Leg It (Part Six)

“Jesus.”

We watched as Kev ran across the road and flicked the Vs to the bus driver who honked his horn at him.

We found out the next day that Mr Rowcroft had invited Kev to the front of the class to get his backside warmed by his trainer. This was due to the fact that Kev had attempted to set fire to Kelly Atkinson’s hair. He deemed this an unfair punishment and decided to go home. Whilst Gilbert was a ‘Special Child’ there was something a little more special about Kevin Davison as we were all eventually to find out.

***************

Claire put on her swimsuit and took a glass of wine out to the pool. She knew she still had a good figure, although she had let herself go a little bit recently. Gilbert was working in the garden and she noticed him looking. It always embarrassed him when she wore her swimsuit. Without letting on she had seen him she adjusted the top showing off her cleavage to full effect.

If he’s going to look, he might as well see something worthwhile.

Gilbert could feel his cheeks glowing as he dug a hole with his trowel. He could virtually dig it with the bulge he had in his pants.

***************

“Have you seen this?” Elvis waved a copy of the Echo at me frantically.

“No, what’s up?”

“Elvis Costello is playing at the City Hall. We have to go and see him.” His eyes seemed to double in size beneath his glasses.

“How are we going to manage that?” I asked. “I get ten pence a week pocket money and the tickets will cost at least a fiver.”

“I’ve got a plan,” Elvis said eagerly. “We can take all the empty pop bottles back to the shop and make money that way. Then we can do odd jobs for people, gardening and stuff. We’ll make a fortune.”

He wasn’t going to be distracted from his task.

“Who’s Elvis Costello?” Gilbert looked confused.

“Who’s Elvis Costello?” Exclaimed Elvis. “Are you joking? He’s the greatest pop star ever. Oliver’s army, Accidents will happen, you must know who he is.”

“No, never heard of him.”

“Tall bloke, skinny, with thick glasses, ring any bells.” Bumper joined in nodding in Elvis’ direction.

“I never knew you were a pop star, Elvis.” Gilbert was more confused than ever.

“He’s not the pop star, idiot,” Bumper shook his head “he’s just named after him.”

“I wish I had a pop star named after me, it must be great.” We looked at each other in disbelief; this was going to be harder than I thought.

“Come on, we’ll explain it on the way,” Bumper put his arm around Gilbert as we headed down the street. We were off to work.

***************

I had been sat in the car for over an hour now and was beginning to drift off. The knock on the window took me by surprise.

“Pete?”

“Gilbert, I didn’t see you there, mate. How are you?” I straightened myself up and tried to look awake.

“Good, I haven’t seen you in ages. It must be at least two or three …”

“Fifteen, Gilbert. It’s been fifteen years since I’ve seen you.”

“Is it? I never was that good at maths. What are you doing back here?”

“Thought I’d look up a few mates. Maybe have a bit of a reunion.”

“Good idea. Were you going to see Kev?” asked Gilbert. “I’ve just finished his garden. He’s doing all right for himself now, making a mint. Not that I’m sure what he does mind but he has got a big house.”

“Kev lives round here does he? I didn’t realise. He is doing well isn’t he? Anyway I’m glad I’ve bumped into you. I’ve got an invite to the school reunion for you.” I took an invite from the glove box and handed it to Gilbert.

“Fancy dress? Great, I love fancy dress. I might go as Batman.”

“Fancy dress? What makes you say that?” I was confused.

“Mr Burns being dressed as a frogman. I just thought it was fancy dress.”

“It’s not a frogman’s outfit it’s…oh never mind. You will be coming won’t you?”

“Yeah try keeping me away.”

With that Gilbert turned away to walk down the road. I noticed that he had his name imprinted on the back of his black leather biker’s jacket in metal studs. ‘GIBLET’ it proudly proclaimed. He stopped for a moment, turned round and headed back towards to the car pushing his wheelbarrow in front of him. “Wrong way,” he said, pointing in the direction he was going. “I’ve got shit for brains.”

***************

“Sorry son we don’t have a garden.” The old woman shut the door on us.

“Who’s stupid idea was this,” Bumper looked at us all, “deciding to become gardeners in a street of terraced houses? We’ll be lucky if we get a window box to work on.”

We’d been trying all day and hadn’t earned a penny.

“I knew it was a waste of time,” said Elvis.

“No you didn’t,” I said, “ it was your idea.”

“Bugger off.”

Elvis stormed off down the street in the huff. I looked at my watch; it was nearly tea time.

“I’m off home, see you tomorrow.”

Gilbert and Bumper were left leaning against the wall. “I still don’t get it,” said Gilbert, “if Elvis is a pop star, why can’t he get us free tickets?”

***************

The rain had been falling steadily for nearly two hours now. The windows of the BMW were a torrent of water. I didn’t want to use the wipers too much in case I drew attention to myself. I was parked just down the street from the large detached house I was watching. I was convinced it was Claire I had seen. I possibly should have asked Gilbert; if he was working round here surely he would know which house Claire lived in.

At first I had thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. After what Elvis had shown me last night I didn’t believe anything I saw anymore. Fifteen years hadn’t dulled my memories though.

Admittedly she was a little plumper than I remembered, then again who wasn’t? Her hair was different, bobbed but still modern. I’d always worried that when I returned she would be somehow different, maybe fatter, or tattooed or anything. I wasn’t sure what I’d thought. She was still as beautiful as I remembered and was obviously doing okay for herself. A big house on the seafront, she always said she was going to become successful and I was happy for her.

It had been a chance sighting. I had headed down towards the beach as I had wanted to check out the lighthouse and see the changes that had been made to the seafront. It had been one of the first things on my ‘To Do’ list when I returned.

There was a new pub that was made out of a railway carriage. The Pullman Lodge sat alongside the Seaburn Centre, a small but tidy sports centre. The supermarket was also new, everything had changed and I was amazed at the transformation. I had started at the bridge and walked down past the university and the Glass Centre, stopping to try out the glass roof I had heard so much about. It was a magnificent structure but a sign of the times that the first thing the national press picked up on was the fact that you could see up a woman’s skirt if she walked on the transparent roof. I checked out the sculptures as I headed down to the harbour to look around the new marina. The yachts and penthouse flats suggested that there was more money in Sunderland than I thought. The dog shit that covered the marina suggested that some people didn’t deserve it.

***************

Another installment to follow same time next week.

If this has whetted your appetitie and you would like to buy the book for a bargain £1.99 on Kindle please click here.

It is also available in paperback and on iBooks.


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