A collection of poems and other writings...

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Slug and Chicken

So it was Paul Brake and me and Dom playing in the front garden and Eric Gowrie comes down the road. He doesn't live near our house, so he must have come specially.
Paul Brake and me and Dom are playing football across the garden even though the road is just there. But Dad's out.
“Hi,” says Eric Gowrie.
But Paul Brake doesn't look at him.
Eric Gowrie is from Singapore. He has shiny black hair that falls across his forehead like a curtain. His skin is like the colour of Toffoes.  He has pointed eyes.
“What?” says Paul Brake.
“How are you today?” says Eric Gowrie, really politely. He's talking to all of us but me and Dom know that Paul Brake has to answer.
Paul Brake doesn't know Eric Gowrie. Paul Brake doesn't know that me and Dom do know Eric Gowrie. Eric Gowrie goes to our Church. Yesterday at Mass, Father Macaffrey talked about love thy neighbour. Mr Seymour used to live next door to us. He was friendly and nice - but I didn't love him. Then he had his leg off. And then he died.
“What's it to you?” says Paul Brake.
Paul Brake is big. Me and Dom fit in behind him. Paul Brake is looking at the ground.
“Do you like slugs?” says Paul Brake to Eric. He still doesn't look at him.
“I don't mind them,” says Eric.
“Come here then,” says Paul Brake.
“What?” says Eric.
“I said 'Come here, then', didn't I?”
Eric Gowrie opens the gate and comes here. He steps up the steps and onto the grass.
Paul Brake is bending over and picking something up off the ground.
It's a slug.  Quite a big one.  It's brown.

“Come here,” he says to Eric.
“What?” says Eric.
“I said 'Come here', didn't I?” Paul Brake holds the slug on his flat fingers.  It has pulled in its horns.  It's like a slimy blob.
“Kiss it,” he says.
“What?” says Eric.
“You like slugs? Then kiss it.”
Eric looks at Paul Brake.
Eric looks at me and Dom.
Dom and I look at each other. I've got my hands in my pockets and I nudge my willy because I suddenly need to wee. I see Dom's eyes look over to Eric and then to Paul Brake and then back to Eric again.
Paul Brake is just staring at Eric.
I think how horrible it would be to have to kiss a slug. My wee doesn't want to go away so I cross my knees a bit to keep it in.
“No,” says Eric.
“What?” says Paul Brake.
“I don't want to kiss it.”
“Are you chicken?” says Paul Brake. “Kiss it!”
Paul Brake holds the slug right up close to Eric's mouth.
Eric just stands absolutely still looking at Paul Brake.
I think Paul Brake is going to push the slug onto Eric's mouth. I look at Dom. But Dom is looking at Paul Brake. Paul Brake doesn't push the slug onto Eric's mouth but he steers his hand around the side of Eric's face and slowly presses the slug onto Eric's cheek.
Eric stands absolutely still. Still.
Paul Brake slowly takes his hand down again but the slug stays stuck to Eric's cheek for a moment.
Then it falls off onto the ground. There is a little slimy wet patch on Eric's cheek where the slug was.
Suddenly me and Dom hear Mum shout from the kitchen.
“It's teatime,” says Dom.
“We have to go in,” I say, “it's our teatime.”
“See you tomorrow,” says Paul Brake.
“Yes,” says Dom, “see you tomorrow.”
“Bye, Eric,” I say. “ Bye, Paul.”
“Yeah, bye,” says Paul Brake.
Eric doesn't say anything.

At tea, Mum says, “Did you have a good game?”
“It was all right,” says Dom.
“Eric Gowrie came round,” I say. Dom looks at me really hard.
“Oh did he?” says Mum. “Did he want to play?”
“No. Not really,” I say.
Dom looks at me.
I look at Dom.

“Can I have another cake, Mum?” I say.