Tuesday, August 28, 2018

HUNTING FOR BIRDS NESTS

HUNTING FOR BIRDS NESTS

One afternoon, as soon as school was out, I said to Steven Powell,
“Hey Steve, who don't you come home with me tonight and we'll have some fun?”
“What type of fun do you have in mind?”
“In the under-drawing of our house, I heard some noises the other night so I think a couple of birds are nesting in there.”
“How do we get into the under-drawing?”
“Well, there's a trap door at the top of our steps. We can put a chair underneath it and pull ourselves up.”
“Alright, let's go. It's sounds pretty good to me.”

Steve was a good friend. We used to share our sweets and cigarettes together. He lived at a place called Beachwood Housing Estate. The boys who lived around that Estate were not sissies. They were pretty wild city kids who had grown up on the Estate all their lives.

Although Steve and I were good chums, we occasionally had our falling-outs. Like the time I had a couple of days off school, due to Tonsillitis.
The afternoon of my first day back at school we were all lined-up outside the doorway of our English classroom. As soon as the teacher arrived wer were allowed to walk in behind her and take our seats. Steve was a few places ahead of me in the que so he naturally got to our set of desks and chairs first. I was really surprised when I got to the desks to see that he was sat in my seat, by the window.
The teachers rule was that whatever seat one sat in on the first day of her class they were to remain in that seat for the school term. It was designed that way so she knew just where to look if there was any sort of unwanted disturbance in the classroom. When I approached the desk, I said to Steve
“Hey, that's my seat Steve. Move, so I can sit down.”
“It's not your seat anymore. You had time off for the last few days so now I've taken it over.”
“How can you?”, I said. “All my school books are in mi desk.”
“Not anymore. I moved them out and put them in my old aisle desk.”
“You can't do that! We all know whoever get the window seat keeps it for the term!”
“Tough luck! You shouldn't have had time off.”
By now, a small group of boys were turned around and watching the argument between me and Steve to see which way it was going to go. I was now faced with a predicament I did not want to be in. If I sat down and said nought, the rest of the boys in the class would have seen that as a weakness so all the othere classes where I sat at a window seat, it would have only been a matter of time before one of them challenged me for my desk.
I didn't want to hit him because I regarded him as a good friend. Also, we would have got into big trouble for fighting in the classroom. I thought to myself,
'If Steve was as good a friend to me as I thought he was then why would he challenge me for my seat at the window?'
I knew in my heart that I wouldn't have treated him the cocky was he was no treating me so I said to him,
“This is how it is Steve. I really like you but if you're not out of my seat before I count to 3 then I'll knock you out of it!”
“Haw, haw!”, he said.
“Alright!”, I said.
“ONE, TWO, THREE!”
No soonder had the THREE left my lips, I closed my right hand fist and slammed it with all the force I could muster, straight into the front of his nose. BANG! The blood splattered out of his nose, all over the place. His body fell back into the wall. Then I grabbed him by his school blazer lapels and dragged him out of my seat and into the aisle between the rows of desks. A huge uproar surged through the classroom as the other boys yelled,
“Fight! There's a fight!” I jumped on top of Steve as was just about to give him a few more when I felt a cold hand grabbing the back of my shirt collar. It was Mrs. Nettleship, the English teacher. (We called her Mrs. Battleship!) She yanked me off of him and said,
“Get up! Get off of him you little animal! And you, Steven Powell, I'm surprised at you. Just look at your shirt! Somebody get me a roll of hand towels from the toilet!”
By this time, I was breathing heavy and the tension in my scrawny muscles had turned into steel.
“Help him up Swindells!”, she said to me. I gave him my hand and pulled him to his feet. Now the blood really started to pour out of his nose. He tried to stop it with is hand but as soon as he took his hand away from his nostrils, the blood poured out again.
“What do you think you're doing you little animal Swindells?”, she said to me.
“He took my seat and he wouldn't move when I told him to.”
“So why didn't you sit in the other seat?”
“They're the rules and you made them so I just kept them for you.”
“You cheeky little animal! Take Steven out to the boys toilet and help him clean himself up and then both of you can go down to see Mr. Miles and tell him what happened.”
As I helped Steve out of the classroom, the flat-chested ugly girls all booed me as Steve was one of the class favorites. He was also one of Mrs. Battleships favorites, I was soon to find out.
“Are you alright?”, I said to Steve when we got outside into the corridor.
“I'y, I think so. You didn't have to hit me so bloody hard did you?”
“Well, you didn't have to take my seat did you?”
“I was only testing you to see if I could get away with it.”
Hearing that, made me feel very compassionate towards him. I did my best to help him clean all the blood off his shirt and face. As soon as he was cleaned up as best we could, I offered him my hand and said,
“No hard feeling, mate?”
He looked at my outstretched hand then took and gave it a good handshake. Then he said,
“No hard feelings. It was my fault anyway. I'd have done the same thing if someone else tried to take my seat. Now what do we do?”
“Well, I don't feel like going down to Bonns', do you?”
“Not likely!”, he said.
(Bonn was the schools' nickname for Mr. Miles. Some people called him 'Zorro' as he had a Z-shaped red birthmark on his forehead.)
“Then let's just go outside for a smoke somewhere and then we'll go back into the classroom rubbing our backsides pretending that we just had 3 each on the arse with the cane.
“That's a great idea Richard, let's go!”, he sez and with that his face started to smile again as we walked down 3 stories of steps then outside for a fag. When we got bacak upstairs, Mrs. Battleship asked,
“What happened?”
We told her that the Head Master had given us both 3 each on the backside.
“Good!”, she said. “Now go sit down in your usual places.”
The classroom was now silent as we both sat down at our desks. No one knew we were the best of friends again. Then Mrs. Battleship said,
“I don't want you in my class anymore Swindells! So, we are going to see how all the other children feel about it. Hands up those who want Steven Powell in the class?”
With that said, the whole class stuck their hands high in the air.
“Now hands up all those who want Richard Swindells in the class?”
I turned my head slowly around to see the results. Two lone hands stuck up high in the air. One of the hands blonged to a re-haired by called John Edkins. I'd always thought he was a bit of a softie 'cause he was usually pretty quiet but on that day he won my admiration. In my eyes, he was now a bloody brave lad. The second hand that stuck straight up high was mi old pal and buddy, Steve Powell, who said,
“It wasn't his fault Mrs. Nettleship. I asked for all I got.”
“Put your hands down!”, she said angrily. “I'm going to do all I can to have you removed from 1C Swindells. Now everybody get your books out.”

