I'm sitting in the kitchen on my laptop listening to the awesome new Metallica CD, Death Magnetic, with my Ipod headphones in. Pure power – love it. I'm talking to Billy on msn.
"Jake." Mum moans, proper annoyed-grouchy-parent-style. "You said you had to do that essay on Macbeth."
I can barely hear her above Lars Ulrich's ear-splitting rolls and smashes. "I am doing it."
Jake: Stupid bloody essay. Whats da title sposed 2 b?
Billy: dunno. Crappy waste o time. Not gonna do it.
Jake: nah. Nor me. Listenin to metallica atm.
Billy: nice. Cba w/ Macbeth. totally stupid. Getting 1 off internet now.
"You're not, I can hear - " she struggles for the word. I chuckle inwardly. Parents. "msn beeping when Billy tells you he's not doing his homework either and Macbeth is stupid and he's finding one on the internet to hand in instead."
Shit. How did she do that?
"Jake!" She speeds up as she rants. "Show me you're doing that essay this minute or that computer's being confiscated and you can write it by hand."
I look up, annoyed. Her voice has risen to a pitch that makes Kirk Hammett's high notes sound like a fog horn. She has turned round again and has her head bent over the sink and is trying, unsuccessfully, to unblock the drain. It's a monthly occurrence, as one of Ben's many hobbies is shoving as much junk down there as possible. Mum, as to most of Ben's antics, remains not-very-blissfully unaware.
"What the... a dinosaur?" She is staring at it all bug-eyed. "Ben? Why is a plastic stegosaurus blocking up the kitchen sink?" Her yell drowns out 'Cyanide' for a sec.
"It's not a stegosaurus. It's a Triceratops." Ben's voice drifts happily from the sitting room where he and Karen are watching the England friendly.
"I know a stegosaurus when I see one, and there is no Tri... Oh god. Great. Brilliant. Absolutely bloody Brilliant." Mum is holding a mangled Triceratops now too.
"Sarcasm!" Declares Ben triumphantly from the doorway before tearing back to the lounge.
Mum seems to be pretty preoccupied with the drainage-prehistoric creature situation, so I take my cue to leave.
Karen's sitting perched precariously on the back of the sofa, and Ben is hanging upside down with his head on the floor and knees draped over the seat. Karen has a ready stock of grapes (but doesn't Karen hate red grapes?).
"What's with the grapes?" I ask, half curious, half annoyed, as it's sure to be something immature and annoying.
She doesn't reply, just sits stock-still, leaning forward (I dunno if this is so she can focus on the tv or so she doesn't fall off the back of the sofa), eyes narrowed as Terry takes a throw in.
"They're to chuck at gingers. Or Fabio Capello. I dunno why she doesn't like him. Sucks really though, 'cos there aren't any gingers on the German team. But there are lots of ginger fans, so don't worry." I'm not worried. There is a thick reddish brown-y slobber coasting the screen. The neightbours wonder why we have the TV man out sao much, but it's no wonder it keeps breaking really, as they do this kind of thing so much.
Dad is sitting in the armchair flicking through what I'm sure is a thrilling edition of the free London paper.
"Dad, they're throwing grapes at gingers. Are you not at all concerned?"
He doesn't look up or hear what I've said. "Right. Okay."
Suddenly, Karen yells excitedly. She hurls a grape at Rene Adler, who is just coming on to replace Enke, as he's rolling on the floor clutching his hand. A purple splat adds to the mess already coating the pitch and players.
"What're you doing? He's not ginger! Don't waste the ammunition," says an annoyed mop of black curls from the floor.
"He's got hair like a girl." Karen sneers disdainfully. I sigh. Idiots. He has got stupid hair though, I'll admit.
We watch the match for a few minutes, Ben humming the Star Wars theme whilst fishing things out from under the sofa (a lot of coppers, a fork, another dinosaur, various Lego pieces and people, a pair of glasses (? – none of us wear glasses), some car keys, a Beatles CD and a pair of Karen's pants are added to the already sizeable pile). Gerard takes an awful free kick.
"MAN OR LESBIAN!" Ouch. My poor eardrums. It dawns on me what he has said: What the fuck?
"What are you doing, Ben?" I groan. I don't know if I really want to find out.
"Playing man or lesbian with the fans," Karen replies as if it is obvious. She goes on to explain that this means picking out a fan for whom it is hard to tell.
"We're playing fat or pregnant too" Ben adds. Great. People are gonna love them at high school.
Peter Crouch is coming on as a sub.
"Wow. He's so tall." Karen is astonished. Though, to be honest, it's not that hard to seem tall to Karen really, is it?
"He's so tall his legs reach all the way to the ground!" Ben's face is now tomato coloured from all the blood rushing to his head. Karen seems affronted by his remark.
"You can't say that."
"Well, of course they do, otherwise he'd fall over."
"You can't say 'He's so tall his legs reach all the way to the ground'."
"Why not? They do. Look."
"But so do mine, and I'm not tall"
"They don't, they're on the sofa; miles off the ground"
"But if I was standing up they would."
"Yeah, but his reach all the way to the ground."
"But so do his, and he's short." She's pointing at Wright-Phillips, who's running down the wing
"No, his only just reach the ground." Ben falls off the sofa and lands on the floor with a thud. He stands up to face Karen.
"But they reach the ground the same. You can only say stuff like that if you... you..." She's struggling for a comeback. I'd rather not get involved. "If you hang them all from a post with their heads at the same height and then you could see whose legs reach all the way to the ground and whose only just reached the ground." She smiles at her analogy.
"You mean... like Jesus?" Ben is fascinated by the bible and all things Christian. It's a bit odd, I s'pose.
I am struck by the oddness of the situation. Karen has been saying all this and physically abusing the players (admittedly through the medium of the TV screen, whilst in a girly black skirt, hair in baby bunches and clutching her pusscat doll. Dad sits unaware in the corner. Mum is still yelling incomprehensible things from the kitchen. I decide to interrupt. I can't help it.
"So, basically, you two want to get the entire England and Germany football teams and nail them to crucifixes with their heads on a level to see whose legs reach the ground and who is the tallest, whilst pelting grapes at the gingers and girly ones, debating which are mothers-to-be compared to those are clinically obese and which have high testosterone levels compared to which are female homosexuals."
Ahhhh. The joys of family.
I've been wanting to do an Outnumbered story for a while, and the other day my sister and I had an odd conversation to do with height and legs. Yep, you guessed it, it was pretty much this conversation. And she is in her twenties. *sigh*
The first half of the title comes from the ZZ Top's song 'Legs' (She's got legs, she knows how to use them...).
The second half (Grapes' Juice) is from the band (The Grapes) and their 1997 album (Juice).