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THE PLANE BOSS, THE PLANE!

by Phil Thornton

 

I can't remember exactly what I wanted that year for my main Xmas box but I'm certain it wasn't a model aeroplane or fucking Striker that's for sure. Granted, I had a thing for Airfix model aeroplane kits - the Messerschmidt 262 was my favourite Nazi engine of death, so much so I wrote a poem about it years later...

 

The animals went in two by two

As I got high on UHU

That glued together the cockpit

Of my Airfix Messerschmidt 262

 

But plazzy Spitfires, Hurricanes, 109s and 262s were one thing, big fuck off metal planes with real engines that used real oil and were controlled not by trendy remote control but by a long piece of string was something quite different. Put simply, this was the worst Xmas present ever and because it obviously cost a considerable sum of money, the only other prezzy I got was the press-their-heads-see-them-kick footy game, Striker.

 

Obviously I didn't want to look ungrateful but come on! My ma had been asking me in the run up to Crizzy what my younger brother, Gareth, wanted for his main prezzy and he'd told me it was Striker. I passed this info onto her. Our Gaz; Striker! Me, dunno, maybe it was a racer or something. What I deffo didn't ask for was Striker or a fucking plane on a string. How upset was I? Imagine losing your entire family in a  holiday tsunami and multiply that feeling by a billion; that's how fucking gutted I was.

 

You wait all year for this day, for that magic morning on the 25th, opening gifts that you've been blackmailed into behaving good (or not quite as bad) for, for 365 whole days. So, to get so excited by the prospect of opening all these goodies you've hinted for and to find only two prezzies you patently didn't ask for, was on a par with being sold into gay slavery by pig faced pirates. Or something.

 

Me ma must've sensed my acute sense of bewilderment and asked me if I was disappointed and, as a good lad, of course I lied and told her I was made up with such great prezzies, then went back to bed and cried my eyes out for a good hour or so. And to be honest I wanted my ma and da to hear my anguished sobs and to feel real fucking shitty about destroying their eldest kids entire life. This has haunted me ever since, that dawning realisation that your kids are pissed off by your choice of gift and, no matter how many times you get told horror stories of the bad old days, when all kids got was a lump of coal, a tangerine, a sixpence, the top off their dad's boiled egg and a clip round the ear for a Yuletide treat, it doesn't make it any easier to bear.

 

I remembered my feeling of emptiness last year when my eldest daughter who was almost 15, received about a third of the floorspace of prezzies clogging up the whole of the front room than her younger sister. I explained that, as she was older, the gifts were necessarily smaller yet no less valuable; that her tracky had cost the same as her sister's Brats Mansion . And she smiled and cracked on that she was content but I knew better. I saw that look in her eyes, the same look I had thirty years earlier. And even though she got hundreds spent on her and even though her grandma and aunties and uncles all got her loads of stuff and even though her Christmasses past have all been spectacular compared to those we had, I still felt guilty and upset incase she felt we'd let her down.

 

My dad and his best mate took my new model plane onto the school field. They put oil into the engine and after hours of trying to get it to work, finally managed to get it airborne and handed me the kite-like grip to which the aircraft was fixed. It went around ten or fifteen times and made an authentic Stuka like sound and then the engine went kaput and it crashed to the ground. We tried to get it back up a few times but failed and so returned home.  I put it back in its box and never got it to fly again.

 

Yes, I was a spoiled, ungrateful little twat and didn't appreciate how hard it was to keep four kids happy at Christmas when money was tight and strikes were all the rage down on the docks. Yes, I realise that material possessions and the voracious marketing ploys of multinational conglomerates have destroyed what is in essence a winter equinox celebration of communal spirit. I knew all this but then again, OUR GAZ WANTED STRIKER, NOT ME AND THIS FUCKING STUPID AEROPLANE DOESN'T EVEN FLY AND IT'S NOT REMOTE CONTROL IT'S ON A FUCKING STRING AND I WANT TO FUCKING DIE AND IF I DO I HOPE YOU'LL FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELVES BECAUSE I ASKED FOR FUCKING REBOUND OR CROSSFIRE OR SOME OTHER PIECE OF SHIT.

 

 

 
   
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