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Nick S. Borden (2)
With planks and materials stolen from building sites and people's gardens the two lads had built a precarious makeshift platform in one of low branched trees in the wooded areas by the dunes. Here they would sit, eat their lunches, talk, laugh and try out cigarettes which Nick had pinched from his brother. It was here one day in late September that the three boys who had bullied Danny some months earlier turned up. Oliver and Michael van Sluis, and Joshua Groenenberg stood looking up at the two hammering away at some new planks they were attaching to the tree.
"Watcha doin'?" Joshua shouted.
Nick stood at the edge of their primitive platform only a meter off the ground, pulled out a cigarette, lit it to look as tough as he could at the three boys. He took a drag, and coughed until tears came to his eyes. The three boys doubled over with laughter which was so infectious that Nick and Danny also began to laugh. After a few minutes Nick recovered.
"Wadda ya want?" he asked the boys.
"Ya want some help up there?" Joshua said, smiling. Danny looked worried.
"Yep, get ya arses up here but remember it's my tree house."
The five boys on a platform made for two, hammered away with the scraps of wood; fell off the boards every now and then, broke a whole branch off the tree and finally sat down cross-legged on their crude structure. Danny shared his two sandwiches his mother had made for him with the others, and Nick shared his two cigarettes, passing them around. This sent all five of them coughing and in fits of laughter again. When it was time to go home they stood a moment to look at their tree. It looked disastrous. With boards nailed willy-nilly from one branch to another and the platform they had tried to extend was on a definite slope.
"Youse ain't the greatest builders!" Nick commented, as they stared with pride at their creation.
It was during these days that Jaap Borden, Nick's father was more absent than not, which was a relief to family life. He was a nasty alcoholic and womaniser and his abusive behaviour to his wife and the children was just a prelude to the ensuing divorce. All three siblings were more or less left to their own devices and a lack of guidance. Emma, their mother, did her best, barely coping with her own life and whereas the boys were protective of their mother, Sarah openly despised her for her weakness.
Nick, although a quick learner, was getting into more and more trouble at school. Suspensions and reprimands by the head master were an ongoing occurrence. The Borden reputation, beginning with Bart was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Each of them had a keen following of admirers amongst their peers.
After school Nick and his four builders headed for the tree to hangout, smoke cigarettes, which they had finally mastered, talk about girls who were becoming interesting, look at 'dirty' magazines which Joshua had stolen from his father's stash, share a stolen beer and eat the sandwiches made by Danny's mum. By this time Danny had convinced his mother he was too skinny and needed heaps more food to sustain his growth.
"We should form a gang!" Nick said one afternoon.
"Yeah. Well we're already a gang aren't we?" Joshua replied.
"Whatcha mean? Like blood brothers or somethin'?" Danny asked.
"Yep, with a name and a boss an' that's gonna be me!" Nick stated firmly.
Oliver, the quietest of the lot, nodded, whereas his brother Michael who had a slight stammer and often spoke for the two of them put forward that they should vote on leadership.
"Okay, which of youse are for me to be boss? Hands up!" Nick asked.
All five hands went up.
"We gotta ha-ha-have a name then."
"Me mum won't let me join a gang." Danny whined. "She says gangs are evil."
"Well ya mum ain't invited is she. So let's each think up a name and we'll vote
on it too." Nick said.
The boys seriously thought for a few minutes and when each had a name on their minds, Nick took over the proceedings again.
"You go first Dannyboy."
"The Seven Sculls!"
"Can't cha count, idiot, there's only five of us" Joshua laughed,
"Me dad goes to a place where they drink called AA, alcohol anonymous, which
sounds sorta cool, so I thought we could 'ave a name like Knights Anonymous."
"Naa that's kid's stuff." Nick shook his head while the others smirked
"Oli whatcha got?"
"Naa that ain't dangerous enough an' we wanna be dangerous don't we?"
"Yeah, no point in bein' a gang if we ain't dangerous."
" Waddabout you Mikie?" Nick asked, losing all hope in his gang.
"The F-F-Five Farts!"
With that Michael let one horrendous explosion fly which sent the boys cracking up with laughter until tears ran down their faces. When they had composed themselves again Nick lit a cigarette and passed it on.
"Well I ain't come up with much either." Nick said. "We're all agreed
we want to be a bad gang, an' get tattoos and stuff aren't we?"
"We never agreed to tattoos. Me mum won't agree to a tattoo." Danny moaned.
"Well we ain't gonna tattoo ya mum's arse, are we Danny?" Nick replied.
The mere thought of that set them off into hysterics again.
"How 'bout we just call our gang the Four B's. Bad Boy Blood Brothers?"
"It ain't bad Nick. Better than the rest up till now." Joshua said.
"It ain't good either, we're five, so it shouldda been Five B's!" Danny protested.
"Oh for Chrissake Danny! The Five B's then. Bad Boy Blood Brother
Bastards! An' tomorrow we're gonna get five B's tattooed on our ankles!"
"An' Mikie can jus' stutter five b- b-b-b-b's "
They all laughed again, including Michael who was actually stuttering less and less due to a training programme he attended each week.
"So let's vote, show hands which of youse agree to Five B's and tattoos?"
Four hands went up fast, Danny's reluctantly, his mind on his mother.
That evening Nick was well pleased with the day, and later spent some time with Bart who introduced him to a new kind of cigarette. That one evening would change everything for the family, their future lives and the gang. It would be the spoke in the wheel of life that turned the directions for everyone.
feedback van andere lezers
Very well written!
killea: many thanks Greta
I learn a lot of new expresions in this text written with speed and humor....
the Dutch names make me smile too.
killea: Thank you for reading me Dora