The Problem

I’m a little tipsy. I’ve had a few pints. And I’m walking through the bus station. Smiling.

I don’t know why but when I’m tipsy it’s like I act as a magnet to every other person who’s reality is skewered. It’s like crazy can smell crazy, and everyone knows I can’t think straight.

I walk by a homeless man. He’s lying in a shop doorway, slowly licking a cigarette he’s in the middle of rolling. I’m still smiling to myself when I make eye contact. An invite. He stops licking the cigarette and stares back, shouting up into the doorway “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! CAN YOU SPARE SOME CHANGE!” and I know he’s really saying “you, can YOU spare some change” but by the time he’s finished his sentence I’m no longer looking at him and I’m pretending he’s not there and I can feel his eyes watching me as I walk by.

I sit down in the bus station. Wait for my bus.

I feel guilty. I ignored something in plain sight. A man looked into my eyes, I looked back. Then moments later I pretended he wasn’t there. I feel disgusted with myself. But I don’t go back and give him any change. I’m too ashamed. I wonder why I’m too ashamed to give money to a person in need. He needs the money more than I. But I feel like everyone would look at me, say “look at him, giving money to a homeless person.” I don’t have the guts.

I wallow in self-pity.

Then another man comes over. He wears a cream coloured suit, slightly dusty after what was obviously a good night. The good night is spread on his face in the form of a wide smile, each muscle of his face joins in on the activity.

“When do you reckon the bus is coming?”

I know when the bus is coming. He knows when the bus is coming. There’s a digital sign beside us, telling us when the bus is coming. I humour him anyway.

“About 10 minutes, mate.”

He’s not my mate, but I’m tipsy and he looks like the type of person that would make a good mate. He repeats my answer through his wide grin “about 10 minutes?” and he laughs loudly.

I get caught up in the laugh and I laugh with him, “aye, about 10 minutes!” I say. He laughs again. I laugh again. I’m laughing at a joke I don’t understand, a joke he probably doesn’t understand, but it doesn’t matter because we’re both happy and we’re laughing.

He skulks off a bit to talk with other people. But I know he’ll be back. Jovial people in white suits always come back.

He comes back.

“Hey mate!” he says. I turn to him, we make eye contact, but he says it again, just incase I’m looking through him. “Hey mate! I’ve got a problem.” I don’t say anything, but he knows I want him to continue.

As he tells me his problem he continues to smile, the happiest man alive. “I’ve only gone and got myself two girlfriends haven’t I?!”

He laughs. I laugh. We laugh. “Two girlfriends?! How’s that a problem?!” He laughs again. I laugh again. We laugh again.

“Well” he says “I love ’em both, don’t I!” His grin seems to get wilder, so happy about his problem. I grin back and my moral side speaks up “maybe you should own up?”

Stupid suggestion. He shakes his head. Walks away for a few steps, staring at the ground, mulling over the thought. He paces back “nah, I can’t man. I can’t!” He pleads with me, begs me to give him better advice, the wrong advice.

“How’d you get yourself into this mess?” I wonder aloud.

He runs his hand through his curly grey hair. His mouth still grins but his forehead wrinkles, deep in thought.

Well…she broke up with him didn’t she! Then when he was out the next week. You know, at that pub just around the corner. Just over there. He met the other one didn’t he, and she was amazing man, wasn’t she! Then a few days later his lass rang up didn’t she. Said she might have made a mistake, wanted him back didn’t she. Then he was stuck with both of them wasn’t he.

I sigh deeply. “I think you’ve got to pick one of them over the other, mate.” And he is my mate now.

He doesn’t even let me finish the sentence though. “You don’t understand man..” he brings out his hands, places them in front of him. “You see..” he shakes his right hand “..this one has a great house…” he shakes his left hand “..and this one has a great house.”

He looks at me as though it should make sense, but we both know it doesn’t, he swings his hands back down and sighs. He paces away again, but a presence stays in his place, a piece of energy holds his spot. He jumps back and tries to explain it again.

“You see mate, this type of thing…like…” his eyes dart about as he tries to figure out the words to tell me. “The chances of this happening are like, one hundred thousand to one.”

I tell him. He has to choose. One of them. He has to choose.

He shakes his head, continues to grin. “I can’t choose man. I just can’t. And this whole thing, you know. It tears me apart. In here.” He points to his chest, the grin still wide across his face. But he’s betrayed by his eyes. The eyes tell me the smile is a lie and the eyes turn the grin into a grimace.

I think of what to say, some choice words of wisdom and  but after a few moments he walks away. Gone.

This time he doesn’t come back.

Snow Day

Apparently Eskimos have 248 words for snow. Well, actually, I made up that number, but the whole point is that Eskimos have a frickin load of words for snow.

People throw this statistic around with wonder and admiration, no doubt thinking “those crazy eskimos and their snow.” In actuality Eskimos don’t have 248 words for snow. They have 248 words for snow in different contexts. For instance we call melted snow “water” and of course, so do they. But some idiot decided that water is one of their ways of talking about snow. Who can blame them anyway, they live in snow, they are at one with snow, they bloody love that snow.

I don’t blame them of course, snow is beautiful. The Eskimos (Inuits if you want to be politically correct) understand how beautiful snow is. They make films about it, make music about it and they write books about it. Probably not surprising really, with a language totally based on snow related topics, I guess there’s nothing else to talk about.

As it turns out the Eskimos have a little stat for the English as well, probably one you’ve never heard since you’re not an Eskimo (if you are, I’d like to know how you get wireless in an igloo.) The Eskimos say that “apparently the English have 248 words for breasts” and as it turns out, the Eskimos are right.

So why all this talk of snow? Unless you live under a rock you’ll know that today is a snow day. Even if you did live under a rock you’d probably know about it due to the fact that every person in the UK seems to be an amateur meteorologist. All we talk about is the damn weather, there is no escape. No matter what weather is coming up tomorrow there’ll always be someone around to pucker their lips and say “it’s going to snow tomorrow you know” or “did you hear, heat wave next week” or even just simply shouting “RAIN! RAIIIINNNNNN!” at you.

Never have I woken up in the morning to look out at the world and find to my surprise that the world is covered in snow. More often than not this is because I’ve been reminded of it’s arrival from multiple people, multiple times, days before the event has happened. Quite often I’ll be lying in bed and get awoken by the phone “hello, Dan? It’s me Matthew Beaty. We haven’t spoken in 6 years and I had to trawl the internet for your phone number but I thought you should know something really important: it’s about to snow!” Woah, really! Call back when it’s sunny…oh…and you’re dead. Stop reminding me of the weather, thanks.

