Outside on the street, Brian held his arms out straight before him and moaned, “Urrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhh.” He held his head at an angle, his mouth gaping open, and shambled toward Kaz like a zombie.
Colin put the record inside his leather jacket and tucked a corner into his jeans. He zipped his jacket up and raised his own arms, then lumbered toward Becky.
“They’re coming to get you, Rebecca,” he said in a drawn out, gormless-sounding voice mimicking a character from an old black and white film he had watched on TV.
Becky squealed and grabbed Kaz’s hand. They ran down the street together, twin pairs of monkey boots clattering down the pavement. They kept glancing behind them at Colin and Brian, who shambled after them. Their loud moans drew attention from a group of trendies passing by on the other side of the road.
“SID’S DEAD!” one shouted.
Colin gave them a two-finger salute and continued following Becky, who had stopped with Kaz a short distance away to look at the trendies. Brian lumbered toward Kaz, moaning, and closed his arms around her back. He turned his head and made a chomping sound against her neck. Kaz jerked her head to one side and screamed. Brian jolted away and clamped his hand over his ear.
“Ahhh, I’ve gone deaf,” he cried.
“What?” Colin asked.
“I’ve gone deaf.”
“I’ve gone … oh, fuck off, you cunt.”
“Poor Brian,” Kaz said, laughing, and looped her arm through his. They walked down the road together.
Colin glanced at Becky and followed them.
* * *
At the bus station they all sat on a long, wooden bench while they waited for Kaz and Becky’s bus to arrive. The girls lived in a different suburb to Colin and Brian, and their bus was due to arrive a few minutes before their own. Brian and Kaz held hands and chatted away to each other.
Colin sat next to Becky and looked down at his shoes. He wondered if Becky would punch him in the face if he tried to kiss her, and decided it wasn’t worth the risk. He looked up at her. She smiled and brushed against him with her shoulder. Colin bit his lip and looked away.
The bus arrived with a hiss of hydraulic brakes. Becky and Kaz jumped up and walked toward it. Colin and Brian waved goodbye and started to shuffle off to their own bus stop. Becky stepped in front of Colin, threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him on the lips. Colin winced when she crushed the cut on his lip, but the surge of emotion coursing through him as he tasted the Pernod, blackcurrant, and cheese and onion crisps on her tongue sent his head reeling. He raised his arms to return the embrace, but as suddenly as she appeared, Becky was gone. She sidestepped his grasping hands and jumped onto the bus after Kaz.
Colin watched as they stomped their way across the floor of the bus to the back seat. He waved idiotically while they blew kisses through the back window as the bus pulled out from the station.
“We should have got on that bus with them,” he said to Brian when the bus disappeared from view.
“It’s the last one, how would we get back home?”
Colin shrugged. He felt like he was walking on air. “What would that matter?”
He was still grinning two hours later, laid in bed, wide awake and bursting with energy while a record played quietly in the background. It was the Cockney Upstarts gig tomorrow night, and he would be seeing Becky in town in the afternoon, so it looked like it was going to be the perfect day.
* * *
Continued next Friday.
Punk Faction by Marcus Blakeston is also available in paperback and ebook if you don’t want to wait that long.