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The Skirmish - 1991

 This was the place to be in the city of Shortland. Anyone who wanted to be someone was there, as was the someone who was known by everyone too. It was a gorgeous hot summer afternoon, on a Sunday. The pub garden was huge, and scattered around the place were many large hexagon shaped oak wooden tables, and matching benches. Various tree's and large plastic circular 'planters'were there to help give the garden a more exotic feel.  Some tables had crowds of glamorous looking women lavishly pouring bottles of wine into their glasses, not remembering how much they had had to drink. Other tables were full of men, drinking 'Red Stripe', a strong lager guaranteed to get anyone drunk. Some tables had a mixture of men and women, whether they were already friends, or the men were making a 'pass' at the women he would never know. The place was buzzing. 

 Even the space between the tables was packed, people smoking, drinking, laughing, swearing, and generally having a good time. Door men were by the pub entrance, which by now was virtually empty inside because of the hot day.  As the garden was so big they opted to stand on a small platform, overlooking the crowd for any kind of misbehaviour be that drug taking, fighting. It did make them all look huge, especially the main doorman, a giant of a man called 'Big Ron'  naturally 6"8, an athlete. Short brown hair, a thick haired 1980's style mustache, and giant hands. 

 Only really stupid or drunken people ever challenged 'Big Ron', it didn't really happen often. He knew he didn't need to hit anyone with his gigantic fists, he'd probably do 10 years for manslaughter if he did.  During an altercation he often grabbed the culprit by the collar, picked them up with one arm, such was his strength, and threw them down like a bag of rubbish to embarrass them some more. He was savvy enough to do this in front of a crowd at the pub,  knowing how people talk, soon his door was the easiest place to work. 

 It was getting very late, all the friends had work the next day.  Last order was called 40 minutes before and the place was getting empty, quickly. Jason had only had two drinks, he had training the next day and didn't want to feel tired from a hangover. Whereas some of his friends were on the drunken side, it was always hilarious to see them slide in this state, some would get loud, other's would come out with some great jokes, whilst one of his friends just liked to chat up women. He loved being around his real friends. 

 As a group they all got up to walk to the nearby taxi rank when Jason saw another group of lads hanging around, laughing. He and his friend's called them 'Townies' as they were often seen out every weekend, at all the places, wore all the latest designer gear, yet didn't seem to have a job. Naively Jason didn't understand these lads were out stealing goods, and selling drugs everyday. They would do anything to be out on the 'Scene' in town. 

 This other group of lads were so confident, full of bravado, and very loud, and were around the same age as Jason and his friends. Unknowingly Dick was one of these lads with the other group, the leader of the other gang 'Danny' saw Jason and his friends quietly walking to the taxi rank and nodded to his friends to approach them. Their intention was to either 'Tax' them of their belongings, or start a fight, most likely both. 

 Being aware they were getting approached Jason's sense's went into overdrive. By this time he'd been boxing 2 years and understood the body language of someone coming for a fight. 

One of Jason's friends in the group said 'Run', to which he immediately said 'No'. However, this one subservient comment created a ripple effect.

Collectively they began to take over one another creating an urgency between them, almost tripping one another up, fearful they would be left at the back and attacked first. 

Sensing their fear, Danny and his friends laughed and also quickly walked towards them, confident, fearless, and ready to 'Row'. 

"Fuck this", surprised by his own reaction Jason stopped walking. He was never confrontational but wouldn't be pushed around. Boxing had given him a new sense of self belief. He trained hard, didn't really drink, had some very hard boxing matches and won. This 'Townie' could fuck off, he said to himself. He turned round and stood his ground.  Shocked, his friends walked a little more and stopped, leaving Jason standing alone like some defiant soldier on a battlefield. His friends could be seen some 2-3 metres away from him, energised by Jason's defiance, they too turned and stood at these 'Townies' coming towards them too. 

"You got a problem or something?" 

Immediately Jason watched how 'Danny' began waving his arms in a more exaggerated way, confidently walking towards him to engage in a fight, as if he had done this a thousand times before. He was wearing a green 'Moschino' jacket, 'Calvin Klein' light denim jeans, and white Reebok trainers. Danny had a brown centre parting, long wavy brown hair. He had a strong square jaw line, he was around 5"10, and had a natural large frame. It was dark and there weren't that many car's around. Every time  Danny got in the way of the street lighting it appeared his poise was larger than it naturally was. This guy really believed in himself, Jason correctly assumed. 

Even though Jason was taller and fitter he wasn't as confident as the man approaching him. A part of him wanted to run but another, growing, side to him was emerging. He wasn't going to be pushed around, he'd had enough of that growing up, often getting beaten up by much older boys on his estate. Maybe he had one of those faces, he wasn't sure, but he was sure as hell not going to take any more 'Shit'. 

