I'm the middle one of three brothers, twenty two years apart in total and my older brother and I are the only surviving members of our family.
Having a brother who is ten years older than you is more like having an uncle when you are young. It doesn't matter how old I become, while he's still around I will always be "our kid".
When we were younger, considerably younger, before he had left home, I was, variously, a pain in the backside for him, an idiot confidente, and a toy.
He would put me in goal and blast a football at me from short range. At his behest I once jumped out of his bedroom window into the garden hedge below, "just to see what would happen". He sat me on my tricycle and pushed it down the stairs....he had no need for an action man while I was around.
At sixteen my brother was a weasel faced, long haired, acne-ridden, stick insect - I do him no injustice - with colossal lapels so big he couldn't ride a bicycle (see, I can spell it if I try) for fear of taking off like ET. (I idolised him). For some strange reason he had several girlfriends, I don't remember them having golden Labradors with harnesses, or leaving white sticks in the hall with the umbrellas, so I have to presume that they were mentally deficient rather than blind. And he would confide in me (!), comparing and contrasting physical features and personalities, Melissa apparently had big breasts, but wouldn't let you touch them, Sandra would but she wasn't as good a kisser as Beverly, but Caroline had shown him her lilly behind the bike sheds in school. I was six, I found the whole thing bewildering and abhorrent, for all I knew girls kept bad tempered gerbils in their shorts, (and I'm still not convinced that some of them don't).
So we would sit on his bed and listen to his music, and try to find a solution to the turmoil in his bell bottomed trousers. (Which is probably why I have such an affinity for Bread, Cream - no it's not a recipe - the Animals, the Kinks, Rolling Stones et al, even though it's not my era).
Usually his door was locked, even when he was in the room. When I wasn't invited, then I simply wasn't welcome. Except one day, when I heard no music and tried the door and it opened. He wasn't there, he must have been out with a tape measure and note book, with a questionnaire, trying to optimise his sex life. Everything looked quite normal, a tip as usual, a bomb site of what would now be antique underwear and stripy tank tops, cuban heels and music magazines. The record player sat on his chest of drawers and all of his albums were actually stacked in the bottom of his wardrobe, open end inwards, I guessed so that the records wouldn't slip out. I was only six but quite capable of using the record player. If you are of a certain age you would recognize it immediately - a box 3 feet on each side with a hinged lid and carry handle, two-tone in cream and pink. You could stack around 12 singles on the spike, or play an individual LP and there was a penny attached to the arm with sticky tape to stop the needle from skipping.
I mooched around inside his wardrobe, not reading the album covers but picking out my favourites from the artwork on the sleeve, throwing them on the bed, not just one or two but a whole pile. It was odd, but some of them felt thicker than others, and finally when I'd finished ruining my brother's vinyl filing system I found out why. I sat on the bed and shook one of the records out of it's sleeve.
It fell on the bed, accompanied by a copy of Playboy. I shook another and another, and another, and each of the thicker album sleeves disgorged an album and a magazine until I had a whole jumble sale of porn on the bed. By today's standards they were extremely tame, semi naked ladies that would look quite at home on a shampoo commercial in these enlightened (?) times (oh god please, can't we go back to the time when we understood that the promise of a naked bottom is actually sexier than open heart gynaecology?). I was rapt. Not aroused of course, I had no idea what I was looking at for the most part, but I knew I shouldn't be looking at it. There was the occasional naked booby, and skimpy underwear that did nothing to dispel my theory about small furry animals nesting between girl’s thighs....and then our front door opened, and closed with a snick.
I did the only thing possible. I raced across the room, and out of my brother’s bedroom window, to the right hand side, and on to the kitchen roof, and then down the drainpipe into the garden.
As it turned out, I wasn't in any imminent danger. It was my father who had come home. I saw him through the window, pottering around by the kettle, and I waved at him from the garden....and then he went upstairs.
My brother's stash was erm..."confiscated" by my father, who no doubt hid it elsewhere.
Big brother never said anything to me. As far as I'm aware my father never said anything to him.
A few days later, I was standing shrieking in the kitchen while my father pulled a .22 feathered dart out my forehead with a pair of pliers. My brother had shot me right between the eyes while I stood against the shed door with an empty baked bean can on my head.
"Why on earth did you let him do it?", my father said.
"He had a gun!" I wailed.