(A suburb to London)
4 young adult, whose lives have hardly begun playing out, have all been sentenced to community service. They are almost each others exact opposites, but somehow a bond is formed between them, read how that happens!

There is Artie, the nerd, he's hardly got any social skills, but lots of computer skills.
Then there is BJ, a young zazzy gay man with a dark past.
And Carol, the only girl in the bunch, seemingly happy, but she doesn't know how to control her emotions so shse shut them down.
And last there is Daniel, your stereotypical chav (wanna be gangster?) he's rude, he's homophobic, he's flirtatious and he's in your face. -A real dickhead.


2. chapter 2


Artie was packing his sisters school bag for her, while she told him what to put in it. He’d run down the stairs and accidentally knocked into her causing her to drop all her things.

“I think I have math today as well, do you see the book?” She asked.

“Yeah it’s right here, there are some papers next to, do you need them?”

“Can I see?” She asked and reached out in his direction. He gave her the stiff papers and she ran her fingers over the braille writing. “No I don’t need this anymore.”

He put the papers aside and handed her the school bag. “Here let me give you a hand.” He said and helped her get the strops on. “Thanks.”

“Hey, you need a ride?” She made funny face directed to Artie.

“You can’t drive.”

“No, no, you’ve never driven with me, big difference, Ruya.”

“But you don’t have a driver’s license, right?”

“Well you don’t need one to be capable of driving.” Ruya thought about it for a moment, Their parents were both off work today and still sleeping, she was running late and if he was going to drive to community service anyway?

“Alright, but you better drive carefully!” She warned.

“Always do.” He objected. “Or I’d been caught by mum and dad by now.”

When Artie arrived to community service almost an hour later he was the first one there. Even Thompson wasn’t there, so he’d just have to wait outside.

Then finally, what felt like an hour later, but had only been ten minutes, Thompson came slouching around the corner. “Oh hey, you’re early.” He said when he noticed Artie.

“Yea, I am. So what’ we be doing today?” He asked as Thompson unlocked the doors.

“Uhm, what’ you wanna do?” Artie held back a smile.

“You don’t plan this very accurately do you?” He heard a sigh in response, but before Thompson could continue Carol came around another corner.

“Hey guys!” She greeted from a distance.

“Hey Carol.” Artie smiled.

“Oh call my Carly, all my friends does.” A new friend, it was looking up for Artie.

“Alright Carly.”

“You are gonna weed out the pavement.” Thompson interrupted them from further conversation as he pointed around them onto the ground.

“Okay?” Carol said, not aware of the two’s previous dialogue.

They all walked in the building and as soon as the doors closed behind them BJ opened them again.

Carol greeted him with usual enthusiasm while Artie gave him a nod, and the probation worker didn’t spare him a glance, he only said “Weed out the pavement.” While walking away.

The 3 got dressed and found some tools; a fancy bag with a small hose to poison the remaining weed and another kind that had a fire pipe, to burn the plants, and of course the usual little gardening tools.

When they were half way done, Daniel finally arrived. “Hey fellow outlaws.” He greeted with a cheerful bow.

“Where’ve you been at?” BJ asked irritated.

“Ay dun’ gimme that, you were late on our first day.” Daniel replied before walking inside to get dressed.

“He’s got you there.” Carol said in a peace making tone, that BJ ignored.

“I wasn’t as late…” He objected quietly. Artie sent him a reassuring smile, soon after Daniel walked back out.

“So why were you so late?” BJ asked out of pure curiosity.

“Ah, I was out all night chasing some pathetic bastard around town. He was dealing in our area. Can’t believe he ran to his little gang, hiding behind his brothers skirts…” He trailed off, shaking his head.

“Oh so you’re a dealer?” Artie asked surprised.

“Nah ya twat, that’ be illegal.” He stressed the last word and looked around for the probation worker.

Artie sent him an apologetic look and they all continued ridding the grey pavement of anything green.

When they were almost done with the large space surrounding the community center, Thompson came out looking for them.

“Hey, listen up lads,” He looked at Carol, “and lady.” He added. “I’ve made a little schedule for the next few weeks so you can see what you’ll be doing, also finish this up, we are gonna have some group therapy crap, so you won’t commit crimes again, sharing and shit. And bonding, of course.” He said and walked back inside.

The young ones sent each other some looks, the sharing and bonding part didn’t sound so good in their ears.

About 20 minutes later they were all sitting in a half circle around Thompson, who was blabbering on about how they needed to express their emotions vocally not physically, and blah, blah, blah.