Once we got home to mi mums' house, Steve said to me,
“I'm hungry! 'As ya mum got ought to eat in the place.”
“No, only a tin a' broken biscuits.”
“That'll do. Let's have some of those.”
Sitting down at mi mums' kitchen table, we must have polished off at least 2 pounds of broken biscuits.
“Why are all the biscuits broken?”
“ 'Cause she gets 'em from the Sowerby Bridge market.”
“But why are they all broken?”
“ 'Cause they're cheaper.”, I sez as I munched down on a broken custard cream biscuit. “Come on let's go and have a look for some birds. Have you had enough biscuits yet?”
“I'll just take a hand-full with me.”

Up the stairs we went. She'd have a right fit if she knew I had allowed someone to up into our bedroom passage-way. Not that it was untidy mind you, we had to make our own beds every morning before going to school. She just didn't like anyone in the house when she was out at work.
“Here it is. It's up there in the ceiling.”, I sez to Steve as I went into mi room to get a chair.
“It should be pretty easy to get up there, don't ya think Richard?”
“I'y, we'll be up there and down again long before mi mum gets home. She'll know nought about it. Wait till I go and get the broom. We can push the trap door open easily with it.”
Soon as I got the broom I run back upstairs with it and said,
“Alright mate, let the dog see the rabbit!”
Climbing up on the old chair, I very carefully pushed the trap door up and over against the the wall with the long broom.
“That ought to do it! Now, you stand up on this chair with me and give me a leg up and I'll pull you up after me.”
Once I was up inside the under-drawing of the roof I realized how dark it was. I sez to Steve,
“Nip downstairs and get me a box of matches off 'a the gas cooker will ya?”
Within seconds he was back upstairs.
“That's great!”, I sez. “Now give me your hand so I can pull ya up. Better kick your shoes off, they're making the wallpaper a bit dirty. If mi mum sees footprints on the wallpaper she'll know for sure what we've been up to.”
After Steve kicked his shoes off, it was much easier to pull him up 'cause he could get a bit of a grip on the wallpaper with his bare feet. Soon as he was through the trap-door, we both stood there in the silence.
“Bloody hell, it's a bit dark in here Richard.”
“I'y, that's why we needed the matches.”
I struck a match and we had a look around the small room with the sloping roof. There were vertical wooden support beams that helped to keep the roof in place. I said to Steve,
“Be careful where you walk. Hold onto the vertical beams and walk along the horizontal ones and don't tred on the ceiling part 'cause it's only made of plaster and thin wooden slats, all right?”
“Alright mate. Let's go.”, said Steve.
We made our way, very carefully, along the thick wooden beams. I kept striking matches as we went so we could look around for birds' nests.
“I don't see any yet.”, sez Steve.
“Me neither but they must be up here somewhere 'cause I've heard 'em scratching around of a night-time.”
“You sure they're not rats?”
“They might be. You never can tell what we're likely to find up here.”
“Bugger this place. It's dark ard there's too many cobwebs for me! I'm going back over to trap door!”
“All right. Be careful, you softy.”, I joked with him. “I'll just look over here a bit further.”
A few seconds later, I heard a loud crash and light streamed into the dark under-drawing.
“Ow! Shit! Bugger! Piss!” yells Steve.
“What happened?”, I sez as the match went out.
