Fiction Street - A Short Story, страница 1
A SHORT STORY
Text copyright 2016 Grace Jolliffe
FICTION STREET - GRACE JOLLIFFE
Me big brother Eric is a divvy. I can’t stick him, me mates can’t stick him, nobody can stick him, except me Mam and Dad but they have to stick him cos that’s what Mams and Dads have to do.
Eric is dead, dead tall with greasy hair and the biggest, horribliest spots you’ve ever, ever seen. Everywhere he goes he sings a song and it’s always the same song too.
“Ev-er-ton! Ev-er-ton! Ev-er-ton! Everyone else in our street sings, “We love you Liverpool we do!” Just shows you what a divvy he is.
Eric used to be the bad kid in our house. I mean he was always being bad, really, really, really bad. He was always accidentally breaking windows, accidentally robbing the collection money in Church and accidentally forgetting to pay for his comics in the shop. Me Mam says our Eric is just one big accident from start to finish.
I was different though, and me Mam and Dad used to really like me cos I was the good one, never broke nothing, never forgot nothing and never got belted cos all I had to do was look at a belt and that was enough. I’d be good, dead, dead good.
But then came that Melon-head with his big battered blue van and he told me a really bad word and got me into so much big trouble that all the times I’d been good got forgotten about and now everyone thinks I’m a bad, bad girl even badder than our Eric.
Mind you it wasn’t just down to Melon-head it was our Eric’s fault as well. Cos I was late for school cos he hates me for being a soft-girl and cos I’m his sister and cos I’m dead thick in his books.
If I hadn’t been late for school I wouldn’t have met that big fat smelly Melon-head and he wouldn’t have made everyone think I was bad, bad, bad!
It was last year that it all happened and I was just a little kid then, not big like I am now. I had no one to play with cos all me mates fell out with me cos I had short hair and they had long hair.
Well anyway, me Mam got fed up with me hanging round the house under her feet so she made our Eric take me to the park. He didn’t half moan and sulk cos he didn’t want to bring me but in the end me Mam won cos she said she’d stick all his football cards down the grid if he didn’t do what he was told for once in his bleedin’ life.
I was made up and got me bow and arrows and me hatchet ready cos I was gonna play Cowboys and Indians. So off we went, Eric, his mate Danno and me. It started off okay cos me Mam watched us as we went down the street but once we got round the corner it all started to change.
Eric and Danno started to walk dead, dead fast cos they were trying to get shut of me. I wasn’t soft though cos I knew what they were up to so I ran like the clappers cos I used to love going the park and no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t lose me anywhere.
When we got to the park there was loads of lads playing footie. Eric and Danno wanted to play with them but I didn’t. All I wanted to do was be an Indian cos I love running round in a circle, holding me hatchet in the air going ‘howyah, howyah, ooh, ooh Hiawatha.’
They won cos they’re bigger and uglier, so they played footie. They were dead mean and made me stand at the side of the pitch and any time Eric or Danno got the ball I had to shout, 'Come on Eric, or head the ball Danno.' It was dead, dead stupid but if I didn't they said they'd give me a Chinese burn and I hate Chinese burns even more than football.
I did my best but I kept forgetting to shout, cos like I said, I only wanted to be an Indian. When the game was finished and all the other lads had gone home, Eric and Danno took me bow and arrows off me, tied me to a tree and fired arrows at me till I got dirty big sucky marks all over me face. I wouldn’t mind but I would have been a brill Indian cos I’d worn me keks specially.
So I ran away and legged it all they way back home and only stopped running when I saw me Dad coming up the street. He didn’t half go mad when I told him what our Eric done cos he’d told Eric not to leave me on me own in the park cos its full of dirty old men hiding behind the trees and they could have got me and chopped me up. Me Dad said it was lucky for our Eric that they didn’t cos he would have done double-blue murder on him when he got home.
