Stiggy lurched out of the toilet and staggered toward Colin’s table. He stumbled into the back of a chair and changed direction, the chair’s occupant turned and glared at him. Stiggy shrugged and carried on walking, then came to a swaying halt. He looked around, seemingly lost. Colin waved to get his attention, Stiggy nodded and veered off toward him. He flopped into his chair and picked up his half-empty glass of cider. He looked over the rim at Colin.
“What?” Stiggy asked.
Colin laughed. “Nothing, mate. We thought you’d gone home.”
Stiggy put down his glass and tapped his chest. “No, not yet,” he said, shaking his head.
Colin laughed. Brian and Becky did too. Stiggy looked at them with a puzzled expression.
“What?” Stiggy repeated.
Colin smiled and shook his head. “Nothing, mate.” He picked up the record and showed it to Stiggy. “Here, look what Becky bought me.”
Stiggy cocked his head to one side as he looked at it. “What is it?”
“A record. It’s by that band that were just on.”
Stiggy blinked and rubbed his eyes with his fists. “Yeah? Can you tape it for me?”
Colin shook his head and put the record back down on the table. He took out a cigarette and lit it. “I can’t mate, me tape recorder’s broke. But I can borrow you it if you want? Then you can tape it for Brian as well.”
Stiggy nodded. “Yeah, cheers.”
“I’ll fetch it round to your bedsit tomorrow afternoon, we can do it before we go to Shefferham.”
“Why, what’s in Shefferham?” Becky asked.
“Cockney Upstarts are playing,” Brian said. “We’re all going down there on the train.” He turned to Kaz. “You fancy it? It should be a good one.”
Kaz frowned. “No, my dad won’t let me. Anyway, I don’t like skinhead bands, and I don’t think you should go either. It won’t be safe.”
Brian shook his head. “Nah, there’s loads of us going, we’ll be okay. Anyway they’re not a skinhead band.”
“Do you have to go?” Kaz put her hand on Brian’s chest and stared into his eyes.
Brian shrugged. “Well yeah. They’re from that London, they don’t come down here very often so it’ll probably be the only chance we get to see them.”
Kaz frowned again. She leaned back and folded her arms over her chest, glowering at Brian. Brian looked away and toyed with his half-empty beer glass. Kaz sighed and turned to Becky. “I need a wee. Are you coming, Becky?”
Becky smiled. “Yeah okay.” She turned to Colin. “You’ll wait for us, won’t you?”
Colin nodded. He grinned at Brian and took a drag on his cigarette. “I need a wee wee, are you coming Brian?” he said in a high pitched voice, mimicking Kaz.
Kaz glared at Colin and stamped off, arm in arm with Becky. Brian sniggered, and took a long drink from his beer. He belched at Colin and rose to his feet. “Come on then. But no peeping at me cock.”
“Fuck off,” Colin said, and turned to Stiggy. “You watch our stuff for us?”
Stiggy nodded and picked up the record.
In the toilet, Brian and Colin took up positions either side of the urinal. Colin threw his cigarette end into the middle and it landed in the water with a hiss. He aimed his urine at the cigarette end, pushing it toward Brian. Brian smiled and aimed his penis to push it back, shuffling closer to Colin for a better aim. Colin’s bladder emptied first and his urine turned to dribbles while Brian’s was still in full flow. The cigarette end hit Colin’s end of the urinal and Brian bellowed in victory.
“Cheating bastard,” Colin said, zipping up.
Back in the bar, Stiggy was reading the song titles from the back of the record sleeve when Colin approached him from behind.
“Have they gone?” Colin asked, looking around the pub. Most of the other customers had already left.
“Have what gone?” Stiggy asked without looking up from the record cover.
“Becky and Kaz.”
Colin sighed. “Them birds you’ve been sitting with all night.”
Stiggy shrugged. “Still in the bogs, aren’t they? What time is it anyway?”
Brian looked at his watch. “Half-ten.”
“What?” Stiggy looked up at Brian, wide-eyed. He dropped the record on the table and stood up. “I’ve got to go. See you tomorrow night at the train station.”
After Stiggy rushed out, Brian looked at Colin and shrugged. Colin looked over at the women’s toilet door. “What do you reckon they’re doing in there?”
“How the fuck should I know?” Brian said. “Probably escaped out the window so they don’t need to look at your ugly mug any more.”
Brian laughed. “Well whatever they’re doing they’d better hurry up or we’ll miss the bus home.”
They lit a cigarette each and smoked them. Becky and Kaz were still in the toilet when they stubbed them out. Colin looked at the toilet door and sighed. “Fuck this,” he said, and rose to his feet. He banged on the door with his fist. “Oi Becky, are you in there?”
A muffled voice answered him. “Yeah, won’t be long.”
Colin looked at Brian, who tapped his watch with his index finger. Colin shrugged and pushed open the door.
Becky and Kaz stood before a large mirror, dabbing their faces with balls of cotton wool. Colin watched them from the doorway for a few seconds, then asked what they were doing.
Kaz looked up at Colin’s reflection in the mirror. “Oi get out, you can’t come in here,” she said.
Colin slid through the door and let it close behind him. “Too late, I already did.”
Becky smiled and continued wiping her cheek with a cotton wool ball. Kaz spun to face Colin. “Get out,” she said, pointing at the door.
Colin looked around the spotlessly clean toilet with amazement. The place smelled of flowery perfume instead of shit and piss, and there wasn’t even any graffiti on the walls. He watched Becky’s reflection in the mirror, and when he caught her eye she smiled back at him.
“Are you going to be long?” Colin asked. “Only me and Brian need to go for the bus soon.”
“Come on Becky,” Kaz said. She brushed past Colin and left through the door.
Becky dropped a cotton wool ball into the sink and turned to face Colin. She leaned back against the sink with her hands, her chest pushed out.
“Do we need to go right now?” she asked, looking into Colin’s eyes.
“Yeah,” Colin said. He turned to the door and followed Kaz through it.
* * *
Continued next Friday.
Punk Faction by Marcus Blakeston is also available in paperback and ebook if you don’t want to wait that long.