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FACTSHEET 5 by Patricia Mullin

LISP Flash Fiction FINALIST, Patricia Mullin by FACTSHEET 5

Factsheet 5

We’re in the café, Ned, my social worker says it makes a change from his office. By the food counter the bunting’s drooped to the floor; outside the sea is churning grey. I sit at a window table; watery ketchup sits in a discoloured squeezy bottle next to a wooden seagull on a stick. Ned puts cheesy chips and coke in front of me. He has a cappuccino; in a minute he’ll tell me it’s all froth no coffee.

‘I don’t know why I buy these, they’re all froth and no coffee.’ He takes a sip. ‘Have you read it?’ I pick up the black bin liner with all my stuff in and plonk on a chair. ‘No, okay. I’ll go through it with you Reece. It’s for Young Care Leavers sometimes called Looked After Children.’

‘I’ve never been looked after.’

I’m guessing it’s my last opportunity to make Ned uncomfortable. He pushes his coffee off to one side and lists my options and turns the paper, so we can share it; he reads out the long bits.

· Staying put arrangement.

‘This is for children where the foster carer and the child agree to remain living with them past the age of 18.’

Briefly his eyes flick up to check mine.

· Kinship Care.

‘Where you stay with someone in your family (not your parents) approved by the local authority.’

I drum my fingers on the table.

· Independent Accommodation.

‘This might be supported housing shared with others, a local authority property, or a B&B.’

We both know it’ll be a B&B.

‘I’ve found one, it’s decent. It’s around the corner, we could take a look, see what you think.’

‘Like I have a choice? When have I ever had a choice Ned? Go on, tell me…when?’



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