Before you read this and think “oh, what a dipshit”, know that I’m the kid who was once found wandering the school playground on his own, long after lunchtime assembly, talking to the cartoon pirate on his own T-shirt…
I was a very gullible child (again, laughing at the ‘was’) , and I used to hang out with a group of lads that lived in the houses behind mine, building gang huts and hitting each other with hurling sticks, the usual. I can’t quite put a year on it, though I’m guessing a year or two either side of the magical ‘ten’ (I was born in 1970, so it should be easy enough to work out what the year was at any age). There was a nearby disused factory that we decided to explore one day (cue Stand By Me), and I remember it had a rotting horse’s skull hanging on a rope from the centre of the ceiling, presumably to scare away kids. It was absolutely fetid.
“Don’t touch it” said one of the guys, but I knew no fear then and touched it. “Oh you fucking eejit”, he added, “that thing is diseased. You will be dead within a year!”. And guess what? I carried that belief for a year. Did I mention I was gullible, and hung on the every word of another ten year old? I even memorised the date (July 7th) so I knew when it came around the following year, and I was still alive, I was ok. But I kept it to myself the whole time, couldn’t tell parents for fear of getting in trouble, so quietly went insane for a year. I can even remember when July 7th rolled around again, the particular way the sunlight hit my back garden, when I realised I had cheated death. Phew.
So there you go, adults. And you thought STD tests were scary / long-drawn-out? (They’re not. In fact, go get one if you don’t know your status. Just hope the doctor isn’t an authoritative ten year old messing with your head).
Tomorrow: Episode 003 – The Forest Of Fear