Travelling with Boys (Part 1)

THE EDGE

“Turn the music down!” shouts the Moonman from his bedroom window.

It’s Sunday afternoon and we’re trying to have a little snooze. But the neighbours are at it again.

“Just ignore them. Try to sleep. It doesn’t help getting angry,” I try to soothe him.

“No! I have the right NOT to be disturbed by their %^*%$#@ gangster music!”

We’ve been through this many times. I can sleep through just about anything, Moonman not. He’s hanging out the window again.

“THIS! IS! NOT! THE! GHETTO! Turn the music off!”

Moonman has a thundering, booming voice, it must carry quite far.

“This IS the ghetto!” shouts a shrill woman’s voice.

“This is NOT the ghetto! Turn the music off!”

“@&^%#* you!” comes the reply from behind the wall.

“*@#$%^&* yourself!”

Oh boy. I get up and find something to read. This could take a while…

The shouting goes on for 45 minutes. The Moonman is on a roll. Then he gets that evil glint in his eyes. I know exactly what this means. Controlled explosions.

“Please don’t,” I beg, but I know it’s too late for begging.

Moonman fetches his contraband little stash of firecrackers. Cunningly hiding behind the curtain, he lights up and throws one over the wall.  There’s a heart stopping “BOOOMM!” and a little puff of smoke.

“Hehehe,” Moonman chuckles.

“Stop @#$%^&* shooting at us!” shrieks the fishwife.

“Stop the @#$%%^&& music!”

“You stop @#$%^&* shooting at us!”

“BOOOOMMM!”

And so it goes. On and on. Suddenly we hear sirens.

“Uh-oh,” says Moonman, eyes wide. “It’s the police.”

He creeps over to the window facing the street.

“Whoa, three cars and a whole bunch of policemen! Impressive turnout…”

Oh no. This is bad. I wonder if I have enough cash on me for bail.

Moonman starts stripping off his clothes.

“And NOW??!” I gasp.

“Watch. This will give me The Edge.”

“You’re going out there naked??”

“Not quite,” he replies, wrapping a towel around his loins. “This way, they will feel awkward, it will catch them by surprise.”

“I’m staying out of this,” I say, looking for a place to hide.

Moonman goes downstairs and opens the gate. I peep from behind a curtain. There certainly are many uniformed people. I see them hesitate at the gate, and in the end, only one officer enters. They come up the stairs, chatting amicably. This happens to be a policeman that the Moonman knows personally, he lives just around the corner.

“The people over there say you’re shooting at them. Do you have a gun?”

“I don’t. If I had a gun, I wouldn’t be using firecrackers,” says Moonman. “But you’re welcome to search the place…”

Ag no man, I know you’re not really shooting at people. It’s just that the old omie in that other house over there says he saw you aiming out the window with a gun and he saw puffs of smoke…”

“What? Is he mad? I don’t have a gun. It’s the smoke from the firecrackers. What else can I do? These people are driving me mad!”

The policeman shakes his head sympathetically and heads to the door. I hear them chatting on their way down the stairs and eventually the vans leave.

“Moonman comes bounding back up the stairs, giggling with glee.

“You see, Skootle, my trick worked!… Skootle, where are you? You can come out now!”

“Holy crap,” I breathe.

“What – have you never tried that one before?”

***

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