All of the arrangements were made through Brian Hathaway. He was a pleasant lad who I’m sure wouldn’t have wanted to get involved but he was unfortunate enough to live next door to Ingham. He wouldn’t get any trouble, as he was just the messenger that’s how it worked.
The fight was to take place out the Tasty Bake takeaway on Friday lunchtime. The Tasty Bake was at the top of my street and was definitely our turf. I felt a little bit better about this as I had a guaranteed escape route and, as it was on our patch, the turn out from our school would be substantial. We would have plenty of back up if it got out of hand. I was even happier when Kev had told me that they had agreed not to use weapons. They were going to settle it fair and square.
“Can I ask you something, Gilbert?”
I looked past the swimming pool and out over the garden.
“Course you can, as long as it’s not maths.”
“Do you ever think about your dad, ever wonder where he is?”
“Sometimes, I used to think about him a lot when I was a kid. Thought that things might have been different if I had a father. Then gradually, after a while, I started thinking about him less and less; it became less of an issue. When I was twenty-one I toyed with the idea of trying to find him. You always hold out hope that they are going to be some multi-millionaire who hadn’t known about you. You hope that they will come and find you one day but then I woke up to myself.”
“Have you never asked your mother?”
“How could I? If she wanted me to know she would have told me. There must be some reason why she didn’t tell me.”
“I’m sure your father was a good man, I’m sure he loved you in his own way.”
“Whatever, all I know is that he was never there for me when I needed him. I’m just glad I have friends like you I can rely on.”
The phone rang and both of us jumped.
“Fucking Hell Pete. He’s left early. He hasn’t had his usual work out.” Bumper was frantic.
“Where’s he going?”
“I don’t fucking know, I’m not Mystic bleeding Meg you know.”
“Alright, follow him. Keep us up to date.” I tried to stay calm.
I didn’t concentrate much in my lessons on Friday and I had thought about bunking off for the morning and coming back at lunchtime but decided it was too dangerous. The morning flew by and we all congregated in the yard. The fight wasn’t until one so Kev sent out some scouts and the rest of us went for lunch. We didn’t want to all go at the same time as it would arouse suspicion.
When we finished lunch, we walked over the lower schoolyard, jumped the fence and headed to the Tasty Bake. I couldn’t believe the crowd that had gathered; there must have been at least one hundred and fifty. There was a splattering of girls but it was mainly lads. Admittedly a lot of them were younger than us but it still looked impressive. They cheered as we approached and I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I had expected.
We all chatted and exchanged pleasantries as we waited for Ingham. It was now five past one, Ingham was late but nobody was particularly concerned. Whilst his gang could come from one of four directions we were fairly certain that they would come along the main road. In any case we would see them from miles off, there wouldn’t be any surprise attacks.
Sam Newcombe who lived a few doors up from me came walking up the street. I knew him to say hello to but he didn’t mix with us much as he went to Southwick Comp. He had his uniform on and the mood turned ugly. I thought he was a little stupid to walk into this crowd but Sam wasn’t the one we were here to fight. Nick stepped in front of him and blocked his path.
“He’s ok, Nick, I know him,” I said.
Nick didn’t move and stared Sam straight in the eyes although Sam didn’t appear to be intimidated.
“Come on, Nick, just leave it,” I said.
He still didn’t move.
“Nick, if Pete says he’s ok then he’s ok,” Kev spoke up and Nick moved aside.
“Alright, Pete? Waiting for Ingham?” said Sam.
“Yeah, he’s cutting it a bit fine.”
“I think you’re going to have a long wait. He’s not coming.”
“Have you heard this, Kev? Ingham’s bottled it,” I said.
“He wouldn’t bottle it. We’ll wait.” Kev gave Sam an unconcerned glance and carried on chatting to someone else.
“Your choice Pete, I’m only telling you what I know.”
“Yeah cheers, Sam. I’ll think we’ll hang on a little longer though.”
We waited another ten minutes and still nobody showed.
“What do you think, Kev?” asked Nick.
“I don’t know. I can’t believe he would walk into our yard and take out Tomma but won’t come down here to fight me. He’s up to something. Where could he surprise us on the way back to school?”
“The only place they could hide in any numbers is the industrial estate. Do you think they’re waiting there?”
“Could be. Take a couple of others and go on a recce. We’ll wait here for you”
This was a chance to prove myself. I was fairly good at making myself invisible and I knew the area like the back of my hand so I was sure I was the best man for the job.
“No you’re ok, Pete. They can manage. You stay here.”
Nick and a couple others headed off towards the Industrial Estate. Everyone was a bit edgy now. We thought that they weren’t coming but weren’t sure. We were confident on our own turf but the walk back could be dangerous. We needed to know what was happening?
We didn’t have to wait for Nick to get our answer.
A woman in her forties, trying to look twenty, approached Bumper. Slightly overweight, she had her dyed blonde hair tied back in a ponytail and wore an expensive looking, white Nike tracksuit. Her face was brown, part sun-bed tan and part make up. It did little to hide her wrinkles.
“I’ll have half a dozen bananas please.”
“We haven’t got any.”
He didn’t look at her as he slammed the sides up on the stall.
“You’ve got no bananas?” The woman grabbed Bumper’s arm.
“YES, WE HAVE NO BANANAS!”
Bumper ran to the van and threw the shocked woman a bag of prunes.
“Here, have these. They’ll match your face.”
He jumped into the van and set off in chase of Kev, his wheels spinning and leaving black rubber scorched onto the concrete.
Gilbert and I headed back to the office.
“How are we doing?” I asked. “Have you got what we wanted?”
“It wasn’t as easy as I thought. He’s got pretty tight security on here,” Elvis replied.
“Not too tight for our Elvis though?”
“Here,” Elvis threw me a box of floppy disks, “all of his protection rackets, drug deals and other shady business practices. Everything you or our friendly local Bobbies would like to know about Mr Kevin Davison. He must have thought he had the most secure passwords as none of the information is encrypted; it has names, dates, the lot. Not all of the local police force would be too happy though. Some of their names seem to pop up quite a lot.”
“Well, I don’t want to worry you but there is one thing you might not have discovered about our Mr Davison yet.” I studied the box of disks.
“It’s that he has left the gym and he’s on his way home.”
“I’m not finished yet,” said Elvis.
“I thought we had everything we needed to get him banged up.”
“We have but we don’t want his stay inside to be pleasant, do we?”
“How do you mean?” I was confused.
“Nobody inside likes a nonce, do they? What do you think will happen when the police raid the house and find files from Mr Burn’s favourite website on Kev’s hard drive? They’re not going to keep it quiet are they?”
“Downloading it now.”
“Five, ten minutes at the most,” Elvis replied.
“He’ll be back in less than five.”
I looked nervously towards the door.
“Too late to back out now. He’ll definitely know we’ve been here. You’ll have to delay him.”
“Bumper. He’s watching him isn’t he?”
Another installment to follow same time next week.
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