A dialogue-based story by David Benn which raises questions of language tropes, cultural change and parental responsibility.


‘Dad, do you mind if a I get a game on the PS4?’

Harrison stood at the bottom of the stairs and I knew he was swinging on the banister even though I didn’t raise my eyes from the ironing board. The late afternoon was slow and humid and if I didn’t look at him then I wouldn’t have to tell him not to swing on the bannister.

‘Is it going to cost me anything?’

‘It’s half price this weekend. It’s usually eighty dollars but this weekend it’s only forty dollars.’

I pushed the steaming iron up and down the front of a stiff white shirt and considered my options as I felt a bead of sweat run down the small of my back and between my cheeks. ‘How about if you pay for half and I pay for the other half?’

‘Okay, but you need to approve the purchase.’

I stood the iron on its end and looked over at him. Like me, he was shirtless and dressed only in a pair of boardshorts. Unlike me, at thirteen years old, he had already begun to cloak himself in simmering discontent.

‘Okay, for a start, stop swinging on the banister and, why do you need my approval? Just go and buy it.’

He ran his fingers through his hair and rolled his eyes. ‘The PS4 won’t let me buy it because it’s rated M.’

I stared at him for a second or two. ‘Really? That PS4 wasn’t designed by puritans, dude. What’s the name of this game?’

Mortal Kombat.’

I walked out from behind the ironing board and picked up my phone from the breakfast bar.