by Gaz Coward
This is how my high school days concluded....
| You now know all about my high school days and the types of stuff that I had to put up with when waking up on a daily basis, but what I'm about to tell you is how my high school days concluded, which in all honesty, I really do wish that this cruel night had never taken place because it has haunted me for years since leaving school....
After leaving school that day my mates had come and greeted me outside the gates and luckily not managed to get their hands on the bullies from my classes, we all headed home to relax, sleep and think on the events of the situation that we'd almost got ourselves into. I thought it was the last of the trouble, but oh how wrong. I really was, because later that night, everything was about to hit a head. A conclusion far bigger than anything you may ever experience. The clock ticked over signalling seven pm and my mate Iain came round and as usual, walked straight into the house with "hello", walked through the house and knocked on my bedroom door. You're probably thinking, "Why did he just walk straight into the house instead of waiting for the door to be answered". The truth is, because our parents knew each other very well, it had in a way become customary that instead of constantly getting up to answer the door every five minutes, it was just easier to allow them to walk straight in because they were trustable.
Knocking on my bedroom door, Iain had brought round a new CD that contained, well.... Let's just say electronic dance music. It was the new hype because instead of needing to go to a club to enjoy that type of music, CD's were flying off the shelves like all the pop/rock CD's back in the 90's. A new era had begun, and so had the days when I thought dance music was cool. It really beat the teen pop era!
There we are, sitting in my room blaring out this new music on my subwoofer system, a system my mother absolutely hated because all she could hear was "boom, boom, boom" rattling through the walls while she was watching TV. Iain's mobile rang, on the other end was Emma Jefferies, a very good friend and someone that helped me through the bad year of losing my father, she wanted to know if me and Iain was interested in going into town with Danny and a few other friends as one of his other friends had just passed his driving test and wanted to hang out for the night. Obviously, us being young and into the whole boy racing phase (Which had most recently taken off on the streets of Blackpool) agreed to meet them at the top of our street. Already I can see a few of you reading this and thinking "Why the hell would two 15 - 16 year olds want to hang out with people who had fast cars"? Well, picture this: A MK5 Fiesta with front bumper, rear bumper, side skirts & arches with a jazzy vent installed bonnet and rear spoiler mixed with some shiny alloy wheels, known as the MK5 Fiesta Combat body kit.
Back then that was the style and normal thing for most new drivers to own unless you had money to afford the insurance on a brand new Subaru Impreza or Mitsubishi Evolution. I remember walking down the street with Iain and him bringing up the conversation about me going into the local shop and buying a packet of ten cigarettes because he couldn't be bothered asking some of the older kids to buy them. The reason being, the older kids would make him give them two cigarettes just for going in. Luckily me being much taller than most of the kids our age gave us the pleasure of laughing in their faces because we could get served and they couldn't. Even though it was wrong but let's forget about the underage smoking because that's a whole different story, lesson.... DON'T SMOKE IT KILLS YOU WHICH MY FATHER FOUND OUT AS YOU WELL KNOW!
Upon buying our packet of cigarettes we went around the back of the off license so that if either of our parents just so happened to nip out to the shop for something to eat and drink, we wouldn't get caught. Then again, hiding the fact we were smoking from our parents had kind of become a customary. The rules we lived by were....
oWhen smoking make sure you chew some strong gum (Soon this became a myth as it never helped the smell of our breath)
oHold the cigarette as far from you as possible, making sure the wind was blowing the smoke away from your body (Again, a myth, no matter how far the cigarette is held away from you the smell is still on your clothes)
Seriously, no matter what stories you hear about kids hiding the fact of them smoking from their parents, it never works out as planned because the chemicals in the those nasty little things that I have now come to know as death sticks, stick to your clothes like dead rats. There's no way of avoiding the smell or suspicion of smoking.
Just before finishing our cigarettes our friends, Danny, Emma, Tracy, Jamie, David and Will pulled onto the car park of the store and without further a-do, we each took a final puff and threw them on the floor before jumping in the back of Danny's car for the night.
As the drive into town unfolded, the usual fun unravelled. Danny and the rest of the group enjoyed pushing each of their cars to the limit, trying to see who was faster. Even though earlier I mentioned Danny drove a MK5 Fiesta the other drivers kind of had a little more money under their belts. Jamie, one of Danny's best friends drove a perfectly done up Series 1 RS Turbo Escort as well as his friend Will who drove a Sierra Cosworth, both of which had some amazing power behind them at 0 - 60mph in just under 7.8secs. That's pretty damn good compared to Danny's 0 - 60mph Ford Fiesta in 11.9secs. Now you see why the group loved racing. Upon finally reaching the centre of Blackpool, about 1 - 2 hours later, from where I am in Hambleton, Blackpool is only 8.1miles so if we stuck to the speed limit on most of the roads it should have only taken us 27mins. You're wondering where the extra 93mins came from, huh? Don't worry, we didn't get into an accident or anything like that, we actually stopped off and ate at a local McDonald's as those types of fast food joints have become popular with street racers over the years. They're cheap and you can almost certainly find something that will fill you up. In all honestly though, I'm so glad I didn't choose to get a job at McDonald's upon leaving college because the amount of litter the street racers leave these days in those car parks outside each of the restaurants is diabolical, it literally looks like a bomb hit it! Our first stop in Blackpool would always be the indoor BHS (British Home stores) car park, three empty floors of pure pleasure, that's what the local racers would say,because it gave them somewhere to park up, turn up the stereo and blare out there choice in music.
