Now I’d been in trouble at school, not doing homework and that sort of thing but nothing like the trouble I was about to experience. What do you do when you’ve been thrown out of class? Burns hadn’t given me any instructions. Did I go straight to the Headmaster’s office? Did I go home? Did I go to confession and say a couple of Bloody Marys and a few How’s your Fathers? I wish he’d said.
Then Kev appeared. Fucking Hell he’d sent Kevin Davison to beat the shit out of me, I never expected that. Surely that’s not allowed.
Swear in Religious and they send the school bully to stick a crucifix up your arse. Now I was off. There was no way I was staying to see what he was going to do to me. I knew the Catholic Church was corrupt but I didn’t know they sent out punishment squads.
“Oi, Pete, where are you going?”
Shit too late.
“Fucking hilarious that, Pete. I was pissing myself.”
“Well, I was a bit bored,” I said, thinking on the spot.
“Aye, me too. Probably get detention.”
“I just hope he doesn’t tell our Dads.”
“Well he’s not likely to tell mine is he?”
Oh shit, I’m a dead man.’
“I mean he only gets to talk to them that went upstairs, not down below where my dad is.”
“Cool it. We are meant to be keeping a low profile,” Elvis tried to calm me down.
“I knew he was an arsehole but hitting women, hitting Claire, it makes me more sure than ever now.” I turned to Gilbert. “What happened? Is Claire alright?”
“Yeah. I mean it was a pretty hard punch, second one in a week, but then he turned his attentions to me. I was pleased in a way, if he’s hitting me at least I know he’s not hitting her.”
The tears were now falling down Gilbert’s cheeks.
“Very admirable.” Elvis didn’t mean to sound sarcastic this time but that’s how it sounded. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it to come out like that. I should never have doubted you. Believe me, you’ve been far braver than most men. You should be proud of yourself.”
“Well I’m not. Hopefully though, with Pete’s plan I might be able to do something, actually stand up for myself for once. Give Kev what he really deserves.”
“Too fucking right,” Elvis agreed. “Let’s give this Bastard something he’ll never forget.”
All eyes turned to the door as a six-foot banana came bounding through it.
“Evening lads, sorry I’m late. Have I missed much?”
“Jesus, I thought we were meant to be keeping a low profile.”
After the seriousness of Gilbert’s story, the three of us fell about in fits of laughter. Gilbert’s tears now turned to tears of laughter.
“What’s the joke?”
Bumper was the distraction we needed.
“Sit yourself down mate. I’ll get them in.”
I headed to the bar, chuckling to myself. Elvis was right; these are the last people on earth Davison would expect trouble from. He was in for one big surprise.
“They say that everybody has their fifteen minutes of fame, well Pete’s lasted all of about ten seconds until Burnsy got hold of him.”
Kev had his usual audience grouped around the radiator in the toilet. They were hanging on every word. Seeming genuinely interested rather than scared for a change.
“He was dragged out by his hair, the little prick was even laughing. I mean, I don’t like the dickhead but you have to admit he was funny,” Kev was howling as he relived the tale. “Uproar, complete and utter mayhem. Everybody was in hysterics, except Mr Burns of course.”
“Tell them what you said, Kev.”
Tomma was beside him at the radiator, lighting his second tab of the day.
“I wasn’t going to be upstaged by Pete Wood so I decided to join in.”
“Sir, my Bible seems to have a misprint. That’s what he said” Tomma had enthusiastically picked up the story. “What? Said Burns. Well, in mine Sir, it says, “Fuck off you blind bastard!” Can you believe that? Kev was funnier than Wood although Burns didn’t think so.”
Kev continued. “Get out Davison before I bounce this sodding Bible off that brainless little head of yours. You bloody little heathen. Now I don’t even know what a heathen is but he didn’t sound happy. The blood vessels in his temples had swollen to ten times their normal size and he gripped the back of the chair to keep balance. “You’re going straight to hell you little…” Kev grabbed his chest and slumped backwards against the wall “…Bastards!”
“Why is Why?” the most frequently asked question in Britain?” I asked
“Well, possibly not in your case, Gilbert but everyone else in this country. When you ask someone to do something, the reply is never how are we going to do this, or what will we need to achieve this, it’s always why do we have to do the bloody thing in the first place?”
“You’ve lost me, Pete.”
“What I’m trying to say, Bumper is that when we are asked to do something we never just agree. We’re a bunch of cynical Bastards. We question everything. I’m asking for support now. You have to trust me. We’ve all agreed we’re in this together. Now is the time for us to show it, without question. Are you in or not? This is your final chance to back out.”
“Me as well, ” said Bumper.
“That just leaves you, Elvis. In or out?”
Elvis looked down into his pint of Guinness. This was his chance to stand up and take control of his life. He could also lose what he already had. This was the biggest decision of his life.
“Why do I feel like I’m in this whether I like it or not?”
“That’s as good an answer as any. Count me in. I’d rather live like a lion for one day than a lamb for the rest of my life.”
“Good man. What are you drinking?” I stood up to go to the bar.
“Why is that the least asked question around here?” laughed Bumper.
“See you tomorrow, gorgeous.”
Dominic gave Tracy one last kiss on the cheek and let his hand slip out of her’s as he headed down the path. He waved from the garden gate and then strolled down to the back lane which was the shortcut to his home.
Dominic Ledger had been seeing Tracy Cole for just over a week now and life was good. She went to Southwick Comp and was a bit of a stunner. All of his friends were jealous.
He swaggered down the back lane laughing to himself, not noticing the figure hiding in the shadows behind the dustbins. The blow to the back of his head knocked him clean off his feet. He wasn’t getting up again.
Another installment to follow same time next week.
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