Posts Tagged ‘Albert Dock’

Jack has turned out to be my bezzy mate in loads of ways (well, not forgetting Regal of course!) You wouldn’t believe he was only five. He’s dead funny, and makes me laugh even when I’m feeling sad.  I hate it when me ma doesn’t come home from the boozer, or there’s nothing for Jack to eat in the cupboard, ’cause I’m terrified that social services will come and take him into care and leave me on my own.   Or even worse than that, I’m afraid they’ll put me into care instead, and leave Jack with Binny and me ma – who’d take care of him then?

It’s my job to look after him.. and if that means getting out of this shit hole of a house and away from Binny and me ma… that’s what we’ll do.

I'll see you all right, Jack.

I’ll see you all right, Jack

Photo by Jilly Gardiner

The Wheel - Liverpool

The Wheel – Liverpool

Me ma did come home… eventually.  She was half cut and had a job to climb the stairs to bed.  I’d been listening out for her most of the night, so eased myself off the floor with my bad ribs when I heard the door go.   It was nearly five in the morning, but that was nothing new for me ma.  Jack (the kid) was sleeping like a log so I caught me ma on the landing as she staggered to her bedroom.

‘Who’s the kid?’ I said.  She just stood there swaying from side to side.

‘Kid?’ She goes.

‘Yeh, the kid you left here when you f&cked off down the boozer!’

Her eyes couldn’t focus on me properly, but she opened them wider as if she suddenly knew what I was on about, ‘Oh, the kid!’  She pushed passed me to her bedroom, slurring back to me… ‘Binny’s…. it’s Binny’s’.

‘Binny’s!’ I shouted, but she’d disappeared into her bedroom.  ‘Where the f&ck’s Binny then!’

This tiny kid, fast asleep on my bed… How could he be Binny’s kid? I was so mad with me ma and Binny that I didn’t go back to sleep.. I just sat there watching Jack sleeping.

Next morning me and Jack were up and out by nine o’clock… I had it in my head that I’d take him down the cop shop and hand him in; I can’t let the poor little get be dragged up by a piss head like Binny!  But Jack was so excited when he saw the wheel again by the Echo Arena, I just had to give him a go.

As we went round and round on the Wheel looking over the city (three times), I watched his dirty little face light up as we looked down at the tiny people on the ground.  I suddenly felt sick and sad all at the same time…. It was me I could see in this kid; this kid was ME when I was his age… And I’d never wish that on anyone.

The cop shop would have to wait…

Liverpool DockAfter the scran I took the kid for a walk down by the dock.  He’d started talking, and he’d said his name was Jack and he was five.  He didn’t look five, so I don’t know if he was telling the truth, or whether he was too young to know how old he was.

We sat by the Mersey and looked out at the lights.  I made sure Jack sat further back so he wouldn’t fall in.   I’d forgotten how much I loved the docks, especially at night.   I used to come here every day but hadn’t been here for months.   I love this city as much as I love Penny Salerno… and I felt I was losing both.

Jack seemed much happier now, in fact he wouldn’t shut up about the lights and the reflections in the water.   But I knew exactly where he was coming from… I felt the same way about it.  No matter how much shite this world throws at you, just sitting on that dock staring out over the River Mersey makes you forget about it…. I can’t explain why, but it does.

I bought Jack an ice cream on the way back to the house with my stash.  He’d stopped asking about his dad by the time we’d ate the pie and chips, and he just kept asking if we could go on the big wheel by the Echo Arena that I’d shown him earlier.

The house was still cold and dark when we got back at nine o’clock, so I let Jack look at the pics in my National Geographic mags.  He fell asleep on the bed about five minutes later.     I put a blanket over him and then took some painkillers the hozzy had given me before lying on my back on the floor (couldn’t lie any other way ’cause of my ribs… they were in bulk).

I spent the night listening out for me ma getting back from the boozer… hopefully she could tell me why the kid was here.  If she hasn’t turned up in the morning I’ll take Jack on the big wheel by the Echo Arena – I haven’t even been on it myself.

Night Jack….

I spend most of my school day staring out of the window across the school playing field.  What’s beyond that field is what really interests me.   Mister Reynolds, our Geography teacher, is the only one who makes school interesting (apart from footy practice of course!).   Mister Reynolds tells us about people and places all over the world.  And he’s so nice, that I can go and talk to him afterwards.. asking more questions about countries and people that he’s mentioned in the lesson.    He’s dead happy to talk to me about it.

English: Playing field at Cowplain School

Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that it’s rude to show the bottom of your feet in Thailand?  How mad’s that!  And if you stand on a coin, you’re disrespecting their king, because his head’s on it.  There’s just so much out there.. and I’m stuck here in this cold, square, miserable school with Johno Rathbone who gobs on the back of your school jumper, and Jonesy who bangs his head against walls so he looks hard.

