“No, Tim is not a fag, dad. He makes me gag!”
“Uhuh. A fag, just like I thought. But I still wonder why he makes you vomit.”
“Dad! What I said was that I omitted a word in a flyer, and because it was an important word and the whole thing was published –”
“Damn right, that would make anyone vomit, son. But I still don’t get that mountain connection. What were you doing in the mountains after you got yourself fired?”
“Maintain! I didn’t say mountain. All I wanted to say is that it’s going to be difficult to maintain this big house now that Tim’s axed my bonus. He didn’t fire me.”
“And why do you think moving to the mountains would solve the problem?”
“MAINTAIN!” I shouted.
“Yes, maintain, AND I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN COMPOSURE, DAD!”
He gave me a puzzled look, eventually shrugging his shoulders.
“I still don’t understand why Tom’s homosexuality makes you vomit, son, and why you find it difficult to maintain composure in the mountains. It all seems just a wee bit disconnected, if you ask me.”
“Your hearing aid? Where is it?”
“Oh that. Battery’s dead.”
I sighed and tickled the little bit of white fluff on his head.
A silly old song came to my mind: What do you do with a worn old shoe?
What to do with a stubborn old man like that?
– James Steerforth (© 2011)
Written around gag, maintain, omit from 3WW.