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Authors: Jim Carrington

In the Bag

BOOK: In the Bag
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In the Bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Carrington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Daisy, Flora & Billy

Contents

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

 

My Inspiration for IN THE BAG

Also by Jim Carrington

Praise for Inside My Head by Jim Carrington

Read on for a taster of Inside My Head

Copyright Page

FRIDAY

Ash

Friday night is what I’m all about. It’s what I live for. If I had my way, I’d sleep through the rest of the week and wake up around four or five on a Friday, then stay awake till Monday morning.

Right now I’m getting ready to go out to the rec. Just like every Friday night. My iPod is docked, music turned up to full, listening to this new American band called the Porn Dwarves. They’re amazing. Hardly anyone in this country has heard of them yet. But they soon will.

I grab the deodorant off my desk and give myself a spray all over, even the delicate bits. You never know your luck, do you? Then I strut over to the wardrobe, nodding my head in time to the music. I open the door and have a look for something decent to wear, pull all my jeans down from a shelf and let them fall on the floor. I pick out the black ones that are ripped right across the knees and give them a little inspection. They’re a bit dirty. Grass stains from last Friday night, to be precise. But I pull them on anyway. No one’s gonna notice at the rec cos it’ll be too dark. And everyone will be as wasted as me.

I take a belt off a pair of jeans that are lying on my drum stool and put it on. Look in the mirror. Looking good. I scrub up nicely, even if I say so myself.

I play along to the Porn Dwarves drum solo – give it a bit of air drums – before I look back in my wardrobe and pull out a T-shirt. The black one with a skull on it and silver writing underneath:
Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse
. Too right. That’s my philosophy right there. Who wants to die sitting in an old people’s home at ninety years old, stinking of piss? Not me. I’d rather be hanging out with Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and Heath Ledger on a cloud with a bottle of whisky, a spliff and my drum kit.

I grab a black zip-up hoodie from the back of my desk chair and a cap that’s lying on the floor. Keys, money, fags, mobile. I check my mobile. Fuck it, the battery’s nearly run down. I send Joe a text anyway to tell him I’m nearly ready. Undock my iPod, grab my trainers, pull them on and I’m out.

Downstairs, I put my head round the lounge door. Mum’s sitting on the sofa, glass of wine in her hand, watching TV. She looks up.

‘You off out?’

I nod. I look round the room. ‘Dad not home?’

Mum shakes her head. She takes a gulp of wine.

At work,’ she says. She sounds pissed off.

I nod. ‘Oh,’ I say. ‘Right. See you later. Don’t wait up.’

Joe

I’m in my room trying to get ready to go out when my phone buzzes in my pocket. It’s a text from Ash.
Meet u at the end of ur road in 5 mins
. I put my phone in my pocket and look in the mirror. My hair looks shite, like someone left a pile of straw on my head. I try and sort it out with my hands, pull it over my face, brush it over one side of my head and then the other. I sigh. Useless. I look like a scarecrow that’s got birds nesting on its head. Maybe I should get it all cut off. At least that way I wouldn’t have to worry about what it looks like.

I go through to the bathroom and fill the basin with water and dunk my head in it. Then I try and plaster my hair down and look in the mirror. Great. Now I look like a drowned scarecrow. I sigh. It’ll have to do.

I give my teeth a clean and then go downstairs. Mum and Dad are in the kitchen. Dad’s leaning against the kitchen worktop, staring out of the back window and listening to the radio.

Mum’s doing the washing up. She looks up as I walk through the hall. ‘Hello, Joe.’

Dad turns round. ‘Hey, Joe,’ he says. It’s his joke. It’s the name of a Jimi Hendrix song. It’s why I’m called Joe apparently, even though Mum and Dad aren’t old enough to remember the song when it came out.

‘I’m going out now.’

‘OK,’ Dad says. ‘Where are you off to? No, hang on, let me guess . . .’

‘The rec,’ I say before he has a chance to do his whole routine.

Mum doesn’t say anything, but I can tell what she’s thinking from the look on her face. Ever since Christmas, when I went down the rec with some friends and got completely wasted, she’s been kind of quiet when I say I’m going there.

‘The rec?’ Dad says sarcastically. ‘I never would have guessed that.’ He winks at me.

‘Who are you going with, love?’ Mum says, ignoring Dad.

‘Just Ash and Rabbit and that lot.’

Dad nods. ‘Well, have fun. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t.’

‘Just make sure you’re careful,’ Mum says. ‘I don’t want . . .’ She doesn’t finish her sentence.

