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Gross is what some people call me. Overweight, plump, fat, obese. I wobble where they think I shouldn't. I can't help it if I like eating more than moving. And they complain when I complain that they're walking too fast when we're on a school excursion or something like that. Like, I like to look at things and not just rush right past the world as though I'm not interested.

I mean, if I'm not interested in the world then it might not want to be interested in me.

Anyway I'm only 86 kilos, that's not really fat. It's just that I give the impression of being bulky round the middle because, because, because... I suppose I should face the truth... I'm a wimp of the first order.

Milford says, 'No pain, no gain.' I'm sure that's original, ho ho. Just because he wants to grow up to be Clawed van Dumb the second. Well, I've been gaining weight for years with no effort at all. I mean, it's really easy. And I don't need martial arts skills to defend myself. I'll grow up to be one of those rich guys who pays the martial arts experts to do their business on people who are stupid enough to get involved in physical violence. Hmm. P'raps I'll end up paying Milford to be my minder. Like, I could do that now if I needed one, which I don't, except sometimes against

I try to think fast and move slow. That way I expend minimum effort. Like, it's easier to THINK about practically anything, rather than actually DO it.

I mean, what I do if there's any trouble is just walk away from it. So it's not a problem, or anything. I mean, I can do any sort of dare or anything, if I need to. Or want to. It's not that I'm lazy or anything. I just like to think things through. Which doesn't usually take me very long.

Sometimes, though, I think too much and can't get my mind off things. Sometimes the thing I can't stop thinking about is nice--so that's OK--but sometimes (in fact, usually) it's disgusting, like gross in the true sense of the word. Like, I couldn't write it down now because then I'd start thinking about it again. Though it's not as bad as it used to be, since I got some advice from Ms Rubberneck's friend, Dr Claire, who answers all our letters. (Though I had to wait a while for mine. I thought I'd stumped her there, for a while. But no, the answer came eventually, a few days later.)

My real problem is...my allergies. My mum says I got it from all the weird things I ate when I was a kid.

I also get my allergies from my grandfather who's spent too much of his life breathing in incense in churches. That's because PaPou did a very bad thing when he was a young guy and he's felt guilty ever since so he can't keep out of church. I mean, he's retired now, but even when he used to work at the railway somehow he'd spend at least an hour every day in the church. Most of all he likes to hear the priest singing but second best he just stands by the door and opens it if any visitors come, then closes it again. He said there was a saint once (though not an orthotic Greek one) in Majorca who all he ever did was open and close the monastery door for people. Though seeing PaPou is not a monk and has a wife and kids and grandkids and so on he hasn't really got time to do this and Nanna always complains quietly under her breath about it. I used to complain, too, because he always promised to take me fishing and never did--well, only once--but then one evening when it was getting dark and he had strict instructions from the priest (who lived next door) that he had to go home to his family I was trundling back from the video store (which is just down the road from the church) when I saw PaPou closing the door, like, he was going to lock himself in the church, and instead of calling out to him I crossed the road and whispered, 'Hey, PaPou...' and he didn't say anything but I could just feel this magnet pulling me, making me follow him into the dark church.

 

 


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