Posts Tagged ‘Me Ma’

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

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Half Cormorant - half mythical bird!

Half Cormorant – half mythical bird! Photo by Jilly Gardiner

I never did hand Jack into the cop shop!  How could I be the one who put him in foster care?  The poor kid would probably end up like me – I don’t want to be responsible for that!  So we had an agreement; me and me ma….   She’d be around for him in the daytime while I was at school, and I’d look after him at night while she went the boozer.    Binny was around sometimes, but was always slagging off Jack’s ma for being put in the slammer for robbing frozen chickens from Iceland (the shop, not the country!).   Me ma told me that Jack’s ma was caught with a chicken in each bra cup, and only got found out because one of the frozen chickens dropped out as she left the shop and broke three of her toes (so she couldn’t leg it from security!).   All I could think about was how big her knockers must have been to have a full chicken in each bra cup! Wish I’d been there!

Anyway, It turned out that Jack’s ma was on probation for when she got caught robbing wallets off her punters while they slept.. so they sent her straight back to the slammer after the frozen chicken incident.  Binny was well pissed off that it meant HE had to be responsible for Jack, so he did hardly nothing for him – that’s where I come in.

Me and Jack, we’ve got dead close in the past few months.. he’s like my brother.  Now the weather’s getting better I take him fishing down the dock, and we share pie and chips at our chippy.   Every Saturday I still work on The Butty Van with Pete at Greaty Market… Jack comes too.  Pete’s dead sound and lets Jack use his mobile phone to play games on while I’m serving hot dogs with extra onions and cups of tea.  Then Pete gives me and Jack some top scran which we stuff in until our bellies nearly burst.

Jack keeps asking me about the Liverbirds on top of the Liverbuildings, and why they don’t fly away… so I make up  loads of stories about them.    They say that Liverpool would fall into the sea if the Liverbirds flew away…. so I tell Jack stories about the time when the Liverbirds flew away and the city collapsed into the Mersey.   He cried for hours when I told him about how everyone in Liverpool nearly drowned.  I felt so guilty that I told him that the Liverbirds had flown to every country and city around the world, but had come home to Liverpool because they couldn’t find anywhere better.   So everybody in Liverpool was saved, and didn’t drown – and they all lived happily ever after.    That made Jack dry his tears and smile again.

Yep…. everything’s going good! That might be ’cause I turned fifteen the other day – and my luck’s changing… no prezzies though.    Penny Salerno has started looking at me again, even smiling sometimes! She’s still not letting me walk her home from school yet though, but I’m working on it.   Anthony and Susan still have me round for my tea twice a week, and they let Jack come too!   And me and Jack go to Ray’s house every Sunday and take my dog Regal for a dead long walk.  Ray says Regal crashes out for about 24 hours after I’ve walked him on Sundays…. He’s a card that dog!

And today the sun was shining (a bit)… A good feeling! I’m happy….. me and Jack and the people of Liverpool are happy, ’cause the Liverbirds are sitting pretty on top of the Liverbuildings, watching over us all!

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….

Three Days I was lying in that hospital bed…Three days! And it was the best three days I’ve had in ages! Nurses giving me dinner, helping me out of the bed to go for a waz, and all the tele I could watch on a screen above the bed. You were supposed to pay for the tele, but as they couldn’t get hold of me ma for three days they clubbed to together and paid for the service. I could even press a button which made the bed go up and down… People slag off the National Health Service, but I couldn’t fault it! It was a million times better than being at home.

The Bizzies came round to ask about the attack. I decided to tell them that I didn’t know who the lads were who I got a beating from, and that I didn’t see their faces, and I couldn’t tell their ages. I made that decision ’cause I knew the lads were something to do with Penny Salerno’s cousins, and thought it might be best to deal with them myself.

I’d been in Whiston hospital for three nights when me ma turned up. I wasn’t pleased to see her, and she was well put out that she had to get the bus up to the hozzy. She came in the ward all crying and giving me cuddles, saying she’d been dead worried about me. But as soon as the nurse wasn’t looking she was in my face telling me I’m a selfish little bastard, and if it wasn’t for social services on her back she’d have left me there longer ’cause she’s a busy woman, and she’ll lose money over this. I don’t know what money she’s on about, ’cause she doesn’t even work.