And so it snowed and the world was happy, but I was a miserable bastard. Of course the first thing you do on a snow day is the annoying process of making a snowball. Snowballs are fun. Or rather, snowballs are fun to throw at people, but if you’re like me when you eventually get a taste of your own medicine, and a snowball flies full force into your face you’ll go into a week long sulk and refuse to speak to anyone. That’s how I roll.

As I left the house this morning I realised there are stages to snow, written in many an expert snow book, but thankfully you don’t have to buy “Snow – Those Crazy Eskimos Love It You Know!” to find out what these stages are. Instead I shall tell you right now with the power of THE INTERNET.

1. Soft snow stage.
Like candy floss but not as tasty, especially when it’s yellow. So beautiful, I love snow! Woo! I wish it would snow everyday!
2. Crunchy snow stage.
Lovely soft snow has settled, now it gives a lovely crunch when you walk over it and compress it. It’s like walking on biscuits but more romantic. I love snow! It’s so great! WOO!
3. Evil slush stage.
The snow is starting to melt. My feet are getting wet and cold. I hate snow. Why does it fucking snow?! NOBODY LIKES SNOW! GO AWAY YOU DAMN SNOW!
4. Water stage.
Not actually snow but the last stage. Goodbye snow, I shall miss you.

From time to time these stages are interrupted by the dreaded X stage. So named because it’s Xtreme of course. The X stage is random and can happen at any time, day or night. Sub-zero temperatures turn the snow into ice. Ice isn’t snow. Ice is evil! You shall slip, you shall slide, you shall lose your sense of balance and everyone shall laugh at you!

Now though I’m going to tell you a secret. You can replicate the X stage. There’s a certain method with which you can turn crunchy snow into a death slide. Here it is.

1. Find a large piece of path where noone has stood in the snow.
2. Push the snow down all across the path with your foot, savouring the crunch.
3. Slide your foot along the pushed down snow until it is smooth and slippery.
4. Take some snow from elsewhere on the path and sprinkle it across your death trap.
5. Hide a short way away and watch as an 80 year old slips in the snow.

I wouldn’t encourage making one of these so called death slides, I’m a nice guy after all. But if you manage to take down one of your fellow weather-obsessed Englishmen, I wont blame you.

(Yes, I see the irony in hating people that talk about the weather all the time and posting all about the weather, so sue me.)

Another Letter From The Past

Here’s another letter from my family history. The subject the same as in the last post: my grandmas brother. This time the letter to my gran, from her mother.

To help understand the letter: Sgt. Gaulette was a member of the crew in the same plane as my great-uncle and the letter is a description of his last flight etc.

The 50% towards the end means of the people that marched from the camps I imagine.

Sat afternoon.

My dear Martha,
It is with a broken heart I am writing this, as I recieved a letter from Mrs Biggane the same time I got yours yesterday and she said she had seen Sgt. Gaulette on Monday. He was one of those prisoners who were marched across Germany from that camp in Silesia. One of the few survivors who were found by the Americans at a camp near Leipzig. Sgt. Sanders was seperated from his somewhere on the way and nothing has been heard of him since.

Sgt. Gaulette told Mrs Biggane the whole story of their last flight, they were unfortunately half an hour late in starting, owing to their having to go in a different plane at the last minute, so when they reached Munich they were the last to go in and every available searchlight and gun was concentrated on them. They were hit over the target and one engine set on fire, but they managed to put the fire out, but they had to come home on three engines which of course meant that the plane was much less manoeuvrable and was an easy target for fighters.

As they neared Heidelburg they were attacked by an ME.109. and there was a running fight for 3/4 an hour then it broke off the fight and they thought they had shaken it off. But unfortunately it came in again from underneath their blind spot and shot them with its guns from end to end setting the starboard wing on fire. Then the pilot gave the order to abandon aircraft. They were by then down to 1000ft. Sgt. Gaulette went first, then Sgt. Imrie (but unfortunately his parachute did not open and he was killed), then Sgt. Sanders. Those were the only three who managed to get out.

Sgt. Gaulette landed in a field and saw the plane go down just above the tree tops. It flattened out as though the pilot was going to make a crash landing but on hitting the ground it blew up. The Germans told him next day that they had identified the pilot by the wings on his tunic.

Sgt. Sanders who had landed near a different village met the German pilot who had shot them down in the the Burgomasters office. He congratulated them on the splendid fight they had put up. When they told him they had been flying on 3 engines he could hardly believe it and he said they aught to be flying with the Luftwaffe instead of the R.A.F. He was a boy of 19 and they were his 15th victim. She said Sgt. Gaulette could not tell her anything specially about Dick but he hoped to see me later on.

It will be very hard for Mrs Sanders if her husband doesn’t turn up after going through what they have as Sgt. Gaulette said they were both in chains for a whole year in reprisal of Dieppe. But Sgt. Gaulette said that 50% of them must have died by the way and before that in the camp at Lamsdorf. She says we must be thankful that our dear boys was spared all that and the misery of the long seperation from those they loved.

They fought a good fight and by their courage and their sacrifice made possible the victory at which the world is rejoicing now. For if those boys had not done what they did in those days when everything seemed against us and evil so triumphantly strong this victory would never have been possible and when one sees all these miserable slaves released in their millions and that wicked evil system overthrown, however heartbroken one feels oneself one knows that the sacrifice – both theirs and ours – was worthwhile.

Susie and I are going to Church in the morning, I had so looked forward to seeing him again, but now I will have to console myself that God has taken him as he needs him moreso than me. It is my loss but Gods good gain, and I know he would not wish me to grieve too much. I can only remember his words. “Someone must do it, to save our country.” Therefore God has picked on us to pay the price for victory, and one day we shall meet again but in a better land and there will be a great re-union in the life to come.

I know he is not far from us, as all these long and terrible months I have suffered he has been close to me and I can still feel his cheek on mine from our last parting.

Don’t forget Martha just to offer a little prayer for him as that is all we can do for him now and I know he will hear you.

So cheerio dear.

From your loving mam, dad and sister.
xxxx
xxxx

Letter From The Past

Recently my mam has been clearing out my grandmas house as my grandma has moved out. During the clearing she found this old letter. The letter is from my grandmas brother to my grandma during the second world war.

For a little context it’s worth knowing my gran’s brother went on bombing runs during WW2 as a gunner in a Lancaster bomber. At the time my gran was also working for the RAF.

This was the last letter he sent to my gran as he was later killed in action.

