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Authors: Jim Carrington

In the Bag (8 page)

BOOK: In the Bag
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So we do, at the same time. Down in one. It makes me shudder. But when it’s down, I get a warm feeling in my stomach. And the world starts to feel fuzzier.

‘Right,’ I say. ‘More booze!’

Rabbit smiles. He’s starting to look a bit drunk.

‘My dad’s got loads of whisky. Want some?’

Rabbit nods his head. I go over to Mum and Dad’s drinks cabinet and take out a half-full bottle of whisky. I’ll buy them some more tomorrow. It’s not like I can’t afford to. Not that Dad would notice anyway. He gets through loads of the stuff.

Me and Rabbit start to get through the whisky damn quick ourselves. Shot after shot of the stuff. And pretty soon we’re completely wasted. Wankered. Rolling around the floor. Slurring. Talking rubbish.

I get up and kind of stumble over. I laugh.

‘You’re pissed!’ Rabbit says.

Which is a bit rich, seeing as he’s also lying on the floor.

‘Come with me,’ I say.

Rabbit grins. ‘Where you going?’

‘Upstairs. My bedroom.’

Rabbit starts to laugh like a madman. Eventually he manages to say, ‘No way, bender boy! I’m not into all that!’

I shake my head. ‘Don’t be an idiot,’ I say. ‘I’ve got something I want to show you.’

He starts laughing again. ‘Listen, Ash, if it’s your dick, I don’t want to see it!’

I shake my head. I start walking towards the door. ‘Stay here if you want,’ I say. ‘Just means there’ll be more for me.’

I start walking up the stairs. And sure enough, after a couple of seconds, Rabbit starts following me, falling all over the place. ‘So what is it?’ he says. ‘What you got up here?’

I push my bedroom door open. Rabbit follows me inside. He sits down on my bed.

‘What is it?’

I don’t answer. I just go over to my drawers and pull out a bag of weed. I take it over to Rabbit, chuck it down in his lap.

His mouth falls open. ‘No way!’ he says. ‘Jesus. Is that what I think it is?’

I nod my head. ‘Oh yes,’ I say.

And it’s good stuff as well.’

There’s a massive grin on Rabbit’s face. ‘Well, don’t be shy,’ he says. ‘Let’s have a smoke!’

SUNDAY

Ash

I get woken up by the bloody message tone on my phone. I can hear it somewhere near my head. I reach out my hand and feel around, but I can’t find it. So I open my eyes. And I realise right away that I’m not in bed. I’m not even in my room. I’m in the bloody lounge, lying on the floor. I raise my head up a bit and look around. My phone’s on the floor, near the sofa. I sit up and groan. I feel like shit. I pick it up. There’s a message from Mum.
Hope you are OK. We’ll be back at teatime. Mum x

I sigh. Was it really worth waking me for that? I put my phone in my pocket and look around the room. Rabbit’s sleeping on the sofa, snoring. There’s an empty bottle of rum and a bottle of whisky lying on the floor. And some others as well, ones that I don’t remember drinking, like a half bottle of vodka. At least it explains why my head’s spinning and I feel like I’m gonna vom. There’s loads of fag butts and ash in the vase on the table as well. Mum and Dad’ll kill me if they come back when the house is like this.

But right now I can’t even think about stuff like that. What I need is sleep. And water or something. I stand up, not too steady on my feet. I walk through to the kitchen. And as soon as I get in there, a smell of vomit fills my nostrils. I put my hand up to my face and cover my mouth and nose. I go over to the sink and there it is: a big pile of sick. It makes me gag. I don’t remember doing that. Must have been Rabbit. I look away from it and try not to breathe the smell in. I grab a mug from the draining board, fill it with water and then gulp it down. I fill it straight back up again and gulp it all down.

I turn and go out of the kitchen, clutch at the wall to steady myself. I head up the stairs to my bedroom. When I get in there it’s a total mess. My clothes are all over the floor, the bed and my drum kit. And the money from the bag’s spread all over the place. As I stand there, I kind of get a flashback: me and Rabbit standing in my room, throwing the money around as though we’re millionaires. Oh shit. I hope he doesn’t remember. Joe’d kill me if he knew I’d told someone else.