Half an hour later Eric came home. He had muck on his shoes and a dirty big grin on his face cos he thought he’d got away with it. Me Dad soon wiped that grin off his face and he kicked him all the way round the house. Dad can’t half kick cos he used to play football and he likes kicking and when he’s kicking and shouting its kinda like a song. “Don’t (kick) you (kick) ever (kick) leave (kick) your (kick) little sister (kick) on her own (kick) in the (kick) park (kick) ever (kick) again!
Poor Eric I was nearly gonna feel sorry for him but when me Dad went down the pub, he snuck over to me when me Mam wasn’t looking and said I’d better watch out cos he’d knife me when I fell asleep.
I couldn’t go asleep in case he did. The next day I was dead tired and I didn’t want to get up for school. Me Mam had to lift me out of the bed. When I got up there was no knife marks on me. I looked everywhere but there wasn’t even one little stab not even a sneaky one under me arm, so Eric must have forgot or else he fell asleep too. Anyway like I said, cos I was tired, I got up late, and cos I got up late I was late for school, cos I was late for school I had to take a short cut and go down Fiction Street.
No one from our street is allowed to go down Fiction Street, and me Dad said that if I ever did and he found out he’d string me up from the lamppost and sell me ears to the butcher and he'd turn them into stew and sell them to the old ladies to feed to their cats.
But me Dad had gone to work before I even got up and dressed, so he wasn’t gonna know was he? I hate being late for school cos you get fifty lines and the cane, even if it's not your fault and the thing is it’s much quicker to go down Fiction Street than it is to go the other way. You see there’s no lollipop lady to slow you down. Our lollipop lady is called Missus Harvey but we call her Missus Bubble. That's cos she's so round in the middle she looks like a big bubble. We don't say that to her face though cos we don't like having our ears pulled and Missus Bubble said she got a medal for ear pulling.
When she walks her bubbliness makes her walk really slow and that's why she doesn't like to walk much. Even if there's no car coming down the street she makes us wait at the kerb until there's at least six of us kids before she bubbles her way across the street and sticks her lollipop out to stop the cars.
Us kids aren't allowed cross the street unless Missus Bubble sticks her lollipop out or we get walloped. So even if we've only got a few minutes to go before the school bell rings we just have to stand beside Missus Bubble and wait and wait and wait.
To tell the truth I've been dying to go down Fiction street cos it’s a special street, not an ordinary one like ours. Fiction street has got red lamps in the windows and everyone knows that only ‘certain’ kinds of people have red lights. And, everyone knows what 'certain' kinds of people are - except me. That's cos nobody tells me anything. Nothing. Nothing at all.
I’ve heard me Mam talking about them loads of times. She hates them and always puts a cross face on when she talks about them. But no matter how many times I ask and I'm up to ninety times now, she just won't tell me. She just says I'm too young and too daft to know about 'that kind of thing.'
I think 'that kind of thing' must be something really good and I’m just dying to know exactly cos I think its Indians that live there. And I bet the red lights are coming from their camp-fires. That’s why me Mam won’t tell me cos if she tol
Indians have loads of fun. I love Indians. I love cowboys too but Indians are better cos they have wigwams all different colours and when it gets dark they dance around the fire instead of watching the telly and in the daytime they ride round on horses with no saddle and hunt for hairy-headed cows to roast on the fire for tea.
So anyway, that day, the Melon-head day I mean, I didn't want to be late and I wanted to see Indians so I took a shortcut down Fiction Street. I was going dead slow to keep a look out. But I didn’t see any Indians, not even a little one like me.
Fiction street was just an ordinary street like ours. It was a big, bloody swizz. There was no Indians, no fires, no ‘certain’ people, no 'that kind of thing' no nothing! Until Melon-head came along.
I was just about to go round the corner when this big, blue battered old van came along and stopped right beside me. I was hoping it was an Indian even though there was no horse cos when they get too old for galloping around the mountains on their horses they probably get vans.
But it wasn’t an Indian it was just this big, fat man with chip-fat hair, and he was sticking his big Melon-head out the window at me. He didn’t talk like an Indian either cos all he said was, “Hey luv, do us a favour?'
