Friday, April 29, 2011

Stay in bed

I wrote a story which has been published in a one-off newspaper by Catalyst Gallery Belfast, created to coincide with their comic and illustration exhibition.

That is not the story, that is the front cover of the newspaper. I have put the story here though. Here it is. This next bit.

Stay in Bed until someone tells you it's alright to get up.

My Dad was doing a play for a few months in New York once, and Mum stayed at home with my sisters and I. When summer came and school finished, the producer of the show invited Mum and us over to spend the summer in her house in the Berkshire Mountains so we could hang out with my Dad. I was nine and Hannah was six. Martha was four months.

The producer’s name was Anita (pronounced Uh-neeeet-eh) and she was an authentic ‘original-art-works, penthouse-in-New York, second-home-in-Aspen’ kind of rich person. A converted barn in the grounds of the house comfortably housed the Cook, the Nanny and the Nanny’s own two kids. The Housekeeper and the Gardener lived off-site. There were also two huge Doberman dogs that did the most enormous poos all over the house. The sheer size of the house meant the poos were often left to fester for a while before they were discovered.

One morning Hannah and I woke up early and snuck downstairs, deciding that it made sense to make use of the unlimited access to every TV channel in existence, compared to the mere five we had at home, (we didn’t have RTE at this stage). As we walked bleary-eyed through one of the many atriums leading to the TV room, we encountered a magnificent Persian rug, now festooned with two enormous steaming Doberman poos. Being nine and six, this was utterly hilarious. We hopped on the spot with our legs crossed for a minute, trying to laugh quietly and not wee in our pyjamas.

Once we had sufficiently recovered enough to walk, we staggered off past the carnage to find the television room. We forgot about the poos amidst the sheer excitement of gorging our young minds on some crap TV. Obviously it goes without saying that as the eldest, I was in charge of the controller.

Our parents had some crazy idea that it was rude to be up wandering around someone else’s house before the host themselves was awake, so after we had fulfilled an hour or so of our morning Disney channel quota, we thought it best to go back to bed for a while until everyone else was up and about.

Off we pottered the way we’d come. I don’t understand exactly how it happened; I suppose we were silently wishing we had Sky TV, demanding the bulk of our attention. I stepped into something warm and wet, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘no, it can’t be,’ but it was, it was a poo. I stepped in the poo in my bare feet. It squished up through my toes in a manner not unlike playdough going through the spaghetti maker: slow at first, and then once it had a plane upon which to travel, it all came rushing through at once and my foot was completely engulfed in the stickiest, most largest poo I have ever seen.

I looked at Hannah, completely freaked out, and realised that at the exact same moment (probably because of psychic sister powers) she had stepped in the other poo.  I stared at her in utter disbelief and said “I stepped in the poo,” and then Hannah, looking like how I felt, said, “Me too.” Then we started laughing, uncontrollably, horrified and delighted, accidentally dancing the poo into the carpet as we tried not to wee ourselves, again. It was not an enjoyable experience as such, but it was certainly an interesting, completely unfamiliar sensation, which can’t be all bad to a nine or six year old.

Figuring we should try to clean our feet we slipped as quietly as we could up the back stairs, (trying to walk on our heels, but not really doing a very good job, since large clumps of poo had attached themselves to the ends of our pyjama bottoms,) and into the first bathroom we found. We proceeded to stretch our legs into the sink from a standing position, in order to wash our feet with cold water and Matey bubble bath. Maybe because of all the flailing, (or perhaps the lack of hot water), but instead of washing away the poo was spreading, suddenly it was everywhere, - up our legs, in our hair, on the walls, there was just so much of it, and there was someone coming.

My Father walked into the bathroom in time to see us both trying to contort our legs out of the sink as if there was nothing wrong, by this stage, completely soaked and covered in shit. After seeming to suffer a minor heart attack, he lifted us up, and dunked us straight in the bath, pyjamas and all, and hosed us down with the showerhead. He was so angry. He went off to clean the stairs and then came back and hosed us down some more, screaming that he was going to tell people this story forever, even at our weddings. Which made us cry.

