The Stairs & The Hole In the Door

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Reece's apathy lands someone else in huge trouble. My life at 13.

Submitted: November 06, 2015

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Submitted: November 06, 2015




Me and Gary occupied the stairs after everyone else went in, no-one other than us two were ever allowed out so late, although Gary didn't actually have a time to be in. It's not that his mum was lenient; it's that she didn't give a shit. Every night was the same at the stairs, we'd sit, Gary on the left, me on the right. We'd talk about random nonsensical bullshit, like what we'd do if the trees uprooted and walked towards us, and often recount ridiculous things Joe had done earlier that day.

Sometimes, in particular Berwick-esque fashion, something ridiculous would happen to us just sat at the stairs. One night, we watched a generic drunk man stumble down the cycle track to the foot of the stairs, edge his way up and past us, and wander with seemingly little intent around the street. We spied him from the edge of my wall, and watched as he hammered on number 15's door.


"I didn't know he lived there." I commented to Gary. In all fairness I didn't know who lived at 15, it was in this corner of the street that we had little purpose to frequent. Despite occupying most of the street between us all, there was still little specs that still weren't ours. It was evident that this mess of a man had misplaced a key or something. The window above the door he was attacking swung open.


"What the fuck do you want?!" The other unknown occupants at 15 were bellowing down at the staggering state that stood below them.


"Let me in." The man's reply was typically stammered and incoherent. I assumed this was some sort of domestic.


"We don't know you!" Clearly not. This guy was actually so plastered he had wandered up to a random house and sought entry. It was only two off mine! An ambulance arrived and removed the trespasser. It was like that most nights, at least one absurdity would occur. Back to the trees.


The summer crept, and the days lingered. The stairs were becoming less me and Gary, more an entire Berwick affair. We had this game that involved us all cramming ourselves on to the top steps, whilst something stood grounded at the bottom, tasked with booting a ball at the rest as hard as they could. The only rule was that you couldn't move. It lacked structure, there was no winner, no actions in place to alternate the kicker. It was a shit game, but I loved it. There was something about placing yourself that close to danger that I thrived on. I didn't even want it to smack the person furthest from me. I wanted the ball to fly at me and whistle through my hair, missing by distance too small to measure. The evening had light and there was at least six of us. Reece, who was spending one of his three ungrounded days of the year out with us, was in destructive mood. Reece was an absolute terrorist. The kid had little inhibition, and harboured an extreme apathy. I didn't mind it, he generated an absolute wealth of entertainment and trouble, again, situations that I thrived off. The only issue in contested with Reece's unwarranted campaign of vandalism, was that you never knew when. You could be walking to school or the shops and suddenly a sharp smash or bang would hijack your ears. Reece would've already begun a getaway, and you'd have no time for an inquest before it became a sensible option to follow his escape. There was no warning or inclination, and I never understood why. If you asked him, he'd simply shrug awkwardly and a gentle laughter would fill his smile. I decided he did all this as resentment against his mother's harsh discipline, or that he simply didn't give a fuck about anybody. Regardless, I didn't mind.


The street opposite us was separated by a hill I mounted everyday to reach school. Once up, there was Clovelly Way, 30 mph for someone, but not anybody I'd seen drive. The slow down sign would've been better off painted rather than a flurry of small lights, it was rarely ever off. Once Gary walked past it and it lit up, maybe it was just used to associating movement with speed. I never asked. Crossing the road was a descent down to depressed houses facing and staring jealously at Berwick. What they might've given for adequate parking like we had. Reece sought to widen their frown, stones of all sizes being thrown with rage and glee, each one scarily accurate. Not a natural talent, but acquired with substantial practice. I watched as they neared windows and doors with each subsequent throw. The sunlight lost its grip and night grew. Then Reece hit.