1577367 Sgt. R. Cook
Sgts. Mess
R.A.F. Waddington
Lincs.

Mr Dear Sister,
At last I write to you. I’m very sorry my darling but you know what I am for writing letters. I can hardly find time to write to Mam and it’s a month since I wrote to Joan. Mam keeps telling me that you think I don’t care for you well my dear I don’t even want you to think that again because I do care for you very much after all you’re my sister aren’t you and I’m proud of you too. I’m always showing your photo to the boys. By the way I had mine taken when I was home but Mam will be sending you one as she has them all. Yes it was rather a pity you couldn’t have your leave a week later. You went back on the Saturday and I went on leave on the Monday so you just missed me, but I’ll be going on leave again on the 18th of January. You seen now that I’m on operations. I get 7 days leave every 6 week, not bad eh. But we need it. Since I got my stripes I’ve done 9 raids. I came back off leave last Monday and last Tuesday and Wednesday I went on both the big Turin raids. Yes my dear I’ve been around a bit since I start, I’ve been to

Turn – 4 times
Genoa – 3 times
Hamburg – 1 time
Stuttgart – 1 time

If i keep on at this rate I’ll soon have 30 done, then settle down for a nice 6 months rest as an instructor. Well now that Xmas is getting near I guess I’l have to be looking around for a Xmas box for you, I haven’t the faintest idea what to get you but I’ll dig something up. Mam told me you had got me a fountain pen and shaving stuff well the pen is just what I wanted but you needn’t have bothered about the shaving stuff as I’ve got plenty of that but never mind I’ll be able to use it and thank you very much my darling. Well I guess I’ve said about all I can now so with all my love to you I’ll say cheerio till next time.

Your Ever Loving Brother
Dick xxxxxxxxxxx

P.S. Give my love to all the A.T.S. girls down there. HA! HA!

Guilt Pie

It was a typical summers day at work, the type of day where you can’t wait to get back home and relax outside in the evening sun. After my stressful day I rushed back home and as soon as I walked through my door I knew there was trouble, I could smell it in the air. The smell of cooking swam into my nostrils as it always does and this time it smelt like pie. I know it’s got sage in it and if I know my wife, far too much salt. The salt isn’t a major problem in this case though, the pie is. You see there’s only one time when we eat pie and that’s when she’s pissed. She goes in that kitchen, she gets all the ingredients she needs and she makes dough. That dough gets pummelled and murdered. She strangles the dough, she punches the dough, she inwardly screams at the dough, taking all her frustrations and pain out on that mix of flour, butter and water. At the end she has a perfect lump of pastry, smooth and soft to touch.

The dough doesn’t go to waste of course. It goes into the pie. The best pie you’ve ever tasted. You take a bite and every tastebud in your mouth sighes with glee. Unfortunately everytime we have pie, the pie comes with something on the side. It’s never fries, it’s never mashed potato. Infact it’s not even an animal, vegetable or mineral. It’s “family discussion”, a polite term for shouting, crying and all around bad feelings. Jokingly we call it “Guilt Pie”, but NEVER when it’s being served. (I once tried to lighten the mood during a particularly bad “family discussion” by saying “damn, this is the best Guilt Pie I’ve ever tasted.” Bad idea.)

So I’m standing in my doorway and thinking about the Guilt Pie – listening to my wife humming crazily from the kitchen – and I contemplate just turning and leaving. Maybe she never heard me coming in? I could just sneak back out, call up and say I have to work late. A quick meal at Burger King could be followed by sitting in my car for a few hours until dinner at home is done. I know of course that I’m dreaming, sitting in a car alone is a dream that will never come true. If I put off the pie, it’ll just come back the next day, I know my wife. I accept my fate and shout ironically “Honey I’m home!” as I head into the kitchen.

Sliding into the kitchen I kiss my wife on the forehead and sniff my nostrils loudly. “Mmmmm, smells good” I say “what is it?”

She smiles back at me and winks “it’s a secret.” I laugh back at her and quip “oo, are you going to wrap it up for us?” but secretly I’m thinking. You. Bitch. It’s GUILT PIE, you KNOW it’s Guilt Pie, so just say it’s fucking pie! Of course that’s not how it works, that’s never how it works. Continuing to smile she pats me on the bum and says “go get ready for dinner. It’s the usual time, don’t be late!”

I leave the room to change into some comfortable clothes, pretending I can’t wait for dinner when secretly I’m dreading it. Fucking pie.

Not long later I find myself sitting in the dining room at our table. My 11 year old daughter, Jo, sits to my right at one end of the table and my 13 year old son, Tick (his choice, not ours, another pie for another time) sits opposite her. We pass pointless stories around the table about our day and finally my son asks “yo boy, you know what’s for eats?” I laugh back at him sarcastically and put on my hip old man voice “dawg, I aint got no clue yo!” He lets out a noise from his lips and rolls his eyes. In my head head I feel a little pity. Sorry son, we’re having pie.

My wife brings in the side dishes first placing them around the table and we gratefully sit back and thank her.

Then she brings in the pie. Except we can’t see the pie – she’s hidden it under the lid of a silver platter. I watch my children and cringe as they both lean forward in their seats and lick their lips. “What’s for eats?” Tick asks as politely as he can. My wife smiles back at him placing the platter on the table. “Oh honey, it’s your favourite” she says. He leans forward in his seat further, his eyes transfixed on the platter, just waiting for the first sight of his favourite meal – meatloaf. Jo leans back sulking slightly and as my wife sits down she asks “whats wrong honey?” Jo pouts “why is it HIS favourite and not MINE?” My wife unwavered smiles back “it’s your favourite too, baby!” and Jo grins happily leaning forward again – no doubt imagining pork chops. I stare over the table at my cruel bitch of a wife and she stares back. She’s evil, but I love her.

Stillstaring at me she asks “why don’t you do the honours Peter?” and I stand up and place my hand on top of the silver platter, my eyes never leaving hers. I begin to lift the lid off the platter as my children hold their breathe in anticipation. I bite my lip and yank the lid up quickly, a large billow of steam rising into the air, masking the meal for a moment in a cloak of mystery. As the steam clears I hear two sighs in unison coming from both sides of me and the creak of two chairs as my children collapse into them. Looking down slowly and back up at my wife I say with perfect execution “mmmm, pie…what a lovely surprise.” My children stare at me wondering why I’m bothering with this charade, but I have to, it’s just the way it is.

The pie sits in a china pie pot in the centre of the silver platter, a large silver spoon lies beside it and looking at it I know what I have to do. “Jo, pass your plate please.” I say looking over to her. She shakes her head slowly and mouths “no!” to me. But I nod slowly and sympathetically back at her with a lack of arguement. She hands over her plate and I break the seal of the pies crust, crunches filling the silent room. Scooping the pie into the spoon I put it down onto her plate, tapping gently so the pie slides off. I hand the plate back and continue with Ticks plate, moving onto my wifes plate before finishing with my own plate.

