Disraeli Avenue by Caroline Smailes - HTML preview

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but she told me what she was there for and we had a laugh about it.

We even talked about how nice it’d be for them to grow up together,

joint birthday parties and stuff like that. It turned out that both of

our babies were due on exactly the same day, 23 July 1984. Rita

said that they were practically twins.

Mrs Curtis from number 20 reckons that she’s a bit of a psychic.

She reads tarot cards, she has a crystal ball in her front window,

plays whale music at 11:27 am each morning and seems to like

passing on doom and gloom. Someone told her about mine and

Rita’s babies being due on the same day and she came around to my

house to bless my stomach. She started mumbling on about a whole

load of superstitious stuff, that I didn’t really understand, then she

left saying that there was nothing else she could do and she wished

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Caroline Smailes

me luck. She said that she hoped I would be the one, because she

thought I wanted it more. I had no idea, at that time, what she was

going on about.

I miscarried at eleven weeks. Rita didn’t.

Mrs Curtis was the first one to visit. Rita had been round to tell

her about my losing the baby. Mrs Curtis told me, It’s the way that

it should be. One baby was always going to die. No two babies,

conceived in the exact same postcode, can be due on the exact same

day.

Her words didn’t comfort me in any way. I screamed at her to get

out of my house.

I watched Rita getting fatter and fatter. I watched Bill’s bairn Jude

always alone, neglected. She was such a sad bairn. I couldn’t figure

out why they had been chosen over me. I couldn’t figure out what

made their baby better than mine, more worthy of life. I couldn’t

figure out what had made them more deserving.

My baby didn’t make it into the world. Rita’s baby did.

Crystal was born 25 July 1984.

I’ve looked out from my window every day since she was born. I’ve

kept my distance so as not to scare the lass, I’ve watched her grow.

That child that I had growing inside me is Crystal. Sometimes I

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Disraeli Avenue

think that it’s been a mistake, that Rita simply carried my child for

me, that there was an error, a trick, witchcraft, deception. Crystal is

beautiful, not at all like her mam. Crystal is the child that I should

have had.

When I see Crystal, through my window, I shout out Elizabeth. But

she never answers.

I miscarried three more times before my husband left me and got

himself a woman with a womb that worked.

Now it’s just me, alone, watching my Elizabeth.

81

Number 17

Mr Lewis

Yellow front door

Green garage door

No car

The old man in the queue

They stood in the Dewstep Butchers, which was also New Lymouth

Post Office, and proudly displayed a smiling pig’s head in the

window. There were huge queues, as usual, it was pension and

benefits day. A cold grey rainy Tuesday.

Mr Lewis stood in front of a younger woman whom he had

never seen before; she wasn’t from Disraeli Avenue. Beside Mr

Lewis his female companion stooped towards him. She was arch-

backed and her hair was a mass of grey tight curls, nestled under a

plastic rain hat.

‘It doesn’t matter how healthy you are or how much money

you have,’ Mr Lewis stated. ‘When your time’s up, death will find

a way.’ He spoke loudly, his voice bouncing along the queue. His

companion nodded, she agreed.

The younger woman, directly behind the old couple, couldn’t

help but listen. She thought about Mr Lewis’ words. She wondered

if talk of death was a sign of old age. She wondered if the old man,

who was almost touching her, was waiting for death and longing

for death and even perhaps needing death. She shivered.

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Caroline Smailes

The queue was long, slow moving and soon Mr Lewis’

companion began to flutter. She had to leave.

‘I need to catch the bus to Coastend to buy some fish,’ said the

old woman.

‘What about your pension?’ Mr Lewis’ words wafted

past unheard.

‘There used to be a fish shop near this post office you know?’

Mr Lewis nodded.

She continued, ‘Asda fish isn’t that fresh, you know?’

Mr Lewis nodded. After a moment of indecision, she hurried,

flustered, out from the post office, trailing her canvas trolley on

wheels behind her.

The younger woman turned and watched Mr Lewis’ female

companion barging herself through the queue. The younger woman

found herself smiling. She willed the little old lady to hurry, to catch

the bus, to buy fresh fish for her tea. The younger woman wondered

if the old lady was actually in the queue or merely sheltering from

the cruel weather. As she turned back towards the post office counter,

Mr Lewis was staring at her, searching for eye contact.

‘See that lady,’ Mr Lewis pointed out of the shop and in the

direction that the old woman had exited. ‘That’s Betty. She used

to collect ticket stubs at the old Odeon cinema. I used to go there

when I was a laddie.’

The younger woman nodded, not a patronising nod, just

enough movement to support his words. Mr Lewis had finished his

sounding and then turned his back on the younger woman, facing

the counter, waiting.

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Disraeli Avenue

The younger woman was left wondering what had happened

between Betty and the young version of the old man standing in

front of her. He had a sour smell, he was shrunken and his skin

was slack, hanging from his cheeks. He was old. She tried, but she

could only see the old. She wondered what images were jumping

around and making the old man smile and jutter so much. She tried

to think of him as young, full of life, living life. She tried and she

tried, but she couldn’t. She could only see the now, the old man

waiting for his tiny pension, waiting to die.

She hoped that Betty would have enough money to buy fish.

85

Number 18

Mr and Mrs Andrews

Yellow front door

Yellow garage door

Green car

MYG 55 3W

Dear Diary

9th August 1993

Dear Diary,

So much has happened and I’ve been really crap

for not writing it all down in here!

I’m home from the caravan and have been for

four and a half weeks! I had a lush time. Joe came

home two days ago from his holiday in Blackpool

but we finished before he went away so I didn’t get

a present. It’s a bit shit seeing him around and he’s

got a new lass now who’s right stuck up and lives

on the Coast Road.

I met up with James Douglas (number 8). I’d

been bumping into him loads of times around

Brian’s newsagents, cos he’s got a job there for the

holidays. We went out every night for eight days or

so! He was canny great and we got on well, but he

had a lass and was always off his face on dope and

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Caroline Smailes

Diamond White. I’ll probably not see him again

apart from when I’m in Brian’s. He’s got my Pulp

CD which really pisses me off cos I really want it

back. I should just go into Brian’s and ask him for it

or I could ask Zander to do it for me, but then Joe’d

find out about me shagging James Douglas. Why is

life so complicated? Why am I even bothered what

Joe thinks about me?

Anyway what I wanted to write about is that

I’ve to make probably the most difficult decision

ever. I’m pregnant! Yes me! I’m still in a state of

shock, what the hell do I do? Nobody knows except

for Joe and Zander. I told Zander and he told Joe

for me, cos Joe and me aren’t speaking proper. Joe

wants me to have an abortion and I feel like he’s

being canny selfish. It’s not like we’re even together

anymore. I can’t talk to him about it, cos he says

that it’s not his problem and that from what he’s

heard I’ve been shagging around. I reckon Zander’s

been telling him stuff, cos Joe reckons it could be a

number of different lads.

I don’t even think that I’ve got the possibility of

having the baby and I’m feeling shit scared. I’ve

no idea what I’ve got to do next. Zander says that

I should go to the doctors, but I could do without

mam and dad finding out.

Gill x

88

Disraeli Avenue

29th October 1993

Dear Diary,

Sometimes I really frighten myself. I realise how

easily I could commit suicide. I’m totally alone.

Today I’ve been thinking about my baby. I

wouldn’t be alone… I’d always be loved if I hadn’t

done what I did. Who am I? How could I kill the

thing that would love me more than anyone could?

I really hate myself. I really hate what I’ve

done.

Zander came around before. He’s in love. He

didn’t admit it, but it’s so obvious. He’s seeing

some lass from Campbell-Bannerman Road and he

can’t get enough of her. I’ve been seeing Joe around

and he gives me so much bullshit that nothing’s

happening between him and Lucy Johnson. Lucky

for me Zander’s told me everything and now I know

that Joe and Lucy are shagging. She’s a stupid cow

and he’s a bastard liar.

Life is fucking great!

How should I kill myself? Paracetamol is too

awful.

God I’m screwed up! I haven’t felt like this for

ages.

I’m frightened.

I need to die,

Gill x

89

Caroline Smailes

7th December 1993

Dear Diary,

Today’s my last day being eighteen. I’m leaving

home and moving in with my new boyfriend. His

name’s Les and he’s really gorgeous. He works the

shift in the Findus factory in Longbenton and gets

ten French bread pizzas for a quid.

