I sit in the lounge downstairs and watch the TV, mostly. It’s been the same thing on for the last 3 days. Just a chessboard picture of test-card squares and a constant high pitched squeal. I don’t know what it means.
I ran out of my special drink last night, and now I don’t feel very well. The TV keeps looking at me, I can see someone in there in the squares and the moving dots and they keep looking at me. They know who I am, and they know where to find me, but they can’t get to me because, well, they’re inside a TV, aren’t they? I covered it over with an old towel I took from the bathroom. There are some old bookshelves in the lounge, so I turned my back on the covered-up TV and I looked through the books for a little while. They were old cookbooks, and a few were encyclopaedias. They smelled like old news.
I found a picture of Mum on the desk right next to the bookshelves. She was on holiday, at the seaside. There I am, holding a crab up to the camera while she holds my ice-cream for me. She’s dropped hers, and you can tell by the look she gives to the camera. Uncle David took that picture, a long time ago.
I’ve got a lot of uncles.
They ‘re always coming round with little presents for Mum. When they come she gives me that look, the one that means I have to go and watch the telly in the living room and play the reading game. The reading game is when you have to put your fingers in your ears and pretend there’s no sound coming from the telly. You win if you can work out what they’re saying all the way through. I always win that game. I remember once I needed to pick my nose and when I took my finger out of my ear I heard Mum shouting at uncle Brian. She said he was a two-bob. She sounded mad, so I put my finger back in my ear. She gave me two big cookies when she came back in.
Mum should be back by now.
She went shopping the day the telly went off. She always goes shopping after an uncle comes. I was watching One-Shoe Stanley when she went. He’s a little old man with one magic shoe that grants any wish you want. They don’t show you if there’s a genie in the shoe, but I bet there is one. Stanley goes on adventures on the Tumbling Downs. They’re big, like fields as far as you can see, and a big mountain in the distance. There are little towns, and Stanley visits them all. He uses his magic shoe to help the people that live there, and they all love him for it.
I had a look in the kitchen for something to eat. There wasn’t much there. I found a boiled egg and a carrot in the fridge, but I’ve eaten those now. There was some milk on the kitchen table but it smelled. Mum told me, never drink milk that smells. I had some water instead. I wondered what One-Shoe Stanley would do if he was here. I even took my shoe off and rubbed it, but it didn’t work, because there isn’t a genie in it, so I got my cap gun so I could be John Wayne instead.
I shot six baddies. They kept looking in through the glass in the front door and I kept on shooting them from my fort under the hallway table. One of them banged on the window and put his hand through the cat flap, but I stamped on his hand and hurt him and he went away.
I have to be John Wayne all the time now. I have to keep the bad guys away from my fort, but i’m very hungry and I keep falling sort-of asleep. I wish I had a genie like One-Shoe Stanley, then I could just wish everything back to normal like he does. I could even give Mum that ice-cream she dropped in the photo.
There’s a big metal bucket under the stairs, and I strapped it over my head so I wouldn’t get shot. I got my cap gun and tied it on some string by the handle and put the string around my shoulder so I wouldn’t drop it on the ground, and sat in my fort for ages and ages, waiting for there to be less bad guys. There were lots yesterday and even more the day before, but hardly any today. I’ve got a little bag as well, made out of an oranges bag, and I put some pants and socks in it just in case. I have to find a genie. The door is locked and I can’t really reach the handle, so I got a stool from the kitchen and stood on that to reach it.
I have to go outside.