Denis is outside. He’s knocking, scraping the door.
“Boys, boys, open the fucking door, I need an auld drink. It’s a tough old station out here on me own. I can hear her in the attic. She’s awake. She’s calling me. Don’t let her take me.”
Few shushes furiously, spraying me with saliva. We sit there in the half light, holding our breaths. I think Denis is crying now. Silence. Eventually Few continues. “So, where was I? Ah yes, The Ouija board. That night was pivotal to everything that came afterwards. Everything that made me the man I am and the man I’m not.” He gives me that knowing look. Few really talks bollocks. A lot of bollocks. I was hoping you’d never meet Denis but the die is cast and I guess I need to apologise in advance. I know we’ve traveled a long road together and I know you love me more than your own father……
WHAT THE FUCK
He’s on me now, hugging me. Holding me, wrapped around me, a drunken, slobbering bear. I extricate myself eventually. Chill the fuck out Few. I slap him a couple of time, a couple of time more than necessary. He doesn’t notice. Good Goddam Few.
“You’ve have been warned. That night opened strange doors that we’ll never close again. So…..”
Denis and his girl pile in on top of us.
“Jesus Mary and Holy fucking Joseph, what are you fucking nancy boys up to now? I tell you The Crystal these bunch of benders can think of nothing better to do than sit around here chasing the fucking dragon when they should be out chasing skirt like proper Irish. Cut The Denis and his blood is green. Cut these faggots and they bleed fucking pink.”
Crystal is behind me, “Denis luv, leave these boys alone, oh hasn’t he got lovely hair? Look at the colour, oh I think he’s blushing, ain’t he cute?” I was blushing, furiously.
“Come on darling. The Denis is ready to perform.” They’re stumbling up the stairs. Flash senses something on the wind and heads for bed. It’s just the four of us then. Me, Kevin, Bob and Ted. Or so I though. We start messing around with the board. Who’ll win the League and it’s spelling out M-I-L-L-W….
“I feel a spirit, a presence in the house. I’m sure there’s someone here, someone who wants to speak to you boys. Hold on a wee minute.” Kevin lights a fag, he’s looking at me directly. “So Few, what do ya reckon, would you like to hear from someone on the other side?” Bob’s up for it, Ted’s a bit spooked but he stays. I feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck, what does that feel like for a bald man?
We join hands around the table. Silence now except for the rhythmic creaking of springs from Denis’s room above out heads.
Kevin turns to me. “You say you don’t believe but we know better my dear. We can see deep into your heart. We see everything, We shed a tear for you. A single tear.” And there is, a single tear rolls down his cheek, in slow motion, it’s never quite gets to the end. He’s humming softly, then he stands up, head back, arms up, crucified on an invisible cross.He opens his eyes then, all eyeballs, no vision.
“Few? Is that you Few? I’m here. I’m here. We’re so proud. We’re all waiting for you. Do you remember the robin with the broken wing? We picked it up that day before you went to school. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry I never got to say goodbye. So sorry. I miss you.My lovely boy.”
I’m petrified. It’s his voice. The robin. I hadn’t thought about that for , not sure I even remembered until he said it…his voice. My father. At the back of my mind there’s a clicking, clicking like a tape recorder stuck. And Sweet Jane is on repeat. Now Jack he is a banker and Jane she is a clerk. Now Jack he is a banker and Jane she is a clerk.
Then Bob is on his feet. He fucks everything off the table. Plates, crockery comes crashing down out of the presses, there’s a cacophony of voices and breaking glass. Ted falls out of the kitchen as if someone had pitched the whole room on its side, we sway sickeningly, a small boat at the mercy of a wild and restless sea.
Bob launches himself at Kevin. Kevin was slight, a stick insect of a man but he catches Bob and holds him up at arms’ length. He’s shouting now, His voice is not his own. “Get out, Get out, You are not wanted here. Leave now!”
Upstairs the creaking is reaching a furious climax, Crystal is shouting “Oh God, Oh God, Oh Jehovah Witnesses!”
The devil in in the kitchen. Jesus is on the roof. Kevin slams Bob up against the wall, he is pushing him into it, the plaster is cracking and Bob’s elbows are slowly disappearing. His face is a mask of pain, Kevin is straining, moaning. I stand there, frozen, terrified.
Then Denis is grabbing me, I snap out of my trance, and we’re out of the door, pitching down the street to the phonebox on the corner.
“The Denis warned you, didn’t he? You fucking tosser, Bob is shagged. You fucked Bob. You fucked him and he only twenty two.”
“I know of a couple of paddies in The Old Bill down in Deptford”. He pulls the door of the box open, there’s a bloke in there, “Get off that phone now or I will kill you fucking dead mate.” He scrapers.
I’m standing outside the phone box, the moon is sailing high above a humid Lewisham Way. I can’t stop shivering, peering back down at the flat, wondering what the fuck to do next.
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