Ah fuck it, what does it matter? Just scalp the baldy bastard. Drown the first fucker. Squirt sticky yellow yolky gunky goo all down his sides. Outside the rain is shittin’ all over everything.
He appears in the doorway like something out of ‘The Shining’. Ya’d never hear that fella coming. He’d make a great assassin. He’s in his Spiderman ‘bajamas’, he calls them. And he has his dressing gown on. The size of the thing on him, with its belt and all tied and everything. It kills me. He’s got his eyes crossed looking at the end of his nose to see if his breath is makin’ steam in the cold of the flat. Looks like a fuckin’ Barnardos ad. Depress the shitoutaya so it would.
‘Right pal will ya have a googy egg for yer breakfast?’
‘No they smell like farts. I’d rather have a bowl of Coco-Pops’.
‘Coco-Pops wha’? I offer ya a breakfast of soldiers fit for feckin’ soldiers – and you want those dirty lookin’ yokes! Poopoo-Cocs it is so.’
He looks at me out of the corner of his eye.
‘Da, we’re not meant to say bad words.’
‘Why, what did I say?’
‘You said feckin’ and you said Poopoo-Cocs.’
‘Yeh, and now so did you fart face.’
‘That’s not fair, you, you tricked me!’ He’s looks genuinely morto like he might even cry. I figure I’d better ease up on the little bollicks. It’ll be a long auld day if he stays stuck in this sour patch.
‘I know pal, I’m sorry, sure ya know I’m only messin’.
He’s kneelin’ backwards on the couch watchin’ me. He’s always so serious. Could he not just lighten up? Big fuckin’ borin’ head on him.
‘How much does your Ma usually give ya?’
‘Ah feck off ya little fecker you’re only havin’ me on.’
I fill the bowl with the dirty lookin’ yokes. They’re like moles ya’d get cancer in. When I pour in the milk they all rise up like boats and spill over the edge. A little tsunami of shite.
‘Now there ya go, ya cheeky Monkey. Bon apa tits!’
He crunches away on the things then he tips the bowl over and slurps down the chocolatey milk. I sit down at the table smokin’ a rollie tryin’ to think of somethin’ to say to him. He seems happy out watchin’ some shite on the telly. He’s lyin’ down in front of the thing the way meself and the lads used – with his elbows dug into the carpet and his hands holdin’ his head up. Meself and the brothers used to lie like that for hours in our sleeping bags of a Saturday mornin’, lined up like little fuckin’ sausage rolls so we’s were. Jimbob looks kinda lonely though, all on his own. Be nice if he had a little… it’d do him good like.
‘Right pal, your mission should you choose to accept it is to buy the ‘Racin’ Post’ and pick out a few winners with yer Da, whadya say?’
‘But I have to return me library books.’
‘Ah don’t worry about that.’
‘But Ma said if we don’t return them we will get fines and I will get a bad credit rating.’
‘Ha! Did she now?! What have I told ya – don’t mind your ma.’
‘But she said that you didn’t pay your fines and you got a bad credit rating and that’s how we ended up where we are today.’
I can feel the red risin’ up in me so I think of them cold things. One. Two. Three. Deep breaths.
‘Right so, the library it is, then we’ll swing by the Spar and get the ‘Racin’ Post’. That OK with you booky worm?’
‘Go and get dressed so.’
‘What’ll I wear?’
‘Jaysus, I don’t know whatever ya like, just put some feckin’ clothes on ya.’
He comes back and the little weirdo is wearin’ a waistcoat. His Ma’s away, I tell him he can wear what the fuck he likes and he comes out in a fuckin’ waistcoat.
‘Right so Stephen Hendry, do ya have yer books?’
‘Who’s Stephen Hendry?’
The sky is still acting the cunt like but at least it’s stopped spittin’. Jimbob bops off ahead of me racin’ along the inside of the path on his scooter – every now and then he stops to check to see that I’m still there. When we get to the library he parks up his scooter in the porch dead careful like it’s his Harley. Inside there’s this total fox with knockers that are nay bad at all. She’s lookin’ down at our Jimbob noddin’ like her head’s about to fall off. He’s beaming up at her givin’ it socks about the best parts of James and the Giant Peach. He’s runnin’ out of air tryin’ to tell her all the things he wants to say and he has the biggest fuckin’ smile I’ve ever seen on his face. He looks like that fucker Zippy from Rainbow. Like someone’s finally figured out that all we had to do to get the little prick to give us a big smile is to fully unzip the gob on him. The little ripper has a face hard on for her. Ya can tell she’s a classy bird. I’d say she’d be grateful at the same time. Not up her own arse like some of them college wans do be. Ya can tell by the way she does be conversin’ with the Jimster. I say’s ‘Hey’ and in me head I look just like George Clooney. I never fuckin’ say ‘Hey’. I say it with a smile, lookin’ at Jim. Like I’m thinkin’ ‘I’m just so proud of him’, because they love that shit. She smiles again. Smile-a-fuckin-rina this one.
