Posts Tagged ‘Pier Head’

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!

I had this ginormous smile on my face when I was walking home from school this afternoon.  I kept trying to make it go away but it kept coming back.. I couldn’t control it.   I was in a good mood going to school this morning for two reasons….. one was because Liverpool had won 2 – 0 on Saturday, and the other was because Binny hadn’t been around for days.    Then to top off the huge smile I had spread across my face this afternoon, was that Penny Salerno in our class had walked half way home with me tonight.   I was dead made up that her house wasn’t by mine though – I couldn’t have let her see where I lived.

Penny is 13 like me.  She’s got this dark brown hair that sits on her shoulders, and eyes so brown that you can hardly see the black circle in the middle.   Not that I fancy her or nothing!   She’s just a girl who smiled at me twice today, and then caught me up on the way home to walk with me.  She’s got dead white teeth though… perfect as well.   She’s quiet in class, but she’s one of those girls that everyone likes.  And half the lads fancy her.   I DON’T fancy her though!  She’s just a girl who wanted to walk home with me…..  THAT’S all!

Anyway.. I realised that I had my jumper on inside out when she pulled on the tag at the back, which supposed to be on the inside.  I felt like a right knob!  But I didn’t want to take it off and turn it the other way, ’cause it would mean she’d see the state of my shirt underneath.   I’d been wearing it for a week.    Not that I’m lazy, but our washing machine doesn’t work and Binny’s  socks and undies have been hanging in our bathroom for a week.   How can washed socks still stink? It’s a wonder they didn’t walk out of our bathroom  all by themselves.  I needed to wash my clothes in that bathroom sink, but I didn’t want to go in there for longer than I had to, so I’ve been putting it off.   But Binny’s been missing for days, I can tell even me ma doesn’t know where he’s gone.    I’m secretly hoping that he’s fallen off the end of the pier while he’s been stoned.  But I just bet my luck wouldn’t stretch that far.

Getting back to Penny… she’s all right she is.    Asked me loads of questions about my life and family and stuff.  I didn’t really answer them though..      Well what could I say really??  ‘Hello Penny, I’m  Tommy… let me tell you a bit about myself: My dad’s doing life in Strangeways for murder, me ma’s an alchy… her fella’s a junky… I have to cover my ears with my pillow every night so I can’t hear them sh*ggin’.  My dog got put up for adoption, and I’ve had more foster parents than you’ve had hot dinners!’.     Yes she’d be dead impressed with that wouldn’t she?!!! NOT.

Binny's fate (hopefully!) - Photo by Jilly Gardiner

So instead I just smiled and kept asking her the same questions she was asking me.   She’s got an older brother, aged 17.  He’s doing his A-Levels, but then he wants to go and study in Milan, as that’s where a lot of her family are from.   How cool is that!   I knew I liked the Italians!

She’s all right she is.

When the time came for her to walk the other way to her home , I was a bit disappointed, so I kept her talking about her family a bit more.  Her ma’s a dressmaker and her dad’s a plumber.  I nearly laughed out loud when she said her dad’s a plumber…  wasn’t that what Super Mario was? An Italian Plumber!  I thought it was dead funny, but I kept it to myself.   I couldn’t think of anything to ask her in the end, so I just said ‘see you’ and walked away.  I didn’t even look back, just in case she caught me looking.   Maybe I should have asked her if she wanted me to walk her home or something.. but I think she’d have thought I was coming on strong.  So I just played it cool.

Penny’s all right she is..

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!…