So we became The Bluebottle Boys: one for all, all for one.
But all we were certain of next morning was that it felt terrific to be in each other’s company again. It had been but two weeks since we’d been together at the ABC Minors Club, which seemed like an eternity in the minds of ten-year-olds.
Today’s meeting felt like one of the best, happiest ones ever – even better than the ones they’d had around Halloween and Christmas – even if the traffic safety part dragged on a bit. We hadn’t wanted it to end, but it finally did, and I knew Mum and Dad would be waiting outside to take Stan and Ian home before Mum, Dad and I took a rare trip to Solihull together to spend an overnight visit with Grammer.
For the three of us to be together as a family at the same time was also rare and wonderful these days, and it wasn’t as if I hadn’t been looking forward to it. But I was savoring my Bluebottle time, too, and wanted to drag it out a bit longer. So I suggested we go out a back exit, taking a scenic route around the cinema, before we went up the street to where I knew Mum and Dad were waiting.
Unbeknownst to any of us, two pair of eyes had been watching us for a considerable period of time – likely spotting us from the balcony in a moment of boredom when this week’s traffic safety presentation went into overtime. We’d taken our sweet time getting up to leave – more than enough for them to slip downstairs, if they did so quickly, and follow us out of the cinema.
They probably couldn’t believe their luck when we chose to go out the back way.
The ABC Edgbaston was positioned in such a way that it could be seen from the street on all sides, except for the very back entrances – a fact that made these particular portals attractive to teenage smokers, snoggers, sneakers-in or what have you, during the later shows, but which didn’t apply to small fry in the Minors Club. We’d every reason to think we’d be all right going out the back way.
We were wrong.
We’d barely crossed the threshold of the rear exit when a pair of ham-fisted hands pinned Stan and me to the outside wall on one side of the door whilst Ian stood, hands in the air, against the wall on the other. Tiny looked happy as a pig in slop as he kept Stan and me from going to Ian’s aid, as Rufus the Doofus stood in front of Ian, brandishing a switchblade.
© 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
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The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One) is now available from Amazon Books. The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is due out this autumn.