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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Swindells Robert

«Daz 4 Zoe», Robert Swindells

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В© 1990


Palm trees don’t like the cold. That’s why they don’t occur naturally in England. You see them sometimes in seaside towns but they never look right. Ragged they are, with dead bits hanging down.

Old people occur naturally in England, but they don’t like the cold, either. Some of them are ragged too, and there are probably dead bits only you don’t see them.

Anyway, there was this winter. It was a really cold winter – one of the coldest on record – with hard frosts every night. It was so cold that old people started dying. Daren’t have the fire on, see. Not with electricity the price it was. So they wrapped themselves up in blankets and sat shivering till they fell asleep and died, like lost explorers in the Arctic.

And there was this seaside town that had some palm trees. Now palm trees can’t feel the cold, but it kills them just the same. It was killing these particular palm trees all right. Slowly but surely.

Until one day the man that looked after them – the Town Gardener, I suppose – had this brilliant idea. What he did was, he got a lot of electric blankets and some very long cables and he plugged the blankets in and ran them out on the long cables and wrapped them round the palm trees. It took several blankets to wrap each tree but when he switched on, the trees were really snug.

Every night the Town Gardener switched on, and night after night the electricity ran through the long cables, warming the blankets till the cold spell was over and the palm trees were saved.

Afterwards it was on telly and in the papers, how the palm trees were saved. What a good idea, people said. What a clever man. Everybody was really happy.

Well, no – not everybody. Some of the old folks – some of them that didn’t die – moaned on about the waste of electricity, but you’re going to get moaners whatever you do, and the moral of the story is you can’t please everybody.

Or is it?

The rest of this book is fiction but it could come true, and we wouldn’t like it if it did. You’ll see what I mean when you’ve read it. It could come true, but it won’t if we’re together. All of us.

There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be.




Daz thay call me. 2 years back wen I com 13 Del that’s my brovver thay catch im raiding wiv the Dred. Top im don’t thay, and im just gon 15.

2 lornorders com tel our mam, 1 wumin, 1 man, nor thay don’t come til after thay dunnit neever. Our Mam been down a longtime fore then wiv the dulleye, and she just sort of stairs dont she, til thay go of, and its not til nite she crys.

She sez dont you never go of wiv no Dred, our Daz. No Mam, I sez, but I never crost my hart. Don’t cownt less you crost yor hart, rite?




Hi. I’m Zoe. Zoe May Askew. Or Zoe may not. (Joke!) I’m fourteen. My friend at school is Tabitha. Tabitha Flinders Wentworth for short. She’s fourteen too. If the name seems familiar to you it’s no big surprise. Her dad’s Paul Wentworth of Wentworth and Lodge (Developments) PLC, the outfit that shoved up practically every residential estate in practically every suburb in England. You’re bound to have seen their boards, plus their ads on T.V. He’s into about a million other things too, Tabby says. Security. Roads. Power. He’s into power all right. Chair of the Suburb Selectmen, Chair of Schools Management Committee, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Dog leaves a mess on the sidewalk, Paul Wentworth’ll make himself Chair of it.

They’re loaded. Well, you can imagine. They live in this gorgeous architect-designed house on Wentworth Drive. That’s right – Wentworth Drive. He built the place and named it after himself, and why not?

I know what you’re wondering. You’re wondering how come Tabby Wentworth would bother with a scumbag like me, right? Sure you are. Well, my dad’s an estate agent, see, and what estate agents do is they sell houses. You probably thought they sold cheeseburgers, but they sell houses. Wentworth builds ’em, Dad sells ’em. They’re not friends, exactly, but they do a lot of business together and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Well, no, as a matter of fact, it’s not.

Listen. I want to tell you a story, only I’ve got to start at the beginning, right? And that’s where Tabby Wentworth comes in. At the beginning. Because she started it. She started it because everything’s boring and fourteen’s a lousy age and chippying’s about the only way you can get a bit of excitement around here. Chippying. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry. You will. In fact you’re going to know all about chippying real soon.

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