mummy met in the kitchen. "Where's Michael?" they both gasped at the same moment.

A quick searce showed that Michael was no-where in house or garden. David and John rode their bikes round several blocks, Mummy phoned Grandma, and Daddy drove round all the streets of the village. But no-one had seen Michael!

An hour later most of the neighbours were out looking for him, Daddy had phoned the police, and the police officer was talking about asking the army to help look for Michael!

Sure enough, soon a hundred soldiers came marching along, looked at all the photos of Michael that could be found, and set off in all directions. The search was on!

All day the search continued. The phone never stopped ringing, and police-cars came and went every few minutes. "We're sure to find him soon," said the chief police-man. "Every officer in England is looking for him!"

The trouble was, of course, that by this time Michael was not in England at all, but in Scotland, still travelling north at a steady 40 miles an hour. He had woken several times, but could not find any way out of the dark place he was in. He found a big piece of fluffy cheese in his pocket, so luckily he was not hungry. But where could he be? Michael decided he must be at home in bed, although he could not understand why he could not see the door. He went back to sleep again, and dreamt about trains and bananas and breaking eggs. The hours passed.

"Where-ever did he come from?" shouted a man's voice in amazement. Michael opened his eyes. The two men that he had seen loading the van were staring down at him. They had carried the little bed out of the van, and were just going to carry it into a large empty house, when they hurriedly put it down on the foot-path. There was something moving under the rug on the bed! Michael sat up, rubbed his eyes, and stared all round him. "Mummy?" he said anxiously. "Daddy? Home now?"

The men stood gasping. Then one of them spoke. ""Good heavens, we've never stopped! He must have come all the way!" The other man nodded; he could still hardly believe his eyes.

Michael pulled out the remains of a rather fluffy piece of cheese, sat down on the foot-path and started to eat it. "Pot?" he asked hopefully.

The men now had only one thought. How could they get rid of Michael? "We might get 10 years in prison for kidnapping him," moaned one of them. But they need not have worried. Michael had no intention of staying with them, and while the men were talking he had trotted up the path and through the front door of the large house.

Michael stood in the hall and looked round. Funny! There was no carpet on the stairs. He looked in all the doors until he found the kitchen, but there was no food, and by now he knew he was starving.

He thought hard. What had he heard David and John saying about Emergencies? Oh yes! Phone 999! Michael rushed to the phone, lifted the receiver, and started to dial. At first he pulled too hard on the cord and the whole phone fell on the floor. But at last, after he had tried 111, 222, 333, 444, 555, 666, 777, and 888, he came to 999, and to his delight a cheerful voice asked, "Can I help you?"

"Hungry!" said Michael.

"Fire, Police or Ambulance?" said the voice, puzzled.

"Bananas! Jam tart! Biscuits, sandwiches, weetabix, toast, bread and butter fingers, boiled egg, chocolate, ice cream!" shouted Michael. There was a long pause. Then the voice asked, "Who is that speaking?"

"Me!" said Michael, proudly.

"Where are you?" asked the voice, and again Michael was glad that he knew the answer.

"Here!" he shouted.

There was an even longer pause. Then the voice came again. "What is your name, please?"

Bursting with pride, he took a deep breath and shouted "Michael!"

Ten minutes later the two men from the furniture van and a worried teephone operator all met at the local police station. It took them some time to explain their problems to the sergeant in charge, but at last he understood.

"So this English boy, who has had the whole country looking for him, is here in Scotland?" he asked. The others nodded. Quickly they all climbed into a police car and drove to the large house where Michael was.

Or at least where Michael had been. For by now he was travelling south again, this time in an ice cream van. "Cold!" said Michael. "Home now? Help Mummy again?"

Michael's Busy Week


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