The un-silenced exhaust of a motor cross bike roared behind us. The rider, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, was hurtling along the pavement at some speed, sending the old women at the bus stop into a panic. The bike was heading straight for the crowd and everybody parted as it screeched to a halt in front of Kev. It was Dave Lennox. He was in the same home as Kev and was another thug. He went to Southwick Comp but still got on with Kev as he didn’t take sides in the war with Ingham. Too many problems of his own to deal with he said.
“He’s not coming, Kev, ” said Lennox.
“You sure?” Kev knew that he was a fairly reliable source.
“He’s still there at the moment. Said he’s definitely not coming down.”
“You better not be taking the piss. If he’s lying in wait for me somewhere I’ll come after you.”
“Swear on it mate. He’s not coming.”
A ripple of excitement spread around the crowd. Nick arrived a couple of minutes later.
“They’re not there, Kev. He’s bottled it.”
“Looks like you’re right. He’s fucking bottled it!”
Kev punched Nick on the arm and, as the bike roared of into the distance, we headed back to school.
“Fucking stupid thing.” Bumper dropped the phone when it rang.
“That’s not a very pleasant greeting for your friends,” I said.
“Are you out yet? He’s nearly home.” Bumper sounded hassled.
“You’re going to have to delay him.”
“I don’t know. Use your initiative.”
I heard a screech of brakes and then the verbal onslaught.
“YOU FUCKING STUPID…NUN BASTARD!”
A car had halted suddenly on the roundabout, Bumper slammed the brakes on and narrowly missed crashing into the back of the silver Metro that had stopped in front of him. He automatically started his own brand of Road Rage. Admittedly he didn’t expect a sixty-year-old nun to get out of the car. On the other hand, she could hardly have expected to be abused by a six-foot banana.
“What’s happening, Bumper?”
“Divine, bastard intervention, that’s what. If she doesn’t get out of the fucking way I’ll be sending her straight back upstairs to see her boss.”
Bumper floored the accelerator of his bright yellow transit and started to overtake the startled nun. Luckily Kev’s Shogun hadn’t got very far. It was stuck at the road works and Bumper started to catch him up. Kev’s 4-wheel drive started to pull away and Bumper slipped in behind him. He beeped his horn and waved at Kev but as was normally the case, Kev was playing hardcore garage in his car and couldn’t hear a thing. As they sped up, Bumper realised he was going to have to attempt to overtake him. He dropped down to third and pulled out knowing that it’s never a good idea to cut Kev up, even if you are pretending to help him. Bumper waved desperately as he swerved alongside Kev’s motor. The Mondeo coming in the opposite direction flashed his lights frantically. Bumper was trying to hide his fear, which wasn’t easy to do, driving at sixty miles an hour, in a thirty zone with only one hand on the wheel! He pulled in front of the Shogun and slammed on the brakes. Kev broke sharply behind him, narrowly avoiding skidding into the side of the van.
The walk back to school was jubilant. We were the conquering heroes without even having to fight. I had stood side by side with Kev and Ingham had bottled it. We were all late back for school after lunch but nobody gave a toss. With it being Friday afternoon, the teachers didn’t seem to care either and nobody got into any trouble.
The jubilation lasted all weekend but came to an abrupt end on Monday morning. Brian Hathaway came to school sporting a black eye. He walked straight up to Kev.
“He’ll have you today, at Marley Pots field. One o’clock.”
I slumped against the wall.
Oh Fuck, I thought.
Kev spent all morning trying to drum up support but nobody was biting. Everyone knew about Marley Pots field; it was definitely their turf and was where some of the most legendary battles of the last few years had taken place. The place was notorious.
“Come on Pete, you have to come. You’re one of us now.”
I felt like I had no choice. There was no way that we were going to muster the same numbers that we had on Friday. Aside from the location our numbers were going to be depleted by the fact that Jamie and Martin had been suspended this morning. They had celebrated Friday’s victory by going into Woolworth’s in the town centre, emptying the display basket full of footballs and kicking them all over the store creating havoc. The police had been called and they were now in serious trouble.
Much to Kev’s disgust, Nick had also refused to go. He tried to warn Kev that it was too dangerous and he didn’t want any part of it. The top men in the gang were all missing; perhaps I could prove my loyalty now.
“Yeah I’ll be there, Kev.” I noticed Elvis shake his head in the background. He hadn’t spoken to me much recently.
From the hundred and fifty that had turned up on Friday, our number had now been whittled down to thirteen. This number included many like myself, there to prove their loyalty to Kev but hoping desperately that it didn’t turn violent. I hadn’t eaten lunch, as I felt sick. My stomach was churning and the mood of the group was sombre.
“Keep hold of this for me Pete.” Kev handed me a short metal bar.
“I thought there were no weapons.”
“There shouldn’t be but just in case. If it gets nasty just lash out with it, take as many out as you can.”
“Shouldn’t you keep it?” I said, “You’re in more danger than me.”
“Once I’m down I’m finished. If you see anybody jump in just hit out as hard as you can.”
Nobody expected Ingham to bottle it this time.
Another installment to follow same time next week.
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