Tommy's friend Badger comes on the scene. Retro fiction.
Friday night, Judy and Kenny decided to go to Minstrels nightclub in Barfield. Kenny knew the doormen from previous occasional visits to the club. He once stepped in when one of the doormen was out of his depth with some drunken revellers. He saved the doorman from a beating and sent the drunks off with hurt pride as well as hurt bodies. Judy also knew some people in the place and though she was always friendly with the doormen, her status heightened when she began turning up on Kenny's arm. They walked to the bar and waiting there as arranged was Tommy, who had a friend with him, and they all said their hello's.
"This is Archie, do you remember him Kenny?" Tommy said. "He's a got a job as builder's apprentice at Hoghead's."
Kenny looked at him. "Course I remember him. I remember asking him if his Mum spilt some bleach on his head?"
Archie had a white streak in his brown hair starting at the crown and working out to two inches or so at his fringe. "It's always been there. There's a lack of pigment in that part for some reason."
Kenny gave a laugh. "Your head looks like a bloody badger."
"A couple of kids at school used to call me Badger until I bashed them."
"Okay, Badger it is and it's a better name than Archie anyway. As long as you don't try to bash me as well."
Tommy had a worried look on his face as he glanced at Archie.
Archie just gave a laugh. "Badger it is then. I've never liked the name Archie much anyway."
"Right," Judy said. "Come on, Tommy, let's have a dance while these two get acquainted again."
"So, I haven't seen you about in Locksford for a while," Kenny said.
"I've been living in Altrincham with an old schoolmate but he's had to get married."
"Yeah, bun in the oven. It would be funny if I hadn't lost my bed space. She told him she had a medical problem and couldn't have children so he thought his luck was in."
"So, was your luck in as well?"
"Shhhh!" Badger gave a longish silly laugh. "Anyway, turns out she was lying so she could get pregnant and trap him."
"Why would she want to do that?"
"Money, Kenny. His folks are loaded and own lots of houses around Altrincham. That's where we were staying, in one of their houses, until she became pregnant then I got my marching orders."
The record finished and Kenny walked out to take over from Tommy. "Right, Judy, are you ready for some proper dancing?" They began an advanced jive and the crowd gradually moved back to give them room as they became almost gymnastic. A lot of the crowd clapped them on in encouragement. Tommy was used to it, but Badger looked on in awe.
When the club closed, they all took the late bus back to Locksford with Judy deciding to spend the night at Kenny's bedsit on the Meadowview estate, as often happened. They sat drinking hot cocoa and Judy spoke up about something that had been on her mind. "I was having a chat with Stan at the dance studio and I asked if we could take part in the contest in Blackpool this year."
"Yeah, that sounds good, Jude."
"Why have you started to call me Jude again? My name is Judy."
"I like Jude better. Judy gets knocked about by Mr Punch. Not good for my image."
"So what if I prefer Kenneth to Kenny?"
"I'll just find myself another partner."
Judy gave a brief laugh while shaking her head. "Anyway, because you only go there on Saturday's, he said we would not qualify from the club. So I was thinking, maybe if you joined me in the week a couple of nights we might get a shot at it."
"So you want me to do some poncey ballroom dancing."
"Kenny, it's not poncey to be able to dance proper dances you know."
"So rock 'n' roll is not proper?"
"I never said that. But you should try some ballroom. I am pretty good at it now and I can help you."
Kenny laughed. "I'm only joking, Jude, of course, I can dance. Learnt it years ago. But I'd rather jive. Anyway, to get to Blackpool in the finals would be great and perhaps we could even win. But after the finals, it's back to Saturdays only." Kenny paused for a moment before continuing. "I can probably waltz and tango better than you anyway."
As the months went by, Kenny spent more time with Judy at Minstrels, the dance studio and the local bars, and less time at the boxing gym. This disappointed Lynn's father, Martyn as he had high hopes for Kenny after his National Service. It was not long; however, until Martyn decided to give up running the gym and he handed it over to the other trainer.
The time for the contest in Blackpool soon came around. Kenny and Judy and their following were overjoyed when the couple made it to the final. They then took their performance to the limit and the crowd was ecstatic when they won.
They returned triumphant to Locksford and Judy went home with Kenny to his bedsit on the Meadowview Estate. They were sat together on the side of Kenny’s single bed.
Kenny stood up and looked out of the window before turning to look at Judy. “I’ve been thinking, Judy. It’s not ideal for us travelling back and too from Barfield to see each other. It’s not just round the corner.”
“I know what you are thinking, Kenny. But I couldn’t live in this bedsit. Snuggled on a single bed is fine now and then but permanent, we would soon get on each other’s nerves.”
“I know, but...”
“It wouldn’t work Kenny. Living, sleeping, cooking and eating in one room. It just wouldn’t work.”
“Will you listen?”
“And we have to share the bathroom with others. You don’t even have your own toilet. I love you, Kenny, I really do, and I would love for us to live together, but I can’t live here.”
“Can I speak now?”
Judy laughed. “Sorry, but I’m serious. Why don’t you give up this place and come and live with us in Barfield? I am sure my mum would be fine with it. She likes you.”
“Will you bloody listen to me? There is a two-bedroom house to rent in town and I have first offer on it. I don’t want to live there on my own. I might as well stay here. But, if you want to move in with me, I’ll take it and it will make me the happiest man on Earth.”
Judy sat for a few moments as if mesmerised before jumping up and throwing herself into Kenny’s arms. “When, when can we move in?”
“We can move in next weekend if you want.”
“Oh, I want to. I want to so much, and I want you so much. What a fantastic end to a brilliant day.” Judy unbuttoned her blouse. “Let’s end a wonderful day with some extraordinary passion.”
Kenny started to unbutton his shirt. “I’m all for that.”
Kenny gave up his bedsit and rented the Victorian terraced house in Locksford. The house stood conveniently opposite The Ring O' Bells, an older type public house. Judy moved in with him and everything in their lives seemed rosy. Kenny was more than happy with the arrangement and Judy grew more and more in love with Kenny as the months passed. Their life together in their new home was perfect, idyllic almost, but it was not to last.