Posts Tagged ‘Penny Salerno’

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!

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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).

 

 

BACON-BUTTY

BACON-BUTTY (Photo credit: johnb/Derbys/UK.)

I did such a boss job on The Butty Van (that’s what the burger van in Greaty Market is called), Pete, the owner, asked if I wanted a job! Every Saturday I’m working from ten till four on the van.  He gives me forty nicker in my hand.   If the bizzies turn up and I haven’t ducked in time, then I have to say Pete is my uncle, and I’m just helping him out for free.  Sorted! 🙂

NOW I’ve finally got the money to take Penny Salerno out, but she won’t talk to me ever since I accidentally gave her cousin Zani a scouse kiss! I’ve knocked at her house twice, and tried to talk to her at school, but she just said I’m not the lad she thought I was.  I’ve tried to explain that Zani had robbed my sales, and that I hadn’t meant to headbutt him; my head had just met with the bit between his eyes that’s all.  But Penny won’t have none of it, she just says she doesn’t even want to look at me.   She says I broke his nose! I tried to explain that I didn’t mean to (even if he did  deserve it!).

I’ve been wondering why I haven’t had a knock on the door from the bizzies for assault.  Then, on Saturday while I was doling out a bacon and egg roll with mushrooms to a customer on The Butty Van, I noticed two fellas in their twenties giving me the evils near the stall opposite.   They stood there for about five minutes before whistling over to me.  When I looked up one of them pretended to slice his throat with his hand before they walked away.   I don’t mind telling you, I wasn’t feeling too good when I walked home off the van, especially now it’s getting darker earlier.   But there was no sign of anyone on my way home.   I’d never seen the fellas before, but I bet you a burger and chips that they were Mafioso related to Zani, and I don’t want to be waking up with a horse’s head in my bed! (I’ve seen The Godfather!)

I’ve never felt the need to carry a weapon, but somehow I think things are changing…

 

 

Burgers

Burgers (Photo credit: Neil T)

It wasn’t my fault I got the boot from Penny Salerno’s Ma’s dressmaking stall at Greaty Market!   I didn’t bank on Penny’s 17 year old cousin Zani being my work colleague on Saturday.    Penny tells me his name is actually Zanipolo, but they call him Zani.   As you might have guessed, Zani is Italian, and he growls in Italian as well!
Zani gave me the evils all morning every time Penny’s ma would turn her back.  He’d stand in front of me so customers would go to him instead of me.   At one point I was selling some turquoise voile to a woman.. I had her in the palm of my hand! When Zani stepped in front of me, took over, and completed the sale.. so he got the 2 quid owing to me from Penny’s ma.  I was steaming!

‘Eh, That was my sale!’ I shouted.

He turned to me and put his nose up to mine ‘Vaffanculo!’, I didn’t have a clue what he said, but I knew it wasn’t ‘I’m sorry’.  After staring each other out for what seemed like a life time, I turned and started calling to the customers again.  Zani tapped me on the shoulder and I turned round,  he screwed up his nose and spoke ‘ Sei uno stronzo!’

‘Yeah, to you too mate!’ I shouted.  I knew he wasn’t inviting me to his house for dinner; this fella really hated me, and for what? Dickhead!

Then Penny’s ma went off to find the bog, and knew I was in trouble.  Zani just kept staring at me and pushing me out of the way when customers showed any interest.  I finally got a  sale… spent ages priming this old girl, then when she came to hand over the cash for the pink velour curtain material, Zani does it again… he pushes me to one side and goes in for the kill, taking the money himself.

It wasn’t that which got me the sack from Penny Salerno’s Ma’s dressmaking stall at Greaty Market… it was the fact that I saw red.. I wasn’t thinking straight…  I went for Zani; diving on him over the polyester tressol.   I didn’t mean for my forehead to meet with the bridge of his nose, it’s just that the tressol collapsed to the ground, and when the ground broke Zani’s fall, my head kept moving… ’till it met his nose!  It was a right stonker of a scouse kiss; right between the eyes.  Ok, it sounds a bit aggressive now, but at the time I was just wanting to show him that I wasn’t the  wimpy little push over he thought I was! He’d wound me up all morning, and he’s bigger than me, so he could have fought back if he’d have tried.

