Thursday, August 20, 2009
Xmas was on its way again so mi mum asked me and mi sisters what we would like for the occasion.
"I want a Brindle Greyhound for Xmas so I can go rabbiting on the moors." I said.
"You're getting no bloody Brindle Greyhound out of me!" sez Iris.
"Then why bother to ask me what I want?"
This type of conversation went backwards and forwards all the way up till a couple of weeks before Xmas.
One evening, Iris said to me, "You can have a Springer Spaniel if you want a dog but I'm not buying a bloody Greyhound. They look like they've never been fed for a bloody month of Sundays!"
I was not interested in a Springer Spaniel but that's what they decided to buy me for Xmas so I just had to make the best of it. I picked the puppy up from the station on the 24th of December. Although I did not want a Springer Spaniel, it was a bit hard not to like it when I opened the crate and it ran out and licked my face. It was so happy to be out of the crate as it ran around in small circles not knowing what to do.
Over the months, Raja grew into a fine dog but my heart was never in him because I always wanted a Greyhound. 'Spaniels are not bad dogs.' I thought but they're no use at catching rabbits. During the day when we were at school and Iris and Jim were at work, Raja lived downstairs in the large cellar room. It was a great big room with a concrete slab floor and a sliding window, which let lots of light in for him.
At around this time, I had devised another business scheme where I could make misen a good few bob as the price of cigarettes and sweets was always going up. Ryburn School used to run a school lunch program. Every child who wanted to eat the school dinners could do so for 5/- a week. Some kids used to live quite close to the school so they would usually go home for dinners. Boston Street was about a 15 minute run from Ryburn School. Unbeknownst to mi mother, I decided to keep mi 5/- dinner money and run home of a lunch time and make misen a cup of tea and some toast and jam. Now I had 5 bob a week extra to survive on. After I had been doing this for about a month I had another hair-brained scheme which I presented to a few of the boys who used to smoke behind the back of the Gym.
"This is how it works." I said "You all get 5 bob a week from your mothers for your school dinner, so every Monday morning, instead of paying the 5 bob to the class teacher you can pay me 2/6d and keep 2/6d for yourselves and out of the 2/6d you pay me you can come down to mi mothers place and I'll make you all 4 pieces of toast with margarine and raspberry jam on it. Oh, and one pot of tea between however many of you decide to come."
"That's not a bad idea Dick Lad." Said one boy. "4 pieces of toast and jam will be much tastier than those rotten school dinners and I'll have half-a-crown a week left for fags. I'll start next Monday!"
Before the following Monday morning had rolled around I had signed up 4 boys for my school dinner scheme. When Monday mornings arrived, each boy gave me half-a-crown, which meant I had collected 10 bob plus I own 5 bob dinner money. That meant I now had 15 bob in mi pocket. I was rich, beyond my imagination.
There was about 20 large slices in a loaf of bread. I had already figured out that I could feed all 4 boys for a cost of about 4 bob a week. 15/- minus 4 bob expenses would leave me with 11 bob a week, clear profit!
The first Monday we all met a pre-arranged area in the playground and as soon as all 4 boys were present we took off at a fast run down to mi mums house. Before we got to the top of Boston Street I told the boys that they were to go down to the front door of the house because most of the neighbors lived in the back kitchens during the day and I didn't want nosy neighbors telling mi mum that a bunch of schoolboys were seen entering her premises when she was away at work. I made each boy 4 pieces of toast and jam and a cup of Liptons' tea. After everyone was finished, I cleaned the place up so mi mum would not know, then we made our way slowly back up the hill to school, smoking and laughing and having a good old time!
Each morning, before I went to school, I would buy a large loaf of bread and hide it in mi room along with the jar of jam and the tub of margarine. After a couple of months of this, I got so good at cooking up the toast without burning it that the boys gave me the nickname of 'Toast Man'.
