I didn’t see it but I wished I had. It sounded hilarious the way Elliott described it, Ryan Gordon’s mother driving at full speed around the estate, screaming at Mr. Gordon who was on the bonnet, hanging on to the windscreen-wipers for dear life, screaming at her to pull over. Then she jammed on the brakes and he flew off, bouncing along the road.
Ryan was a weedy kid, the kind who got too much stick but made it worse by saying stupid stuff. His mother didn’t help letting his hair grow in a curly helmet round his lolly-pop head. It probably looked cute when he was six but he was nearly a teenager.
When I told Mum she didn’t think it was so funny.
“How awful,” she said, but I didn’t get it, I thought she was being goody-goody, that she was in one of her Christian phases. How could anyone not find it funny? Elliott and I had been practically crying with laughter. Elliott hated Ryan. There were rumours about Elliott’s mum and Ryan’s dad. They were rubbish of course, Elliott said.
If only Mum had taken the time to tell me why it was awful, to ask me how I’d have felt if it had been her driving my dad around the estate… I’d probably still have laughed. But if she’d pressed me I might have got it.
On the following Monday back in school, I asked Ryan about it, grinning as I did so. Instead of getting the embarrassment and humiliation, I’d hoped for, Ryan just looked blank as if he’d no idea what I was talking about. He wasn’t a good liar but I preferred to believe it had really happened. I didn’t want the joke falling flat. Elliott wouldn’t have lied to me.
Matthew Roy Davey lives in Bristol, England. He has won the Dark Tales and The Observer short story competitions and been long-listed for the Bath Flash Fiction award and the Reflex Flash Fiction competition. He has recently been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His short story ‘Waving at Trains’ has been translated into Mandarin and Slovenian. Matthew is also an occasional lyricist for prog-rock weirdos Schnauser. He has no hobbies.