“I tripped over a bloody gas pipe and put mi foot clean through the ceiling!”
“Don't move! I'm coming over.”
I struck another match and then turned around carefull to where the stream of light was coming up from the ceiling.
“Are you all right Steve?”
“I'y, but help me up so I can get mi leg out of this bloody hole!”
As I helped him, the full impact of what had happened now struck me. I stood there like a pole-axed cow staring down the large jagged hole into mi sisters' bedroom.

“Oh shit!”, I said. “Now you've done it. She'll bloody murder me when she gets home!”
“Sorry Richard, I couldn't help it. I didn't see that long gas pipe in the dark.”
Just then, as I was staring down the large hole that had white plaster hanging underneath it, my sisters' face appeared in the hole as she looked up into the darkness underneath it.
“Is that you up there Richard?”, she said.

“I'y. Who the hell did you expect, father bloody Chrismas?”
“Mum's gonna kill you when she sees this mess. She's only just finished disterming the ceiling 2 weeks ago. What made you kick a hole in the ceiling?”
“I didn't do it, it was Steve. He tripped over a gas pipe by accident.”
“How ya gonna fix it Richard?”
“I don't know yet. How bad does it look?”
“It's a right mess! There's plaslter all over mi bedroom floor.”
“Oh shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT!”
“Sorry Richard, I couldn't help it.”, sez Stev again.
“You clumsy, bloody IDIOT! Now what are we going to do?”
Steve just stood there with a long face, hanging onto a vertical beam.
“Come on, can't do nought about it now.”, I sez. “It's too late. Let's go and see how much bloody damage is done.”
I climbed down the trap-hole and dropped onto the landing. Then I got up on the chair and sez to Stee,
“Alright, lower yourself down and I'll steady you.”
As he lowered himself through the trap-hole, his legs were dangling in mid-air. Just then, he started to panic.
“I'm falling!”, he sez as he swung his legs around. All I could see was the lower half of his body as I tried to steady him.
“Oh shit! Keep your dirty feet off the wallpaper.”, I sez as his black, dusty feet tried to grip on mi mums' new shiny wallpaper.
“Oh bloody hell!”, I moaned. “As if the hole wasn't enough, now you've got long black feet mrks on her new wallpaper job!”
“Sorry mate.”, came a muffled cry from out of the trap-hole.
“I'm gonna move the chair. Just drop down like I did. It's the only way!”, I yelled up to him.
THUMP! Steve hit the landing and a broad smile opened up on his face.
“Made it Richard.”
“Come on klutzo. Let's go see how much damage is done.”
“What a right mess!”, I said as the three of us stood in mi sisters' bedroom. There was plaster all over her bedroom floor. There was plaster hanging by tiny threads as it swung back and forth from the impact of his leg crashing through it.
“Now what are you gonna do Richard?”, sez mi sister Sheila.
“I'll just tell mi mum, you did it.!”, I joked.
“Don't blame me. I had nothing to do with it.”
The only thing I could see to do was to have a good old nervous laugh. So we did. All three of us stood looking up into the large hole in mi sisters' ceiling, laughing our heads off.
As the tears were wiped away, I said,
“Alright, I have a good idea. Let's go.”
“Where we off to?”, asks Sheila.
“We're off to Taffey Evans place.”
“Why we going there?”, says Steve.
“ 'Cause his dad's a builder.”
“But his dad's at work.”, sez Sheila.
“I'y, but he might have left some tools and he may have a bag of plaster 'cause that's what he does for a living.”

