As a boy of eight I had very few toys. However, one thing I played with more than any other object was an old metal bucket. I think it belonged to my grand dad originally. I used to go everywhere with my trusted bucket. In fact bucket boy even became my nickname. I did not mind- everyone I knew had a nickname and most were a lot worse.
If I went fishing, I would sit on it, as I tossed my branch with an old string and a home made hook on the end, where a garden worm wiggled desperately. I occasionally caught some fish, and I would take them home to my mother in my bucket filled with water. She would smile and pat me affectionately on the head. Then I would watch on as my fish, still alive thrashed about on my mother’s old chopping block, flashing me looks of desperation with their fishy eyes. Then my mother would giggle as she took her razor sharp chopper, and with one strike- behead them. Sometimes the headless fish would still wriggle right up until they were neatly filleted. Those fish dinners still bring a tear to my eye.
As a boy I always wanted a drum set, but money was hard to come by in our house. So I used to borrow my mom’s wooden cooking spoons, and beat away in my bedroom for hours and hours to the old radio, just as contented as any boy could be.
There were many more uses for my trusted bucket too!
I would place it at the end of the garden and try and toss little stones in it. I wanted a rubber ball; all my friends owned them in a variety of colors. But my mother wouldn’t allow me to own one saying it was frivolous, as one of the twenty or so cigarettes she smoked daily hung from her scowling lips.
I once kept a dozen or so tadpoles in my bucket, which I caught in the local park pond. Oh what fun it was when they all turned into frogs, and began jumping around the house. I have never heard my mom shrill so loud when they bounced into the kitchen! She dropped my father’s dinner. I still have the scar from where she hit me with the wooden spoon repeatedly until I wept.
That was the day she took away my bucket. That bucket was my best friend, hell it was my only friend.
But I was a resourceful eight year old kid- I found out where she hid it. It was in the top of her closet in my parent’s bedroom. One night as she sat darning my father’s socks by the coal burning fire I sneaked upstairs. It was just my mom and I in the house, as my dad was where he usually was in the evening, supping pint after pint of beer with his mates, at the Cat and Fiddle.
I slowly climbed up and grabbed my prize. It was then I got an idea…
I sneaked carefully back downstairs; my mother was still darning away, and singing some silly song to herself. Pat Boone I think.
It was a relatively easy task to sneak up behind her and cover her head with my bucket.
She made such a fuss, bless her. She began to squeal and holler.
It was then that I saw the darning needle, sitting there on her lap. It seemed to be calling to me- even over the racket my mother was making.
I took the needle and gently inserted it in the soft part of her throat. Her squeals transformed into a gurgling noise at that point. For some reason that made me giggle. She tried and tried to get the bucket off, but it must have been wedged there. Finally the desperate wiggling began to slow down until it finally stopped, and she fell back in her easy chair, with my bucket still on her head.
It was two hours later, when my dad returned, tipsy as usual. Boy did he get mad!
So here I sit, in this room in this hospital. This is where I have called home since then. For almost twenty years now. They keep giving me these pills but the voices in my head never really go away.
What’s that you have to go?
Please next time you return will you do me one kindness?
Bring me my bloody bucket…