Friday, April 15, 2011

red light means stop

I cycled to college this morning, as I always do. (The morning cycle is quickly becoming the most exciting part of my day.) Today I ran a red light and then quickly had to hop my bike up onto the pavement to avoid a collision with a Honda Civic. I just happened to land my bike a little too close to the shin of a large bald man with a moustache dressed entirely in leather. He was leaning against a wall holding a can of petrol and a hammer, with a hand saw slung over his shoulder. I know it is wrong of me to assume he was dangerous based solely on his appearance and choice of weapons; but I assumed he was dangerous.

I was wearing my new red sweater which has a picture of a mouse with a pepper pot and a pair of scissors peeking out of one pocket, and a rabbit with a gold tooth and a crayon peeking out of the other. It makes me look like a 1990's children's TV presenter whose personality description includes the words "bubbly" and "enthusiastic". I did not feel the sweater was a good choice in this particular situation.

We had a moment of silence, me and this man, during which I tried to think of something to say and he considered whether or not he would let me live. Then the light turned green and I blurted something like "Sfarrlar" and without getting off the saddle, walked my bike away as quickly as I could, which was in fact quite slowly. The man did not pursue me, I think he was reluctant to cut me up with a hand saw on such a busy stretch of road. As I hobbled away I could have sworn I heard him whisper, "Next time, kid."
I don't know if this was because I ran the red light or because I was wearing annoying clothes. I must stop doing both.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

tuesday statistics

Total number of dried apricots eaten during breakfast:   3
    "             "      dead birds seen on way to college:   1
    "             "      red lights ignored while cycling:   3
    "             "      bits of chocolate discovered dried into elbow:   1
    "             "      hard boiled eggs currently in my possession:    1
    "             "      people spoken to today:    7
    "             "      pieces of chewing gum sat on this morning:  1
                                                                                 TOTAL:          17

Monday, April 11, 2011


Yesterday there was a large wasp in my room. He was about the size of a kidney bean, which by wasp standards is large. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to intimidate him with dirty looks, hoping he would pick up on the bad vibes go home to his own house. I had been sitting on the roof of our house in the sun, but I decided it would be better to stay inside and watch the wasp, that way he couldn't sneak up on me and take me by surprise later on. Also I felt if I left him alone in my room he would probably try on all my clothes and vomit on my toothbrush.

There was a flying insect in my room last week which had been biting me in my sleep, so I killed him with the back of the Lethal Weapon boxset. He squished up against the door in a mass of legs and blood. I felt mortally offended when I reasoned the blood was probably mine. How dare he steal my blood.

This large wasp was absolutely not taking the hint and seemed to be getting more and more angry in response to my bad vibes. I didn't feel I could kill him because he was so big, it would be like killing a large spider or a small bird - I could practically see the whites of his eyes. But he started buzzing all up in my face, so I ducked athletically passed him and ran out of the room, slamming the door behind me. Then I sat in the kitchen, fuming, picturing the wasp putting my DVDs in the wrong boxes and making long distance calls on my phone.

Instead of dwelling on this unfortunate turn of events, I cycled to the coast with some friends and went for a swim in the sea, which proved to be much more pleasant than last time. There was the usual initial paralysing shock of mind-numbing cold, causing my muscles to seize and my lungs to collapse but I got over this by breathing very loudly and steadily to the beat of Brown Girl in the Ring by Boney M, which I sang in my head.

When I came home the wasp was gone; my clothes seem unworn, my phone shows no signs of unusual activity, and none of my DVDs are in boxes anyway. I can't be sure about the toothbrush, but I am choosing to believe that it remains unblemished because it is purple and yellow with a bendy neck and I have come to like it.

On a happier note, this morning I was thrilled to receive an email from Sir Ivan Smith, Microsoft Promo Coordinator, to inform me I have won the sum of €1,000,000. I just have to send him my bank account details so he can deposit the money in. Thrilled.