It was a late August evening with darkening shadows beginning to cover
the waterfront of Liverpool, and the pier head that spread out beneath
the impressive buildings of the Liver, Cunard and Mersey Docks and
Harbour Board, stood in a quiet, lifeless, summer haze. The lighting on
the three Graces as they were named, glowed across the dark waterfront,
the huge clock face of the Liver looking down on the ever changing
behaviour of its many generations A few busses stood in the silent and
still humid air awaiting none existent passengers, and the ferry coming
in from the other side of the river sounded its presence with a deep
bellow that resonated across the dark waters of the Mersey.
When it docked alongside the pontoon landing stage it had the same
sluggish emptiness as the pier, the amount of passengers disembarking
almost none existent. The last two people to come ashore were a young
couple that strolled leisurely up the iron-covered gangway towards the
pier head, carefree, their passions blind to the ominous atmosphere
that surrounded them. They stopped to kiss, then, when they were
assured that everyone had left the gangway, their love spilled over
into a desire that was mutual, the young man kissing her with a rough
lovemaking that she returned without thought.
On the night air the couple were startled by the voices of a song
resonating across the vast open space of the pier, the youthful
rowdiness of ‘She Loves You Yeah Yeah‘ blurting out with so much
energy, it filled the couple with a nervousness that was prevalent in
these days of the sixties. The loud robust voices came closer, scaring
the couple into a frigid state of expectation. When the yobish voices
burst into the covered structure of the gangway in an explosion of
noise, the two teenagers stopped their lovemaking with a fright that
was palpable. They both turned immediately to see the three over
zealous teenagers bounce into the covered gangway, all eyes meeting
simultaneously, their voices dying into an echo that left a deathly
silence. It was a moment of arrogance on one side facing fear on the
other. The young couple never moved, holding their breath with their
hearts thumping in their breasts in a hope that the three youths would
pass them by without any trouble, but it was not to be. Jono, Cuff and
Dunno, with their sickly smiles, strode leisurely down the gangway
towards the couple. They circled them like vultures, pushing them about
with fearful expressions of the face, finally jamming them tight
against the sides of the iron gangway. It was intimidating,
frightening, with the young girl unable to control a shake that racked
her whole body.
“Come on mate! Carry on what yeah were doin’. A want to see you in
action,” bullied John. The young man was too fearful to speak, in a
frozen state, his girlfriend in a similar position as she tried to bury
her head deep into her boyfriend’s chest.
John shouted again at the two frozen figures. “I said carry on didn’t
I. Come on. Get shaggin‘.”
The youth was the colour of marble with no muscles reacting to the
command, but his natural instinct kept a tight hold on the girls head
buried deep in his chest.
“The scared bastard doesn’t want to do it,” bawled Cuff with a sneer.
John grabbed the lad by his hair, pulling him away while Cuff heaved
the girl into his own arms, mauling her body roughly with his hands.
This action stirred the lad’s natural instinct to conquer his fear, to
protect, but before he had raised an arm in the girls defence, John had
pulled the young man’s head forward to butt the white scared face with
such force; it ran blood red like a burst beetroot.
“Yeah scared little prick,” bawled, John, rifling the youth’s pockets.
“We’re not goin’ to get rich with these two,” he bawled, showing his
mates a few measly pounds
The girl began to cry, her body arched against the side of the gangway
with the pressure Cuff was exerting.
Dunno, who was standing by and never in any of the action that was
taking place, smiled at the girl’s behaviour with his own comments
“What the fucks wrong with you? ‟We haven’t touched you yet.”
“Give me your hand,” commanded John aggressively, grabbing the lads arm
with force. He pulled the watch away from the wrist, then, once they
had fleeced the couple dry of all they possessed, they all decided to
give the lad a good kicking, their boots going into the youth’s ribs
with real hatred.
