“Leave it.” Claire said. The phone was ringing again.
“It might be important,” argued Kev.
“I don’t care, we’re going to this reunion tonight and you promised me that you wouldn’t let business get in the way for once. Everybody’s going to be there already, come on.” Claire was adamant. She put in her earring and straightened her dress.
“How do I look?”
He wished that she made this type of effort for him. The phone stopped ringing.
“How’s the phone ringing downstairs and not in here?” Claire picked up the phone from the bedside cabinet and noticed it wasn’t connected.
“Like you said, we’re not going to let business get in the way this evening. I unplugged it so we weren’t disturbed.”
“Bit drastic isn’t it. Come on, I don’t want to miss anyone.” She ushered Kev out of the bedroom and switched out the light. “You don’t have to drive tonight, Kev. We can easily get a taxi if you want a drink.”
“Drinking at a school disco is a bit old fashioned don’t you think?” He didn’t want to go, he had a business to run and Friday was his busiest night.
“Let your hair down for once, you never know, you might enjoy yourself!”
My head was thumping and there was a ringing in my ears. It was getting louder as I started to wake. Then I realised it was the door. Somebody was banging on the door and ringing the bell. They weren’t giving in.
I went to the window to see who it was. I peeled back the curtains slightly so they wouldn’t notice me looking. It was Kev. Mr Burns must have let him out to go home and get changed. As he couldn’t go home stinking of vomit, Mr Burns had loaned him the only spare pair of trousers in the school; a pair of cricket whites. He looked ridiculous and it appeared that he wanted to take it out on someone. Well, it wasn’t going to be me. I went back to bed and pulled the pillow over my head. I would take my punishment at a later date thanks very much.
The banging and ringing eventually stopped and he must have given up. Then I heard the lock turn.
Christ, he’s breaking in.
The phone was by the front door; there was no way I was going to reach it before he got in.
I looked around frantically for something to protect myself with. I noticed the two-part snooker cue I had got for Christmas a couple of years ago. Strangely it was purple with black stripes, a weird combination in anyone’s eyes. I hadn’t used it much as it wasn’t really any better than the one-piece cues that came with the table, that’s why it was still lying in the bedroom. I took the heavier bottom end and held it in my right hand. What were the instructions he had given me when he had the fight?
“Just swing it and take out as many as you can.”
That was what I was going to have to do. I edged out of the bedroom door and stood on the landing at the top of the stairs. I peeked though the banister rails and saw his distinctive cricket whites at the bottom of the stairs. I backed into the doorway of my parent’s room and waited for him to come up the stairs. I would have more chance if I waited for him to get up to the top. A voice called up from the bottom of the stairs.
“Are you there, Pete?” It was Bernice. Of course, she had let him in. Maybe he had forced her at knifepoint. I decided not to answer.
“One of your friends is here. He wants to know if he can borrow some trousers. He’s had an accident in his.”
I stifled a laugh.
“He must be asleep love,” she said to Kev, “best leave him if he’s not well. I don’t know what you’re worried about anyway those trousers look really smart.”
I heard her close the door behind her and I headed back to bed. I knew I would suffer when I got back to school but I was beginning to think it was worth it.
Cockneys have no style? I bet even cockneys aren’t walking about wearing school blazers with a pair of cricket whites.
It hadn’t helped that when Kev had been walking home, he bumped into Joe Ingham and his mates. Nobody had said anything but as he was trying to build his reputation as a football casual it was a humiliation he could have done without.
“What do you want to go and do that for?” Elvis was looking worried again
“I have to do it. He has to know who is responsible for his downfall. That’s the whole point,” I replied.
“It’s far too risky. He’ll kill you.”
“If I don’t tell him he’ll just think it was bad luck or, at worst, one of his competitors muscling in. He has to know it was us, the ones he tormented all those years ago.”
“I’m not sure.”
“He has to feel the guilt, feel remorse,” I explained. “There would be no point otherwise. This will all have been worthless.”
“Isn’t it enough to know you are responsible?” Bumper was also concerned.
“No, I want to see his face. I want him to say he is sorry.”
“I don’t get it,” said Elvis.
“I do.” Gilbert had been sitting quietly for some time now.
“So you want to come with me then?” I asked.
“You must be fucking joking. We still don’t know what he has up his sleeve. I don’t want to be there but you can send him my regards. Let him know I was part of it.”
“Me too,” said Bumper.
“That just leaves you, Elvis. Are you sure?”
“I can see your point, I’m just a bit worried that…”
“A bit worried that what?”
“…that he’s not finished. That this will all come back to haunt us later.”
“Believe me, he’s finished. There will be no repercussions.”
“Fuck it. Count me in. Let him know. Don’t forget to tell him who’s idea it was to download the pictures from Burns’ files.”
“You’ve got a deal. Sure none of you want to come and see it for yourselves?”
“No, he’s all yours.”
“Any chance of that dance now?” Claire had sneaked up behind me. None of us had noticed.
“Not at the moment. I’ve got a little bit of business to attend to.”
“Well, don’t take too long. Gilbert here might have swept me off my feet by then.”
She grabbed Gilbert by the hand and led him to the dance-floor. His grin went from ear to ear.
Another installment of Leg It by Alan Parkinson to follow same time next week.
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