A dog is barking in the dump but dogs always bark in the dump. The smells drive them wild. I once saw a terrier go insane. It was all too much for it. . It started growling, snapping at nothing at all. We had no choice. It came at us. It was going to bite Keera. The shovel broke when Oli hit it. It was an old shovel. I suppose that’s why it was in the dump. The terrier’s back broke too. There was no blood but even if you’d never seen a dog before you’d know the way it was moving was wrong. Oli kept hitting it for a while. He had to. We threw it on a pile of nappies. The seagulls must have ate it because it was gone the next day and there was blood on the nappies. I wish it was me who had saved Keera.
There’s more wasps than before. Summer’s coming. The swallows bring it with them. That’s what my da’s da used to say, ma says. He was a paedo. That’s what she says. Tell no one she says. He drove an ice-cream van for a while. Giving out 99s and Feasts and Fat Frogs to any six year old who’d let him tickle them. Just for a second. Do you have a sister. Is she tickly too. Don’t tell your mammy. She’ll just get mad at you.
Don’t tell anyone he was your da’s da ma says to me every now and then. For no reason at all. Don’t tell anyone she says. As if. I like to think of swallows bringing the summer with them though.
There’s a nest of wasps in the knackered van behind the sheds. It’s like a ball. Oli showed it to me last winter when the wasps were all asleep. It was the last time it was just him and me before Keera started running with us. There’s a plastic Jesus stuck to the dash of the van. He’s wearing a dress. Red and white. You can see his heart. The sun has faded Jesus’s hair so he’s a blonde. A pair of shades and he could be a dude. If he pumped a little iron. And lost the dress. And put his heart back inside of him. I thought the wasp’s nest was made from paper. I wanted to touch it to see what it would feel like until Oli pushed me inside the van and held the door closed. Then I didn’t want to touch it anymore. But I did. Oli said I had to. It showed I had balls. Serious balls. Having balls is essential. Balls mean you don’t get pissed on. Some people don’t mind that. Being pissed on. Some of them are born that way I suppose. The world makes the rest of them. It doesn’t matter how it happens. It’s all the same in the end. People like that don’t mind being pissed on. Like Liga. He plays along no matter what we do. Acts like we’re all having a joke together. Like that time with the dog shit. Liga just played along. Being pissed on is nothing to him. Liga doesn’t care about anything but feeding his veins.
It was rougher than I thought it would be. The wasps’ nest. It was warm even though it was snowing outside. It was snowing but not like full on snow. More like slush. Slush. It makes me think of slut. Oli says Kerra’s mam’s a slut. She did a porno. He showed me on his phone but you couldn’t see her face. You couldn’t see her face the whole time. Same kind of hair though. Keera’s mam showed Oli her tits he said. Her nipples were black he said. I’ve never seen black tits. Not for real. Keera doesn’t know her mam’s a skank. Oli only talks about Keera’s mam when Keera isn’t there. I wonder what colour Keera’s nipples are because her da was white or something.
It was slushing that day I was in the van. Everything would be white. But then the white would go. Then the white would come back again. It was like the world wasn’t tuned in right. Like one of Dandy’s pirate films. Wavy. The end of one bit was only the beginning of another. The wasps’ nest was warm in my hands. Warm as piss coming out. A million wasps or whatever. All pressed together inside this paper ball I held between my hands. Blonde Jesus had his back to me. He wasn’t looking at me. The slush made a hissing sound on the roof of the van. The wasps were quiet. Thinking of them made me want to hum. I wanted to hum but I was afraid that I might wake the wasps. It was like an itch.
Oli wouldn’t let me out until I sent him a picture of my hand on the nest. Picture message sent to Oli H. Don’t be such a faggot put your fingers up inside the hole he said. The van made it seem like he was talking up at me from the bottom of a well or something. Picture message sent to Oli H. Right up inside. Picture message sent to Oli H. I could feel something moving inside the nest. Tickly. I wanted to hum so bad I wasn’t sure if I was humming already or if I was still just thinking about humming. Send me a picture of you fisting that nest said the voice at the bottom of the well. Fist it he said. He banged on the door and the tickly things tickled even more than before. I was humming a little. It was leaking out of me but it stopped when I noticed. Message not sent to Oli H. Try resending message? Yes/No. Yes. Message not sent to Oli H. I’m out of credit I said. I really drew out the m on the I’m. Mmmmm. It almost became a hum. Stupid Pay As You Go said Oli.