This sudden melee that was beast like in its attack left the girl open
to escape. She dashed up the gangway to the café that stood by the
ticket office, but it was as quiet as the rest of the pier, leaving her
in a confused and at a loss what to do. She spotted the bus drivers
parked nearby with the men having a quick smoke. Almost out of breath,
her desperation so obvious, she persuaded one of the drivers to help
her. He immediately threw his cigarette to the ground to dash ahead of
her to the gangway. As he approached, he could hear the voices of the
three teenagers singing the Beatles song. ‘She loves you Yeah, Yeah
Yeah’ as it died away from the gangway to the landing stage. Entering
the iron structure with caution, his manliness conquering his fear, the
bus driver was just in time to see the three lads running out onto the
pontoon stage. When he reached the youth who was still on the floor, he
decided to leave the girl to look after him as he set off in pursuit of
the youths. In this present day of crime and warring gangs, the bus
driver deftly placed his steps as he moved out of the gangway on to the
gloomy empty stage, his breath held with an expectation in his mind
that he could be in for a beating, but when he got there, all he could
hear was the sound of lapping water on the pontoons below. It was
strangely quiet, a kind of eerie atmosphere, as if the lads had
disappeared into the murky river. He boarded the ferry to speak to a
seaman who joined him in a search of the deserted ship, but within
minutes he was back on the stage and at a loss as to where they had
With the priority now the youth on the gangway, the driver helped both
teenagers to the café. Meanwhile, three heads popped up simultaneously
over the edge of the landing stage peering around in the silent, dark,
salty air. They had been sitting on the inside of the huge rubber tyres
that hung on the sides of the pontoons.
“Has he gone?” asked Dunno.
“You ask some stupid bloody questions you do. Doesn’t it look as though
he’s gone?” snarled Cuff.
They all climbed up onto the stage with an immediate celebration of
their achievements. This was done by Cuff seizing an empty bottle that
was lying at his feet and flinging it at the ferryboat’s side. His
laughter mixed with the resounding smash of glass that splintered into
a thousand pieces, showing a pleasurable act that satisfied his urge to
With all the exuberance of youth and the joy of beating the forces that
seemed hell bent on teaching them something they hated, the three young
teenagers ran back up the gangway singing ‘She Loves You’, and as they
passed by the café window they all danced stupidly, pulling faces,
sticking their fingers up to the girl being nursed by her boyfriend.
From here on they ran like wild animals across the now almost dark
expanse of the pier head, their threatening voices shouting obscene
words with a warning to all in their presence that they were top dogs
and woe betide anyone who disagreed. They ran as a pack between the
towering, dominant buildings of the Liver and Cunard, shouting abuse at
anyone who claimed any form of authority.
John was the dominant male with every aspect of his actions spelling
fear to anyone who dared to disobey his eighteen years of a violent
upbringing. He demanded respect to the power that was implanted in his
thin body. It oozed out of his sullen face with a flood of suspicion in
the eyes, very noticeable when his head was slightly to one side,
giving the look of the devil with a deep penetrating stare. His hair
was dark, tussled in wisps on the forehead, eyes brown and fairly wide
apart for such a slim face, and the countenance that was gypsy like was
hard, so hard.
Coming out of Water Street into Dale Street that led to the town
centre, they were still singing. It was a street that by day could be
heavy with traffic, but by midnight thronged with young clubbers with
not an old person in sight. But at this in between time on Friday
evenings it was almost deserted, a street that pre war would have been
alight by shop windows displaying their wares, their lights flooding
the pavements with brightness and warmth. Gaily coloured goods would
have been beautifully displayed by window dressers that had plied their
trade with a hope that it would catch the eye of the evening walkers,
but not these days, oh no. The culture was beginning to change because
of laws that had long since gone, leaving every nook and cranny full of
danger. The windows were now being replaced with the dark steel of
authority, the iron shutters leaving the pavements cold and
frightening. The light from the street lamps above were of little
comfort to the elderly man and woman walking the same darkening path
that many years ago would have been their pleasure. It was now a silent
world that seemed to warn you to stay in your home. You could tell by
the old couple’s hesitant walk that they were desperately trying to
come to a decision? Whether to carry on walking towards John and his
mates, or cross to the other side? But noticing some youths on that
side of the road too, they were left with no alternative but to carry
on and face what ever may come, a decision that the old D Day war
veteran never dreamt he would have to make in his own country.
The three teenagers saw the two elderly people approaching, sensing a
fear in their faces that gave them an extra boost to the control they
knew they had. They strode cockily towards the old couple with a
frightening silence of intent, the atmosphere generating a fear to a
man who was lost in his own country. Their slanted smiles that creased
their faces showed the same old warning of their presence. They were
dressed in coloured sweat shirts with the words ‘Dick Turpin, You’re
Money or Your Life’ blazoned on their chests. With the three of them
spread out it was impossible for the couple to pass, leaving the old
man instinctively to hold his ground with a terrible fear for his wife,
but also a deep humiliation as to the weakness of his own frail body.
