Even before I get to our block, on my way back from school, I can hear Jenny on her Pogo stick out the front. Mum let her skive school today, because it was sports day at the senior school, and Jenny said it was against her beliefs.
Ever since Jenny got the Pogo Stick for her birthday, she’s been showing off on it. Mum even let her eat her dinner on it last week. I had to pass her a battered sausage and each chip one at a time.
When she sees me she says, ‘I’m setting a new world record! If I stay on here another half hour, I’ll have smashed my last one.' Jenny doesn’t even know what the actual world record is and she doesn’t even have a watch on, but she still says she keeps smashing it.
I go up to the house and mum answers the door. She puts her finger to her lips and tells me to ssshhhhh!
Dad’s in the living room with his big green parka on, holding a gun.
Last week, we saw a rat eating Tosca’s cat food. Dad hasn’t got a job at the moment, so he’s spent the whole week trying to shoot the rat with an air rifle that he borrowed off Uncle Steve.
I go into the kitchen to make a cup of tea for me and Dad and get us a Mint Viscount each. Nanny Pam’s round and she’s chatting to Mum who’s making fish in a bag and potato waffles for dinner.
I ask Nanny Pam if she wants a biscuit but she says, ‘No thanks love, I’m saving all my Weight Watchers points for the all you can eat at Wing Wa’s on Friday night. Me and Colin have been starving ourselves all week. For tea last night all we had was a cuppa soup and a choc ice.’
I sit down next to Dad by the backdoor and we both stare at Tosca’s cat bowl in silence for a bit.
Dad asks me if I had a good day at school. I tell him it was ok, apart from everyone was being an immature as usual. Today, they were all going on about the word blowjob. Zoe asked me if I’d ever had a blowjob, and Kevin asked me if I was a blowjob. Then someone made a song up about a blowjob, and everyone went around singing it in the playground until the dinner ladies lost it at them.
I tell Dad that I don’t actually know what the word even means, but, if it’s anything like the wanker word, I don’t want to. Dad says I won’t ever need to know what it means and then asks me if anything good happened today.
I say to Dad that the best bit of today was when a dog went on to the school field this afternoon. Everyone went crazy! Sammy screamed and said, ‘It’s a dog, it’s a dog’, like a stupid idiot that’s never seen a dog before. Then they all got bored, and I watched him on my own for the rest of the afternoon through the classroom window.
I don’t tell Dad that I also managed to get the reflection from my Jurassic Park watch to shine on Mr. Moore's head in assembly this morning, which was funny for a bit, until I felt sorry for him.
I ask Dad if he thinks we should lay some more bait out for the rat. We both agree that a rat might like Bacon Frazzles, so I go back into the kitchen to get some.
Nanny Pam’s talking to Mum about Dad. She asks if he can get work in Germany again. Mum says he can, but he doesn’t want to be away from the kids and he’s been too busy with the rat stuff anyway. Nanny Pam asks Mum how she’s going to get the boiler fixed with no money coming in.
For the last few months, the boiler has been broke. It’s been ok though, and it’s summer, so we don’t have to wear our school coats to bed anymore. To have a bath we all run up the stairs with loads of kettles and pans of hot water to fill it up. But most of the time, Mum heats up a big pan of water and puts it in front of the T.V. in the living room. Then me, Jenny, and our little brother, Josh, take it in turns to stand in it with a flannel. The rule is you do your face first and bum last. I don’t know what Nanny Pam’s on about. It’s ok not having a boiler. When does she ever get to have a wash in front of the TV, anyway?
We all run up to the backdoor to look for the dead rat, but it isn’t there. Dad says he shot it, and it ran into Carol's garden, next-door, to die.
I feel really sad. A bit because of the rat, but mostly about Dad going back to Germany now that it’s dead.
There’s a knock at the front door, and I answer it. It’s Nanny Pam’s husband, Colin. He’s been to Macro and gives me a massive tub of fizzy Cola Bottles, which makes me feel a bit better.
We all sit at the table and eat dinner. Jenny tells everyone about her world records, Nanny Pam tries to work out how many points are in a potato waffle, and Josh puts bits of fish flakes in his orange squash then drinks it.
Colin stares into the garden and asks, 'Is that a rat eating Tosca’s cat food?’.