There’s a motorway junction somewhere in the UK with a small bomb under it. I suspect this because I put it there many years ago. These were more innocent times, when mention of bombs was a cause for interest among small boys, not a reason to avoid Pakistanis with backpacks on buses. Let me explain…
I had this friend called Nigel who led the kind of charmed life that only single children surrounded by lots of space and largely inattentive parents can hope to achieve. He was the envy of us all because he had his own shed in his parents’ huge garden; this was reason enough to admire him – learning that he had shagged a girl called Alison in it was just the icing on the cake. (I still vividly remember him explaining the term “pink meat” to me at a family bonfire party and pointing out how “some dirty sods like to lick it”.) He must have been about twelve or thirteen.
Nigel had also acquired one or two other interesting things along the way, among them an unexploded aircraft bomb. It was about ten inches long, rusty and the front had been pushed in, but he explained that it hadn’t exploded because of these pins in the side that should have been pulled out. Apparently he had had another one and had taken it along to the local aerodrome where they had detonated it. Either he was a lying bastard or the military had a much more relaxed attitude to small boys with live ordnance in the seventies. (I prefer to believe the latter, otherwise I would be forced to confront the possibility that he never shagged Alison at all, which would be a terrible shame.) Anyway, his terminally-relaxed parents had finally decided that he ought to get rid of it so he offered it to me.
I remember proudly bearing it down the hill from his house and presenting it to my mum by the side of a building site, where they had almost finished filling in a pond which was to be covered with a large motorway roundabout. Credit to mum – she didn’t scream, panic or call the bomb squad; she just told me that I wasn’t going to bring it home and to get rid of it. Fair enough – keeping it was always a long shot anyway – so Nigel and I took it over to what was left of the pond where they were pumping out water and threw it in. There, as far as I know, it resides to this day.
There’s something sad about a world in which small boys can’t give each other live unexploded bombs as gifts, or live vicariously through their shed-fornicating brethren. I’m not how many more times I saw Nigel before I moved away, but it can’t have been more than a few. Nevertheless he had a profound impact on my life. From that time on I was in no doubt that if you were ever lucky enough to encounter pink meat you should definitely consider licking it.
Copyright 2007 Edward Bison