In front of the nurses me ma gave me a plazzy bag with clothes in, saying she’d brought me fresh clothes to go home in. I emptied the bag on the bed.. it was a pair of my dirty jeans, a teeshirt and a pair of undies. The teeshirt wasn’t mine, and the undies defo weren’t mine, but at least they were clean.
Then a woman in a suit came in and asked if she could have a word with me alone. Me ma smiled at her and then called back to me as she was leaving the ward, ‘I’ll be waiting right outside for you son, and I’ll cook your favourite for tea tonight when we get home’.
Favourite? I haven’t got a favourite.. she doesn’t bleedin’ cook! Then I realised what she was up to.. this posh looking woman was from social services. She asked me how my home life was, and if I was being looked after properly.  At first I wanted to say that my homelife was shite, and that if a cold, dark house, with no food in the cupboards, and a mother who takes root in the pub is being looked after properly, then I’m doing just great. But I knew that if I told the truth I’d be back in care again.. and I hated that even more than having to look after myself at home.  And who’d look out for me ma if I wasn’t around? I’m sure she’d be dead by now if I didn’t check up on her. So I said everything’s fine.

The hozzy said to me ma that they wouldn’t let me go unless I was going in a car or a taxi, ’cause I was still in a lot of pain with my ribs, and my eyes looked like I’d made an enemy of Tyson.  Me ma told them that we were getting a taxi.  She lied.  We walked down to the bus stop and I had to stand in pain as I waited for the bus.  She was well pissed off that she had to pay the busfare for me, but  I was popping pills the hozzy had given me to ease the pain in my ribs, so I just kept quiet.

When I got home I had to go and lie down ’cause my ribs were in bulk and I was hoping I’d sleep so it would ease the pain.  After about an hour of drifting in and out of sleep, and hallucinating about Penny Salerno kissing my swollen face (and then heading down towards my painful ribs), I woke up ’cause I could hear crying.   I eased myself off the bed and went onto the landing.

At first I thought I was still dreaming – maybe the painkillers were too strong.  But there, sitting on the stairs was a kid.  He couldn’t have been more than three.  He was staring at the front door and quietly crying for his dad.  I walked down the stairs and stood in front of him – he stopped crying when he saw me.

‘Hello! Who are you?’ I said dead gently.  The kid had dirty trails down his face from the tears, and looked suspicious of me.   I checked the house, but there was no sign of anyone.

I went up to my room, took some stash from my secret savings (which I got for Chrimbo off Anthony), and I put my hand out for the kid to take hold of.  This was an emergency and so I could use my stash.  The kid held my hand tightly and didn’t say a word as I lead him out of the house and down the road to the sit-in chippy.   We sat in there with a minced beef pie and chips each, and two cokes,  and the kid scoffed the lot without speaking a word.   I didn’t have a clue who this kid was, but it warmed my heart to see him scoffing like that.  I have to say, my pie and chips tasted so good, I treated myself to a pickled egg and one for the kid (the kid didn’t want one, so I had two).

 

 

Before the blackout -Photo by Jilly Gardiner

Before the blackout –
Photo by Jilly Gardiner

Can’t believe Chrimbo’s just days away.  It’s a whole year since I robbed that Chrimbo tree from someone’s garden and put it in our living room!  Can’t believe it’s already time to go and rob another one.    Our house has got no Chrimbo decos; me ma celebrates Chrimbo by drinking double what she usually does, and staying out for even longer than normal.  So it’s my job to make the house look brighter and Christmasy.

It’s dark when I leave school now, so the day before yesterday I went walking down the posh street where I robbed that dead nice tree from last year.  They put loads of Chrimbo lights outside their houses and it looks dead boss.  One house had a little steam train made of coloured lights on their garden – I really wished we could have that outside ours.   But next to the steam train was a small, fat Chrimbo tree in a pot – just perfect for our living room.  I noticed the house still had their curtains open, so I had to be careful when I bunked into their garden.  The lights from the steam train made it hard for me to hide, but there were loads of bushes for me to stoop behind.   The only problem with nicking Chrimbo trees out of gardens is that they always have lights on them! Have you tried to untangle those lights?  It’s not easy you know!

