Been feeling so guilty. To the anon. person who likes to wear a fluorescent gilet: I’m sorry for commenting on how unlikely it would be for you to get run over. One day’s fashion suicide is the next day’s big trend. Although, I hope it isn’t…the effects would be blinding.
The bus driver says: “Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!” The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: “The driver just insulted me!” The man says: “You go up there and tell him off. Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.” —Tommy Cooper
(A boy is sitting in a wheelchair next to a hospital bed. He is 15 years old, but looks older than most boys his age. He has brown hair, pale skin and has a rather awkward manner. He is nervously clutching a large, rather battered umbrella. He is wearing a hospital gown.)
11.52am and it was a moderately mild day. Clouds were starting to come over and by 12.30 a light rain would start. I sat on my bed, in my room (4mX5.4m). I had changed my sheets the same morning at exactly 8.30am as normal. (speaks faster) I had folded all of my clothes and hoovered twice and eaten weetabix with 100ml of milk and 2 flat tablespoons of sugar and brushed my teeth and had been to the toilet twice.
Then I sat on my bed and waited.
12.00 midday every day and my mum should have my lunch ready. 11.52pm. She still hadn’t started.
They were in the kitchen, shouting. (Cover ears and shout whilst closing eyes) MONEY and SHIRLEY FROM WORK WHO YOU’RE SHAGGING and DANIEL WHO’S TREATMENT ISN’T IMPROVING ANYTHING BUT HE’S OUR SON WE SHOULD DO ALL WE CAN TO HELP HIM BUT IT’S POINTLESS WHY CAN’T WE JUST LET HIM GET ON WITH IT.
They had been shouting for exactly 18 minutes and 21 seconds. 11.54am and she still hadn’t started lunch. I stood up and walked out of my door and shut my door and walked down the 14 stairs. I walked very slowly and held the banister because Auntie Julie fell down the stairs on the 14th of March 2006 and got a hairline fracture in her humorous bone and had to go to A&E and wait for about 3 hours. She didn’t know exactly how long.
They were still shouting when I got downstairs. 11.55am. It was loud so I put my hands over my ears to muffle the sound. I didn’t stick my fingers in my ears because I could have spread bacteria and caused an infection. I stood in the doorway watching them until they saw me, which took 24 seconds. I told mum that it was 11.56am and 23 seconds and she still hadn’t started making my lunch and I needed it at 12.00 exactly and she started crying so that her makeup ran down her face and made it look like Halloween. I don’t like Halloween. Dad shouted at me. (Gradually get louder and faster) He said why can’t I make my own fucking lunch and why does he have such a freak as a son?
I covered my ears and ROARED like a lion.
(Speak quietly and more slowly)
They stopped making noises so I said that it was 11.57am and ran out. I EVEN ran up the stairs, although I did hold onto the banister really tightly. I missed the seventh stair so I had to go to the bottom again and this time I went a bit slower because I didn’t want to miss another step or get a hairline fracture in my humorous bone. Then I got to my room and opened the window. I got my big umbrella which was hanging on the door where it always is. Then I tiptoed really slowly down the 14 stairs, holding onto the banister really tightly. I didn’t want to be reckless like last time. I reached the door and opened the door and went out of the door and shut the door until it clicked. I tried to be (whisper) R E A L L Y Q U I E T so that nobody heard me. I’m not supposed to go out on my own.
12.01pm and my stomach was making noises as if to say it was hungry. No wonder… I had missed lunch. As I left through the front gate, Mrs. Timmons from next door said hello and did I know whose’ cat was messing in her garden? I said yes and she said who’s? and I said mine. Then she started shouting too and my ears ached so I put my umbrella strap so that it was hanging on my arm and I put my hands over (not in) my ears and ran down Graham Crescent where I live at number 55. Mrs Timmons lives at number 56. I’ve never been there but my cat has. His name is Admiral and I hate him. He smells. Mum bought him for me to give me a friend. I wanted a terrapin. Admiral has squinty eyes and leaves hair on my carpet. He makes me sneeze and once he killed a rat and left it in the kitchen. I had to bleach the floor six times and the fumes got in my eyes and stung.
