A bit more of the tale of urban delinquency, based on the kids we see every day.

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Warning! This story gets a little emotional for a couple of chapters, so have your handkerchiefs ready. As well as the Kleenex!

Street Kids



I walked down the street not knowing where I was going or why. I mean, OK, I wanted to find Rye, and I had an idea what I wanted when I found him, but a nagging `why bother' hung in my mind. There are times I should really listen to what my brain is trying to say.

I walked past the street corner where we sometimes hung out, and it was deserted. I walked through the park to the main road, and turned towards town. I tried to work out details of what I was going to do, but I didn't really have any idea how. The best idea was to go back home, to bed, and sleep the day out. Suddenly I was there, in the shopping area, in the middle of a street market that was set up on Saturdays in the High Street.

I looked around; elderly women nosing the stalls, young mothers ignoring wailing kids and people just being a fucking crowd filled the visible world. I stared at the bars of chocolate on a stall. I wanted one. The Asian stallholder watched me suspiciously. I walked on. They were easier to nick from a shop anyway. `Fuckin' Pakis' I thought. I frowned when the idea that he probably thought something equally derogatory about me flashed across my mind.

I pushed through the crowd standing in front of a large butcher's auction van to a quieter area of the market. A woman was flicking through t-shirts on a rack and the bored-looking little boy at her side turned his face up to me and smiled. `You've got it easy' I thought. `Just wait six or seven years till you're my age'. But I felt my heart beating at his innocent smile.

I turned into Woolworths and browsed around for a bit. Two bars of Cadbury's Fruit & Nut accidentally fell into my pocket on the way round, then a few minutes later I came out at the other side of the shop and crossed the road. I stood idly gazing into a shop window eating one of the chocolate bars when --


I turned to see Dan, Pie and Jay crossing the road towards me.

"Hi." I said in a voice which showed how bored I was.

"You heard about Rye?" Jay said, almost excitedly.

"Nah, what?" I asked.

"He's in St. Saviour's Hospital. Got knocked down by a truck, I think!"

My spine shivered and I went cold.

"What?" I said, dropping the last chunk of chocolate.

"He got hit by a truck on the by-pass last night." Dan said. "Got took to St Saviour's. Knocked up pretty bad, so I hear."

"Doubt if he lasted the night." Pie threw in.

"I got some cans of booze an' some weed, wanna come back to mine?" Dan finished.

"Er -- no, I can't. Gotta get back home. Should be there now!" I answered.

"Suit yourself. Man, we're gonna get sooo high!" Jay laughed.

Just then, I could really use a drag. "You ain't got a spare joint, have you?" I asked Dan.

"I have, why?" he asked, with a knowing look.

"Can you let me have it?" I asked.

"What's it worth? he asked in reply.

"Yeah, what's it worth?" Pie repeated, with a smirk.

We settled on a quid for Dan, and a tin of beer later for Pie. I didn't bother to argue why he had to have something, I accepted my desperation.


They went off laughing, at my expense probably, and I ate the other chocolate bar while walking round looking to find somewhere to smoke the joint. Why I ended up behind the cinema I'll never know, but there I was, sitting on the stairs from the fire exit having just lit up.

It was a strong joint, and my second pull was a deep one. All I could think about was Rye, and the unknowing of how he came to be knocked down on the by-pass. Why would he need to be that far away anyway? And why cross the road? It really was the town's boundary, housing one side, fields the other. It just didn't add up. There was an explanation, but I wasn't going to even consider it.

I took another pull -- not as deep as the last, but its effects still got me.

Why was I even thinking about him? Why should it matter to me? I decided I didn't want to work that out. Then the last thing in the world that I wanted to happen, happened. Another kid came walking past.

I glanced him over -- older than me, but not much. Black track suit, an expensive one, too. Black cap, no markings. Black trainers, not just black trainers, but Armani suede black trainers. He stopped for a second, then came and sat on the stairs too. This I really can do without.

"Chance of a drag on your fag, mate?"

Fuckin' rich kid accent, too. The `mate' was strained -- I don't suppose his kind have `mates'.

"It ain't a fag." I sneered, taking another, much lighter pull.

"I know -- I can smell." he said. Not even tryin' to disguise his accent now. I was amazed to see my arm stretching out with it. He took it, had a girly drag, and immediately started coughing fit to retch. He dropped the fuckin' joint, too! I scrambled my reticent legs, leaned over and picked it up.

"Sorry," he said between heaves, "I'm not used to it." before I could swear at him.