But I’m too fucked to think about it right now. My bed’s calling me. I pull everything off my bed, get in and pull the covers over me.

 

I wake up a couple of hours later. Just after eleven. And I still feel like shit. My head’s swimming. I think I might still be pissed.

I lie in bed for a while, looking around my room at the mess, at the money. And I get a pang of something as I look at the money. Guilt, I guess. Not guilt that I have the money. More that I might have let Joe down, that Rabbit knows our secret – if he can remember what happened last night. I mean, there are worse people to know your secrets than Rabbit. He wouldn’t tell anyone. But . . .

I jump out of bed. I’ve gotta tidy this stuff up. If anyone saw all this money and the weed, that would be it. So I start picking it up, handfuls of notes at a time, stuff it back into the bag. As I’m doing it, my head pounds and my stomach feels like it’s filled with acid. But I have to do this right now.

When I’m done, I pick the bag up and shove it back into the wardrobe and I let out a sigh. I think about getting back into bed. But then I remember Rabbit asleep downstairs. Maybe I can find out if he remembers seeing the money. Subtly, of course. So I leave my room, go down the stairs to the lounge.

Only Rabbit’s not there any more. He must have woken up and let himself out. The room’s a total mess. I turn and go into the kitchen with my hand over my mouth so I don’t have to smell the sick. I put the tap on, aim it at the sick and leave it running so it’ll wash the puke away. I look under the sink, grab a black bin bag and go back through to the lounge.

Joe

Sunday lunch in my house is like a sitcom where everyone says and does the same things every week, like they’re characters rather than real people. It’s comforting in a way, I guess. Sometimes it’s even funny and me and Kate take the mickey out of it all. But sometimes it’s just plain annoying, simple as that.

And here we are again, Sunday lunch. Dad’s picked Granny up from her bungalow and Mum’s cooked the dinner.

Dad brings some of the plates into the dining room, where me and Granny are waiting. He puts a small one in front of Granny. She looks down at her plate with a shocked expression, like she’s never seen anything so delicious-looking in her whole life. She does it every weekend.

Dad puts my plate down in front of me. ‘Thanks,’ I say. I look down at it. It’s pork, roast potatoes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli. And I feel hungry as hell.

‘The broccoli, spuds and cabbage are home-grown,’ Dad says.

‘Ooh, nothing but the best service in this restaurant,’ Granny says to me as Dad goes back through to the kitchen.

I smile back, like I’ve never heard her say that before.

Kate comes and sits down at the table. Her plate’s already on the table waiting for her.

‘Hello, Katherine, dear,’ Granny says.

Kate doesn’t look up. ‘Hi, Granny,’ she says. She’s staring at her plate. At the pork. She does this every week too.

Mum and Dad both come into the dining room. Mum’s carrying her and Dad’s plates and Dad has the gravy boat in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other.

‘What’s this?’ Kate says.

Mum puts the plates on the table and sits down. Dad goes round the table, filling glasses with wine.

‘You know what it is,’ Mum says. She doesn’t look at Kate. She gets the pepper from the middle of the table and grinds some on her food.

‘It’s meat!’ Kate says. She makes it sound like someone shat on her plate. Every week the same thing.

‘I should hope so too,’ says Dad, sitting down. ‘I paid good money for that at the butcher!’ He winks across the table at me and Granny.

Granny chuckles to herself and loads her fork with food. I keep my head down. I’m not taking anyone’s side in this now. I’ll wind Kate up about it later instead.

‘You know I’m a vegetarian!’ Kate says. ‘I don’t eat meat. It’s murder.’

Mum puts down her knife and fork and sighs. ‘Look,’ she says. ‘When you’re sixteen you can make your own decisions. Then you can be a vegetarian or a vegan or a fruitarian or a Rastafarian or whatever you like.’

Kate sighs. She pushes the meat towards the edge of her plate, so that it looks like it might fall off on to the table. ‘I’m not eating it,’ she says. ‘You can’t make me.’

Mum shakes her head and picks up her knife and fork again. ‘Fine,’ she says.

There’s silence for a while. Everyone sits and eats. Everyone except Kate, who just kind of pokes her food around her plate.

After a while Granny stops eating and looks over at Kate. ‘Come on, love,’ she says. ‘Eat up, won’t you?’

