Two best friends fall for the same girl, against a background of football violence.
| Whistling the latest Tears For Fears hit, Darryl strode into the Dartsman, to find Gordy already pouring lager down his neck. It was no surprise really - Gordy and alcohol seemed to belong together, like fish and chips. Darryl approached the bar, brandishing a ten pound note. A sure sign it was payday, he thought philosophically - when else did he have ten pound notes to flash around?
Gordy joined his pal at the bar, his glass now empty. "Ten to eight," he mocked. Is this the earliest you can make it on a Friday night?"
Darryl punched him playfully. "Two lagers, Lisa," he called, and the barmaid began to pull the drinks.
"Make that three," said a voice from the doorway. Darryl looked around to see Willie entering the room.
"Three lagers," said Darryl. "Might as well spend it before I die".
"Getting pissed again, Gordy?" asked Lisa with a note of disapproval.
"Course I am. What else is there to do?"
"Stay sober," grinned Willie. "Then you can walk Lisa home. I'm sure she wants you to".
Lisa placed the drinks before them. "Yeah, my husband would love that," she said. "That'll be two pounds forty, please".
Darryl sorted out the money, while Gordy gazed longingly at Lisa's chest. "I'll walk you home if you like," he said.
She put the cash in the till, then turned to fix Gordy with a look. "It may surprise you, but there are a few girls around here who don't find you attractive".
"Don't tell him that," laughed Darryl. "You'll make him cry".
Gordy smiled. "None of us are perfect," he said. "But I'm about as perfect as you're gonna find".
The others jeered, Willie flicking lager at his arrogant friend. Lisa moved away to serve someone else, and the lads' minds turned to the following day.
"What time's the coach leave tomorrow morning?" asked Darryl.
"Nine o'clock," Willie informed him. "The journey shouldn't take long. We'll be banging on a pub door by half past half ten". He frowned as he drank some lager. "How much cash are you taking? I've only got fifteen quid".
"That'll be plenty," assured Darryl. "Don't worry about it. Just stay away from the card schools and the hamburger stands. You'll be fine".
Gordy laughed. "You're asking this fat bastard to stay away from hamburger stands? That'll be the day".
"Think there'll be any trouble tomorrow?" asked Willie, anxious to change the subject. "I've never been to Linsford. Have they got any lads?"
"Linsford are like a huge proportion of the clubs in the Football League," declared Gordy with the air of one imparting wisdom. "No fuckin' lads at all away from home, but on their own patch they think they're Tommy Rock. Bastards'll start something for sure; you can bet a week's wages on it. Which is all for the good, cos the City boys will kick them all over fuckin' town".
Darryl and Willie nodded their agreement, and Lisa, who stood listening, gazed at them with scorn.
"You boys are so bloody brave," she said. "I only hope you're there to protect me, should I ever need it".
The lads ignored her, turning their attention to more important things.
"What are you gonna wear, Darryl?" asked Willie.
Darryl shrugged. "Anything. I've not really thought about it".
Gordy laughed. "You lying bastard!" he said. And to Willie, "He'll be wearing his Lacoste shirt and best jeans. They're all laid out on his dressing table".
Blushing, Darryl said, "Yeah, well, I might wear those things".
Willie beamed with pride. "I'm gonna wear my new Sergio Tacchini tracksuit," he told them. "It arrived this morning, from the catalogue place. Fuckin' tremendous, it is".
Gordy spluttered in his lager. "Nothing could look tremendous on you, fat boy," he said.
"Bollocks," replied Willie.
"Such a remarkable display of vocabulary," said Lisa, polishing a glass in an effort to look busy.
"Bollocks," replied Willie.
Draining his glass, Gordy said, "Enough of the small talk. Lisa, busy yourself with three fresh pints. And guys, busy yourselves with thoughts of pussy. Where are we heading to this evening?"
They set their minds to the question. Where to go on a Friday night was such an important decision to make. The working week was endured with Friday night in mind, its promise of reward for the week's labours in the form of beer and women always uppermost in their minds. A bad choice of pub could almost wreck the start of the weekend.
"Let's head for the City Centre, find Big Don and the boys," said Willie eagerly. "Talk tactics ahead of tomorrow's match".
Darryl groaned. "I'm not going over there tonight," he said. "It's too far, and I'm too knackered. Some of us work hard, you know".
"Let's try Tango's," suggested Gordy. "Wall to wall pussy in there, from what I hear".
"Where the fuck's Tango's?" asked Willie.
Gordy paid for the lagers, and began to drink again. "Remember the Old Bush, just across town? That's now Tango's. It's been renovated".