"Why ask then." I said, more a statement than a question. He slid closer to me, the coughing almost under control.

"I wanted to introduce myself."

"Introduce, and fuck off." I said harshly. He slid closer still. I ignored him. He reached out a hand, but just as I was thinking `he wants to shake fuckin' hands now' he dropped it in my lap. As direct as that.

I snapped my head round and glared at him as best I could in my state.

"I'll pay you." he said quietly. I froze in mid-glare.

When I could turn my face away, I did. "100" I said, and took another pull.

"I haven't got that." he said lifting his hand away. "I didn't know it'd be that much."

"How much have you got?" I asked, gazing out over the car park.

"75," he said, "but that's all my allowance -"

"This your first time?" I asked, interrupting the doubtless sad story of how little daddy `allowed' him every week.

"Yes." he said so quietly I only just heard it.

"First-timer discount then. 75 it is." I said coldly and held my hand out.

"Oh, right!" he said after a five second delay while he worked out what I meant, and dug a leather change purse out of a pocket.

A fuckin' leather purse! I ask you! I should have told him to come back Friday night -- those two Manchester lads would have sucked his blood for 75.

He placed the cash in my hand. Three twenties, a ten and a five. All new notes, neatly folded in half. I shook my head in disbelief and stuffed it in a pocket.

"We going to do it here?" he said, as I wasn't moving.

"Hang on, I've got a joint to finish first!" I answered, taking an easy drag.

"Any chance of -?" he looked hopefully at me.

The nub was burning my fingers anyway, so I offered it to him. He carefully took it between his finger and thumb, and held it as close as he could to his lips and sucked in hard. He took mostly air, so it didn't make him retch this time, just cough. He dropped the end as it burnt his finger.

"Thanks!" he said.

"Come on." I muttered, standing up and walking toward the cinema's litter skips. They were in the far corner of the car park, angled enough to hide us from view of the road or anyone driving round. He followed behind like a puppy. Or a lamb to slaughter.


"What do I do?" he asked.

"Nothing." I said. I looked down at his now-tented groin. "Get it out." I amended.

He pushed the front of the tracksuit trousers down. Nice one. Average length, but thick. I reached out and held it. He drew a breath. It really was his first time.

I slid my hand to and fro, and he rolled his eyes back in pleasure. "Oh yes!" he sighed. I studied his face while he wasn't watching me, and felt sad. All the wealth, but no happiness. He couldn't be what he really was. He looked back down at me.

"Can I -- touch yours?"

"No extra charge." I said, and slid my zip down with my spare hand. His fingers slipped into my boxer flies and fished it out. It grew rapidly in his warm hold. He did to me what I was doing to him, and he got pleasure from both.

"You never messed around with anyone before?" I asked, not varying my stroking.

"Never." he said. "My Dad would kill me if he found out I was -." he didn't need to say the last word.

"I haven't seen you around before, where are you from?" I asked, still stroking.

"Saturn Road." he said. "I go to St. Peter and Paul's."

The newest estate. Posh school. All Volvos and manicured lawns. Poor kid.

I moved round, pulling from his hand, dropped to my knees in the dirt, and sucked him in. He fell the few inches back to the skip, and stretched on tiptoe. I sucked and mouth wanked him as best as I could.

"Oh Christ, oh yes, oh God!" he blasphemed, and blasted the back of my throat with cum.

I stood up and let him squirt his last on the ground. I let him watch me swallow the mouthful. He squirted twice more.

"Finish me off!" I said, and he obeyed. Not a release I was desperate for, but welcome anyway. He was OK, he must be left-handed.


"Can I see you again?" he asked hopefully.

"No, find your own friends." I said ungratefully. We adjusted our trousers and walked out from the skips.

"I don't know anyone else who'd do this." he said sadly.

"And how did you know I would?" I asked, knowing he'd have no answer.

"You were sat there," he nodded to the cinema fire exit, "And I saw you -- yesterday - with a man." he said.

I grabbed his arm and spun him round, nearly pulling him over. He thought I was a rent boy!

"I've never -!" I started to shout. Then I remembered. "Where? How?" I demanded.

"I've got a telescope," he started, "I'm into Astronomy. But sometimes I look at other things - and, well, I saw you and a man up in the hills, on that lane that runs beside the woods."

"Where do you live again?" I asked angrily.

"Our house backs onto the by-pass. Opposite the lane that goes up to the woods. Anyway, last night I was looking at the Crab -"

"The what?"

