Terry Harvey’s body lies there, sprawled over the broken bricks and Jimmy Summers smiles to himself as he puts the gun back into his pocket. The battle was over and though there were bodies everywhere, the enemy had been beaten.
He stands proudly over Terry’s body like a Sir Hilary atop of Everest. He was a hero; a somebody now. Everyone will know the name of Jimmy Summers.
Terry opens one eye and considers, for one moment, the possibility of attacking the unsuspecting Jimmy from below. Half a brick lies under his hand. He could easily launch it up to crack him over the head giving Terry enough time to leap up and smash in his skull, not stopping until brain starts to spew out and perhaps not even then.
But…these bricks are uncomfortable and the sun is going down and Terry realises he probably ought to be going home for his tea. This Nazi will have to wait another day to exact his revenge on the Englishman who must die.
Jimmy sees that Terry has opened his eyes now and extends his hand down to his. Terry takes it and allows the older boy to pull him up. They’ve known each other almost half their lives – at least four years – and Terry trusts his best friend not to let him drop back onto the rubble. As Terry steadies himself on the bricks the bodies of fallen soldiers disappear, fading back into their shared imaginations.
– them fookin briks urt ur bak –
Jimmy looks at his younger friend and sneers
– ur a bluddy wimp, that’s why –
– aye like yud no, I dunt see u lyin ded ont fukkers –
– I cud if ar wunna but ar dunt wunna –
The boys stumble over the rubble towards what would have been the kitchen. You can tell because the gas pipes are sticking out of what remains of the wall. Terry looks up through the holes in the roof – there is no second floor left to block the view – and sees that night is coming soon. He gets a box of cigarettes out of his pocket, puts one in his mouth and pulls out the lighter he nicked from his mam’s handbag earlier.
– ere crash us wun will yur Jimmy? –
– ay git ur own fags u scabby fukker! –
– ar giz us wun will ya? –
– fuk orf u bugga –
But Jimmy gives him one anyway. He lights his own, puts the lighter back in his pocket and then, in time-honoured tradition, uses his cigarette to light Terry’s. You’re not an adult if you do it any other way.
To continue reading this story please buy the book ‘The Old Man on the Beach and other stories’ available January 2015.
Copyright © 2014 D K Powell