Naturally stepping into a southpaw stance, Jason clenched his fists, as soon as Danny got within punching range he just flew out his left hand in a quick rage, straight on. 'Crack'  With the weight of Danny coming forward, and Jason accurately assessing the timing the attacker went down quickly. The pavement absorbed the impact, a loud thud was heard by all around.   Shocked, hurt, and embarrassed, Danny realised he had never been 'Put on his arse before'. Fuelled by anger Danny quickly sprung to his feet. By now the remainder of his friends' were by his side, and it was a clear stand off. Dick began coming forward and attacked another one of Jason's friends, whilst everyone else just stood there. Too scared to fight or waiting for their opposing number to make a move. 

Jason stepped forward to hit Danny again, knowing he got the upper hand. This time Danny wasn't so confident and stepped back, but slid his right hand inside his jacket. Jason couldn't clearly make out what he was holding as the 'Townie' covered the item with his right hand. Unsure whether he was carrying a knife or not Jason didn't want to take the chance and backed off, slightly.

Smiling, knowing this had stopped Jason in his track's Danny now walked forward, still not showing the blade, or whatever it was, in his hand. It was a good way to get Jason to back off, and he knew it. He was smart enough not to show it but clever enough to feed off the energy this created. 

"He's got a blade, let's fuck off"

"Yeah you cunt and i'll slice you up you prick"

"Put the tool down and i'll stick you on your arse again you cunt"

Immediately some of Jason's friends picked up some nearby bottles, and glasses, and threw them in the direction of Danny, Dick, and their friends. None managed to hit but the loud 'smashes' caused the opposing side to pause some more. This created a further stand off and the gangs gradually got further apart whilst still shouting insults at one another.

Luckily no-one got really hurt and eventually Jason and his friends made their way to his bedsit which was close to the city centre, a real dive of a place, having to move there because Jason's was thrown out from the family home, at 17 years of age. 

 He went to the communal toilet on the first floor, he was pleased he stood up for himself, pleased that he would fight if need be, but equally he knew he wasn't a trouble maker. Coming back down he heard his friend's talk about how quick and how hard that left hand punch was. He stood outside the bedsit, wanting to listen some more. 'You should of seen him smack that townie, it was hard as fuck'. 

When word got round to other friends about what happened on  Sunday, naturally people began talking. Two of Jason's friends worked at a car plant in Keeley, Brookbourne, on an apprenticeship scheme. As did a number of other young men from Shortland. 

Naturally everyone got talking during break time there and it turned out 'Dick', who was with the 'Townies', was actually friends with one of the other apprentices at the car company too, who was friends with Jason.

 Equally, Dick was also part of a football hooligan element, as were other people who Jason knew from his own estate, and again people got talking. All this gossip created a bit of bad blood at first then when things calmed down and when they found out 'Danny' didn't want a 'one-on-one' with Jason things began to simmer. It turned out Jason had cracked his jaw so badly he struggled to eat for two weeks, privately he told friends he'd never been hit so hard. Secretly he yearned to get Jason back and promised himself he would never let it go. 

Over time Jason and his friends met up with the other apprentices at the car plant, and eventually Dick. At least two years had gone by and it was all forgotten about and everyone began laughing about the 'row' they had previously. 

As Dick lived and breathed for the football scene, as did some of Jason's friends, they all soon bonded.  Jason could never understand the passion and intensity these guys had for football, and the hooligan side of it. In his mind why on earth would anyone risk going to prison for football. He knew he was the odd one out there so often kept quiet about it.  

Dick had a huge scar on his right cheek, as a result of being downtown and someone throwing a glass in his face. He was quite small,  medium build, around 5"6, but made up for it from his fiery temper and 'can do' attitude' which resulted in him getting beaten up many times because, as a young man, he couldn't fight shit.  

Above all his new friend loved the camaraderie that came with being with 'The lads'. He loved to be in the centre of a crowd, loved getting involved in conversation, gossip, and enjoyed getting blind drunk, and 'Coked' up. His love for taking drugs was well known too, he was very popular with Jason and his friends too.

Looking back at that skirmish, it was funny how time changed everything, they were really firm friends. Little did they know that by going to Thailand would change their lives, massively. 

Bio:  Snippet of a much larger chapter in the 'Naughty Boy Series'. Describes how Jason meets his good friend, Dick. Starting out on opposing sides in an altercation.    More Stories; Zombies, Poems, Energy Series, and Origin's of Conflict, and The Listener's.


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