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  • Writer's pictureKeith Dersley

Ready Steady Go (2)

‘If Rosemary shows up too, that’ll be great,’ said Tony tentatively.

‘Don’t forget, boys, the ladies can be unpredictable,’ said Teddy

‘I thought you said—’ said Bill.

Teddy raised his hand.

‘They don’t tell me everything. I haven’t got a hot line, if that’s what you’re thinking.’

Tony was suddenly very sober.

‘If Rosemary makes it tonight—‘

‘Yeah, then what?’ said Teddy.

‘Well, a bloke … could go for a girl like that,’ said Tony lamely. His integrity was involved and he was almost sobbing. He had downed four pints.

‘Could he really?’ said Teddy, finding it hilarious. ‘You saying you would like to plight something to her?’

‘Something undying, like? said Bill. ‘I can understand it. I mean, I’m like that with Janice.’

‘Absolutely deathless,’ said Tony. ‘By the way, have you actually SEEN this Janice?’

‘I think so. I mean, Teddy’s been telling me about her.’

There was an old guy who came over and sat with them, a pensioner friend of the Paddick family. One of Teddy’s dad’s retainers as it were, who had retired years ago. He got deep in chat with Teddy.

The door opened and three girls came in. One looked like Rosemary, or the short girl in the bus queue at any rate.

Tony shook Teddy’s shoulder.

‘Have you seen who’s come in?’

Teddy looked over at the three girls without interest.

‘You’d been saying she would, and now she’s here,’ said Tony.

‘Be with you in a minute,’ said Teddy, turning back to the pensioner.

* * * * * *

As soon as Clare walked into the Old Times with the other girls, she felt a tension in the atmosphere.

She saw Teddy from the bus who was at a table with a couple of Northgate boys and an older man. Teddy didn’t see her, he was deep in talk with the senior citizen.

One of Teddy’s friends was vaguely familiar, but Clare didn’t like the way he grinned as soon as he saw her come in. He tapped Teddy’s shoulder, but Teddy just seemed to wave him off.

Clare was not really a fan of pubs, but she was soon chatting merrily with Jean and Maureen.

After a while the friend of Teddy’s who had smiled at her came over.

‘Hello, you know Teddy, right?’ he said.

‘Teddy? Yes, I do. What of it?’

He seemed unsure how to go on.

She looked up at the ceiling and smirked. She didn’t fancy the guy.

'Oh well, I'll see you again soon, Rosemary.’

‘Don’t bother,’ she said under her breath. Then, louder: ‘My name’s not Rosemary.’

The odd thing was, the other guy at the table, who was more her type, came up and he tried to start a conversation too. But he soon said see you later and left it at that.

As the evening went on the three girls were full of giggles, discussing the antics of their classmates and the narrow mindedness of their teachers.

At one point they looked over at Teddy and saw it was just him and the old fellow.

‘Come on over,’ said Maureen. Teddy was always great to talk to.

‘Who were those two jerks sitting with you there, they were talking in riddles.’

'Ah, schoolmates of mine,’ he said as he took a seat. ‘Good lads. Lads I can vouch for.’

‘I thought they were weird,’ said Clare. ‘One called me Rosemary and the other one thought my name was Janice. They don’t know their way around, if you ask me.”

“They’ll find it. Eventually,” said Teddy.


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