I’m forty years old, and I’ve never been arrested. I have my mother to thank for that. As she always said, “If you don’t believe what your mother says, the police will come and take you away,” so I’ve always believed her.
She’s an amazing woman, and she’s looking really well for a twenty-one year old. I think it’s because she eats the crusts on her bread which keeps her teeth straight and her hair curly. It must save her a fortune on dentists and hairdressers. Also, I help her to stay healthy, by never walking on a crack and breaking her back.
I did think I was in serious trouble yesterday, though.
I accidentally swallowed an apple seed. Luckily, in the city, the hospital is only a few minutes away, so I ran over to get my stomach pumped before it grew into an apple tree, which would probably be a bad way to die (or a very inconvenient way to live)
The triage nurse said that that wouldn’t happen. She’s probably going to get a black line on her tongue from lying. I saw that she had white spots on her fingernails, a sure sign of a persistent fibber. She’s probably the sort of woman who whistles and makes the Virgin Mary cry. I hope that she munches on her plaits so that she needs to get the hairballs pumped out of her stomach.
Next thing she’d be telling me that it’s perfectly safe to eat chewing gum, and that it doesn’t wrap around your intestines and strangle your lungs. Or that you don’t get worms from eating sugar out of the bowl. Or that you don’t get warts from blowing the air of a bicycle pump on your skin. Or if you bite your nails they don’t grow out of your back. Or if you pull a face and the wind blows it doesn’t stay that way. Or that you don’t get haemorrhoids from sitting on cold concrete. (I wouldn’t need the hospital to help me with that though, I could just unscrew my bellybutton and take my bum off.)
As I walked home, doomed, an ice cream truck drove by, and I thought that it would be lovely to finally get an ice cream from one of those things (since I was probably going to die of a wooden stomach soon) but, unfortunately, the music was playing, and, as everyone knows, that means it’s out of ice cream.
I saw a person walking their chihuahua, and I was terrified. As my mother always said, “The smaller the dog, the sharper the teeth.” Those things must have mouths like sharks.
I checked my dying self out in a shop window. That’s not vanity. It was my last chance to look at myself. See, I have no mirrors in my flat, in case I look at them too long and see the devil over my shoulder.
It had just rained and there were a few slugs on the path. I always feel sorry for them. Did you know that they’re just homeless snails?
When I got back to the flat, I found out that I’d left the immersion on. I’m lucky it didn’t explode and take the neighbourhood with it.
Then I realised that there was still hope. I could save myself – just like that time I got a splinter in my finger, and I was really brave, and I tweezered it out before it worked its way through my system and stabbed me in the heart. I could make myself puke by having a fizzy drink with my dinner, but it didn’t work. (I think the drink must have gone a bit flat.)
I turned on the TV and there was a good documentary about the Irish famine. I don’t really understand how the famine happened. I mean, surely if they needed spuds all they had to do was not wash behind their ears for a day? I didn’t watch it for too long, though, in case my eyes went square. Also, I don’t want the people in the main TV control centre in the government to think I was watching TV too much and tax me.
I sat there thinking about all the things I was going to miss out on. Like Christmas! I had been doing my best to be extra good this year. (I’ve obviously been really bold ever since I moved out of home, because Santa Claus had never come to visit me in the flat.)
I cursed my bad luck for eating that apple seed. What had I done to deserve it? I hadn’t done anything heinous, like putting new shoes on the table, or opening an umbrella inside.
I wished that it was my birthday and I could blow out the candles and wish the apple seed away. But it wasn’t my birthday, so I couldn’t wish for anything, and I just told you about the wish, so it wouldn’t work, anyway.
Then I realised that I should immediately go and visit my mother, that night. The next day would be Mother’s Day, and I had planned to go, but now I had no time to waste: it would be a lot harder to have quality time with her when I was just an apple sapling
Before I went, I ate a carrot to help me see in the dark. I also plugged the TV out, because if you leave anything plugged in when you leave, it will burn the place down – except for the fridge, because that’s too cold to burn.
I love driving at night, especially when you get out of the city, and you see the cats eyes lighting up. The guy who cycles along underneath the road and turns them on as you go must be really old and tired by now. Fair play to him.
I was singing along to good music, but unfortunately I’m not a very good singer because I don’ t have a gap in my teeth. But when the “Greatest Hits of Westlife” CD finished, I didn’t turn it on again. I love listening to it (who wouldn’t?), but I know that the band will get worn out if I listen to it too long, and I don’t want to be selfish. (If I could, I’d play music myself, but my fingers aren’t long, so I wouldn’t be able to learn the piano.) As I drove, my foot went to sleep, and I got pins and needles, so I stamped it to kill the thousands of little spiders under my skin.
I realised I was feeling tired (probably from all the dying) so I stopped for a quick rest in a lay by; the night sky in the countryside was magnificent. I love looking at the constellations; my favourite is “The Shopping Trolley.” It’s wonderful being out in nature. I put my ear to the ground, so that I could try to hear the people in Australia one last time. In the dark I saw a beautiful dandelion (those carrots really do work), but I didn’t pick it, because I didn’t want to pee the bed later.
I made it back my mother’s place in one piece, because I was careful, and I didn’t let the magnetism at the accident black spots pull the car off the road.
She was delighted to see me. I didn’t tell her about my apple seed problem, because I wanted to have one last lovely chat. I asked her what was it like in the old days when everything was black and white? She laughed and said, “Sure, I wouldn’t know, I’m still twenty-one.”
The next morning, at breakfast, I said “Happy Mother’s Day,” and I offered to make the tea, as a present, but she said she wouldn’t hear of it. When she turned around, to make it, I started crying, which she saw, because even though she’s a retired teacher, she still has eyes in the back of her head.
I told her about the apple seed, and my impending death.
She laughed, and said, “You don’t still believe that, do you?” “Yes, of course” I said, “I don’t want to get arrested.” And she laughed and laughed, until I laughed too, but inside I wondered about what else she might have told me that wasn’t true. I started to get angry, but obviously you can’t strike your mother, because if you do your hand will stick up out of the grave when you die. Everyone knows that.
That afternoon, we heard the music of an ice cream truck. She said, “Sorry about the apple seed thing, son, but how about I make it up to you by buying you a 99?”
I said, “Wait, What?”