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Document 596

SKARRS

Author(s): Catherine Forde

Copyright holder(s): Catherine Forde: Reproduced with permission of Egmont Books

Text

1
NUMBER ONE

'Number one,' I tell the barber. 'All over.'

I'm smirking at myself in the mirror while this barber - Mister Derek, unless he's wearing the wrong poncy monogrammed jacket - drapes a nylon cape over my gear and velcroes the neck fastening. Bit tight, ya numpty, I nearly say, but I let it go, too busy savouring the thought of my Old Dear's soor face when I show at Grampa Dan's funeral with a skinhead.

'All over?'

Mister Derek's lips purse. I hear Jakey's voice in my head.

He'll be a poofter same as all hairdressers. Swears he can spot one of them a mile off: Antennae, Danny-Boy.

'All over,' I growl, macho.

Mister Derek's got the cheek to sigh over the top of my head, shaking his own blowdried mullet. If this is the stroppy way he does business it's a wonder there's so many punters queuing up on a Saturday morning to be sheared.

Both Mister Derek's hands are on my shoulders now. Paw-heavy, for a roly-poly mincer. I feel them hot through this sad black jacket my Old Boy made me wear today. I want to shrug the barber off. But I can't. His grip immobilises me in the chair.

Mister Derek's eyes hold mine in the mirror. They're blue, his pupils pinprick dots. I've seen Jakey's like that when he's on something, though never as sharp-looking as this bloke's.

His fingers grip my shoulders. 'Number one,' he sighs again. Gets the razor rasping. Doesn't say another word till he's finished.

Then he plays the usual barber joke with the soft brush, sweeping cut hair down my collar instead of on to the floor. All of a sudden he stops and leans over me, lips that close to my ear that for one hideous second I think I'm due a snog. Instead he whispers:

'Grampa Dan says, don't get your hair cut like that again, Danny. Makes you look like a prisoner of war.'


2
GRAMPA'S SEND-OFF

'You're a ned with that haircut.'

Result!

It cracks me up knowing my Old Dear is fizzing with me, but has to play things genteel, ladling out her disapproval in semaphore and hisses because we're in church.

'Danny! You're late. Sssssstraighten that tie!'

My Old Dear's jabby index finger stilettos my arm while she fires daggers with her eyes. It's some feat: blowing an invisible gasket while you're smiling piously for the sake of mourners you hardly know. Up folk troop, tapping the Old Dear on the shoulder, whispering sympathetic claptrap in her lug.

'Awffy sorry, Susan. Poor old sowl. Must be a relief, mind.'

My Old Dear barely turns her head to see who's talking to her. Accepts condolences like she's the bloody Queen, passing sympathy cards to me, as though I'm her lady-in-waiting. She keeps her eyes towards the altar. The grieving daughter-in-law. Bloody hypocrite.

'This your wee Danny, Susan? Gettin' a big lad, aren't you, son?'

Bog off!

Like my Old Dear, I fix my eyes on the altar too, trying not to see the coffin in front of it. I'm not big on small talk at the best of times.

'Your lad'll be upset, right enough, Susan, losing Grampa.'

Too right I'm upset.

Saturday morning. Ten o'clock, and I'm trussed like a black pudding in a tie and my Old Boy's jacket. New-mown hair jagging my neck. In church, for God's sake.

Again.

Should be in my pit.

Was wasted last night.

Jakey couldn't believe I'd to show up at the pineapple two days in a row.

'What for? Can't you just bury your old stiff the same night you bring him into church?'

Funerals should be at night anyway, Jakey decided. 'Up the cemmy in the dark. Be a pure buzz, that. Anyway, Danny-Boy, now you're here, what d'you snaffle?'

We were in the park when we had this conversation last night. I showed late; didn't think I'd get out at all. Old Dear wanted me home after Grampa's box was carted into church.

'I'll need your help, Danny. Don't be disappearing off with your pals tonight.'

She'd asked all these people back to the house. Folk I'd never seen in my puff. Zimmer brigade. Sitting room was all poshed-up with trays of fancy sandwiches, and bowls of nuts that none of the gerries could chew.

Course, it wasn't the food I was after.

It was the spread on the sideboard that interested me. Groaning with bevvy, it was. Wine, beer, spirits; you name it. Probably more bevvy than Grampa Dan ever got to see in his life.

Not that he could drink: belly couldn't take booze.

'Guts are knackered, Danny. Bloody Japs.'

When I saw the swally my folks had bought in for his send-off, I was glad I hadn't shot straight from the church to the park after all. Cheers, Grampa Dan.