"The Crab. It's a Nebula. Anyway, there was this squeal of tyres, and a car horn blaring, so I looked out and saw a car, an old Vauxhall Carlton, roaring up the lane. It must have turned right in front of the one blaring its horn."

"That car was miles away, he had plenty of room -" I started to say, but realised too late I'd given myself away.

"It was you! I knew it!" he said, smiling at my giveaway.

"Carry on. Tell me what you saw." I let his arm go, and he relaxed a bit, but kept the smug grin.

"I recognised the car, I've seen it up there before. He always has a boy with him, different ones. But I can't see what they do, they always stay in the car. But last night, you got out and stood by the fence. Then you -- well, what you've just done for me."

I stood shocked that we'd been watched. I wanted to lash out and floor him, but he spoke again.

"Then just after, a kid ran out in front of a lorry and was run over. It was horrible." He shuddered slightly.

"You saw that? Tell me what happened!" I nearly screamed, grabbing him again.

"OK, OK, let go!" he said. I dropped my grip.

He took a breath. "This kid appeared just after the Carlton turned up the lane. He was out of breath, it looked as if he'd been running. I saw him while I was adjusting the telescope to look at the hill where I knew the car would park. He looked as if he was waiting for a gap in the traffic to cross the by-pass, but he just stood there for a long time, all the time I was watching you, and then he just ran out in front of a lorry. I saw it. It went over his arms and legs, I thought he was dead, but then he screamed and screamed for ages. He was still screaming in the ambulance as they took him away."

I went ice cold. "Do you know him then?" I heard, but I ran. I ran to the road, and tried to remember what bus went to St. Saviour's. Then I saw the taxi.

I ran across the road and yanked the door open.

"Hey, hey, hey!" the old driver shouted. I jumped in.

"St. Saviour's hospital!" I shouted back. "Fast!"

The driver kept staring at me. "Fuckin' drive!" I yelled.

"You got any money, kid?" the driver asked. I fished the banknotes from my pocket and thrust them in his face. "Fuckin' drive!" I repeated.


Taxi drivers are notoriously fast and dangerous. Not this one. He slowed for every set of lights so's they'd turn red, stopped at every pedestrian crossing in case somebody wanted to cross, and seemed to take the longest route possible. "It would have been quicker to catch the fuckin' bus!" I shouted when we finally arrived at the hospital.

"That'll be 11:50." the driver smugly chanted as I got out. I peeled the 10 note off the notes I'd got from that kid, and let it flutter down to the cab floor. "Screw you, arsehole!" I said and ran into the hospital.

I find hospital smell sickening -- disinfectant barely covering piss, sick, guts and death. Like the piss corner in a butchers.

I walked up to a counter. "I'd like to visit Ryan Pearson, please. Which ward is he in?" I asked a bored looking woman in a white uniform.

"Over there." she said, pointing across the hall to an identical counter without looking up from the magazine she was reading. "This is outpatients."

I crossed the hall and repeated the question. At least this white-coated woman looked at me and smiled. "Who?" she asked.

"Ryan Pearson." I said again. "He was knocked down last night."

"Oh yes." she said with an air of knowledge. She still had to run a finger down a list on a sheet of paper. "Ward F2." she said. "But I don't think they'll let you in yet -"

I had run too far by then to hear any more. They fuckin' well would let me in, or --

F2. Here it is. I turned off the corridor and into the ward. Or at least into the next corridor into the ward.

"Can I help you?" a young male nurse stepped out of the office to my left.

"Ryan Pearson." I said. "I've come to see Ryan Pearson."

"Just a moment." and he turned back into the office. `He is!' I thought.

I watched through the window as he talked with an older woman, in a maroon uniform, sitting at a desk. The ward sister, I presumed. She stood and opened the door. "Who are you?" she asked.

"Anthony Calligan." I said. "Why?"

"Come in for a moment, please Anthony." she said, and stood back from the office door. "Sit down." She waved at a chair in front of the desk, and sat behind it. The male nurse stood behind her.

"You're not family, are you Anthony?" she asked.

"No." I replied, meekly. (Meekly? Me? You should have seen this woman. The size of a bus, and as powerful.)

"What relationship do you have with Ryan?" she asked.

"He's a schoolfriend." I said.

"Honestly." demanded the male nurse.

I looked up at him. He looked camp, in a very limp-wristed sort of way. Could I trust them and say? I thought not.

