I used to be a friendly child…

I used to be a friendly child, but that seems ever such a long time ago now. I don’t quite know when my current attitude of bitterness and cynicism first took hold, but I suspect it was around the time when I saw my godfather pretending to be Father Christmas that it all began. My world was rocked – if Father Christmas didn’t exist, then what else had my parents lied to me about? The Tooth Fairy? But there was still money under my pillow, who was putting that there? The Easter Bunny? But then where did chocolate eggs come from? A factory, I suppose. What was next? You’ll be telling me next that there’s no such thing as summer holidays and our parents and teachers had been drugging us, leaving us in hibernation pods and then going off and enjoying six children-free weeks each summer.

Well, that last one was true, certainly. It wasn’t until I hit puberty early that the effects of the soporific gas they used to pump into our classrooms didn’t work on me any more, and while my classmates slumped around me I was whisked out of the school into a special camp they had for pubescents like me. Yeah, if you want to know why us teenagers are so bloody grumpy all the time, those camps weren’t like the wholesome summer camps you see on schmaltzy American movies. No, more like bloody Lord of the Flies they were.

We never actually killed anyone like that poor fat kid in the book, but having a bunch of kids around each other for six weeks with very little adult supervision meant we felt like it a lot, and talked about it a lot more. Certainly being in that kind of environment imbues you with a whole lot of distrust in your fellow man, distrust that it takes a lot to get back. In my case it took me until my mid-twenties before I could finally begin opening up to people again, the damage that had been done to me was so great.

I Hate Surprises…

I hate surprises, but this one was worse than most. Well, dying could be considered right up there as being pretty damn awful, and I certainly did. I mean, being brutally tortured could be considered a worse surprise, especially if you weren’t expecting it (and who actually does, really?), but no, dying is about the worst surprise you could have.

I imagine it came as a surprise to my murderer as well, given that he wasn’t expecting to encounter me on his way out of the bank. I was a bit cautious going past it, given all the wailing alarms and flashing lights and all that, but even so, I didn’t expect a balaclava-wearing man to rush out, knock me to the ground, swear incomprehensively at me and then blow my head off with his sawn-off shotgun.

It was so unfair as well, what had I ever done to him? Oh, foiling the bank robbery. I’ve got you. But apart from that. He didn’t have to shoot me, after all. I hadn’t seen his face, I barely knew what was going on, in fact. But there you go. Shoot me he did, and die I did.

It’s a pity too, because I was on my way to somewhere pretty important. Yes, yes, it’s a pity for all sorts of reasons, but in the context of this particular day it was a pity because I was going to meet a man about a dog. Literally. I know people say that just to get out of doing they don’t particularly want to do, but in this case I really was going to see a man about a dog.

“Why?” you might ask. Well, this particular dog was owned by this particular man, and I needed this particular dog for a very particular purpose. You see, that dog was the last of its line, a line that had gone back a very long way along the paternal line of my family. Some way along that line the connection twixt dog and human had been broken owing to some long-since owed gambling debt or something – the line of dogs being something pretty pedigree-ish – and it was high time that that connection was remade.

“But why was this so important?” you might also ask. Well, that’s a good question. It’s because I’m the last of my family. No, no brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, or anything. So this was the last chance. And now that chance has gone. Like I say, it’s all so unfair.

I’m sure the man with the gun also thought it was unfair, that idiotic man spoiling his perfect bank robbery then getting himself shot, causing our antagonist to be sent down for a great many years, but frankly I have little sympathy for him. Dying trumps jail, in my book, so sorry, Mr Bank Robber, sucks to be you.