William Thirsk-Gaskill

It made B lie on the floor before school, looking at the same page of a textbook, for as long as time allowed.

It made B search the drawers in C and D’s bedroom.

It made D ask C if it was time for C to have a talk with B, which C did.

It made B suggest a question to the other children in the street.

Its consequences were what prompted E’s lifelong love of cats.

It made B miss a double Applied Maths lesson in order to go home with F, while B’s parents were at work.

It made F tell something to B, which B found hard to believe, and which, after two weeks of recriminations, turned out not to be true.

It made F move to Birmingham, and get a job with Severn Trent Water.

G told B that she didn’t want anything to do with it, which was one reason why they split up when the next World Cup came around.

It made H spend hours searching the internet, and years on the Atkins diet.

It was one of the things that made H try to persuade B to stop drinking alcohol.

It made H order pills from the USA that you can only get on prescription in this country, and which H later regretted taking.

It made B have to leave his office at lunchtime, and get to the laboratory within 20 minutes.

It made H keep the date of each attempt in her diary, and Polaroid micrographs on the mantelpiece.

It made J glad when K left, after L was born.

It made B write stories to read to L at bedtime.

It made B glad that L saw him win the air guitar competition at CenterParcs.

It made J and B fly to Kiev, twice, to no avail.

It made J give L frequent lectures, usually before L went out in the evening.

It was why B didn’t mind putting up with E’s cats when they got married.

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