“So,” He finally said, ready to move on. “Who wants to start out, telling the rest of us why they are here?” He looked around and so did the probates, nobody volunteered.

“Well,” Carol begun. “We’ve already told each other why we’re here. What we did.”

“Great, then you can tell why you did, what you did,” He picked up a paper from the floor and quickly skimmed it. “Miss Assault.” He looked at her with boredom, waiting for her to start sharing.

She leaned back in her seat and blushed. “I don’t really want to talk about it…” The others nodded, but Thompson was persistent, despite his lazy appearance. “Well, it’s part of being here.” He said in a stern voice.

She sighed. “When I was 16 I met this guy and fell in love. When I was 17 we started seeing each other and when I was 18 I bought a flat we moved into together. But he started acting like a dickhead when we were together so often.
See I have these very simple rules, you clean up after yourself and you put everything back in its place, and he never did.” She said.
“He made a mess of everything, appointments too, some nights he never even came home and he never told why. Other nights, he came home drunk and complaining. It was about this time I stopped going out much myself. He was acting worse and worse.
He started saying really mean things when he was drunk, which was most of the time.
Then one day, when we were eating dinner, I asked him about a lipstick-mark I’d found on the collar of his shirt,” She took in a deep breath and looked down on the ground. “In response he called me a slag and hit me from across the table.
I lost it.
I already had my fork in hand, so I just stabbed him right in the arm, and then in the hand.” She looked up at the people around her with teary eyes. BJ and Artie send her sympathetic looks, Thompson looked a little less bored, but Daniel looked like he thought Carols ex had done the right thing.

She looked away from him and wiped a tear of her face. Her hands was shaking a little, so she crossed her arms to hide it. “So who’s next?” She asked, plastering a smile across her face, burying all her emotions.

“Uhm, yea who else wanna share?” Again nobody volunteered. Thompson sighed. “Alright then, let’s talk about you Carol. Why’d you use your fork instead of your words?” Daniel held in a chuckle at Thompsons lazy tone and choice of word, which cost him a wicked glare from BJ.

“I’d tried to talk to him, but he never listened, I panicked and didn’t knew what else to do…” Her smile was gone and more tears was forming in her eyes.

“Just leave her!” BJ told Thompson, and reached out a hand to pat her on the shoulder in an it’s-going-to-be-alright gesture.

“Fine,” Thompson said, “Then why don’t you tell us why you’re here?”

“Yea, seriously, why? There is no way you robbed a car.” Daniel said. Thompson looked down on his papers, “Wo-woa, wait a minute, he did rob a car.” He said to Daniel. “I wanna hear this, how’d you rob a car?”

“’God sake! Is it really that difficult to believe that I am capable of robbin’ a car?”

“Yea mate, it is.” Thompson said. BJ sighed in defeat, should he tell the truth or what? Nope.

“So me and my mate was out one night, and he was pretty lashed,” “Your mate?” Thompson interrupted, while looking at those papers again.

Damn he’s got the report! “Yea, I have mates; I’m actually meeting up with a lawyer mate of mine later today, to look over my punishment.”

“Hmm, continue.” Thompson said. Good he got the message. BJ’s got friend up high.

“So my lashed mate and I was walking to-“He cut himself off, he’d almost given too much away. “To a club. But then my pal decided he’d rather go home, but he’s car was nowhere near, and so he decided to borrow one.” BJ rolled his eyes. “The people who owned it, must have seen’ from a window or something like that, ‘cause the alarm never went off, and the police were there in less than 15 minutes.” He stopped as if that was the end of it.

“And..?” Daniel asked. “After 15 minutes why didn’t you move?”

“Erm, Well, he was, eh, I was trying to convince him not to drive when he was so canned?”

“Liar!” Daniel yelled, “You know after she,” He gestured to Carol, “Was so honest and told the truth you really ought to as well.” BJ looked away, that was very deep of Daniel, and completely true. But it was still none of their business. “He is right BJ, but if you really don’t want to tell us, then at least don’t lie.” Carol said. He sighed. Damn them!

“Fine! I got a call from someone, we met up and was going back to his, but he was quite eager, and pulled over the car, then a copper came over to see what was happening and apparently the car was stolen.”

“Why’d you get community service for that?” Artie asked.

“I have like 10 other things on me record already… they were gonna put me away, but I know a few judges and lawyers.” BJ sighed again, resting his chin in his hands.

“Right,” Said Thompson stopping any other questions. “So it’s now I’m supposed to ask you, why you nicked the car, but since you didn’t… ehm… why’d you get into his car? Or something…”

BJ could feel everybody’s eyes on him again, how could he wiggle out of this one? He was panicking. What could he say? How long had passed since he asked the question? 1, maybe 2 seconds. Shite!

