He was young, desperate for cash, and off his head. She was old, lying on the patterned carpet, and nearly dead.
“Tell me where you keep the money,” he said. He felt ashamed about hurting her, because she reminded him of his Nana. He didn’t like being made to feel like that, so he hurt her again. Felt like stamping on a sack of sticks. Crick, crack.
She thought: I deserved better than this. Thought: At least I’ll be with Tom again. Thought: But who’ll feed the fish?
He ground his teeth and kicked her again, but then he thought about his Nana and he thought about caravan holidays, and playing knockout whist on the little fold-down table, and how when he was ill Nana had sat beside his bed, night after night, reading Disney stories to him because his mam was out at work or out on the drink or out because she just didn’t care for being in. She used to tell him that he was the best grandson in the whole wide world.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “You should have told me where the money was. Why didn’t you tell me? You only had to tell me.”
But she didn’t say anything at all.
He found forty-five pounds in a willow pattern teapot, a necklace that he sold for five pounds and a packet of Superkings, and half a bottle of gin. He gave the gin to his Nana.
No-one fed the fish.