spear



The Universe is trying to kill me. I first suspected this when I was about four years old. I was on a roundabout in the park and some older boys pushed it rather quickly. I fell off and concussed myself on the concrete. Concussions are my favourite injury. I've had so many of them that I can't remember how many I've had.

My suspicions were confirmed when I was seven years old. I used to spend the Summer with my cousins in the country and we'd dress up as cowboys. We were herding these cows when they seemed to take offence and, sort of, stampeded. Right at us. My cousins were quick off the mark but I was a bit slower (knowing bugger all about cows). So I'm belting along with these cows about fifteen feet behind me and closing fast. There's a pond in the middle of the field with some trees around it and a barbed wire fence. I jumped off the top of the fence and landed in the edge of the pond. I'm up to my knees in water......then up to my thighs and sinking fast. The cousins stuck out a broken tree branch to pull me out.

Nine years old and one of the pastimes when I was at school was collecting spent bullets from the last war when the germans were strafing people. One of my mates found an especially big shell and gave it a kick to get it out of the ground. It was a UXB. Up went the mate and down came the pieces. So, the Universe wasn't just trying to kill me. It was trying to kill everybody.

Fourteen and I'm at school with my mate Paul. We reckoned that fireworks weren't loud enough so we put the gunpowder from a couple of boxes of 'bangers' into one metal cigar tube and put a fuse at one end. We buried it in the ground so we'd get a good smoking crater. Paul lights the fuse and it starts fizzing straight away. We had less than a second so we hit the deck. There was metal shrapnel and stones everywhere. Best to leave quickly. The police look suspiciously at sudden and unexplained explosions in the middle of the night.

I'm in my twenties and it's time for the army. My sergeant (Dennis) and I are in an "unspecified" Country behind a pile of felled trees and some lopped off branches. People are shooting at us. Dennis says "I don't think they like you". I stuck my rifle over the trees and, without putting my head up, sprayed a full clip in the general direction of where they might be. "Maybe it was something I said?" I grumbled. Dennis shouts out to them (in russian) "Throw down your weapons and come out with your hands raised". I cracked up. There were about a dozen of them and just two of us. We settled for throwing a bunch of grenades in their general direction and then running like buggery when they started going off. He who fights and runs away sort of thing.

It was 1982 and I was in a pub in Toxteth together with my fiance, Margaret, and my mate Kevin. It was a great pub and had, as far as we could tell, the only Galaxian video machine in town. That was a great machine. Suddenly there's a lot of noise outside and a flickering orange light through the windows. I take a look outside and there's buildings on fire, cars upside down and people running around throwing things. We reckoned we'd have a couple of more rounds before we went outside. Let things quieten off a bit.

By about half past ten we had to leave otherwise we'd miss the last train home. By now there's a double row of riot police blocking the road in front of us and lots of people throwing stuff at them. I tapped one of the police on the shoulder and told him we'd need to get through. We slipped between their ranks. We'd only gone about fifty feet when five blokes came running at us with bricks and sticks. I flattened two, Kevin flattened two and the last bloke got it from both of us. I forearmed him in the throat and Kevin knocked his legs from under him. His head hit the ground with a satisfying clunk. To add insult to injury Margaret went back and kicked him in the ribs 'cos he'd been rude to her.

I may as well leave out my time as a debt collector. Or, 'demanding money with menaces' as some might put it. They were always legal menaces....honest. I'm sure lots of people would have liked to kill me. I just didn't give them a chance. I was finally 'wiseing up' as my american friends might say.

Then there's my ex-wife but she's not a problem so long as nobody digs the patio up......:)

Do you know how many ways children can kill you? From shouting "Boo" behind you when you're getting a baking tray out of the oven that's full of cooking fat and turning you into a ball of flame to bursting into your bedroom because they've dreamed something scary and giving you a heart attack.

I was knocked down by a car once when I was just standing around. It doesn't hurt as much as you'd think.

Now I'm getting older though and bits are falling off me. I've got one and a bit lungs, damaged legs, a chuck missing from my spine and I've got vertigo. Yesterday I was in a bad way. My vertigo was so severe I could only move around the living room with the use of a walking frame. I was shaking like a leaf and couldn't stop. I hadn't eaten in two days. I went upstairs and, when I let go of the handrails, almost went backwards down the stairs. That was unnerving. I don't want to break my neck on the stairs, that would be so undignified.

The only thing that kept me going was Lucija. She stayed up with me all through the night when I was complaining of being cold and I needed to lie down for a bit. And she was still there when I woke up an hour or two later. For thirty hours she looked after me without a wink of sleep for herself. Staying awake while I wrapped myself in a blanket to warm up at intervals. Now she's asleep (possibly with a double dose of morphine). I've had something to eat and I feel much better.

While we look after each other the Universe will have to wait for a bit. We're neither of us pushovers.