Joe's Story

The growing pains of a teenage boy

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3. Joe. Revenge is so sweet. S1

Chapter 3 Joe. Revenge is so sweet. S1

Hell, I was in deep shit. Mum wasn't talking to me; she was just issuing orders like do this and get that.

   The first thing she did when we reached home was to march up to my room, remove my laptop, and lock it away.

   Her passing comments, as she was closing the front door on her way back to work was, “We will talk tonight. In the meantime, see to that dog mess in the front garden.”

If I had my way, I would’ve posted the whole mess back through the damn dog women’s letter box.

   She and that blasted dog of hers had caused me to be suspended for three days. Bad conduct while in school uniform, the headmaster had said. It could have been much worse. If I’d owned up to supplying drugs Mum would have been in real trouble, as her boyfriend had them in the house for me to nick. Anyway that was the line I would take if Ted ratted on me. It was a pity Alan couldn’t have kept his big mouth shut in front of Charley, who I now know was Ted’s informant.

   The phone in the hall was ringing when I got in from disposing of the dog poo in the dustbin. Usually I would throw any animal stuff I found on the lawn over the fence. This time I thought better of it, just in case, Mum checked.

When I answered the phone a voice at the other end asked, “Is that Joe White?”

   “What’s he done now!” I said pretending not to be me.

   “Silly sod, it’s me Ginger.”

   “No way, I thought you’d snuffed it.”

   “Ha. Ha.” Ginger laughed, “Very funny. I’m fine, no thanks to you.”

   “Bugger that. I only nicked the smoke.”

   “Shit man, I almost overdosed on the stuff,” Ginger shouted down the phone. “That weed was prime quality you jerk.”

   “How would I know that?”

   “Yeah, well Joe I suppose you’re dumb enough not to know.”

   “Up yours.”

   “Nice one, so that’s all the thanks I get for saving your skin is it Joe?”

   “I suppose I owe you one then.”

   “Yeah, you could say that.” Ginger replied.

   “So why the call?” Hell, I thought he wants another hand rolled one.

   “Well, I’m bored and knowing you’ve got a three-day pass, same as me, I thought we might hang out.”

   “Sorry, I’m grounded and Mum’s given me this long list of things to do that’ll take me forever.”

   “Well I suppose; I could give you a hand.” Ginger sort of suggested.

   “That would be great, but you’re grounded just like me.”

   “Yeah, well that’s no big deal.” Ginger sounded annoyed now. “I can leg it through the back gardens and easily reach you.”

   “Okay, I‘ll see you later then.” With that as I ended the call. My mobile phone started vibrating, I had just received a text. It was from Alan, where are you.

 God, I’d forgotten all about him needing me. I thumbed back, “Wait for me outside the school gates.”

   I swore. It would take me forever to get over there; it was a good fifteen-minute fast run. I swore again, I then had this brilliant idea. Dad’s old bicycle was still in the garage. I had used it the other day and knew the tyres were in good nick.  

   Quick as a flash I got the bike out, rode down the alleyway, almost collided with two men busy replacing a fence and then tore along the pavement like a maniac.

   At the main road I was lucky the traffic lights changed to red as I got there so, without slowing down, I gunned the bike across the road, only to come to a tyre-screeching halt beside Alan, making several boys standing near him jump out of the way.

   As I dismounted, they returned and crowded around me, all shouting. One wanted to know if I was a drug dealer, another if it was true that Ginger and I had been expelled.

   Help I thought and immediately put the record straight. “I have never had anything to do with drugs. What happened to Ginger has nothing to do with me and no, I haven’t been expelled, only given a three-day suspension because some old biddy with a dog had reported me of all people for fucking swearing.”

   This at least made everyone laugh.

   Realising time was passing and mindful I was grounded, I suggested to Alan we leave. This time Alan held on to the bike with his eyes closed as we crossed the road. Once on the other side we travelled home in style. Alan sat on the saddle holding on for dear life with his legs dangling while I, standing up, frantically peddled the bike.

                                      ****

Alan

When I came out of school Joe wasn’t there as promised, I tried crossing the road without him but couldn’t. Thankfully Joe answered his phone and came to fetch me. After crossing the road, we travelled back on Joe’s Dad’s old bike I sat on the seat holding on while having the agonising pleasure of watching Joe’s cute bottom move up and down as he peddled us home.

                                      ****

Joe

Thankfully, by the time Mum arrived home from work, we, that’s me and a group of my school friends, had almost cleared the garage out. We had sorted most of the things into three piles, one for junk to go to the rubbish tip, another for a garage sale and the rest to keep.

   Mum must have been impressed because she brought out cold drinks and packets of crisps for everyone, including me.

Whilst we had our break, Mum made a phone call to Mike. Apparently the builder was renovating an empty house down the road and had room in his skip for our pile of junk as long as we took it there.

   Using an old garden wheelbarrow, we made a game of taking the rubbish to the skip. There were six of us, Billy and Charley who apparently hadn’t told Ted about the drugs. Ted had wanted to disown me when he found out that I had been suspended, him being a prefect and all that. They were team one.  Ginger paired up with Tom, one of the twins from next-door, making up team two. Finally, that left Alan and me as team three.   

 One boy was to push the wheelbarrow while the other one made certain nothing fell off. Then on the return journey the boy who had pushed sat in the wheelbarrow and was pushed back home. The team with the fastest time would win.

   By the time it came to my turn I decided to take a chance and, with Alan’s help, ran the wheelbarrow up the plank of wood leading to the top of the skip, where we tipped out it’s contents, so saving us the time it would have taken to off load by hand as the others had done. I reckoned we would be the winners. That was until Alan jumped into the wheelbarrow insisting on a ride back.

