[Today’s Braille Face piece takes its name from the first track of Calm the Teeth. With an album title like that I could have tried for something pretty surreal. But I came up with this.]
My name is Liam and I’m eight. I like the Jurassic World game, Minecraft, Castle Clash, and Happy Wheels, though when my mam sees me playing Happy Wheels she gets that pulled-down look and she wrinkles up her nose and says it’s gross and too violent and she should delete it. OK, it’s a bit gross but it’s funny. I like riding my bike. I have a big bike now. I like doing maths but I don’t like doing colouring. I don’t know why they always make you do colouring.
At school I play with Conor, Harry and Jake, when they are friends with me. They were friends with me last week and we were playing this great game where we were battling balrogs, and Conor and Harry were the balrogs and I was the wizard and Jake was the warrior. I have an idea for a computer game that’s going to be about balrogs. You can play as the balrogs or you can play as the good guys and you can set different levels so you have to survive for different lengths of time or you have to kill different numbers of enemies. It’s going to be awesome. So we were playing this, but pretending all the extra characters and making the noises and stuff. It was great. But then Conor said it was boring and he made this game where you had to talk in burps. That was fun but then we had to say all our names in burps and he said my name sounded like a burp anyway. And then every time any of them saw me they would say “Hi [buuuurp]” and giggle in a stupid way. So then they weren’t being my friends anymore.
Sometimes they want to play things that are boring. So then I go off by myself and I walk around and think. I think about maths, sometimes, and I think about my computer game and all the different scenes it’s going to have. It’s going to have a really good story, too, with a book that you can buy to go with the game. It’ll be an adventure story, but with jokes in. This week I’m thinking a lot about my game, because my friends aren’t being my friends. I know I’m a weirdo.
My mam asked what I was thinking about and was I OK. I didn’t tell her about Conor. I started to tell her about my game. I had got to the bit where you have to fight your way through the Gates of Doom, and if you go left there are two balrogs and if you go right there are four balrogs and the balrogs keep multiplying, except if you use the ice-thrower, then they get frozen and they can’t multiply. “That’s really interesting,” she said. But then she said she had to cook dinner. She only ever listens for a short time.
It’s really hard at school this week. I didn’t get twenty out of twenty in my maths test. Then Conor and the others kept doing burps when I had to give my book report. Quiet little burps and the teacher just said “Settle down, there”, like it didn’t matter. At break I thought I’d go off by the bike shed and keep thinking but they were following me around and giggling.
This morning I thought it was better again. Conor came and asked if I wanted to play the balrog game. I was really excited and I started to tell him some of the new rules I’d made up. But he said they were stupid and he wanted to do the old rules, but with a rule he’s invented where you have to lie on the ground for ten seconds if you get flamed. I didn’t want to play that rule. He doesn’t understand that he’s spoiling it. If you lie on the ground then you can’t fight and it doesn’t work. But he said he wouldn’t play if we didn’t play with his rule. So we played with his rule for a bit but it was rubbish.
In class he started doing the burping thing again. The teacher didn’t even notice.
Then at big break Conor got Harry and Jake and said the game now was that I was the balrog, and if they burped at me enough I’d die. And they followed me around burping and giggling. So in the end I punched him. I totally wasted him, like, I owned him, and I shouted “Fuck you, asshole!” which is something I’ve heard on YouTube.
The teacher was standing by me like she instantaneously materialised from thin air.
So now I’m in big, big trouble. Conor has a huge nosebleed and they’re ringing his mam. And I know no-one is going to listen to me.