John held out his hand like a demand from some high authority. “Come on
mate. Dig in. Give us what you’ve got.”
The old man without retaliation, dutifully fumbled with shaking hands
into his pocket, passing over some change with a trembling hand.
Cuff looked into John’s hand. ”Fuck me! Is that all he’s got.” He
grabbed the old mans coat and pulled him forward with one hand while
the other deftly invaded his pockets. “The tight old get’s got nothing
else,” he shouted in annoyance. With one hand still holding the man, he
came upwards with his fist hard into the stomach, felling him like a
sack of dough. His wife let out a scream as she dropped to her knees in
an effort to help her husband. Still annoyed, Cuff was about to give
the old man a kicking but John stopped him.
“Leave him,” shouted John, putting his arm across Cuffs chest.
The facial expression on John was enough to stop Cuff in his tracks,
forcing him into a degrading submission, his thin wisps of lifeless
brown hair falling across dark eyes, eyes that were narrow, full of the
devil in a long, gaunt face.
The three youths on the opposite side of the street stopped to watch
the drama being played out, then, when it was all over, they carried on
walking with the incident forgotten.
Having had their fun and all their excitement loosing its momentum, it
was Dunno that took their attention. “Come on,” he laughed. “Let’s go
to the Smoky”.
Suddenly, like jack in the boxes with a spring in their step, they all
ran up Dale Street singing ‘She Loves You’, leaving the elderly lady in
shock as she cradled her husband in her lap.
A couple of hundred yards further on the three lads turned up one of
the small alleyways that displayed it as a relic from the past, it‘s
cobbled ground uneven under their feet. Stopping by an old brick wall
of no more than ten feet high, they climbed it like monkeys, balancing
precariously across the top to another wall that led to a fire escape
ladder against a three story building. They then scampered up its iron
rungs with youthful energy to the top, hopped over a small wall that
ringed a flat roof, then, made their way to a small wooden structure of
no more than six feet in height. This was their Smokey. It was a shed
that contained a huge electric motor operating a lift in the offices
below. John felt along the top edge of the roof to retrieve a
screwdriver that was their key to the shack. Within seconds he had
prized off two slats of wood to enter through the small space.
This was their Smokey, a secret little world where they gathered to
tell tales from the past. Cook up exciting adventures to replace their
bored, uneventful lives. A place that John and Dunno had found just
before Cuff had moved into their district. It was John’s territory with
no questions asked, and there was no doubt as to who made the rules,
rules that Cuff found hard to take. Of course there was never any
problem with Dunno, because he adored John as his leader and was
completely subservient to him. Dunno was a boy that was completely
ignorant of innuendos in sentences that could belittle him, a complete
follower without any question. He was slightly smaller than his two
friends, and because he was a little heavy, he seemed dumpy. His long
blond hair with blue eyes on a rounded face made him a kind of angel to
look at, and most probably would have been if his life had of taken a
different course. But Cuff was a different kettle of fish. He was as
thin as a rake with narrow shoulders, his long neck and long face with
its sallow skin seemed to be stretched round sunken eyes, close eyes
that were dark, able to fire suddenly and put you in your place. Like
John, he hated authority which meant they often clashed, but there was
a difference between the two. Though Cuff had the meanest, most
frightening face you would wish to encounter, there was no power behind
it. Not like John. He could follow up his threats with a force that put
you in a life threatening situation, and it made Cuff scared stiff.
With the one solitary light on and the motor whirring every time some
one used the lift in the offices below, the lads settled down with
their backs to the wall, smoking their cigarettes with puffed cheeks
like little men, completely relaxed like all males do when they have
been hard at work at a job they loved.
“The staff must be on overtime down there mustn’t they? It’s about
eight o’clock,” said Dunno.
“Daft questions and daft statements,” scoffed Cuff, bringing his sleeve
across his nose. “What the bloody hell do yeah think they’re there for
yeah stupid bugger. Their health?” There was no retaliation from Dunno
to the condemnation as to his mentality, because this was his nature,
the old sticks and stones rhyme suiting him perfectly.