Penny Salerno came into school with a load of those National Geographics she got off her ma the other day.  She put them in a plazzy bag so no one would see them.  There was about ten of them!  I was so made up.   I couldn’t wait to read them – so I took the afternoon off and went and sat on the dock.   If I’d have got them out at school, Terry Bennett would have flushed them down the toilet along with my head.

The Ice caps, the tribes of the Amazon, the cocaine villages of Colombia…. there’s just a whole world out there (all right, I’ll stay away from the coke heads in Colombia), why do people stay in the same place all their lives when they’re not happy?  Why do they live on scanky streets, with cold damp houses, and schools where all you learn is how to throw a good punch so you don’t get your head kicked in so badly next time?  If things aren’t good, then what have we got to lose by walking away and trying somewhere else?

It can’t be any worse, I reckon.

Me ma says I think too much.   I say it’s better than not thinking at all.    She says I annoy people with all my thinking.  But she doesn’t think at all.. except to think where the next whiskey’s coming from.

It all starts next week when I go to Strangeways to speak to me dad.  It only took an email and two phone calls.

That’s when I start thinking my way out of here….

Anthony gave me a lift home on Boxing day.   He said I could stay as long as I wanted, but I had to go and face me ma.  It would have been the best Chrimbo ever if me ma had been there too.

Between Chrimbo and the New Year me ma was down the boozer most of the time – with the odd night zombied out in the living room or in bed.  What hurt me most was that she hadn’t even asked me where I was on Christmas day.  She  came in off her face as usual on Boxing day night after I came back from Anthony’s house, and tried to kiss me and wish me merry Christmas,  but the words wouldn’t come out.  I just stared at her – disgusted.  She could see I wasn’t happy.   She lurched forward and tried to swipe at me, but I stepped backwards and she fell onto the first few stairs.   When I tried to help her up, she pushed me away, ‘You miserable bastard!’ she screamed, as she attempted to stand up on her feet.

She practically crawled on her hands and knees up to bed.. and I just let her go.

After that I spent most of the school holidays over New Year just sitting on the dock, fishing.. it kept me out of the house.  I’ve spent most of the last few months trying to avoid Binny, but now I was avoiding me ma.

English: Fireworks

Image via Wikipedia

New Year’s Eve I went down to the dock by the Wheel and watched all the fireworks.. it was amazing.   The sky lit up, and everyone seemed dead happy.

Why couldn’t I be that happy?  Why couldn’t I have a new year to look forward to?

The thought of going back to school made me feel sick.. all the other kids talking about their Christmas, and what Xbox games they got.  And there will I be, a huge knot in my stomach getting bigger and heavier.. and nothing to say.

It was then while I watched those fireworks on New Year’s Eve I made a decision… I was going to go to Strangeways and find my dad!

The Cmaj chord in guitar, with bass in G

Image via Wikipedia

I noticed the old guitar leaning against the wall in the livingroom when I got in from walking Regal.   I’ve never had a go at a guitar before, so thought I’d give it a go.    I checked the house first, just to make sure Bubonic Binny wasn’t in, and then I sat on the settee and put the guitar on my knee.  Bit awkward on how to hold my hands at first, but I soon got used to it.   I must have sat there for about an hour trying to get a tune from it.. the top of my fingers were killing me!   I thought I’d better not stay there playing for too long, ’cause if Binny caught me he’d turn my guts into guitar strings! I’m going to get a book from somewhere to learn how to play.  How cool it would be to just sit there on the dock and play Beatles songs! I could even make loads of money busking – I’ve got the face for busking!   And Penny Salerno would think I was dead cool (not that I fancy her or nothing!).

 

Doorbell

Image by chrisinplymouth via Flickr

I had this mad idea, and decided to go with it…

I found myself walking along that posh road where I pulled the footstool from the skip over a month ago.  People were staring at me as I passed them.. I was shivering and dripping wet.  I caught my reflection in the window of a parked car – my hair was stuck to my face, and my white school shirt was sticking to my skin.  I looked down at myself; my shirt was so wet that it was see through.  My nipples where sticking out under it!  How f&cking embarrassing!

I hesitated as I stopped by the door of Anthony, the fella whose skip I’d raided.  I didn’t really know why I was here, but for some reason I just knew he’d help me.   I stared at myself in the window of his front door, flattening my hair down with the palms of my hands, before taking in a dead deep breath and pressing my finger on the doorbell…..

The Pump House - Photo by Jilly Gardiner

I arranged to meet Ray Moorland next to the Pump House on the Albert Dock.   It’s a pub now.    I stood for about ten minutes before he arrived.   In that ten minutes my mind was spinning.   What if I just left now with Regal before the fella came?   Or what if he just didn’t turn up?  Then I’d just have to take Regal back home with me and keep him… I’d still be able to cuddle up close to him at night and feel his warm fur against my chest.  I’d be able to watch his little legs trying to run while he was asleep, dreaming; chasing a cat or something.