We pass the side dishes around the table, a few peas here, a few carrots there, the clatter of cutlery filling the air. As the last dish is passed around we all sit in silence and my wife says “Tick, why don’t you say grace tonight?” I stare at my wife, again she stares back. Our children close their eyes but we keep ours open, still staring. “Grace!” Tick shouts before pulling up his fork and stabbing it into a carrot which vanishes quickly into his mouth. Jo follows suit as they both attempt to eat their meals as fast as humanly possible. Still we stare and my wife tilts her head to the side. “What’s wrong Peter? Not hungry?”

Inwardly I sigh and I pick up my fork as my wife watches me slicing it through a piece of the pie that seemingly melts apart before forming perfectly on my fork. Looking at the succulent pie I can hear my tastebuds screaming for it’s flavour and I give in to them soon enough and bring the fork up to my mouth. As the pie reaches my lips my wife cuts in, her voice stern “Oh, before you eat can we have a little talk?” I nod “sure honey” and I put my fork down wishing I could have had one bite, just one little piece of pleasure before the pain.

Pre-empting my wife my children both put down their forks and stop eating. “Actually” she says “I think this will be a family discussion so we should all hear it.”

She looks at noone in particular and says. “Well…I just thought you’d like to know Peter, that Tick is now into drugs.” My son groans but my wife pretends not to hear it. She continues “I was doing his laundry today and guess what I found in his pocket.” Skillfully she pulls a small packet from her pocket and throws it into the middle of the table for all to see. Instantly I know what it is, but I play dumb. “Oregano?” I ask her. She glares back at me, her voice raising a few notes “no it’s not oregano, does it look like it’s oregano? It’s POT! YOUR son is a POT HEAD NOW!”

That was when it all came crashing back into my memory. You see, now, I’m a Conservative parent, but as a young man I was an extreme Liberal. I marched to stop the war in Iraq, I hated George W Bush and by God did I smoke some pot. Infact I didn’t just smoke it. I sold it. I sold a LOT of it. In my town the war of drugs was basically a war on me. Now my kid was smoking it and I knew there was only one thing I could do.

Turning to my son I ask “Tick, is it true what your mother says? Have you been smoking pot?” I know for a fact he has already, I can see it in his eyes and I can see the evidence on the table, but at this table his mother is the judge and I’m his prosecutor. Innocent until proven guilty. He responds typically with an unoriginal story that I probably used on my own parents “it’s not my pot dad! I was just keeping it for my friend Baz! I don’t smoke pot, I’m smarter than that.” Of course it’s a lie, the tremble in his voice tells me so, but maybe my wife will be sympathetic for once in her life. I turn to her and reiterate the story “he’s just holding it for his friend, it sounds reasonable to me.” She says nothing, not one little word, she just raises her eyebrow slightly. After 20 years of marriage I know everything about my wife, I know she has an extreme fear of mould, I know when she brushes her teeth she starts on the left side and a minute later moves to the right. I know about that eyebrow. That eyebrow means “listen Peter, if that kid doesn’t run from the room crying you won’t be getting any sex for at least two weeks.” I turn back to my son and give him one last chance to win her over. “So you were just holding it for Baz? Why can’t he hold it for himself?”

My child lets out a loud um, then screams out “I don’t know! Jesus! Stop harassing me!” I look at him until his eyes meet mine. I say calmly, not raising my voice “Terrence. Your mother and I are very, VERY disappointed with you. You have let us both down. I think you should have a long think about what you have done and realise how much you have hurt us.” Leaving it at that I wonder what my child really has done, but I push it to the back of my mind, it doesn’t matter now. Turning back to my plate I pick up my fork and again start to work on the pie, moving the pie filled fork to my mouth. Again I’m stopped.

Out of the corner of my eye I see something flicker and as I look up I notice what it is. My wifes second eyebrow. That’s a month without sex. The fork hangs in the air as I stare at her, her hands calmly lying on the table. She wants more, she wants crying. I take a deep breath and slam my fork down onto my plate to create a loud clink. Jumping up I push my seat back and scream down at my son who’s prepared himself for the coming onslaught. “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU BROUGHT DRUGS INTO OUR HOUSE! DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT THIS WILL DO TO YOU? DO YOU WANT TO END UP DEAD? DO YOU WANT A FUTURE?” I slam my fists down onto the table and he jumps as my daughter squeaks. “YOU’RE A DISGRACE TO THIS FAMILY AND A DISGRACE TO YOURSELF!” His face goes red and tears well up in his eyes. “IF THIS EVER HAPPENS AGAIN! EVER! WE WILL SEND YOU OFF TO A MILITARY ACADEMY! INFACT WE MIGHT DO THAT ANYWAY, BECAUSE WE ARE SICK OF YOU!” Tears roll down his cheeks and he sobs loudly, running from the room. A few seconds later we hear the slam of a door upstairs.

I sit back down as my wife stands up. “Did you have to be so hard on him Peter?” she says, leaving the room and going upstairs to comfort her child. It’s all part of the unspoken deal, I’m the angry dad, she’s the loving mother. It’s the way she likes it and it’s the way I hate it. Guilt fills me and that’s when I know it’s time to eat the pie.

I dig into the pie and it melts on my tongue, the buttery flavour of the pastry mixing with the meaty filling perfectly. Swallowing the pie hits my stomach, soothing me. Throwing another piece into my mouth I close my eyes and chew, allowing the flavour to destroy the bad feeling of guilt in my body. One more fork full and the guilt is gone entirely, I feel relaxed and at peace. The peace is disturbed slightly when a small voice comes into my ear a few moments later. It’s my daughter. “Daaaad?” she asks and I already know the question. “What’s pot?” I smile back at her. “It’s something naughty honey. Something very VERY naughty.” She nods back at me before asking to be excused, I hear her trundling up the stairs, no doubt going straight to her computer to find out what pot actually is.

Sitting for a moment I let the good feeling wash over me completely, before I rise from the table, palming the packet of marijuana. I shove one last piece of pie into my mouth and hope the next pie we have is a long way away.

Later that night my wife asks “what did you do with the pot sweetie?” Lying I tell her I’ve destroyed it and she seems convinced. For my monthly fishing trip with the guys this month I’d be making some pie of my own. Some good, old fashioned Pot Pie. Almost the best pie in the world.

The Girl In My Class

After a long boring summer with nothing much happening, I came back to university for another year of pain and hard work. My first week of classes started, with an introductory session to each cass and by the end of the week I knew what my favourite class would be: screenwriting.

When I turned up for the first lesson it was business as usual. I did as I usually do. I glanced around the room at my fellow classmates, looking for anyone familiar, anyone to pair up with, someone to sit next to. I noticed a group of guys I barely knew from the year before and after a short think and a nod in their direction I decided to sit alone. It wasn’t awkward, we were acquaintances, not friends.

