Jason Donovan has been living under my bed in a Vitalite margarine tub since yesterday afternoon and he is a terrible listener, likes eating insects, and has a difficult relationship with Kylie Minogue. Also, he won’t let me introduce him to the girls at school because he’s only about as big as my hand and he says they might grab at him and pull his arms and legs off. Also, he has gone into a coma.
I’m sure it’ll all be okay in the end and he will make a full recovery and be life-size again and back on the Neighbours set any time now. He might even be out of his coma when I get in from school which is where I am now, writing this on my lunch break. By writing it down I’m getting it out of my system and learning lessons from it which is what my teacher Mrs Barker does when she’s angry with her husband, Mr Barker. She’s always telling us about their marriage counselling which she says she shouldn’t do really ‘but better out than in’.
Okay. I’ll start from the beginning. Things I Have Learnt About Jason Donovan.
Yesterday, when I came in from school, I found the mini naked Jason Donovan creeping around the edge of my bedroom carpet. One of the first things I learnt about him is that he is not very good at listening or saying yes to my ideas. To be honest, he is difficult to live with and I think I should have been more specific when I asked God for him. What I said was, ‘Please, Lord, let me find a mini naked Jason Donovan in my bedroom when I get in from school tomorrow’. But I should have added: ‘AND he must agree to wear the clothes I make for him AND he must let me show him to the other girls at school especially Donna Finch who climbed up onto the radiator in the girls’ toilets and looked at me over the toilet door and told everyone my face was going “eee” as I went. I really think we’d be friends if she knew I had Jason Donovan living in my bedroom. Thanks.’
But I’d only half, maybe a quarter, expected him to turn up. I spent all last year praying for a helter-skelter in the back garden and that never happened.
One of Jason Donovan’s favourite things to do is to stalk around the edge of carpets looking for insects. This is why he was lurking and prowling when I found him yesterday – which was Wednesday by the way and therefore a good day for it because my mum was at work so there was just me and my brother in. My brother never pays attention to me or my movements. I test this sometimes by standing very still for a long time in a communal place, such as the hallway, and he will actually just barge past without asking what I’m doing. Once I made it look like I’d fallen down the stairs by laying upside down on the bottom steps but he just jumped over me.
So there Jason Donovan was, underneath my radiator, low to the ground, creeping up on a beetle with an orange stripe on its back. He lunged, missed it and said, ‘Aw, strewth’, which is Australian for ‘Oh dear’.
‘Hey, G’day,’ said Jason Donovan, turning to me and flashing a smile.
I tried not to look at any of his naked body parts, which was quite difficult. I concentrated on his hair (blonde curtains). He noticed and said, ‘I hate it’.
‘Really?!’ I said because this was a shock – I’d voted for him in ‘Best Hair’ at last year’s Smash Hits Poll Winners Party.
‘Yeah. I want it longer, like Kurt Cobain’s, but I’ll get sacked if I change it. Curtains are in my contract on Neighbours.’
‘Neighbours!’ I shouted, suddenly aware that if he was here, in my bedroom in England, he was missing somewhere else in the world, i.e. the Neighbours set. I know I should have thought about this when I asked God for him but at the time I was thinking about myself and my own needs. What I’m doing here is ‘being reflective’ which Mrs Barker says we should all strive to do, especially the boys.
‘What will they do because you’re here and not there doing the filming?’ I asked.
Not only is Jason Donovan a terrible listener but he also has issues with concentration. He’d crept to where the beetle had made its escape and was now trying to pull the carpet up. Hopeless, and he knew it.
‘D’you reckon you could lift this for me?’ he asked.
The way I reacted next involved me allowing my feelings to get the better of me. I pulled the carpet back too forcefully and Jason Donovan fell onto his bum and I saw everything.
‘I should make you some clothes,’ I said.
‘Nah.’ He was already back on his feet, trying to look under the carpet.