It’s ten in the morning and I’m waiting for Les

to come around and get me and my stuff. He’s got

his own car, but we’re going to be living with his

mam. My mam helped me pack and even got us

a bag of food. She’s being canny lush about it all

and has told me that I can come home whenever I

want. I’m pretty frightened and a bit nervous cos

it’s all new and I’ve never lived in Coastend before

and I’m going to miss seeing Joe around.

Les says that I can get pregnant if I want to. He

reckons that we’d make canny parents and with a

bairn we’d go straight to the top of the housing list.

I kind of want to be pregnant again cos I really

want to piss off Joe but I’m being grown up and

trying to wait for a bit. I’m making sure that I go

straight to the bog after we shag and Zander told

me that if I don’t come then I can’t get caught.

So long Disraeli Avenue, it was nice knowing

you.

Gill x

90

Disraeli Avenue

29th December 1993

Dear Diary,

I shagged Joe. I didn’t mean to it just kind of

happened. I came around to see my mam and I

bumped into Joe. We went to the park on the other

estate and shagged under the slide. I love Joe so

much, he’s like my first love and everything. Him

and me have taught each other everything there

is to know about sex. Joe says that he still thinks

about me and that I’m a canny lush shag. He knows

that I’m living with Les and his mam and Joe said

that I should come home and we can start courting

again. Joe said that he was sorry about telling me

to have an abortion and that he was just pissed off

with me for shagging James Douglas.

I didn’t tell Joe that I was pregnant again. I

haven’t told anyone yet cos I only found out the

day before I shagged Joe.

I’m pregnant again! Yes me! I’m in a state of

shock again! and now I don’t know what the hell

to do. I could tell Les and I reckon he’d be really

happy about it and we could put our names on

the housing list or I could wait a bit and tell Joe

that it’s his, even though I know that it’s Les who

I got caught with. I might have another abortion

instead and then come back and live with my mam

and start seeing Joe and tell Les about killing his

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Caroline Smailes

baby. My head is spinning with it all.

I don’t know what to pick.

Gill x

92

Number 19

Mr and Mrs Johnson

Green front door

Green garage door

Yellow car, same as Mr Clark’s

DEW 664T

Loose change

Seventy-five 1p coins.

Thirty-seven 2p coins.

Nineteen 5p coins.

Fourteen 10p coins.

Thirty-seven 20p coins.

Eighteen 50p coins.

Seven £1 coins.

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

93

Caroline Smailes

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

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Disraeli Avenue

1p

+

1p

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

1p

+

1p

95

Caroline Smailes

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

96

Disraeli Avenue

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

97

Caroline Smailes

+

1p

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

+

1p

1p

+

1p

+

98

Disraeli Avenue

1p

+

1p

+

1p

= 75p

Not enough. Sheh’d be insulted if Ah gave her a couple of handfuls

of me pennies.

2p + 2p + 2p + 2p + 2p = 10p

2p + 2p + 2p +2p + 2p = 10p

2p + 2p + 2p + 2p + 2p = 10p

2p + 2p + 2p +2p + 2p = 10p

2p + 2p + 2p + 2p + 2p = 10p

2p + 2p + 2p +2p + 2p = 10p

2p + 2p + 2p + 2p + 2p = 10p

2p + 2p = 4p

Total 2ps = 74p

£1.49 in total.

Still not enough. Ah need to have a look down the sides of the sofas

an in me secret stash.

5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p = 50p

5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p + 5p = 45p

Total 5ps = 95p

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Caroline Smailes

£1.49 + 95p = £2.44

That’d get me a kiss without tongues if Ah’m lucky, but sheh won’t

be best pleased with is.

10p + 10p + 10p + 10p + 10p + 10p + 10p + 10p + 10p + 10p = £1

10p + 10p + 10p + 10p = 40p

Total 10ps = £1.40

75p + 74p + 95p + £1.40 = £3.84

This is fuckin ridiculous. Ah’ve got nae money. Ah’ll have te raid

the bairn’s piggy.

20p + 20p + 20p + 20p + 20p = £1

20p + 20p + 20p + 20p + 20p = £1

20p + 20p + 20p + 20p + 20p = £1

20p + 20p + 20p + 20p + 20p = £1

20p + 20p + 20p + 20p + 20p = £1

20p + 20p + 20p + 20p + 20p = £1

20p + 20p + 20p + 20p + 20p = £1

20p + 20p = 40 p

Total 20ps = £7.40

75p + 74p + 95p + £1.40 + £7.40 = £11.24

That’s more like it. That should be getting is a blowjob at least.

Now Ah’ll see what the other bairn’s got.

100

Disraeli Avenue

50p + 50p = £1

50p + 50p = £1

50p + 50p = £1

50p + 50p = £1

50p + 50p = £1

50p + 50p = £1

50p + 50p = £1

50p + 50p = £1

50p + 50p = £1

Total 50ps = £9

75p + 74p + 95p + £1.40 + £7.40 + £9 = £20.24

Fuckin fantastic. That’s going to get is a blow job one day with

the promise of a shag the next. There’s nought quite like thrusting

into her when sheh’s resting her arse on the cistern. Sheh wraps her

thighs around is an Ah can practically come before Ah’m right in.

An now Ah need to nick some of them pounds from wor lass’ secret

stash.

£1

+

£1

+

£1

101

Caroline Smailes

+

£1

+

£1

+

£1

+

£1

= Total from £1 coins is £7

75p + 74p + 95p + £1.40 + £7.40 + £9 =£7 = £27.24

Ah reckon Ah could stretch that oot over a few days. An Ah could

ask wor lass for a couple of quid for a pint.

Clink

clink

clink.

Sheh likes the sound of me loose change filling up her tips’ glass.

Sheh changes any notes to coins later, so Ah know it’s best to give

her coins. It makes her smile when Ah hand over a great big pile of

coins, like Ah’ve really thought about her an made an effort.

Sheh once said that sheh liked to hear the rattle and the clink clink

clink. Sheh said that it made her wet in her pants.

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Disraeli Avenue

Sheh had sex in the toilets. Sheh did most things in the toilets.

Though sheh once gave is a blowjob behind the pool table when it

was a quiet shift. Ah think it was a Thursday afternoon.

Clink

clink

clink.

Of course word has spread around the regulars and the neighbours.

They know that if you gave wor Jude a few quid sheh’s up for it, but

not always a shag. It depends on what wor Jude fancies.

Sheh’s right grand at blow jobs, the only thing being that sheh won’t

swallow, even if Ah offer her a few quid extra. Sheh said something

about being on a diet, not that sheh needs to lose any weight. Ah

wonder how much sheh’d charge to let is see her without her clothes

on. Sheh doesn’t like wanking, says sheh prefers is to shag her hard

and having sex against the cistern does it every time for is.

The problem that Ah’ve got today is that wor Jude Williams hasn’t

made herself a price list yet, so there’s no fixed rates an sheh seems

to give out what sheh fancies

Clink

clink

clink.

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Caroline Smailes

There’s a set of rules to follow. Ah offer her a drink an if she says

yes, then Ah tell her how much money to take, or Ah give her a

couple of handfuls of me loose change. Sheh takes the money and

puts it in her tip glass.

That’s where the clinking starts.

Clink

clink

clink.

Then sheh teases an sheh plays with is, all with words an her eyes.

Sheh’s a right sexy bairn. Of course none of this can happen if her

da is in the pub. He’d fuck is with his fists if he knew what a dirty

slag his bairn was. Ah haven’t seen her about for a couple of weeks,

so Ah’m hoping that sheh’s on shift this afternoon. Ah need a shag

and Ah don’t want to be going back to her next door. Her tits are

right saggy now, sheh stares at is all the time and sheh’s started

wanting to talk about stuff. Ah don’t want to chat to her, Ah want a

quick fuck an go.

Ah think that me first blow job with wor Jude cost is six pounds an

twenty-odd pence. Sheh was just getting started then an was cheaper

than sheh is now. Sheh was good though, worth every penny. We

had a shag a couple of weeks later, think it cost is seventeen pounds

something. Ah’ve had cheaper since.

