Random, not my best, but it had been swimming round my head for ages.

Dad promised the strikes would be over by noon.

'We're a shoo-in,' he had grinned, seemingly, for the first time in weeks. Mum scoffed and cooked and slammed round pots, but I knew she was secretly hoping, as we all were, for noontime to bring a bigger paycheque and a promotion. Junior manager, perhaps, if all really did go well.

The strikes did not end at noon. Nor did they end at one, two, three, or four. Mum called me in for dinner. Five passed slowly, tediously.

16th November, 1975. Strikes worse than ever.

At seven I heard the key in the lock. I heard his boots, his heavy breathing. I heard the tuneless humming and the tapping feet and I could see his eyes, glazed and red. His cheek was bruised, and he was bleeding from the mouth. I thought of police truncheons and angry riots on the television. 1975, a glorious year. Dad lost his job and the Union. We lost the paycheque. Mum lost the baby. A glorious year.

He sat in front of the television with his cider and glazed eyes. Dr Who's face twisted on the screen.

'Watch it, mestor!'

Dad thought this was hilarious. 'Watch it, mestor!' Over and over. 'Watch it, mestor!' He laughed through the swelling cheek and the greasy hair and the cut on his lip. He laughed through his cider, and Mum's whinging about paycheques. 'Watch it, mestor!'

I felt my stomach clench with each laugh. I felt my face twisting, contorting.


Dad wasn't laughing anymore. 'Wha' d'you thinkyersayin' tomme?'

'BELT UP!' I felt the truncheons and the anger of the Union-men. I saw Mum's face by the door, with her belly swollen and that look in her eyes. 'It's not bloody funny!'

'Wha' d'yersay?'

'It's not bloody funny! It's pathetic! You're pathetic! I hate you! I hope you die in those stupid, bloody strikes! It's not bleeding FUNNY!'

He followed me upstairs, and I pushed him away. I pushed with my entire body, my skinny arms and crooked fingers, my bared teeth, my oily hair.

'You're pathetic, Dad.'

And the last I heard was the dull thump of him hitting the ground floor, and the grating whinge in his voice as he said, 'Bloo'r'hell, Sev, 'msorray. Din' knowyerhated't.'

Next day he overslept and lost his job. He lost the Union, and the promotion, and me. He was still asleep by dinner, and breakfast the next day. Silent, white. His eye didn't move. We left him by the stairs until he started to smell, and then Mum called the rubbish collector.

You're not supposed to kill your dad. I didn't mean to kill him.

Still, it doesn't mean I've got to miss him.