WHEN I get to my nan’s house I’m going to have egg and chips my nan does the best eggs my mum used to burn them all black and crispy underneath like a barbeque my nan said she doesn’t do anything properly uses too much oil she said the best way to cook them is put a tiny tablespoon of oil in the pan and put it on a low heat and put the egg in straightaway even when the oil’s still cold she does proper chips as well in her chip pan not shitty oven chips like david and sophie biking everywhere with their helmets on and their waterproofs all done up like a pair of nobheads they tried to get me to wear one when we went to wales for emily’s birthday cause she likes going on the little railway there and I was like no way I’m not wearing that and the mum’s like emily’s wearing one as if that’s supposed to fucking make me and she’s sitting there emily on her little pink bike smiling with her teeth all hanging out over the edge and her tassles coming off the handles and I’m going no way there’s no way I am wearing that fucking helmet get it away from me and she’s really banging on the mum so david rests his bike against the railway fence and he’s all don’t worry love leave it to me and he asks me and I still say no and he says sophie darling if he doesn’t want to wear one he doesn’t have to and she opened her mouth like she was going to say something so he goes come on let’s just all have a nice day we’re here now and emily’s still smiling like she wants to be friends with me but she’s frightened like when I first moved there last year and she knocked on my door and brought me a drawing she’d done of the house with the family outside and me in the middle me as part of the family and I tore it up and told her I didn’t want anything do with her fucking family and she ran out into the bathroom with the taps all on to try and keep her tears quiet and when she came out I said sorry and gave her a hug and she said it’s okay she would do me another one
    I thought it was my mum ringing to say she wasn’t coming again when sophie took the phone into the kitchen cause she always does that and emily said never mind we can go to the park and play on the swings if anyone says anything about her teeth again I’ll put them on the fucking floor david said he’s going to start taking us to judo I start seniors in september and I’ll give them a right hander like my grandy said then they won’t be so full of themselves but sophie’s on the phone for ages so I stand near the kitchen door and she says oh god that’s terrible I’ll wait until david gets back he’ll be back in an hour we’ll tell him together I run out of the house down past the park where the tennis courts are down to the back of the library where emily does her homework my lungs are feeling prickly so I stop and wait for the green man to come and this feller says who do I think I am billy whizz so I catch my breath and breathe and nod and run when there’s a gap in the cars I’m boss at crossing roads I know where I am now there’s a smiths down here where sophie buys the papers she won’t buy the papers from tesco says they’re taking over the bloody place and she lets me and emily get pick and mix not too much she always says not too much as if we always sneak stuff before we weigh it emily was frightened at first when I told her to eat one of the flumps but now she does it without thinking I had to stop her last time there was hardly any cola bottles left and the woman was coming over we’re going to rob banks when we’re older all the plans are underneath my bed we’re going to get masks from that shop on bold street and pretend we’re just waiting for someone then we’re going to pull our guns out fast and say everyone of you on the floor now or we’ll blow your fucking heads off
    I know if I keep going this way I’ll get there soon cause grandy used to bring me here when my nan was in a mood with him we used to have a look in the charity shops for dvds then we’d go to the café for hot chocolate and bacon butties he’s better than my mum she’s fucking useless can’t even be bothered to turn up when she’s supposed to I said to david and sophie I said I don’t care it’s fine we don’t have to wait for her she’s not coming anyway but they always say it’s important best to be ready just in case and then twelve o’clock comes and I’m sitting in the living room listening to them talk about the garden or the weather and they know she’s not coming but they say I’ve got to wait just in case once I heard david in the kitchen saying she was a waste of fucking space and how many times have we got to put him through this and sophie said she didn’t know I heard him go out into the back garden and start mowing the lawn and after a bit he comes in to the living room and he says can I give him a hand we’re just going to dig over some of the borders he could do with a hand and I knew why he was saying it but I said yes anyway and sophie said I had to get changed first and david said I’d be alright so we went into the back but she was banging on again so I put my wellies on to keep her happy and we did the garden and after a bit he leant on his spade and said to me he said tommy I know you’re only young but I think your mum should turn up when she says she will I didn’t say anything cause even though he’s right I’m not having anybody say a fucking word about my mum cause it’s got fuck all to do with them so I just looked away at the roses and the water on their petals and I told him without speaking I said he wasn’t allowed to say that so he stopped