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Disraeli Avenue

Ah need to be sorting this loose change out into piles. Ah could do

with some of those bank money bags, the plastic ones with the blue

writing on them. Ah should phone wor lass at work an tell her to get

is some on the way home.

105

Number 20

Mrs Curtis

Blue front door

Blue garage door

No car

The Wheel of Fortune reversed

My question – will I ever be happy?

I look to the obstacle that stands in my way.

The card that is visible at the centre of the Celtic Cross spread.

My card – Wheel of Fortune, reversed.

An unanticipated turn of dreadful luck, from a wrecked sequence

of events.

External influences that bring about the worst.

An inevitable descent.

Decline perhaps due to fate or karma.

Immense changes taking place stem from previous actions that

cannot be erased.

My answer from the reading – no.

107

Number 21

Mr and Mrs Roberts

Red front door

Red garage door

White car

GOP 143W

I am watching you

There’s a song, Ave Maria, it’s a song that takes me back to a time,

a place. I think that I first heard it at a funeral. We went as a street,

we went to support Bill. The poor lad had so much to deal with,

being left to care for Jude on his own. It was his wife’s favourite

song. No one had heard it before, but I remember thinking that it

was pretty.

We had only just begun then. It was new, exciting, out of the

daily routine that bored us both. We were beyond control, then.

We seemed to be on the edge of being caught. I remember sitting

next to you in the funeral, your wife on the other side, absorbed in

the action. We sat on the pew and I put my hand into your pocket

and I ran my fingers over the outline of your dick. I wanted the

funeral to end, for the street to make its way to the Traveller’s Rest,

for us to find a moment. We had sex, up against the door, in the

toilet cubicle.

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Caroline Smailes

Your wife didn’t notice what we did over the next few years, she was

blind. We have managed the best-kept secret on Disraeli Avenue.

And so we fooled around, we played, experimented. I guess that

it must have been fuelled by adrenalin, power, pure. I don’t know.

We behaved like teenagers, fools. I don’t know how we were never

caught. I sometimes think that we wanted to be caught.

Then, today, you tell me that we have to finish.

I’m creating a soundtrack, Ave Maria, to mark the ending too. It’s

playing in a loop, over and over. My stomach is cramping with

those loops, spasms in time with the beats. I don’t understand the

words, it’s about that memory and that moment. I wish that we

could travel back in time and start again. My stomach is churning,

sickness, nausea. I don’t know what to do.

I’ve lost you, just like that.

An ordinary day, a nothing date, now marking the losing of my

future. I am shattered, I can see no potential. I am faced with empty

paths and boredom, a sexless union with a man who does not desire

me. I am lost.

Last week you told me that you were leaving her. You spoke of the

lack of love, the intolerable life and your absolute need to be with

me. Today you come with your duty filled words. You’re denying

me, you’re denying yourself. You talk of obligation to your two

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Disraeli Avenue

girls, refusing the child that we have created, together. Timothy

deserves to know the truth. He needs to know his father and I will

tell him, one day.

Your words today sting, puncture.

‘It’s not the right time.’

‘I’m not in the right place.’

‘I can’t be the person that you need me to be.’

‘I can’t leave my daughters with her.’

You’re a fool.

You blamed me. You twisted your reason onto me, but you were

wrong to do so. I crave nothing beyond the man who has entered

me. I want you. The man who makes me giggle, the man who laughs

like a horse with hiccups. I want to be with you, always.

I am alone, grieving, left with that final image of your leaving me.

I saw that look of relief as you left, task complete. But you were

my fit, the missing piece that I should never have found and I can’t

quite let you go that easily. I won’t let you go quite so easily.

I told you how I felt. I told you my words. You said that you didn’t

understand my fancy talk. You laughed your hiccupping laugh and

then you left. It was too easy for you to walk away. I won’t let go.

I won’t.

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Caroline Smailes

I will watch you with her and with your girls. I’ll always be there,

always in view.

You can deny our intimacy. You can pretend that we are nothing more

than neighbours, but they all know. We know. Our unfaithfulness

was easy. We were alone every day. We lived next door to each

other. No need for transport, or excuse. It was easy for you to nip in,

deep. They all knew what we were doing, except for him and her.

It was too easy.

But now you say that you will stay away. It sounds effortless,

uncomplicated. But I won’t let it be. I’m going to watch you.

I’m going to watch everything that you do, always.

112

Number 22

Mr and Mrs Wallace

Blue car matches blue front door

Blue car matches blue garage door

MTR 320X

Me da and his bugle

Me da was one of those lads who chose to be in the army long

before the second war started. He was one of the Durham Light

Infantry. They called it DLI for short. Me da served his time in

Egypt and all that. He got right down crawling about in the sand.

The things he must have seen. His lad mates dropping dead about

him and him killing folk too, but he never told us about it. He never

bragged and he never made a fuss.

All I know is that me da was wounded in 1944. He had his

finger shot off in the fighting. He never really spoke much about

it and it happened before I was born. I remember asking me ma

about me da’s stump of a finger and her telling is about how he

was discharged home. She told is not to ask me da about it, so I

never did. Me da didn’t have to work, because he’d been given

a pension for being shot. Me ma said that he was a changed man

when he came back to Consett with his bugle and a whole load of

secret memories.

I don’t know how he met me ma, but she was from Consett too.

They had me and I grew up there. As soon as I could, when I’d

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Caroline Smailes

worked me way out of Consett, I moved is as near to the coast as I

could afford and I brought me da’s bugle with me. I visit me da and

me ma once a month, but with is not being able to have any bairns

of meself I know that I’ve let them doon.

Me da never comes to visit is here. He says that we live too near

to the beach. I don’t know if it was an excuse or not, but when I

was a wee bairn he’d make a fuss about being near sand. He’d never

take is, no matter how much I nagged on. I used to hate him for it.

All of me mates talked about messing around on the coast with a

bucket and spade, but me dad would never take is.

114

Number 23

Mr and Mrs Smith

Red front door

Red garage door

White van

CWS 694V

Invoices for work, not yet done

RAW. Richard A. Smith & Partner

— Builders of Quality Homes —

23, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

ESTABLISHED 1968.

HOUSE EXTENSIONS * REFURBISHMENTS

INVOICE TO:

Mr and Mrs Wood,

Invoice Number: 123

6, Disraeli Avenue,

Account No.: 0886

New Lymouth,

VAT REG No: 132 2634 98

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

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Caroline Smailes

DESCRIPTION

Re: proposed container-based extension to your property.

Excavate 6 bases and concrete to form level bases for container.

Excavate soil to front area and cart away to existing soil heap.

Dig trench for electrical pipe and lay ducting with draw string.

Lay 22 tonnes Motand roll level.

Spread dust.

Lay 160 slabs on sand and cement.

Slabs, sand and cement, hardcore, pipe ducting

£1,054. 60

Skip loader, Roller and Mixer.

£212.00

Labour

£1,644.00

Supply and fit 75mm x 50mm timber bolted to all sides of

container.

Fit base and top plates to verticals.

Construct roof trusses and fix to plate.

Cover walls and roof with feather edge boards,

75mm x 50mm, 100mm x 50mm, 125mm x 50mm timber,

feather edge boards.

Nuts and bolts, nails and wall plate straps.

£1,794.80

Labour.

£3,285.00

NET VALUE

£7,990.40

VAT @17.5%

£1,398.32

TOTAL

£9,388.72

116

Disraeli Avenue

RAW. Richard A. Smith & Partner

— Builders of Quality Homes —

23, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

ESTABLISHED 1968.

HOUSE EXTENSIONS * REFURBISHMENTS

INVOICE TO:

Mr and Mrs Wood,

Invoice Number: 124

6, Disraeli Avenue,

Account No.: 0886

New Lymouth,

VAT REG No: 132 2634 98

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

DESCRIPTION

Interim payment number 1 for proposed container-based

extension to your property.

Labour and materials on site.

Payable immediately

NET VALUE

£1,191.40

VAT @17.5%

£208.50

TOTAL

£1,399.90

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Caroline Smailes

RAW. Richard A. Smith & Partner

— Builders of Quality Homes —

23, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

ESTABLISHED 1968.

HOUSE EXTENSIONS * REFURBISHMENTS

INVOICE TO:

Mr and Mrs Wood,

Invoice Number: 125

6, Disraeli Avenue,

Account No.: 0886

New Lymouth,

VAT REG No: 132 2634 98

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

DESCRIPTION

Interim payment number 2 for proposed container-based

extension to your property.

