2 Bored Teenagers
Colin felt something wet slithering across his face. He groaned and turned away, pulled the bedcovers over his head. Something pounced on him, dug at the covers and pulled them down. The wet thing was back, leaving trails of slime on Colin’s cheek.
Colin’s eyes fluttered open. Bright sunlight streamed through a gap between the bedroom curtains and made him squint. His head throbbed, and his mouth felt like someone had fitted a shag-pile carpet in there while he slept. The dog licked him again.
“Fucking hell Prince, get off me,” he groaned, and pushed the brown mongrel dog off his bed. He rolled over to go back to sleep. The dog jumped back onto the bed and licked him again.
“Fuck off, you mutt!”
Colin pushed the dog’s head away from his face. The dog grabbed Colin’s pyjama shirt sleeve and shook it, growling. Colin pulled back. The dog squatted down on its hind legs to tug harder.
“All right, fucking hell. I’ll get up.”
Colin threw back the covers and sat up, then looked at a clock on the bedside table. It wasn’t even ten o’clock yet, far too early to be awake. Colin groaned and stood up. The dog bounded around his feet, jumping up to lick his face. Colin sidestepped the dog and darted into the bathroom for a piss.
“That you Colin?”
Colin heard the faint voice from the living room over the sound of a blaring TV set as he descended the stairs. The dog followed close behind.
“No, it’s a burglar,” Colin shouted back.
“Make us a cup of tea and a sarnie then.”
Colin went into the kitchen and made two bread and dripping sandwiches and two mugs of tea. He put one sandwich on a plate and stuffed half the other one into his mouth and ate it while he waited for the tea to brew. He finished off the rest, then carried the plate and two mugs into the living room.
Colin put the plate down on the arm of his grandmother’s chair, then balanced a mug next to it. He took the other mug and sat down on the settee with a sigh. The dog bounded up next to him.
“So what time did you roll in last night then?” his grandmother asked, without looking away from the television. A coloured man wearing spandex leapt around on the screen, encouraging viewers to join him for their morning exercise.
“Don’t know,” Colin said. “Probably late.”
He could dimly remember being sick on the bus, and both he and Brian being thrown off by the irate bus driver, but the long walk home was still a blur. He had a distant recollection of climbing over the park fence and lying on his back on the roundabout while Brian spun him around, but wasn’t sure if that was a dream or not. It seemed a daft thing to do when the world would already be spinning out of control due to excess alcohol, but it probably made sense at the time.
“What’s happened to your face?”
Colin looked up, saw his grandmother peering at him. He shrugged and looked away. “Been dancing,” he mumbled. “Caught a few elbows in the face.”
She grunted, then laughed and shook her head. “I don’t know, you punk rockers you’re all as daft as brushes.” She picked up her sandwich and bit into it. “Of course, we had proper dancing in my day,” she said.
“Yes Gran,” Colin said, and tuned out while his grandmother related one of her stories about her youthful exploits. He had already heard them all countless times. How you could buy just about anything you wanted with an empty jam jar or pop bottle, how nice and polite everyone was in the old days, and how much better everything used to be.
Colin had lived with his grandmother for as long as he could remember. His father left soon after he was born, saying he couldn’t handle the responsibility of another mouth to feed. His mother left a year later, when one of her boyfriends gave her an ultimatum – him or the kid. She chose the boyfriend, so Colin was dumped on his grandmother and he never saw her again. Colin was too young to know anything about all this, of course, and didn’t remember either of his parents, but this was what his grandmother told him had happened, and he had no reason to doubt her.
Colin drank his tea and pushed the dog from his lap. “I’m going back to bed,” he said.
His grandmother looked up sharply. “What? You’ve only just got up.”
“Yeah, I don’t feel too good. Must’ve had a bad pint or something. I’m gonna go and lie down for a bit.”
Upstairs, Colin shut the bedroom door before the dog had a chance to dart through it. The dog whined and scratched at the door for a few minutes, then gave up. Colin spread his wet cigarettes out along the windowsill and got back into bed. He closed his eyes and relived the events of the previous night. He didn’t understand why the skinhead had attacked him. If it had been a trendy it would make sense, trendies were always keen on punk bashing. But a skinhead? They weren’t vastly different from punks themselves, they even liked the same type of music. It just didn’t make sense.
* * *
Continued next Friday.
Punk Faction by Marcus Blakeston is also available in paperback and ebook if you don’t want to wait that long.