* * *

'Sherry? That the best you could do, man?'

'It's a full bottle, Jakey.'

I'd been lucky to slope out with the sherry at all, but there was no point in trying to explain that to Jakey. Old Dear had left it in the kitchen by mistake. Rest of the booze was under the lock and key of her nippy wee eyes.

I could have sworn my Old Boy clocked me sneaking out with the bottle tucked up my jook while he sneaked a sly fag with his sad teacher mates in the garden. I nearly said to him, If you were that desperate for a smoke you should have tapped me.

He didn't call me back - knows it's a waste of time asking where I think I'm off to at this hour, son. Wouldn't want me to give him a showing-up in front of his pals.


Mind you, the way I'm feeling at the funeral, I might yet be giving him a showing-up. Jakey mixed my sherry with some past-its-sell-by-date cider that Waz's mum had chucked out. Couple of times in church I almost have to make a lavvy dash; technicolor-yawn job threatening.

Still, a hangover takes my mind off the drone drone drone of Grampa Dan's big send-off.

A-bide with me...

I mean, Jesus! Whose idea was that? Grampa Dan hated all that pious stuff. Hymns. Prayers. Never went near a church. If he couldn't get his fingers to work the buttons quickly enough when 'Songs of Praise' came on, he'd fling the remote at the telly.

'Bollocks!'

I'd hear him through the wall when I was triple-checking my art homework was tip-top for Miss West at the last-Sunday-night-minute and I'd have to get myself in quickstyle to sort him out.

'Turn that cack off, Danny. Yon Aled-ulias holier-than-thous don't know what they're talking about. Give us Ella Fitzgerald instead.'

Too right, Grampa.

Why isn't her voice filling the church mellow today instead of dry old hymns he hated?

Every time we say goodbye, I die a little.

Ella, Peggy, Billie, Hoagy, Louis, Duke, Frank...

I know the soundtrack to Grampa Dan's life. Could have made a farewell tape, no bother.


Since I'm thinking music, still struggling at keeping down the boke, I test myself on the lyrics of Skarr's latest CD:

Shaved and broken
Crack the whip,
See them fall,
Kommandant, Kempetai.
Ribs and bones
Ribs and bones.

I superimpose Seth Lamprey's vocals over some old geezer, top heavy with a stack of medals, who's whingeing on the pulpit about 'A time for dying, A time for living...'

How about a time for putting a sock in it, matey? I suggest, telepathically. But alas, Grampa's last gig's barely rolling.

No sooner has Medal Man shuffled back to his pew than my Old Boy's bounding to the mike. He's all dickied up in a new black suit, last three hairs on his pate slicked back with my wax. He's got ten o'clock shadow: the too-grief-stricken-to-shave designer-stubble look.

At least he spares us his happy-clappy guitar. He's only reading in church today, giving 'The Lord's My Shepherd' big licks in his by-the-way-I'm-a-teacher voice. Except he can't hack it. I'm busy cranking up Seth's voice -

Break them
Break them
Take their soul
Make them
Make them
YOU control -

- when my Old Boy loses it. His voice cracks. Great snottery sobs surge all the way up from his last-chance-trendy Chelsea boots and pour out, blubbering, into the mike.

'In the Lord's own house sh-sh-shall I dwell... I'm sorry,' he falters, in a sort of bleaty voice, very apt, given the context of his reading. Geddit: shepherd, sheep? And he's looking at me.

What's he want me to do? Go up there and rescue him? There, there, Daddykins.

No chance, Padre. Anyway, the Old Dear's fussing plenty for the both of us, producing paper hankies to dab his runny nose like he's three years old. Kidding on she gives a damn.

Things quieten down after that. The priest, who clearly never clapped eyes on my Grampa Dan in his puff, struggles to dredge up something appropriate to say. The words 'clutching' and 'straws' spring to my mind as we're served a plate of tripe about Grampa Dan.

'Here was a man who endured unspeakable torture in the service of his country, but who wasn't broken. His faith sustained him in his darkest hours. Daniel Hennessy was a true soldier of Christ.

'And...

'Er. ..'

That's all folks.


'Bollocks.'

Yup. That's what Grampa Dan would have said.

Or maybe he'd have said, 'I did what I had to do to stay alive, nothing more.'

My Old Boy wrote that in the tribute he isn't fit to make now, quoting Grampa Dan.

I did what I had to do to stay alive, nothing more.

