Then, one Saturday, miraculously, the planets came into alignment, and it was the day, except, of course, that came with issues. That morning, Damien’s parents had already left at stupid o’clock to do an obligatory ‘before Xmas’ day trip to visit relatives. This unfortunately left Donald at Damien’s mercy with regard to transport to and from the chosen venue.

Damien was in his bedroom, busy killing zombies and saving the planet when Donald popped his head round the door. With his best puppy dog expression, which was difficult given his weather-beaten skin and wrinkles, Donald began his plea for a lift to the lake to try his ‘magic’ bait as this was the only time they might work, finishing his speech with lots of ‘Please, please, pleases’ not forgetting to mention Damien was his favourite nephew (skipping over the fact he was his only nephew) and that Donald was a frail old man who may not get many more chances to go fishing etc. etc.

During this pleading, Damien didn’t look up from his planet saving work, merely shaking his head to or answering with a curt ‘NO’ to the barrage of questions. Donald wasn’t giving up that easily and continued his relentless onslaught until Damien had to press the pause button on world domination.

‘I don’t know what part of ‘No’ you don’t understand, can’t you see I’m busy and when I’ve finished here I am going out’ Damien quite emphasised that last word.

‘Oh, laddie, that’s OK, my gear is all packed and you can drop me at the lake’ Donald was beaming

‘No’ said Damien I am going out, what I am not doing is acting as your chauffeur, and anyway, I am not going anywhere near your lake’

Donald looked puzzled. ‘If you aren’t going past the lake, where are you going laddie..?’
Damien sighed ‘I’m going shopping…..’ as the words left his mouth he knew that he might have slipped up, but maybe the old git wouldn’t notice.

Donald might be knocking on a bit but his mind was still as sharp as ever and he sprung on the error like a mongoose rounding on a snake. ‘Going shopping laddie……..really…….?’

Damien squirmed. He knew that Donald knew he didn’t do ‘shopping’ It may be approaching Xmas but any ‘shopping’ Damien did was done on his laptop, and certainly did not involve stepping outside the front door.

Donald now had the upper hand and continued ‘Shopping you say, tell me more laddie’
Damien turned off his game and turned to Damien. ‘Look, I am going shopping with my girlfriend. OK..?

‘Hmmm…..’ said Donald, whilst raising his eyebrows and tilting his head to one side, sensing there might just be something else in this.

‘Alright’ snapped back Damien ‘I will tell you, but you have to promise to keep it secret’
‘Donald’s eyes lit up ‘Do tell laddie. I’m all ears’

Damien tilted back his head and stared at the ceiling for a few seconds. ‘I am going shopping with my girlfriend’ he paused ‘to buy an engagement ring’

Donald gave a little whoop and slapped Damien on the back so hard he nearly fell out of his chair. ‘Well done laddie, and congratulations, she’s a lovely girl’ and he added with an exaggerated wink ‘and way out of your league’

‘Yes, yes, but you can’t say anything’ Damien was pleading

Donald rubbed his whiskery chin, ‘Well, that depends…..’

‘Depends on what?’ asked Damien, fearing that he might already know the answer

‘Depends on whether or not I get a lift to and from the lake today’ said a now beaming Donald, ‘but tell me laddie, why so secret?

Damien looked round the room, and lowering his voice, said ‘The big secret is that we are going to announce the engagement at Christmas, when both of the families are together, and the big surprise will be ruined if some old git blabs his mouth off weeks before’

Donald tapped his nose ‘No fear there laddie, don’t forget that during the war we had to kept secr…’

‘OK’ snapped Damien, cutting short another story about how Donald had apparently saved the world

Donald stepped back ‘Alright laddie, I understand, mums the word’ He looked down at Damien, ‘Hang on laddie, when I said mum, the big secret isn’t…..’

‘NO, ‘she isn’t, got it..! Damien snapped back, he was pinned like butterfly and didn’t like being held to ransom by Donald one little bit, so had get some ground back. ‘I will take you to the lake, and then I am off shopping. After I have dropped my girlfriend off, I will come back and pick you up, then straight back home because I am out tonight at my firm’s Xmas party. That gives you about two hours at the lake, take it or leave it.’

Donald did his best Cheshire cat grin, rubbed his hands together and bounded off like a two year old to get his gear. Damien slumped back in his chair, this day is going to be fun – not, he thought……….


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