Saturday, April 29, 2017

leading JIM, astray..little sod!!!

This memory has just sprung to mind after the episode with the scrumping. I was being a really good lad, when one of my older cousins Dave, came to stay. He was three years older than me and was supposed to be staying for two weeks. As it turned out, he was sent packing after five days (I will explain).

On the first day, it was not a problem. Dave and I went to play in our local woods, looking for grass snakes and playing, being Tarzan: swinging over a stream by a rope which we had tied to a sturdy tree branch. We then went home, had our dinner then off to bed. That's when I knew things were not going to be good. As soon as we got in my bedroom, Dave said "you're on the floor. Your bed's too small for two and I am the oldest" (oh bugger I thought).

The next day, after breakfast. My nan said "what are you two doing today?" Dave said "I'm off to see my mate, Brian, from school. He only lives four doors  away." "Oh you mean Mrs. Adam's son! Nice lad!" said nan. "Take Jim with you." "He's to young" said Dave. "Do as you're told and don't argue!" she said. So we set off and went to get his mate.

When we got to Brian's house, he was playing in his back garden. His mum said, "you can all play here as Brian's been naughty and is confined to the garden for a week" (I thought--- better than the bedroom). Brian's dad had put up a dart board for him in his shed. I was told to sit and be quiet by my cousin, Dave, so he and  Brian could play like adults. But after a couple of goes, Dave got bored. "I know" he suddenly said, "let's play a game of hide and seek. You go first Bian and we will count to a hundred then come and find you. We'll stay in the shed." So off he went. Dave held the door slightly open so he could watch where Brian hid. "That's cheating" I said. "Shut up you or I'll thump you" so I said no more. "He's hiding behind that other shed" said Dave. As we finished the count, Dave said "watch this" and with that, he picked up one of the darts and threw it towards the shed. Unfortunately, Brian chose that moment to peek over the top and the dart hit him square in the middle of his forehead. Brian let out a scream. Dave fell on the floor, laughing and I thought oh sod.. not the bedroom for the rest of the summer? As it happens, the good thing is, Brian did not want to tell his mum what happened (what a mate to have, I thought) so he said he forgot he still had a dart in his hand and had fallen over and stuck the dart in his head. Mrs. Adams gave Dave and I, a withering look and told us to go home while she takes her son to the local hospital (dart still in the forehead).

The next day, Dave and I went to see Brian. He looked okay, apart from a big plaster on his head. He was also smiling "my dad's lifted my ban of staying in as he said-- having to get that painful injection in my arse was punishment enough." So we all set off for the woods. This is when the story gets really interesting. 

It seems my cousin, Dave, had got up really early and had taken my grandfather's air rifle that my grandfather used, to kill rats. He'd hidden it in the woods and then gone back to bed. (I swear I slept through it all). When we got to the location, Dave said "hang on" and went behind a tree and appeared with it. "Let's play cowboys and Indians." He said to Brian "I'll be the cowboy." "Now hang on" said Brian. "You're not shooting at me with that" "Don't worry mate" said Dave "It's not even loaded. Take a look." So he handed it to Brian who checked it and said "okay, let's play." Brian took off through the bushes and Dave casually took an airgun pellet from his pocket---loaded the rifle and pointed in the direction of  Brian's movement. "What are you doing?" I screamed. "Don't worry he's too far away" said Dave. As he pulled the trigger, there was a dull pop from the rifle, followed two seconds later by a scream. I was getting used to that scream. Brian appeared five minutes later with blood running down his neck and a pellet stuck in his ear (now I knew for sure it was either bedroom for the summer holidays or run). 

I took off like a scalded cat. Got home and went straight to my bedroom. I sat alone, shaking. Waiting for the dreaded news of Brian's demise. For the first time in my life, I heard my grandfather belowing down stairs. He must have come home from work. I was really shaking now. Dave suddenly appeared in the bedroom. "Grandad wants you down stairs" he said with tears in his eyes. "What's happening?" I said. "I'm not to say, just go!"

So down I went, thinking I was in a dream. When I entered the living room, my grandfather said "you will be sleeping down here tonight Jim. Don't worry. I have spoken to Mr. Adams. Brian will be okay but your cousin will be going home in two days. His father, your uncle Herbert, will be coming to fetch him." "But grandad" I said. "I was with them." "I know" he said "but you didn't steal my gun and from what Brian said you tried to tell your cousin no and as you already know, every bad deed has consequences. Your cousin will get his from his dad when he gets home. Just remember what has happened and how stupid your cousin has been."

Two days later, Dave was gone. His dad took off his belt in front of me and made Dave bend and touch his toes and gave him twelve really hard lashes. Don't believe what you see in films. Dave screamed with every whack he got and I jumped every time that belt swooshed through the air.... It would be two years
before I saw Dave again.

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