Labour and materials on site.

Payable immediately

NET VALUE

£2,191.40

VAT @17.5%

£383.50

TOTAL

£2,574.90

118

Number 24

Mr and Mrs Walker

Red front door

Red garage door

Blue car

LPY 529W

Probably a robbery

Mr Lewis was standing behind me in the queue at Brian’s

newsagents. There was a lottery rush, a double rollover and we all

reckoned that it was just a matter of time before someone from the

estate won. Brian North said that the most anyone had won from his

newsagents was ten pounds and that that made our odds of a biggie

win really high. It was just a matter of time. I reckon that everyone

from Disraeli Avenue was queuing. The queue was curling from

the counter out through the open door. Mrs Smith said that if one

of us won, we should share it with the rest of the street. I nodded

with everyone else, but knew fine well that I wouldn’t be sharing

my winnings with that load of bastards. I knew what they thought

of me and my lads. My winnings would be for my lads and their

future, not for the gossiping folk that didn’t have the time of day

for us Walkers.

‘Am I behind you pet?’ his shaking voice made me turn to my right.

He was standing too close to me, not behind in the queue.

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Caroline Smailes

‘Yes Mr Lewis you are behind me,’ I smiled at him, thinking

that there was no way I was going to let him in front.

‘I’m all over the place. I had a burglar last night. Buggers got

seventeen thousand pounds,’ Mr Lewis spoke smiling. His sour

smell floated from his being, his wrinkled skin hung from his

cheeks. I didn’t get why he was smiling.

‘Have you told the police? Did you have all that cash in your

house?’ I was shocked for the poor bloke. I’d heard about people

stashing their savings in their houses, afraid of banks. But seventeen

thousand pounds was a huge amount, especially as the bloke had

led everyone to believe that he couldn’t even afford paint for his

front door and garage. He was smiling, like a Christmas elf and

moving closer, gripping my arm with his hand.

‘Yes I told the police and they were very nice. They stole a

cheque.’

‘The police stole a cheque?’ I was confused. Mr Lewis smiled

instead of answering with words.

As I turned away from him, gently unpicking his fingers from their

grip on my arm, the image of my smiling Simon jumped into my

head. He had money this morning, had said he’d had a win on the

dogs. It wasn’t thousands though, a couple of hundred at the most.

It couldn’t have been him, he’s a good lad. But still my stomach

churned, a feeling of dread.

I have three lads, Mark’s doing time because some lying cow said

that he beat her up, then there’s Simon who has been looking for

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Disraeli Avenue

work for a few years and then my bairn Rob who helps his dad out

on the window cleaning round. They’re all good lads, they treat me

like a queen, but the local police have it in for them. The slightest

bit of bother on the estate and there’s police on my doorstep.

I could hear Mr Lewis.

‘Am I behind you pet?’ he was talking to Rita Williams who was

standing behind him in the queue.

‘Yes you were,’ she told him. She’s a lying nasty cow that Rita.

She thinks she’s the queen of Sheba because she married Bill, but

we all know where she came from. My lads told me all about what

Rita used to do for work before she met Bill. Her mate Bet is a mate

of my Mark’s lass.

‘Sorry pet,’ Mr Lewis moved behind Rita, further down the

queue. ‘I’m all over the place today,’ he tried to catch Rita’s

attention, ‘I had a burglar last night and the buggers got fourteen

thousand pounds.’

Rita Williams didn’t respond. She’s such a nasty cow. Mr Lewis

was a mess, befuddled, alone. I was happy to see Brian North

coming over and taking Mr Lewis out of the queue.

‘What’s been going on mate?’ Mr North asked him.

‘Got robbed last night and they got two hundred pounds. Someone

will be getting a good Christmas box,’ Mr Lewis laughed.

‘Have you told your daughter?’

‘No she’s in Wetherby, married a bloke called Mr Curtains but

he doesn’t hang up,’ Mr Lewis laughed again. Brian smiled at him.

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Caroline Smailes

‘Were the police good to you?’ Brian was trying to get answers.

My stomach churned again. But my Simon was a good lad, he’d not

steal from Mr Lewis.

‘The police took my cheque for ten thousand,’ Mr Lewis

continued smiling. ‘Some bugger will be getting a good Christmas

box. I’m wanting to strangle him.’

‘Come into the back for a cuppa,’ Brian North, hand on Mr

Lewis’ shoulder, guided him into the back.

Things were always tight at Christmas. The window cleaning round

doesn’t happen so much, what with the rain and the wind. Our

Simon only had his dole and the bairn Rob only had his dole and

the little bits that his dad gave him. Things were tight, but my boys

are good lads. If they did anything bad it’d only be so as they could

treat me like a queen. They care about their mam. They’re all good

lads, really, they’re all good lads.

I stayed in the queue, got my lottery ticket and then got myself home

to have a word with our Simon. I told him about Mr Lewis and him

being probably robbed. I told our Simon that I hoped the lad who’d

done it would have the head to hide the money somewhere safe,

because I reckoned it was only a matter of time before the police

would be on ‘someone’s’ doorstep. Our Simon smiled at me and

then gave me a big hug and smacking kiss on my cheek. He’s a

good lad.

122

Number 25

Mr and Mrs Scott

Red front door

Red garage

No car

Reciting Metro stops, unable to sleep

It starts with seeing a big yellow cube.

The letter M is black and big.

It tells is that I have found meself a Metro station.

Cullercoats.

Whitley Bay.

Monkseaton.

West Monkseaton.

Shiremoor.

Northumberland Park.

Palmersville.

Benton.

Four Lane Ends.

Longbenton.

South Gosforth.

Ilford Road.

West Jesmond.

Jesmond.

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Caroline Smailes

Haymarket.

Monument.

Manors.

Byker.

Chillingham Road.

Walkergate.

Wallsend.

Hadrian Road.

Howdon.

Percy Main.

Meadow Well.

North Shields.

Tynemouth.

Cullercoats.

I used to drive Metro trains.

Of course I don’t do that anymore.

Now I ride them when me missus and me should be asleep.

Cullercoats, Whitley Bay, Monkseaton, West

Monkseaton, Shiremoor, Northumberland Park,

Palmersville, Benton.

I ride is a loop of sorts.

I never buy is a ticket.

Me eyes, me ears do the route, like I used to do every day.

I used to be able to drive with me eyes closed.

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Disraeli Avenue

I know times and I know distances and no matter how hard I try, I

can’t seem to shift them from me head.

First train from Cullercoats is at 5:44 am, then coming every eight

or twelve or fifteen minutes.

I do the route proper.

Cullercoats.

Whitley Bay.

Monkseaton.

West Monkseaton.

Shiremoor.

Northumberland Park.

Palmersville.

Benton.

Four Lane Ends.

Longbenton.

South Gosforth.

Ilford Road.

West Jesmond.

Jesmond.

Haymarket.

Monument.

Manors.

Byker.

Chillingham Road.

Walkergate.

Wallsend.

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Caroline Smailes

Hadrian Road.

Howdon.

Percy Main.

Meadow Well.

North Shields.

Tynemouth.

Cullercoats.

The lad jumped in front of me train.

I was driving from Benton to Four Lane Ends.

Then it happened.

Cullercoats, Whitley Bay, Monkseaton, West

Monkseaton, Shiremoor, Northumberland Park,

Palmersville, Benton.

It was reported that the lad fell, that he stumbled onto the track and

then me train went over him.

They were protecting his family.

He had bairns and a wife.

Longbenton, South Gosforth, Ilford Road, West

Jesmond, Jesmond, Haymarket, Monument, Manors,

Byker, Chillingham Road, Walkergate, Wallsend,

Hadrian Road, Howdon, Percy Main, Meadow Well,

North Shields, Tynemouth, Cullercoats.

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Disraeli Avenue

I saw his eyes and I saw the lad jump.

I saw the final decision that he made and I saw it with me own eyes,

so I know that it’s the truth.

Cullercoats, Whitley Bay, Monkseaton, West

Monkseaton, Shiremoor, Northumberland Park,

Palmersville, Benton.

I killed him with me train.