   After a few steps, I found Alan’s weight combined with the steep angle of the plank too much for me to handle. I lost control and had to let go.

   I watched in horror as the front wheel went over the edge.   Then said a silent prayer of thanks as the wheelbarrow slid sideways down the plank, only tipping Alan out when it arrived safely on the ground.

   Tom helped me pull Alan up who when he stood up gave out a howl of pain. Apparently he could not put his left foot to the ground without his knee hurting.

   The problem was how to get Alan back to my house.  Unfortunately we found the wheelbarrow had lost it’s wheel, so was now useless as a means of transport, or was it?

   It did not take us long to carry Alan sitting in the wheelbarrow to my house where my mum told us off for moving him instead of calling for an ambulance.

                                        *****

   “Alan,” I shouted into my phone, “I’m warning you, if you don’t stop ringing me I’m going to stuff that phone of yours right up where the sun doesn’t shine next time I come back into the house. I had to smile when he replied is that a promise or a threat

I was busy outside with Ginger pricing up items for Saturday’s garage sale. Hopefully I would get enough money to pay mum back for the fence I had damaged.

   This was the third time Alan had interrupted me in the last fifteen minutes. He was forever calling me, wanting something or other and it was driving me crazy.

   This morning when I had complained to Mum that Alan was treating me like his personal slave, she had been most unsympathetic. Commenting that it was my own fault for being so careless in the first place and in any case, it was up to me to look after Alan while he was staying with us.

   The first night hadn’t been so bad. I had moved from my back bedroom to join him in the twin bedded spare room overlooking the street.

   Thankfully, it was not as hot in there as my room. Still it felt strange for me to be wearing pyjamas once again.

   To my relief, the tablets Alan had been given when he left the hospital were strong enough to mask the pain so, although needing some help to get around, he was able to visit the bathroom unaided.

   We had chatted on and off well into the night before falling asleep.

   The fun and games had started the following morning when Alan’s raised voice had awakened me. Although he had told me the dream had returned, it was still a bit of a shock to see him lying there still asleep, eyes wide-open, face all screwed up terrified and shouting.

   To stop the scream that I knew was to coming, I had picked up my pillow and swatted him. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about his leg so he screamed out anyway. This time in agony, “I’m so sorry.” I said sitting down on the edge of his bed. Adam reached out and took hold of my arm and started pulling me towards him, only instantly releasing it, as the door of our room burst open and in came Susan running wanting to know what the screaming was all about.

                                        ****                                       

Alan

Except for the pain in my Knee I found if fun once again sharing a room with Joe. Like in the old days when we used to stay over at each other’s houses we talked well into the night.

Joe was there in the morning when I woke up screaming from the dream. I was pulling him towards me and was about to declare my feelings for him when thankfully his sister Susan came running in.

                                        ****

 Joe

Ginger and I had just finished pricing everything up when Alan to my amazement, slowly walked into the garage. He looked really funny, still dressed in pyjamas, balancing with an umbrella in one hand and mum’s old hockey stick she kept in readiness at the top of the stairs in case of burglars in the other.

   “Alan, how the hell did you get down the stairs?” I enquired.

 It wasn’t easy but I came down one step at a time on my bottom. Thankfully your house still has its original hand rail running all the way down on the wall side.

   “Yeah, that’s one of the features mum made dad keep.”

   “Good God you sound like two old people,” Ginger remarked as he brought over a folding chair for Alan to sit down on.

   “Well ‘Escape to the Country’ is both our mum’s favourite TV programme.” I stated in our defence.

   “Yeah and Joe’s grandma has a portfolio of properties,” Alan chipped in.

   “So do my parents but I don’t talk about it,” Ginger remarked.

   “Look I didn’t come all the way downstairs just to talk. I’m gasping for a smoke.” With that, Alan produced from his pyjama pocket a packet of cigarettes and offered them around.

   Within a few minutes the air around us was filled with the sweet smell of burnt tobacco.

   Alan, after looking around, asked, “Do you think the items you have here Joe will cover the four hundred pounds it cost your mum to have the fence replaced?”

   “Let’s hope so.” God I thought he must have overheard the conversation that mum and I had the other night.  Hopefully he would keep his mouth shut both about the damaged fence and to what she had said about Ginger not being suitable and all that.

   “What fence?” Ginger asked.

   “Oh what’s in the box over there?” Alan said. His face turning a bright red as he looked away from me.

   Ginger started laughing.

   “What’s so funny?” I asked.

   “Come and look,” is all he said.”

   I walked over to see what he had found, and looking down thought to myself we have struck gold.

   Later that afternoon Ginger Alan and I stationed ourselves in the other upstairs front bedroom with the window left partly open. Then we just waited.

   It wasn’t long before the dog woman walked by on the other side of the road. As usual her dog stopped in front of the house almost next to us and did it’s business. Then just as dog woman was about to leave without cleaning up the mess, I let the dog have a blast of silent noise through the open window with the pest gun we had found in the garage.

   What happened next was like watching a cartoon. The reaction was instant. The dog just turned tail and bolted. The woman, who was holding its lead was almost thrown off balance. She put her foot in the mess and then went careering down the road. I laughed so much that it brought tears to my eyes. Both Alan and Ginger had to hold pillows over their mouths to stop giving us away. Well I sure got my own back on that bitch or was it bitches today. 

   That night I wedged a chair with its back under the door knob of our room. 

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