There was a short spell of silence as the lift house began to fill with
a blue haze from their cigarettes, its bluish tint circling slowly
upwards towards the dull solitary light bulb above, creating a fog like
atmosphere. They were all blowing smoke in the air like steam trains
when Cuff laughed. “Did yeah see that old buggers face when I hit him,”
he grinned, showing a comic intent by displaying a wide gaupy mouth. “I
hate old bastards don’t you?”
John answered in one syllable. “No.”
This surprised Cuff, stopping him from voicing any more thoughts.
“It’s because you liked yeah granddad isn’t it?” smiled Dunno
Full of dreams, his eyes staring into space, John answered in a sincere
tone. “Me Granddad was a great guy. Wish he was here now…. He had
medals from the war yeah know.”
“Did he kill any Germins?” asked Dunno, with a sparkle in his blue eyes.
“I don’t know. He was a stoker in the navy in convoys. He told me that
he must have killed some in their submarines, but he didn’t like it. He
said he felt sorry for them.”
“Bloody hell! I’d love to do that. It must have been excitin’.”
“Have you had any more tries at getting into the navy?” asked Cuff.
“Yerr, but it’s hard,” answered Dunno sadly.
Cuff sniggered as he puffed at his cigarette. “It’s not hard yeah
stupid nit, it’s you that’s fucking thick.”
None of these snipes or jibes had any effect on the little round faced
lad. There was not one ounce of animosity running through his body.
“Bet you wouldn’t pass the exam,” he said with a weak retaliation.
John sniggered back.” Course he wouldn’t. They have young officers in
the navy called Snotties, but not his kind. One look at his conk is all
they would need. They’d chase him.”
Dunno loved stories in the Smokey, and the best storyteller in the
world was his life long friend John. There was nothing better than when
John held his attention with tales of adventure “Ahh, come on Jono,
tell us more about yeah Granddad?”
John stubbed his cigarette as both young lads waited for him to begin,
this being a moment in his tormented life when he could confide his
inner feelings with comfort, express himself and say things close to
his heart. The Smokey was his sanctuary, his saviour. A place to sooth
his tormented mind. A place to look into a person’s eye and tell them
your most inner thoughts without fear. “Do yeah know what me granddad
did before the war?”
Dunno, looked puzzled. ‟Yeah mean his job like?”
“Yeah! I used to love him showing’ me how he worked with horses.
Honestly! He was fantastic. When he was telling me I always felt as
though I was there with him. I think that’s why I like horses now yeah
Dunno was quick of the mark with his question. “Yeah mean he used to
ride them like a jockey.”
“No! Not that” answered John, screwing up his face at his friend’s lack
of knowledge. “He was a carter.”
Dunno gaped.” What’s that?”
This was Cuff’s opportunity to sling more abuse. “There you are I told
yeah didn’t I. He knows bugger all.”
John hated people running Dunno down. Cuffs continual digs at his
friend fired his frustration with a feeling that he had to speak up for
his mate, something he had always done since school days. “All right
smart arse you tell me what a carter is?”
There was a supercilious smile with a lot of confidence on Cuff’s face.
“He drives a horse and cart” he answered.
“Oh fuck off!” shouted John after a pause, then carrying on with his
story. “Well that’s what he was anyway, a carter. These were not little
horses yeah know; these were bloody big horses called shires pulling
massive loads and me granddad wasn’t a little man.” He jumped to his
feet to indicate his grandfather’s height with his hands, his
enthusiasm boiling over “He was up here.” Then he indicated with the
other hand that shot up another foot. “These Shires were bloody big.
They were massive. Do yeah know Sylvester Street off the dock road, its
steep isn’t it? Well normally they’d have a team of horses, that’s
two,” he added for the benefit of Dunno. “Sometimes the loads would be
that heavy they’d have to get an extra horse from the stable. That
meant three horses pulling tons of bran and molasses all the way up
from the dock road to Scotland road.” From here on John grabbed an
imaginary bridal with one hand while his other hand smacked the horse,
this action having a major effect on Dunno that sent his imagination
into riot mode as John continued. “He told me when they started at the
bottom of the road he used to grab the bridal of the lead horse and
smack its rump to get a run out of it up the hill.”
“What’s a rump?” enquired Dunno quickly, his big blue eyes wide and
“It’s its arse yeah stupid get,” shouted Cuff.