Longbenton, South Gosforth, Ilford Road, West

Jesmond, Jesmond, Haymarket, Monument, Manors,

Byker, Chillingham Road, Walkergate, Wallsend,

Hadrian Road, Howdon, Percy Main, Meadow Well,

North Shields, Tynemouth, Cullercoats.

I couldn’t stop me train.

I killed the lad.

Cullercoats.

Whitley Bay.

Monkseaton.

West Monkseaton.

Shiremoor.

Northumberland Park.

Palmersville.

Benton.

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Caroline Smailes

Four Lane Ends.

Longbenton.

South Gosforth.

Ilford Road.

West Jesmond.

Jesmond.

Haymarket.

Monument.

Manors.

Byker.

Chillingham Road.

Walkergate.

Wallsend.

Hadrian Road.

Howdon.

Percy Main.

Meadow Well.

North Shields.

Tynemouth.

Cullercoats.

So now I don’t work.

I do nowt all day and then at night I ride me route.

I do the loop.

I should be sleeping with me missus.

But every night is the same.

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Disraeli Avenue

I can’t sleep.

Because when I sleep, I see the lad.

Cullercoats, Whitley Bay, Monkseaton, West

Monkseaton, Shiremoor, Northumberland Park,

Palmersville, Benton.

There was talk of is having to see a shrink. They said that I should

get me head some help.

But I don’t go in for that kind of stuff.

Shrinks are for drug addicts and gays and not for fellas like me.

Cullercoats.

Whitley Bay.

Monkseaton.

West Monkseaton.

Shiremoor.

Northumberland Park.

Palmersville.

Benton.

Four Lane Ends.

Longbenton.

South Gosforth.

Ilford Road.

West Jesmond.

Jesmond.

Haymarket.

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Caroline Smailes

Monument.

Manors.

Byker.

Chillingham Road.

Walkergate.

Wallsend.

Hadrian Road.

Howdon.

Percy Main.

Meadow Well.

North Shields.

Tynemouth.

Cullercoats.

130

Number 26

Mr and Mrs Bruce

Yellow front door

Yellow garage door

Red car

SRT 744S

Buy my stuff, buy me

OBITUARY A.M., Wednesday January 2

2008. Followed by Whitley Bay

MICHAEL ALEXANDER

Crematorium.

Born February 14 1970

The family requests no flowers

Died December 27 2007

and all donations to be made to

Leukaemia Research.

ALEXANDER,

MICHAEL For all enquiries please contact

(Mike) passed away in hospital L. Smilling, Funeral Director

after complications of acute on 0191 2526377

leukaemia, with his beloved

family at his side.

FOR SALE

Aged 37 years, beloved father

of Sophie, beloved husband TALL SLIM MAHOGANY

of Clare.

CABINET vgc £125. Large

Funeral service to take place crocheted cream tablecloth

at St Mary’s Roman Catholic £26, two silver candle-sticks

Church Farringdon Road, North £35, set of silver fish knives

Shields, NE30 3EY at 10.00 £15. Telephone 0191 2525255

131

Caroline Smailes

UPRIGHT PIANO. DARK

GAS COOKER 18 months

WOOD. Good Condition.

old £95, washing machine £95,

£200 ono. Buyer must collect.

Fridge–freezer frost free £75.

Telephone 0191 2525255

Tumble drier 18 months old

£65. Telephone 0191 2525255

WORK WANTED.

EXPERIENCED CLEANER.

PINE TABLE. 6ft x 3ft and

Fair rates. Available day and

6 ladder backed chairs, with

night at hourly rate. Thorough

fabric seat. Excellent condition,

and discreet. Telephone 0191

£150 ono. Telephone 0191

2525255

2525255

132

Number 27

Mr and Mrs Pescott

Green front door

Green garage door

Yellow car

PLB 533X

A simple love story

Featuring:

Simon Pescott (21 years old).

Carol (16 years old).

Graeme Pescott (21 years old).

Sarah (18 years old).

Story:

Simon and Carol meet at Neil’s 21st birthday party. Carol is Neil’s

cousin.

9th May

Simon and Carol go to the cinema ( Uncle Buck).

10th May

Simon asks Carol to be his girlfriend (over the telephone). Carol

says ‘yes’ (over the telephone).

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Caroline Smailes

11th May

Simon and his twin brother Graeme have a mobile disco. Simon

invites Carol along.

12th May

Simon and Carol go to Oz’s in Holywell and then have sex in

Simon’s car in the car park on the seafront.

13th May

Simon goes to Carol’s house. She should be revising for her GCSEs.

They have sex. It is quick.

14th May

Simon goes to Carol’s house. She should be revising for her GCSE.

They have sex. It is quick.

15th May

Simon and Carol go into town and look around Woolworths. Neither

of them buys anything.

16th May

Simon and Carol go to the cinema ( Pretty Woman).

18th May

Simon and his twin brother Graeme have a mobile disco. Simon

invites Carol along. During Come on Eileen Simon and Carol have

sex in the toilets.

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Disraeli Avenue

19th May

Simon and Carol go shopping for new record releases in Wallsend.

Then they go back to Simon’s house and have sex on the sofa.

Simon’ s twin brother Graeme watches them. Carol does not know

that Simon’s twin brother Graeme is watching them.

21st May

Simon and Carol go shopping in town. Carol should be revising for

her GCSEs.

22nd May

Simon and Carol go to the quarry for an hour. Carol should be

revising for her GCSEs. Carol lets Simon take photographs of her

without a top on.

23rd May

Simon and his twin brother Graeme have a mobile disco. Simon

invites Carol along. Simon is in an angry mood because Carol is

on her period and will not have sex. After the disco, Carol offers

Simon oral sex in the back of the car. Simon accepts the offer.

25th May

Simon and Carol go to see a fireworks display and then they have

sex on the beach. Carol pretends to enjoy the sex by making loud

screaming noises. Simon is embarrassed.

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Caroline Smailes

26th May

Simon goes to Donna’s 18th birthday party. Carol’s cousin Neil

tells her that Simon kissed Sarah. Carol asks Simon if he kissed

Sarah at Donna’s 18th birthday. Simon tells Carol that Graeme

kissed Sarah at Donna’s 18th birthday.

27th May

Simon, Carol, Sarah, Graeme and Tony go to Lightwater Valley.

Carol feels very intimidated by Sarah. Carol sees Simon and Sarah

holding hands. Carol cries in the car on the way home. Simon does

not notice.

28th May

Simon goes to Carol’s house and they have sex in her bed. Carol

should be revising for her GCSEs. After the sex, Carol and Simon

go to Whitley Bay. Carol should be revising for her GCSEs.

30th May

Simon and Carol do not see each other because Simon wants to go

out drinking with his friends. Simon tells Carol that she looks too

young to go to pubs and that she should be revising for her GCSEs.

Carol cries herself to sleep.

1st June

Simon, Carol, Sarah, Graeme and Tony go to the cinema at night

( Hard to Kill). In the morning Simon goes to Carol’s house and

they have sex on her bed.

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Disraeli Avenue

4th June

Simon and Carol go into town. Simon does not want to hold Carol’s

hand. Simon tells Carol that his hands are too cold to come out of

his pockets. The sun is shining.

5th June

Simon and Carol watch a video at Simon’s house ( See No Evil, Hear

No Evil). They have sex two times. It is quicker the first time.

8th June

Simon and Carol go to a party at Anthony’s house. They play spin

the bottle. Simon kisses Sarah and uses his tongue. Carol does not

get a turn.

10th June

Simon goes to Carol’s house and stays for twenty-seven minutes.

They have sex. Carol pretends to have an orgasm and screams very

loudly. Simon asks her to be quieter next time.

11th June

Simon and Carol go shopping for DJ shoes for Simon. They go

to North Shields and Wallsend, but do not find the right DJ shoes.

Simon does not want to hold Carol’s hand. Simon tells Carol that his

hands are too cold to come out of his pockets. The sun is shining.

13th June

Simon, Carol, Sarah, Graeme and Tony visit the cinema ( Ski Patrol).

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Caroline Smailes

15th June

Simon, Carol, Sarah, Graeme and Tony go to the cinema ( Look

Who’s Talking). Simon sits in between Carol and Sarah. Carol does

not like that Sarah is sharing Simon’s popcorn.

18th June

Simon goes to Carol’s house in the morning. They have sex. In the

afternoon Carol goes to Simon’s house but he is not there.