One day a couple of the boys decided they'd had enough toast and jam to last them till the end of their school days so they stopped coming for toast and went back to paying for school dinners. This meant I was now 2 customers short and minus 5 bob a week, which I had already got used to having, therefore, I had to go back around the school Gym wall at first break and drum up some more business.
Johnny Brown decided he would like to give a couple of week's trial and another boy, Ted Eubanks said he'd start coming down as well. Eubanks was a great big fat kid who was well known as one of the schools toughest bullies, so I didn't have a great deal of say in the matter.
The first week Brown and Eubanks paid their half crown each and everything seemed to go quite well until Eubanks started asking for more than the agreed upon amount of toast.
"Give me another couple a' pieces of toast, Swindells! I'm still hungry!"
"No." I said. "4 slices is what you’ve paid for and you've already eaten all 4. There's no more for you until tomorrow!"
"I'm not coming down here next week! I don't like like this bloody deal!" said Eubanks.
"Suit ya' self. You're the only one who has ever complained so far."
The following Monday when I went around the boys to collect their half-crowns, Eubanks said "I'm not coming down this week. I'm spending the whole 5 bob on fags. Anyway, I'm already sick of toast and jam."
"Alright, no problem." I said. "I'll find somebody else to replace you."
The following day, which was Tuesday, Eubanks said to me, "I've spent all mi money on fags so I've got nowt left to buy misen some lunch with. Can I come down to your place for some toast?"
"No, you didn't pay your money yesterday, the same as the other boys did so you can't come this week. You can start coming down again next week as long as you pay the half-crown on Monday morning."
"I'm comin' down with Brownie at lunch time whether you like it or not!"
"You can walk down with Brownie as far as you like but you won't be coming in!"
When lunchtime arrived, Eubanks fell in at Brownies side and refused to leave. He walked all the way down to mi mums' house. When I let the boys in through the front door, Eubanks forced his way into the house and refused to leave. As I was making the toast and tea for everyone in mi mums' kitchen, he started to make a big nuisance of himself and made rude jokes about mi mums' house so I said to him, "Alright Ted, I'll make you a deal. If you go back out the front door, I'll push a piece of toast through the letter box for you."
After a few minutes he agreed to go out of the houses but not before I threatened to call the cops and tell them he forced his way into mi mums' house. Before he left the kitchen, because I had the upper hand over him, he pulled out his dick and stuck it in mi mums' teapot and started to laugh. He also encouraged the other boys to laugh. This made me really angry. I said to one of the other boys, "Alright, go and call the cops and if not I'll go and call them and put you all in with Eubanks!"
"Alright Swindells, I'm going." Eubanks said "But I still want mi piece of toast shoved through the letter box."
"Not before you're out of here!" I said.
Once this big fat bully was outside, I locked the door behind him.
'BANG, BANG, BANG!' He knocked very loudly on the front door.
"What do you want?" I said.
"Shove mi piece of toast through!"
"Fuck you Eubanks. I changed mi mind now!"
"I'll go around to the back door and make a commotion so the neighbors know what's going on!"
"Fuck you!" I said as I walked away from the front door.
3 minutes later he was thumping on the back door. I shouted though the letterbox to him, "Go away, you're making a nuisance out of yourself!"
"If you give me one piece of toast I'll go away quietly and not bother you again."
"Alright." I said. "One piece and that's it!"
As soon as a piece of toast and jam was ready, I said to him, through the letter box, "I've got one piece here for you and I'll shove it through the letter box if you promise to go away and leave us alone!"
"Alright, shove it through!"
I opened the letterbox door and pushed the piece of toast and jam through. Fat pudgy fingers grabbed it and it disappeared out of sight.
I thought that was going to be the end of it but after a couple of minutes he started to shout and bang on the door again!
"What d'ya want now?" I said.
"Give me some more toast Swindells. I'm hungry!"
"Go away. You've already had one piece and your reneging in the deal!"
"I'm not going until you give me another slice!"
As I was watching the toast cook, I noticed a slice that had a large air-bubble in it but the whole didn't go all the way through to the other side. I had a brainwave!!