“He was just an old flame.”

“Yeah, that explains why you didn’t notice he’d nicked the car you were in.” Said Daniel. Fuck!

What to do? BJ gave in. He sighed again, leaned back in his seat and looked up at the ceiling.

“I got a call from someone in the middle of the night, who wanted to meet up. He said he had money, so I came. It was late and cold out, he didn’t wanted to go back to his, since he’d got a wife, and I never take anyone back to mine, so I showed him how to break into a car with my pocketknife. Just to get away from the cold. And he said he’d pay extra if I found a place fast, of course the Idiot didn’t think of that himself.

But so we got in the car and he started-“

“WOW! No! No! No! If you are gonna be talking about you gays having a shag I’ll be leaving first!” Daniel yelled standing up.

“Oh piss off you prat! I wasn’t gonna say anything like that!” BJ yelled back, annoyed to be interrupted. Daniel slowly sat back down on his chair. “good…”

“As I was saying,” BJ continued looking back up at the ceiling. “He started talking nervously as they always do. But of course he stopped soon after when I…” He took in a deep breath, and continued in a distant voice. “When I started doing what I do best. But this guy was being quite loud, and I guess some copper must have heard us, ‘cause one of them knocked on the window.” He smiled to himself. “You should ha’ seen their faces… But anyway the copper ran the license plate and apparently it was a stolen car and so we were both arrested. I should have gone to prison, but as I said, I know some lawyers and judges. Though I never got my money.”

Everyone fell silent for a little while as they were taking BJ’s story in, but of course Daniel had to make some little comment; “So you’ a slack and a poofter, what does that make you?” BJ looked at him indifferently, even though he felt as if he’d been shot in the gut on the inside. “I don’t know why don’t you tell me?”

BJ’s cool approach to his comment rendered Daniel completely unprepared. “Uhm…”

“You know,” Continued BJ, “Most people, that pick on gays have gay urges they are suppressing. Science.” He said with a lifted forefinger. Daniels jaw nearly dropped, and both Carol and Artie struggled to keep their laughter.

Daniel gaped, what the fuck? “There is  no way I’m gay, I just think you lot are bloody disgusting!”

“Blah, blah,blah, nothing I haven’t heard before.” BJ replied, only making Daniel angrier, He stood up and was probably going to hid BJ, but Thompson stepped in between the two young men.

“Give it a rest boys!” Carol stood up to help him, “Yes please, fighting never resolve anything.”

“Oh, you just should up, little miss Fork-Stabber!” Daniel yelled.

“BJ piss off, before you lose a tooth.” Thompson half yelled, as he tried to push Daniel back in his seat.

“Bye, then.” BJ said to Carol and Artie and walked out of the common room, into the locker room.

When Daniel finally settled down Thompson was quite cross, “Fine then. The lot of you can leave now!” He said smoothing back his brown hair, which had become undone. “We can talk about you two next time.” He said gesturing to Artie and Daniel. “And Daniel, this will be reported.”

“Screw you.” Daniel replied and flipped him off on the way to the locker rooms, which BJ was just exiting.

Daniel sent him a murderous look, but both Artie and Daniel was smiling wide and broad to him.

“Bye mates.” He said on his way out.

He’d decided to take the bus today, the temperature had dropped some during the day, and he was freezing just waiting for the bus. He was saving up for a winter coat.

He was standing by the bus stop with a smoke, trying desperately to stay warm, the bus would be there in about 10 minutes. Then an old dark green Volkswagen with tinted windows pulled over next to him. He looked with curiosity as the window slowly moved down. Who was this?

When the window was completely down, he recognised the black hair and the big dark glasses that made the brown eyes stand out. “Artie!” He exclaimed. Was Artie simply offering him a ride, or looking for company? Why the fuck was he pulling over?

“Hi BJ you look like an icicle, do you need a lift somewhere?” He asked with a smile.

“Uhm, nah, that’s fine, I’m going in town anyways.”

“Well so am I, I’m picking up my sister. I could drop you off on the way, but you’d have to give up the smoke, I can’t have her or my parents smell that.” BJ thought about it for a moment; if Artie was being more than just friendly would it really be that bad? He sighed. Yea it would, they’d be seeing each other every day for the next few monthes.

Artie must have noticed BJ’s hesitation and put two and two together. “I’m offering you a ride, nothing more…” He said feeling very awkward and slightly embarrassed to spell it out.

