Patrick 'Paddy' Clarke 10

– Do yours? said Kevin.

– Have fights?

– Yeah.

– No.

– What did you ask for then? They must.

– They don’t, I said. – They have arguments, that’s all; like yours.

– What did you ask me for then?

– My uncle and auntie, I said. – My ma was talking about it to my da. My uncle hit my auntie and she hit him back and she called the guards.

– What did they do?

– They arrested him, I said. – They came for him in a car with a siren.

– Is he in jail?

– No; they let him out. He had to promise that he’d never do it again. On paper. He had to write it down and sign his name under it. And if he ever does it again he has to go to jail for ten years and my boy cousins get sent to Artane and my auntie keeps my girl cousins cos she wouldn’t be able to afford to keep them all.

– What does your uncle look like?

– Big.

– Ten years, said Kevin.

That was as old as us.

– That’s ages just for hitting someone. And what about her? he remembered. – She hit him as well.

– Not hard, I said.

I loved making up stuff; I loved the way the next bit came into my head, it made sense and expanded and I couldn’t keep going till I came to the end; it was like being in a race. I always won. I told it the second I made it up, but I believed it, I really did.