Leg It (Part fifty-eight)

I threw my bag on the floor and slumped on the bed. I placed my hand on the radiator and as expected, the heating was turned off. My mother thought it was a waste.

I took the sopping books from my bag spread them out across the floor. I mopped each page with an old T-shirt to take away the worst of the dampness. I then placed them across the radiator hoping that they would somehow dry out by morning. I wrapped my quilt around me and switched on my BBC computer to work on my latest program. My parents had bought it as an educational tool so didn’t allow me to have any games. I spent my time learning how to program so I could create my own games and had already managed a couple of basic ones.

I didn’t show my Mam my exercise books the next morning. Whilst the radiators hadn’t been switched on, they did eventually dry out but they were ruined. The pages were crumpled, the words all blurred. I considered saying I had dropped them in a puddle but there was no disguising the unmistakable stench of urine.

“I don’t believe you sometimes,” my mother was exasperated. “Why didn’t you tell me last night that you had lost them again? There’s no television for you for the rest of the week and you’re going to do the washing up every night after tea.”

I shrugged and headed off for school. The rest of the week would follow a familiar pattern. I would have my tea, wash up and go upstairs to go on my computer, waiting for the shout from my mother telling me I hadn’t washed the pans properly and to come down and do them again.

The days weren’t any different.

“I’ve lost it, Sir.”

“What again?”

“Yes Sir.”

I had to go into each lesson and explain to the increasingly exasperated teachers that I hadn’t done my homework as I had lost my exercise book. I had seen Paul Loftus use this excuse and he got away with it. I never did. Each teacher made me pay for a new book and also gave me detention.

“What do you mean you’ve been in detention again?” My Mam was now screaming at me.

“You know that I’ve lost my books. I’ve already told you that.”

I was wasting my time.

“I’m phoning the school. This is getting ridiculous.”

I thought that she might have tried to find the root of the problem but true to form, my mother and the teachers agreed that I was a hopeless case. I was put on permanent washing up duties and placed on a one-month TV embargo. It was around this time that I became a compulsive masturbator. Along with my computer it was the only form of entertainment left open to me.

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

It had started to drizzle when I left the hall. It had been about an hour since Kev had taken the phone call and left the reunion suddenly.

I parked at the Seaburn Centre and took the short walk down to the seafront and along to Kev’s house. As I approached the front gate a woman was leaving the house. She looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t quite place her. She wore a black leather mini skirt and stiletto heels. I waited on the corner until she left the garden and headed down the road.

A light was on in the study and as I got to the front door it was already ajar. I edged it open a little further and walked in. There were no signs of life so I turned right and headed down the passage towards the study. A stream of light was coming from beneath the door. I stood outside for a moment, realising that I’d started to sweat, and tried to compose myself. I had worked this out in my head a thousand times but now; now that I was actually here, I started to shake. My heart started to race.

It’s now or never.

I opened the door and walked in. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting; I certainly hadn’t expected to see Kev sat behind his desk with an automatic pistol in his hand.

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

I explained my situation to Elvis as we walked to school.

“The one good thing to come out of this is that I don’t have to leave school at the same time as Kevin Davison and his mates.”

“Not a bad thing, unless they’ve been in detention as well.”

“The teachers have become sick of giving me essays on Ping Pong balls and other pointless exercises so at least I’m able to do my homework before I go home,” I said. “I get to spend the whole night on the computer. I’m getting quite good these days.”

“Me as well. With you not being out much I’ve been doing quite a bit myself.”

“Stop here a second.” I darted down the back lane.

“What are you doing?” Elvis had followed me.

“Changing my shoes.”

“Why didn’t you change them in the house?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

I had my trainers in my bag and was wearing my white socks under my grey ones. This way, my mother was satisfied that I was leaving the house in the correct shoes and socks and I would also arrive at school in my trainers saving me from more humiliation.

“God, you’re weird sometimes.”

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

“Pete. Come in. I’ve been expecting you.” Kev waved me in with his gun.

“You have?”

This wasn’t how I’d planned it.

“How long did you say it’s been? Ten, twelve….”

“Fifteen. It’s been fifteen years since we left school.”

“Fifteen years? Long time. So where did you go? No, actually, why did you come back?”

“Unfinished business.”

“Claire?”

“There were other, more pressing matters.”

I noticed the half empty bottle of Jack Daniels on Kev’s desk.

“I’ve known all along you know, about you and Claire. I knew she always held a torch for you. That’s okay though, I didn’t hold it against you. Not until you came back anyway. Now it’s different. I’ve always known she didn’t really love me. She may have thought she did at one time but that’s all changed now. Now that little Peter Wood is back.”

Kev took a mouthful of bourbon and pointed at the chair with his gun. I chose to stand.

“I should kill you,” he said.

“Why haven’t you? I’ve been here for five minutes now; you’ve got a gun in your hand. I’m sure a man of your means and contacts could have taken care of the business as soon as I arrived back.”

“I could have killed you years ago, I should have killed you years ago. I knew it was you who stitched me up. The trouble is Pete. I’ve always admired you. Feared you in a way. Not in a physical way obviously. That would be ridiculous. When you decided that you had had enough you just walked way. Left it all behind. I couldn’t do that I get too excited.”

“I wouldn’t have had you down as one of the most emotional people in the world.”

“Anger Pete, anger,” Kev slammed the tumbler down on the desk. “That’s my biggest enemy. I can’t control it, like now for instance. I know someone else has stitched me up and really I should kill them. I certainly feel like it. It wouldn’t be the first time but when does it stop?”

“When you want it to I suppose.”

“Well, it’s going to stop now. Right here in this room. With just me and you.”

He took a large swig from the bottle. I looked around the room. The clock on the wall showed it was ten past ten, I had already been there longer than expected.

“You know the truth don’t you, Pete? I’m grateful that you kept it a secret for so long but it had to come out sooner or later.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant but I decided not to interrupt.

“He used to beat us you know, my sister and me? He used to get pissed up on whisky then beat the shit out of us. Belt sometimes even a table leg when he was particularly angry. I used to think it was my fault. Remember how I was always in trouble at school? I thought I was the cause of his drinking and the beatings. I didn’t for one minute think it was the other way round.”

His eyes were bloodshot, possibly tears, more likely just the drink.

“Go on,” I said.

“When Rowcroft used to beat me at school I used to laugh at him, get him to hit me harder. I knew that no matter what he threw at me, it wouldn’t be half as bad as what my father did to me when I got home.”

Kev took another swig of whisky.

“How did you cope with it? Did you never want to fight back?”

“Thing is, I was so used to it, I stopped being bothered. I used to take the beatings and get on with my life.”

Kev offered me the bottle. I shook my head.

“It was only when I realised what he was really doing to my sister that it started to affect me.”

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

 

Another installment of Leg It by Alan Parkinson 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.

 

Another installment of Leg It by Alan Parkinson 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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