Chapter ? Don’t Fear the Rag and Bone Man
“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.”-Rudyard Kipling
“BOY!” The rag and bone man suddenly exclaimed.
“Old man” replied Jack, a little scared.
The old man looked hurt when Jack said this. “Don’t call me that!” He said.
“Because it’s not my name, of course.” He replied grumpily.
“Well ‘Boy’ isn’t my name” Said Jack smartly.
“OK, then what is your name?”
“Wow!” The rag and bone shouted rather suddenly, which, made Jack jump. “That’s my name too!”
The rag and bone man stood up and looked at jack from above the hedge; he looked confused, which made him look like he was trying to chew some very tricky and stubborn toffee. “Well, since we both have the same name I will call you Bill. That way we won’t be confused by it.” He said. He looked very proud of himself as though this was a brilliant idea.
“I don’t want to be called Bill though.” Jack said and the burst the rag and bone mans bubble of pride.
He looked quite upset when he said “But why the devil not? It’s a wonderful name.”
“Because it may be a wonderful name, but it’s not my name. Maybe we could call you Bill?”
“Certainly not” The rag and bone man replied looking offended at the idea. “My name’s Jack, not Bill.”
“Well then Mr, how about if you be old Jack and I be young Jack?” He suggested wisely.
“Yes, it is quite undeniable that I’m the old one, hmm OK then. That will work well.” Speculated the newly titled Old Jack.
Young Jack was wondering to himself whether or not he should mention when he saw old Jack appear from thin air in his shed. He was very interested and wanted to know if it was magic but he was still a little scared of the old, rag and bone man. He was saved from further indecision however, when old Jack asked “I guess you’re wondering how I appeared from thin air in my old shed?”
“Yes” replied young Jack honestly. “Was it magic?”
Old Jack thought about this question for a minute before answering “Well, I guess you could call it magic, in a way.”
Young Jack was so very interested by this he couldn’t wait to hear the end of the answer, but just when old Jack was about to speak again a loud shout stopped him in his tracks.
“Jack?” Came the cry from Jack’s mum. “It’s time to come home now, it’s getting dark and dinner will be ready soon. It’s your favourite, bangers ‘n’ mash.”
This annoyed young Jack very much, his mum had a bad habit of telling him to come home just as things were getting fun or interesting.
Old Jack saw that he looked annoyed and said “Wow, you’re lucky; bangers ‘n’ mash is my favourite too! Can I come to tea? We can finish talking tomorrow if not, at the same time and the same hedge?”
“Erm…” mumbled young Jack looking down at his feet, “I don’t think there will be enough bangers ‘n’ mash for all of us, sorry. But yes, I’d like to meet tomorrow; we should mark the hedge with something so we know where to meet.”
“Good idea” Agreed old Jack, “I’ll mark this spot with my handkerchief.”
After saying this he pulled out a rather disgusting looking red and white spotted handkerchief that looked as though it hadn’t been washed in years.
“Hope I don’t lose this” Said old Jack, “It’s my newest and best one.”
Just when young Jack was about to say that the handkerchief didn’t look new, or like a handkerchief that some one would say is their best, his mum called again. This time she demanded that he come home immediately.
That night felt like the longest of young Jacks life. He was so excited for the next day that he couldn’t take his mind off it, whatever he did! Magic! Could it be that he was going to see and learn real magic? He was so excited that he didn’t even remember to enjoy his bangers ‘n’ mash, which was a shame because he only had it once a week. He didn’t even taste his food because his mind was so busy thinking about the next day. He tried doing many different things. He played the computer, but none of his many games excited him enough to take his mind from old Jack. So he tried reading, but even his favourite book (The BFG by Roald Dahl) couldn’t distract him enough. When his mum shouted up to tell him to do his homework he tried, he really tried, but he just couldn’t concentrate enough. He didn’t care that the square root of 81 was 9; he didn’t even want to learn any more about the Vikings for his History homework. This was strange because he usually loved learning about Vikings and other interesting people in History, especially the Romans, and not even a book about them took his mind off Old Jack and tomorrows possibilities.
His Mum noticed this strange behaviour. Probably because he kept going up and downstairs for no good reason. When his mum asked him why he was doing this he knew he had to lie. He didn’t want to say that he was excited to see old Jack again, because he wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers, and the rag and bone man was very, very strange! So he said “I’m just so excited mum, it’s because tomorrow at school we all get to dress up as Vikings for a whole day!” He felt a little guilty saying this, lying wasn’t a nice feeling. But he had to do it this one time. “I just really wish it was tomorrow!” He added.
“You can’t spend all of your life wishing the time away Jack my boy, if you did that then you would never enjoy anything in life and it would pass you by in an instant.” Said Jack’s mum very wisely.
Jack understood this and he would usually agree, but not this time. This time he was just too excited to think about anything else. His mum seemed to notice his frustration and said “Have your bath and then try to sleep son, after all, it is getting late.” Jack was about to reply that he was no where near tired enough to sleep when his mums mobile phone rang and she answered it, turning her back on Jack as she walked towards her office.