I'm a good girl and a good girl never says no when a grown up asks for a favour so I said I would. I thought he was going to ask me to tell him the time. I was dead pleased cos I can tell the time brilliant. I got a brand new watch for Christmas and its got a duck face that the hands go round and its my favourite thing, except for my bow and arrows. But when I held it up to tell him, he just shook his head and laughed.
'Don't want the time love, but I tell you what, I’ll give yerra tenner forra wank, ' said the man with the big Melon-head.
A tenner! All I could think of was the loads and loads of sweets and comics I could get. A tenner's more money than I ever had and if I had that I could even get some new arrows! Not just arrows though, I could have bought a whole shop-full of sweets. With all that money I probably could have bought a horse, except it wouldn't fit in our little yard. I'd have to keep it in the park and then all the other kids would want to ride it and I'd hardly get a go on it at all.
If I didn't get a horse I thought I'd probably spend the tenner on a wigwam, with loads of colours like blue and orange and bright purple like a rainbow. The great thing was all I had to do to get all that was give Melon-head a wank.
Problem was I didn’t have a wank and I didn’t know where to get one either. I reckoned it was probably something to do with a van. We haven't got a car or a van but maybe you need a wank to fix the steering wheel or something like that.
So, I said to him, 'I haven’t got a wank, Mister but if you tell me where to get one, I’ll run and get it. Will they have one in the garage? Wait there for me will you? I won’t be long cos I can run dead fast and I got a medal for the egg and spoon race last week!'
But Melon-head was dead mean and he wouldn’t tell me where to get it. All he did was give me a funny look. He was doing something funny with his arm but I couldn't see what. So I stuck me head in the window to see what he was doing and when I did I could see his hand wiggling around and round inside his trousers.
He was making funny noises like he was all puffed out from running and his mouth was wide open like he was going to scream. I thought he must have had a terrible pain in his tummy and I was just about to ask him if he wanted a wank for his stomach ache when all of a sudden his trousers spat at me! Horrible slimy stuff went all over me face. It felt disgusting, all wet slimey and double-yuk! No, treble-yuk.
I said ' what did you do that for mister, I was gonna go and get the wank for you.' But then he shouted at me in a really narky, nasty voice 'get back to yer friggin' dolls, soft-girl!
Cheek of him! As if I still played with dolls. Everyone can see I'm too grown up for dolls. Even when I was little I never played with dolls, well maybe just one or two, but not now. Not now I'm big. I was dead annoyed cos now I had a mesy face. Not just that, I wasn't gonna get any arrows, or bows, or a blue and orange and bright purple rainbow wigwam or even some sweets. I picked up a stone and I threw it at him but it didn’t hit him and I could see his big melon-mouth wide open, his big narly teeth all yellow and him laughing and laughing and laughing as he drove away.
I wasn't laughing. I didn’t half feel terrible cos not only did I lose me one big chance to have a whole tenner to myself but there was trouser-spit all over me and I was gonna get double-blue murdered cos I was really, really, really late for school.
I ran all the way. I didn’t even stop to clean my uniform cos I didn’t have a hankie anyway. When I got to school I ran down the corridor to the Assembly room. The prayers were still on. They were halfway through a decade of the rosary so I had to wait. You can’t go in when prayers are on, cos if you did you’d be interrupting God and he’d make it rain and then we wouldn’t be able to go out a playtime. We’d have to sit in the classroom and be quiet and listen to a big stupid story about some stupid kids called young Lorna Claythorpe and young Johnathon Anglepuss who go and stay with their Great-Aunt Clarissa-Marybell Finchybottom in her big mansion in the countryside and go looking for hidden treasure in secret rooms after they've had breakfast of little triangles of toast with marmalade and butter sticks.
When the hail marys were finished I stuck my head around the door and there, sitting beside Miss Bindles was this big, gigantically huge copper with little brown ball eyes and a squashed up nose that someone must have sat on.
Me Dad always said if we were bad the coppers’d come and take us away and if they did we'd be stuck in a big grey house with big grey walls and loads of other coppers making sure we never got home again. He said that you have to be good whether you like it or not, cos when you do something bad you always get caught. Miss Bindles says the same thing except she also always says ' be sure your sins will find you out.'