"But the Old Bush was shit," moaned Willie. "Full of old bastards".
"It's different now," said Gordy patiently. "It's aimed at the young and trendy , i.e. us. If you can't pull a woman in there, you might as well cut your cock off".
Darryl laughed. "He can't do that. He needs it for Kathleen".
Willie turned red. Gordy cheered. "You're not screwing Kathleen, are you, fat boy?" he asked.
"No, I'm bloody well not," replied Willie, none too convincingly. "I've never even touched her".
"And what if he is?" demanded Lisa. "There's nothing wrong with the woman. You lot are such a bunch of sexist shitheads".
"Such friendly service. That's what I love about this place," said Darryl, and the lads exploded in laughter.
Tango's was packed, and the lads were glad to see that girls were there in abundance. It was the latest place to be seen among young people in the area, and Gordy nodded his approval at the quantity and quality of talent on show.
"It's a fuckin' youth club," remarked Darryl. "Some of this lot can't be a day above sixteen".
"Yeah, I know," agreed Willie. "It's great, don't you think?"
The queue at the bar was three deep, and Darryl waited impatiently to be served. He looked around, admiring the plush surroundings. The carpeting was a cut above that of any other pub in the area, and disco lights overhead held the promise of exciting nights ahead. Mirrors lined the walls, giving the impression of a much larger room than it actually was. Someone, thought Darryl, was going to have to pay for such opulence, and the price of the drinks was bound to reflect that fact.
"Ninety pence a pint," he informed the others, when eventually he handed round the drinks. "Mark my words, it'll be a quid a pint soon".
Willie shook his head. "It'll never happen," he said confidently.
"You pay for what you get," Gordy told them. "I'd rather pay these prices to look at pussy than sit in the Dartsman bored out of my mind".
The others couldn't help but agree, and their eyes roamed around the room, taking in the mini-skirted legs and low-cut blouses that abounded. Darryl spotted a girl who lived across the street from his parents and was astounded at how a hairdo and make-up could change a girl: he'd never looked twice at her before, but now she looked stunning.
Pity she went out with that big blonde-haired bastard, he thought.
"Let's circulate," said Gordy, moving into the crowd. "Tonight I want to get my leg over. I haven't had sex since 1984".
"It's only the eleventh of January," Darryl pointed out.
"Yeah, I know. Eleven days without a shag - it's just too long". Darryl grinned as he and Willie followed their pal, eager to meet some girls. When Gordy was in the mood to find a woman - and he rarely wasn't - he usually succeeded, and Darryl and Willie liked to be close behind at such times. Groups of pretty girls buzzed around Gordy in a way that never ceased to amaze, and Darryl in particular had picked up many a cute girl whose friend had struck lucky with Gordy.
In a corner of the room they spotted two girls, alone, deep in conversation. The lads stopped to consider them. Both were certainly up to the required standard. Gordy ran a hand through his dark hair and moved towards them.
The girls watched them approach. "If you're gonna try and chat us up, you can start by buying us a drink," smiled one of them. "Two sweet ciders, please". Gordy grinned, and took their empty glasses. He vanished in the direction of the bar, and Darryl slid into a seat opposite the girls.
The same girl spoke again. "And what would your name be?" she asked. Darryl told her, thinking that she definitely seemed the more outgoing of the two. And the more beautiful, he decided, now that they were seen up close.
"I'm Willie," said Willie, sitting down. He took her hand and kissed it. "And may I say I've rarely encountered two such gorgeous women".
The girl giggled. "I'm Debbie," she informed them. "Debbie Jenkins. This is my friend, Jenny Sullivan".
"Pleased to meet you, Jenny". Willie kissed her hand too.
"Do you live around here?" asked Darryl. His interest was genuine. He thought he knew most of the truly attractive girls in the area, but these two were new to him. They were, he guessed, about the same age as himself - nineteen - maybe a little older. Darryl wondered why he hadn't encountered them before.
"Near the park," Debbie told him.
Gordy arrived back with a tray of drinks, which drew cheers from his pals. Darryl noticed with a touch of annoyance that Debbie's countenance brightened at Gordy's reappearance.
"Gordy Simpson," said Gordy, placing the ciders before the girls. "The one and only. I assume Mr. Darryl James has introduced himself, and I assume this fat bastard has kissed the back of your hands".
The girls giggled, and Willie looked annoyed. "It's the only way he gets to kiss a girl," laughed Gordy.
"Bollocks," retorted Willie.
"Willie's a football hooligan," said Darryl.
Willie turned red. "I'm friggin' well not!" he declared. He turned to the girls. "I'm just a little boisterous, that's all".