We must have only been parked up for thirty minutes or so until literally by chance, and I mean by chance, because out of the estimated population of around 141,900 residents, we ran into three of the lads who'd been bullying me at school that day. I mean, seriously, what are the chances of that?
Rest assured that we didn't go into Blackpool looking for trouble that evening, again it was just by chance that the three lads noticed me parked up with friends and menacingly decided to call out my name with a cheeky middle finger pointed in our direction which caused Danny and the rest of the group to question who they were. I was looked at straight away, Jamie and Danny both asked me if I knew who the lads were and thinking back on it, I really wish I had just made up some tiny fib as to who they were because what happened next is what kicked off and escalated things.
Right before I could even finish explaining who they were Jamie, Tracy & Emma all jumped in one car and sped out of the car park and down towards the road, hoping to cut off the group of lads who had sped off towards a staircase on the far side of the car park for a quick exit which would also bring them out at road level. David, on the other hand didn't even flinch as without hesitation he started running after the lads, also making his way for the stairs. At that moment Danny told Iain and I to get in the car as he quickly started the engine. Will didn't know what to do apart from wait around for David's return, if only he knew what was taking place on the stairs though. We sped towards the main entrance, down the ramp towards the road and pulled out. That's when we laid eyes on David who was at the bottom waiting and pointing up the street in the direction the group had rode off in. David jumped in the car and that's when we saw that he had a cut just below his right eye. He explained that when he reached the top landing of the stairs, one of the lads had been hitching a life off one of the lads riding a bike had jumped off the back stunt pegs and hidden behind the door as he entered the stairwell and then pushed David down them before jumping over his bruised body and out into the street rejoining his mates. If you think about the above incident we were surprised David didn't break his neck in the fall.
In the car "The little fucker pushed me down the stairs, he pushed me down the fucking stairs" David shouted at the top of his lungs as Danny passed him a tissue to wipe the bleeding cut. Putting his foot down Danny raced through the one way system of Blackpool's main city centre just searching for the group of lads.
After a short while, maybe ten or fifteen minutes of driving down various back alleys and streets passing the packed nightclubs, we couldn't find the lads. It was like they'd vanished off the face of the earth, like vampires in the night. Deciding to drive back to BHS car park, we finally caught back up with Jamie, Tracy and Emma who also for the last fifteen minutes had been looking for us. Stepping out of the cars we all leaned against the walls discussing what had just happened until Jamie looked directly at me and started blaming me for the injury David had suffered. David being a close friend stepped in and made it clear that I wasn't to blame for what had happened to him because at the end of the day, he chose to chase after the lads, He chose to chase them into the stairwell, he wanted to hurt them before they could even think of hurting me again, he was just doing what any friend would do. It didn't take long until the events of what had happened disappeared from everyone's minds and wanted to continue having a relaxed drive around town like we initially planned.
Pulling out of the car park we headed back down to road level, at that same moment as a couple of police cars were heading up to the second level of the car park, police checks and patrols being the usual thing in and around Blackpool at that time of night.
For the next hour or so, we spent a good amount of time hanging around near the Blackpool F.C football ground as around this area they had just finished extending a large car park to hold up to 5,000 or so cars for both the stadium itself and various other venues around town. It just so happened that this car park was so big, it attracted the local streets racers into testing what speed they could reach before they ran out of tarmac. Over numerous years the car parks have also been home to the Max Power & Fast Line magazine brands in which over 500 - 600 street racers would cruise into Blackpool and throw a huge party with burnout, drag races and even photo shoots for some of the best looking cars the country had to offer. Obviously, these events were all held against police rules and often being shut down well before things could get out of hand and annoy the local residents whose houses sat on the far side of the car park having to listen to the ruckus as it unfolded.
We used to really love sitting in the cars watching the others cars letting loose on those huge car parks but after a while it did get kind of boring so it was time to split and make our way home. That, however, was easier said than done because yet again the mayhem was about to continue. Making our way through the now packed streets of drunken people, we approached another one way system, a road that wasn't as busy. In fact, it was deserted like a forbidden street. We hoped the road would lead us into the not so busy area of town, so we followed it nicely. We must have only been on this road for just under a minute when suddenly, Danny slammed on the breaks as Jamie and Will had stopped their cars dead in the middle of the road. The doors flung open, the two of them concerned for their passengers who had run off round a street corner. Jumping out of the car, Danny, Jamie, Will, David and I conversed.
"What the fucks going on now?" Asked Danny.....
"It's Tracy, she just fucking jumped out of the car and started chasing a couple of lads" Jamie replied.
"What do you mean a couple of lads" David argued.
