Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The League of Gentlemen

by Robert Nisbet

Kids do gangs, often enough. We did,
that’s me, Pete and Texas. Junior school,
we were the Red Hand Gang, later the Wolf Pack,
and last of all the League of Gentlemen.
We were smooth movers, snooker sharps,
we had silky skills. We played between us
one clarinet, one set of bongos, word games,
cards, the field (female).
                                       Only twice, I think,
did one of us swing a punch at anyone.
First one was Petey, down at Morgan’s Cove
one summer. Usual thing. Pete was going out
with Gaynor. And some smartarse from Tenby
said, You still getting it from that slag?
Pete thumped him. Broke one of the boy’s teeth.
Chipped his own knuckle.

For ‘A’ level history, we had Hayes, the staff’s
number one shit. Sarcasm was the thing
with Hayes, pick on people’s size, looks, anything.
And Texas was a butt of his. It was nothing
you could repeat really, just … incessant.
And one day Texas cried. Big lad, Tex,
and at seventeen you didn’t cry. But he did.
And then the bell, Hayes wrapped himself
in his academic gown, paraded out.
And that stupid Wattsy said, He was very witty, Tex,
you have to admit.
                              The punch seemed to come
from deep, he swung from below his waist,
and deep too from somewhere like …
…. despair.

I don’t want, ever, to see a punch like that again.

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