That struck me, because Grampa Dan never, ever said anything to me about what happened to him in the war. And I always thought I'd get round to asking him about it one day. Like a lot of things I think I'll get round to...


'Danny!'

The jaggiest bit of my Old Dear's elbow interrupts my guest drum solo with Skarrs at Madison Square Garden. Everyone's up on their feet, except me - and Grampa Dan. The priest's having a whale of a time to himself, swinging the old incense, and splashing us all awake with Holy Water.

'Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord...' he drones.

Then.

Alleluia!!!!! It's all over.

We're walking out, Old Dear and I first behind the coffin. It's shoogling about something awful, none of the pall-bearers the same height. Two undertakers are at the front. One's taller than my Old Boy, but the other bloke - the boss man, who probably always gets in front - he's a midget. Old Boy's at the back, with Medal Man. They're clutching on to each other's shoulders, trying to keep Grampa's back end straight. Poor old Medal Man's puffing under the strain, probably thinking to himself, won't be long till I'm the one getting the bumpy ride in the big pencil case. I can see the bones of his knuckles poking white through his skin as he claws the shoulder of my Old Boy's new jacket. He's puffing as though he's lifting weights instead of a wee wafer light as Grampa Dan was at the end.

It's cheek forcing an old geezer like Medal Man to carry a coffin.

What was wrong with me?

I'm tall as my Old Boy now, easy.

All they had to do was ask.


We're edging down the aisle now and the congregation's singing: Jesus remember me when I come into Your kingdom, over and over and over like no one can be bothered going on to a second verse.

Folk at the back are out of synch with the ones up the front. Bit Goth, the effect, specially since my own head is suddenly swirling fit to burst with the intro to another tune altogether: Grampa's number one song of all time. Hoagy Carmichael's 'Stardust'.

'Listen to that melody, Danny. Isn't it something?' I can even hear Grampa say, same as he did every time 'Stardust' played, and I wish - just one more time - we could all hear what he never tired of hearing. Just the way he heard it.

At the echo of his voice I have to stare right hard at my Old Boy. He's walking in front of me, making an effort to join in the final hymn, but giving up after a few notes. The shoulder not carrying the coffin's going up and down like it does when he's laughing hysterically about something only he finds funny.

My Old Dear rubs one hand across the Old Boy's back (her loving-wife routine don't fool me), then - major grossout - gropes out her other hand for mine. She's crying. Can't think why. After the things she said about Grampa Dan.

I yank my arm away.

At the back of the church stand another couple of old geezers, same vintage as Medal Man. They don't reach out to touch the coffin as it passes, or bless themselves like most of the other rosary-clacking folk I've clocked. They salute.

And so does Richard - Dicky-Head, as Jakey says we've to call him.

Haven't seen him for months.

And I pretend not to see him now, staring hard at the brass crucifix on top of Grampa's coffin until it swims before my eyes.


Richard, wee Richard. Havenae seen you for yon time. Not so wee any more, either, all grown up in your uniform. Only seems like yesterday you were in here every day. You and Danny all over my bed like measles.

Now you want me to talk into your machine. It's not on the now, is it? Because I canny think what you want me to say. That's a laugh, eh? I'm laid here good enough for nothing more than thinking, and I'm looking at the telly, or my tranny's on and I hear a word - Japanese. Prisoner. Work camp - and I canny help myself. All these memories flood back. Things I don't remember remembering. Things I don't want to remember. They play in my head and they won't switch off.

Not that I think there's any point you talking to me if you want proper history. I never did anything brave or important.

Survived.

That's it.

I mean, these wee scars you and Danny kept pestering me about werenae from battle. Any combat I've seen's been on telly. David Niven, John Wayne, Kenneth More doing soldiers better than anyone I ever met for real... There was no fighting in my war. These scars on my hands are for drawing pictures.

I was just a driver. Dan the Van in civvy street. Corporal Hennessy, truck driver in the army. What else could I do? Nineteen when I went in, twenty when I was captured, older than I feel these days when I got out. You should have seen me, Richard. I didnae know myself. Same as I don't know Danny the now.


3
BEST FRIENDS

My Old Boy's having another fag. Out in the open this time, checking the undertakers slide Grampa Dan into the hearse properly. Old Boy's shoulders are pulled up to his ears and he stamps from foot to foot as though he's cold despite the sun. His smoking hand shakes.

My Old Dear's not crying any more. She's sobbing. Making a right show of herself. There's a cluster of her pals round her, tarted up as if they're at a desperado's hen night instead of a funeral. Shades. Red lips. High heels. Token black tights...