‘That’s a great kid you’ve got there’.
I can see why the little fucker was so mad to return his books now. I goes and sits on the couch like that’s the chilled out kinda fucker that I am. I pick something up off the rack, just so as to look as if I’m lookin’ at somethin’. I keep sneakin’ looks over her way though.
‘We can take it home if you like?’ Every word apple drops in me ear and whispers all the way down to me cock sayin’, ‘C’mere to me ya big fuckin’ roide ya’.
‘Mmm sorry?’ See what she actually said was ‘You can take it home if you like’, but what I heard is ‘We can take it home if you like’.
‘The Muppets – you can take it home’.
It takes for her to point at the DVD I’ve been pretending to read before the penny finally pings me on the Sallynoggin. I get all flustered to fuck and get up to leave but what I don’t cop on to is that I still have the DVD in me hand so she says ‘I’ll just need to check that out for you’, with a conderscending smile on her. Bet she likes it rough. Dirt bird. So she checks it, swipes the card, all the time peerin’ over her nerdy specks.
‘Yeah cheers thanks. Come on Jimbob, we’ve got shit ta do’.
I’m still reelin’ from the mortification of it playin’ back in me head. There she was givin’ it loads, being all nice as fuckin’ pie then suddenly she went from that to lookin’ down her bleedin’ nose at me. I’m thinkin’ over it and not paying all that much attention to anything so I goes to cross the road to the park because I promised him we’d come back that way when I look down I see he’s not even there. I look back behind and sees he’s only after scootin’ in the gate to the graveyard of all places.
‘Here, I don’t have time for this, come on will ya pal?’
‘But Ma and me always go to visit Lalaboo after we’ve been in the library.’
I feel like he’s after puckin’ me square between the eyes with a hurley.
He kicks the ground below him so his scooter speeds over the path and he nearly crashes onto the grave. The fourth one in on the right. I’ve only been there the once but I’d know it in me sleep. The tiny little white tombstone. And it’s like there’s an elastic band in me throat and a car jack at me heart. He spins the little colourdy pinwheel that’s been stabbed into the grass above where we put her in the tiny little white coffin. I didn’t even need anyone else to carry it. Just held it in me arms like it was a… The whizzin’ round of the little plastic yoke begins to make me sick. Jimbob goes up to the little headstone and places his little hand real gentle on the top of it and starts yakin’ to it like he’s actually talkin’ to her and he tells her all about how Ma’s gone up to Galway for the weekend on Aunty Siobhan’s hen and how Da’s lookin’ after him an’ how he wore his waistcoat ‘specially so he’d look handsorme for her an’ he says it like tha’ handsorme like he thinks there’s an r in it. And I think Jaysus maybe he’s not such a bad little bollicks after all. And the elastic band just keeps gettin’ tighter and tighter and the car jack keeps kickin’ me heart faster and faster.
And after he babbles on another while he says it’s time to go now and he kisses the tiny tombstone and says ‘Bye bye Lalaboo’ like it’s all normal. Then he says ‘Da are ya not goin’ to kiss Lalaboo goodbye’. Suddenly it’s dawn and I’m blindfolded with a smoke in me gob and a gun to me head. I go over but I have to bend down really far because the little thing is barely off the ground. Bendin’ down causes the bastardin’ tears behind me eyes to rise up. And I kiss it, the smooth white marble. The smooth white marble of her tiny forehead and whisper to her ‘Goodnight Princess. Goodnight Lalaboo’ and me voice sorta shakes and Jimbob just laughs sayin’ ‘It’s not bedtime Da,’ like I’m a total fuckin’ eegit. And I think if only you knew boyo.
‘Here Jim swing a right up here I need to talk to a man about the hair of a dog.’
‘Howya Mick? Pint a black for meself and a coke for the lad. Have ya the ‘Racin’ Post’ by any chance?’
‘Eh yeh bud should be down there at the end of the bar.’
‘Ah cheers pal.’
‘Right now we’ll pick out a few winners wha’?’
‘How do we know which ones are the winners?’
‘Well we don’t know we just hope they are.’
‘Right I’ll pick a winner one so.’
It’s shite racin’ in Wolver-bleedin’-hampton of all shitholes but that’s all that’s on so it’ll just have to do.
‘Found one! Mary’s Favourite – that’s Ma’s name isn’t it?’
‘Sure is pal!’
I don’t want to back such an outsider and especially one with the missus’s name but I’ve not got time to study the form so I suppose to meself one nag is as good as another in this situation?
‘Right you get a free pound bet on account of it being your first bet. Now you stay there pal and I’ll just pop next door and place the bet.’
‘Here Mick keep an eye on that little bollicks there will ya? I’m just runnin’ next door.’