19th June

Simon and Carol go shopping for fifty minutes in North Shields.

They still do not find the right DJ shoes. Simon does not want to

hold Carol’s hand. Simon tells Carol that his hands are too cold to

come out of his pockets. The sun is shining.

21st June

Simon goes to Carol’s house. They have sex. Carol goes to Simon’s

house. Simon is not there. Carol talks to his twin brother Graeme.

Graeme shows Carol his penis. Carol thinks that Graeme’s penis

is bigger than Simon’s penis and that his foreskin is different. She

does not tell Graeme.

25th June

Simon goes to Carol’s house. He stays for fourteen minutes. They

have sex.

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Disraeli Avenue

26th June

Simon and Carol do not see each other. Graeme goes to Carol’s

house. Carol touches Graeme’s penis. Carol knows that Graeme’s

penis is bigger than Simon’s penis. Carol knows that Graeme’s

foreskin is not as tight as Simon’s foreskin. She does not tell

Graeme.

27th June

Simon and his twin brother Graeme have a mobile disco. Graeme

invites Carol along. Simon is angry with Graeme and leaves early.

Carol cries all the way home.

28th June

Simon goes to Sarah’s 18th birthday party. Graeme and Carol go to

Sarah’s 18th birthday party. Simon has sex with Sarah in the toilets

during her 18th birthday party. Carol cries when she sees Simon

kissing Sarah. Carol does not know that Simon and Sarah have had

sex in the toilets during Sarah’s 18th birthday party.

30th June

Simon starts going out with Sarah. Carol has sex with Graeme.

139

Number 28

Mr and Mrs Stevenson

Green front door

Green garage door

Brown car

KHC 807R

For straight-talking advice ask Jane

Q. I’ve been married for twenty-three years now with a nice house

and car. The problem is that I came home from work for dinner the

other day and found my husband dressed in his dead mam’s clothes.

Our marriage was never ‘Hollywood’ but I love my husband very

much. I made the mistake of telling one of my neighbours what had

happened and she spread it around everywhere. Our bairns don’t

live at home anymore and I’m worried that it’ll reach them soon

and that they’ll not want anything to do with their dad anymore.

People have been telling me to leave him and some of them have

been pretty bad to my husband, saying that he’s one of those

homosexuals. I stand to lose a lot if I leave him and really I want

to stay. How can I stop him dressing in his dead mam’s clothes and

what should I do to make the neighbours stop picking on him?

Paula, 45

A. Don’t be too firm with him, but do tell him that his dressing in

his dead mother’s clothing is making you feel uncomfortable. It’s

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Caroline Smailes

usual for the source of cross-dressing to be about empowerment and

the fact that he is choosing to dress in his dead mother’s clothing

suggests to me that she may have been a domineering woman. Was

she? You need to talk to him, not being overpowering, just firm.

There’s been no mention of any sexual issues, so it is perhaps the

fact that this isn’t a sexual problem or maybe that you don’t have a

sexual relationship. Of course, your gossiping to neighbours must

have upset your husband and his concealing his cross dressing from

you does raise trust issues. Have there been other problems? You

need to help him to remove his guilt and to be more open with you,

but this will involve your being more accepting. Work through this

with him, as a married couple, even consider external help and try

to rebuild the lost trust. When you are ready to accept the person

that your husband is attempting to express, then perhaps you could

tackle your neighbours together, as a solid unit. You’ll get there,

eventually. Be happy.

Useful number –

Failing marriages

0845 999 9990

142

Number 29

Mr and Mrs Doran

Blue front door

Blue garage door

No car

Being married to Jezebel

My child was knocked down by a drunk driver.

It happened on Gladstone Street whilst my wife was in our marital

bed fornicating with her lover.

[23] And I will kill her children with death.

I was drinking with colleagues and not committing to my family

in any way.

I am not blameless.

We both repent of our sins.

Luke.1

[76] And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest:

for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare

his ways;

[77] To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the

remission of their sins,

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Caroline Smailes

[78] Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the

dayspring from on high hath visited us,

[79] To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow

of death to guide our feet into the way of peace.

We seek our guidance in the Holy Scriptures. We devote our lives to

his precious words. We seek forgiveness. We worship.

Revelation.2

[1] Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things

saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who

walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

[2] I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how

thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried

them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found

them liars:

[3] And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake

hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

[4] Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou

hast left thy first love.

[5] Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and

repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee

quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except

thou repent.

[6] But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the

Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

[7] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto

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Disraeli Avenue

the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the

tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

[8] And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These

things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

[9] I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou

art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are

Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

[10] Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold,

the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be

tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful

unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

[11] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith

unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the

second death.

[12] And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These

things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

[13] I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where

Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not

denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was

my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan

dwelleth.

[14] But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast

there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac

to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat

things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

[15] So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the

Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

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Caroline Smailes

[16] Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight

against them with the sword of my mouth.

[17] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto

the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the

hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone

a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that

receiveth it.

[18] And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These

things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame

of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

[19] I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and

thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the

first.

[20] Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because

thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a

prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit

fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

[21] And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she

repented not.

[22] Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit

adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of

their deeds.

[23] And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches

shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts:

and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

[24] But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as

have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of

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Disraeli Avenue

Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

[25] But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

[26] And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the

end, to him will I give power over the nations:

[27] And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels

of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of

my Father.

[28] And I will give him the morning star.

[29] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto

the churches.

The Lord is our Master.

Job. 1

[21] The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.

147

Number 30

Mrs Jones (Aunty Maggie)

Blue front door

Blue garage door

No car

My brother Eddie

Eddie is my brother. He was five when I came along and not too

impressed at having to share mother. He didn’t bother much with

me and I actually can’t recall him ever playing with me before I was

nine years old. I can’t recollect a time when we laughed or talked

or played a board game. I presume that there must have been such

times, but in my head there are many blanks and blacks.

I think that I was nine when Eddie first asked.

‘Hev yee ever had sex?’

I didn’t understand his question so I answered, ‘yes’. I remember

that my answer seemed to please him and that he smiled. It was

then that Eddie began to give more attention to me and I liked that

Eddie became interested in me. I needed him to love me and very

quickly I knew that I would do anything for my older brother.

I think that I was nine when Eddie first came into my room and

asked.

‘Hev yee ever seen a cock before?’

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Caroline Smailes

I didn’t understand his question so I answered, ‘yes’. I remember

that my answer seemed to please Eddie and he unzipped his trousers

and pulled out his penis. His stumpy fingers clenched around it. I

hadn’t seen a penis before. I remember a curiosity that he had a

stubby shiny thing in his trousers.

Eddie told me.

‘Watch me wank.’

Eddie told me.

‘I’ll show yee the way tha lads leik te be touched.’

He guided my hand onto his penis. I remember that the hardness

shocked me at first.

Eddie told me.

‘Grip yer fingers around me cock.’

I did as my brother told me, directed me to and I wrapped my

fingers around his stumpy penis. He placed his hand over mine and

we played together. We continued until he told me to release my

grip, but to keep my hands on his testicles. And then I watched as

he continued to rub and move his penis until he came. I remember

being shocked by what was released. I remember the sticky texture

as his semen dripped onto my fingers.

I think that I was nine when Eddie first climbed into my bed at night

and asked.

‘Will yee tyek yer nightdress off an let me cuddle yee?’

I needed him to love me. I would do anything for my older

brother.

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Disraeli Avenue

I think that I was nine when Eddie first entered me. He told me.

‘Open yer legs an let me fuck yee a bit.’

And I did what Eddie asked me to do, because I needed him to love

me. I would do anything for my older brother.

I think that I was nine when Eddie told me.

‘It’s oor little secret. You’re me special girlfriend.’

And I loved that I was his special girlfriend and I liked what Eddie

did to me in the middle of the night for all of those years.

He loved me and I loved him. I thought we’d find a way of being

together. Forever.

But we didn’t.

As I grew older, Eddie began to turn his eyes to other girls. Younger

and prettier girls. I couldn’t compete with them. I was fifteen when

Eddie stopped entering me quite so often and it was then that

Eddie started playing with much younger girls. He would tell me

all about their small tender bodies, of their innocence and I would

burn with jealousy.