Kate doesn’t answer. She doesn’t even look up.

‘You need meat. Your body needs the protein,’ Granny says.

Kate still doesn’t look up.

Dad stops eating. He looks at Kate. ‘Your grandmother is speaking to you, Kate,’ he says. ‘Stop being rude, please.’

Kate sighs. She slowly lifts her head and looks at Granny. ‘I’m a vegetarian, Granny,’ she says. ‘Or at least I would be if they let me.’ Kate nods her head towards Mum and Dad.

Granny looks her in the eyes. ‘Look, Katie,’ she says. ‘I understand why you’d want to be a vegetarian. I’ve seen all the TV programmes with the chickens and the pigs and what have you. It’s appalling when they keep them in cramped conditions. But not all animals are kept like that. And your dad bought this from the butcher. It’s free-range.’

Kate tuts. She says something under her breath, something like, ‘You don’t understand.’

Granny pretends not to notice. ‘Besides, love,’ she says, ‘you’re a growing girl. You need a balanced diet. You need protein and iron and –’

‘I’m not stupid,’ Kate snaps at Granny. ‘Meat isn’t the only kind of food that has protein and iron, you know.’

‘Right,’ Dad says in a raised voice, like he’s gonna shout at Kate. But he doesn’t shout. He doesn’t say anything for a few seconds. And when he finally does open his mouth, he just says, ‘Let’s change the subject, shall we?’

And we don’t talk about it any more.

In fact, we don’t talk about anything. The only noise in the dining room is the clunk of knives and forks on plates and the disgusting crunching noise as Granny eats a bit of crackling. The sound makes me cringe. I hate other people’s food noises.

A minute or so later, Granny puts her knife and fork down, has a gulp of wine. She puts her wine glass down carefully. ‘There was a big fuss by those new flats when we drove into Fayrewood,’ she says.

Mum picks up her wine glass and takes a sip and nods. ‘We drove past yesterday. Awful, isn’t it?’

Granny nods. ‘Oh, yes,’ she says. ‘Police cars and all sorts, weren’t there, Robert?’

Dad nods. He doesn’t say anything till he finishes his mouthful. ‘Yes,’ he says eventually. He turns to Mum before he carries on talking. ‘There are more camera crews down there now, Bev. A real scrum of them.’

‘Really?’ Mum says. ‘I wonder why that is.’

Granny and Dad both shake their heads.

‘It’ll be what I said,’ Dad says. ‘They’ll have found out it’s an insurance job. You wait.’

 

I spend the afternoon in my room, trying to start some revision by drawing up a revision timetable. Downstairs, Granny’s watching a documentary about elephants or something while she does the ironing. She does it every week, to lend a hand, she says. Dad’s in the garage, trying to tidy it up. And Mum’s in the living room with Granny, yakking. Kate’s in her room doing her homework.

At about half four, there’s a knock on my door.

‘Come in,’ I say. I’m lying on the floor highlighting the different subjects in fluorescent pens.

Granny pokes her head round the door. ‘I’m off now, Joe, love,’ she says.

I look round and smile at her. ‘OK,’ I say.

She walks into my room. ‘Why don’t you work at your desk?’ she says. ‘You can’t do your homework on the floor.’

I smile again. ‘It’s all right,’ I say. ‘I’m only doing my revision timetable.’

She smiles. ‘You’ve always been a clever lad,’ she says. She pats my head like I’m a five-year-old. ‘You’ll make something special of your life, I know it.’

I don’t know what to say to that. So I just smile again.

Granny comes right over to me and kisses me on the top of my head. ‘You’re a good lad,’ she says. ‘See you on Thursday.’

‘Bye,’ I say. And I get back on with my work.

 

Around teatime, when I’m in my room and I’ve finished the timetable, I’m lying on the bed strumming my guitar when I hear Dad’s car pull up outside the house. I go downstairs.


All right, Dad,’ I say as he comes into the hallway.

He puts his keys into the bowl near the door, takes off his jacket and hangs it up. ‘Hey, Joe,’ he says. He’s got a strange look on his face. Like something’s wrong. ‘I don’t know what’s going on out there, but there are more TV trucks down near the flats.’

BOOK: In the Bag
7.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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