I never saw the hit, just the consequences of it. A pool of light was emerging from the bottom of this front door. Reece had thrown this stone so hard that it had ruptured through and was now sat in their hallway. Every action has a reaction, and Reece had galloped off into the street, as the occupants of the house emerged from the ruins of their front door. At least they wouldn't ever need a cat-flap. I turned to Gary, sat on the left side of the top step. He remained unmoved. That was good about Gary, his judgement of a situation was impeccable. If Gary stayed, it was usually safe. It's when he ran you wanted to worry, that meant we were right in the thick of it. Ryan hadn't placed the same faith in Gary as I had, and he also left. The aggrieved occupants arrived at the stairs and raced up.


"Do you know them?!" They barked.


"Nope. No idea mate." You never grassed. If no-one ever grassed then no-one ever got caught, it was that simple. The assailants entered Berwick and rushed to find their prey. Unfortunately for them, they didn't find them, and unfortunately for someone else, they assumed they had found them. Specifically, James. James lived in Berwick but wasn't Berwick. He was in my year at school and o got on with him well enough, but he wasn't Berwick. It was difficult to define, but he just didn't fit. We didn't have any rules or expectations of anyone, and we all differentiated to a degree, but James wasn't Berwick, and today he would unfairly suffer for his exclusion.


The people with the hole in their door, as me and Gary had affectionately named them, were gunning. They were certain that James, who stood idly in the street with his younger sister, were the two they were seeking. Personally I wasn't sure how you could so easily mistake the near anorexic dark haired Reece for a chubby blonde James, but there you go. They'd made their accusation, and they stuck by it.


"Where's your house?!" They began their orders and James obliged. What a fool, even if you've done nothing wrong you don't simply point out your front door to aggressive strangers. They hurtled towards 24 and booted their car tyre, just to demonstrate how powerful their anger had grown. The mum answered, and instantly was met with abuse.


"You fat bitch..." They hadn't even staked their complaint before resorting to personal attacks. "Your son broke our fucking door!" There we go, the alleged crime. "We want paying for that door as well!" Never had so much been demanded to the wrong people. By the time James' obviously slightly larger than average sized mother had stated and argued her innocence, Reece was nowhere to be seen. Literally, Reece only gave a fuck about himself, or people he could manipulate into getting things for himself. Consumed by self interest and motivated by nothing else other than selfish satisfaction. I envied that in a way. I saw it as a successful approach to life. Although he could be an absolute cunt, he was always going to be happy, as he relentlessly pursued the things he desired. It didn't matter whether those things were highly valued by anyone else, but to him they were. That stuck in my mind, the idea that happiness was directly representative of your success. The only issue was that it meant he had to be an absolute wanker for the majority of the time, and that the things he pursued were things that would hurt or upset others. But still, happiness is happiness, for him. 


James wasn't happy, his mum wasn't happy, and the aptly named "people with the hole in their door" we're not ecstatic either. Ryan was probably least happy at all, but we didn't know this yet.


Eventually, with enough protesting, the anger simmered down, and both parties returned home, one set returning to a light breeze flowing through their interior. Ryan emerged from behind some bushes, and he hobbled, wincing with ever step.


"What the fuck happened to you?" I enquired, half unsure whether Reece had pelted him with stones also. As he neared, my question was answered, not with speech, but with sight. His legs were adorned with small swelling bumps, and with a wealth of experience of retrieving footballs, I realised straight away what had happened.


"I dived." He began. "The guy was gonna see me so I dived in the bushes, but they weren't bushes, they were stinging nettles." Wow, and he'd laid there whilst they'd spat their anger at James. Ironically he'd paced his own house to get to those bushes, but I expected he'd thought the guy would've seen him. In reality he wouldn't. Reece, as if he had been monitoring the whole situation, emerged from his house with a calming apathy within him. Half smiling, half chewing an apple pie, he laughed as he saw the pain inflicted legs of Ryan. Finishing his pie and his drink, he threw the rubbish to the floor, there was no concern for appearance or manners. He smiled again, and I realised that whatever Reece wanted, he would always get.

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