I was sixteen when I realised that I was pregnant. I was sixteen

when I had to force myself to sleep with another man so that he

could carry the blame for my pregnancy. I chose Samuel Cleggit.

He was known for his lustful ways and he proved an easy target. I

let him enter me, I waited for a few weeks and then told him that I

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Caroline Smailes

was with child. He was quick to run and when my baby was born

she was given to a Sisterhood to care for. My brother’s name was

never added to her birth certificate. After her birth, Eddie did not

enter me again and I realised that my dreams of us being together,

forever, were not going to realise.

After our parents died, my contact with Eddie dissolved. We had

very separate, different lives. Then, without warning, Eddie decided

to re-enter my life and become a house guest in my perfect home.

I know what my brother Eddie did to Jude Williams.

He told me.

He told me about her tender smooth skin and her tight lips.

I burned inside. All of my hidden emotions surfaced and I felt a

deep rage. I wanted my youth. I wanted to be nine years old and

desirable again.

I watched Jude change. I could see, could recognise her confusion.

I could see that she was crying out for help and for words to

understand what had happened to her. I wanted to talk to her. I

wanted to explain to her how very lucky she was that my brother

Eddie had picked her from all of the other children and how over

time she would learn to enjoy, to perform during the act. I wanted

her to know that we were a big family now, that we were joined as

one and that I would help her to get used to Eddie and his needs.

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Disraeli Avenue

But I could not form the words or sentences to help Jude. I would

stare at her and feel hatred, envy towards her. My Eddie desired her.

My Eddie had been inside of her. Her flesh was wrinkle free, her

tiny body was perfect and Eddie liked flawless, smooth.

I look in the mirror and I see a web of wrinkles. I can trace a finger

around the web that is twined with bitterness and deceit.

I am an old woman who is not desired.

I will die alone, longing for my brother.

153

Number 31

Mr and Mrs Gibbons

Blue car matches the blue front door

Blue car matches the blue garage

FKT 264R

My creative writing exercises

An introduction to Creative Writing – warm ups

A Haiku

Childless couple bound

by his wheelchair helplessness

as guilt steers her path.

Six-word biographies

Wheelchair constrained husband. Wife main carer.

Broken body but penis still flickers.

No children. Husband wheelchair bound instead.

Dreaming of escape. Suicide an option.

By Mrs G. Gibbons

155

Number 32

Mr and Mrs Alexander

Red front door

Red garage

Grey car or maybe silver

FFH 335V

Dear Father Christmas

Dear Father Christmas

How are you? I am very well. I am sorry for not

writing sooner.

Did you know that I was at school when it

happened? My dad had another fall last week and

the ambulance had to take him in to hospital. He

has falls quite a lot, but this one was bad. They

think it has caused him to bleed inside his head,

but they won’t ever know because my mum has

said that he is not to have any more tests. My

dad is being made comfortable. My grandma had

to come and pick me up from school, because my

mum was in hospital with my dad. My grandma

told me what had happened and she looked really

sad. Her eyes were red and little, like she looks in

the morning before she puts all of her makeup on.

My grandma didn’t cry and I didn’t cry either.

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Caroline Smailes

My grandma took me into Newcastle to look at

Fenwick’s window. Then we went for a special

menu Italian meal before going back to my house.

I had spaghetti and garlic bread, my grandma

had lasagne and garlic mushrooms. My grandma

said that she thought it’d be a nice way to take

my mind off everything with my dad. Newcastle

city centre is ready for Christmas and Fenwick’s

window had a skating Winter Wonderland. The

penguins were twirling on their skates and they

looked really cute. You should go and see it. My

grandma told me that my dad was really really

poorly now. She said that my dad might not be

coming out of hospital this time. Dad’s been poorly

all my life, but he’s been getting worse lately. My

mum thinks that I haven’t realised, but I have. His

skin is a different colour, he has to sleep downstairs

because he can’t climb the stairs anymore and his

food is all mashed up, like my baby cousin Julie’s.

I still get to spend loads of time with him though

and I love it when he asks me to read to him. I

do loads of different voices and make him laugh.

I love my dad’s laugh. It’s really loud and comes

right from the bottom of his belly. I love my dad’s

fingers too. They stroke my arm while I read. He

gets tired really easily though, but he tries to sleep

in the day so that he’s all awake when I come

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Disraeli Avenue

home from school. I think that he must wake up

when he hears my mum’s car pulling on the drive.

I guess this is all in the past now and that my life

is going to change again. I’m trying not to think

about it too much because I don’t want to cry and

make my mum more upset. When my mum came

back from the hospital, she was sad. She sat with

me and my grandma. She held my hand and she

told me that my dad was dying. She said that it

might take a while, but that dad was ready to go.

My mum said that it wasn’t that dad had given

up on us. My mum said that my dad really really

loved us, but more that his body had had enough

of fighting. My mum said that enough was enough

and that she didn’t want my dad’s body messed

around with. My mum said that she’d done all her

grieving, but grandma told her that she hadn’t.

Grandma explained that the next few weeks were

going to be really tough, what with Christmas

coming too and that I’d have to be really grown

up. My mum started crying then. She said that I

shouldn’t have to be grown up, that I’m only ten

and that Christmas should be a happy time. My

grandma told my mum that death was part of life,

but then my mum got angry and left the room. My

grandma has been staying with us since last week.

She’s been talking to me about death and my dad

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Caroline Smailes

dying and I’m trying really hard to understand.

My grandma says that she lost her dad at Christmas

time. Grandma has told me that my dad’s been

in lots of pain and that he’s been struggling for

years. My grandma says that although we’ll cry

and we’ll hurt when dad dies, at least it means

that he won’t be in pain anymore. I don’t want my

dad to be in pain anymore and I hate that my dad

has been hurting. My mum went to visit my dad

yesterday. She said that he was too poorly for me

to visit, so my Aunty Sue came and got me from

school. She took me back to her house and I played

with Julie a bit, before my grandma came for me.

We moved here a couple of months ago, before that

we lived near to Aunty Sue and my grandma. We

had a big house then, but then we stopped being

able to afford it and we had to move here. I hate it

here. My mum thought it best that I still go to the

same school. My dad’s insurance is enough to pay

my fees but not for the mortgage on our old house.

I hate living in Disraeli Avenue. The people are

mean. One of the neighbours keeps coming around

and knocking on the front door. My mum said not

to answer. I don’t think my mum likes living here

either. Father Christmas you will know that it’s

Christmas in ten days. I didn’t write to you earlier,

because I’m ten now and I kind of am not really

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Disraeli Avenue

sure if I believe in you or not. Sarah says that

you’re not real, that it’s our mums and dads that

do it all, but my dad is really poorly. I’m really

hoping that you’re real and that you’ll be able to

help me. Mum says that she really hopes that my

dad doesn’t die on Christmas day. She didn’t say

it to me, I overheard her talking to my grandma

in the kitchen. I was sitting on the other side of

the door. My mum says that if my dad dies on

Christmas day, then it’ll spoil every Christmas for

me and her, forever. She said that she was being

selfish and then she started crying some more. I

don’t really understand what she means by that,

but she kept on crying and crying and I think that

it’s really worrying her. My grandma told my

mum that she was right. She said that Christmas

stopped being magical the day that her dad died.

My mum told my grandma that it’s only a matter

of days till my dad dies. He’s really really poorly.

He’s too poorly for me to go and visit, but I really

really want to go and see my dad. I’ve made

him a special Christmas card with a drawing of

a Christmas tree on the front. We don’t have a

Christmas tree this year. Grandma told me that

it wouldn’t be right. Father Christmas, that’s why

I’m writing to you. I’m not writing you a list of

what I want and I’m not even bothered about not

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Caroline Smailes

having a tree. I don’t care about getting toys or

anything like that.

Father Christmas, all I want for Christmas is

for my dad not to die on Christmas Day. Please. I

know that my mum really wants this too. Boxing

Day or Christmas Eve would be fine, but please not

on Christmas Day. Please. Please let me have this

one thing for Christmas. Please. I want my mum

be happy again.

Merry Christmas to you and your wife.

