My breaking an entering career has entailed one abandoned church, my own car and a house in my hometown.
During the summer holidays when I was 6 and 7 I would be dropped off at a three-story house to stay with a lady who had 4 daughters. The second youngest kissed me and one of her teeth fell out on my bottom lip, the next eldest had Days of the Week under pants that she wore on the wrong days.
The mum liked cheap wine and watching her boyfriend work out obsessively in the lounge room. I only ever saw him in shorts and a singlet and for our amusement he would drink raw eggs.
When I was 8 they adopted 2 African boys called Randall and Rory. They were 11 and 8 respectively and the dynamic of the house changed with their arrival.
The Days of the Week were no longer available for my viewing and were shown exclusively to the 11 year old Randall and Wobbly-Toothed kisses were now the province of Rory. The butter eater still ate butter and the older sister still moped but also played bad guitar as she did so and shouted at Rory if he let himself into her room, which he often did.
The mum still drank cheap wine and the partner still pumped iron.
We made bombs from tin foil and the contents of the caps from our cap guns. Rory squeezed tomato sauce into the limbs of an Action Man doll and we sat him on a large foil bomb.
We were immediately dismissed until lunchtime and the older boy went to check what day of the week it was in the nearby bushes leaving Rory and I to wander around.
“My Nan lives nearby” he said.
“I thought your Nan was in Africa”
“Nah, she came over. She lives nearby. Lets go say hello.”
We crisscrossed streets as he looked for his Nan’s house and finally settled on a quite looking place. He knocked at the door and when no one answered he slapped himself on the forehead.
“I forgot, she’s out today but she said she’s leave something for me. Come on.”
He led me round the back of the house where he jostled a kitchen window until it swung open.
“Nan leaves this open so I can get in.”
I believed him and boosted him up so he could climb in. He unlocked the back door and I stepped into his Nan’s house.
“What are we picking up?”
He smiled. “She said she’d leave me some money for sweets but she hides it. Tricky Nan.”
He stepped into the house and I followed. The kitchen table was yellowing Formica, the sink clean of dishes and the small fridge grumbling in the corner. The lounge had a stiff looking sofa and a dust free cabinet filled with small ornaments of cats and frogs. A television stood in a cabinet with thin wooden legs.
Rory darted upstairs and I followed him.
There were two bedrooms and a bathroom and Rory ducked into the bathroom to pee and didn't flush. I checked the first bedroom. I saw a single bed with the covers in a heap. Pink slippers on the floor and a cup on the bedside table.
I turned back to the bedroom and saw the covers shift slightly and realised there was someone sleeping under them. I could now hear thick wet breathing and the creak of the bedsprings.
“Is that your Nan?” I asked nodding into the room.
Rory froze and I realised what I guess I had been denying to myself.
He tugged my arm and I looked at the sleeping figure as it started to roll over. Rory was running and I followed him out the back door as behind us I heard a thin voice call “Hello”.
My lungs were soon burning and my legs screaming in protest but we ran for a long time. Rory finally stopped ahead and waited for me to catch up. When I did he handed me one of the notes and I shoved it back.
I pushed him and he flinched.
“I’ll tell it was your idea,” he said and I panicked.
“I don’t want the money.”
Rory looked around and saw the mini market where we would buy matches and chewing gum. He marched in with the money and emerged with a large bag of sweets and crisps and several boxes of matches. We walked home and I succumbed to the idea of candy.
“Did you spend it all?” I asked and he shook his head.
“This for my brother” he said showing the other note. “But this for us” he shoved another toffee into his mouth and I took one. We hid the sweets in the bushes near to the house planning to come back for them the next day.
In the house Days of the Week was fuming in the corner of the kitchen and the 11 year old was banished to his and Rory’s room. Between sips of wine and the sound of eggs frying we understood that they had been caught doing something disgusting.
Wobbly-Teeth asked where we had been and Rory looked at me uncertainly.
“Walking” I said.
“Yeah, just walking,” he agreed.
The next day the lollies were gone but Rory still had the matches. He suggested we try and find a cat but I convinced him snails would be a better choice.
Wobbly-Teeth and Days of the Week came with us. As Rory and Wobbly-Teeth jammed matches under the shell of a snail and down the entrance to an ants nest I turned and discovered a day I knew to be Thursday declaring itself to be Sunday.