Life got easier, but deep into my teenage years I still harboured fantasies of my family moving to America. Anywhere in America would do, though I reckoned Californian sun might work best for my greasy, troubled skin. I'd negotiate the cliquey, hierarchical minefield of U.S. high school and win. Girls would be blown away by my adorable accent and my roguishly, anachronistically Colin Farrellish looks. Yeah, and the jealous jocks would keep their distance because ofmy biting Irish wit and the assumption I was IRA; a notion I would take few steps to relieve them of.
I'd become a sporting superstar and have a college scholarship sewn up within days of arriving, due to my single-handed transformation of the "soccer" team's fortunes. This, I was confident, was the most realistic element of my fantasy, not due to any great skill on my part, but by sheer dint of my not being American - and therefore inherently superior with the ball at my feet.
Despite the attentions of most of the popular girls in school, including the icily beautiful Shelley Aryanski, my heart would be set on Naomi, the awkward art student whom I knew would be a stone-cold fox if only she'd take off those thick-rimmed glasses of hers. I'd capture her fragile heart by playing Damien Rice songs on a ukulele and pretending I'd written them. With the new strength she found in me she'd overcome her bulimia and her sculpture would really flourish.
I'd garner the devotion of the nerds through my powerful and outspoken stewardship of the school newspaper, and the black crowd would have my back after an impromptu rap-off saw me proclaimed "the illest, chillest honky muthafucka since Vanilla Ice", such was the impact of my mad skillz. 'A-Dogg' was how they would choose to address me from then on.
|Jessica and Liz: strong swimmers|
And then one day, perhaps as we were making our way to be crowned Prom King and Queen, Naomi and I would encounter Chuck Logan. Chuck had been captain of the soccer team and an A grade student before my glorious arrival. Now he was a high school dropout slinging crystal meth for a living. "Oh look, it's the Irish fag and his fag-hag" he'd sneer to his crackhead buddies, who definitely carried an air of menace. And I, I'd whip a can of Lynx Africa out of the back pocket of my Ralph Lauren suit trousers, and spray it against the flame from my lighter to form a blowtorch to scorch the skin off Chuck Logan's face. As he lay writhing acridly on the ground I'd douse the rest of his body in Lynx Africa and then take the cigarette out of my mouth and say "No, this is a fag, ya fuckin' eejit!" as I calmly flicked it onto him and watched him burn. Then I'd force-feed his charred remains to Shelley Aryanski for being a meddling bitch.