As I sat down my brain changed modes. This time instead of glancing around the room for friends, I was glancing around the room for hot girls. I can’t help it, I’m a guy. After a brief scan my brain reported back that there were two reasonable girls in the room but nothing of note, so I sat back in my chair waiting for the lecture to start.

A few moments later my new lecturer entered the room, a small chubby man named Martin. He waved to the class and beamed “hellooooo my wonderful new students” and a few lone students grumbled back in apathy. He just kept on smiling, walked to the front of the class and said “you guys need to lighten up…do some drugs or something.” At the mention of drugs the class seemed to spruce up somewhat and Martin beamed back “that got you all in the mood didn’t it!” He laughed before moving on “anyway, welcome to screenwriting 101, where you will learn everything about…” when suddenly the door slammed shut cutting his voice out. Everyones head span towards the noise instinctively; just in time to see a petite brunette girl jumping at the sound. I looked at the girl and a voice popped up from the recesses of my brain. It said “BINGO!”

The girl stuttered out an apology, before running off to a chair next to a good looking boy who was waving to her. A pang of jealousy shot through me momentarily before Martin’s speech distracted me back to reality.

Part way through the speech a picture of the girl popped into my head and to verify to myself that she was actually real I turned my head to look at her. Getting a closer look I noticed she was hotter than I first thought. My mind screamed “B-B-BINGGOOOOOOOOO!” and a twinge of excitement was in my stomach as it usually is.

Over the next few weeks my obsession grew larger as I learned more about her from fragments of overheard conversations and simply just from looking at her. Her name was Julia, she kept a Tamagotchi called Rizla, she had a bonsai tree at home which she clipped once a month, she liked big butts and she wasn’t going to lie about it. Everything I heard built up an image of her. The image was of my perfect girl. Of course I didn’t even know her, so it was silly to like her at all, but after a while my mind filled in the blanks. I knew she liked Japanese food, I knew she was an atheist and I knew she was single. I never heard her say these things but I just knew.

Then, one particular day I came in to class, everything changed. As Martin sat at the front, his legs dangling over the side of a desk he spoke to us. He said “today class, we are going to learn about creating characters.”

A few faces looked nervous and sensing this he continued “but don’t worry, it’s easy. In fact I’ve got an exercise all set out for you guys. I want you to go out to the cafeteria or library or something and I want you to look at a person, any person, then I want you to write about them. I want you to write about what they look like, I want you to write about who they are, I want you to write about where they come from. I want you to write everything…but come back in 30 minutes because we need to finish off the lesson.”

Everyone shuffled out of their seats, the sound of chairs scraping off the floor filling the room. I just sat where I was, opened up my pad and began to write. “Her name is Julia…”

After about 10 minutes of furious writing I looked up to find I was the only person left in except for Martin, sitting at his desk at the front, writing into his own pad. As I glanced over he looked up and made eye contact. Smiling he asked “how’s it going?”

“Alright.” I said back, not wanting to get into a conversation.

Obviously not taking the hint he asked me “so who are you writing about? Me? There’s no-one else around for you to look at.”

I shook my head and laughed “sorry, I’m afraid not, I’m just making this character up in my own head.”

“Way to go, that’s the best way to do it. Keep up the good work man!” he said.

I thanked him kindly before continuing to write, stopping briefly every few moments to think. In no time at all students were filing back into the room and sitting down as Martin greeted them.

Once everyone was in the class he started up the lesson again: “right class, I hope everyone didn’t find the exercise too hard and if you did, don’t worry.” A sigh of relief came from a few students as Martin continued “now I think it’s time we heard one just so I know we’ve all been doing it correctly.”

I gulped. Praying I wouldn’t have to do it, revealing my obsession.

“Any volunteers?” Martin asked. I looked around the room hopefully, attempting to raise someone’s hand with my mind.

Martin, unfazed, said “are you sure no-one wants to volunteer? If no-one volunteers I’ll have to pick someone.”

I closed my eyes and in my head I prayed even more. “Please God, if you exist, please don’t let her find out, please.”

A sweet voice came into my ear saying “I’ll do it.” Opening my eyes I could see Julia, her hand extended.

“Thank you. Come and stand at the front so we can all hear you.”

I watched as she rose to her feet and slowly walked to the front of the class. My eyes were glazed on the back of her head and my mouth went dry in anticipation of her performance.

As she made it to the front she span on her heel and clearing her voice she looked down at her pad and her voice flowed through the air.

“He is a young man in his early twenties with short dark hair. His hair is soft and fuzzy like a fur-ball on the top of his head. A small scrunched up nose sits between his two beautiful green eyes and many a time my eyes sting as I’m so busy staring at him.”

At this a few girls at the back of the class giggled and her cheeks went red slightly.

“He likes bright colors. He doesn’t like to shave, but that’s fine with me because I like the ragged look. He’s caring and gentle and once nursed a cat back to health after it was run over. He’s strong as an ox and willing to fight for the things he cares about, but he’s not physically violent, he only resorts to that when he really needs to.”

Pausing she looked over to Martin and he beamed “this is great, anymore?”

Blushing she said “I really like him.”

Martin looked back and said “I think that was pretty obvious from what you wrote. Does your character have a name?”

Glancing towards the class for a split second she spoke quietly, her face red “his name is Dan.”

My brain played it back a split second later “his name is Dan.” Holy shit! I’m Dan. Looking up I made eye contact with her and she looked away quickly. Moving back to her seat the class erupted in chatter. I just continued to look to the front in a minor daze.

Martin hushed the class down and spoke “well, after that revelation I think it’s only fair that Dan reads his own character out.” Martin looked at me and winked.

Adrenaline pumped suddenly through my body and before I knew it I was at the front of the class, my body shaking and my heart racing.

“Well….” I started “erm….well.”

The silence in the room cut through me as my audience stared at me, awaiting my character. I cleared my throat and started “SHE IS A TEENAGE GIRL.”

Martin jumped up “woah man, relax.”

I whispered to him “sorry, just a bit nervous.”

Clearing my throat again I restarted.

“She is a petite teenage girl with a cute face and an even cuter ass.” The class laughed out loud and with the confidence boost I continued “I’m slightly obsessed with her and have been since I first saw her because she’s the most beautiful girl I know of.”

The same group of girls from earlier sang “awwwwwww.” Looking down at Julia I spoke.

“Her hair is as dark as a ravens apart from a single stripe of blue. It falls down to her shoulders and moves slowly in the wind as she walks.”

Julia looked back up and a smile broke over her face.

“She likes Japanese food, cult movies and turning her duvet into a little tent while pretending she is camping. Sometimes she spends all day in old clothes reading books and drinking hot chocolate and other times she goes out and takes photos of churches.”

