Molly’s seven year old son, Ben, emptied his school bag on the dinning room table. Molly caught a pencil as it rolled her way then eyed the mess of school books, papers and other items. Ben had a habit of collecting things.
‘What’s this?’ Molly asked picking up a blue envelope.
Ben shrugged and his eyes drifted to the TV in the next room. His three year old, twin sisters were sat before the screen watching cartoons.
Molly opened the envelope and took out a thin slip of paper.
‘Your invited to a grartor party,’ she read aloud slowly.
The handwriting and spelling were clearly a child’s. Molly looked at the name and address at the end, but didn’t recognise them.
‘Who is Riley?’ she enquired.
‘He’s new,’ Ben said.
‘And what’s a grartor?’
Molly looked at the date, the party was tomorrow. She checked the address again, it wasn’t far from their house and the start time was 2pm.
‘Do you want to go to his party?’ she asked, ‘Ben?’
‘Okay. Can I watched cartoons now?’
Molly nodded and Ben rushed over to join his sister. Molly sorted through the other stuff on the table. She flipped through his work books then piled them to one side, placing on top the book he currently had to read. There was a letter from the headmaster about head lice, a letter from Ben’s teacher about an end of year trip to the zoo and a maths homework sheet due in on Monday.
Molly re-packed his school bag then added things to her calendar. Then she did an internet search to find out what a grartor party was. Perhaps, this Riley was from a different country or religion and grartor related to turning eight or something like that?
The search engine told her it wasn’t actually a word, did she mean something else? Molly scrolled down the suggested websites hoping that it appeared as some kind of new child craze like fidget spinners but there was nothing.
This is why you don’t let a child write their own party invitations! Molly thought.
She looked over at her own children and decided she’d just have to find out tomorrow.
The next morning after breakfast, Molly got Ben ready for the party. Leaving her husband with the twins, she took Ben shopping and got a suitable birthday present for Riley. At half twelve, she drove over to the address and parked up.
Letting Ben out, they walked up the steps to the front door of the house. Bright green balloons weighed down behind the two large flower pots, greeted them. A banner over the door read, 8 Today! and an inflatable crocodile lay on the lawn.
‘Are you excited? Molly asked.
Ben pulled a face and clutched the wrapped birthday present.
‘I bet there’ll be cake and jelly and ice cream. Your other friends will be here,’ she pointed out.
Molly rang the doorbell and it was answered by a tried looking man who had a crocodile glove puppet on his hand.
‘Hi, I’m Molly Black. My son Ben was invited to Riley’s party. Sorry, I didn’t reply to the invite, I only found it in his bag yesterday. I hope you don’t mind us coming,’ Molly explained.
The man nodded, ‘Rory James, Riley’s dad. Please come in.’
He held the door, Molly and Ben entered. The house looked freshly moved into. There were green balloons tied everywhere and in the kitchen was a table covered in party food. Rory led them into the back garden were a few children where bouncing on a green jungle themed bouncy castle and inflatable crocodiles were dotted around. Two woman were stood talking close by, drinking out of wine glasses.
‘I want a go!’ Ben cried, cheering up instantly.
‘Sure,’ Rory answered.
Molly took the present and Ben’s shoes then he ran off onto the bouncy castle.
‘What time should I come and pick him up?’ Molly asked.
‘Oh, you’re not staying?’
‘I’ve left my husband with our twin girls,’ Molly explained.
‘Five, I think it said on the invite. My wife can confirm that. I’ll introduce you then I must get back to finishing off the cake,’ Rory said.
They walked over to the two woman and the one wearing the blue dress with the mass of blonde hair was Rory’s wife, Celina. Rory introduced them then left.
‘Can I get you something to drink?’ Celina asked.
‘No, thanks,’ Molly replied, ‘I must get back home soon, I told my husband I wouldn’t be long. We are taking the twins to the park.’
‘This is for Riley,’ Molly said handing over the present, ‘I wasn’t sure what to get him. So, I let Ben pick it. Young boys tend to like the same things, I’ve found.’
‘Thank you,’ Celina spoke with a smile and took the gift.
‘What is a grartor party?’ Molly asked.
‘Riley came up with it. He said it meant a great gator. He’s obsessed with alligators!’ Celina laughed.
Molly nodded, the whole green and crocodile theme clicking into place. She talked for a few minutes with other parents who were arriving then she said goodbye and drove home.
At five, she returned and picked up Ben who chatted away about the good time he had had at the grartor party.
(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/tale-weaver-183-making-sense-of-nonsense-grartor/ with thanks).