Outside of our core group of friends; me and my siblings, Wayne and Lisa, and my cousin Ian when school was off; their were a number of people who kind of came and went from our circle over the few years that we lived in Appleton Crescent. Two of the shorter lived additions to our posse were a pair of twins called M and R.
The twins moved in to a street near to us, which in itself made them kind of outsiders but we tolerated their presence, because that was the kind of tolerant people we were; sort of like a prototype for the Benetton campaign, or the multicultural society in microcosm. Anyway, they were a bit of a novelty, because they were being raised by a single parent; not in itself odd, round my way; but it was their DAD. Much consternation was to be found in our little mindheadscapethings as to how that had come to pass. Parents lived together for a while; maybe married, maybe not; one or the other would cheat and then the Dad would disappear from the kids lives altogether. That was the natural order, this whole set-up smacked of wrongness.
M&R's Dad did his best to fit in with the other single parents on the estate, soon settling into their patterns and routines and he quickly had staples like 'spending all the family allowance on booze and fags' and 'random bouts of frenzied violence' down to an art form. So I suppose you have to give him props for that, eh?
Joking aside, I'm sure the guy had his reasons for being how he was. Certainly, if you spent any amount of time with his kids you would get the definite feeling that some bad shit had happened in their family. I never got to the bottom of whether their mother had left them, or died, or was in prison, or what; I don't think it was a big secret, I just never bothered to ask; but things were obviously not right in their house. Trust me, I know a bit about things not being right in the home.
R was the main reason for this nagging feeling. M, for the most part, was a fairly happy-go-lucky chap, always ready with a quip and a smile, but R... R was a psycho.
Now, I know, I know, it's not generally a good idea to throw around terms likes psycho, or nutter, without knowing the background to the person's behaviour. But I'm not attempting to make a psychiatric diagnosis here; I'm using the term in it's commonly accepted form. i.e. The guy was unpredictable, violent, and scary as hell when he turned.
Also, limber. I remember one occasion when we were all hanging out on the waste ground 'playing football' (dossing around while a ball lay nearby, pointedly ignored like so much sick in the gutter, until a parent passed by and one of us made a desultory stab at maybe coming within a foot of it with a kick; WE ARE GETTING EXERCISE, SHEESH) when from out of nowhere we heard a scream. And it just kept going and going and going. It was R, and I shit you not he screamed, non-stop, as he ran all the way down the street, crossed the road, hurdled the barrier onto the wasteground, crested two mounds of rubble, ran a bit further and then leaped into the air and kicked his brother in the head. It would have been amazing, if it wasn't terrifying. I mean, I'd have been fucking knackered half way down the street.
Here's the thing though; after the kick had been delivered, he just... deflated. The screaming stopped and he just sort of sagged. Then he called M a dickhead and walked off, hands in pockets, looking about as dejected as I've ever seen a human being. The whole situation made me feel very uncomfortable, I'm not going to lie.
I have no great insight to end on here; M&R didn't live in our area very long, and when they left we never heard from them again, so I've no idea how their lives ended up. But they've stuck in my head, that incident (and one other) in particular, for 2 decades, and I often wonder how they got on. Sad fact is, I'd bet money on the police being involved.
That's it for this week. I'd say I hope you enjoyed it, but we all know that's a vain hope. I'm hoping to be back next week, but we'll see. Ta Ra for the noo then.