EDitorial ± 24-Jun-2013

The Trouble With Harry & Harry

(short story published on 1000Words on 24-Jun-2013)

You know that unwritten rule on EastEnders and Corrie where there’s never two people with the same name? Not that I watch that stuff. But it’s annoying, don’t you find? Because it’s not like that in real life.

Take, for example, my place of work. Even though there’s only a dozen or so of us, we still have two Daves. How do we tell them apart? Well, one’s fit and athletic, the other’s short and round. Big-boned, he says. The one who looks after himself, we call Dave The First, or D1, which makes the little fat fella R2, obviously.

Closer to home – and really I should have mentioned this first – is, or maybe are, Harry and Harry. One’s my lovely wife, Harriet, the other’s my special boy, Harry. I blame the parents.

In the office, next to my PC, there’s a lovely picture of them that I took when we were over in Florida. We stayed in this amazing house, like a ranch, a short drive from the Disney place. Harry loved it. So did Harry!

That’s what I tell them, if anyone asks.

Going back a few years, just before starting this job, I’d come back from a solitary week on the Isle of Wight. I was in Woolies, looking for a cheap frame for my St Catherine’s Lighthouse postcard. There, on the bottom shelf, was a pine effect 7×5 complete with sample photo. That’s when I met my instant family.

At the interview, they hadn’t asked too much about my personal life. I’m not sure they’re allowed to these days. So on that very first morning, when D1 showed me to my desk, I pulled out my morning banana and the wooden frame.

“That your family, Leo?”

“Er, yep. That’s Harriet. With her hair up. And that’s Harry, my son.”

Idiot. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t write for the soaps.

When D1 took me round and introduced me to the lads, I noticed that R2 had a crayon drawing on his partition wall.

“Hi Leo, and welcome aboard. D1 here tells me you’ve got a kid…?”

“Yeah, a little boy. Harry. He’ll be three next week.”

“Three? That’s a nice age. My daughter’s 14 and lives with her mum.” He looked over at the printed letters at the bottom of the drawing: World’s Best Dad. “Thinking about schools yet?”

I got myself into that hole on day one and I’ve not stopped digging since. That following week, R2 asked me how the party went. From then on, I started keeping notes. They’re on a pen drive, password protected.

The lads are great at working around my needs. True, I have to take my leave during school holidays, but there are upsides. Sometimes poor Harry comes down with a tummy bug so I have to work from home, and every three months I nip off early for parents’ evening. It’s a shame that whenever we have our Christmas meal (with partners) that Harry, my wife, is always too busy looking after Harry.

Bringing up my family is exhausting. I can’t imagine how people do it in real life.