Lots of love,

Sophie Alexander

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

* * *

162

Number 9

Bill, Rita and Crystal Williams

Green front door

Green garage door

Yellow car

KON 908V

Thinking about wor Jude

and wor Adam

Ah keep thinking bout when Ah telt wor Jude tha Ah didn’t want

te taak aboot Adam. Ah telt her tha it wez aal in the past an tha it

should stay buried wi her mam. Jude tried te laugh it off, but Ah

could tell tha sheh wez hurting, tha sheh needed answers.

Wor Jude had been baad. Ah’d tried te help her bi telling her te

eat an tha Crystal needed her. Ah telt her not te be so fuckin daft an

te eat before sheh starved hersell te death. Sheh wez wasting away

before me eyes an there wez nothin tha Ah could dee te help her.

Sheh’d always been a strange bairn. Sheh’d keep everything inside,

sheh’d always stare at is leik sheh wanted te taak but sheh couldn’t

get the words oot.

Sheh used te give is the creeps, so Ah guess tha it’s me fault, but

sheh looked just leik me missus Sarah.

Ah keep gannin back te when sheh discharged hersell frem

hospital. Sheh came here, stood in this room an sheh stared into me

eyes. Sheh’d telt is strite tha sheh wanted te taak aboot Adam an Ah

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Caroline Smailes

remember trying me hardest te avoid it. Ah didn’t want te be taakin

aboot aal the fucking mistakes in me leif, not in front of Rita. Ah’d

buried a missus an a bairn. Ah wasn’t proud of me past.

Ah telt wor Jude tha Adam had died a long time before. Ah telt

her tha he wez a wee lad tha died an tha Ah wez sorry. Ah knaa tha

Ah sounded leik a cold bastard, but Ah’d buried me feelings for

wor Adam a long time before tha. Ah remember thinking tha it wez

probably best if sheh didn’t knaa exactly what’d happened. Ah telt

her tha Ah wez really sorry tha she’d foond oot aboot him.

Yee see Ah didn’t want te taak aboot Adam, cos Ah didn’t

reckon tha there wez owt te be gained bi dragging it aal up, but wor

Jude knew much more than Ah realised, then.

Ah wez bein selfish an Ah wez protecting mesel.

Ah wez a hard lad wi me fists an Ah used te think tha if Ah

showed any weakness, then Ah’d be less of a lad.

When sheh telt is tha her mam had left her a note, well Ah felt

me heart breaking. You’ve ne idea hoo many times Ah’ve wondered

what wez gannin through Sarah’s heed when sheh took aal those

pills an drank tha vodka. Ah hated her for not leaving is a note. Ah

used te talk te Sarah in me heed, asking her hoo sheh wez an if sheh

wez any happier on the other side. Ah thought tha if me an Jude

didn’t taak aboot it, if wi ignored it aal an got on wi living, then Ah

reckoned tha wor Jude might have a chance.

But Ah wez wrong, cos Jude went strange when sheh foond her

deed mam an Ah handled it aal wrong, again.

Ah fucked up, again.

Ignoring shit doesn’t myek it haddaway, pretending tha me

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Disraeli Avenue

bairn hadn’t foond her deed mam didn’t help wor Jude. The poor

bairn had tee much shit stuff spinning around inside her heed.

It wez fuckin clear that wor Jude wez screwed up, sheh’d stolen

me brushes tin an filled it wi strange stuff. There were nits an plastic

squares an wheyaye there wez Sarah’s note. Ah remember staring

at the collection an not knowing what te say te Jude. The poor bairn

had carried tha note around wi her for years an aal the time sheh

couldn’t share tha wi me.

What keind of fatha wez Ah?

Ah hurt her an Ah punched her an Ah nivvor made it betta for

her. Ah think tha wor Jude wez strange cos her heed wez filled wi

secrets tha sheh wez tee frightened te share wi me. Ah wez her only

hope an Ah let her doon.

Ah let me bairn Adam doon, Ah drove me forst missus te kill

hersell an then wor Jude, Ah nivvor helped wor Jude. Sheh didn’t

even feel tha sheh could leave is a note when sheh killed hersell,

sheh didn’t even want te tell is seeya, gan canny.

An when Ah’d a chance te ask wor Jude hoo she’d coped aal

those years wi the questions an burden of her mam’s death, well Ah

let her doon again cos Ah shouted at her.

That’s aal Ah ever dee. Ah shout an Ah scare shitless the fowk

that love is most. Ah dee it noo wi Rita an wor Crystal. Ah don’t

want them anywhere near is.

Ah telt Jude tha Ah wez protecting her when sheh wez growing

up. Ah didn’t even try te explain tha Ah thowt tha if Ah didn’t taak

aboot summat, then it’d haddaway.

That’s what wi used te dee, back then.

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Caroline Smailes

Ah keep thinking bout how Jude sez tha Ah did a crap job of

protecting her an tha wez leik someone punching is in the face.

Ah’ll nivvor forget hoo sheh looked at Rita an the way tha sheh

screamed ne reet into Rita’s face. Ah’m supposed te live wi aal of

this noo, Ah’m supposed te be able te forget me past an rewrite

mesel into a future, but hoo can Ah?

Ah’m married te a woman who tret me bairn leik shit.

Rita nivvor showed wor Jude any love, sheh tret her worse than

yee waad a dog an Ah wez a spineless bastard. Aal tha me bairn

Jude ever needed wez for is te show her a bit of love. Sheh nivvor

asked for much but Ah couldn’t dee it.

Ah couldn’t love me aan bairn an wor Jude wez reet when sheh

sez tha Ah failed her an Ah failed Sarah.

Ah’ve still got the box tha Jude rescued frem the rubbish.

It’s aal Ah dee noo.

Ah packed in me job an Ah sit here aal day, wi me stuff frem

me past.

Ah’ve got aal these questions tha Ah can’t get answers fre. Ah

divvent knaa where wor Jude got this shit frem, but it wez important

enough for her te keep it aal. Then there’s the stuff tha Sarah kept,

tha sheh promised te leave behind when wi moved here te Disraeli

Avenue, when wi were having oor new start.

It seems te me tha there’s ne escaping frem the past.

Ah’ve got wor Adam’s box.

Hand knitted blue booties. A blond curl in a plastic money bag.

His hospital wrist band, wi Adam Williams 13-12-1967 written in

black pen. A black an white photo wi blue pen on the back, Adam

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Disraeli Avenue

aged two weeks aad. A knitted blue hat wi satin ribbon ties tha wez

nivvor tied. An a broon teddy wi a button fer a nose. A letter, tha’s

been read bi is an wor Jude. A diary tha’s been read bi is an wor

Jude. A birth certificate sayin mutha Sarah Williams an fatha Bill

Williams. An a death certificate fer Adam Williams, 29-6-1968.

An Ah’ve got Jude’s tin.

Sarah’s note. A sticker. A cigar. A load o nits in a folded piece o

white paper. Sixteen squares o plastic. Her hospital wrist band.

Ah sit here or Ah gandie in the mirror an me eyes are red. Ah

feel a sadness burning behind them. It’s leik me bairn Adam an me

bairn Jude are living behind me eyes, playing wi fire even when Ah

tell them not te. Me eyes are filled wi thoughts of me deed bairns

playing together.

Ah can see them when Ah gandie in the mirror.

Ah let them doon

Adam wez born on the thirteenth Decemba, twelve days before

Christmas. He wez a reet bonny bairn.

Wor Jude wez born on the twenty-fourth Novemba. Sheh wez

a beauty.

But Ah couldn’t love her.

Ah couldn’t love her cos Ah don’t think tha sheh should ever

hev been born. Ah didn’t desorve te be a dad again, not affta wor

Adam. Ah felt tha te love Jude waad be te forget Adam.

Ah couldn’t dee tha.

An noo it’s happened again. Ah’ve had two bairns die on is an

Ah’m sure tha God’s pissed off. Ah don’t desorve te be a dad an Ah

should nivvor hev got together wi Rita an had Crystal.

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Caroline Smailes

Ah’m fucked up.

Ah wez shagging Rita on the bed where me aan missus had

killed hersell.

Ah should hev been looking affta wor Jude an not getting some

tart up the duff.

Ah hump this burden. Ah feel the guilt an Ah don’t think tha Ah

desorve te be here.

Ah wish Ah’d the courage te piss off. Ah reckon Crystal an

Rita’d hev a betta chance wi is gone.

Ah’m sorry wor Jude an Ah’m sorry wor Adam.

Ah’m sorry.

168

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