A taxi, driven by the strongly opinionated Mr Paul Reuben, chooses to head right at the corner of Richmond and Cartwright as opposed to left.. At this time of night, the differences between the times that that it would take to get from here to Ingleton is negligible, so when he sees the hazard lights begin to flare, Reuben announces to his passenger that he isn’t going to be messing around with some nonsense like this and the he’ll just nip down Ellesmere Road. His passenger just sighs and continues his conversation, advising his wife that he was more than likely going to be late home, but that he has the present right there in the cab.
His wife, Alison Mackervoy, is cooking dinner as her husband ends the call. She has left the pasta to cook while she enjoys a glass of shiraz on the sofa. The television is hurling out sound over the noise of the builders working on the extension, making the shouting matches of her favourite soap opera all the more intense. She looks across at the pictures of her children on the dresser, one finger curling her long blonde hair as she dials in her best friends number. She stares at the picture of her youngest and smiles at his huge grin, complete with the gap after he’d taken a flying leap at a lamppost. She should probably go and call him in, but he’s no doubt having a lot of fun.
On the estates, William Mackervoy is playing football with his friends on his eleventh birthday. They have the customary piles of school jumpers set up to represent the goalposts at either end of a quiet street, the kind that nobody ever drives down. He smiles as he receives the ball with his right foot, spinning around past his friends and driving the ball home between the blue jumpers either side of Callum. As he smiles, he pushes his tongue out through where his missing tooth should be. His blue eyes flash as he yells for Callum to kick the ball back to him. Callum, having been placed in goal for being truly hideous at football, kicks the ball wildly. It goes flying over the assembled heads and bounces down towards the road. William just runs down the street after it, followed by a sheepish Callum. After all, nobody drives around here.
Paul Reuben is driving his cab and is hopelessly lost. He’s got another three hours until he clocks off and his daughter’s play starts in three and a half. If he can get enough done in those hours, perhaps he can get in early. Marissa, his girlfriend, has been badgering him for months about this recital and that he has to be there. He presses his foot against the accelerator in the hope of getting this guy on his phone out of the cab as soon as possible. The needle peeks up to forty miles per hour as his SatNav bleeps, telling him it is out of battery. He swears, checking the mirror for the disapproving look he already knows is in the eyes of the man in the back seat. He sees it and fumbles around for the cable he has let fall into the passenger foot well. It’s just out of reach beneath his questing fingers and Paul glances away.
The ball rolls into Ellesmere Road. Callum and William are in a friendly race by this point, trying to reach it to be the one to bring it back to the group. William stops at the side of the road and Callum charges past, oblivious to all danger, scooping up the ball triumphantly as he does so. He holds it high above his head as he does, shouting that he is the champion. William is shouting too, though not about the ball.
There is the squeal of brakes and a screech of tires.
The ball drops to the floor and begins its merry journey down Ellesmere road. The cab doors slam as Paul and his passenger dive from the car and run to the boy who lies on the floor. The other child stands motionless, watching the scene unfold in front of him. His life will never be the same after this day.
Argh! So, I started writing this last night and most of it was there but when I woke up this morning already late for the plans I had made, I found that I hadn’t pressed publish and had in fact fallen asleep on the space bar. I have no idea how long these blog posts are allowed to be. but I must have been pushing it with the spaces…
The Idiot in Tin Foil