A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

The holiday's over, and the boys set off for home


It was a confusing time and an unnecessary delay for two boys who had a long bicycle ride in front of them.

Half an hour of “you can’t come with us” and “what would your father say?” coupled with “I can’t go home,” and “I don’t want to burn in Hell like he says I willand “I want a mummy” later there was the sound of bells ringing with the urgency that only the police could be relied on to create as they raced along country lanes in their black limousines in pursuit of shadowed evil.

And inside the police car a grumpy sergeant smiled maniacally as he sat behind the steering wheel like an insane racing driver and pointed to the road ahead. “There he is!” he crowed, “just like I said he’d be!”

But on the green and grassy lay-by, they’re coming for me,” wept Davey miserably when he heard the distant clamour getting closer by the moment, “they always do it and come after me… and I only want a proper home with a proper mum and no rules about the devil and burning...”

What’s wrong with the home you’ve got?” asked Taylor as the black police car slowly drew closer to them, “it’s nice and big and important and your dad seems such a nice man.”

It’s dad, though, he don’t understand… I need a mum, I need a proper mum and not a cleaning lady who swears and hangs her knickers on the line so’s everyone can see how old they are, drip, drip, drip and never dry...” The boy’s speech was becoming almost indecipherable and his thinking as blurred as the sounds he was making.

Meanwhile the police car silenced its insistent bell and pulled not quite sedately to a standstill near the three youngsters who stared back at it.

The senior officer, a sergeant who’d reached the pinnacle of his rather dowdy career, opened his door and climbed out, adjusting his hat as he did so, and grinning at the distraught Davey.

So there you are, sonny,” he said, and deliberately and rather noisily clinked some handcuffs that were dangling from his belt with the tip of a tired old truncheon.

It all ended as it inevitably was going to with the gruff policeman, every ounce of sympathy boiled out of him by a decade of bullying, pushing Davey Pickett into the car and virtually into the arms of his junior officer, and turned to Taylor and Ricky, a gleam in his eyes masking the indecision in his heart.

So your plan ain’t worked, lads,” he grinned at them, “though why you should be wanting an urchin like the vicar’s lad going along with you I don’t know. A penny short of a shilling, he is, and that’s underselling him!”

We didn’t want him!” blurted out Taylor, “he just followed us!”

A likely tale that,” leered the officer, “a very likely tale, I’m sure! Why should a lad like him, and his brain’s on the turn as you probably noticed, want to run away if he wasn’t talked into it by a pair o’ scum like you two lads, begging your pardon and meaning plenty of offence!

Ricky had heard enough and he was well capable of gripping hold of a little bit of authority when he wanted to and using it to his advantage. He knew full well that if a man sounds big and important he probably is big and important, so he switched on the tone of voice he’d used when he’d criticised the camping site owner, and launched a verbal assault at the sergeant.

Look here, my man,” he began, knowing full well that the words my man would be like a red rag to a bull when the officer heard them, “we can’t be held responsible for what any Tom Dick or Harry chooses to do in this benighted corner of the world! We came for a holiday and you have my assurances that we won’t make the same mistake again. But you can claim some responsibility, if you know the wretched boy and the life he’s forced into living, and yet done nothing about it. Get that sorted and you won’t have to go charging round the country like a demented hound chasing a sad young fox-cub!”

The officer had probably never been faced by such a speech in such an assertive voice before, at least not from the mouth of one so young as Ricky. To him it was more like the authoritative tones used on the radio by BBC newsmen than the words of a teenager who would be going back to school come September.

It’s just that we’re used to his antics,” he muttered, “doing it all the time he is, off here and there at a whim! What he needs is a sound thrashing, and no mistake, but that vicar will just forget the rod and take him aside and warn him about the pits of hell, and he’ll be let free to do it all again.”

So why blame my friend and I?” asked Ricky, “why suggest we’d arranged it with him? Why try to make out there’s some sort of plot in the air? We’ve got enough on our plates, the two of us, riding all the way home, best part of a hundred miles, on a day like this, to want a scallywag like that slowing us down.”

The police officer looked him up and down, unsure whether it would be advisable to administer a good thumping there and then when his constable wasn’t looking, and deciding that it probably wouldn’t because, knowing his luck, the boy in front of him most likely had an important father, probably even a Chief Constable of some important corner of creation, and only trouble for himself could come out of it.

Then don’t do it again!” he barked, and turned with a flourish back to his car where his junior colleague sitting in the back with Davey Pickett was watching with barely concealed amusement.

Ricky was about to demand what he shouldn’t do again, but Taylor placed one hand on his shoulder and murmured “it’s always best to know when a battle’s over rather than carry it on, and lose a war,”.

You’re right, of course,” agreed Ricky, somewhat reluctantly, “but what a charade! Who on Earth does he think he is with his uniform and his truncheon? But I suppose we got the better of him.

You did, mate, you most certainly did. And we did win,” smiled Taylor, “big time!”

How come?” asked a surprised Ricky, “that copper had no right to talk to us like that.”

Maybe not,” grinned Taylor, “but I’ve got the trophy!”

And he held up the gift from the boy Davey. “Angela’s racquet,” he said, holding it as if it might vanish in an instant if he so much as put it down, “and I’m not planning to keep it. I want to give it back to Angela sooner or later. But I’ll have to find her first.”

© Peter Rogerson 10.08.19

© 2019 Peter Rogerson

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Added on August 10, 2019
Last Updated on August 10, 2019
Tags: racquet, tennis, Angela, policeman, young boy


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..