What Bad Thing do you think Harrison did?
Stories are often about a good person who does a Bad Thing, and this is no exception.
The hero of our story is Harrison, and I do mean ‘hero’. Because, before we begin, I want to make one thing clear: Harrison had a huge heart.
He cared about the rainforest, regularly brought his mother breakfast in bed and always shared his toys with his younger sister, Lana (despite the fact that she would often break them, lose them, or try to flush them down the loo). Harrison was kind to other children at school, even Hector Broom, who was a bit of a bully and once pushed Harrison over on purpose and then told their teacher, Miss Balogun, that it was an accident.
And Harrison was honest. If he broke a vase – for example, by accidentally knocking it off the shelf while pretending to be Bear Grylls – he would own up. He never stole from shops or cheated in Monopoly or snuck into the cinema without paying. He tried every new food three times without complaint, always looked left then right then left again before crossing the road and sometimes even folded his clothes at night instead of just chucking them on the floor.
So, I hear you ask, if Harrison was so good, what Bad Thing could he possibly have done?
Well, you see, as kind and honest and good and big-hearted as he was, Harrison had a BIG flaw. He couldn’t control his temper.
Most of the time, he was very well behaved. But once in a while something would really annoy him. And then . . . well, then, he would Kick Off.
‘Euuurrgghhhhh!’ Harrison would groan, in pure frustration. His head would lower, like a bull about to charge. His cheeks would redden, his brow would furrow, his eyes would narrow and he would clamp his jaws so tight it was a wonder he didn’t snap a tooth.
‘Code Red!’ his father would cry, using his parents’ nickname for Harrison’s rages.
‘DON’T SAY THAT!’ Harrison would yell.
‘Yes, definitely a Code Red,’ his mother would agree, moving breakable objects to safety. ‘AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!’ Harrison would shout. ‘I HATE IT WHEN YOU SAY THAT!’
From that point, there was very little anyone could do to calm Harrison down until he wore himself out.
‘EEUUURRRGH!’ he might exclaim, as he threw himself on the floor, kicking his legs, so that he went round and round in circles like a breakdancer.
‘WHY WON’T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME??!!’ he might bawl, as he ran off into the undergrowth, punching the bushes in fury.
‘I WANT A DIFFERENT FAMILY!!’ he might roar, as he slammed the door to his room and barricaded it with every single one of his toys.
Now, usually Harrison’s rages happened not because he was really cross, but because he was worried about something, which meant that most of the time, the grown-ups around him – his parents, for example, or his teachers – sort of understood. They’d wait out Harrison’s meltdowns, then try to find out what he was really worried about so they could help him fix it. Then everything would go back to normal.
This story is not about one of those times. It begins at a birthday party, and . . . well, I think I’d better just get started. Settle yourself down, because it’s a bit of a rollercoaster, and as you shall see, it changed Harrison’s life for ever.
Hear the rest
Click on the link below to listen to the author, Ben Miller, read the whole story.
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