Bill is dying of cancer. He’s been through the mill of treatment and despite the best efforts of his GP he won’t enter the hospice and is determined to die in his own bed. He has two carers, one part-time for the day and a full-time night carer, Stefan, a young Russian. Bill likes Stefan, to whom he tells tall stories to fight off his fear of the night and the arrival of the grim reaper.
Stefan has just got Bill tucked up in bed after toileting him when Bill whispers, I want to tell you a story. Come nearer.
You do that most nights, Stefan chuckles.
It’s a confession like.
I’m no priest.
Got to get it off my chest.
If it makes you feel better. With all these drugs how can he tell what’s true or false? Stefan thinks.
There’s a long pause and Stefan thinks Bill has died.
Then Bill says, My mother tried to have me killed.
No! This is tall story like you playing in goal for City? Yes?
No. My mother already had me brother Dennis. Single woman she was, prossie, on the game. No one knew who the father was. Then she falls pregnant with me. Her mother, my gran, she were a back street abortionist, Illegal she was.
Aghast, Stefan asks, This is true?
Like the man said, you couldn’t make it up. My mother goes to her mother and asks her to abort me, kill me. Can you believe it? What sort of women were they? No hearts. Anyhow, my gran buggered up the abortion and here I am – alive, when I should have been dead. I didn’t know nothing until I was sixteen. My gran laughed, called me the one that got away, no sorrow. She fucked my head. Everyone else knew; it weren’t no secret on the street. They said I was a few pence short of a shilling. I looked odd, bloody great funny shaped head. Billy no mates, I was. But I weren’t barmy. Bill comes to an abrupt halt.
What did you do? Stefan asks.
I were scared of my mother but one day, when I were nineteen, and all the kids had been taking the piss, I finally asks her why she wanted me killed. One bastard was enough, she said and she runs upstairs. I follow her. We’re standing on the landing shouting. All she does is scream, It were rational and just look at yer, ugly fucker. She was drunk. I hit her and she tumbled down the stairs, but she weren’t dead, so I broke her neck. You should have heard the crack.
You killed her?
The coppers didn’t give a shit about an old prossie; bloody nuisance she was. Got away with it didn’t I?
Does your brother know?
Yeah, I’ve had to give him half my wages for years to keep his mouth shut. Bill lets out a long rattling gasp.Stefan closes Bill’s eyes. What a life.
© Phil Cosker 2022
Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.