Rob Heaton
Robert Heaton


Software Engineer
One track lover/Down a two-way lane



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What's the worst word you'd say to beat your in-laws at Boggle?

27 Oct 2017

What’s the worst word you’d say to beat your in-laws at Boggle?
I know exactly what mine is.

It’s one of those words that not everyone knows
And those that do think you’re disgusting.
You and I aren’t that close so I’ll call this word “fleem”.

Playing Boggle with my in-laws, I spot the word “fleem”
I write it down and hope I won’t need it.
The timer goes off
Our words are read out
And the scores are tied, eighteen apiece.

My heart sinks.

I shout out “I’ve got fleem!”
An argument erupts
“That’s not a real word. And also, you’re disgusting.”
A dictionary comes out
And it’s not a real word.
Fuck.

I speak to my parents next day on the phone.
They’re grown-ups so I tell them the story.
“What does fleem mean?” - my dad.
I hang up.

Dad calls his mum, my grandma, to say hi
No answer, it goes straight to voicemail
He puts down the phone.

He looks up what “fleem” means, he wrinkles his nose.
He shouts it out loud to my mum.
“That’s nice dear” she says. “And also, you’re disgusting.”

The next thing that mum hears is dad crying out
She rushes in, he’s collapsed on the floor.
And all that she sees, in his puce pallid hands
Is the phone
Still connected to his mum, my grandma, my eighty-eight year old grandma
Who will soon know what fleem means when she next checks her voicemail.

My dad’s mum, my grandma, died a few months ago
She was a wonderful and beautiful and knowledgable person.
They never spoke about what happened
We all think that was for the best.


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