The hum inside my head was deafening. Oli let me out. He filmed me humming. Ten minutes it took to get it all out. On a pile of scrap. Humming in the slush. He put it on Youtube. 471 hits. 16 comments. The next day KeeraNaga01 said U my type of mad boy x x. Two xs.
I can smell Oli’s new bike. He always gets the best bikes but they don’t last long. Oil and rubber. The engine’s ticking like a clock. Cooling. Keera doesn’t even notice it. She’s too frightened of the wasps. You can freak her out just by staring at her shoulder and saying don’t move Keera. All serious like. She goes mental. I wonder if any of these wasps are the ones who tickled me.
Well let’s see it says Oli. Let me see let me see let me see. I can tell he thinks I’m full of shit. This old thing I say. Rapper style I pull it out. Like ice. Polar bears and penguins and igloos. The zip on my bag won’t close. But it doesn’t matter. I pull it out like it’s nothing to me. Like I slept last night and didn’t even think about it. Like I didn’t pretend to shoot the stars out one at a time until I ran out of night.
The gun is heavier than anything. It’s a perfect thing. To hold this gun is what’s been missing.
Scrapland. That’s what they call this place. I suck it all in. I suck it in through the barrel of the gun. My gun. This scrapland is mine. The burned out cars are mine. The starving horse and the washing line rope that holds him to his block are mine. The used johnnies are mine. The stream behind the nettles is mine. Think big. I’m holding a gun FFS. Big. Bigger. Biggest. This whole world is mine. The dump and the dogs and the barks of the dogs and the clouds and the high rise towers and the trees and the gaps between the trees and the flashes of the cars on the M50 and the masts on the hills and the planes and the pimps in the alleys and the junkies in the playground and the echoes and the bricks and the pricks and all their tricked up rides. It’s mine. All mine.
I look at her. I look and I can see that Keera is mine. Keera is mine.
Who’d dump a gun anyway. Like it wasn’t anything at all. Just thrown into a ditch like it’s a broken toaster or something. Seven bullets missing. Three left.
Three wishes I say to Oli and Keera. I say it like it’s no big thing. One each.
I’ve never seen Oli so excited. This gives us a whole new kind of balls he says. Player balls. VIP balls. King Kong balls. I can see the top of Keera’s tits. Porn hot. Her skin is lighter beneath the straps of her bra. I can see her belly all tight and smooth. Think too long about it and you’ll make yourself stiff. U my type of mad boy. xx.
I go first. Finders keepers and all that. I’m the one in charge. Even Oli knows it. He pulls out his phone. King Kong balls he says. This is a million hits right here. I hold it sideways like a gangster. I pull my hoody up. I pull the scarf tight. It’s hot as shit but no face no trace. Safety off just like on Youtube. Shooting a gun for dummies. Step by step. Eighty six thousand hits. It’s like I’m holding a hard on about to blow. It’s like I’m holding a pipe bomb. It’s like I’m holding a bull’s tail. This thing’s alive. This is better than anything. Come on says Oli. Keera looks like she’s fingering herself for the first time. Like she’s not sure about it but she doesn’t want it to stop. Come on says Oli again. I’m recording he says. I hold it sideways like a gangster. I aim for the van’s windscreen. I can feel the tension in the spring. In. In. In. Curl that fucking finger in. Blonde Jesus can’t stop this.
I hold the Big Bang in my hands. This is how God feels. I hold lightning in my hands. I want to shoot the sky. My sky. I want to pull the trigger for the rest of my life. King Kong balls says Oli. Monster balls says Oli. It’s my turn now says Oli and Keera laughs at me.
