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By Colin Cameron

Tuesday morning. Second period. Ten o'clock to ten thirty-five. Maths first. Biology next. Now this. I hate Tuesday mornings. I hate Tuesday mornings. Across from the new block. Into the old block. Into the changing room. Shoes off. Tie off. Blazer off. Jumper off. Shirt off. Trousers off. Pants off. Pants off, gentlemen. That's what Malcolm says. Hasn't Ashton got a lot of hair around his cock? He's got more hair around his cock than any of us. I've hardly got any. Compared to him. But at least I've got some. Not like Pratt. I bet he hasn't got any yet. Look at him. He keeps his pants on. Underneath his shorts. Better not let Malcolm catch him like that.

Into my shorts. Trainers. Rugby shirt. Why am I wearing a rugby shirt? I don't play rugby. I can't play rugby. I'm excused games. But not this. Last one out. Always the last one out. It takes me longer getting changed. All the others have started . They'll be miles ahead by now. Ashton will almost be back. It's cold out here, and grey, sunless autumn. School gates.

There he stands. Malcolm. Warm in his track suit. Encouraging wave and a smile. Good luck son. What does he expect? At the top of the hill now. Into Green Hill Woods. Beech trees mostly. Look, there he is now. Up ahead. Fatty Clark. I can still just see him. But I can't see any of the others. They'll be miles ahead. They'll be making the turn. Up the short path. Behind the houses on Abercrombie Road. Ashton will almost be back. And I can't even run as fast as Fatty Clark. 

Very hard 
In spite of 
His obvious 
That's what 
Malcolm wrote. 
On the last report. 
At least I'm trying. 
That's the main thing. 
I'm making an effort. 
If I just keep on trying 
And making an effort 
I'm bound to get better. 
I'm getting better every day. 
If I keep on trying 
And making an effort 
I'm bound to get better 
The doctors told me 
That if I keep on trying 
And making an effort 
Then one day 
Nobody will be able to tell. 

It's freezing out here, and grey, sunless autumn. Sunken old path. Steep banks. Damp leaves everywhere. At least this bit's downhill. I wonder if the Stranglers will get to number one. No More Heroes. I'll have to get it. I can see into back gardens. See the washing on the clothes lines. See the little garden sheds. Only six weeks till we break up for Christmas. Six more weeks. Six more runs. Six more Tuesday mornings. Single biology on Tuesdays. Double biology on Fridays. Only eighteen more biology lessons. At forty minutes each. That's, that's, that's two hundred and eighty minutes of biology. That's, that's, that's four hours and forty minutes. Plus homework. What a waste of time. I can't even see Fatty Clark now. 

It could all have been different. 
If I hadn't stepped in front of the car. 
If the car hadn't been going so fast. 
I wish I hadn't stepped in front of the car. 
If I keep on trying and making an effort 
One day I'm going to beat Fatty Clark. 
Every day I'm getting better. 

Nicky Turner lives up there. I really fancy Nicky Turner. But she's going out with Russell. He said he French kissed her. And that she let him feel her tits. I wonder how you do French kissing. I'll see her at church on Sunday. She's getting baptised next month. It's Taylor's birthday next week. He's having a party on Friday. A disco. There'll be loads of girls there. I wonder if any will let me French kiss them. I doubt it. But you never know. 

I wonder how long it will take
Before I am better. 
Really better. 
It's taking a long time. 
Three years. Three years is a long time. 

I wish I could stop wanking. I really wish I could stop wanking. I haven't done it for three days now. There he is. Up ahead. He's just reached the turn. Fatty Clark's just reached the turn. 

When I am better 
Really better 
I'll catch up then. 
It won't be 
This is Cameron 
And he had an accident. 
It'll just be 
This is Cameron. 
When my knee is better. 
When my hand is better. 
When my speech is better. 
People won't wonder. 
Won't stare. 
Won't talk to me 
As if I'm stupid. 

photo of woodland track Here's the turn. Not that far to go now. Can't see Fatty Clark, though. He must have put on speed. He'll be wobbling up the hill. At least I don't wobble. I was hit by a car but at least I don't wobble. End of the short path. Behind the houses on Abercrombie Road. Then back up the hill. Back up the hill. This is the difficult bit. I'll be late for biology. I'll be late for biology. I'll be last back to the changing room. And I'll take longer to get changed. I'll be late for biology as usual. And he'll have started already. And he'll ask why can't I get a move on. And I won't know what page they're on. I hate biology. I hate Tuesday mornings. Four hours and forty minutes. And how many minutes of maths? Forty minutes of maths every day. Minus yesterday. Five days a week. Two hundred minutes of maths a week. That's, that's, that's one thousand one hundred and sixty minutes of maths. That's, that's, that's twenty hours nearly. Nearly twenty hours. And homework. What a waste of time. This hill goes on for ever. 

One day I'll be better. 
All I've got to do 
Is keep on trying. 
Keep on making an effort. 
The doctors said so. 
The physiotherapists said so. 
The speech therapists said so.