Dad looks at Mum. ‘Give him a break,’ he says. ‘He’s learned his lesson, haven’t you, Joe?’

I nod. I can feel myself blushing.

Mum smiles at me like I’m a little kid. ‘I know. Just me being silly, treating you like you’re still my little baby. Have fun,’ she says.

I nod my head and then I’m gone.

 

A little explanation about the Christmas thing. We all arranged to meet up down at the rec on the evening of the last day of term. We were gonna bring some booze and have a party kind of thing. So I had a look around the house and found some whisky – Mum’d already got it in for when Dave (my uncle) came round on Boxing Day. I poured some of it into a water bottle and then refilled the whisky bottle with water. Thought no one’d notice.

When I was down the rec, I started to knock back the whisky neat. It tasted disgusting to begin with, made my throat burn and my stomach twist around. I thought I was gonna vom. But it was all right after a bit. I got used to the taste. It stopped hurting to drink it. Either that or I stopped being able to feel anything. I finished the whole bottle. I think. See, it’s all a bit fuzzy. I can remember everything before the rec. And I can remember getting there. But I can’t really remember what happened after that. I haven’t got a clue what I did, where I went, how I got home. None of it. Apparently I was being a bit of a twat, shouting my mouth off and that. Which isn’t like me. I’m usually quiet. Shy.

Next thing I know, it’s the next morning and Mum’s waking me up. I’m lying on the lounge floor. And all over the front doorstep, there’s a pile of my sick. Mum and Dad go mental at me at first. And Kate, my sister, just sits there in her dressing gown and smirks. But they leave it at that. I still feel like an utter dick whenever I think about it.

 

Ash is waiting at the end of my road when I get there, slouching on his BMX. He’s got a fag hanging out of his mouth. He really doesn’t give a toss, Ash. If I smoked, there’s no way I’d do it where people could see me, in case they told my mum and dad.


All right, J?’

‘Hi, Ash,’ I say.

‘You ready to get wasted or what?’ Ash says. He’s got a mad grin on his face.

‘Yeah. Course,’ I say. But in my head I’m thinking,
I’m not sure how wasted I want to get. I don’t want to wake up on the lounge floor again
.

We start pedalling along the pavement, and then out on to the main road. It’s the quickest way to the rec: along the main road, past the pub and the police station and the fire station and the memorial hall.

We pedal in silence for a bit, get some dirty looks from an old couple walking their dog cos we’re riding on the pavement and they have to move out of the way.

‘Hey, J,’ Ash says. ‘You know who texted me earlier?’

I shake my head.

Ash lets go of his handlebars. ‘Lucy Crow!’ he says. I can tell, even though I can’t see his face, that he’s got a massive cheesy grin. So would I if Lucy Crow was texting me.

‘Jesus. Why?’


Ah, you know,’ Ash says. He takes hold of the handlebars again and pulls a wheelie. He manages to keep the wheelie going for ages before he lets the front wheel come back down to the pavement. ‘She wants me.’

‘Really?’

Ash nods. ‘Yeah. She’ll have to join the queue, though.’

I roll my eyes. Ash doesn’t realise how lucky he is. He has girls literally throwing themselves at him and he acts like he couldn’t care less.

‘What about you?’ Ash says.

Anyone you like?’

I don’t answer right away. I feel shy for some reason. I bet I’m even blushing. ‘Don’t know,’ I say. Even though I do know. There is someone. But I don’t want to tell anyone. Not even Ash. Especially not Ash.

‘There must be someone.’

I shrug. ‘I can’t figure it out.’

‘What?’

‘Girls. Women,’ I say. ‘It’s all foreign to me. Do you know what I mean? I don’t know how to make girls like me . . .’

Ash smiles. He nods his head. He makes a face like some wise old man who knows all the answers. ‘Well, you’ve come to the right place,’ he says. And then he laughs.

He puts his brakes on and stops. I stop beside him. We’re right outside the new flats that they’ve been building for months.

Ash looks right at me. ‘The thing with girls, J, is that they’re different from us. It’s like they come from an alien planet or something.’

I nod. I thought I was gonna get a straightforward answer that solved all my girl problems. Looks like I was wrong.

‘There’s only one rule where girls are concerned,’ Ash says.

And it’s a simple rule: never try and understand what a girl is thinking because you’ll always get it wrong.’

I laugh. I wonder if he’d say that stuff to a girl. Actually, he probably would, knowing Ash. And then she’d probably get off with him. ‘OK,’ I say. ‘But the thing is, I can’t even go and speak to girls. My mouth just clams up.’

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