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How much?

Submitted by on June 26, 2013 – 11:02 amOne Comment

Denis-Law

From the Ballard of Bobby Doyle

How much dear God to send her to the Land of Nod? East of Eden to where Cain ran after he slew Able. Am I my Mothers keeper God? How fucking much?

And I look at her laying there, her mouth dribbling from the corners. More lines than Crewe junction. Eyes distant. To anyone else an old bag of bones, to me the same beautiful woman who taught me how to walk, talk, laugh and sing. How fucking much God?

And she shuffles and flinches on the hospital bed, so I adjust her a little. ‘Easy does it Mam’.

She aint spoke for nearly 30 hours, if you can call it speaking, just noises and the odd ‘Baba’ and ‘Mamma’, that’s how it’s been for the last month, so I don’t know if she can hear me. But I still talk to her anyway and tell her things. Same as it’s ever been.

And I take a hold of her hand. It’s cold so I rub it to warm it. “Not long now Mam, no more pain soon”. And I sing to her softly “Oh me lads you should have seen us coming. Fastest team in the League. Just to see us running. All the lads and lasses with smiles upon their faces. Walking down the Warwick Road to see Matt Busby aces’.

And I think I see a flicker of light in her eyes. She’s loved United all her life. Made me love them too. Used to take me from age six onwards. Me Dad was United and when he snuffed it she started taking me everywhere. She stopped going when they sacked Tommy Doc but she never stopped loving them.

“Do the treble for you Mam, they won’t let you down. You go asleep and when you wake up there aint no pain and United have done the treble. Hey?” And I know she’s smiling inside.

So I start to get things ready and I’m thinking of the headline in tomorrow’s Evening News “Son Murders Mother Then Goes To European Cup Final”.

But how much hey God? How many more times can I change her like she’s baby? There’s some things a man should never have to do God, but how can you trust a stranger to clean your mam’s shitty arse? Or turn her to keep her off her bed sores?

And do it with love, for every second of love she has shown you? Hey God? She never lied and she never stole and you gave you eighty years and a million tears.

But I don’t care God, even if me and you fall out, she gets no more pain. Understand God? No more pain.

I’ve got this flowery holdall for all me stuff. Aint got that much in reality. A bit hard to afford designer gear on carers allowance.

Funny thing when I first bought me plane ticket for Spain the first thing I thought was, me mam will love a postcard from there. You know the kind of thing- a picture of the hotel and wot have you. Didn’t think to meself “Jesus, Bobby you’ll have put her on a first class cloud to Heaven by then”.

Morphine aint wore off enough yet for the whimpering to start. But no whimpering tonight God, no I’ll just get the girl to you as soon as possible and if have to pay the fare at a later date. So be it. But no more fucking whimpering.

I start to put my stuff away. I get the syringe ready. I can’t figure out how much to put in. Then it dawns on me you can’t over-overdose. I get the Des O’Connor record out of its sleeve. She always loved Des I kinda like him meself. A Northampton fan but he seems genuine. And I remember when she took me and Rafferty to see George Best’s comeback game- it was at Northampton.

The Reds won 8-2 and George got six. All the way back singing and dancing, and we stopped somewhere in Cheshire and Rafferty got caught rifling someone’s jacket.

bestnorthampton

He couldn’t even let a great occasion like that go by without ruining it. Cousin or no Cousin, I swear if he’s in Barca I’ll rip his fucking head off.
I roll up her sleeve. So thin, so frail. I can’t see a thing through the tears. Funny I thought I’d forgot how to cry. I go to the cabinet and I get the Rosary beads out and I wrap them round her little hands. Can’t have her improperly dressed on parade.

Its peace all peace and she’s in heaven. I dry me eyes, no more crying. I get meself ready, tie me scarves round me wrists like in the old Tommy Doc days.

I look round the room for one last time and shut the door on my little Angel. “Goodbye Mam” I say. I leave her listening to Des sing “I let my love fall into careless hands”. She’s happy now.

As I get to the lift there’s couple of knobheads waiting. Young lad’s nineteen maybe twenty year olds. Made me Mam’s life a misery with all the loud music and parties. Heavy fucking metal.

I’d like to have put some heavy metal right across their skulls. But she wouldn’t let me complain about them. She kept saying “They’re only kids Bobby, leave it”. One’s got a City shirt on. What a sad piece of shit. United’s gonna do the Treble and this silly cunt is wandering round Manchester in a City shirt.

They see me coming and snigger at me old fashioned United shirt and me scarves worn like a Red Army soldier of the seventies. One says something to the other and they start singing “Let’s do the time warp again”. And they fall about laughing. I say fuck all to them, fuck them the wankers.

The lift arrives stinking of piss and we get in. I’m stood facing them and City goes to light up a weed. “Not in here’ I say
‘Wot?” he says

He’s maybe half a foot taller than me but you can tell he’s never done a decent days work in his life. He’s never sweated twelve hour shift at Eyres foundry.

“Put the fucker out” I say. His mate who is my size puts his face into mine and says “Who the fuck are you, a plain clothes fireman?”
They both laugh for a second and a half. Something inside me snaps. They’re laughing at me, they’re laughing at United, and they’re laughing at me Mam and all we stand for. I lose it.

I butt the little bastard right in his teeth and sparkle the little cunt. Then I wade into his big mate. I pull his shitty shirt over his head and thump fuck out of him. Good punches like I got taught at Ancoats lads club when I used to box.

His little mate aint got the bottle for the battle; all I can hear is ‘me dose, me dose, he’s broken me dose’. I give him a good one with me Doc’s and he groans. His mate is trying to slither down the wall. But I hold him up the throat.

The lift stops at the bottom. I block the door while we all get our breath back. “Right children” I say “we’re gonna sing a little song’
I swear the big one’s crying. “Shut the fuck up” I say.

And I tell them that we’re gonna sing a song dedicated to the finest striker that ever lived. I tell them it’s to the tune of Skippy.

They pretend they aint ever heard of the bush Kangaroo, but a couple of threats improves their knowledge of the animal kingdom.

I tell it them a couple of times then we all sing together. “Son of a fisherman from Aberdeen. Played for his country when only eighteen.
His football magic is a sight to see. As he leads United on to victory. DENIS, DENIS LAW… King of the football league”.

We finish and I look at them. I know me Mam would be ashamed of what I just done. But for fuck’s sake they deserved it.
Then I sorta get the little cunt’s joke “Plain clothes fireman”. It aint bad so I laugh. And I fuck off for me plane.

- From A Fine Lung, issue nine. This issue is now sold out, but you can still buy issues two, three, five, seven and eight here.

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