I kept walking and walking and walking some more until 12.22pm, when I was in the centre of town. Market square. There were stalls with men talking about vegetables and hot-dogs and top quality time pieces. There were people and dogs and babies crying. It was crowded. And busy. It started to rain. The rain was early, it was only 12.22. It wasn’t supposed to start until 12.30. Nothing was on schedule today.
I put up my umbrella and pulled it down so far that I could only just see where I was going. I started to walk slowly through the crowd. There was a woman who was smoking and pushing a pram and her hair was pulled back really tight and looked all shiny. But not clean shiny, greasy shiny. She smelled of smoke.
There was an old man with a walking stick and a green hat who was muttering to himself about the weather. As I was looking at him I walked
into Jason Green who was in 11GR at my school. Fakenham High School. I’m 10SN. He had his trousers tucked into his socks and funny lines in his hair and a spotty face and he smelled like beer. He told me to (cockney accent for words in bold) watch where I was fucking going and his breath smelled like beer and I told him I was staring at (points) that man over there and he told me to (cockney accent for bold) piss off, freak, and I pulled my umbrella right down so I couldn’t see a thing and I ran straight through the crowd, BASHING and CRASHING into lots of people.
People shouted. People swore. But it didn’t matter because I couldn’t see them. I felt excited, but not good excited, bad excited like when mum and dad took me to Thorpe Park and dad made me go on the swinging boat but I really only wanted to go on the carousel and the boat went too fast and too high and I didn’t like it and was sick all over the people in front of me. Somebody tried to grab my shoulder. They were asking who I was running from. I kept my umbrella down and squeezed my eyes shut tight and ran
and tripped down a curb.
As I fell I heard a really loud beeping noise. I wasn’t sure what it was at first. It sounded funny. Everything started moving
r e a l l y s l o w l y.
I wanted my mum. I wanted my dad. I wanted my lunch. I wanted a terrapin. And then….
I held my umbrella really tightly. And my Tibia went CCCCRACK. But it didn’t hurt. Even though it was even WORSE than a hairline fracture to the humorous bone.
(Looks at watch and frowns)
11.56am and 42 seconds. 3 minutes and 18 seconds until lunch.
Barely a twelvemonth after
The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
Late in the evening the strange horses came.
By then we had made our covenant with silence,
But in the first few days it was so still
We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
On the second day
The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.
On the third day a warship passed us, heading north,
Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day
A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter
Nothing. The radios dumb;
And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,
And stand, perhaps, turned on, in a million rooms
All over the world. But now if they should speak,
If on a sudden they should speak again,
If on the stroke of noon a voice should speak,
We would not listen, we would not let it bring
That old bad world that swallowed its children quick
At one great gulp. We would not have it again.
Sometimes we think of the nations lying asleep,
Curled blindly in impenetrable sorrow,
And then the thought confounds us with its strangeness.
The tractors lie about our fields; at evening
They look like dank sea-monsters couched and waiting.
We leave them where they are and let them rust:
‘They’ll molder away and be like other loam.’
We make our oxen drag our rusty plows,
Long laid aside. We have gone back
Far past our fathers’ land.
And then, that evening
Late in the summer the strange horses came.
We heard a distant tapping on the road,
A deepening drumming; it stopped, went on again
And at the corner changed to hollow thunder.
We saw the heads
Like a wild wave charging and were afraid.
We had sold our horses in our fathers’ time
To buy new tractors. Now they were strange to us
As fabulous steeds set on an ancient shield.
Or illustrations in a book of knights.
We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited,
Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent
By an old command to find our whereabouts
And that long-lost archaic companionship.
In the first moment we had never a thought
That they were creatures to be owned and used.
Among them were some half a dozen colts
Dropped in some wilderness of the broken world,
Yet new as if they had come from their own Eden.
Since then they have pulled our plows and borne our loads
But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.
Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.