Standing outside Taffeys' back door, I gave a loud knock. His little sister, Olive, came to the door.
“What do you want?”
“Tell youor brother Taffey we come to see him.”, I sez.
She disappeared inside the house and moments later Taffey came to the door.
“Oh hello Richard. What d'ya want?”
I quickly told him the situation which gave him a good laugh.
“All right, you've had your laugh. Has your dad got spare plaster and tools?”
“Just a sec, I'll go have a look.”
A couple of minutes later he came back out with a trowel, a wooden mixing board and a half bag of ceiling plaster.
“Will ya dad mind?”
“No, he won't even realize it's gone. He's got quite a few more bags left inside anyways.”
“Thanks Taffey, you're a good bloke.”

Off back to the house we went.
“Come on you lot, we've only got about an hour or so and mum will be home again.”
After we got back upstairs, I realized we needed a ladder so I said to Sheila,
“Go next door and ask Mr. Dickson for a loan of his ladder. Tell him mi dad wants to borrow it for something.”
As soon as she arrived back with the step-ladder, I put it up under the large hole in the ceiling and pulled away the big pieces of plaster that were left hangin by their exterior threads.
“Good, that looks better already!”, I said as I came down the step-ladder.
“How ya gonna fix a great big hole like that Richard?”, sez Steve.
“Just watch me!”, I sez as I run off down-stairs.
“Where you going?, sez Sheila.
“Back in a minute.”
Opening the coal-cellar door, I grabbed mi dads' old axe and stacked his old paint brushes and tins all on the same shelf. Then I removed one of his pine-wood shelves. Taking the axe, I carefully split the shelf into about 10 narrow long strips, put mi dads' axe back and then up the stairs I go again.
“What's those rough-looking sticks for Richard?”, sez Steve.
“Well, we can't stick the plaster to a hole that size. Plaster won't stick to fresh air so I'm going to lay them across the hole from the inside and hope to hell that the plaster sticks!”
“You're a bloody genius, mate. I'd have never thought of that!”
“I'y, well we're going to need a lot of luck, so here we go!”
I put the thin sticks across the hole from the inside, leaving as small a gap as possible between them. Next, I read the instructions on the bag and mixed up some plaster and warm water.
“Maybe the warm water will make it dry faster.”, I said.
Then I trowelled the plaster of of mi mums' good enamel bucket onto the plasterers' board and climbed back up the step-ladder. Whack!, I sloshed a lump of wet plaster onto the sticks which knowed the sticks out of plaster and the plaster fell on the floor with a noisy SPLAT!
“Oh! Shit!”
“What happened Richard?”, sez Steve.
“What happened? The plaster knocked the sticks out of place, that's what happened. Alright Steve, this is not going to work this way. So, this is what we'll do. I'm going back up in the under-drawing to hold the sticks in place. You climb up the ladder and plaster over the sticks.”
The plaster in mi mums' bucket was going off so we had to work fast.
“Alright.”, I called down from up inside the loft. “Don't throw the plaster, just put it on the back of the trowel and smear it on the sticks.”
I could see Steve through the cracks in the wood. He smeared the plaster into place while I held the sticks in place.
“It's working Richard.”, sez Steve, as I slowly saw his face disappearing from view.
For a moment, I considered letting a large dribble from my mouth fall through the cracks in the wood but I thought better of it as it would have slowed the job down.
“That's it!”, he yelled from mi sisters' bedroom. “It's sticking Richard!”
When I got back down into the bedroom and looked at the hole, it was a right mess. There were lumps and bumps everywhere.
“That's no good mate. We'll have to mix some plaster up and smoothe it out.”
The plaster was mixed up as fast as possible and pretty soon I was back up the small step-ladder, carefully pushing the plaster into place. The first layer of plaster was not quite dry so the hole started to sag and looked dangerously close to falling out al over the oilcloth floor again. Very carefully, I held it in place with the large wooden mixing board.
My arms and shoulders were now aching as I held the board with the right amount of pressure against the fast-drying plaster. After I could no longer hold the board in place, I climbed down the ladeder.
“That'll do Steve. We'll just have to hope it dries out all right.”, I said.
“Sheila, go downstairs and see if the coast is clear.”
“Come on Steve, let's clean up the bucket and tools.”
Soon as the bucket and tools were cleaned up, we went back upstairs to check on the expert plastering job.
“Oh shit!”, I said as we stood under a freshly plastered hole, looking up at the ceiling. The plaster had a large sag right in the middle of the hole. Up the ladder I go again to see what was going on.
“It's almost dry Steve but it's got a sag in the middle. Never mind, I'll sand it off before it's bone dry. That'll do the trick!”, I sez.
Luckily Taffey had given me some scraps of sandper so I set about sanding the fresh plaster. The edges were now almost dry.
“Hey Steve, is it my eyes or is the plaster drying a pink color?”
“No! It's getting pinker by the minute!”
“Bloody hell! Oh well, there's no more time to do anything else with it. I'll just keep sanding.”
The fine particles of dust were all over my hair and clothes. It was all over the oilcloth and mi sisters' bed. The fresh plastered hole looked like the surface of the moon.