Anyway, I could see there were people wandering around the living room inside the house, so I really had to be extra careful.   I stooped by the side of the tree and started to pull the lights off, but they weren’t budging.  So then I had the bright idea of getting my flicky out (which I’ve  started carrying for when Zani’s lads come and kick my head in) and started cutting the wire to the lights so I could just carry the whole tree away in the pot with the lights still attached (it’s less hassle than untangling them!).  As I cut the wire, the lights went out and the tree was dark – but I wasn’t expecting such a dramatic impact from light to dark in the garden – somehow it made the steam train lights go out too, and all the other Chrimbo lights in the garden.  This was VERY noticable!   I saw a face of a woman in the window.. she was staring out onto the garden but I don’t think she could see anything with it being so dark.   Then the light came on in the hall, and the door opened.    I don’t mind telling you that I nearly shit myself!  Some fella came out onto the path from the house and stared into the garden.. he stood there for a life time (I reckon), and I hid at the back of the small tree, not even breathing.   I was dead made up when he turned and started walking back into the house shouting ‘Must be the fuse’.   He shut the door behind him as he went in.

I thought I’ve only got seconds to carry the tree away before he’s back out wondering what else is causing the blackout, so I picked up the tree in the pot (it was like a lead weight) and staggered across the garden onto the pavement.  It was then I saw the kid in the window… he was about four, and was sitting on the back of the settee staring at the dark garden.  I stopped and put the heavy pot down.   I could see his bottom lip going as he looked out at the blackness.   Tears rolled down his face as he started sobbing; I could even hear him from the other side of the window.

It broke my heart… How could I take his Chrimbo tree away?  Call me stupid, but I had to put it back.   So I staggered back into the garden with the tree in the pot.  I was just putting it back where I found it when the outside light came on and the front door flung open.   There was I, caught red-handed; bending over the Chrimbo tree.  I couldn’t move…. I just stared at the fella in the doorway (I didn’t know what else to do).  He stared back.

‘I was putting it back!’ I said, knowing how stupid it sounded.

He shouted into the house, but didn’t take his eyes off me, ‘Call the police!’.

I felt my feet again and legged it off across the garden and down the road.  I felt him chase me out of the garden but wasn’t sure if he was tailing me down the road, so I kept running for ages until I had a stitch.

There’s only one thing for it.. I’m going have to do the decent thing and pay for a tree off Greaty Market this year … I can’t have a crying kid on my conscience!

The offending Lamb-Banana!

After a crappy summer of dodging me ma and her needles and dreaming up exciting ways I could have Binny knocked off, I was glad to be at school (yeah, I know…Dead weird eh!).   It was good to see Penny Salerno and her shiny black long hair everyday; I didn’t need to wait a whole week to meet her on a Saturday anymore.   But I don’t know if she looked at me in a very good light when we had a bet on the way home from school…. Penny reckoned that I’d be arrested if I went and sat on one of those Lamb-Bananas in town.   I bet her twenty pence that there’s no way that someone can be arrested for sitting on a Lamb-Banana.   So we shook hands on it.   I sat on the nearest Lamb-Banana to prove my point…. and found out that I owed Penny twenty pence, ’cause you CAN be arrested for sitting on a Lamb-Banana!

Whether it was the actual ‘sitting’ on it that got me arrested, or whether it was the actual pushing the bizzy over onto his arse as he tried to man-handle me off the Lamb-Banana that actually put the nail in the coffin.. I’m not really sure which.    Either way, I found myself down the cop-shop being talked down to by a bizzy who thought he was interrogating an al-Qaeda suspect (he was obviously a new recruit who was looking at this opportunity to make a first impression on his fellow bizzy officers!).

I said to him ‘ Look mate.. all I did was sit on a Lamb-Banana!  You haven’t just foiled a major bomb plot to blow up the Liverbuildings!’

Well… the word ‘bomb’ was enough to have a second bizzy come in and treat me like a terrorist suspect.. both not a lot older than me, and full of shit.

I was in that cop-shop for nearly 3 hours, not a glass of water, not a phone call! If it wasn’t for the fact that they let me go without charge after  3 hours, they were dead lucky ’cause I’d have put a counter assault claim in for how that copper man-handled me off the Lamb-Banana, and the fact that I didn’t get my rights to a solicitor and phone call down at the station.  They got off lightly there!

As I walked outside and smelt the fresh air of freedom, there was Penny.. tearful and red-eyed, waiting for me!  She ran to me and put her arms tight around me, bursting into tears.  I was overcome myself – she was so beautiful! She DID really care for me! This wasn’t something I witnessed in my life very often.   My heart felt like it was going to burst as I felt her arms around me, and her tears against my face.