She smiled and nodded and it was then that I knew life was about to get better. I finished off my description and turned to Martin.

“Well?” I asked Martin.

“Well” said Martin grinning “we still need a name for your character.”

Turning to Julia I spoke to her as she smiled. The class held it’s breathe as I said aloud “her name is Julia”

As the sentence left my lips and entered her ear, her mouth contorted and the smile vanished from her lips. Tears welled up in her eyes and she jumped from her seat, running out of the door, slamming it behind her.

The class breathed out and her friend stood up grabbing her bag before leaving the room. As he left he turned to me and said to me “you’re such a prick, how could you tell her in front of the whole class that you fancied her best friend when you knew she liked you.”

I battled with confusion and unhappiness as he walked from the room and Martin turned to me “that was cold man.”

The next day walking into the cafeteria I noticed across the room a bunch of girls eating lunch and my eyes zoned in on one in particular, it was my dream girl again, back to her usual smiling self. As I walked to the sandwiches I struggled with a thought in my head. Should I go over and talk to her, maybe patch things up and live a long happy life with her? Or should I pretend she didn’t exist and continue with my lonely unhappy life?

Deciding the latter wasn’t particularly appealing I detoured and walked towards her table. As I reached the edge of the table conversation stopped dead and everyone turned to look at me. I turned to my girl and said softly “erm, could I just speak to you a second Julia?” Tears welled up in her eyes again and a rough voice to the side of me shouted in my ear “what do you want to talk to ME for?”

Turning my head, I finally realised my mistake. Sitting in front of me – with the exact same haircut and dress sense as the girl I’d dreamt of for weeks – was another, plumper girl. Unable to contain myself I laughed out loud and barked “wait a second, YOU are Julia! Oh I’m so sorry.”

The table looked back confused and taking a deep breathe I explained the whole story. I thought the girl of my dreams was called Julia after overhearing one of her conversations, but that was just her friends name.

I turned to the girl I really wanted and noticed she was now smiling. “So what is your name?” I asked. She replied, winking “I don’t usually tell til the second date.”

“Oh alright” I said “I guess we’d better have our first date now then” and I whisked her off to another table for a ham sandwich and can of coke.

Dan

The New Car

It all started with an arrival. Not the arrival of a train or the arrival of a baby but the arrival of a brand new car.

Now to most people, a new car means little. Sure when you first get it you brag about it to your friends, you make up excuses to use it and the brand new smell fills you with confidence when you get into it.

But of course, that smell goes eventually and the feeling goes with it. The car is just a car now, nothing more, nothing less.

My grandfathers first car was no different. It was just a car. It had one engine. It had four wheels and it was nothing special.

It was when my grandmother first fell pregnant that he decided to buy the car. He was getting tired of walking with her at a snails pace and a car seemed the perfect answer. So one morning while she slept he snuck out and came back with a dazzlingly red car.

As women are want to do though, she hit the roof. “We can’t afford this” she screamed and “we don’t need a car” she complained. My grandfather stuck to his guns though and the car stayed. “It just jumped out at me in the lot” he said “it looked so beautiful sitting there, I thought it would be perfect for driving our kids to school in.” The thought of children made her silent, the joy of a family ending her mood.

That night they went to sleep dreaming of their car filled up with children. The would bounce on the back seats as the car sailed along the coastline, the perfect summer holiday.

The next morning my grandpa woke up early as usual. He rolled over to my grandma and kissed her on the shoulder, “good morning beautiful” he purred before jumping out of bed.

He took a shower, put on his clothes and made himself a coffee. All part of his normal morning routine, preparing himself to go out to work in his DIY store. After breakfast he threw his shoes on, leaving the house and stepping into the front garden.

The new car was out in the yard, shining in the low morning sun, it’s body glowing red. He slid over and kissed the car and laughing said “good morning beautiful” before jumping in and driving off.

His day went by as usual. He sold nails. He sold paint. He sold a hammer. At the end of the day he drove back home, the car already starting to look slightly dusty.

That night he spoke constantly of the car. He spoke so much my grandma quipped “if you love that car so damn much, why didn’t you marry it instead of me?” He never spoke much of the car again after that.

Again that night they fell asleep and the next morning it was routine as usual. Roll over, kiss, “good morning beautiful,” shower, clothes, coffee and finally shoes. My grandpa walked to the front door and opening it he stepped out booming “good morning beau…” but he was cut off mid sentence when he noticed his car. No longer was the car new and elegant, it looked old and dirty.

Mud was splattered along the body of the car, grass stuck out from the lights and dark dust coated the windows.

His face grew red and he screamed in anger (to noone in particular) “DAMN KIDS! IF I CATCH WHO DID THIS TO ME I’LL MAKE THEM SO SORRY THAT I’LL…I’LL…WELL IT WON’T BE PRETTY!” The anger rose even more in his stomach and he kicked out at the cars wheel violently. As his body shuddered from the kick he gained his senses and he looked around, embaressed at how he had acted.

“Don’t worry, tonight you will be beautiful” he whispered to the car. He patted the cleanest part of the car before running out of the yard, hoping to catch the bus to work for the day.

After another day at the DIY store my grandpa came back home and as he entered the house my grandma asked sympathetically “what happened to the car, honey?” to which my grandpa could only reply “probably those troublesome kids from down the street.”

That night, after dinner my grandpa set to work. Using a bucket of soapy water and a sponge he wiped the mud off his car. He spent hours making the car spotless and afterwards the car shone. “As good as new” he said, throwing the sponge into his bucket.

Sleep came easy that night after the work of cleaning the car. Unfortunately the next morning things were the same. The car was splattered in mud, grass hanging from various recesses and dirt covered the windows.

As my grandfather stood in the front garden, staring at his beautiful car, dirty for a second time, his head filled with anger. With the anger came angry plans and over the rest of the day the thought of getting revenge never left his mind.

That night at dinner he told my grandmother his plan. “Well Deloris, my plan is simple. I’m going to wash the car like I did last night. I’ll get it spotless, it’ll be perfect. This time though I won’t leave the car. I’ll hide inside of it and I’ll wait. I’ll wait for those pesky kids and when they come to mess up my beautiful car I’ll jump out with a baseball bat. God damn those kids’ll get a beating.”

My grandma just laughed at the plan “you couldn’t fight a midget, let alone a bunch of kids. I’m not calling any ambulance when they jump you.” He shrugged her thoughts off and went out again, cleaning the car till it was spotless.

When my grandma was getting into bed that night my grandpa was getting into the car. He lay on the floor, hiding under a blanket and he waited.

