October 30, 2011 by markstani
another brief extract from my novel, The Dukes Of Fryup
The whole village went to Bobby Allan’s funeral, except the gypos and loonies, and some old fogeys who couldn’t walk, and Scotch Gordon because he had to open his fish and chip shop.
Dazzler’s mum: I can’t believe the nerve of that man, thinking about cold hard cash on a day like this.
Scotch Gordon: someone’s got tae feed the mourners.
It looked like it might rain. The sky was grey, like a giant school jumper had wrapped tight round. Everyone was wearing black. There was no colour except Scotch Gordon’s fizzy orange fish and chip shop sign. The church was packed and loads of people had to stand outside. We stood in the graveyard so we could get a good look. The hearse crept up and the men who were waiting opened the boot and got Bobby Allan’s coffin out. They walked up the path to the church like they were in some kind of slow-mo replay. Dazzler whispered he wished he could press a fast forward button, but they’d likely drop the coffin that way. Bobby Allan’s mum and dad were scuffing up behind them. His mum was clutching into his dad and crying. Her sobs stuck on the air. They were all you could hear save the clomping of feet. She was holding Bobby Allan’s leather jacket. Its tassels were hanging down over her arm. The chip shop smell was making us starving. While the funeral was on everyone just stood round in small circles and smoked fags. They peered at the sky like they were looking for answers. The music was muffling out but not what the vicar said. We bezzed down to Scotch Gordon’s to see if we could get free chips because we were mourners. We made our faces all sad before we went in.
Scotch Gordon: get tae fuck.
They brought Bobby Allan’s coffin out and tugged it over the grass to the grave. They dipped the coffin in and Bobby Allan’s mum chucked a bit of mud on. Everyone was bawling out. Just when Bobby Allan’s mum stood back, Wayne’s brother pushed through and dropped Bobby Allan’s Outlaws bandana on top. It sat there like a scrap of sunshine. Bobby Allan’s mum collapsed on her knees.
Derek Green: bugger off out of it.
Everyone went to help Bobby Allan’s mum. While they were fretting, Derek Green reached down and got Bobby Allan’s Outlaws bandana and tossed it away. It flitted down right at our feet. We just stared at it for ages then looked round and saw no-one was looking. Wayne bent down and got it and stuffed it in his pocket. Our hearts were banging like our bodies had drums inside. We backed off and tried to look like we weren’t rushing. Wayne’s brother and Kenny The Cormorant were sat at the church gate smoking fags. They stared at us so hard it was like they had x-ray eyes. We didn’t stop or talk till we got to the car park woods. We went in the trees and Wayne unfurled it. There was a spot of what might have been Bobby Allan’s blood. Bobby Allan was the best scramble biker we’d ever seen. He could ride on the ridge with no hands and blindfolded and not fall off.
Dazzler: do you really think Bobby Allan rode his bike of the cliff like they said.
Fat Gavin: how was your brother miles ahead when it happened.
Wayne: maybe he did a false start.
Dazzler: maybe they were doing two laps and Bobby Allan was behind because he was about to lap him.
Me: maybe Kenny The Cormorant was hiding in the bushes and jumped out and pushed him off.
In the next few days after the funeral Wayne’s brother starting spouting off about what happened. Everyone crowded round listening and he never told us to fuck off, even when we stood on the steps. Kenny The Cormorant sat next to him but never said anything. Dolores Craven sat there puffing a fag. Only Frog Eyes wasn’t there. Gareth Outhwaite and Samantha Harper were even laughing. Samantha Harper was small and fat and we didn’t even know why she was allowed on the steps, unless she fucked like a rabbit.
That’s when Wayne’s brother started talking about the gypo curse. He said the night before Bobby Allan got killed, the Outlaws had gone up past the quarry to the big lake and had an argument with some gypos. They started to ride off, then Bobby Allan made them stop and went back and chucked a rock at their caravans. The rock smashed out one of the windows and a baby started crying. One of the gypos ran out and shouted something after them. They couldn’t understand what it was, but it sounded like some kind of ancient language, which is what gypos always use for curses. Wayne’s brother said it was definitely a curse that killed Bobby Allan, because he rode straight off the edge like he was in some kind of trance, and he didn’t even scream when he was falling, or when he landed like a stamped-on slug. He said after he and Kenny had raced off for an ambulance, they got back and Bobby Allan had moved so his legs were straight and his arms were folded neatly over his chest, which is the way folk are always laid out when they’re cursed.
Everyone just hung round listening and nearly forgetting to breathe.
Later we got Bobby Allan’s bandana out again. We had a vote on the truth of how Bobby Allan might have died. There were two votes for Wayne’s brother or Kenny The Cormorant having something to do with it, and two votes for a gypo curse. We all took it in turns touching the bit of blood on Bobby Allan’s bandana. If you touch the blood of someone who’s been killed by a gypo curse, the only way to stop it cursing you as well is to find out the truth and avenge his death. That way you’ll never get cursed again and you’ll get a good fortune and a long life. We put our hands on top of each others and draped Bobby Allan’s bandana over the top. We swore on our lives and crossed our hearts and hoped to die in the name of the Dukes of Fryup.