My youngest boy quickly realises that commission-based flyering isn’t the deal that he thought it was. I have told him that for each person he convinces to come to the show, I’ll give him one pound – after only one day he is demanding fee-for-service.
I knew this time would come. My dad’s political career saw me cycling all the way around our country town, putting pamphlets of my surprisingly well-groomed father in people’s letterboxes (there were no ‘no junk mail’ stickers back in those days). ‘A new packet of pencils,’ I would say. ‘Only if I can get my ears pierced.’
We start the dealing, my youngest boy and I.
‘Fifty pence is over one Australian dollar,’ I tell him.
‘Yes, but we aren’t in Australia, are we?’ he says.
We settle on a daily fee. It doubles his pocket-money for the week and my financial loss is already so great that it makes no real difference to my bottom line.
We stand on the Royal Mile, the four of us, one adult for each child. The mister manages to give away two flyers.
I give away a few more.
They fly from the children’s hands. Almost no-one says no.
‘I think it’s your clothes, and the way you speak, Dad,’ my eldest boy says. ‘And also, you’re not the cutest.’
We get offered quite a few flyers too. ‘That’s a good ploy,’ one of the flyerers says and nods towards our boys. ‘Better than a bright coloured T-shirt,’ he says pulling at his. From the resignation in his grin it is clear that he has been here before.
The children aren’t a ploy, but when the cast of another production walks past, some of them in suits, the others in boxer shorts, I agree with the mister: ‘I’m glad I don’t have to walk around in my undies.’
‘Are they allowed to walk around in their underwear?’ Youngest boy asks. We are a world away from the robed malls of Abu Dhabi.
There isn’t anyone at the show who hadn’t pre-bought tickets. No walk-ups, flyer in hand. I always told my Dad that how-to-votes at the polling booth would make no difference to the way that people voted.
We go out for a post-show celebratory meal. ‘Mum, giving out your pamphlets is the best job in the world,’ my eldest boy tells me after the first slug of his soft drink. And later, on our walk home, he is still holding a small pile of flyers in his hand, and handing them to people with his politely-worded question: ‘Would you like to see my Mum’s show? She’s hilarious.’