Sunday 30 September 2012
Nailed - A short story
I had often wondered what would happen when I finished growing. When I was 'long enough' as Joeys mum said, in her gravelly voice as she sucked the smoke out of another cigarette. Joeys mum was always yelling at him, telling him he was a 'good fer nuthink'. Once she'd been so mad with Joey she'd chased him round the old green kitchen table with a rolling pinthreatening to roll his head flat and bake it in the oven. Joey had shouted back at her, calling her a fat cow. I never knew what a cow looked like until then, though I knew milk came from them. Joeys dad was always coming home drunk as a skunk whacking Joey and his mum if they so much as looked at him. Those were the only time I saw Joey cry. He'd run up to his room and hide in the wardrobe and cry and cry. Of course I was there with him. Joey and me were inseperable, wherever Joey went I went too and you would think that meant we were friends, but Joey was always picking on me. He would get his thumb and forefinger and pinch and pull and squeeze as hard as he could. He even took to biting me and there was pretty much as good as nothing I could do about it. No one could hear me, I held all my screams silently inside of me, always silently, and no one would of cared anyway. They would of just thought it was normal and told me to 'man the fuck up'.
Why did it have to be like this? I often asked myself. What was the point of it all? I mean, sure I knew I was good for saving his skin. I'd done that many times. Whenever we got into a bust up at school. Joey liked bust ups. He would see someone he decided was different, not the norm, maybe a bit of a geek and certainly not one of 'the gang'. The 'gang' were a peculiar group of boys Joey had hand picked because he could tell them what to do and no matter how shit it was they were to scared of Joey to not do it. Anyway, when Joey took a dislike to some he'd start walking real close behind them, whispering names at them like 'hey dickhead, yeah you dipshit!' when the poor guy eventually turned around Joey would lay a swift one right on the snouter and if they fought back, which sometimes they were stupid enough to do, it would be on. I was his right hand man, as they say. Plenty of times I'd end up more torn up and bruised than the poor sucker we were picking on. It would take me days to recover.
What did all that prove anyway? Sometimes I wished I belonged to somebody else. Someone like Mr Peters, the history teacher, who was always kind and gentle and always looked clean and had a sort of well-polished glow about him. He looked like he respected himself. Not like Joey who in my opinion disliked himself so much he had to get his respect from everybody else. He disliked himself most of all when we had to run upstairs to get away from his dad and hide in the darkness of his wardrobe. I hate the dark. That when Joey puts that slimy pink think all over me and I just have to take it. The dark hole of his mouth opening towards me is even more terrifying than than the dark of the wardrobe.
Later, in the middle of the night, lying on my pillow, I would be jerked from deepest sleep by the recurring nightmare of the pink slimy slug coming to get me. I couldn't get away from it, the darkness was claustrophobic. In the morning, as I sat with Joey at the breakfast table watching the spoon shoving loads of sopping, stinking cereal covered in mothers milk into the hole in his face, I got glimpse after nauseating glimpse of the horrid pink thing. To make matters worse, Joeys Ma who had been scratching around in the cupboard suddenly turned around, took one long hard look at Joey, up and down, and said THE WORDS. No one had told me what would happen after I heard THE WORDS, but I knew it weren't gonna be no nirvana. Right there at that moment I felt like I was the only one in the world who had ever felt so terrified, who had so much at stake. In a blinding moment of clarity I realized that, hey, I wasn't alone. There were others going on this journey right along side me at pretty much the same time as me and plenty of others had gone before. I wasn't special or unique, just a part of an ever repeating, continuing pattern and cycle in the space-time continuum. The problem was, I didn't feel like I had finished creating my particular piece of the pattern. The lament of all but the murdered and the Suicides - their pattern is complete.
Anyway, it had finally come. The moment when THE WORDS were spoken. I could feel the blood rushing around me, pounding louder and louder. Louder than ever before, the great cacophony of life. I could feel the sweat build up around me, slide slowly down the silver spoon and drip onto the stinking cereal in the bowl beneath me.
'Joey, did you hear me? Go and do it now!' Joeys Ma growled.
I watched as Joey shoved a last spoonful in to his hole, scrapped his chair back from the table and stood up. I willed him to sit back down. I dug into the table edge, resisting with everything I had. Joey looked surprised, as if he hadn't expected any resistance, as though he were God and omnipotent. Well we all play our part but we make our own choices, it's just a shame we can't always follow our choices through. That morning I chose not to go with Joey, but you can't stay behind and watch someone you're attached to just walk away. No way no how is that even possible. Besides which next minute -Whack! - Joeys mum slapped the spoon down and I let go the table quick smart, I can tell you.
Joey clomped upstairs to the bathroom and pulled out some long silver blades that crossed over each other - scissors he called them. He had them right up against me before I even had time to think.
'Circumcision time boys!' he smiled.
All of a sudden I was not part of Joey and he was not part of me. I knew I would never see him again. I felt myself floating through the air towards a dark tunnel. There was no light. I knew others had gone into this dark tunnel before me. I could smell death. By some miracle I missed the dark tunnel. I lay on my side against the white enamel of the bath. A droplet of blood clinging to me. My god, I was still here! Still with Joey. I almost wished for the dark tunnel. I watched as Joey put a round plug over the dark tunnel and started to run the water. He took of all his clothes and got into the bath water. I watched as he shucked himself under the water. The movement made the water level rise and a great swoosh of water came towards me. I was swept up onto it and suddenly there was Joeys mouth opening as he gasped for a breath of air and I was headed straight for the pink thing, and behind the pink thing black nothingness. Joey swallowed. Nothingness is inescapable.
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