via Daily Prompt: Natty
“What sort of a name is Natty, anyway?”
“A better one than Yapper, that’s a dog’s name,” I stuck my tongue out at my friend.
It got me thinking though. How did I get the name Natty? I wasn’t given it, by parents or whatever. I didn’t have parents to give me a name. It must have come from other kids or the sort of guardians that drift in and out of your life when you’re a street kid like us.
“It’s cuz you never stop nattering, girl,” Old Mabs, a woman who acted as a foster mother for lots of us street kids, once told me. I’ve often wondered if she was telling the truth because I’m sure Yapper got his name because he doesn’t know how to shut up.
He’s annoying but Mabs looked after both of us at roughly the same time and I guess that makes him kind of my brother. We stick together, anyway. It’s a sort of unspoken agreement that as much as we get on each other’s nerves, we’re better off together than apart. Me or Yapper might storm off for a day or two but we always come back.
“Maybe it’s ‘cos you always look so natty,” he poked at me.
I rubbed my dirty face, which just spread the grime around more than anything, “do not.”
“Do so, your hairs all matted and stuff. Like matty, that’s what Natty means.”
“You’re making stuff up,” I huffed. I stood up and made to storm off from the dilapidated playground where we were planning to stay for tonight.
“Where you off?” Yapper asked.
“Away from you!” I shouted.
“He did make that up, that’s not what natty means.”
Me and Yapper both whirled to see who had spoken. A skinny boy wearing scratched glasses held together with duct tape and dirty clothes like ours seemed to appear from thin air. He must have been lurking near the swings, where we couldn’t see him in the shadow.
“Stay out of this, speccy,” Yapper spat, taking a step towards the boy.
“Oi, Yapper, leave him alone,” I shoved him back. “What does it mean then?” I asked the boy.
“Oh yeah, right, I got it wrong. It’s like ratty, like a rat. Ha ha, rat-face!” Yapper sneered and pointed at me.
“Yapper shut up for once!” I shoved him harder but he just laughed it off. He was bigger than me, after all.
The boy seemed uncertain, glancing nervously at Yapper as he said, “it actually means neat. Like – like smart, stylish.”
“Ha!” I wheeled on Yapper. “You said I look nice, you lurrrrrve me! Dummy.”
Yapper went red as a tomato and shuffled off to sulk on the roundabout.
“What’s your name?” I asked the boy with the glasses.
He shrugged, “I don’t have one.”
“Give yourself one,” I said.
He wrinkled his nose, thinking. “I think – I think I would like to call myself Beano. I had a comic called that once, and I think it’s a good name.”
“Then nice to meet you, Beano,” I smiled and held out a hand for him to shake. He shook it and smiled back.
“It’s better than a dog’s name like Yapper,” I whispered, jerking a thumb at Yapper who was still off sulking.
Me and Beano giggled.
Disclaimer: I had to Google what natty meant for this prompt, and it provided some surprise inspiration!