The Commando Torch


This morning there are three boys and their father here at the shop. The boys have come from the soccer field, they are in short sleeves, not feeling the cold.

They pounce on The Titanic. But they already have it. They know about The Snake Book, they have that at school. They carry around Greatest Dinosaurs On Earth and they argued over Gadgets: How Things Work because the mobile phone on the front cover was old….heaps old. They very much wanted Steam Trains: Cross Sections and they considered The Great Science Experiment Book. The oldest brother, however,  said the experiments in it were not very good, they all deferred, put the book back.

Their father read aloud from The Art of Polite Correspondence which he thought was very funny and the boys looked at him politely.

Now Bill, a regular customer, is here, telling me about the commando torch he has just bought online. The boys look across briefly.

Bill said it is the best torch there is, probably for using in the jungle. The boys look up and across again. This led torch has a concentrated light beam and is rechargeable.

The brothers glance at each other, assessing the information. The oldest brother will decide on its value.

Bill said he didn’t want a night stick, they don’t have a long runtime even though they say they do. His torch is the one used in the actual army. He might use it to read in his tent when he is out in the bush and all that.

The oldest brother is standing up and looking over, hoping to perhaps see the commando torch.

But the torch is still in the mail and Bill is leaving. The boys watch him pack his Bryce Courtenay books into a motorbike helmet, they look at his impressive tattoos, watch him leave: the man who will soon have a commando torch to read with in his tent.

The boys look at each other, they say nothing. One boy says he is getting a book on submarines. The others do not answer.

Their father comes out, he has a book by David Attenborough. The youngest son says: can we go get a torch?

The father says: I don’t think we need one do we?

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