“That's it mate. There's nought more I can do with it, under the circumstances. That will have to do. I'll just have to hope that mi mum doesn't look up. Sheila and Steve, you take the ladder back to Mr. Dickson and then take the tools back to Taffeys' while I clean up this mess.
I swept up as much pink dust as I could and then grabbed the mop and bucket and started to mop mi sisters' bedroom floor. After I finished the floor, I replaced the bucket and mop which was now dirty pink color. Standing outside, I patted and brushed off as much pink dust as I could.
“What's mi back look like Steve?”
“It's got pink dust all over it.”
“Then rub the bloody stuff off, ya gormless nincompoop!”
“It doesn't want to come off Richard!”
“Oh, that will do.” I sez. “She won't see tht bit anyway.”
“Richard! Our mum's coming!”, sez Sheila. “She's talking to one of the neighbors up the street!”
“Is she smiling? Does she look in a good mood?”
“No! She's got two big shopping bags in her!”
“Alright Steve, let's just walk out the back door and pretend we haven't seen her. We'll stand with our backs to her and look down the end of the street.”
Leaning on our back garden wall, we pretend to be in a deep conversation as the footsteps get closer and louder.
“Can't you see, I got two big shopping bags in mi hands?”
“Oh hello mum. I never noticed you. Where ya been?”
“Where the hell do you think I've been, Butlins bloody holiday camp?”
This made Steve start to giggle.
“What the hell are you laughing at lad? It's no bloody laughing matter. Couldn't you see me walking down the street with the shopping bags Richard? Why didn't you come and give me a hand? Are you a bloody cripple or something? And what about you Steven Powell, I'll bet you help your mum with shopping bags, don't ya?”
“No, that's mi dads' job. He does that when he takes her to the Supermarket.”
“I think you'd better go home lad. Richard's coming inside now and he's not going out again tonight and that's that! Go on, be off with ya. And you, get yourself inside!”, she sez to me.

After we got inside, she sez to me,
“What the hell do you mean bringing boys back here to my house? I got more to do than look after other peoples cheeky bloody kids!”
WHACK! She gave me a smack on the side of the face. WHACK! WHACK! As I turned to avoid the blows, they landed on the back of my shoulders and a cloud of pink dust flew out of mi gray school jumper.
“What the hell is all tht pink dust in your jumper lad?”
“Nought!”
“What have you been up to?”
“We were playing around in Taffeys' dads' work shed.”
“I thought I told you not to go out playing in your school clothes. Am I talking to my bloody self in this house. Get those bloody good clothes off and you'll stay in for the rest of the evening now! I'll teach you to to defy me, you cheeky little bleeder. I don't know what's come over you since we moved here Richard.! Go on, get up those bloody stairs and get changed before I kick you up them!”
This made mi sisters Sheila and Sandra laugh. Mi mum sez,
“And you two as well. You're both just as bloody bad as he is so you can all stay in tonight and that's that!”
As I was walking up the stairs I could still hear her going on.
“Why's the washing-up not done?”
WHACK!
“Why aren't those dishes put away?”
WHACK!
“Whay are all those clothes not hanaging up?”
WHACK!
“Whose are those shoes over there?”
WHACK!
By the time I got to the top of the landing mi sisters were both crying and blaming each other.

