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Coventry Conch: The Shopping Trip

Tasha rang up this morning and asked if I wanted to go up town with her. I really can’t be arsed, but I need to get Jenny a birthday present, and there’s nothing decent on telly until Big Break, so I tell her I’ll meet her outside Maccy D’s at one.

To be honest, I’ve been avoiding Tash a bit lately, since she started nicking stuff again. I don’t know why she bothers, her parents are loaded, they’ve got three bogs! AND she’s been to Orlando, Florida……twice!!!

Loads of people seem to be on the rob at the moment. The boys in my class have got a competition over who can steal the biggest thing from JJB Sports. Apparently, Gareth nicked a golf club last weekend, while he was out shopping with his nan. Nobody’s actually seen the golf club yet though, and, when someone accused him of lying, he said, ‘Ask my Nan’, which is what everyone says when they’re lying, ‘Ask my Nan…Ask My mum…Ask my Uncle’. One day I’m actually going to ask them:

‘Hi, Gareth’s Nan. Gareth told us that he stole a golf club from JJB sports last weekend, and I thought I’d just pop round to see if that’s true?’

‘Oh, hi Kevin’s mum. Kev said you once farted so badly that you made the dog throw up, and I just wanted to check it really was that bad?’

‘Are you Sara’s Uncle? Sara and me are in the same class. She said I could confirm with you, that you’re sooo hard, you just head butt the vending machine to get a Crunchie out instead of using the correct change?.’ *

When I told Mum that I was going into town, she told me to look in her purse for some money, but there were only coppers and a torn-up lottery ticket. It’s the end of the month which means Mum and Dad are SKINT!! It’s fine though because we’ll be minted again soon. Like when Dad got paid last month, we had Perfect Pizza three days in a row, and he bought Mum a box of Terry’s All Gold (she gave me one and it was bloody heaven).

I don’t want to tell Mum that she doesn’t have any money left, so I decide to break into the £6.27 savings from my money box. It’s the one where the skeleton grabs the coins with his bony hand and then drags them back into his coffin. I really wanted it when I was like eight years old, but like everything else that’s cool, I get it when Nanny Pam finds one at the car boot…five years later!

Tasha’s always late and I’m always early, which means I usually have to stand around looking like a Billy No Mates for half an hour, so when I get to Maccy’s I decide to get myself a Happy Meal and sit inside for a bit. I stack up my three pounds and one pee change on the table next to my four empty pots of BBQ sauce while looking at Ronald’s big cheesy grin on the empty Happy Meal box.

When Tasha eventually arrives, we walk around the shops together while she lists all the things that have pissed her off this week ‘…So, Mum was like you asked for the hamsters, you clean them, and I was like yeah, but I didn’t know they live for fucking eternity!…and my Dad can fuck off! He’s always buying the stuff that Jason likes, he knows I hate Rib ‘n’ Saucy… Nice ‘n’ Spicy are obviously the best…But golden boy Jason likes them so…and I swear our next-door neighbour’s a pervert, I was out in my dressing gown yesterday cleaning dogshit off my trainer and he was like, ‘morning’ but not like ‘morning’ it was more like ‘mooorrrrning…’

In Claire’s Accessories, I see a necklace for Jenny with a Yin Yang on it, she’s well into world peace and stuff at the moment, so I think she’ll like it. It’s £3.99 though, so I put it back on the hook. All the other cheaper stuff is naff as, and I feel like a knob for splashing out on a Maccy’s like I’d won the bloody pools or something.

I look over at Tasha, she’s rolled her sleeve up and is filling her arm up with a neon rainbow of shag band bracelets. Then she pulls her sleeve back over them and walks out of the shop. I shuffle after her, nearly knocking down a whole cat themed earring display on my way out.

When we get around the corner, Tasha starts laughing her head off. I AM SHITTING IT, and I’m not sure if I can taste BBQ sauce or sick at the back of my throat.

Tasha clenches her fists and puts them in front of me.

‘Pick one’

I touch the right; it’s got nothing in it, then she opens the left and lets the Yin Yang necklace I was looking at fall between her fingers. She starts laughing again and says, ‘You can have it’.

When I get home, I run upstairs and put the necklace in my money box, then I put the money box in the back of the cupboard and cover it with an old school jumper. Then, I spend a while looking at the criminal in my bedroom mirror. I can feel sweat running down my armpits and think that Sure should make a deodorant especially for people like me: 24 hour protection…from the law!

Grandad’s come round for tea. I give him a half-arsed hug and sit down next to him at the table. I know he’s in the mood for a chat, but I just stare at the greasy juice pouring out of my chicken Kiev.

‘You got a boyfriend yet love? … You want to get a shifty on. My sister’s a spinster like you, never settled down, no sprogs… travelled the world… think she’s on a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean now… you don’t want to end up like her!.’

Mum pipes up from the kitchen, ‘She’s fourteen Dad, and I wouldn’t mind being on a cruise ship with no sprogs, like that Jane McDonald.’

‘Now that’s a woman! I wouldn’t mind being on the captain’s table with her, if you know what I mean.’

‘DAD!!!!!’

I say I’m feeling sea sick and go upstairs.

I lay on my bed and stare at the ceiling for a bit. Dad did this mad effect on it with paint a few years ago, where he got a comb and made all these swirls, and I follow them with my eyes when I need to calm down sometimes.

After a bit there’s a knock on the door, and Grandad comes in.

‘Your mum sent me up to apologise.’

 Grandad looks at the Oasis poster on my wall.

‘That Ian Gallagher wants a bloody haircut’.

I start crying.

‘Oh god, sorry love, I’m sure he’s alright really. You know I just want you to find someone who will look after you, buy you a nice Barrat’s home on Bannerbrook Park, that sort of thing’

I tell Grandad that I won’t need a house when I’m in prison. Then tell him all about my shopping trip.

‘So, you’re an accessory to the crime. That doesn’t look good love. My mate Tel went down for less. All the poor bastard did was go to sleep in the wrong house after a night on the sauce. And the thing is, he always sleeps bollock naked….and a lot of men use the kitchen sink to take a leak in the night…and a cat could kick in a front door on that estate. Anyway, the fourth time he did it, he got six months.

‘I’m sure you’ll be fine though, sweetheart, but If you do get nicked…just say,  ‘no comment’ to everything, in a different accent if you can. And if you ever get pulled over on your way back from the boozer, chew a whole pack of Juicy Fruit before you step out of the car, that stuff’s potent and always keep a bottle of sober piss in the boot, you never know when you’re going to need it…’

I ask Grandad if I should go and give the necklace back somehow.

‘No love, I wouldn’t go back in that shop for a while and look on the bright side you’ve just saved yourself £3.99!’

*To be fair Sara’s uncle is meant to be absolute nails, ask my dad