Short story: Little Jimmy’s friend is not what he seems...

editorial image

My name is Jimmy, I am six and I live with my Mummy, like all except little Suzy in my class. I have no Daddy and I have never had one … ever.

Sometimes Suzy’s Daddy comes to collect her from school, we stand and watch and if he sees us he waves his hand. I wonder what having a Daddy would be like, would he play with me, would he buy things on my birthday? I don’t know. My Mummy works very hard and she says we have to save our money ‘till I grow up.

FRIDAY : Today is Friday and the last day of ‘term’ and then holidays. I’m sad because I don’t have any friends near me and I was walking slowly knowing that I would have to play on my own and then … he was there walking with me, taller than me but thinner with fair hair, freckles, white teeth and wearing a brilliant track suit.

He said: “ Hi, can I be your holiday friend ‘cos I have no one to play with?” and he smiled as he spoke making his freckles dance. I laughed.

“Yes,” I replied real quick, “but I have to go to school today, my name’s Jimmy.”

He did not say his name then but pointed ahead to the big chestnut tree near the edge of the path that crossed the park and led directly to my school. The early conkers were just starting to fall, I picked one up and prised the shiny conker from its green fleshy seed case, it would be my first to do battle with. He looked at it then held out his hand, long delicate fingers looked like a girl’s, then I noticed he had no nails, I tried not to stare as Mummy taught me.

“Can I buy it?” he said, eyes widening.

“Here,” I said, giving it to him, nobody ‘buys’ conkers, do they?

He gave me a small bag, as big as my fist. I took it but when I looked up he was running away.

SATURDAY: I went to the park early today but I had to stay near the swings because Mum could watch me there from the kitchen window in our little flat. My friend came as I swung, kicking hard to gain height. In my head I was in my rocket ship to the stars. Then he was there, same as yesterday.

“Can we play Jimmy?” he said and we did, all morning and again in the afternoon. It was great, we thought up games about spacemen and I was ‘Buzz Lightyear.’ Then I wanted to show him another chestnut tree just close by the railings but strangely it was not there, not even a stump where it had been cut down. Instead we sat on the ‘whirlygig’, it would be safe without any big boys to spin us off. As we sat, a robin came and perched near us. He loved it like it was his first robin. Then he pointed to my pocket where I had my secret bag and he took it, put in something that jingled and then the robin flew up in the air and was gone.

SUNDAY: I was not allowed out today as we went to see Mummy’s friend John.

MONDAY: I couldn’t wait to go to play, I had my breakfast, drunk my juice but Mummy said I had to wait. She gave the usual instructions, “…stay in the swings and don’t leave the park.” Then she said I could go.

My friend was there and today said his name was ‘Wilf.’ I liked it. The sun was shining but things were different. Two things were different, there were no trees, I was sure there was trees and no birds, not one, not a chirp.

“Let’s go to the pond,” said Wilf. “Come on.”

“But …,” I tried, then I was over the fence and running to catch-up.

“Look at that beautiful blue …?”

“Water,” I said adding the word he didn’t know.

“Can I, can I … please?” Wilf said.

TUESDAY: This morning there was no breakfast and Mummy was sat quite still watching a news programme. I would have liked a Thomas film. All she said was: “ …all that water, all gone.” She was so upset, I crept out, promising to be back for lunch. I needed to talk to Wilf, I wanted my Mummy to be happy again and I thought he could help. I was in the park, but it wasn’t like my park any more, He was not there, I was sad.

WEDNESDAY: Mummy was crying in her room, I did not know what to do. I wished I had a Dad but there was only Wilf.

“Wilf, Wilf …,” I called as I ran. “I did not know if you would come. Please can you help, my Mummy is sad.” He looked into my eyes like a grown-up does.

“Yes,” he said, “where do you live?”

I pointed out our high rise block and tried to explain that we had a small part at the bottom. He nodded and pointed to my big bag of coins. Then when I looked back there was nothing, no blocks, nothing at all …???

THURSDAY …? I was in a fabulous play-room with all the toys and games I could imagine and best of all Mummy was sleeping peacefully on a beautiful bed. She awoke, saw me, laughed tears and gave me a hug and a wet kiss.

“Oh Jimmy, I love you,” she said, “ … but where … a hotel, look at the view … look!”

The window showed a long curving beach of golden sand, sparkling blue sea and bendy palm trees … it was truly lovely. I saw the card and Mummy read it.

‘Enjoy please. … W. I. L. F. World Indigenous Life Form.’