Dunno hated interruptions when a story was being told. “All right, all
right, go on, Jono” he shouted.
John looked down on Cuff with an expression that defied him to try
again. “Well anyway” he carried on. “As they pulled these huge loads up
Sylvester Street, the shires bodies would be a mass of shining wet
muscle that glistened and rippled on their huge rumps. Their powerful
hind legs would be stretched out almost straight pulling on the great
loads; their steel shoes smashing into the cobblestones making sparks
fly everywhere. Veins, on their necks would stand out like thick ropes
with the strain. Then, as they pulled with their massive strength,
their heads would stretch high with eyes wide and staring, white saliva
would bubble from their mouths while their shining bellies heaved with
their power.” John blew out his cheeks, then moved his head from side
to side with unbelievable wonder “Me granddad said it was a sight that
has been lost for ever.”
Dunno was absolutely spellbound. “Fucking hell Jono! You don’t half
tell it good. Did yeah granddad show you how to tell stories?”
Cuffs lower stomach was churning with jealousy. He had the feeling of
being left out, a feeling that was a constant plague in his sorry life,
so he had to find relief by disagreeing. ‟I’ve heard of two horses
pulling a cart but not three.”
“Are you calling me granddad a liar?”
Cuff was unable to look John in the face as he brought his sleeve
across his nose. In an almost inaudible voice he answered the
challenge. “No. It’s just that I’ve never heard of it before that’s
“Well now you’re a bit more sodden educated aren’t yeah.”
Cuff left the lift house seething.
“I’ll marmalise him one day.”
“Ahh, fuck him. Come on. Tell us more about yeah granddad.”
John sat down again alongside Dunno, lighting another cigarette while
he gathered his thoughts. “He was a great guy. I wish he wasn’t dead.
He lived till he was nearly ninety yeah know. And do yeah know what the
old bugger did when he left being a carter to become a docker? He used
to knock off frozen meat from the ships.” John was now back in his
element again, showing some rare smiles with the thoughts of a
grandfather he loved. “Do yeah know how he got the meat passed the
bizzies on the gate? He’d wrap a big sheet of frozen ribs round his
stomach under his shirt with the ice running down his belly. He was a
tough old bastard.” Suddenly, John burst out laughing. “Bloody hell! I
remember him coming home one time and Grandma saw all his trousers wet
and she thought he’d pissed himself.”
Dunno only half smiled, his inability to see the funny side leaving him
perplexed.” Why did she think that?”
“Ahh soddin ‘ell Dunno. No wonder that bastard out there gets on to
yeah. “The bloody ice on the meat melted!”
Dunno still didn’t laugh because his whole attention was still on story
telling. “What about your other granddad, didn’t he ever tell you any
John’s whole expression changed as if the light had faded. “Who? Me
dad’s dad? He was a shitbag. A piss artist like me old feller. In the
army he was. Told me nothin’. Anyway! We hardly ever saw him.”
The conversation that was being bandied about suddenly brought on more
dark shadows into John’s mind, forcing him to concentrate on Cuff.
“What’s he up to? What’s he doin’ out there”?
You know where he’ll be,” said Dunno with a grin.
“Yeah!” snarled John as he got to his feet to leaving the lift house
with a temper. “He’ll drop us in that place one day then we’ll loose
Both lads knew exactly where Cuff would be. This was Cuff with his
unreliability, a fool that was unable to see any further than the end
of his wet beak.
They found him exactly where they had expected, stooped on his haunches
looking down through a fanlight to a ladies toilet below where a young
girl was sitting. Both lads moved up quietly behind him, watching his
stupid behaviour as he allowed his spit to drip through the slightly
open fan light onto the girl below. The girl looked upward, put her
hand out to feel for rain, and then missed the sight of Cuff’s face as
John pulled him away to lay him flat on his back. With one hand holding
Cuff down, John punched him hard on his cheekbone, the thud of it
making Dunno wince.
“I’ve a bloody good mind to bar yeah from the Smoky after that. We’ve
had this place for years. We’re not going to lose it over a stupid twat
like you. Do yeah get it?” Cuff became sheepish with his head bowed in
submission. But this wasn’t good enough for John. He wanted him to say
it. He lifted his fist again; “I said do you understand what I’m
Cuff shielded his face.” Yeah, yeah,” he shouted quickly.
