Zappa's Mam's a Slapper<br/>

Author: John Lynch
Publisher: Mandrill Press
Published: 2015-01-13
ISBN(s) 978-1-910194-01-0
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Contemporary, Action, Action Read Excerpt >

Prison Number: 27619              Prisoner's Name: Billy McErlane           Date: 2 September 2002

My Ideal Life

Question: Write an essay (not less than 1,000 words) describing the life you would most like to live. Don’t worry about money or what is possible—just tell the reader how you would like to live if you could.

In my ideal life, I live alone. I’m in a big flat in a building that’s a bit old overlooking a park. There is a garden belonging to the building and I’m allowed to go in it, but my flat is on the second floor. I have a big sitting room and a bedroom and my own kitchen and bathroom and toilet. There’s a TV and a radio and a CD player for when I want them, but I don’t usually unless there’s something I’m really interested in like an important rugby game or maybe athletics. In athletics I specially like to watch the longer races where each person is on their own and has lots of time to think about things while they’re running. When I was younger I used to run to school and I’d pretend I was in a big important cross country race and I’d think about all sorts of important stuff while I was running. Running does that to you.

I never watch boxing in my ideal life. Boxers set out to hurt each other and it should be stopped. And I don’t watch stuff like Rebus, where people do horrible things to other people. I might watch Midsomer Murders sometimes, or repeats of Inspector Morse, or those things with Miss Marple. Or Poirot. People do unkind things to other people there, too, but you don’t see it. And they don’t shout and scream at people.

In my ideal life I never watch stuff like Big Brother because people are always shouting and saying nasty things to each other and I don’t like it when people do that. And the people are always stupid. And I don’t watch comedy shows because they’re always trying to make themselves look big by making other people look small. But if there’s a repeat of Morecambe and Wise or The Two Ronnies I watch that.

There would be lots of books in my sitting room in my ideal life and a great big window, one of those windows that stick out from the house, I forget what they’re called. It’s very quiet in the room and I sit at the window and watch people in the park. There are lots of families in the park. In fact, it’s almost all families. And the families are happy and don’t shout or hit each other. There’s a father and a mother and a boy and a girl and that’s it. Only two children. Two is enough. But sometimes there’s also a dog. And the father and the mother have their arms round each other’s waists and talk to each other as they walk along and you can see they like each other a lot. And the boy throws sticks for the dog, and the girl twirls around on the path, watching her skirt be like a catherine wheel. But it never gets so high that you can see her underwear.

And sometimes there’s a girl on her own in the park. She’s wearing nice clothes, maybe a uniform from a nice school where children are taught to be polite and not make other people feel small. And I know if I went down into the park I could sit down on the bench with the girl and have a nice conversation about what she’s going to do one day and what I’m going to do one day. And it wouldn’t feel as though we were in competition. With each other or anyone else. But we don’t ever talk about rude things, or make hints about the stuff that makes boys and girls different. And she tells me about her brother, and her mother and father who sometimes walk in the park with their arms round each other’s waists, and who really like each other and never ever shout at each other in front of the children. And they have a dog. I don’t actually go down into the park and have this conversation. But I know I could do, and one day I will. Probably.

When it gets too dark for people to walk in the park, I open one of the books and read. And I learn my five new words a day.

One of the best parts of my ideal life is food. Buying it and cooking it and eating it. I go shopping every day, and I have enough money to buy what I want, and I’ve learned to cook from reading books and watching TV. And I make my own bread.

For breakfast I have poached egg on my own bread, toasted.

In the middle of the morning I have a mug of hot chocolate with more milk than water in it and a biscuit.

In the middle of the day I sometimes have soup with my own bread, toasted. Sometimes sardines on my own bread, toasted. Sometimes cold chicken or ham. Or a pork pie with cheese and HP Sauce.

At four in the afternoon I have a mug of tea and a biscuit. Or maybe sometimes a cream cake. Chocolate éclairs are nice.

And then in the evening I have stew, or roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding, or fish. I like fish. Proper fish, not fish fingers and stuff. And it’s quiet when I eat.

And then I go to bed, and because I’m at the back of a big house overlooking a park, there isn’t any noise.

I’m sorry, I know that’s not 1,000 words, but it’s all I can think of.

Except that sometimes in my ideal life someone would come in and hug me. Just hug me, nothing else, and they wouldn’t say anything, and after a while they’d leave. But I’d remember that I’d been hugged, and how it felt. I don’t know who it would be that hugged me.


Zappa's Mam's a Slapper   by   John Lynch   |   See Bio >
It isn't the cards you're dealt that matter, but how you play the hand

John Lynch has found his literary voice in this life story of disadvantaged soul, Billy McErlane. Having a harlot for a mother doesn’t make life easy and nor does going to jail at fourteen, but when he is reunited with his childhood sweetheart peace enters Billy's heart. Then fate deals a wrecking blow. The book shows Billy through his own eyes and words as he learns to forgive, let go of the bad things in life, accept with grace the good things and finally reach out to others. It’s a coming of age book that begins in tragedy and ends in hope. A bittersweet story of love, loss and one young man's refusal to accept what life offers.

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