Posts Tagged ‘Prison’

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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Anthony asked if I wanted to go and stay at their house after we left the prison.    But I decided to go home instead… I just wanted to be on my own.

It was a bad decision.

Anthony dropped me off after checking I was OK.  I told him I was, but I honestly don’t know if I am.  I waved him goodbye as he drove off and let myself into our house.

I was about to go up to my bedroom and lock the door, when me ma bounced out of the living room and stood in front of me, shouting.  ‘Who the f&ck was that!?’ She screamed.   She’d be drinking.

‘Who was what?’  I said, my heart racing.

‘Don’t f&ckin’  lie to me!  I saw you get out of the car!  Who is that fella?  Have you been grassing me up to social services?’

‘No’ I screamed.

‘You’re lying!’

‘I’m not!’ I tried to walk past her to the stairs.  I could see that she was smashed, and that there was no point in having a screaming match.. she wouldn’t remember tomorrow anyway.  She grabbed my arm and swung me round.

‘Tell me who it was in the car!  You’ve grassed me up haven’t you!’

‘No!  It was my mate’.

‘You’re a lying little bastard!  You’ve grassed me up.. my own son! You’re a dirty, lying little bastard!’ She screamed in my face.

I felt so mad… I wanted to cry and scream at the same time.  I snapped ‘It was my mate!  He took my to see me dad in prison!’  That shut her up.  She stared at me like she didn’t believe me… her face all screwed up like an old woman.

‘You didn’t!’ she said it like she hated me.

‘I did!  He might be a murderer, but I still thought he’d be a better dad to me than you are a mother!’.

I didn’t feel the slap across my face – it was too quick.  I just felt my head smash against the wall as I fell sideways.   I laid on the floor by the stairs, surprised that the bang hadn’t knocked me out.  She was still screaming over me.

‘You scheming little bastard!   After all I’ve done for you – and this is what you do!’  She staggered away back into the living room – probably looking for the whiskey bottle.

I wondered if she’d meant to hit me that hard.  I sat up and felt my head; there was  a lump the size of mount Etna, but no blood.   But as a stood up, there was a metallic taste in my  mouth.   I put my hand to my face and realised there was blood.

In the bathroom upstairs, I stared at myself in the mirror, holding my mouth open with my hand.  I could hardly see my teeth for all the blood.   After a good five minutes of close inspection, I could see that not only had my tooth gone through my gum, but when I wiggled the tooth, it actually came out in my fingers.   There I was, standing, looking a state in the mirror, holding my tooth in my hand.

I clenched my teeth and tried to smile.  The big black gap wasn’t too bad if I just ‘half’ smiled.  Penny Salerno would never fancy me without teeth.

I suddenly felt sick… really sick.   It was lucky the toilet was in the same room, because I puked my guts up, along with the tooth next to the one I still had in my fingers.

I needed to lie down… so I staggered to my room and passed out on the bed to dream weirdly realistic dreams of Caribbean Islands.  I was swimming in this dead clear water with all little tiny tropical fish around me.   And when I looked to shoreI could see Penny Salerno sitting on the beach waving to me.  I was waving back.. and she was smiling.  She was gorgeous.   But then she stood up and started shouting and screaming to me… I couldn’t hear what she was saying.

I looked down into the water, but I couldn’t see the fish anymore, just red… the water was red, like blood.  The sea was red.    And then I turned to see what Penny was pointing at on the water… There was a body… floating face down.  I started screaming, and it was floating dead close to me.  It was then I realised it was me ma!    Floating, dead on the water.  I started crying… screaming, wanting to help her.. but the pressure of the water wouldn’t let me close enough.

It was too late.

The Dream... The nightmare - Photo by Jilly Gardiner

I’ve been to hell.   A place I never want to stay.   It smells like our school, and echos in just the same way… but the doors bang harder, and the security guards (what they call ‘screws’) are even more evil than our Science teacher!

formerly known as strangeways

Image via Wikipedia

Anthony had agreed to come to Strangeways in Manchester so I could see the fella who was me dad.   He’d written a few emails and made a few phone calls – and then here we were – being checked for flickies and coke as we walked in.

I felt sick.   Sick with excitement, sick with dread.  I was finally going to meet the fella who was me dad, Carl Laurence.    I’d rehearsed it in the mirror loads of times – smiling, shaking hands with myself ‘Hello dad, I’m Tommy.. your son’.   But now I’d forgotten what I’d rehearsed.  I couldn’t remember my own name, let alone how to shake hands.

Anthony was dead boss.. he put his hand on my shoulder and smiled.. he didn’t have to say anything.. I knew he was telling me that he’d make sure everything was all right.

And then, there I was, sitting opposite the fella I’d been waiting to meet for years.   Tall, brown skin, messy, Afro hair.   He didn’t shake my hand.  He just stared at me across the table.

I couldn’t talk.  Anthony explained to him who I was, and that me ma had said I was his son.

‘So…. Tommy!’  Said Carl, ‘You’ve grown up!’

Turned out he’d known me when I was a baby.   It’s weird, but I didn’t have the feelings  I thought I would.   Before I came to Strangeways I so wanted to meet him, for him tell me he was my dad.  But now as I watched his lined face, and looked between his missing teeth, I didn’t feel like I had any connection to him at all.

‘Are you me dad?’ I said nervously.

Carl smiled, but not a good smile, a smile that meant something else, ‘I could be.  With a mother like yours, who knows!’

At first I didn’t know what he was getting at.. but then I got it.  I stood up, ‘What are you saying about me ma?’

‘Nothin’ lad, nothin’.  I must admit, he did look a bit sorry for saying it.

Anthony got hold of my arm, and made me sit down.   But I couldn’t listen to Carl Laurence after that.  He kept speaking, but I couldn’t hear it.. I couldn’t understand it.   I watched his eyes, his mouth, his wrinkles moving.   If he was my dad, I didn’t give a f&ck.   I had a horrible feeling welling up in my stomach as he kept speaking.  He was trying to be nice but I hated him.

I didn’t speak again.   Just listened to his words, but couldn’t take them in.   I was made up when Anthony said we should go.. he knew something was wrong… he knew I wanted to leave Carl Laurence behind.

As I left, he said he was getting out soon, and he’d look me up.   Why did I just want to cry.. not wimpy crying, but angry crying.  But  I wasn’t going to show him.   I kept it together right until I got outside the first doors.. and then Anthony put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed it.  I fell apart!  Burst into loads of tears… Stupid, wimpy bastard that I am.

I just don’t know what to think or feel anymore.  Who the f$ck am I?