This is something I wrote before Christmas for a Young Everyman Workshop, it just a short monologue I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. Feedback welcomed.
Sam: I’m told… I’m constantly told that I don’t remember it. Or at least I don’t remember properly…that night, they say I don’t remember that night but I do, I remember. I know Tommy was there, I know he was. That’s the one thing I’m sure off.
The thing about Tommy is, well I guess…I guess there are some people in life that just…they just stand out you know? Tommy was one of those guys. Tommy or as I originally knew him Thomas was I guess just larger than life, in a good way…He wasn’t a “character” which is just polite short hand for attention seeking twat. No, Tommy wasn’t like that; I guess really he was just a guy born in the wrong time, in the wrong place. He wasn’t a loner he didn’t feel like he was missing out, he just stood out slightly. He would off been better off in King Arthur’s Court. A Knight of the Round Table. Going off on quest for the Holy Grail, fighting Dragons, marrying ugly hags who turn into beautiful damsels, beheading strange Green Men, you know shit like that.
When we were younger we would turn Climbing frames into Castles, We would run into the woods looking for quests, ponds became sword distributing lakes; every old man we saw was a warlock or a druid.
We were a bit too obsessed with the whole Knight thing, once in year six he started a fight with Stephen Matthews, defending the honour of Chloe Benson and tried to have a sword fight with a 32 inch ruler. He got a detention, we didn’t know you could get a detention at primary school; thought that was something they saved for the comprehensive, but apparently challenging other students to a “duel to the death” with school equipment was a serious matter.
-The PTA did not spend the Christmas tombola money on brand new stationary so it could be used to have sword fights, is that clear?
Anyway we got a little older, a little wiser and we dropped the Knights of the Round Table thing, found something a bit cooler…Warhammer.
Warhammer is a table top fantasy battle game, using miniatures. You get your usual fantasy characters, Humans, Elves, Dwarfs etc. I was Empire a human army, one the most powerful races, we have the might of gunpowder…Tommy collected Skaven, affectedly giant rats nothing very spectacular to be honest with you. We would spend hours painting our figurines and then playing. I was always convinced that my army was better…I mean come on I had warrior priests, yeah imagine Rowan Williams with a sledgehammer, or the Pope with a mace. I’m bound to win what’s he got over-grown rodents? But every time he manages to beat me, every bloody time. I mean looking back there is no real skill to Warhammer you just role some six sided dice…it’s just the luck of the role.
I lost track of Tommy when we got to the comp. I mean it was inevitable really, it just such a big place, occasionally I’d see him walking around a corner, or on the other side of the tennis court. We spent some time apart
I got back in touch with Tommy, at the start of Sixth form…Mum had been ill and he came round to see if I was OK, it’s like we’d never been apart.
Sixth form a place of reinvention first time you can turn up to school in your own clothes, a chance to make a statement tell the world who you are. You want to stand out, but not too much, you want to be an individual but an individual who fits in with the crowd. That’s what I would want, not Tommy though…first day of sixth form he walks in wearing a battered leather jacket, ripped and oil splattered jeans and to top it all of a cowboy hat…He looks like Crocodile Dundee. The next two years flew past in between the parties and the work and the UCAS application, it felt at the time like so much was happening that I was making decision which would affect the rest of my life, but now I can barely remember any of it. Tommy had his usual laissez fair approach to studying. Over the years his interest in Warhammer and King Arthur had been replaced with an interest in girls and cider. One time I caught him trying to finish his art coursework on the back of the bus, art coursework which was due in a week ago. So what he’s not the first kid to try that won’t be the last…Tommy art coursework was a paper Mache sculpture…of Paul Hogan. It’s fair to say Tommy was a big Crocodile Dundee fan.
-Crocodile Dundee is one of the greatest stories ever told, it’s up there with Off Mice and Men and Toy Story.
He would say.
I was pretty good at school work, ended up with a place at the University of Manchester, unconditional. Tommy scraped into MMU. We agree to live together, it may off not been the best thing we should of probably of parted ways after college, but I thought if I let him go off on his own he will just get lost get side tracked I figured if I stayed with him I could help keep him on the right path… he dropped out of Uni within three weeks, but we carried on living together, he loved the lifestyle, he loved the lifestyle a bit too much, every night I’d be sat at my desk trying to finish any essay when I hear knock on the door.
- We’re gettin’ pissed tonight!
- I can’t gotta finish this essay!
- I wasn’t asking I was tellin’!
Every night ring of fire, or a poker game, or going out in Fallowfield, until our student loans ran out, then we just went into the overdraft, until that ran out and then finally hungry, cold and poor I was able to finish my uni work.
He wasn’t a burden…I want to make that clear; It was great having him round the house really it was. He was a good handy man…one time I went into the kitchen, raging hangover and he’s there tank top and board shorts fag hanging out of his mouth, with a deodorant can and a lighter, trying to defrost the freezer with a home made flame thrower. Another time I caught him trying to catch a mouse with a catapult…OK…honestly every time I went into my house I felt like burglar from the home alone movies. But truthfully I liked that; it made life interesting.
That night was a strange one, I’d come back from uni, it was late, there was no food in the house, OK that part wasn’t unusual. I scrape together some change from the back off the sofa, and headed for Netto. Netto my God I would be dead if it wasn’t for that place, they sold everything you could ever need, and so cheap, you know Netto is Danish for value?….a tin of RugRat pasta shapes for 20p, I practically lived off the stuff…They do the nicest four cheese pizza, although if I’m honest there are not four different cheeses in it. So I’m on my way to Netto, and this bloke walks up to me and says can he borrow a cigarette, I don’t smoke, I apologise I carry on walking, then I feel a hand grab me, and suddenly I’m being pushed against a wall, he shouting, everything is so…He’s shouting…there’s a knife against my throat.
-Give us your fucking money!
-I Haven’t got anything
-Look take my phone.
-What the fuck is that? I have an iphone mate, why wouldn’t I want that brick?
Then suddenly out of nowhere Tommy appears, in his leather jacket and hat, he pulls a knife from the top of his boot, like a big machete he walk up to the mugger,
Like he’s Crocodile Dundee, Like a noble Knight, the attacker flees, and he casually lights a cigarette, stretches out his arm and pulls me up, we laugh all the way home…I can’t believe what he did.
I’m told that my version of events don’t add up… I’m told that my memory is unreliable. They show me some CCTV footage, but the CCTV doesn’t show everything it must be at a bad angle, doesn’t get the whole picture or they must of edited they must of changed in some way, using Photoshop or I dunno something like that. Because when I watch it, there is no Tommy, he doesn’t fend them off, they don’t run away…They just kick me. They just keep kicking me.
I’ve gone from one shrink to the next all talking the same crap. Wanting to discuss trauma and stress, I’m not stressed I’m not traumatised I know what I saw. Apparently in my situation, it’s not unheard of for someone to fabricate events in order to make sense of them. If I had made it up I would made something up more impressive wouldn’t I? If I was making up I would said I was surrounded by three Trolls, ready to eat me, then Sir Galahad comes riding over on his white mare horse, he cuts down the Trolls, with his sword, he leans down and throws me onto the horse and we ride a way into the distance. If I’d off made it up I would made it sound like that.
I know what I remember. Tommy was there, he was always there.