Darryl and Gordy exploded in laughter.
"So who do you lads support?" asked Debbie.
"City, of course," Darryl told her. "Who else is there to support in these parts?"
She smiled. "Athletic".
The lads groaned. "You don't support Athletic, do you?" said Gordy. "Isn't it amazing? Such a beautiful girl with such a terrible flaw".
Debbie blushed at the compliment. Darryl regarded her, the sparkle in her eyes hypnotising him. He became aware of Jenny watching him, and turned to face her.
"And who's your team?" he asked.
"I don't have one," she said. "Can't stand football. And don't let Debbie fool you - her only interest is in gawping at the players".
Debbie blushed again. "Nothing wrong with that," she said.
"Too right," agreed Gordy. "We like the girls, you like the guys. That's the way it is".
"I like certain guys more than others," said Debbie, meeting Gordy's gaze.
Darryl's heart sank. Once more, it seemed, his pal was having pick of the crop. What was it about the bloke that women found so irresistible?
Gordy took Debbie's hand. "It'd be a pleasure to walk you home tonight, if no-one else is doing so," he said softly.
"Then you can," she said. "And your friends can come too. The house is empty; we'll have a drink and watch a film".
A smile sprang to Darryl's face. "That sounds great," he said. He grinned at Gordy, whom, Darryl guessed, had been expecting a little more privacy. "What do you reckon, Willie?"
Willie's mind was elsewhere. Across the room stood Kathleen Johnson, and Willie, it seemed, was wondering if he could get his leg over before the night was through. "I'll see you guys later," he said, standing up. "I've got things to do".
The four emerged from a taxi, giggling, and made their way up the path to Debbie's front door. Gordy very nearly fell into the privet that ringed the garden, and Debbie caught him before exploding into laughter once again. Reaching the front door she eventually produced a key from her handbag, and struggled to find the lock.
"I can't get it in the hole," she said, and Gordy sniggered. "Do you often have that trouble?" he asked.
Eventually they gained access to the house, and entering the living room, they collapsed onto various chairs. Debbie switched on the TV set and tried to focus on the screen.
"Where are those drinks you mentioned?" asked Gordy. "I haven't had a pint for half an hour".
"And that's a problem, is it?" asked Jenny good-humouredly.
"It is on a Friday night. Isn't it, Darryl?"
"Gordy's a pisshead," Darryl told them.
Debbie rose and headed for the kitchen. A few seconds later she returned with two cans of lager. "We'll have a cup of coffee, eh Jenny?" she said. The lads gratefully accepted the drinks and quickly set to work on them.
Her hostess duties done, Debbie perched on the arm of Gordy's chair. He pulled her smoothly onto his lap.
"So where are your parents?" asked Darryl, not liking the way things were shaping up. "They'll be back soon, I expect". He certainly hoped so. The last thing he wanted to do was sit and watch Gordy and Debbie in action.
"I haven't a clue where my father is," said Debbie. "I haven't seen him for years. As for my mother, she's staying at her boyfriend's place. Always does at weekends".
Gordy's eyes lit up as his hand rested on her thigh. "Does that mean I can stay for the night?" he asked.
"He thinks you're easy, Debs," said Jenny. Darryl held his breath as he awaited Debbie's answer.
"Well, I'm bloody well not easy, Gordy Simpson," she smiled. "I've only just met you. I'm certainly not sleeping with you".
"You'd enjoy it," Gordy assured her.
Darryl threw a cushion at him. "Give it a rest, stud," he laughed. "Not every girl's gonna drop her knickers at the click of your fingers. Besides, you're pissed. I doubt you'd get it up".
The girls giggled, and Gordy couldn't conceal a grin. "You're probably right," he admitted. "It's just that when I meet such a sexy girl as Debbie here, my feelings get the better of me".
Debbie stopped laughing, and stared him in the eye. "You think I'm attractive, then?" she asked.
Of course you fuckin' are, Darryl wanted to yell. A bloke would have to be blind to think you're not.
Gazing into Gordy's eyes, Debbie slid into his arms and their lips met. Gordy's hand moved up her skirt and Darryl tore his eyes away, an unpleasant feeling in his stomach.
Jenny sat beside him and took his hand. Darryl turned to face her. "You can kiss me if you like," she said softly.
"Yeah... of course," he replied. An arm around her waist, he began to kiss her, a little tentatively at first, but then he warmed to the task and abandoned himself to the familiar pleasure of a girl in his arms. Jenny wasn't a bad looking girl, and he'd rather kiss her than kiss no-one at all.