Author & Illustration: Mark Smith
When I was younger, like secondary school young, or “still play with micro machines but you’re pretty sure nobody else plays with micro machines” young, or “rewinding your Michael Jackson BAD cassette so you could write all the lyrics down and sing to yourself in the mirror young”, or “shit your pants and cry in a ditch” young: when I was that young my brother and I would occasionally get locked out of our house after school because we lobbed our keys at a train or something.
Both forgetting our house keys was the perfect storm. That feeling of dread when walking around the corner and seeing your brother sat on the front door step was gut wrenching. Or maybe that was the Hubba bubba fizzy pop ( OH GOD I’M NOW OLD ENOUGH TO CALL IT FIZZY POP ).
You would both make eye contact, both hopeful the other one hasn’t been a MASSIVE key-forgetting idiot. And then you would both realise…F…..M…..L…..
This meant we had time to kill. And it also meant we hated each other just a little bit more, so we’d check out what was in the garage without saying a word to each other, occasionally picking something up like a massive tool or something and grunting in their direction so they’d acknowledge you’d just found a massive fucking tool.
Well one day while we were waiting for some rolls to defrost on the patio table ( we had a freezer in the garage, is that weird? That’s weird right? there was nothing IN the rolls, we were just going to eat half frozen rolls ) I decided I’d show Paul what I had learnt at school. Enough time had passed to accept our fate and we were bored enough to talk to each other. That fateful day we were learning how to shot put, so I was showing my brother my mad skills by clutching a hair brush under my chin and launching it down the garden.
I don’t remember it being especially windy that day.
But it must have been.
The hair brush flew full-pelt into next door’s garden.
My brother gave the typically supportive response of sucking his bottom lip under his teeth and going UUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM to the tune of OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I had never, and still have never, seen him so happy.
“You HAVE to go and get that now” he chirped
“NO I DON’T YOU PRICK” I said.
He just slowly nodded his head, lip still firmly stuck under his teeth. He was right, mum would kick me in the face if I didn’t get her brush back, then she would sell me to Bedford. Our next door neighbour was nice. But kind of REALLY nice? He was called Richard but INSISTED on people calling him DICK. Who does that? I mean, I KNOW Richards are dicks, but why INSIST on it? I’m making him out to be a paedo, he wasn’t. Anyways, I knocked on the door…
“Hi Rich…Dick….erm I think our hairbrush is in your garden”
He looked back through the hallway towards the garden, as if to check we were both talking about the same thing
“Your hairbrush is in my GARDEN?”
Now I didn’t want to say I was showing my brother how to shot put with it, so I thought the following response was much more SANE
“Yeah I was just brushing my hair and it flew out”
“You were brushing your hair in the garden so vigorously it flew 20 feet into my garden?”
He showed me through to the garden and watched as I picked it out of the flower bed.
My brother was halfway through a frozen roll when I walked back round with the brush, he was almost choking on it from laughter.
And that, is my life.