I really think I’m in love with Penny Salerno….

By early May me ma was hardly ever in, and when she was she was so off her head that she could hardly speak.  It hurt so much at first, but I had this other life;   a fantastic life where I walked Penny Salerno home from school every night, and then I’d go for tea round to Anthony and Susan’s house.  Anthony was Boss.   I’d never have been able to survive on the food in our cupboard at home…. a jar of mouldy piccalilli and a tin of sliced peaches (which had been there since I’d come back to live with me ma from the foster parents).

I can touch the light, and it feels dead good! Photo by Jilly Gardiner

Anthony could sense things weren’t going well in our house, so Susan was making dead gorgeous scran every night, and then washing and drying my school clothes for me to take home for the next day.   Susan had even gone out and bought me a pack of new white school shirts from Next!

I was feeling dead smart when I’d walk Penny home from school.   Then on Saturdays I’d fish on the dock, and Sundays I’d go to Ray’s at tea time to walk our Regal, and they’d always give me a load of ham and tomato butties and trifle for afters……   Yeah life was fantastic!

I just dreaded nine o’clock at night when I’d go home, put the key in the door and not be sure what I’d find.   It was mostly a relief when me ma wasn’t in; but if she was I was terrified to find what state she might be in.    One night I found her lying draped over a tipped up chair in the kitchen – puke all over the floor, and a cup smashed to pieces with her still holding on to the handle (with nothing else attached).

Sometimes Binny was there… sometimes he wasn’t.  He was always in the same state as me ma if he was there.  I reckon neither of them ever noticed me come in… I wondered if me ma remembered I lived there at all.   I’d just go to my room and lock the door, lie on the bed and surround myself with National Geographic mags.  Then before I went to sleep I’d think about my walk home with the gorgeous Penny Salerno, and her smile….. thinking of her always relaxed me (worked me up in a good way, but made me feel relaxed and content).

The less I was seeing of my ma, the more I could pretend everything was brilliant.

April came and went… I walked Penny Salerno home at every chance I got.   Her laughing at every stupid joke I told (I even made some of them up!), and me feeling dead warm inside every time she did laugh.  I started hating the weekends ’cause it meant I wouldn’t see her (But I still loved walking our Regal at Ray’s house on Sundays!).   Me ma was hardly ever home, and she was showing signs of using.    I’d tried to ignore it over the weeks, and kept telling myself that they were just Binny’s needles I was finding.  But when Binny disappeared off the face of the earth again, I knew for sure me ma was on it.

Penny Salerno was the only thing that kept my mind off it.  I couldn’t wait ’til four o’clock Monday to Friday just so I could walk her to the end of her road.  She was my drug, just like smack was now me ma’s.    If I thought that I was losing me ma before, I knew now that I’d lost her for good.

Football…. I f&ckin’ love it!    After thrashing Childwall boys 3-1 the other week, we went on to demolish Aintree Allstars on Saturday 7-1 (YES…Seven – One!!!).  I might have lost half my teeth, but my feet are doing just fine with a football in front of them.   Stevie Gerrard, move over!

And last week me ma went 2 days without a drink! (Yes, 2 days!!!!)  Ok, she had that vomiting bug where she constantly threw up when she moved an inch, so she couldn’t get out of bed.  I just supplied the washing up bowl and the glasses of water for 2 days.  But still, I’ve never seen her go 2 whole days without the whiskey before.

She told me that she felt so sick that she might never touch another drop of ale again.  I didn’t believe her though (and a day later I was helping up the stairs to bed after she’d been on a 14 hour bender).

Another shock I had last week was that me ma DID actually have a copy of my birth certificate! So I could book in and register at the NHS dentist to get my teeth sorted out.  Me ma said she always had to have a copy of the birth certificate for every time she had to get me back from social services.

I wish me ma would have a vomiting bug more often… it was nice to have her around for a few days.. even if she was only half conscious and she had her head stuck over a bowl most of the time!

Penny Salerno gave me a Cadbury’s Cream Egg on our last day of school before Easter!  I’ve saved it for Easter Sunday.  Felt ashamed that I didn’t get her anything back.  She gave a few out to different kids in the class, but I was the only boy she gave one too 🙂

cadbury creme eggs

Photo credit: contemplative imaging

After I’ve travelled over every continent, I’m going to be a footy star I reckon!