"Like I said, she thought she recognised them from earlier" Jamie insisted back.
At that moment, David, Jamie, Iain and I rushed in the direction that Tracy had a few moments earlier run off in. Trying to catch up with her, we jumped over a large metal railing that separated the road from the footpath until turning a corner. This was of course our worst mistake of the night. As we turned the corner, all we could see was Tracy running straight for us, behind her there was over 30 - 40 men and women, some built like they worked out, others small and scrawny, others were a new group of lads who had been bullying me at school weeks prior mixed in with the lads we'd run into earlier in the night.
"Go back, go back" Tracy insisted.
"Wait, what"? We asked.
"Turn, fucking run" Tracy insisted again.
Suddenly our group of payback angry teenagers turned and started running back towards the cars; right behind us was the huge group of people, also... well.... Fight hungry would be the proper word for it, they were literally seeing red. Luckily, we managed to climb over the metal railings once again and make it back to the cars. Danny pushed both me and Iain in the car and jumped in the driver's seat slamming his foot to the floor. David, Emma and Tracy jumped into Jamie's car just as the huge group reached the side of it and started kicking the doors. Unfortunately, Tracy had not managed to get fully in the car as the kicking of the door resulted in her trapping her legs with a few forceful slams on her kneecap. I can't remember fully if she cut her knee during the ruckus but she was definitely in pain, Jamie very angry.
Putting their foots down we raced out of Blackpool and finally decided we had had enough of town as we made our way back to Hambleton. The drive back was full of mobile conversations, Jamie wanted to go back and claim payment for the damage caused to his car, while others wanted to stake out the bar that the huge group had come running out of to catch the main bullies who kick started it all, off guard once and for all. After much consideration we all decided it was best not to retaliate because it was very much clear that we was out numbered and fancied staying in one piece. Finally getting back into Hambleton we pulled up outside my house and that's when more trouble started. Getting out of the cars, David started complaining about the cut below his eye and Jamie started on me, telling me it was my fault his car got dinted and that no matter what the outcome of tonight had been, I was going to pay for the damage. Thinking back on the situation, he was just angry which is understandable.
Standing outside the house and arguing about who was going to pay for the damage on the car I actually fell into tears because I felt as though Jamie was taking the whole thing out on me. The truth is, he chose to go after the lads and stick up for me, no one forced him to. At least Danny and the rest of the group started sticking up for me and agreeing with the fact that it wasn't my fault. I started feeling better gradually over time until my mum came out of the house and instantly started questioning us on what had happened because already someone had rung the house, threatening to kick my head in when they next saw me. To be totally honest though, the whole kicking in of my head is something I'd got used to over the years with trouble from bullies, so this time we had one simple answer to the scenario. (I was not going into school the following day) As you read this, you can either agree or disagree, but would you want to go into school after such a big kick off? Think about it.... If they could kick the absolute shit out of my mate's car and almost break a girls legs by trapping it in the door, then what the hell would have happened to me when on my own in school? I could easily sit here now and go into much more detail of the night as it unfolded, but the truth is things actually calmed down after a couple of hours and once Jamie had calmed down, he agreed that it wasn't my fault his car got damaged, he was just being a mate and sticking up for me just like everyone else in our group.
Looking back on that night in Blackpool, I can honestly say that I really do wish me and my mates had never gone out cruising that night because my education suffered greatly. I couldn't return to school because there were threats being thrown around almost everywhere. To put it into perspective I mean, even the teachers were writing reports and leaving them in the schools main reception for the headmaster to pick up and read because they were so concerned for what they were hearing concerning my name and family in general. Even though knowing that the teachers were concerned for what was unfolding, there is one event that took place during school hours that violated personal details and privacy. Read on.... Imagine you are a student in high school and your parents ring in to explain to your head of year that you wouldn't be attending school that day because of what was taking place. Now imagine the upset if the school asked for your contact details (Name, email, phone number, mobile number and address) and then if those details were actually sitting in the schools parent reception noting down the details on the closest at hand newspaper where anyone could read them. I'm being serious, the headmaster literally noted all our contact details down on a recent newspaper, broadcasted for all to see, which then led to a student who was involved in all the recent events being called down to the office for a talk, was sitting in reception, noticed my name and details right there for the taking. Explain that to the board of directors! Not only did this certain incident cause the student to steal the contact details, he also passed it round to his friends, who then passed it on to some much bigger and nastier friends who then started calling my house, sending letters and threatening to beat me to a pulp because I was too scared to face them in person. The threats went on for a good year or so, leading us to get our landline wired so we could record any phone calls received. The scary thing being is that it became very hard to trust even my closest of friends, who also had their phone calls recorded for police purposes. When the threats finally started to fizzle out I tried to get on with my life, of course I didn't go back to school, in fact I dropped out so to anyone reading this that is still in school (Don't drop out, things get better) For those who have dropped out already, god forbid you haven't (Get yourself enrolled at college because college is what saved me in terms of qualifications and the goal of making some new and trustable friends) My college friends were probably the most trustable I've ever had in my life.