My ten-year-old nephew slept in my bed last night. I left him watching a DVD on my laptop . When I came to bed he was asleep, the film finished and the laptop in hibernation. I slid quietly, carefully into bed. He woke, needing a visit to the bathroom. While he was gone I checked my emails.
‘What’cha doin?’ he asked on his return. Throwing himself on the bed he bounced up and down, wide awake and full of mischief.
‘Nothing. Just looking at something. Come on, get back into bed, you’ve got school in the morning,’ I answered. Like that was going to work. He continued to bounce, fidget and chatter while I deleted spam and emptied my junk mail folder so I started to close everything down, knowing he’d never go back to sleep unless I turned off the computer, and the bedroom light. Just before the screen went dark, I noticed a smear across one side of it. A sticky, hand-shaped smear.
‘What’s that?,’ I asked. ‘I cleaned that screen only the other day.’
‘It’s got nothing to do with me,’ replied my nephew.
‘I think it has. It wasn’t there before.’
‘Well … It’s something what happened that I don’t really want to tell you about.’
I was rather horrified. What could it possibly be? I wasn’t going to press him for an explanation though, because I’m nice. I looked at him. He had one side of his mouth pulled up into a lopsided smirk.
‘I sneezed,’ he said. ‘There were lots of bobbles of horrible stuff on it.’
‘You sneezed on my computer screen?’ I started to laugh.
‘Yes. And that’s where I wiped it off.’ He pointed to disfiguring smudge.
‘Oh yuk! You sneezed on my bloody laptop!’
‘Yes, but don’t worry because when you come to sell it—’
‘It’ll have your DNA all over it?’ I interrupted.
‘No, it’ll be worth more.’
‘ It’s got my snot on it – you should get an extra £10 when people find out.’