Steve Porter

Dusty Springfield

The nights were fair stretching again. I could still see where I was going when falling out of the pub at one in the morning. Geordie was clinking along the High Street with a bag full of bevvy. He was younger than me but could really take the drink. He lived out at Giroville. A caravan site just outside town. Anyone could get a pad there.
-What’s happenin, George?
-Fuck all, he said. Bunch of borin bastards.
-You’re tellin me, I said. Let’s take a walk.
Me and George wandered round the old part of town looking for a party. We soon found one and invited ourselves in. George was in the kitchen nicking bottles from the fridge while I checked out the action in the living room. A baby was crying upstairs but no-one paid any heed. Toys were scattered around the floor. I took the last spare seat, plonking my arse in the kid’s buggy. It was a tight squeeze, even for a skinny bastard like myself. The party was going well enough. AC/DC on the stereo. Geordie shanxing the kitchen. We’d have a good supply to take to Giroville.
Then the head of the household appeared. A right fucking arsehole.
-Who the fuck are you?
I looked round. He was clutching a can of Spesh.
-Aye, you in the bairn’s fuckin buggy. The big fuckin bairn. The fuckin hard man.
He was coming my way, forcing me to get to my feet. He put his forehead onto mine. Gave me the stare. Freckles below his bug ugly eyes.
-Leave him Dave, he wasn’t doin any harm, somebody said.
The ugly eyes kept staring, like a bug you wanted to swat but couldn’t.
-Out o the fuckin house, Bug-Eyed-Dave said.
He led me through the door, head to head, toe to toe.
He kept repeating things like a total moron.
-Out o the fuckin house.
I heard him first time. Where the hell was Geordie? This was his cousin for Christ sake.
-That’s it. Down the fuckin steps.
I didn’t want to draw back in case he let the nut go. Straight onto my neb.
-That’s it. Down the fuckin steps.
-Ach, let him go Dave, I heard again.
But he shoved me down the last few steps and laid into me. I landed on my hip on the cold ground. I just had to lie there taking wellies around the ribs. The Bug must’ve been feeling generous because he left my head alone.
-What the hell’s goin on Dave?
It was Geordie.
-Your mate is he? Well get him fuckin out o here before I kill him. I don’t want to be moppin blood from the garden path the morn. It’s my day off. Get him out o here before I fuckin kill him.
The kicking could’ve been worse. But I had a fleshy hole by the hip bone and it was a long walk to Giroville. Geordie was a practical boy though and hot-wired a Cortina to take us there. On the edge of town he sparked open a can of Spesh. He turned on the radio and raked through the cassette box between the front seats.
-Let’s see what we’ve got here. Hoedown on the Highway, fuck that…Saturday Night Fever, Jesus it gets worse. Dusty Springfield …
Magic, I said. I love that. Put it on.
Geordie glanced sideways.
-You serious? That kickin must’ve been worse than I thought.
He sparked a can open for us, and we drove along by the river with Son of a Preacher Man blasting out of the stereo. It was soothing my hipbone. We stopped the motor after a wee while and got out. The tape was still playing after we took the petrol can from the boot and dowsed the car. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. The car was in flames as it rolled into the water.
It was now only a short walk to Giroville

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