"I'll get rid of him." I said to the boys.
"What ya gonna' do Dick?" said Brownie.
"Just watch me and you'll see."
Opening mi mothers' cutlery drawer, I took out an old butter knife and opened the cellar door.
"Don't feed that piece of toast to the dog, Dick. I'll eat it."
"You wont' eat it when I'm finished with it!" I said.
"Where ya going with the toast and knife, Dick?"
"Come on and I'll show you."
When we all got down the cellar steps Raja was happy see us all and I was happy to see what Raja had left on the cellar floor! Bending down over a large solid dog turd, I sliced a big piece off of it and pushed it into the air bubble hole in the piece of toast.
"Lets go back upstairs." I said, amidst 3 loud, laughing voices.
"Now what?" said Brownie.
"Now I'm going to cover the dog shit with a liberal serving of margarine and jam."
"Then, I'm going to push it through the letterbox for Eubanks. Just watch!"
"Eubanks!" I called out.
"Where's my toast Swindells?"
"Coming right up Teddy." I said. "Open the letterbox!"
The letterbox opened and I pushed the dog shit sandwich through. The fat fingers grabbed it and the letterbox snapped tightly shut.
We all sat down at mi mums table and waited for the results. Eubanks voice boomed through the letterbox again.
"That was really great! Give me one more slice and I really will go this time Swindells. I won't bother you anymore after that and I won't beat you up either!"
"Alright Ted but this is definitely the last piece! All right?"
"All right Swindells, it's a deal."
After toasting a piece of bread I dug out a large hole in one side of it and then went back downstairs in the cellar and filled the hole with some fresh dog shit spread. Back upstairs I covered the dogshit spread with another liberal amount of margarine and jam.
"Last piece coming through Ted!" I said, as I again pushed the slice of toast through the letterbox door.
Everybody maintained silence again as we listened for Ted crunching down on the dogshit sandwich. After he'd finished he called through the letterbox, "Thanks Swindells, that was great. It'll keep me going until 4 O'clock this afternoon. You're not a bad bloke after all! It will save me the trouble of beating you up now. I'm off! See you all later. I watched him walk past mi mums' kitchen window and off up the street he went.
"Alright, the coast is clear. Eubanks has gone!" I said.
Raucous laughter burst out of everyone for about 10 minutes.
"That was really a good show Dick", said Tony Steele.
"He won't stick his dick in mi mums' teapot again for some time!" I said, between laughs.
"Come on, let's get cleaned up or we'll be late back for school."
Later on that afternoon, Johnnie Brown came to see me at one of the school breaks.
"Ted's after you Dick. He's gonna' punch your head in after school!"
"Why would he be after me?" I said. "The last time I saw him leaving mi mums' house he was all right towards me?"
"He knows you put dog shit on his pieces of toast!"
"Well, if he found out, it must have come from you."
"It just sort-of slipped out when we were talking in class." Brownie said.
"Like hell! You told him on purpose Brown! Here's the rest of ya weeks dinner money back. I don't want to hang around with you anymore. You're either for me or against me so it's pretty plain to me that you're against me, which is alright by me because at least I know where I stand with you now!"
Brownie was not too happy about what I said because I told him the Truth.
Eubanks was waiting for me with his cronies when I came out of class at 4 O'clock. I had to dodge around him so as not to get beaten up. I gave Eubanks the slip for about 2 weeks until finally one evening; him and his mates were hiding behind a wall in wait for me!
When he finally grabbed hold of me he gave me 2 or 3 hard punches before I was able to get away. Brown showed his true colors because he was with Eubanks at the time, egging him on and laughing.
I was determined that Eubanks would not make me cry and as soon as he let go of my Blazer, I made my getaway at top speed. Eubanks was a fatty so he could not catch me, although he tried.
"SCREW YOU EUBANKS!" I said as I ran down the road. "YOU TOO BROWN!"
"I'M GLAD YOUR TATTOO GOT FUCKED UP. YOU DESERVE ALL YOU GET!"