I’d walk past your old man’s rust-ridden Aston Martin every day and wonder if it had an ejector seat.
I’d pass your place on the way to the bus stop and pray you’d choose just that moment to emerge from your weird, pebble-dashed house, greet me with the smile that launched a thousand hard-ons, take me in hand and whisk me away like I was a Bond who couldn’t drive and you were a Bond girl who’d nicked your dad’s car keys.
But my cunning plan never quite worked. Nothing ever did. You even made a more convincing man than I ever did: you spotted me once when we were both younger, saw me fantasising, Tarzan walking with my invisible Cheetah, chest out, stomach in. You ran towards me, punched me full in the guts, hard. I couldn’t breathe but pretended I could. Which was not a good look. I can still hear your giggle. Your cackle.
A few years after that – remember? – they blocked off the alley behind our houses, the cracked concrete ribbon that divided our back garden from yours. Too much joy-riding, apparently.
I could no longer sneak out and peer through the gap in the fence, stare longingly at your garden shed. So, one cidered-up evening, I broke into your old man’s Aston. I sat down, took a deep breath. The red button on the dashboard said, simply, ‘Press’. And I did, knowing in my heart of hearts nothing would happen.
At the very top of my trajectory, I could see people sunbathing in their gardens, the Civic Centre, the Hop Poles and the Brimsdown cooling towers. A moment of pure, joyous liberty.
But the parachute didn’t open. Because there was no parachute. Because your old man was a cheapskate. A flash cheapskate. And so I plummeted. Down. Fast. As opposed to plummeting up. Obviously.
And that’s how your cat saved my life. And that’s how I killed your cat.