Posted on June 29, 2020
Daddy passes me the tin lid, full of birdseed. I rattle it, call “tom-tom-tom” into the sky and watch for the pigeons coming home. It’s hot up here on the roof of the pigeon loft. My head’s a bit dizzy but it’s a very important job. The pigeons are flying home from France and I need to get them down quickly …
After school, I have to play outside. Mammy’s at the factory and Daddy’s in England looking for work. I’m not allowed in the house on my own because I can’t be trusted.
Me and my best friend, Rosemary, sit on the pavement, poking sticks in the soft tar …
“I know you’re there.”
“Ears like a hawk, you.”
“Come into the light, where I can see you.”
“Will you join me in a dram?”
“It’ll kill you, that stuff.” …
Billy lived alone in a corridor and wore blue silk drawers. On wash day, Mammy closed the curtains on our kitchen window so she couldn’t see them on Billy’s clothes line. He had a matching vest, a bit frayed at the edges, but without the faint brown stain on the drawers …
Heaven. Friday morning.
Angel number 4501 is summoned to His Presence, or HP, as he likes to be called.
HP’s magnificent voice rolls out, setting clouds, cherubim and seraphim a-tremble. A few feathers shiver and fall off 4501’s wings.
“I have an important job for you, 4501. There’s a music festival tomorrow in Everyman’s Park.” …..
He sidled round the edge of the door just before closing time. His face was waxy yellow, the tightly-stretched skin giving him a cadaverous mien. Wisps of white hair clung to a dandruff-dusted scalp. His bony arms dangled out of an over-sized sports coat and he shuffled into the office on heavy, highly polished brogues.
“Eh, we’re closed, mate.”
He advanced to my desk as if I hadn’t spoken and …
The big yard with its rounded benches here and there, the many windows with bars across. The part of the big yard has a big shed where you could warm your feet and hands on the pipes; where you could see women doing the washing and listen to the steam hiss from the high windows.