They're all talking at once while their eyes rove the church, checking to see if there's any talent hidden among the OAPs.

The saluters make their way on to the pavement, all hobbling, taking the stairs carefully, using the handrail. These old blokes wear medals too, though none are in the same league as Medal Man. Hopeless Hope I hear him introduce himself, shaking hands with Richard.

I watch all this, well out of sight behind a pillar, enjoying my own nicotine rush, first of the day. First of many, now the Old Boy's in the tar club again. My Old Dear'll think any ciggie smell's coming from him.

My Old Boy's shaking hands with Medal Man and the other saluters before they toddle to their cars. Richard steps back from the conversation, listening, but not intruding. Looks about twenty-five in his blazer. A man, despite the schoolbag over his shoulder. Not a dweeby third year, same age as myself.

I can see my Old Dear's got her Dan-scan going, sweeping the thinning crowd of mourners for her wayward spawn. Lips that angry, tight way they go when she's on my case. Course, I stay put. It's a beast watching her get her knickers in a twist.

The Old Boy sifts the mourners now. 'Seen my son? Skinhead?'

Before I can saunter out, all devil-may-care, Richard points to me. I see him mouthing, 'Behind that pillar,' as my Old Boy claps him on the shoulder.

'Thanks for coming, Richard. Appreciated.'

Anyone else who shopped me like that would be a grass, but that's just Richard being Richard.


Best friends.

That's what we were.

'Joined at the bloomin' hip, you two,' Grampa Dan would josh when we jammed each other at the bedroom door, fighting to get in and see him first.

Mates since playgroup. Age three, just out of nappies. Meeting at the colouring-in table. We stayed together, through nursery, then primary. Inseparable. Living in the same cul-de-sac, near enough to walk in and out of each other's houses as if they were extensions of our own.

Danny and Richard.

Richard and Danny.

Thought we'd be best friends forever. Death do us part. We didn't bore each other. We didn't compete with each other. We just got on great.

Until secondary school. My parents separated us and everything changed.

Your folks always think they know what's best but they're clueless.

That's what Jakey says. Not about the Richard thing, because he doesn't know about that, but about parents in general. He's right, of course. If Richard had sat the entrance exam and come to the Academy with me, I wouldn't be in so much bother all the time. I wouldn't be bored. I wouldn't be in all the dumbo sets. I definitely wouldn't be one of Jakey's crowd, because he hates Richard.

Laugh is, before I started my posh school, Richard was the one who promised things wouldn't change. 'Why should they? We'll get together when we get home, same as usual. There's every weekend. And the holidays.'

When I first started at the Academy, it seemed Richard was right enough about nothing changing. Neither of us mentioned our schools when we met up. Then, a few weeks into term I'd go round for Richard and be sent away with a flea in my ear. His Old Dear policing the door.

'Richard's doing his homework, Danny. Haven't you got piles to do yourself?'

Then I'd get: 'Don't want Richard out during the week. Leave it till Friday. He'll phone.'

We never phoned each other.

His voice would sound alien down the line. He'd say, 'I'll probably see you at the weekend, Danny.'

But come Saturday morning: 'Sorry, Danny. Richard's playing rugby.'

'Afternoon, then?'

'He's got a sleepover, Danny. Someone's birthday. All the boys are going. You must be meeting lots of other boys and girls, too.'

'Yeah,' I'd say.


Truth is, except for Miss West, my art teacher, no one went out of their way to get to know me at the Academy. Don't know why I didn't make new friends. Never needed to before. Didn't have the knack, maybe.

Or maybe I blew it. In the first week, a couple of the lads told me to bring my trainers in and play footie at lunchtime. I turned up - minus trainers - had a game, but wasn't invited a second time. Course I was being trialled. Should have made more of an effort. All the footie guys were mates out of school; decent enough with it. They went to the game on Saturdays, booked five-a-side courts on Sundays...

Jakey Wilson was the only other boy who didn't play football.

We probably wouldn't have got together otherwise.


Would still be Danny and Richard.

Richard and Danny.


'Really nice of Richard to come to the funeral. Grampa was very fond of him,' growls my Old Dear. We're trailing Grampa's hearse on his last journey, chauffeur-driven in a sleek limousine. Since her words snarl round me like an accusation, and my Old Boy has insisted on sitting up front with the driver and the privacy window shut, I take it the Old Dear must think she's talking to me. So I twist myself as far away from her voice as I can get without undoing my seat belt and dislocating my neck from my shoulders.

'They saw a fair bit of each other in the last few weeks,' I tell myself I can't hear her say.