    my nan and grandy got me a portable from the oxfam shop cause I used to stay with them every week when I was little and they put it in my room on the chest of drawers and my grandad got me a dvd player from the asda with some money he won that my nan didn’t know about and we put dvds on the window ledge like a bookshelf I had a blanket on top of my quilt in case I got cold there was a picture of my mum when she was little pretending to drive grandy’s herbie car on the wall it was her old room with her hair in pigtails all cute and a tooth missing and my lamp next to my bed had a footballer about to kick a ball like he was going to score and it was better than any room at my mum’s house which she never did fuck all to anyway didn’t even have a lamp just the big light on with no lamp or nothing and when I was four the school called my nan and said they hadn’t seen me all week so they went down to my mum’s and while my nan was knocking on the door my grandy was leaning up against the living room window with his hands cupped around his eyes like he was holding binoculars and he told me he said he said he saw my mum crashed out on the couch with the telly on loud and I was crawling all around the floor boards with a nappy that I shouldn’t have even been wearing at my age and he went round the side of the house and kicked the back door in and picked me up and carried me out and my nan put her cardie around me and they took me home said it’s a terrible thing to give up on your child but they’d never give up on me told the school they were keeping me and social services came round and said they had to go to court and be made award of court so I could stay with them and the judge said how would they cope with a child in the house at their age and my granddad said he said he cycled to work every day hasn’t driven a car in twenty years he was fit as a fiddle used to do boxing in the navy he said they’d been my real parents anyway and my nan said it would break her heart if I wasn’t allowed to live with them just cause julie couldn’t cope and social services could come round anytime they wanted I was well looked after and the judge said alright but they’d have to check on me all the time to see everything was okay we used to have tea around the table with the telly off and my granddad picked me up from school and took me to footie on saturday mornings and when I got back from school my nan made me toast and when I asked for more she called me seventy-seven bellies and grandy said pay no attention she’s no twiggy herself and she clipped him round the ear and said he wasn’t too big to go over her knee and they laughed like that time we was watching the film about the grand national with elizabeth taylor and grandy said it was the best ride she ever had
    I was curled up in bed on the friday morning when my nan screamed out so I ran downstairs in my underpants and saw grandy’s legs on the kitchen lino my nan closed the door and said go and get ready for school ‘cause grandy wasn’t well but I knew he was dead and my insides fell down
    my nan was holding me too tight so I took her arms off me and called an ambulance like I’d done on my mum that time my nan was by the fireplace holding her wrist like a wafer in church and I sat her down and told her to wait and went into the kitchen
    grandy looked asleep on his back there were two mugs on the worktop with a teabag in each and a carton of milk on its side on the floor the milk made a puddle near his body his pyjama leg had slid up to his knee so I pulled it down back to his ankle took a tea towel from the hook on the back of the kitchen door and mopped up the milk and threw it in the washing machine all the bones in my body felt hard I switched on the kettle and rubbed grandy’s arms his mouth was open like when he used to pretend to be asleep a sparrow landed on the kitchen window ledge and I know it’s his spirit cause he looks at me through the glass for ages and tells me with his eyes he’s going to keep watch and protect me and I don’t say okay cause I know when I do he’ll fly off there’s someone knocking at the door the kettle switches off and the sparrow flies up to the sky towards god and the angels and I can hear my nan talking in the front room the ambulance men come into the kitchen and smile like they’re sorry and one of them the skinny one takes me back into the living room with my nan and asks me which team I support I tell him liverpool he says he supports tranmere and I say they’re rubbish it must be nice having a crowd around him what with me and my nan being there and my nan says she’s sorry then the woman from next door comes round and takes me into her house and makes me a ham sandwich and gets me some cordial and I stay there all day in the cold watching telly until my nan comes back