'What a life!', I thought. 'If it's not yelling and canings from school teachers, it's screaming, threats and beating from mi mum. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to live. I'd be better off if I threw misen in front of a Sowerby Bridge train but with my bloody luck, I'd be on the platform waiting and they announce the train had been canceled due to lack of coal and bad weather, and it's the middle of summer now! I must be like mi dad, I probably killed a jew somewhere along the line and now I'm paying for it.'
Soon as I changed mi school clothes, I checked the hole in mi sisters' ceiling. It wasn't too bad but the oilcloth had dried a dirty pink color. I tried to wipe some of it away with mi hand but it was no good. So, I thought, 'Oh forget it, what's the use. She's bound to notice it as soon as she comes upstairs so better get prepared for a real good hiding.

“Why are you taking so long up there? What are you doing?”, screamed mi mum from the bottom of the stairs.
“Coming now mum.”, I yelled back.
Soon as I got back downstairs I busied myself doing the jobs that were expected of me. Then the dreaded moment arrived.
“Did you lot tidy up your bedrooms as I told you to do before I went to work this morning?”
“Yes mum.”, 3 kids said in unison.
“Well we'll see about that!”, she sez, as she headed for the bedroom stairs.

After a few minutes, I heard her footsteps coming down the wooden stairs. Then I heard her voice, halfway down, say,
“You wait till I get my hands on you, you little bugger!”
“Better look out now Richard, she's really on the warpath!, sez Sheila.
Mi mum appeared at the front room doorway with a twisted look on her angry face. Then the solid-looking body and the bamboo cane came into view a split-second later.
“What the hell is all that mess on your sisters bedroom floor?”
'Oh good.', I thought, 'Maybe she didn't look up yet.'
“I was carrying some pink powder and dropped it on the lino but I cleaned it up after myself.”, I said.
“And what about the bloody patched-up hole in mi newly painted ceiling?
“I done it.”
“How?”
“I was looking for birds nests in the under-drawing and tripped over a gas pipe and mi foot accidentally went through the rood.”
“Well lad, this bloody stick is going to accidentally beat your backside and legs!”, she said as she came at me with the cane.
After she landed a good few blows with the cane, I managed to get past her. Out the front-room door
I scampered, through the kitchen I tore and out the back door I went.

When she finally appeared at the kitchen door, I was well out of range as I stood on the top road looking down the back garden at her.
“Come back here!”
“NO!”, I yelled.
“Come back down here. This is the last time I'm going to tell you lad!”
NO!”
“All right, I'm going to the Police Station and make out a report that you are beyond my control. After that I'm going to have you put away in a boys home! This is you last chance my lad, are you coming down here or not?”
NO!”
“All right, you just wait!”

With that, she and the stick disappeared inside the house. A few minutes later she appeared dressed in her hat and coat and made her way along our back street to Kenworthy Lane. As she went around the corner I followered her at a safe distance, keeping well out of her sight. She made a quick right-turn at the bottom of the lane. I watched her determined walk as she made her way to the local Constabulary which was located about half a mile up the road. As soon as I saw her disappear up the steps of the cop shop I very hastily made me way home.

“Where's mi mum gone?”, sez Sheila.
“She's gone to report me to the cops!”, I said.
“Oh hell, what are you gonna do now Ricard?”
“I'm gonna barricade misen in mi bedroom before she gets back.”
“How ya gonna do that? She'll get in. You know what she's like when she gets mad.”
“She won't get in mi room in a hurry 'cause I'm going to push the double bed right in front of the door, then jam the cupboard between the end of the bed and the wall. See ya later!”, I sez as I bounded up the wooden stairs.
It only took me a few minutes to push the heavy box-spring bed against the bedroom door. Then I jammed the clothes cupboard between the end bed post and the wall. 'Now, I thought, there's only about 2 inches of spare room between the wall and the cupboard back, not enough room for a cat to sqeeze through, let alone mi mum.'