So me legs did a wobbler when I saw the copper. I thought someone had gone and told him about me going down Fiction Street and he was coming to take me to the place with grey walls and I’d never get anything to eat except cabbage and warm water with policeman’s snot-drops and slobber in it. Everyone knows that’s all you get to eat when you get taken away, that and a bit of rice pudding with no milk or sugar, just salt.
Well I was dead, dead scared and before I knew it me lip took off and started doing a wobbler like me legs. Before I could stop myself I’d run over to the copper and grassed myself up!
'I'm sorry. Honest to God! I’ll never do it again, cross my heart and swear on me mother's and father's and Miss Bindle's life! It was an accident. I got lost and I didn't know me way. I just wanted to see the Indians!'
The copper just sat there with his mouth wide open and he didn’t say anything so I grabbed his jacket and pulled and pulled, 'please don’t take me to prison! I’ll be really good from now on!' Miss Bindles pulled me off him and kept asking me what was wrong and the copper stood up and said ‘all I wanted to do was teach them how to cross the road!”
Miss Bindles grabbed my hand and took me down to the office and the copper had to mind the class. I thought she was gonna shout at me but she was dead nice and wiped me face with a nice rosy soap and a white flannel. When I was clean she gave me a drink of milk and asked me what the matter was. I wasn’t going to tell her about Melon-hea
When I finished me milk Miss Bindles gave me a load of toilet roll to wipe me eyes and made me blow me nose even though I didn’t want to cos the paper was yucky hard stuff. She said Melon-head was a very bad man and that a wank was a very bad thing, especially for girls, extra-specially for little girls. She said that wank is the worst word you can ever say cos it’s really disgusting and you’d never get anywhere near heaven if you even thought about it that word never mind said it out loud and doing it, well doing it was the worst thing you could do. Ever.
She said it wasn’t my fault really though. God would forgive me, even though I shouldn’t have gone down Fiction street. Miss Bindle's cheeks were really red, even though she had loads of powder on her face. She whispered that the world is full to brimming with bad-men like Melon-head and that if she had her way they would be locked up in prison and that if the police-man knew Melon-Head's name he'd go and get him straight away and put him in handcuffs and make him live in prison for ever and ever and ever. Amen.
I was made up that she wasn’t cross with me and then she even got me a fancy chocolate wafer biccy and said I was a good little girl for telling the truth. Then the police man came in and I had to tell him all about it. Miss Bindles took an old dress out of the second hand uniform box and gave me uniform to the copper to take away. I didn't like that cos I knew me Mam would go mad at me for losing me good uniform and coming home in a scruffy old dress out of the second hand box but Miss Bindles said not to worry cos everything would be alright.
But that Miss Bindles was a dirty rotten liar cos she brought me home to our house and told me Mam. Me Mam didn't say anything when Miss Bindles was talking just pulled her lips in so tight I couldn't see her lipstick any more.
After Miss Bindles went home me Mam sent me to bed and didn't say a word to me. But when me Dad came home I went to the top of the stairs and I could hear her talking to me Dad and I could hear his voice getting louder and louder. 'You what? She what? He What?'
Then he came to the top of the stairs so I ran back in my room and hid under the bed beside my pot of wee.
He knew where I was though and the next minute he was pulling me out by the arm and when I stood up his face was changing colour - white to pink to white to red and then to purple. It stayed purple when he grabbed my hair. It stayed purple when he went whack, whack, whack with his big sharp hand on me leg. It stayed purple till me leg went all red and stripy.
He kept saying over and over, 'What did you have to go down that street for, I’ve told you enough times. Now look what’s gone and happened. The police are gonna come round and the whole street's gonna see! They'll think I've done something!
I tried to tell him that I didn’t mean to do it. I tried to tell him that I was only taking a short-cut. I tried to tell him I was very, very sorry but he didn’t want to listen. He just kept shouting and shouting until his voice wore out.
