A Twist In The Tale: True Confessions of Lili Nolan age 23

Thank God fore spellcheckers. Well first, thank God fore computers, I suppose, and then especially fore spellcheckers. You sea, if you are a ridiculously bad speller like me, then spellcheckers really are a Godsend. A spellchecker corrects all your mistakes quietly and without a fuss, not like Mrs Hancock in Year 2 who liked too make as much fuss as possible – big red marks all over my stories and loud comments for the hole class to here,

“Oh Lili, not again. What am I going to do with you? Your never going to be able too rite a story!”

I saw the leaflet about this competition in the library and new I had too have a go. I don’t reed, never have red a hole book in my life – so now your probably wondering what I was doing in the library. The truth is, I love stories. Always have done. My Mum and me used too cuddle up on the sofa with the hot water bottle with the pink fluffy cover and escape into other worlds of love, fantasy, adventure and mystery. Too old for that now, of coarse, and Mum isn’t there any more, but I still have the hot water bottle (a bit less fluffy) and a ‘squeezy love’ cushion off the barrow at the Metro Centre that Daz and Julie bought me for Christmas one year and now I listen too story tapes (that’s where the trip to the library comes in). I remember Miss Hanratty, my first English teacher at the big school, being amazed that I had such a good vocabulary, given my problems. Thanks Mum. Thanks story tapes. Now it’s my tern. It can’t bee that hard, can it, especially if you have a story like mine too tell.

I wanted too use a fancy font like Impact (because I’d like this story to have an impact) or one that looks like the beautiful handwriting I never had but Daz told me to use an ordinary one and he probably nose better than I do what you would like.

Daz is my cousin, by the way, and it’s his computer I’m using for this story. It’s taking me ages but he doesn’t care. He only uses it to by in knickers and sexy stuff from America and sell them on Ebay. I personally wouldn’t by knickers on Ebay but loads of people do and Julie and Daz pack up brown paper parcels every night wile there watching TV. Anyway, I said I’d do a bit of washing up or ironing fore them, so they’re happy enough.

Most of the time. They were really hacked off when Daniel got hold of some purple lacy undies and shredded them up fore his bed. I did pay fore them (five quid for a bit of lace!) and bought them one of those really big boxes of Jaffa Cakes, but they still give each other looks when I bring Daniel with me. I can’t leave him at home on his own every night though, can I? Your probably thinking by now I’m another one of those good-for-nothing single mums… sorry to disappoint: Daniel’s my pet rat.

Calm down. Rats are grate. Daniel is my best friend in the world. He’s cleaner than most of my other friends and I can tell him absolutely anything without him laughing or telling someone else or trying too tell me what too do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete loner. I do have plenty of mates. But I like the “What you sea is what you get” me and I can’t be doing with false tan and false nails and hare extensions like the other girls at work obsess about. Daniel doesn’t care about all that. I have had the odd boyfriend – and some not so odd ones! (Can I tell jokes in the middle of a story? I’ll have too check with Daz later.) They were all prats though – wile I’m waiting for Mr Rite, I’ve got Daniel too keep me company.

This story is not about him, though. It actually starts when a flustered Mrs Haines pushed open the door with her knee and struggled in with a massive wire cage held as far away from her body as possible. Mrs Haines is my least favourite customer. She’s snobby and rich and thinks she’s better than the rest of the human race. Especially me. Last time she came in, she made a big thing about the bored outside. We’d had a chalkboard on the pavement advertising a sail and I’d spent ages making it look really good in different coloured chalks. She came in shouting about how SAIL was spelt wrong and what a disgrace it was that it said prize instead of price. She didn’t care who herd her. She didn’t notice the colour of my face. It felt like Mrs Hancock in Year 2 all over again. Have people like that got nothing better to think about? If you can understand what it says, then what does it matter if the odd word is spelt wrong?

This is Sambo”. I peered into the cage.

He’s my sun’s rat” Mrs Haines added, disgust in her eyes.

I searched the bedding eagerly for a site of Sambo. There he was – a beautiful albino rat. Pure white with pink eyes. An albino rat called Sambo. Mind you, the sun is called Otis – not a surprise then that he picked a weird name for his rat. I don’t feel rite about the name Sambo somehow. Isn’t it a bit racist or something? I wonder if Mr Richardson thinks about the names of the animals he treats. I wonder if he would refuse to treat a dog called Hitler or a cat called Saddam or a rabbit called Nigger. Maybe I’ll ask him sometime.

You‘ve probably worked out that I’m a vet’s receptionist. A fab job. I love seeing Mr Richardson at work. Sambo had come in to have a lump removed from his neck. Mrs Haines happily left him with me and arranged too collect him the next day. She didn’t notice the redness rising up my cheeks as I rote the details in the diary. She must think I use too much blusher or something.

When I came into work the next morning, I went too check on Sambo. You no I adore rats and I’d being talking about his operation to Daniel the night before. I no I’m not supposed to handle the animals, but I couldn’t resist opening the cage and letting him climb onto my hand. He was in grate condition, sleek and bright-eyed and seemed to have no bad effects from the operation. I herd Mr Richardson talking to one of the other girls in the hallway. I quickly kissed Sambo on the nose, shoved him back into the cage and hurriedly shut the wire door.

I thought no more about it. An hour later, Mr Richardson rang through to Reception to say that Mrs Haines couldn’t find anywhere to park and wood I take Sambo outside to her car. (Strange that he new that, looking back on it. Maybe she had his mobile number for some reason. Bizarre.) Anyway, I went to fetch Sambo from the recovery room. And that was when I saw what I had done. Dangling limply out of the door of the cage was a tale, a long pale tale. Sambo’s tale. I rushed over, sick and totally panicked and opened the door. Sambo bolted into his bedding. I checked the frame and the door for blood. None. That must be a good sign. What was I going to do? I didn’t want too lose my job. I was good at what I did. I couldn’t be sacked fore one innocent mistake.

I do really believe it was innocent. I expect a shrink wood analyse it straight away: hurting the pet to hurt the owner and all that. Yes, I hated Mrs Haines with a passion. But I loved rats and I wood never do such a thing too one of Daniel’s kind on purpose.

I was shaking as I picked up the cage. Each step I took was a step closer to knowing what I had to do. I put the cage down on the pavement as I opened the back door of Mrs Haines’ car. Sambo had still not emerged.

There you are, Mrs Haines.” My tone was bright.

The operation was a grate success.” My eyes were fixed on the pavement.

Just one small thing: a nerve was damaged as the lump was removed.” Mrs Haines looked a bit anxious. Otis must really love his rat.

Nothing too worry about at all.” I rushed on.

And these were my parting words.

Tell Otis he may notice a twist in the tale.”

The End (for now)

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