A waft of cigarette smoke tells me Dan’s here. He smokes Park Drive – no filters – old man’s fags, though no one would tell him.
‘Where you been?’ asks Pete. He’s been shuffling on the spot for the last half hour, kicking up the dirt where the grass used to grow when people still cared about making this place nice. Years ago.
Dan lights a fresh Park Drive. ‘Mind your own,’ he says, crushing out the old fag with a twist of his boot. ‘Ready for this?’ He looks from Pete to Si to me and we just nod, though I want to be home watching the match with my dad.
We show what we’ve brought – a cricket bat: a length of pipe: a table leg.
Dan smiles, pushing back his coat.
Hidden in the folds of wool are short metal poles attached to a wooden stock. Bile rises, burning my throat. ‘Dan …’ I can’t say any more, and I need to pee so bad it hurts.
‘Let’s go,’ he says.
And there’s blood all over me, though I’m not sure whose and it’s sticky and I think of my bed and my mum and she’s laying a cool hand on my head, saying ‘Hush. Close your eyes darlin’ boy’.
And I do and I sleep.