But that's news to me! If I could have asked when and why Richard had seen Grampa without actually talking to my Old Dear, I might have done it. But I was already stinging enough from one of her unprovoked verbal parries.

Nice.

Dangerous word, that, when my Old Dear uses it around me. Sharp as a nunchaka it is.

I block anything else she says - something about Richard's history project - watching our funeral limo snake the maze of pathways in the cemetery. How does the driver know where to go? All these gravestones look the same. How will we tell Grampa Dan from anyone else? How will we ever find him again?

'Fine-looking big boy, Richard.'

Not like some folk I could mention. Don't need to be in MENSA to get the Old Dear's inference. I don't even need to look at her. I can tell her mouth's twisted in disappointment by the way she's talking.

You separated us, you stupid cow. That was nice, too.

'You'll miss him, Danny,' Grampa Dan said when he heard we were going to different schools. 'Good friends are priceless.'


You'll have to let me off on dates, Richard. Canny even mind my army number, but I'm grand with names when it comes to folk. Their faces are still in my head all these years on. I'll say yon's Mack or Sammy Orr or Hopeless. We're talking what? Sixty-five years, and counting. All those faces. And other faces whose names I never knew. They're still here. In my noddle.

Smiling. Joking. Scared. Skinny. Bloated. Sick. Dead.

I'm talking to you the now and I've got Big Taff Murray in my head. Leaning on his shovel, squinting up at me. He's wiping sweat off his face. Half dead from digging. Checking under his oxter - like we all did - case Fat Guard catches him slacking. Lands him one with his fancy swagger stick...

'DIG!'

Taff's like a matchstick man, handle of his shovel thicker than his arm. You'd wonder he could still stand up. A bloody sin. And I tell you, he didnae look like that when we were first billeted together, Richard. Him a big rugby player from the Welsh valleys, and I'm not talking your posh school rugger type. Taff was a miner, prop for his village team. I tell you there's something no' right about a lunk like Taff shrivelling to a skeleton in a loincloth before your eyes.

And him a rock to me from day one of our capture.

'We'll get to see an International yet, Henny, boyo,' Taff promised me when the Japs marched us out of Rangoon.


4
THE ROVIN' EYES - PLUGGED

Although, without his body, Grampa Dan's shindig isn't a proper wake, it's keeping me a-wake all right.

It's hours since all these liggers crammed every downstairs room to scoff my Old Dear's steak pie and swill free bevvy.

What a nightmare of a day. Home planet invaded by yammering life forms, all dressed in black. Since I don't have a chromosome in common with these aliens, I repel any advances with my usual strategy. It's hysterical how people bodyswerve you if you grunt and twitch a bit, like you're a special boy, as my Old Boy calls the kids in adult bodies he teaches art to. Not that I'm off the hook. Old Dear has me running round like a blue-arsed fly. Taking coats, recycling those nuts the gerries spat out last night, and keeping drinks topped up. Every time I make a bid for the sanctuary of my room - earphones on, sketchbook out, leave the world behind - the Old Dear nabs me. 'Where d'you think you're going, Danny?'

Must be all the swally swilling around, but no one's in any hurry to leave, apart from the rellies on my Old Dear's side who split after a couple of dry sherries and an hour of muttering darkly about the Hennessys. Soon as they're offski it's like someone sticks that Pink song on: 'Get the Party Started'. Out with the good whisky, off with the ties.

Funerals, eh? Dead funny.

I mean, I never knew my Old Boy could let his hair down. Well, literally he can't, since he's balder than Homer Simpson, but no sooner has he seen his in-laws out than he's hi-fiving (cringe) two suits who, when I'd been passing round the cheesy puffs, gave me this middle-aged What d'you wanna be when you leave school, Danny? Your dad tells us you're a bit of an artist crap. Suddenly these same suits are setting up a sax and a bass while my Old Boy plugs in the amp he told me was too powerful for our circuit board. When he tunes up his Les Paul, he keeps a fag just hanging and no more out the side of his mouth, so Keith Richards you'd swear he hadn't married the anti-smoking dragon. Not only that, he pulls his shirt out, unbuttons it, forgetting his waistband's pushing fifty.

Then he strikes a chord. Not a Kumbaya, school folk-Mass chord. But a broken glass, leather-jacket-and-Jack-Daniels gargle of a chord.

The Rovin' Eyes were playing suburbia.


