Danny and Max

by Jenny

At number 9 Pecunious Drive Danny threw the XBox controller across the floor as his cowboy succumbed to Buffalo Bill’s bullet again. Max was never sure what to do when Danny got upset like this, so he stayed quiet, hoping Danny would let him have a go on the XBox.

But he didn’t. He sat sulkily on the floor.

“Danny?” ventured Max. Danny stared at his Converse. They were brand new ones from America that you couldn’t even get over here. “Can I play, please?”

When Danny still didn’t answer Max tentatively reached for the controller. As his hand touched it Danny’s foot kicked it away so it collided with his dad’s stack of lever arch files, catching Max’s fingers in the process. He still didn’t speak.

“Ok” Max rubbed his fingers, “let’s play real-life cowboys instead? With a fort! You can be Buffalo Bill and I’ll be the Injuns?” Danny’s house was huge and had loads of great fort building materials and his parents were never home, so they wouldn’t mind if they made a mess. But Danny didn’t move.

“Why would we want to play like little kids? Is that what all poor people do?” He stared pointedly at Max’s grubby daps and pushed the controller out of his reach,

“I don’t want you touching my things. They might get dirty.”

Danny often said things like this when he was upset. It was true that Danny always had the best toys and clothes and Max didn’t understand why Danny was ever cross. But he didn’t mind, he’d just go home and come back when Danny was feeling better. When he wasn’t cross, Max reminded himself, Danny was fun. He got up to go.

“Sorry Danny” Max said as he let himself out “see you at school”. He heard the computer start up again, echoing through the large, empty house.

It was cold out and damp and his coat was a thin one, but it his house wasn’t far - about half an hour from Danny’s. When he got in his mum, swooped down to take off his coat and kiss him warmly. His sisters squabbled by the fire and the whole place seemed so full of noise and people that Max could hardly squeeze himself onto the sofa by his dad.

“You’re home early. How was Danny?”

“He was ok. I think I made him cross when I said we should play real life cowboys. He said that was for little kids.” He didn’t mention what Danny had said about poor people.

“But real life cowboys are the best! You could have built a fort!”

Max grinned “that’s what I said!”

Max’s dad grabbed the clothes horse from the kitchen and shook out the patched blanket from the end of the sofa. “Yeeehaww! Which of you varmints will help build a fort to keep out them Injuns?” At this the already crowded room became a flurry of activity.

At number 9 Danny’s computer sang again into the darkening room