…and she gently stroked his hair and she sang him a lullaby, the most beautiful and serene lullaby he had ever heard. He tried to desperately hard to concentrate on the words but found the more he did the more he felt the hands of sleep pull his body deep into the cushion bed on which he lay.
And as he slept, he dreamt of a different life, a life he had never lived.
And he dreamt that he’d over slept for his paper round and he knew that when he got to the shop Mr Matthews would be mad at him and this made his tummy feel sick and he shook with nerves but he knew he had to face the music.
With trepidation, he pushed the door to the Newsagent, the chimes immediately alerted Mr Matthews who emerged like a waiting Ogre from behind an immense pile of morning papers.
The shop proprietor’s cheeks flushed cherry red as he shouted at Jim. Jim stood and looked Mr Matthews square in the eye; he knew that if he stayed quiet Mr Matthews would eventually run out of puff. This was a trick his brother Ben had taught him following his own employment as one of Mr Matthew’s morning boys a few years previously.
“Let him get it out of his system,” Ben would say, “He’s all bark and no bite, if you just take it and don’t bat an eyelid he’ll soon back down”.
He took it. As Mr Matthews spat with rage, Jim could feel the wetness of the tirade on his face but as predicted the longer the old man hollered the faster he deflated like an angry balloon with a puncture.
“Bloody kids,” he said under his breath, “I don’t know why I bother with them.”
And then it was over.
He lifted a big bundle of Newspapers from behind the counter and tucked them into the large red shoulder bag. He handed this to Jim and Jim heaved the strap over his head and got as comfortable as possible.
Mr Matthews then handed Jim a bar of chocolate and again muttered. “Bloody kids” under his breath, only this time Jim saw a slight grin on the old mans face and then a wink.
Outside it was bitterly cold. Jim hadn’t noticed on the way to the newsagent, because being as late as he was he really had only been thinking about the telling off he would get. Now the air was clear he could feel the icy wind rushing through him chilling him to the bone.
He wished he had taken the time to put on a t-shirt under his fleece and coat but knew it was too late now. Besides, the sooner he started walking the sooner he would begin to feel warm again.
Jim quickened his pace and as he walked, he clenched his fist, put his thumb to his mouth, and pretended his warm steam breath was smoke from this imaginary pipe. He laughed to himself and tried to remember where he had seen that before.
Turning the street corner of his first delivery he fished out the paper for No.22 as he done a hundred times before, on this time it was different.
Somehow it just felt wrong; it felt like it was the first time.
Had he not done this yesterday? Had he not done this on Saturday and Sunday, like he had every weekend for almost a year now?
He had, he definately had…
Then a lullaby came into his head; it was the most beautiful and serene lullaby he had ever heard.
If only he could work out where the lullaby was coming from…
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Posted by Herge Smith at 10:04 pm