‘I insist.’ This is why I asked God for him to be naked. I made a jacket for the cat last week – just by cutting arm holes in a rectangle of denim.
‘Nah, I’m good,’ he said.
I guess that was our first argument. I decided I’d experiment with the denim later anyway. I’d cut most of my jeans into shorts over the summer and all of the legs were in the bottom of my wardrobe.
I decided to be the bigger person by changing the subject. ‘How long have you been here for?’
‘A few hours.’
‘Are you hungry?’
He shrugged, looked away, then towards where the beetle had been. This was when I was learning that Jason Donovan likes eating insects. Neither of us were ready to talk about it.
‘So, what’s the plan?’ he asked.
‘I’ll make you a bed.’
‘I don’t mind sleeping rough.’
I tutted. He was quite dramatic. ‘Well, I’ll make you a bed anyway.’ He may have won the clothes battle but he was not taking away my right to make him somewhere to sleep.
I went down to the kitchen to see what I could find for a base for Jason Donovan’s bed, cursing myself for using up the ice cream containers for ladybird farms over the summer. Luckily the Vitalite margarine tub was nearly empty so I scooped the margarine out, wiped it with loo roll, and took it to Jason Donovan. He was still hanging around the edge of the carpet.
‘Just need something to line it with…’ I reached into my wardrobe for a denim leg.
‘I’d rather sleep on the floor.’
‘Is it the denim?’ I said this louder than either of us expected. ‘Because you actually wear a lot of it in your music videos.’
Fear flashed across his face, and this is when I realized I must have been reminding him of Kylie, who I’ve always thought looked sweet but looks can be misleading.
He snapped back to the present. ‘Okay, I’m sorry, make me a bed. Please.’
Jason Donovan smiled at me and I smiled back. Then he said, ‘I’ve noticed some soft-looking material in your wardrobe. Maybe you could use it for a blanket?’
‘My old bridesmaid dress? It’s lilac silk.’
‘I don’t mind lilac,’ he said, ‘or silk.’
‘It’s not really for boys.’
But he insisted, and because he was happy to let me make something, I cut a square out of the dress. I know my mum will notice sometime, but that could be years away.
I made a mattress out of cotton wool and placed it in the Vitalite tub, covering it with the lilac blanket.
Jason Donovan looked at his new bed, sighed and said, ‘I love it’. Then he tried to climb in but the sides of the tub were too high. I let him have a few tries before I picked him up, holding him under the arms. He was a bit hunched up. I kept him in mid-air, moving him backwards and forwards, making his dangling legs swing, then put my fingertip – gently – on his face and pushed against it. He wrestled his head around so I stopped and smiled. He was breathing quite fast. I apologised and laid him on the lilac.
Once he got his breath back he was really happy with the bed, laying like a starfish and brushing the fabric with his arms and legs. I tried not to think about his bum being on it. I also tried not to think about Neighbours. We’re a year and a half behind Australia so no one at school will notice he’s missing unless it’s on the news.
He yawned. ‘I’m a little jetlagged. I should have a nap.’
It was only 5.30pm but I didn’t want to push him. Also Neighbours was just about to start. So I placed Jason Donovan and his lilac bed under my own bed and took a denim leg downstairs with Mum’s sewing box where I made him the best denim jacket. I did this while watching him being Scott Robinson in Neighbours which made me laugh at my loudest volume a few times, but not enough for my brother to ask me what was so funny.
After his nap, Jason Donovan tried on his denim jacket but claimed it was too tight.
‘Sorry. I’ll measure you next time,’ I said.
‘And it’s heavy. It’ll slow me down.’
I narrowed my eyes. ‘I don’t know why you need to get around so quickly anyway.’ I said this in a way which meant I did know, and I wanted him to know I knew. He didn’t get it. He tried to close the denim jacket but it wouldn’t meet. It needed to be longer as well. It looked weird without trousers.