After hours of waiting his eyes started to droop. Trying hard to stay awake he started to hum but the gentle hum just hypnotised his senses further and soon enough he was asleep on the car floor.

What seemed like moments of sleep passed when suddenly he was jolted awake as the car shook violently. It took him a few moments to realise he was in the car and not in bed but when he realised he grabbed his baseball bat and stared out of the car window to see who was wrecking his car.

The problem was though, he couldn’t see out of the windows. They were covered in what he could only guess was a black cloth.

Peering out of the front window he could just see his house in front of the car and an idea came to him immediately. He decided he would shock the kids. He would start the car, reverse out of the garden and twist the car violently around, throwing the kids from the car in the process.

He slipped into the cars front seat and clicked his seatbelt in. Quickly he placed his car key into the ignition and turned it, as soon as the engine has started he was at his controls and almost immediately the car was reversed out of his drive. In the space of the road he accelerated grabbing his wheel and throwing the car around in a doughnut shaped circle. From above him he could hear a squeal of delight, a squeal which brought forth my grandfathers rage.

Stopping the car he lined it up. He could still barely see out of the front window but he managed to point the car down his long street. He hit the gas, speeding down the road, gears changing quickly and as the car hit 40 miles per hour he jammed on the brakes, his body flying into his seat belt and his wheels skidding along the road.

Light suddenly shone in through the cars windows and something hit the bonnet of his car before rolling off into the road.

What my grandfather saw in that moment was almost impossibly freakish. It’s body was just smaller than the car he was driving. It’s eight legs the size of elephant trunks. A thick black fur covered it entirely and it’s eight eyes blinked at him in surprise. Standing in the middle of the street was a spider the size of a car. Later my grandfather decided to call him Henry, in that moment though my grandfather could only say one thing “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!” and in true hysteria he bashed the cars horn while screaming.

The flash of the headlights in Henrys eyes and the loud sound of the car horn scared Henry and he scarpered into the woods on the other side of the street.

When finally my grandfather was sure of his safety he looked out of his car onto the street and he fainted, his head landing on the steering wheel.

Later that night he drove the car back to his house and checking the coast was clear he sprang from the car. Running up the stairs he pulled off his clothes and jumped into bed. Hiding under the covers he crawled to my grandma and held her, waking her up. Sleepily she asked “did you teach those kids a lesson” and he could say nothing, he just held her tighter and he closed his eyes, trying to forget the night.

Now my grandfather wasn’t a fearful man, although it might not seem that way. If anyone had seen a giant spider they would have acted the same way, I’ve no doubt of that. Once he was used to the idea though it no longer worried him. For around a week everynight he would go out to his car after dinner and clean it only to wake the next morning to find it was dirty again. He hoped he’d dreamt up the spider but one night he woke from his sleep and headed to the toilet. As he slipped back into bed he heard a squeaking from outside and looking out of his window he seen the spider again.

The spider was lying on top of the car. Six of it’s hairy legs wrapped around the car and the other two gently stroking the bonnet. The car rocked slowly from side to side and the spider purred with delight, from time to time it squeezed the car tight and groaned.

Straight away my grandfather knew what was happening. The spider was in love with his car. He didn’t understand it, but just from the way it held the car he knew that could be the only explanation. He went to bed storing the information in his brain and giggling at the spider in love with a car.

After two weeks of cleaning the car everynight my grandfather finally lost his nerve and after constant questions from my grandmother he gave up. After cleaning the car he drove back to the car lot where he bought it. “I’m sorry” he said to the manager “but would it be possible to get this car in another colour? I don’t really like this one.”

The manager was only happy to oblige…for a small price. My grandfather handed the manager some money and drove back home with a shiny new blue car.

That night he stayed up, watching the car from his window, scanning the trees across the street for the spider. After a few hours the spider emerged from the woods and started to walk over to the other side of the road. Halfway over though it stopped. It looked over at the new car and blinked. A groan of sadness came from the spider and it’s body flopped down. It turned back towards the woods, sobbing as it slowly walked back.

My grandfather told himself he was a monster. He thought about himself coming back from work one day to find my grandmother missing. He thought about the heartbreak and with this thought he promised the next day he would go back to the lot and ask for his old car back.

“Of course” said the manager “for a small price.” So again my grandfather handed over some money which the manager pocketed with a smile on his face.

As my grandfather drove home he tried to think up another one of his amazing plans. How could he keep his car clean but also not break the spiders heart? After scheming for a short time he came up with a solution, a solution which he put into action that night.

That night he waited by his car, scanning the woods for the spider, knowing it would turn up to see if it’s love was back.

After much waiting the spider emerged from the woods and as it walked over the road my grandfather walked towards it. “Listen he said, I’ve got a…” but the rest of his sentence was lost to the excited squeals of the spider. The spider pounced over my grandpa and landed on the car, rubbing it’s muddy legs along the metallic body.

Almost immediately the car was dirty and my grandfather ran over shouting at the spider “For God sake! Look at how dirty you’re getting my car! I HAVE TO WASH IT YOU KNOW!” The spider just continued to purr with delight, rubbing it’s fur along the windows, blacking them out.

“IF YOU WANT TO SEE MY CAR YOU CAN SEE HER BY MY RULES” my grandfather screamed “OTHERWISE I’LL TAKE HER AWAY!” The spider continued and he cursed to himself. Why did he think a spider would understand English?

Instead he tried another method. He tapped the spider on it’s leg and one of it’s eyes turned to look at him. Pointing at the spider and the car my grandfather shook his head. Then pulling some dirt from the spider and throwing it on the car my grandfather shook his head again. The spider moved the tops of it’s legs up and down, my grandfather knew it was a shrug. The spider didn’t care if he was getting the car dirty.

“You will care though” said my grandfather and he motioned with his hands to tell Henry that if he wasn’t clean then he would take the car away again.

All of Henrys eyes turned to my grandfather and suddenly they started to water. My grandfather patted him on the leg, feeling his soft fur. “Don’t worry he said. We’ll get you clean” and he pulled the spider by the leg and the spider moved with him.

He led the spider into the back garden and pointed “there we go” he said “perfect.” The spider followed the direction of the finger and noticed he was pointing at a swimming pool. Jumping back the spider squealed.

“Don’t worry” my grandfather said softly “it’s only a swimming pool, you won’t drown. Look.” And my grandfather removed his clothes and jumped into the pool, splashing the water around him.

The spider edged slowly towards the side of the pool, scared of the water. My grandpa stood in the middle and waved his arm. “Come on in….erm….Henry.”

Henry lowered one leg slowly into the water and touched it, quickly reeling back. “Don’t worry” my grandad said “it’s not deep.” Soon enough the spiders whole leg was in the water and it was moving back and forth, the mud sliding off. After the first leg came the second and after that came the third until eventually the spider had enough confidence to get into the pool by himself. At first he panicked, splashing the water around all over my grandad. Eventually though he calmed down, realising the water came no higher than his legs.