Top of the hill again. Round the corner. Back to the gates. There he is. There's Fatty Clark. There's Ashton. There's Pratt. There's Malcolm. There's the whole lot of them. Lined up by the gates. They're clapping. They're cheering. What are they clapping for? What are they cheering for? They're clapping me. They're cheering me. They've waited for me. They've waited till I've finished. They're clapping and cheering me. I know what they're saying. Tries very hard in spite of his obvious impediments. That's what they're saying. Never gives up. That's what they're saying. An example to us all. That's what they're saying. 

Well, fuck them. Fuck the whole lot of them. Fuck the whole fucking lot of them.

It's not going to happen. 
I'm never going to be better. 
Not really better. 
There is never 
Going to come a day 
When nobody will 
Be able to tell. 
People will always 
Be able to tell. 

Fuck Fatty Clark. Fuck Ashton. Fuck Pratt. Fuck Malcolm. Fuck everybody. Fuck Tuesday mornings. Fuck maths. Fuck biology. Fuck this. Fuck trying. Fuck making an effort. Fuck better. Fuck better. 

This is the way I'll always be. 
This is the way I'll always be. 
This is the way I'll always be. 

But I know one thing. They'll not be clapping me like that again. I'll not be some plucky cripple for them to cheer at. I'll become a full-time objectionable cunt instead. 

Colin Cameron, of Edinburgh, Scotland, is author (along with John Swain and Sally French) of Controversial Issues in a Disabling Society, (Open University Press). Read his short story, Dr Pillock.


Well, you might or might not become anything you want in the future, but you know what?

They waited - which means that ALL of you will be late for biology, and maybe that little bit of unity will let your science teacher know that you are part of the crowd.

They might not be able to do anything to help you be first, and maybe or maybe not as to whether anything you do yourself will help you be first, but at least now you aren't last.

You are part of the group.

Colin,your story was interesting,yet I think you
don't get it. As Wendy Jo said "You are part of the group" What else do we gimps want?

If we always want our heart's desire then wake up and see the real world. Life ain't fair. Now live
that life.

Finally,the use of soo many vulgar words reduces the value of a good story.

Hi Colin

A good story many of us who are disabled can relate to particularly if we either had an impairment early in life or were born with a disability.

I take on board the two previous comments, and I feel that the two are right. You became part of the group, it is maybe not what you felt, perhaps you felt you were being patronised?

I remember taking part in a marathon in 1983 which i had not trained properly for and on the back of an illness. The fact it took me just under 6 hours and I finished second last, but was cheered on by many of the runners who had finished well in front of me as I came to the end of the gruelling 26 miles 365 yards, did not upset me. I felt the opposite. We had all participated in that marathon and had conquered the distance whether first, second, third, last and even those who had maybe had to give up before the end. There was a bond between us all.

I also agree that you don't need to over use too many profanities. You are way to clever and could easily have used other words to describe the frustration and anger you felt.

There are many frustrations in the world, especially in a world that discriminates against peoples on so many grounds. Sometimes we have to channel that anger and frustration in a more positive way. To think outside of the box and to attempt to put wrong right. There are so many ways of doing that, and as disabled folk within the "movement" we all particpate in attempting to do this in our own small way.

I definitely sympathize with the viewpoints of the two comments above. However, I would like to add that we should also consider that this is a story about a fictional character's attitude/experience. We don't necessarily have to assume it is a summary of the overarching philosophy of the author...

hi Col
What a brilliant piece of writing. I have to say that the comment from the person who says "You just don't get it" just doesn't get it. Funnily enough this is a story about humiliation and degradation and the beginning of a desire to fight back. The language is spot on. In the "real world", that's how teenege boys think and talk, babe.

loved it. was impressed at the use of the blank verse bits or whatever you call the very short sentences, as that so often falls flat on its arse but didn't here. the language worked for me, it was left until the end for maximum impact - breaking point, i suppose, or that red hot after-the-event fury that sometimes builds up...i was struggling to put some pants on this morning and my flatmate thought i was having some kind of attack from the barrage of profanity that came from my room, and that had no excuse but was very satisfying all the same...
as for the 'just dont get it' comments... well.. some days i get it and some days i don't, and i think that's about as good as it gets. it'll do for me, i guess

What a great story! It really caught both the thinking and language of a teenage guy as well as dealing with the really complex issues of "cure", being patronised, being forced to be "normal" and fighting back. Keep up the fight colin!!

Who wants to be part of the group anyway? Every time they try to make you part of the group, they make it ever more clear that you ain't. Provisional membership doesn't count.

I enjoyed reading this. It reminds me of Alan Sillitoe's story "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" although the theme is somewhat different.

I like it. The voice is a bit reminiscent of Trainspotting. And it's an interestingly realistic reaction to the sympathetic/condescending attititude a lot of people with disabilites face. And I think Cameron in the story's extremely realistic. An angry teenager who wants to be seen as fully human. Someone who's trying to avoid being boxed in to one role, and does whatever it takes to get out.
This actually has the potential to develop into a longer series or a novel. I know I'd love to see more. Family, doctors, the school reaction to the new "full-time objectionable cunt" attitude. It could be a great growing-up story.

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