Billy Wright, six-year-old hero of the novel WHAT I DID, blogs here.

What are your talents?

Don’t worry if that question is incredibly annoying.  I couldn’t answer it either when Mr Sparks asked us in assembly.  He was wearing his waistcoat covered with small fish.  –Everybody has a talent, he said.  –And I want you all to practise yours for the competition.

I was worried.  If I couldn’t even think of my talent how could I practise it?  Dhiren said he could hop and whistle at the same time, and for a bit I thought about doing that too, but when I had a go at bathtime I only managed eight hops before Dad said, –Jesus, Son, the boiler holds a better tune than that, so I gave up.

–Why are you whistling anyway?

–For the talent competition.

–What’s all that about? he asked Mum.

–They’ve got a mini X-factor thing at school, she said.

Dad put his head in his hands and muttered.  –Christ on a punt.

–Don’t be such a old misery, Mum told him.

–Isn’t it enough that instant fame with a dash of humiliation is the benchmark out of school, he said.

–I’ve not noticed you switching over when it’s on.

–That’s not the point.

–No, the point is Billy having fun, Mum said.  –He has to think of something fun to share with the class.

–What’s everyone else doing? Dad asked.

–Katie is moonwalking.  Red Steve wants to climb the ropes in the gym, but they won’t let him.  Lots of people are singing their favourite songs.  And Dhiren is hopping and whistling at the same time, so I was…

–Well you better do something different.  What about telling some jokes?

When Dad said this I felt two things at the same time: excited, because it was an excellent idea, and nearly miserable, because if nobody laughs when you tell a joke it makes you feel actually miserable.

I needn’t have worried about that.  Mr Sparks laughed incredibly loudly for quite a long time when I told my What Do You Call A Blind Deer joke, and although most of the kids just looked at each other some of them did laugh too, so it didn’t really matter that they voted Dhiren and Katie through to the next round.

Here is a no eyed deer.

It’s a deer with no eyes, because it’s blind.

Do you get it?

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Billy Wright, six-year-old hero of the novel WHAT I DID, blogs here.

Have you ever been so angry you turned into an idiot?

I have, and so has Dad, and even Mum has once or twice, because in fact it’s normal.

–Be wary of the man who never raises his voice, Son.  He probably drowns kittens in his spare time.

Dad didn’t actually mean that quiet people kill pets.  I know because he told me afterwards he was just speaking met-meta-metaf … I can’t remember, but I do remember that no kittens actually drowned.

So yesterday, when I wasn’t allowed the whole Toblerone, but had to share some with my cousin Lizzie instead, and when I got a bit cross because of that and sort of did a nasty stare at Mum, which made her take the whole of the rest of the Toblerone away and say I was being ungrateful, I could feel it rising up, and up, and up, and …  and she was right … and I sort of knew it … and hated it, and … it … just … came … out … as:


–No you don’t.


–No you’re not.  You’re going to go to your room.


And I did go, using my hardest stamping on the stairs.  But when I reached the top landing Dad was already standing there just looking at me without saying anything, and suddenly I felt like a balloon that had let go of itself and screeched round the front room before landing in a very saggy way on somebody’s foot.

–I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry, I said.

–About what?

–About what I said to Mum.  I didn’t mean it.

Dad did a long pause.  Then his eyes got good creases beside them.  –Oh, that, he said.  Don’t worry; she knows it was just an empty threat.

–A what?

–Angry nonsense.  Only an idiot would take what you said seriously.


–Yes.  And remember this the next time somebody says something stupid to you: people say things they don’t really mean the whole time, he said.

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