Bobby finished brushing his teeth and put his toothbrush
back in its little stand by the basin. He looked at himself in the mirror, dressed in his favourite striped pyjamas
. He was twenty seven years old today, and his older brother Pete had bought him a cake
- a rarity which had made Bobby's day. Pete was often very serious, almost stern
at times, but although he seemed a little strange sometimes he was very clever and always seemed to know what he was doing, and he had been very good in looking after Bobby since their parents had gone in that accident
almost fifteen years ago. As Bobby turned off the bathroom light and went out onto the landing towards his bedroom
opposite, he almost bumped into Pete who was just making his way downstairs.
"Night night!" announced Bobby.
"You're going to bed already?" asked Pete in his usual stern tone.
"Yes... I was going to... shouldn't I then?" asked Bobby uneasily, never sure if he was doing the right thing.
"Well I could do with some more brandy," said Pete flatly.
"Oh," said Bobby. "Should I go and get some?"
"Don't you think that you should?"
"Yes... I'll just go up the road and get some shall I?"
"That would be a good idea."
"Okay... Should I change back into my clothes first?"
"Of course, you can't go in your pyjamas can you?"
"Well you'd better hurry before they close."
Bobby felt disappointed at having to go out again when he was ready for bed. He was tired and had been looking forward to bed for a while, and as he turned to go back to into his bedroom to change Pete stopped again on his way downstairs. "Do you need some money?" he asked.
"No, it's okay, I've got some," replied Bobby, feeling a twinge of disappointment at the thought of spending the money he had been saving for so long. He thought he saw something in Pete's eyes as he carried on downstairs, something less stern than usual, something almost sad, but he soon forgot as he started to change from his pyjamas into his old trousers and shirt. He put on his scraped black shoes and the tattered green wax jacket with the hood hanging off, and checked his worn leather wallet to see how much money he had. There were four creased old five pound notes in there, and Bobby sighed before putting it in his pocket and going downstairs.
It wasn't too far to the off-license, and Bobby walked there in under ten minutes. He walked in, dazzled by the bright light after being out in the dark. Daunted by the vast array of drinks on the shelves he went uncertainly up to the counter and asked the young bored-looking man behind it. "Can I have a bottle of brandy please?" he mumbled nervously.
"What sort and what size?" said the man.
"I... I'm not sure..." said Bobby, feeling lost. There was an awkward silence in which he felt tears begin to well up and he started going red with embarassment.
"Tell you what, here's a special deal we're doing this week," said the man, picking up a 75cl bottle and putting it on the counter. "Top quality stuff, £12.99."
"Oh... okay, thank you," said Bobby, feeling a little better.
He took out his wallet and pulled out the money, again feeling a bit diasappointed at how long he had saved it up, and handed it to the man who gave him one of the five pound notes back with a shake of his head and a smirk. He wrapped the bottle in brown paper and handed it to Bobby with his change, and Bobby hurried out of the shop with a "Thank you!"
Hurrying home, Bobby saw coming toward him a group of people, and he stepped out into the road to let them pass. Standing in the gutter he started to feel frightened by the cars whooshing by, and tried to edge closer to the pavement, but one of the passing group brushed past him and in his panic he felt the bottle slip from his grasp and hit the ground with a loud smash. Bobby felt a wave of horror pass over him as he looked down at the shards of glass sticking through the torn paper and the puddle of brandy trickling away into the drains, and he barely heard the receeding laughter behind him. He felt the tears well up again, and they began trickling from his eyes as he stood, wanting to go home to bed and forget it all. He looked at the shards of glass and, realising they could be dangerous began gingerly picking them up. He felt a sharp pain in his finger as he picked up the first one, and pulled it back quickly to see blood oozing out of a small cut. Nevertheless he carried on, picking up the glass as he cried quietly, and started carefully walking home with it.
As he walked down the drive Bobby pulled the key from his pocket and slipped it into the lock. The door opened and Bobby immediately felt better at the familiar warmth and light as he walked in, closing the door carefully behind him. "I had an accident," called Bobby, still sobbing a little as he took the glass into the kitchen. "I dropped the bottle and I haven't got enough money for another one. I didn't mean it, I'm sorry."
Bobby placed the glass down on an old newspaper and went to the tap to wash his scratched and bleeding hands clean. As he stood with his hands held under the cold tap he noticed an odd smell, and after he had dried his hands he went into the living room to ask Pete what was going on. As he opened the door he saw Pete was lying down on the sofa asleep. Bobby felt bad for talking so loud and hoped he hadn't disturbed Pete, but as he walked in further, Bobby stopped still. He stood motionless at the sight before him; the slowly growing deep red pool by Pete's head, and the small black revolver hanging out of his limp fingers.