“Ahh, come on let’s go back in the Smoky and talk some more,” said
They heard the fanlight window bang shut just as they both got to their
“No! We’re going home,” shouted John, stamping his authority on the
group as he returned to the lift housing to replace the boards.
By the time they were back in Dale Street again, the three lads had
forgotten their differences. They were running wild in song, their
rowdiness a way of dispelling anger, getting rid of the tensions that
were constantly invading their minds and trying hard to fill gaps in
their unhappy lives.
Within minutes they were boarding a bus that would take them back to
their homes in Walton. A housing estate where there was a good, honest
breed of citizens, but a sprinkling of the bad and ugly.
“Two to Spellow Lane,” said John to the driver with Dunno standing
The driver looked up to see Cuff going to his seat.” What about him?”
“Give us a flippin’ chance will yeah,” answered John, making a grab for
the coat of Cuff. “Where the fuck’s your money?” he shouted.
The driver, sensing trouble, stood up waiting for what may come, his
action noticed by everyone, charging the atmosphere in the bus to a
silent fear of apprehension. You could see it in the faces of the two
youths, but the biggest effect was being felt by the middle-aged man
and his wife who were stirring with a blank expectancy at the driver.
Cuff gave his money reluctantly to the relief of the passengers,
sending a wave of relief all round, especially the two older people.
Dunno sat down alongside John while Cuff occupied the seat behind.
Then, in frustration and with a loud aggressive voice, John turned
round in his seat to show the money that was in his hand. “Are yeah
satisfied? Dunno’s given me his money. So in future don’t come your
highhanded gobshite ways with me. O.K.?”
The younger people on the bus were listening to the squabble with a
kind of feared interest, but for the middle-aged couple it was a
different matter. They were scared enough to get to their feet and move
down the bus to stand by the driver, the man pointing nervously in the
direction of the three lads with fear in his heart. “There’s a bunch of
lads down there and the language is absolutely disgusting. It’s a
The bus driver was in complete agreement, shaking his head from side to
side to emphasise his own frustration. “Yeah, I know. It’s not the
English language anymore it’s the f’n language. I’m sodden well fed up
like you with their kind. They should be thrown off.”
The man answered the driver in accord.” Of course they should. How can
decent people sit with the dregs of the earth?”
The driver, fully experienced in dealing with the public and also
having a good idea of what the man expected from him, answered in a way
that would quell his own frustration. It was always the same, the
public expecting him to do their dirty work? Always throwing their
responsibility on to him? He hated the growing culture of the day with
laws that was misguiding society, so with these thoughts in mind, he
answered the man with a test that would prove him right. Pulling the
bus to a halt and opening the doors, he stood up with a set
determination to sort out the problem. “You know, I wish there were
more passengers like you to help us bus drivers get rid of kids like
them. They’re a bloody nuisance. Let’s kick the buggers off shall we?”
The man had a sudden panic attack, his face bleaching round eyes that
were absolutely startled with frightened humiliation. “Hey, hey, hey,
it’s not for me to go throwing people off busses. That’s your job,” he
quivered, making his way towards the exit.
“My job!” shouted the bus driver.” I’m not a bloody policeman I’m a
sodden bus driver. Get of me bus yeah fucking stuffed up tart. Yeah
like all the rest of bloody humanity. Yeah want everything nice but
you’re not willing to do anything about it.” With this barrage of abuse
the couple scurried away with the driver still shouting. “We have to
put up with this kind of trash every night of the week and there’s no
bastard we can turn to.” He beat the steering wheel with his hands
trying to control his anger, then, out of the corner of his eye he
caught the sniggering teenagers goading him.
It was not long before he saw a police car and the flash of his
headlights brought the car to a halt. Opening the door of the bus for
the two policemen, he smiled with relief. “Sorry to bother you officers
but I’ve got three unruly kids on-board. Two passengers have just this
minute got off complaining about their behaviour.”
The policemen nodded to the driver, then strolled down the aisle of the
bus to face the three lads. The first policeman smiled with
recognition. “Well look who we have here. Bloody Flanagan, Pink and
Parks. I see more of you three than me own kids.”
Cuff jumped to his feet with arms splayed out in utter disbelief at a
challenge that was unfounded. “What the hell have we done now?”