The nurse watched me look at him and frowned. "Is Ryan your boyfriend?" he asked. I felt my face flush. "Erm, well -" is all I'd admit.

"Ryan's been here before." the red dragon said. "He was torn -- inside. We want to know who did it."

I went red, cold, hot, and wanted to piss myself -- all at once.

"His father abused him!" I spat out, desperately searching for an escape.

"We know." she said. "It was a while back, but his father was dead by then, though."

Her eyes pierced mine. She looked as if she could see my very soul.

"Simon Ronson." I hissed. She looked up at the nurse. He nodded. "I know that name." he said. He smiled down at me. "Thank you." he said.


We sat silent for an embarrassing minute. "What will happen?" I asked.

"Not your concern." the nurse said. The red dragon and I stood up.

"The only Fatherly attention he got was when his Dad was drunk. His father used to knock him about, and - abuse him." I said quietly. "He likes to get beat up now to remember. His dad ignored him when he was sober." They both listened. "Can anything be done to help him?" I asked.

The `Sister' sighed. "He was booked for psychiatric counselling." she said, "but he only showed up once. He doesn't want to be helped."

"He needs someone to care about him." the nurse said from behind us. "He needs to be shown what love really is."

"I don't know how." I said, thinking out loud.

"Just be there for him." he said.

"Come on, I'll show you where he is." The nurse led the way. I watched him walk until he turned round and said, "Before you ask, I'm married and I've got two kids. But I often get asked."

We reached the bed. "It must be my good looks. Only ten minutes now, he needs his rest." the nurse said, then turned back to the office.


I looked at the bed, and the framework above it. Rye had both arms in plaster on his chest, and both legs, but they were hung up by wires with weights hanging over the bed end. He had a blood transfusion bag hanging at his side, with a red-filled tube to the back of his hand. Another tube came from under his blanket down to a bottle half full of yellowish liquid.

A small grey laptop-looking machine on a stand was the far side of the bed, with `ECG' crudely painted in white on one side. Its cables were coiled up on top.

He was sleeping, and if ever I saw a `sad to be alive' face, it was his deeply grazed one.

As I stood there, my mind completely blank, he stirred and woke. As his eyes opened he saw me and it was as if the sun had risen on his horizon.

"Ant!" he croaked hoarsely, "You've come to see me!"

A huge lump rose in my throat and I couldn't speak. I felt something wet run down my cheek.

"You stupid cunt!" I forced out at last. "Why did you -" but I choked and couldn't say anything else.

Rye looked away from me. "I saw you get in his car. I'd been following you. I'm sorry, Ant, I -" he looked up in time to see the tear drip from my chin. I turned away from him and stared out of the window. Try as I might, I couldn't stop my chest heaving or the tears streaming.

"I'm sorry, Rye, I said stuff I shouldn't and did stuff I shouldn't. I didn't mean anything by it." I said towards the window.

"It's OK, it didn't mean anything." I heard his hoarse voice say.


I turned back to him and forced a smile. "So, how long's this gonna take? I asked, surveying him from grazed head to plastered toe.

"Months, I suppose. My bones were crushed when -" he tailed off.

"Anything to get off school, eh?" I joked lamely.

"Yeah, anything to get off school." he repeated. There was something deeply sad in the way he said that. I had a fleeting urge to hold him, to cuddle him close and say `It'll be alright'. But it passed as soon as it came.

I didn't want to talk about what he'd done, or how I felt, so there was nothing else to say. I needed to escape.

"I'd better go, they said only ten minutes." I said.

"Yeah, you'd better not upset the Sister. She gets right stroppy!" he said back. "Thanks for coming."

"S'ok. I had nothing better to do." escaped my lips. What a shit thing to say. I felt embarrassed. I turned and started to walk away.

"Ant!" he called. "Why did you come?"

I was a bed and a half away. I turned back to him and shrugged my shoulders. His eyes were pleading. "Cos I care?" I said, turned and walked out of the ward.

The sister came out of her office as I walked past.

"Thank you for coming." she said. "He needs someone to be there for him now."

"What about his mother?" I said.

"She came last night. Treated the whole thing like a nuisance in her life. She asked me to let her know when he's coming out, so I don't think she'll be back before then. She said she didn't know how she'd cope with him if he couldn't look after himself, so I can see him being here months longer than he needs to be."

I looked at her face. Did she know what she was asking?

"He needs someone, Anthony. You're his best option."

I shook my head. "No. Not my problem." I said, and walked away.