God! I so wanted to turn around and walk straight home with Regal.   I looked down at him, it’s like he could sense how sad I was.  He stared up at me, and then jumped up at my legs, wagging his tail.  I bent down and tried to smile, ruffling the long fur on his little head.   It was then I spotted Ray, the fella who I met on the Albert Dock a few weeks before.  He’d signed my petition to save Regal, and dump Binny.   My heart was in my shoes.. I felt sick ’cause I knew this was it.   I really had to do it now.   It hit home that Regal was really going to leave me.

Ray smiled as he approached me, but when he saw my face he looked concerned.  He was a kind man, I knew it when I met him.   That’s how  I knew I could trust him to look after my little dog.   He gave me his address and told me that I can visit and walk Regal any time that I wanted to… but to make sure I phoned first, as he was a nurse at Whiston hospital and worked funny shifts.   Even though I was gutted about giving up Regal, I really had to hold my smile back… as Ray was about 6 feet 2 inches tall and  built like a brick shit house.. And he was A NURSE!  How mad was that!   I had visions of him in his little white nurses dress and tights.   I pursed my lips and tried to drown out my smiles.   Then I remembered why I was there, and I felt sick again. I picked Regal up and gave him a massive cuddle.. so tight that he gave a little yelp.   I just didn’t want to let go.    Ray gave me all the time I needed.. he was a good man.

Finally Ray took him from my arms.   I breathed out slowly, trying to keep the tears away.   I wiped my arm across my face, ‘That breeze off the Mersey doesn’t half make my eyes water!’   I said. 

‘Yeah you’re right, it does it to me too’, he smiled.   I could tell he knew I was lying, but he didn’t let on. I watched Regal and Ray as they walked off along the dock.   Regal was pulling back on his lead, looking back at me.  I couldn’t watch him anymore… that Mersey breeze really does play havoc with your eyes!

See ya Regal…… Miss you loads… x

After I’d made my decision, I pretty much knew I had to stick to it.   I slept with Regal in my arms that night.  Isn’t it funny how dogs just love you no matter what?

I planned to do it the next day, but bottled out and took him for a long walk along the Pier Head.

But today I knew I had to do it….

So I pulled out a screwed up piece of paper from a pair of jeans I wore last week (I’d been wearing them for nearly 2 weeks, so I thought it was about time I changed them before they walked out of the house and jumped into the Mersey all on their own!).  

 I took the piece of paper, stuffed it into my coat pocket and walked down to the phone box with Regal.    I put the money in the slot and dialled the number on the piece of paper.   A man answered on the other end.

I swallowed hard and spoke ‘Hello, is that Ray Moorland?’

‘Yes?’

‘I’m the lad who was doing the petition about saving my dog, Regal, on the Albert Dock the other week’.

‘Oh yes?’  He sounded surprised.

‘Did you mean what you said about looking after my dog if I couldn’t keep him?’

There was a silence, I just bet he didn’t mean it after all!

‘Yes I did mean it, is everything okay?’   What a d*ckhead question that was! Of course everything wasn’t okay! Does he think I’d be giving my dog away, who I love with all my heart if everything was okay!??

I swallowed the lump in my throat and tried to stay calm, ‘I can’t keep him.. I wondered if you’d look after him for me?  Give him a good home?’

The voice on the other end was soft and gentle ‘Of course I will’.

I felt a mixture of relief and devastation.   Tears welled in my eyes like a girl.  I held them back as I spoke, ‘There’s one condition though!’

‘Go on?’ He said patiently.

‘You must let me visit! You must let me come and take him for walks sometimes and stuff!’   Tears started to run down my face now, but I managed not to let the fella on the phone know.

The fella laughed gently, ‘I insist on it!’.  

He could hear my tears then.   So relieved, but so sad all at the same time.   Regal would be safe from the hands of Binny, but I wouldn’t have him anymore.  

Everything was going to be all right for him.   He was going to have a dogs life… a great life!…

 I spent the night walking, and walking and walking.   There was no sign of Regal anywhere!  I was walking around the streets and kept bursting out crying.. I felt like a right knob head!  Everyone looking at me.. other kids laughing,  grown ups asking if I was okay.   I felt such a tw*t!  I was shouting Regal’s name everywhere.

I’d ran into me ma’s bedroom last night.  I was going to dive on Binny and kick the shit out of him!  But he wasn’t there… there was just me ma.. out of it on the bed.. an empty whiskey bottle lying next to her.  I knew I’d never be able to wake her, and even if I could, she’d barely know who I was!

So now I was just wandering the streets of Liverpool , not having a clue where Regal could be.   I even went down the docks to see if there was a plasy bag with something little in it floating in the water!   I thought I saw something floating at one point.. but it turned out to be a bin bag full of rubbish.  I burst into tears of relief when I realised that it wasn’t Regal.  I was knackered from no sleep, and I was supposed to be in school.   I headed back home.. I couldn’t think straight in this state.

I hate Binny’s guts!  When I find him, HE’S DEAD!