Our Eric was made up cos it was me getting murdered instead of him for a change. Me Mam looked sad cos I don’t think she wanted to see me getting hit but she didn’t say nothing not even one little word. She never says nothing to me Dad cos one time when she did he threw his dinner on the wall and said, 'Are you trying to tell me what to do?'
All she said back to him was, ‘No,’ then wiped the liver and onions off our nice flowery wallpaper.
That night I got no tea, even though me Mam made me beans on toast. Me dad said I couldn't have it. He said I’d learn better from an empty belly, so they gave my tea to Eric and I had to sit and watch him eat. He made it even worse cos he started slurping up his beans on toast and smiling like it was the best thing he ever tasted in his whole life.
Me Dad said Eric was going to grow into a good boy for eating all that beans on toast and Eric ate another pieces of toast even though I could tell by his puffed up cheeks that he was full. Then me Dad said he was fed up looking at my stupid face and Eric said it wasn’t just stupid it was ugly as well. They said I was going to grow up to be so stupid and so ugly that nobody would bother me no matter how many times I went down Fiction Street. Then the two of them started laughing and I got sent to bed just as the Invisible Man was about to start on the telly. That was the meanest of the meanest cos they all know I love the Invisible Man.
As soon as I got to me room I closed my curtains as fast as I could cos the light was coming through the window and it was making shadowy shapes on the walls that looked like they were going to turn into a big Melon-head. I shut the window as tight as I could, in case he could get in and get me but that didn’t stop him cos he was already there.
He’d made himself invisible and as soon as I went to sleep he snuck out and ran across the landing and went into our Eric’s room and ripped all his footie posters to bits. And cos I had the covers over my head and my fingers in my ears I didn’t hear anything when he pulled the wings off Eric’s model planes, then jumped all over them and smashed them into little bits.
Me Mam and Dad didn’t hear him either, that’s how sneaky Melon-head was. He probably tiptoed down the stairs, and snuck out the back door when they were watching telly. Even me Dad didn’t hear him and he says he can hear a pin drop when we’re in bed.
So that’s why they didn’t believe me when they saw the state of Eric’s room. They thought it was me! As if! I told them it was Melon-head and how he made himself invisible and gone sneaking around the house doing bad things but I still got the blame. Nobody ever believes me now, even when I tell the truth.
Ever since then, Melon-head keeps sneaking into our house when ever he gets the chance, and every time he does he makes a right mess. He's dead sneaky and always does a runner before anyone comes and sees him. Big divvy Eric doesn’t believe me either but he wouldn’t would he? Cos every time Melon head comes to visit, our Eric stops getting murdered cos me Dad’s too busy murdering me.
But never mind, cos this is a proper story and proper stories always have a happy ending like the way Lorna Claythorpe and Jonathon Anglepuss always find the treasure. My story’s gonna have a happy ending too cos when I grow up I’m gonna be really tall and strong and then I can be a copper and wear a funny hat.
Me Dad says I’d better keep away from his house cos he can’t stand the smell of pork but I don’t care cos I’ll be big then and I can do what I like and I am gonna have a big massive net and a machine gun and a proper hatchet that chops and I’m gonna catch that Melon-head in my net and when I do he’d better watch out.
I’m gonna put him in prison and I’m gonna bring him his dinner all the time he’s there, it’ll be my special job, cos I want to be the one who brings Melon-head his dry porridge and cabbage on a tray and I want to be the one who puts the snot-drops and slobber in his water, every single day, for ever and ever and ever, amen.
I really hope you enjoyed Fiction Street. The character who narrated this story is Rebecca. She is also known as Sparra.
If you liked Fiction Street and would like to hear more from Sparra you will like my novel Piggy Monk Square.
A policeman disappears. A young girl knows where he is but she can’t tell and time is running out.
AVAILABLE FROM ALL GOOD ONLINE RETAILERS
PIGGY MONK SQUARE
PIGGY MONK SQUARE WAS SHORTLISTED FOR THE COMMONWEALTH NEW WRITER PRIZE