‘Okay,’ I sighed, ‘I’ll make something from the silk. But we need to have a fashion consultation because that is the kind of thing that freelance fashion designers do.’ I’m calling myself a freelance fashion designer because that’s the first step in making it a reality.
‘Thank you.’ He looked so grateful I knew for certain that Kylie, like Mr Barker, is not one to compromise. I decided to make his time as relaxing as possible from now on. The good thing about the Vitalite tub is it can be a bath tub as well. I insisted Jason Donovan had a bath even though he said he had a fear of water. I’m not sure I believe this as he is Australian and once he was in it he calmed down.
During our fashion consultation, he asked for something ‘loose and floaty’.
‘First, I really want to make a jumpsuit.’ I paused, breathed in and said: ‘It’s my clothes-making ambition.’ (Also Donna Finch wore one at the Youth Club with a belt around the middle and it looked brilliant.)
I explained I’d need to draw round him twice and then sew him into the jumpsuit but that he’d only have to wear it for an hour. Jason Donovan said he felt like a gingerbread man but I just shushed him, half because I was trying to concentrate, and half because I was telling him about how Donna Finch’s mum is letting her have a perm.
‘Can you believe it? I’m not allowed one. I’m sewing you in now. Keep still. This other girl at school said I don’t have a hairstyle. You can buy perms from the chemist. Does Kylie do her own perm?’
We are at the point now where The Accident occurred. What I believe happened is the trigger word ‘Kylie’ made Jason Donovan shudder, and this made him move, and due to this the needle threaded into his leg but this was not my fault and I immediately pulled it out again – and yes it started bleeding but I used some toilet roll for a bandage which was easy to wrap because Jason Donovan had fainted and gone all floppy. And then he didn’t open his eyes.
His head was too small for the kiss of life so I blew at him down a biro tube and said things like, ‘Please don’t die’, ‘Sorry if I was bossy,’ and ‘You’ve got everything to live for!’ I started to think about where to bury him which I didn’t want to do, but I decided the Vitalite tub with its lid on would make a good tomb.
Jason Donovan did not wake up all night. I tucked him up nice under his lilac blanket. I read him my Highly Commended poem about picking up litter. I made a special soup out of his favourite food and pushed some into his mouth for strength. He still hadn’t woken up when I left for school this morning but his chest was definitely going up and down so I believe he is alive.
All this has made me really tired today so I’m doing what Mrs Barker calls ‘running on empty’, which is something busy women with responsibilities are good at. One way to get more energy is by having a power nap which is a new invention Mrs Barker saw on Oprah. You go into a dark room, such as the stock cupboard, for twenty minutes and when you come out again you feel on top of the world.
The most recent thing I’ve learnt about Jason Donovan is that when he’s in a coma his listening skills are much better. So it’ll be okay if his eyes still aren’t open when I get home because what I’m going to do is make the best of a bad situation by trying something I saw on a film where a person in a coma could still hear everything people said to them or asked them and they moved one finger for yes and another for no. It’s going to be fantastic. I can interview him about what’s happening in Neighbours in Australia and then make a magazine about it.
I just need this afternoon to go really fast because I’ve put the lid on the Vitalite tub in case the cat gets into my bedroom and drags him off. Thinking about it now I’m not sure how many breaths there are in a Vitalite tub. I should have put a few holes in the lid like I did with the ladybird farms (once I’d realized).
It is actually quite difficult being responsible for Jason Donovan. No, not difficult – challenging. I’m using a ‘Positive Mental Attitude’ here. That’s also from Oprah. She shortens it to PMA.
I think if I were to ask for Oprah’s advice she would say something like, ‘Yes, you’re in a challenging situation but then life is challenging, especially for women who know what they want and aren’t afraid to ask for it.’ And she’s right.
I’m pretty sure I am one of those women. I might not have a hairstyle but I’ve got my fashion designing and I am 80% sure I’ve still got Jason Donovan in a margarine tub.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and enjoy a new free short story every Friday.