Around the beginning of the 1960s, a single woman, who's first name nor maiden name is never revealed, meets and quickly falls for a man. Quickly she is married and finds that she is pregnant. Her first child, Darren Wayne is followed in quick succession by six other children. Donna Marie, Mickey, Eddie and Linda, are the only ones named in the productioon. Whilst her husband continues his life largely uninterrupted, hers is hindered by a life of drudgery, poverty and Motherhood. Money is tight and she is deeply in debt. She finds she cannot support her seven children when her husband walks out on her. She is faced with the humiliation of not even being able to afford the milk bill. Despite her protestations that she will be "Earning next week". The job, being that of a cleaner for a wealthy local couple, Mr and Mrs Lyons. She is enjoying the job and the money it brings but is shocked to find that her now departed husband had left her pregnant. She knows she can barely afford to raise the child, but tells Mrs Lyons that having children to her is not difficult and that she will be back at work almost immediately when the baby arrives
Mrs. Lyons is desperate for a baby but is unable to conceive, and would like to adopt a child but her husband does not agree. Mrs Johnstone finds out that she is going to have twins and explains to Mrs Lyons that she cannot afford to raise two more babies. Mrs Lyons then suggests that Mrs Johnstone give one of the babies to her. Mrs Johnstone apprehensively agrees to this and is made to swear on the Bible to keep to the deal. Mrs Johnstone has the twins (Mickey and Edward), but then regrets agreeing to give one away.
The Narrator reminds Mrs. Johnstone, when she is having second thoughts, that there was a deal and that she must stick to it. Deeply religious Mrs. Johnstone does agree to give the child away. The day she leaves the hospital with the twins Mrs Lyons spots her in the street and immediately lays claim to one of them. She simply cannot decide which one to give away and shouts at Mrs. Lyons not to tell her which one, but to take one while he back is turned away. In an emotional state she returns home with one pram.
She lies to her other children, saying that the other baby had died and gone to heaven. Mrs. Johnstone continues to work for Mrs Lyons, but Mrs Lyons soon feels that Mrs Johnstone is paying too much attention to the child that she has given up to her. She fires Mrs Johnstone, and offers her a financial pay off. Mrs Johnstone wants to take the baby with her, but Mrs. Lyons plays on Mrs Johnstone's superstitions by telling her that "if twins separated at birth learn that they were once one of a pair they will both immediately die". Mrs. Johnstone refuses to take the money that Mrs. Lyons offered her and leaves without the child and money. Almost eight years later, Mickey, the son Mrs. Johnstone kept, meets Edward, the other twin, and after learning they share the same birthday, the two boys make a pact to become Blood Brothers, with Mickey calling Edward: Eddie. Mrs. Johnstone finds them and sends Eddie away, telling him not to come round again or else the "Bogey-man" will get him. Later in the day Mickey goes to Eddie's house, and Mrs. Lyons throws him out. She and Eddie argue on the subject, and Eddie swears at her. Mrs. Lyons slaps him and immediately regrets her reaction. She realises that he has learned to swear from Mickey.
Mickey is playing with some neighbourhood children including his friend Linda. Afterwards, he takes her to see Eddie, and the three of them sneak off to play, but are caught by a policeman when about to throw stones through a window. Mrs. Lyons tries to find Eddie. She becomes worried about Eddie's friendship with Mickey, as she has started to believe the superstition that she herself had made up. She decides to move and persuades her husband who realises she is becoming mentally ill. When Eddie says goodbye, Mrs. Johnstone gives him a locket with a picture of herself and Mickey, as the boys separate. The scene shifts to the time around the end of the 1960s when the Johnstone family are also being rehoused from the condemned inner city slum area of Liverpool to a new council house in the nearby overspill town of Skelmersdale.
It is now the mid 1970s and Eddie, Mickey and Linda are 14 years old. The Johnstones' lives have improved since moving, and they have not seen Eddie in all this time. Mickey has a crush on Linda, who is obviously interested in him too, but Mickey does not know how to act with her. Both of them are suspended after mouthing off to their teacher. Eddie is suspended from his boarding school for refusing to give up Mrs. Johnstone's locket to a teacher, but he will not tell his Mother who it was from. Mrs. Lyons sees Mrs. Johnstone near her house and her worries are renewed. Eddie and Mickey bump into each other in a field, but do not recognize each other. They become friends again, each wanting to be like the other. They finally realize who the other is and meet up with Linda. Mrs. Lyons flies into a rage visiting her nemesis (Mrs. Johnstone) where she tries to kill Mrs. Johnstone, but she couldn't and Mrs Johnstone just showed her out of the door. Four years later, an 18-year-old Eddie has feelings for Linda, but will not say anything, as he knows Mickey likes her too. Eddie leaves for university, but not before encouraging Mickey to ask Linda out. During Eddie's absence, by the beginning of the 1980s, Mickey is made redundant from his factory job due to the recession, which forces him onto the dole. He soon discovers that Linda is pregnant, and they decide to get married.
Eddie returns at Christmas ready to party and have fun, but Mickey realizes that they are now very different; after a small fight with Eddie, they part. To get money, Mickey assists his brother Sammy in a robbery that goes wrong, and becomes an accessory to a murder committed by Sammy. He is sentenced to seven years in prison.
In prison, Mickey falls into a deep depression. When released early for good behaviour in the mid-1980s, he is still dependent on anti-depressants, and he turns away from Linda. Linda, unable to get Mickey off the anti-depressants, contacts Eddie, who is now a councillor, and he gets them their own house and gets Mickey a job. Linda worries about Mickey and meets up with Eddie. Mrs. Lyons sees them together and tells Mickey about it. Mickey, distraught over Eddie and Linda's affair, grabs the gun that Sammy hid before he got arrested and then storms down to the council offices to confront Eddie.
here, Eddie is giving a speech when Mickey storms in with the gun. Mickey asks why, even though Eddie has everything and Mickey has nothing, Eddie would take away the one good thing that Mickey had – Linda. Eddie denies this intention, and the police enter, demanding that Mickey put the gun down, Mickey lowers the gun. Mrs. Johnstone runs in and, in an attempt to stop Mickey from shooting Eddie, tells the two brothers the truth. Mickey despairs that he was not the one given away, because then he could have had the life given to Eddie. Mickey, distraught, gestures carelessly with the gun towards Eddie. The story ends when the police misinterpret this action and gun Mickey down as he accidentally shoots Eddie, killing them both. Mrs. Lyons's superstitious prediction has come true, and the Narrator questions whether class was more to blame than superstition