Maggie Rabatski

Finalist 2014

Excerpt from 'Happy Families'

Any minute now Cameron’s going to pick up his jacket and say he’s going home. I can’t think of any more ways to keep him here. Colin and Pugsy went away ages ago. They’re going to the movies with their Mum and Dad. Star Trek then a pizza.

We’ve been practising penalties in Cameron’s granny’s back garden all afternoon. It’s brilliant for football... long and dead level, flowers or plants or trees to get in the way. His granny’s a laugh. She says things like time enough to take up gardening when I’m too old for singing and dancing, and she’s 82. When she’s at home she shouts us in after we’ve been playing a while. Grubs up she says then puts a massive plate of sandwiches on the table, all different kinds. Cheese and coleslaw’s the best or beef and horseradish sauce. I never even heard of horseradish sauce before. Any drink we want as well. Tea or milk or Irn Bru or Coke and other ones I can’t remember. And she always has a bowl of oranges cut into quarters, she says that’s what footballers got at half-time in the olden days. She’s away to Portugal for the winter but she still lets us use the garden because it discourages burglars. She goes away every year for three months. That’s how her skin’s dark brown all the time.

Cameron’s going over to his jacket. Five more shots I say.

Aw Kev, I need to go home. I’m starving. My Mum’s making burgers tonight. My wee brother’s a glutton, he’ll guzzle all the second helpings if I’m late.

Go on Cam. Please. Just five more and that’s it.

Why do you not like going home, Kevin?

I do so. I do so like going home. It’s just no time. My tea’ll no be ready yet. Our tea’s later than yours.

That’s not true but Cameron doesn’t know it’s not true because I’m not allowed to bring any pals into the house.