I always knew my Old Boy could play guitar. If my Old Dear was off the scene and Grampa Dan was asleep, he'd get his guitar out and tune up one of his old ones for me. He'd try to teach me chords, riffs, twelve-bar blues, his fingers flying over the strings. He'd make it look easy, but it's not. Not for me. I was - I am - hopeless: clumsy, rotten at strumming, worse at picking, with no ear for what the next chord should be. I must have stormed out of every lesson.

Not once did the Old Boy come after me, calling me back to try again. He hates confrontation. Would rather stay put, hunched over his guitar, playing quiet as a secret, than flex his paternal muscles.

Meek and spineless, the Old Dear's called him in the past. That's why I can't figure out what's come over him tonight. He'd stop playing the nanosecond Grampa Dan banged the floor for something. Even sooner if the Old Dear's key scraped the lock, jumping up so fast that I could hear all his strings yowl in panic as he dumped the guitar back on its stand, kidding on he hadn't been anywhere near it.

So, I knew he could play, but not like this. Headbanging, greasy rock'n'roll. Three old men singing 'Sweet Little Sixteen'. None of it's my cup of tea, you understand, but not bad for a group of dinosaurs fifteen years off their pension.

Old Dear was beelin' when the music started.

'What d'you think you're doing?' she hisses at my Old Boy in that flesh-corroding tone she usually saves for me.

'What's it look like?' Old Boy replies, cranking up his amp to eleven at least. 'Gonna play.'

'Shouldn't you be showing a bit more respect for your dad, Paul? This is a solemn occasion.'

'Away you go. I gave him a lifetime of respect.'

Hours later, the Rovin' Eyes are still giving it laldy, doing requests for all the red-wine-drinking art teachers who turned up at the funeral from my Old Boy's Adult Education college and never went back to work.

In the kitchen, with the door shut against the Rovin' Eyes, my Old Dear's in vodka therapy. When I stick my head in to say I'm hitting the sack, I interrupt one of her Just Divorced pals in the middle of a drunken lecture: 'Y'don't need this crap any more, Susan. He'sh dead and you were here for him. Juzz go if you're unhappy. Y'owe Paul nothin' and wee Danny'sh a big boy now.'

You could cut the silence with a switchblade when I appeared. Five suicide blondes swivelling their heads round to glower at me while the Rovin' Eyes played 'Leaving on a Jet Plane'.

'G'night,' I say, but nobody answers.


Japs marched us out of Rangoon after the army surrendered. That was the start, but get this straight now, Richard: there was nothing glorious about my war. Or noble. If you want a hero you've got the wrong fella. Whole business was a rug pulling me arse over tip. No sooner do I get my land legs back after sailing halfway round the world from Scotland to Calcutta, than it's taking me all my bottle to acclimatise to the heat, insects, and bloody rice rice rice. Next thing we're upping sticks. You're going to Rangoon, boys. Japs getting too big for their boots. Need more Brits in Burma to show the Nip who's boss.

When you're no more than a wee Jo Soldier that's how the COs tell you you're mobilising. No other info. Japs getting too big for their boots. Bloody understatement of the war. They were overrunning the Pacific like rats. By the time we're off the truck in Rangoon we're told we've surrendered. Decision made way up the ranks like every other decision that affected me in the bloody war. When you're no more than cannon fodder, Richard, no one tells you a dicky bird.

Get behind the white flag, you're ordered.

March.

You're POWs now, and your war's over.

See what I'm saying about having the wrong fella if you want a hero? All I did was surrender. No wonder the Japs treated us the way they did. They were disgusted their enemy could give up arms without a fight. They'd rather take themselves out with a grenade, or bayonet their own bellies, than sit out a war as some other country's trophy.

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Information about Document 596

SKARRS

Text

Text audience

Adults (18+)
Teenagers (13-17)
General public
Males
Females
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2001
Word count 5474

Text medium

Book

Text publication details

Published
Publisher Egmont
Publication year 2004
Place of publication London
ISBN/ISSN 1 4052 0947 X
Edition 1st

Text setting

Education
Private/personal
Work

Text type

Prose: fiction

Author

Author details

Author id 307
Forenames Catherine
Surname Forde
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1960
Educational attainment University
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Catholicism
Occupation Writer
Place of birth Glasgow
Region of birth Glasgow
Birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Teacher
Father's place of birth Milngavie
Father's region of birth Glasgow
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Teacher
Mother's place of birth Glasgow
Mother's region of birth Glasgow
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Mother's country of birth Scotland

Languages

Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Work and home
French Yes Yes Yes Yes School French, used only if necessary
Italian Yes No No Yes Holiday use only

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