‘Alri’, no bother. Well bud, what’s your name then?’
Mick. A sound skin if ever there was one.
It’s touch and go throughout the race, but Mary pips some other fucker at the post. Little fuckin’ beauty. The young lad loses his mind cheerin’ it on. Ah yeh he’s got the bug in him alright. Sure it’s in the Levi’s wha’? So we lob the winnings on the next, he only goes and picks the winner of that one too. Little fuckin’ genius. We lose all track of time, me runnin’ in and out of the bookies, the Jimster kneeling up on his high stool, little bookies pen behind his little ear pouring his eyes all over the paper lookin’ for another winner.
He buys me chips with his winnings. Little cracker. I’ve got him up on me shoulders. He’s holdin’ the chips in the brown paper bag by me nose and the fumes from the vinegar are makin’ me eyes water so I’m probably stumblin’ a bit more than I ought to be for just the few I have in me. I’m crouchin’ down a bit so as Jimbob can fit in under the door of the flat without bashin’ the head of him. And when we finally get in I look up and she’s standin’ there with her arms crossed across her tits and a head on her that’d sour a pint of milk.
‘You got him chips?’ she says it like I’ve given him a bag of yokes.
‘Jesus how many fucking cokes has he had? Look at the head on him he won’t sleep for a fucking week and as for you…’
She tuts, a sigh kind of a tut like a I’m-past-fucking-carin’ kind of a thing.
I think to myself, rise above it, just ’cause she’s in a shitter doesn’t mean you have to be. You’re after havin’ a lovely day with the young fella now don’t let her go spoil it.
‘We got The Muppets out on DVD, I was thinking it’d be nice if we all sat down and watched it. How was Galway?’
Jimbob’s lost the plot. He’s runnin’ around the flat like a bleedin’ lunatic. Then he only goes and starts tellin’ her about the horse what was named after her and how it won and she’s rollin’ her eyes at me.
‘The Muppets’, how appropriate.’
‘Ah here it was only a bitta craic, sure I’ll give ya the winnings ya can buy yourself somethin’ nice outta Penneys with it.’
‘That’s not the point and you know it.’
‘Look can we just forget about it and watch the DVD?’
Jimbob is still spinnin’ round in circles. He tries to speak but he’s spinnin’ so fast that his spit starts flyin’ out of him. All’s I can hear is ‘again next week Da?’ And I look at her and I see the thunder in her face. She looks like she wants to rip me dick off at the root. I say to him ‘Sure we’ll see pal, yeh?’ But he knows I’m bullshittin’ him so he stops spinnin’ and he looks up at me with his big clever eyes all sad and he says ‘That means no doesn’t it?’ and I bluff it because I’m caught between a rock and a bigger fuckin’ harder rock so I say ‘No, no pal.’ But he knows I don’t mean it and then he turns his back and pukes in the bin.
This makes her fuckin’ day ’cause it proves what a useless bollicks I am so she goes over to him and rubs his back and turns to me and says ‘Look, look what the fuck happens when I leave him with you. C’mon love it’s alright.’ And she mutters ‘Stupid bastard,’ but loud enough so I can hear.
I want to put me fist through her fuckin’ drag queen face. But I don’t – I just turn around countin’ one, two, three and I walk out the door and head back to McGurks. I sit at the bar with me jaw and me fists clenched just waitin’ for some fucker to knock into me so as I can kick the bleedin’ shite out of him. After a rake of pints I calm down a bit but then I get to feelin’ shit sorry for meself. Thinkin about how it was real nice being with the young fella and how great he was up in the graveyard and how he’s probably going to grow up to be ten times the man I am and how it’ll be none of my fuckin’ doin’.
I go back up to the graveyard and I sit beside Lalaboo and smoke a joint and I talk to her about all kinds of things until the birds start. I tell her I’m sorry for being such a shite Da. Then as I’m getting up to leave I don’t know what comes over me, probably a mixture of the chips and the pints and the joints I end up pukin’ all over the little headstone. I have to take me hoodie off to wipe it all clean away and as I’m on me knees wipin’ me horrible stinkin’ puke off me beautiful little baby girl’s grave I think what a bleedin’ fuck up I’ve made of it all and I end up lyin’ down and cryin’ into the fuckin’ grass where it’s sunk a little. And I don’t know what happened but I must have fallen’ asleep there like that ’cause when I wake up me hoodie that’s all covered in me puke is rolled up in a ball beside me and there’s all these well-dressed clean healthy lookin’ people millin’ around the graveyard after mass. And they look at me with a look that’s not quite fear and not quite pity.
I bend down and kiss her little marble head and whisper ‘Goodnight my little Princess. Goodnight Lalaboo.’ And even though it’s the mornin’ I say it like that because it’s always going to be bedtime for Lalaboo.
– Alice Walsh