Storytime Sunday – Bernie’s Emergency

by, Duncan Richardson

Bernie’s tummy felt strange. She was getting ready for her friend Emma’s birthday party.

“Don’t worry,” said Mom. “You can borrow my phone. Just call me if you need to.”

Bernie frowned. “But I don’t know the number.” animated-telephone-image-0119

Mom showed Bernie how to press the buttons.

“But only for an emergency,” Mom said.

“Okay,” said Bernie. “But what’s an emergency?”

“It’s when something goes wrong,” said Mom.

“Can it happen anywhere?”

“I suppose so,” said Mom.

“Anytime?” said Bernie.


“So it can happen at Emma’s place.”

“Yes but it probably won’t,” said Mom.

Bernie thought for a moment. “Is a fire an emergency?” she asked.


“Yes,” said Mom.

“Is a big wind an emergency?” asked Bernie, shaking her head wildly.


“Yes,” said Mom.  “But now I’ll have to comb your hair again. Just keep still.”

Bernie asked, “is a big crash….?”

“Of course!” answered Mom. “But you’ll be safe inside the house. Don’t worry about that.”

“Yes…but what if there’s a flood?” asked Bernie.

“Don’t be silly, Bernie,” Mom replied. “It’s not even raining.”

“What about a big wave?”

“Bernie, the sea is a far away.”

“A robber?” download (3)

“Bernie! It won’t happen!”

“How do you know?”

“Well,” said Mom, “I’m sure Emma’s parents have thought of all these problems and they’ve got police, fire engines, and ambulances all waiting.”

“That’s silly,” said Bernie.

Mom laughed.

animated-volcano-image-0001Bernie asked, “what about an earthquake? Or a volcano blowing its top?”

“I’ll blow my top if you don’t get ready soon.”

“What if I get lost?”

“You won’t. You’re going to a party not walking in the jungle.”

“What if no one plays with me?”

“Bernie. All your friends will be there.”

“What if they all say, Go away Bernie! You’re not our friend anymore.

Mom knelt down.

“Bernie, your friends are nice kids. They won’t do that.”animated-girl-image-0029

Bernie grinned. “I know. Just joking.”

“Ah,” said Mom. “Very funny.”

They put Emma’s present in the car and drove away.

“What if Emma doesn’t like the present?” Bernie asked. “Is that an emergency?”

“Don’t worry,” said Mom.

“What if Emma’s brother chases me with a toad?”


“Bernie! That would be an emergency for the toad.”

Bernie giggled.

When they reached Emma’s house, Bernie gave the present to Emma and they both ran off to play. Bernie’s mother waved goodbye, drove home, made a cup of tea and sat down to rest.

After a while, the phone rang.

“Hi Mom,” said a sad voice.

“What’s wrong?” asked Bernie’s mother.

“There’s an emergency,” Bernie whispered.

“Are you sure?” asked Mom.

“Yes. Something bad has happened. But it’s not a fire, a flood, a robber…”

“What is it? Mom asked.

“It’s really bad,” said Bernie.

There’s no cake yet. Could you bring one please?”animated-cake-image-0057

“Bernie! Don’t be silly,” said Mom. “That’s not an emergency.”

“But I’m really hungry,” said Bernie.

Mom heard a loud rumble.

“Oh dear,” she said. Is that an earthquake?”

“It’s my tummy calling for help,” said Bernie.

Mom laughed. “Come on Bernie. Switch the phone off and go back to your friends.”

“They’re here with me,” said Bernie. “They’re all hungry, too.”

“Oh no,” sighed Mom.

In the distance, she heard someone shouting. “Cake’s here! Cake’s here!”

“It’s okay, Mom,” Bernie said. “There’s no more emergency.  Bye.”

Bernie and her friends ran over to the table.

“Who was that on the phone?” asked Emma’s dad.

“Wrong number,” said Bernie.

The End

About the Author

Duncan Richardson is keen to uncover the hidden stories of our past and present, real or imagined, through fiction and history. He’s written about a bogman seeking revenge, edible worms and a fire that threatened to destroy Brisbane.

His stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, a novel Jason
Chen and the Time Banana, 
and a choose-your-own adventure book Dinomania.

Categories: Stories

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