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Nikolas shuffles the deck cheerfully just now, and asks, “Sure you don’t want to play poker?”

Harm kicks her brother-in-law under the table and gestures with her chin towards her dad, snoring in an armchair.   The portable cot with the latest spawn of old Nik and Caroline is set up in a corner, while their eldest heir on the sofa has apparently had a PSP surgically implanted.   Caroline cuts the deck like she wishes it was her husband’s neck, and starts picking up her cards before he even finishes dealing.   Harm calls, I pass, Nikolas plays, and Caroline puts her cards on the table to begin the onslaught:

“You didn’t do it right, Harmony.”

We all play on in silence, but Caroline is a conversation juggernaut.

“When Dad gave you that money, you should’ve spoken to me.   We should’ve invested it – Nikolas has some excellent prospects in…”

“Dad insisted.   Just drop it, Caroline.   Your play.”

“But then you should’ve had me plan the itinerary – you haven’t chosen the best family places, you realize.   No childcare at some of the hotels, you haven’t pre-booked for Paris Disneyland for Caleb, and honestly – Venice?   All those canals where a naturally inquisitive child could…”

“Dad gave me the money for a family holiday for us.   I spent it.   It’s done.   My trick – and Jonathon’s deal.”

Caroline reloads with cards, looks over her new ammunition, lines up the target in her sights, and begins a fresh assault.

“This must all have made you feel awkward, Jonathon.   Not being family, but suddenly being invited on this trip.   I’m sure you didn’t want to intrude like this… ”

I play, and answer politely:

“Nah.   I’m always happy to intrude.”

She trumps my ace, and says smoothly:

“So it seems.”


I’m still not sure who won.





  1. Now you know what a normal family is like! 😀 Just substitute Poker with a dinner table and it’s not that far off the mark.

    … Which is worse? Your family? Or Harm’s?

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