Friday, 18 September 2009
The kids on my street are playing war again. 'Put your weapon down NOW rat a tat a tat a Ten, nine, eight, soldier, soldier, coming to get you ready or not'.
I can hear their shoes banging against the pavement as they head round the corner, where the Polish man, who lives at the end house, is fixing his gutters. He pauses to watch them in their short shirt sleeves, ready for church or a christening. They hold imaginary AK47s, ready to gun down their friends, or a basking cat, or the pigeons resting on the razor wire. He wipes his sweat from his forehead, smiles at his boy playing alone, pushing himself along the pavement on a plastic tractor.
The kids are arguing over who will be Osama, saying, 'it's YOUR turn now, it's always MY turn. Ten, nine, eight, soldier, soldier, coming to get you ready or not.'
The ambulance is here again for the old fella four doors down, who might have had a fall and nobody can get in, banging on his door and shouting his name. The police have been called, but the Polish man offers to climb in the top window from his ladders, and the kids have a break from war now, so they can watch the action: old man carried out on a trolley with a mask on his face, Polish man dragging his ladders back to his house, and the police arrive just as it's all over.
The kids are deciding who will be Osama again, and they run down the street shouting, 'come out with your hands in the air. Ten, nine, eight, soldier, soldier, coming to get you ready or not.'