A spider web. It’s like two rolls of film have been joined together. One frame there’s no huge spider web on the windscreen of the van and the next frame there is. A bullet sized hole in the middle.
It’s my turn now says Oli. Please. Please he says. Even Oli knows it. I own the world. Keera knows it for sure. Shit she says. She punches me and laughs. She moves close so I can feel the heat coming off her belly. Fair is fair I say. Like ice. Penguins and polar bears. Rapper style. Like I do this kind of thing every day and TBH I’m a little bored. As if. LOL. Knock yourself out I say.
Make sure you get this says Oli from a couple of miles inside his hoody. Make sure. One million hits if we do this right. He gives me his phone. I give him the gun. He holds it with both hands like he’s Solid Snake. It’s the red button he says. Duh I say. It’s the trigger I say. Keera laughs. King Kong Oli says but he isn’t pissed or anything. He sounds like he’s high. Like he’s holding everything that’s been missing in his hands.
Shit he says. Shit he says again. King Kong he says.
He aims for the van and braces his legs all Solid Snake. He stands like that for way too long. C’mon Oli I say but I don’t drop the phone in case he decides to pop just then.
One million hits he says and drops the gun. What the hell I say and Keera says nothing.
Oli goes over to the starving horse. It doesn’t look at him. It doesn’t move. It keeps its head close to the ground like it’s thinking about eating some of the broken glass. It’s tied to a block with a washing line rope. You can see where it’s been from the rips in the dirt. It hasn’t moved in a while. It’s finished and it knows it. Just waiting around for it all to stop. I don’t know what I think about this. A million hits Oli says and lifts the gun and I think I probably want to see what happens but then Keera says Don’t.
Oli is pissed. You can’t see his face or anything but I can tell from the way he’s standing. Shut the fuck up he says and puts the gun back to the horse’s head. The horse doesn’t care one bit. The horse is already dead. It’s just waiting for its body to catch on and fall over. Don’t Keera says again and Oli turns to me like I’m the one he’s pissed at. Tell him Keera says. I laugh but it’s too late for that. I can see that now. Tell him Keera says. I put Oli’s phone in my pocket and he goes all stiff.
Just hole the van I say keeping it light like no one knows what’s happening. Just playing along. Like no one’s done nothing yet.
Cunt Oli says to Keera. He pulls down his hood and his face looks burned it’s that red. The horse stands with his head hanging down like the ground is pulling on him.
Give it back I say and I start to walk. Fuck you Oli says and he lifts the gun again. His hand shoots up and he’s pointing at me. I stop. I burned a car once. I wanted to see if the movies were real. If it would blow. I stuck a load of kitchen roll into the tank and lit the end and when I put the lighter on the paper everything stopped and I got scared as shit like I’d been thinking it was all a dream and I just remembered that it wasn’t. The same thing happens now. My balls twist. That’s how scared I am. Whatever face I want to show to Oli gets sucked into the black hole that I can’t stop looking at and he sees me for real.
Faggot he says. Oli calls me a faggot. So it’s like that he says. You two all nice and tight. He turns the gun on the horse. Fuck he says. He turns the gun on me. Remember when he says. Fuck he says.
He screams and this time even the horse takes notice and it pulls its block a little way off. Then it remembers that it doesn’t give a shit and it stops.
We’re done says Oli to me. Even though he’s not shouting anymore, he’s spitting he’s that mad. Snot hangs out of him. We’re done he says.
My gun I say putting out my hand.
My gun Oli says. Mine. You think you get everything he says. He looks at Keera. Cunt he says. Oli walks back to his bike with two wishes in his pocket. His dirt bike sounds like the biggest wasp that ever was as he speeds between the high rise towers. Over near the nettles the horse doesn’t move. It just stands there waiting for it all to stop.
Kenneth Duffy is a secondary school teacher in an Irish language school. He lives in Wicklow with his wife and the second most annoying cat in the word. He has previously had work published with the Bohemyth, Wordlegs and Word Riot.