“If that’s the case, I really appreciate it.” BJ said with a smile, stamped on the smoke and walked to the right side of the car to get in.

“So where can I drop you off?” Artie asked.

“Basically anywhere up town.”

“Alright, but if it’s okay with you I’m probably gonna drop you off before picking up my sister.”

“That sounds fair.”

“It’s not that I’m embarrassed to be seen with you BJ, it’s just that my sister, she is different, she is too kind for her own good, and I’m trying to shelter her from your world.”Artie explained.

BJ nodded, that made sense, any good big brother would do the same right? “It’s alright mate, I dun’ blame ya.”

“Thanks.” Artie said and reached out for his phone, continuously keeping his eyes on the road.

“Hey can you call her up for me? She’s in my contacts, ‘Ruya’” Artie asked and gave BJ the iPhone.

“Sure mate.” BJ said, and did as he was asked. “Just put it there.” Artie said and pointed at a fancy little holder. “And put it on speaker.”

“Ahalan Artie.” She greeted her brother when she picked up her phone.

“Ahalan Ruya,” Artie smiled. “I’m on my way, I just need to drop of someone from community service first.”

“Oh, okay is he there?” Her voice turned a bit more cautious.

“Yea, he is, say hey BJ” BJ felt sort of awkward to be dragged into the conversation.

“Hi Ruya, I’m BJ…”

“Oh good, I feared it might be that chav one you described the other day.” She said with much more cheer. “Hey BJ.”  BJ smiled to himself at her reaction.

“So,” Daniel changed the subject. “I’ll be there in between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the traffic.”

“Alright, I’ll just be waiting outside.”

“See ya there then.”

“Bye.” And they hung up.

A silence lowered itself upon the two boys, which was fine by BJ, but Artie was feeling a bit uncomfortable, not to mention incredible curious about BJ’s story.

“Uhm, BJ can I ask you a question?” BJ had a feeling about what that question might sound like and wasn’t thrilled about it.

“Well I guess you’re capable of it…”

“Great,” Artie replied, completely oblivious to the tone of BJ’s voice. “So, like why’d you do it?” BJ sighed.

“I ran away when I was 13 right after my maman died, and-“

“What’s a maman?” Artie interrupted. “My mum, she was French, so I always called her maman.” Artie nodded to show he understood.

“But I only had enough money to get by for a few days, so I had to find somewhere to live, I moved into my grans for a while. She kept me there secretly, but then my father stopped by unannounced one day and spotted me, he of course took me home with him. And so I lived with him for about a year, before I’d gathered enough money to take off again.
That money lasted for about 2 months and when there is no money, and you’re hungry, and I don’t mean peckish, I mean starved, as in haven’t eaten anything, but trash for days, then anything goes. And so I did my thing and I became a pick-pocket too and so when I was 19 I rented my first flat. And that’s my story.”

Artie thought about it for a second, it sounded really sad.

“Hmm, why’d you run away from home?”

“Long story.” BJ answered absentminded.

“Does it have anything to do with that scar on your chest?” BJ looked up with a start.

“How do you know about that?” He demanded with suspicion.

“I saw it in the locker room.” Artie didn’t understand why it was that big a deal.

“Don’t tell anyone about it.” BJ sounded very determined.

“Alright I won’t.” Artie assured him. The silence was coming back and they still had another 5-10 minutes left of the ride. Artie thought of anything they could talk about.

“So what are you doing in town today?”

“Visiting my lawyer mate.” BJ replied.

“Oh yea, you said that before, so you trying to get out of community service?”

“Well that’s the story, but we go way back, back to the first time I was caught with somebody else’s wallet on me. But really, we’re just mates.”

“That’s pretty cool, so he’s helped you before?”

“Yes, we exchange favours.” BJ said, making it clear that ‘mates’ hadn’t been an exact description of their relationship.

“Oh.” Artie said, not knowing what else to do.

“So this hacking thing,” Now BJ was keeping their conversations alive. “’You any good at it?” Artie smiled. “I’m grand at it mate!”

“But you were caught fiddling with a schools computer system?” BJ didn’t sound convinced. “Well that’s a long story.” He replied. “But really I’m good.”

BJ thought about, Artie seemed so quiet, so this sudden change of character must mean he was?

“So if I gave you a name, you could find that person?”

“Well yea, I might need a bit more than that, like their whereabouts and age, but I could probably find them, why?”

“No reason.” BJ smiled.

“Hey you can drop me off here, that be great.”

“Alright,” Artie said and pulled over. “See ya later.”

“Cheers mate.”  BJ said and closed the door after himself.

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