When she returned, about half-an-hour later, she came upstairs and tried the door. It opened up 2 or 3 inches, just enough to talk through.
“Open this door at once!”
“NO!”
“Richard, if you don't open this door you'll be in worse trouble!”
“It can't get any worse for me than it already is!”
“Alright, you'll have to come out at some time to go to the toilet.”
“”No I won't. I'll have a pee out the bedroom windowwhen I need one and I can go wthout the other for days on end, if I like. Anyway, I'm passed caring about you or the police anyhmore. As far as I'm concerned, I wish I was dead and out of it all!”
With that, I crawled into bed with mi shoes on and pulled the blankets over mi head and put mi fingers in mi ears and had a real good cry.
About an hour later, I heard mi dad come home. Mi mum and dad talked for a while but I could only hear a slight murmuring as I lay on the floor with mi ear pressed hard against the oilcloth.
A bit later on, mi mum came upstairs again and said,
“You can come out now. I'm not angry anymore. I'm not going to belt you again.”
I never answered her. I just laid on mi bed, staring at the white ceiling as if nothing existed or mattered.
'Why should I care about anything anymore. Whatever is going to happen to me is going to happen anyway. What control do I have over anything? If they want to send me to a Boys' Home they will do. Eventually, they'll always be able to find some excuse to put me away. No matter what I seem to do ever pleases anyone so what's the point. It's not possible for me to be a good boy all the time 'cause that depends on mi mums' moods. If she's in a good mood I'm alright and if she's in a bad mood, I'm all bad. There's no way out for me so the sooner I get out of this family the better off I'll be. It's not like Steve put his foot through the ceiling on purpose to be mean. It just happened like everything else just happens. What I don't unerstand is why it always just happens to me. If anyone else took their friend into the under-drawing they would have found a birds' nest. Even if I had found a birds' nest, with my luck, there would have been no eggs in it. It would have probably been abandoned.'
Just then, mi sisters' voice came through the crack in mi bedroom door,
“You can come out now Richard. She's alright now. She's gone to get someone to fix up the hole in mi bedroom ceiling. She said she's not going to belt you again 'cause I heard her talking to mi dad.”

After Sheila went downstairs, I pushed mi bed back over to the wall and then I pushed the cupboard back and then I crept slowly down the stairs, into the front room.
Mi dad was sat in his usual chair reading his paper and drinking a pint pot of tea.
“What the bloody hell have you been up to now?”, he asked.
“It was an accident. I didn't do it on purpose.”
“Accident or not, your mother's in a right mood and it's all my fault now. All I did was come home after a hard days work. Now, I'm to bloody blame! Can't you do any bloody thing right just to keep the peace? You know what she's bloody well like when she's in one of her moods. She won't speak to me for a bloody month now which might not be a bad thing after all. I'll be bloody surprised if she speaks to you for the rest of ya life, the mood she's in.”
“Is she going to belt me?”
“How the bloody hell would I know what goes through that womans' mind. All I know is, the only reason that woman was put on this Earth was to nag me to death and she won't be bloody happy until she has. If I was you, I'd just sit in the corner and keep bloody quiet. That way, we'll get a bit a' peace from her!”

I heard mi mums' voice coming out of the kitchen as she spoke to someone. I saw a tall stranger with a large tool bag and a big piece of plasterboard as he walked past the front room doorway. As my dad turned in his chir, the plaster said,
“Evening all.”
No one spoke to him so he put his smile away and carried on along the passage and up the stairs. After about an hour and a half, I saw him go past the front room doorway again, only this time he was going in the opposite direction and his face had pink plaster dust on it.
“I'll be back to sand it off tomorrow missus.”, he said as the back door closed behind him.
An hour later, mi mum came in the front room.
“Tea's ready.”, she said.
All through tea time no one said a word. After tea, she looked at me and said, BED! Before I went into mi bedroom I took a quick peep into mi sisters' room. The pink moon-surfaced plaster was all gone. In it's place was a perfect, clean square of plasterboar. A quick hit with the paint-roller and no one would know that it had ever happened.
'That's what I need.', I thought. 'A quick hit with the paint-roller and then I'd be like the patched-up hole. I'd never know I ever happened.














No comments: