CREATIVE Lisa Blower

NWR Issue 103

Johnny Dangerously

There was always a lot of us, like we’d all been born together one after the other, and we’d all hang out in the backs.

The backs were just that: the backs of our houses. Where the dogs chased the cats and the cats scratched the dogs and Natalie Mulally first showed Boof Moffatt her front bottom. Where we skanked fags and ran for ice-creams always ten pence short of a 99. Where we booted balls and argued the toss and made pacts about each other’s backs – I’ll have yours if you’ve got mine but I won’t have yours if your father’s coming. Where we’d sit on the wall watching Kobin Mulally’s Mam getting into Mr Wheeler’s red Beetle then dive behind it because Johnny Dangerously was coming.

Because Johnny Dangerously.

He was our hero. Always had been.

Johnny Dangerously.

We’d made his name up and we loved it. We didn’t know his real name. Didn’t know the half of it. Johnny Dangerously was invincible.

To follow him up close so that you could almost touch his denim jacket was a high score. Me and Boof Moffatt dared each other to touch it when we saw it hanging on the cloakroom peg. If we pushed our thumbs right through the tear on the shoulder we scored an 8. Nobody ever got 10. To get a 10 you had to do something no-one wouldn’t ever dare do. Like when Kobin asked him to change a quid. His Mam wanted bread. The crusty stuff with the speckled seeds because Mr Wheeler was stopping for his tea. But this was before the bread. When Kobin needed to use the school phone to call his Mam to bring his PE kit. Johnny Dangerously was hanging around the phone at the time. He never went to class.

He goes to cooking class. He always goes to cooking class.

As if, Mulally.

He made a cake. This big and meaty cake. I saw him do it.

Shurrup Kobin you square.

But Kobin was right. Johnny Dangerously only ever went to cooking class. Nobody knew why. Nobody dared ask. But Kobin asked – Got change for a quid? and got 10 points straightaway. Except he didn’t because none of us were there.

I did! I said it! I said it right to his face!

But Johnny Dangerously didn’t have any money.

Sorry zit-face. Got any fags?

Johnny Dangerously never had any money. Boof Moffatt once went without pocket money for nearly two weeks so he could be just like Johnny Dangerously. But then his favourite footie fanzine came out and he couldn’t live without it so he had to ask his Mam for the money in the end. Boof doesn’t get free school dinners either. Johnny Dangerously has one of those cork cards that bagged free school dinners and bus fares. We’d watch him flash it at Bubbles the dinner lady then leave it on his dinner-tray as if he weren’t bothered for who saw he was a skank...

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