THE SPITFIRE

The Spitfire was a sleek metal thing with a space for a battery underneath that made the propeller spin. I had coveted it for months as it had sat in the window of Morrow’s toy shop – the tiny moulded plastic pilot alert, day and night, for Messherschmidts and Focke Wolfs that would never pounce.

Now, possessing it at last, I admired the plane from every angle, holding it gently with the tips of my fingers. It was a Mark V, with beautiful curved wings and a shark like nose tipped with three propeller blades. Pressing a tiny, almost invisible, button on the bottom released the undercarriage, which descended slowly and locked into place with a satisfying click.

The letters EBZ were stencilled on the side of the plane with the RAF roundel on the side and wings, yellow, blue, white and red.

I brought it down to land gently on the kitchen table.

“Happy birthday,” my da said.

“Thanks – ” it was all I had time to say before my brother burst in.

“What d’ye want with this British bollocks,” he laughed, sweeping his hand across the table.

The Spitfire skittered away from me, rose briefly, its propeller turning free and for a moment it seemed set to take to the skies and fly. Then gravity gripped it, it turned over and it plunged nose-down onto the hard-tiled floor.

The propeller shattered, plastic shards flashing across the floor. The canopy split like an egg-shell exposing the pilot to the elements. The tail was bent and twisted.

My brother stood hand over his mouth, shocked at what he’d done, his silly grin turning sick. I turned to my da, who bent to pick up the pieces of my toy.

The Spitfire never flew again.

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