There was no better way to describe the relationship Jonathan had with Yoki other than that of owner and pet. Obviously, there were differences (unlike a pet, Jonathan wouldn’t have been too upset if Yoki suddenly vanished), but the similarities were great enough that Jonathan thought of himself as a particularly smart seven-year-old boy for inventing the comparison. For example, Yoki required feeding. Not pet food, of course, but he was most definitely fond of devouring Jonathan’s ideas, only to regurgitate them later; the original idea unrecognisable to Jonathan.
Once, inspired by the advice from his English teacher, Jonathan thought that he would like to start writing a diary. Yoki made sure, however, that the idea was quelled as rapidly as it had come up. He did this by telling Jonathan every reason he could think of for why writing a diary would not work. Only girls write diaries; You’ll stop writing after two night, anyway, so what’s the point of starting; You don’t even have a decent enough book that could qualify as a diary. Or even a nice pen. In the end, Jonathan gave up, moving on to activities that Yoki found far less worthy of attention, such as eating a snack or taking a nap.
Jonathan didn’t dislike Yoki. There were moments where Yoki’s questions saved him from making some foolish decisions. Like the time Jonathan wanted to perform a puppet show as part of his school’s talent contest. Jonathan had spent one-and-a-half months writing and practicing the show in his bedroom while trying to ignor Yoki’s never-ending questions: Who do you think you are to be doing a puppet show? Are you going to change your voice when shifting from the grandfather puppet to the grandmother puppet? How are you going to act when the entire school is laughing at you? But, despite finishing the play, Jonathan never competed in the school’s talent contest. And, he was glad he didn’t. Quinn Macintosh walked out on the stage and blew everyone away with his mastery of the art of puppetry. The way Jonathan saw it, Yoki had saved him from a lifetimee of embarrassment, meaning that he now owed Yoki. He just didn’t know when this debt would be paid off.
The day Jonathan decided to leave Yoki at home for the first time, was the day of his first tennis lesson. Jonathan was riding his bike home from school one day, Yoki perched on his shoulder, telling Jonathan that he really should upgrade his bike, when they rode past two older people playing a game of tennis. Jonathon was hooked and Yoki was hungry. For the next two weeks, Jonathan had to endure a barrage of rather unhelpful suggestions from Yoki: You’re not going to be any good; The others will beat you easily; You actually like soccer better; Your parents don’t want to pay for you to do yet another expensive hobby. Rather than give in – which had been the way up until now – Jonathan got dressed into his tennis uniform, picked up his new tennis equipment and to wait outside for his mother to take him along. Just like a puppy, Yoki followed him. Unlike a puppy, however, Yoki didn’t put up too much of a fuss when you picked him up. When are you even going to practice? Another hobby down the drain! Jonathan didn’t take his eyes off of Yoki as he took out his shiny, new tennis racket out if it’s black and white tennis bag. He threw Yoki up in the air and whacked him with the racket with enough force that Yoki flew through the air, landing into a neighbours nearby pool.
That night, as Jonathan lay in bed, still smiling from having an enjoyable afternoon, he got a terrific idea. He asked Yoki to pass him the lined book and pencil sitting beside the bedside table and Yoki politely agreed, asking if there was anything else Jonathan needed. Jonathan looked at Yoki and Yoki nodded, getting into his tiny, little monster-sized bed. Jonathan took the pencil and book, opened the book up to the first available page and wrote the words: Dear Diary.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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