I knew I was out on my arse straight away, especially when I saw the gash between his eyes, and the blood running down his nose.  At least he was conscious and holding onto his nose! So I did what any brave man would do…  I legged it from the stall before Zani could find his feet and get his revenge.

I stopped at the other end of the market to check that no one was following me, then sat down on a plazzy garden chair next to a burger van to get my breath back.

‘Oy! If you’re not buying, you’re not sittin’!’ shouted the fella on the van.. he had a queue as long as the Mersey tunnel waiting for cups of teas and bacon butties.

I stood up ‘No I’m not buying, got no money’.  I was about to walk away when he called me back.

‘I’ll give you a cup of tea and a beef burger with onions if you come and give us a hand for half an hour lad; I’m inundated here!’.

I didn’t need to be asked twice! My dirty apron was on and I was flipping burgers before you could say scouse kiss.

One door closes and another one opens… that’s what my mate Anthony always says.

God Penny.. I’ve got some explaining to do later!

War memorial cotton exchange liverpool

War memorial cotton exchange liverpool – Credit from Wikipedia

All right… so I didn’t quite make the 200 quid I was hoping for on Penny Salerno’s Ma’s dressmaking stall at Greaty Market on Saturday.  Well… it fell quite a bit short of that actually… more like eight quid.  WELL you just wouldn’t believe how hard it is to sell dress material to women!  They’re dead fussy and want everything for nothing, and if it’s not Egyptian cotton they want a discount.    I don’t see what makes Egyptian cotton any better than good old Liverpool cotton.  They might be all right at building pyramids, but you can rely on the scousers to be the leaders in fashion.. I mean, where else but Liverpool can you find girls with a year round tan, camel-sized eyelashes and finger nails that can scratch your back even if you’re sitting on the other side of the room?

But fashion isn’t exactly ME is it?  I’ve got one pair of trainees (no shoes) which I wear for every occasion (You can’t see the hole under the left one, but my soggy sock knows about it!), I’ve got one coat (next door’s cast-off) and seven pairs of undies which I wash, wear, and turn inside out for extra wear on a regular basis.   Don’t get me wrong, Anthony and Susan have been life savers with the stuff for school they’ve bought me when I go around to their house… but it doesn’t exactly make me a follower of fashion does it?   And if I’m dead honest, I don’t give a shit if I’ve got gear from the charity shop or posh named gear.

I was watching a fella on the fruit stall opposite, shouting to the  customers.. ‘Get your broccolis here.. three for a pound!’  I could do that! I know my broccolis from my cauliflowers.  But selling flowery material to tight arsed old grannies just isn’t my forte.  Still… eight quid’s better than a smack in the gob, even if I did work my arse off for seven hours!  And the upside of it is that I’m beginning to know my brushed cottons from my algodon cottons (or something like that anyway).

I’m not giving up that easily though.. next week I’m aiming higher, hoping to double my money.   I might even treat Penny to the pictures afterwards with my wages if I have enough (bet she’d be dead made up).

Jeremy Clarkson called Richard Branson a beard...

“Space virgins need chutes”. The Times (London) . . Retrieved 26 April 2010 . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only have I got the love of a good woman now (The beautiful and talented Ms Salerno!) But my luck is up and running in other ways too… Penny’s got me a job on her ma’s dressmaking stall down Greaty Market!  She says if I single-handedly sell material and bring in new custom to the stall she’ll give me two quid for every sale! TWO quid for EVERY SALE!  I was working that out in my head.. and it basically means that if I can get 100 people a day to buy something then I’ll clock up 200 quid a day!!! I’LL BE LOADED!

Greaty market is only on Saturdays, but I was thinking that if I can do dead good at that, then I can start working at other markets in the week.. maybe on the fruit and veg at Saint John’s and then work my way up to fresh meats, I could end up being like that fella Richard Branston by the time I’m eighteen!  Having my own helicopter and flight company by the time I’m twenty-one ….   Penny will be mega impressed! I’m dead looking forward to it big style!

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.