The first officer, with a deep, sigh took a firm grip on Cuff, dragging
him away from his seat. “Come on Parks off the bus. And you Flanagan.”
“You bastards! We haven’t done anything,” shouted John, the old feeling
of victimization gripping him with force. He struggled as the second
officer heaved him away from his seat, while Dunno, with angel like
expectancy, thought he had escaped the wrath of the police. But it
wasn’t to be. The first policeman who was leading Cuff off the bus
suddenly shouted, “And you little Geoffrey Pink. Come on.”
Dunno followed sheepishly.
All this time John was complaining with a desperate attempt to hold his
position, but the officer had complete control. “We haven’t been
causing any trouble. I’ve paid me fare and you can’t go around throwin’
people off busses for no reason at all,” bawled John. “I’ve got me
rights yeah know, just like anyone else.”
Neither of the officers said a word in answer to all the abuse they
were receiving, but once they were all on the pavement with the bus
speeding away, the first policeman gave them their marching orders.”
Now beat it the three of you,” he commanded.
John was beginning to feel the aggression of a lifetime’s struggle
swelling upwards from the stomach to surround a heart that almost beat
its way out of his chest. For no reason at all he had been picked on
once again, leaving him nothing but hate for the men before him. It was
this constant battle in the home, on the streets, the dark shadow of
authority hovering above him trying its best to stamp him into the
ground. He leaned closer to the first policeman, lowered his head and
coughed up a mouthful of phlegm to let it drop on the policeman’s shiny
boot, hoping upon hope he would get some form of retaliation. “Oh!
The policeman looked down to the green blob that had stuck to his
toecap, but said nothing, his experience and training helping him to
control his natural instinct. As John walked away with some of the
anger dissipating, he grinned to his mates. “Did yeah see the face on
him when he looked down at his boot. The bastard was dying to thump me.
I wish to fuck he had, then I could have taken him to court to be
strung up by his balls.” He turned quickly to face the police once
again with the last remnants of emotions bellowing from his mouth. “You
bastards can’t play on us like that. One day me dad will have you lot
put away for the way you treat us. Ever heard of civil rights?” Further
on there was more abuse, his face burning with a wish to see them
Shity bizzies, shity bizzies” they all shouted.
The first policeman who was still watching them turned to his colleague
and said, “I can train my dog better than them three. Come on let’s go.”
“And they say the country’s in safe hands,” smiled the second policeman.
“Thank God it is at the moment, but I hate to think of the future with
them bastards bringing up their own kids.”
It was about eleven o’clock when the lads strolled through the small
narrow streets to their homes, the tiny terraced houses with their
small drawn curtains shadowed beneath poor street lighting that tried
desperately hard to keep out the misery of darkness.
After leaving Cuff, John showed his relief. “Thank goodness he’s gone.”
“Why?” asked Dunno? “Are we on a pick and nick to night?”
“Yeah. There’s two. One in Peel Street and one in Daker Street.”
From here on the two lads worked as a team, two of a kind enjoying
every minute of their adventure. John, with snake like movements,
wriggled through an open transom window into the back kitchen of a
house, then opened the door for Dunno. With methodical timing, he and
Dunno searched the house for valuables, two shadows physically able to
move about and take anything in their path because of their experience
of darkness with it‘s cover. It was all over with in five minutes, the
two lads leaving the house just as the bedroom light came on. Within
another five minutes they were well into the second house, searching
the bedside cupboards as a man and a woman slept. Suddenly, the woman
awoke to see the dark shape of John drifting through the room without a
sound, the shock holding her spellbound for a few seconds before she
let out a mighty scream. But before the last remnants of her voice had
died, the two lads had slipped away into the night with their pockets
stuffed with loot.
On their way home and happy with their evenings work, they passed the
first house they had looted. What they saw brought on a celebratory
laugh from both lads. The front door of the house was wide open
throwing a huge band of light that lit up a police car with its
flashing lights. People were out in the street discussing the terrible
amount of burglaries in their district, praising the police for their
prompt response to an ever growing situation that was getting out of
hand. The lads stopped to watch the conclusion to their night’s fun, a
kind of icing on the cake to their adventure.
“It looks as though they’ve had a burglary,” said Dunno, in all
“Yerrr, poor bastards. I’ll bet the bizzies’ are sitting in there now
havin’ a cup tea and taking down all their particulars.”