    we go into our house and she makes egg and chips we don’t say anything and the house feels strange like when a stranger comes round and nobody wants them there but no one can say anything until someone stands up and says well I suppose I’d better be getting on with things I can’t finish my chips and my nan says there’s kids starving in africa I say well they shouldn’t have been born there then should they and she looks into her yolk and says I’m better than that and I say I’m not then I say sorry and go to bed I wake up in the night cause there’s music somewhere I go into her room but she’s not there so I go downstairs and open the living room door and she’s sitting on the floor by the fire with the photo album open and the record player on and she’s listening to nat king cole with her hair all up in a bun like in the photo on the window ledge and she’s got his dressing gown on and she opens her arm and I sit on her knee and inside her arms with my face in her neck and she smells just like grandy and we sit there til morning til the birds all start singing and we go to sleep on the couch with her hands in my back
    I’m passing the optician’s now I see tommy and smigger coming toward me so I dip into rosedale before they spot me as if I couldn’t fight them anyway I could take the two of them easy I’d punch tommy in the face and then jam my elbow backwards into smiggers’s head like a fucking ninja they’d be like we’re sorry we’re sorry what we said about your grandad and I’d be like you should have thought about that shouldn’t you now take your fucking nikes off and they’d be like what and I’d be like give me them now and they’d be like why and I’d be like fucking take them off now or so help me christ I will rip your fucking eyes out and they’d be taking them off and then I’d go to kick them like the footballer on my lamp and they would shit themselves and then I’d get hold of their nikes and launch them onto the roof of the pictures where me and grandy saw up and they’d be all crying and sorry and walking home in their socks like fucking tramps with everyone pointing at them and throwing stuff at them so I run into rosedale and hide behind a car there’s a cat underneath it runs out and hits a motorbike
    that keeps going and the cat spins up on one foot fast and hangs in the air like it’s hanging on strings then it drops in the gutter like a sack I stay where I am until tommy and cully pass the top of the road but they don’t come and I know that they’re waiting for me the cat’s spitting blood so I make my way down to the end of rosedale then right onto elm hall and double back up mapledale I should be in the fucking army I look around the corner and see them at the top of rosedale waiting like they’ve got a big fucking plan think they’re smarter than me just cause their houses are bigger just cause their dads wear suits for work cunts is what they are I should run up and smack them on the back of the heads but I leave it for now cause my nan’s waiting for me and I want some proper cooking not fucking pasta but I’ll have them next week though you just fucking watch me I will
    I told emily made her promise not to say anything but if grandy hadn’t died none of this would have happened if he’d not been so stupid I never said that and if emily says I did she’s a fucking liar I would never say anything like that about my grandy but if he hadn’t have fell over none of this would have happened fucking stupid spoiled everything everything was brilliant with my telly and my room and
    I run down past the oxfam shop and under the railway bridge there’s a gap in the traffic where the roadworks are so I cross near the bike shop and over into patterdale there’s a police car outside my nan’s house I can see it parked up in the road and my stomach’s on fire and my legs won’t work so I slow down and walk like I’m walking through water but the woman next door is outside talking to some of the neighbours she says tommy I can see the front door is half open so I run past her fast and she spins round to stop me but I’m inside my nan’s house and her walking stick’s up against the radiator in the hall and her coat’s on the banister
    the house feels cold like it’s not my home anymore there’s a policewoman in the kitchen asking what I’m doing here I can’t speak so she asks me again and I say it’s my nan’s house she asks for my name and my date of birth then she speaks on her radio and asks me to sit down so we sit in the living room and she’s sitting in my grandad’s chair she says tommy love and I close my ears and she sounds like I’m underwater she says tommy I’ve got something to tell you I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this but your nan passed away this morning I’m sorry love is there anyone who can come to the hospital with you and everything stops.