My grandfather stood in the water staring at Henry. “Do this” he said and my grandfather held his nose and plunged his head until the water. Moments later he came back up, his hair flattened to his head.

Hentry followed suit. His whole body falling into the pool and the water displacing over the sides. He stood straight back up and the water fell from his body. The dried mud was getting wet and muddy water was slowly emerging from Henry in clouds of dirt.

“Right, time we got you sorted out” my grandfather said walking to the side of the pool and picking up two sponges. He walked back over the pool to Henry and he slowly started to sponge his furry body. The spider purred, obviously enjoying it.

My grandfather stopped and held out the sponges to Henry. “Your turn” he said and he handed the two sponges to Henry. As he handed them over he fiddled with the sponges in front of Henry, showing him some straps which he had attached to the them. “Thats so you can hold them” my grandpa said showing Henry how to put them on.

Henry slid the sponges onto two legs and began scrubbing himself. As he scrubbed my grandad went over again to the side of the pool and picked up some more cleaning things. In both hands he held a giant bar of soap strapped into a holder.

Again he scrubbed these on Henrys body and showed Henry how to use them. Pretty soon Henry had four legs at work. Two with soap and two with sponges.

Once more my grandfather went to the side of the pool but this time he got out. He walked over to the back of the house and picked up his hose. He whistled to grab Henrys attention and Henry turned in the water, continuing to scrub himself.

“This is a hose, it shoots water!” my grandfather called and he twisted the tap making water spray from the end of the hose. Henry jumped as the water spurted out and my grandfather laughed. Walking over to Henry he sprayed the water over his body while Henry scrubbed.

Again, after a short while he handed it to Henry and Henry took it up with another leg.

My grandfather clambered back into the pool and watched as Henry cleaned himself. He pointed out spots the spider was missing and the spider would nod, learning how best to clean itself with it’s many arms.

Eventually it’s body was free of mud and dirt and the water of the pool was dark brown. The tap was turned off and my grandfather placed the soap and sponges next to it. “Right, a few more things” said my grandpa getting the spider out of the pool. When the spider was standing on the grass he pointed at it before shaking his head violently. Drops of water flew from his hair.

Henry followed suit. Lifting each leg up individually to shake it then finishing with one last shake of his entire body. For a moment it felt as though it was raining as water pelted down.

“Oh and one last thing” said my grandfather pulling out two brushes. He moved over to Henry and slowly started to brush his fur, pulling as each brush was caught in the messy hair.

Henry cried out and grandpa handed him a brush which Henry used to brush the hair above his eyes. Henry received the second brush a few moments later after my grandfather had taught the technique to him as well as he could.

After 20 minutes of brushing Henry placed down the brushes and he stood in the garden staring at my grandpa.

Henry was a new man…or rather…a new spider. His coat of hair and fur was neatly combed back with not a speck of dirt in sight. My grandfather smiled and pointing his thumb to the front of the house he spoke “go get her.”

As quick as a flash Henry was gone and a gentle squeak could be heard from the front of the house.

My grandpa sighed with relief and finally went off to bed. Beforehand though he checked on Henry. Looking down out of the window he could see his plan had worked…the now clean Henry was rubbing himself against the car and the car was getting cleaner. The dirt sticking to Henry.

That night my grandfather slept well and the next morning he woke up to a beautifully clean car. He kissed it “good morning beautiful” he said and every night from then on my grandfather would go to bed and wake up the next morning to find his car was still beautiful, looking as good as new.

From time to time he would wake up in the night from the sound of splashing but not too often, Henry was always as quiet as possible.

After almost a year had gone by my grandpa found it curious that my grandma suspected nothing, but then he wondered why she would. He was sure the last thing that would pop into her mind was that a giant spider was using their pool everynight and he was happy there was no complications.

Another year passed and another year and still the car looked as good as ever…but while the outside looked great the inside wasn’t doing so well.

As the years went by the car would enter the garage more and more. Each time less and less of the original car would come back.

Then on an especially cold winter morning it happened. My grandad turned the key to the car and it wouldn’t start. He knew right then that that was it. That the car had died and it would never start again. He sat in the drivers seat holding the wheel and he cried. Tears fell down his cheek and it was then that he realised that it wasn’t just Henry that had loved the car, but he had loved it as well.

Over the years he had told himself he was keeping the car alive for Henry, but he was keeping it alive for himself too. He loved his car because it was always new to him. It greeted him everyday when he left the house and everyday he said good morning to it. By that time he considered it a on-running joke but deep down he knew it was serious.

So he cried until everything was gone from him. He believed himself stupid for loving a car so much and convinced himself that “it’s only a car” so immediately he went into the house and phoned the scrapyard, arranging for them to pick up the car the next day.

Throughout the day he tried to come up with a plan, some way to stop Henry from getting hurt, but he could think of nothing and that night he waited beside his car until the silence of the night hit the street and the spider came from the trees.

When the spider noticed my grandfather it knew there was something wrong immediately. It walked up to the car and with one leg it shook the car. To my grandpa the shake looked like the normal, but to the spider the shake was different and the spider knew the car had died.

It moved it’s leg from the car slowly and it patted the car door before moving into the backgarden, no noise coming from it at all.

My grandfather waited for the spider to come back to the car but when an hour later it hadn’t come back he checked the back garden to see where it was.

There, floating limp in the middle of the pool was Henry, his legs bobbing with his body.

Grandad jumped into the pool and splashed over, pushing Henrys body towards the side of the pool.

Jumping out of the water he struggled to pull Henry out onto the grass but finally he managed it and he kneeled down by the body and moved his ear to the spider. No sound came from Henry and his body hung dead. My grandfather wept again, putting his arms around Henry and feeling his cold fur against his face.

“Thank you” he said to the spider “for making her more than a car. I won’t forget either of you” and my grandpa kissed the spider before dragging him into the woods to be in his home.

My grandfather went back to his home and showered, wiping the dirt from his body. Each stage of the shower reminding him of Henry.

He got into bed knowing that sleep wouldn’t come, but he tried. His mind was full and sleep never came and the next morning he got out of bed late and rang the scrapyard again. “Sorry but I don’t need you to pick up my car” he said “I think I can find a better place for it.”

That night he stood in front of the car and pushed it out of his drive and over the road, pushing it between two trees into the woods. He pushed it through the darkness for a long time until his energy was all drained. Catching his breath he looked down at the car. Bending down to the car he kissed it on the bonnet and walking off into the night he called “goodnight beautiful.”

Dan

Random thoughts on life and travel.