this is the third extract to promote The Free.. E-book out now as a free download.
This extract is hard to understand out of context, Jerry and Linda/Maxie are ex students of the school and now runaways. They’re taking part in a ‘shaming ceremony’ of Killian’s skinhead gang , as part of the transition of the bankrupt institution to de-schooling community education, and alsothe occupation of adjacent abandoned church property.
To follow the ideas behind this scene you can check the references HERE, …fascism, un-schooling. CLANs, gay, etc … and click to the links for various books in the Anarchist Library.
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The Free p.76
Now I was suddenly scared shitless. I wanted to grab onto Jerry’s hand, but that’d be idiotic.
I could see he was literally quivering. In fact he was crying.
We ducked our heads and raised our collars, and headed in, with the milling kids.
Through the still missing school gates where I nicked the daffodils a few days before.
The runaways were coming for revenge.
-‘Th-thanks for coming Maxie. I can’t turn back I…’- he spluttered.
-‘Piece of piss pal.’- But my voice broke as well. –‘We denounce these creeps, then we hit the party. We’ll be flying.’-
Up the graveled drive. Feeling very odd to be back in my drab uniform. Jerry was trying to disguise his limp by walking slow.
But that was even more obvious. Shooting furtive glances behind him.
There were prefects, and monitors as well, but they didn’t know everyone. I saw Sister Bernie, already lining up first formers.
A regimental saint. We were coming through into the big yard.
-‘Linda? Is that you?’-
My friend Keera was kissing me. So much for my dark eyes and red short hair.
-‘Sshh. I’m in disguise. We’ve come back to denounce the Hoods, we’re gonna squat their Youth Club..’-
-‘Sorry. What? Lin..um.. you’re crazy..They got big steak knives!’-
-‘We got a p-p-plan.’- Jerry stuttered conspiratorially. -‘We’re gonna t-turf them out.’-
-‘Oh my great giddy aunt.’- said Keera. Eyes popping. -‘You’re the gay guy they tried to chop up.’-
She was hurting my arm, gripping so hard, as we stopped by the ancient slide.
But fair play to her, she didn’t just leave us.
A first drop of rain splashed off my cheek. Oh no not that!
-‘You’re the public okay. Wait here by the slide, and run if.. if..’- I told her.
-‘Cheer us if you dare.’- Jerry added, but it came out squeaky.
The yard was big and square, just cracked concrete and empty but for the slide. Yunkers chatting and throwing shapes. Waiting to go back in, after waiting all morning to get out.
Somehow that yellow slide had remained in the playground. A solid iron thing, high and too well made, with generations of coats of paint and names scratched into it. I stepped onto the first rungs of the ladder.
Then I slipped out my gum shield and my false stomach, which was just a wooly, and kissed Keera goodbye.
Jerry handed me the little megaphone from his rucksack.
-‘I thought YOU were going to start.’-
-‘I c-can’t speak. Let’s go up the slide’- he whispered.
-‘Killian Bate is a stupid bollix!’-
I yelled into the megaphone, from three steps up.
So what the hell.
It just came out a shocking feedback screech
-‘Who do we hate?’- Jerry just spoke into it, not touching.
-‘Killian Bate! ‘-I half whispered his name. But it came out loud. Everybody looked around and stopped what they were doing.
I’d just spoken the unspeakable in public.
-‘Who do we hate? Killian Bate.
Who do we hate? Killian Bate!’-
We moved a quick step higher up the slide.
-‘The Hoods are bullies and sadists and get paid by the fascists to divide us and destroy innocent people…’-
In principle we just had to keep reading the text..
-‘So we’re all scared of them and ashamed to be black or female or gay and….’-
People were not rushing over. Just watching cagily. All the activists were in the meeting, it seemed.
But a couple of skinheads were approaching all right. Keera was clapping and now a few older blokes, maybe Jerry’s mates.
-‘They called me a filthy whore and got me punished just coz I laughed at them.’-
-‘They almost killed me for being gay. Then they got me expelled.’- said Jerry bravely.
-‘Now we’re all going to denounce them okay?’-
Now I knew this wasn’t going to work.
-‘We need all the girls, the black kids, the gays and dykes and anyone who feels afraid. Or even you skins if you want to change sides.’-
I was reading and adding a bit. Glancing up to see what happened.
-‘We need you all to line up here, pass over the slide, and say something in the megaphone.’-
-‘Like ‘I won’t date with Killian Bate’.
The three big lads were lining up. They were the ones who’d chickened out, and a group was gathering.
Then Killian appeared. Cool and hairless.
Along with two more skins. Much too arrogant not to swallow the bait.
-’You little stuttering cocksucker what brought you back here. Get down till I give you a kicking. Barry, get him down, and that little frigid cunt..’-
-’Come up and get me K-Killi d darling, I know you’re g-g-gay as well.’- Jerry crooned into the megaphone. Really winding him up.
That’s when the yelling started. We retreated to the top step of the slide, wobbling together. The two skins were coming up, teeth bared and brandishing black socks, supposedly with their butcher’s knives inside.
While Jerry wiggled the tiny electric wand in front of them, and I plied the megaphone.
-’Don’t let him grab it. Give him a zap’- I screeched.
But the zapper didn’t work. Colin was jabbing at our ankles.
All of us shouting mad things.
I was hurling any insults I could think of.
-’Go learn to wank. You squirt. You stinky fart.’-
That’s when the stupid skinhead got a shock and fell off.
With just a yell, no flash or sizzle as I had imagined.
But Killian himself was climbing up the slide side.
Jerry was hiding behind, but now it was me he was raging at!
-’We’re gonna cut your tits you filthy slut…’-
A stone from Keera whizzed between us.
‘ -’No girl can stand you coz you got no heart…’-
Jerry managed to touch Killi’s cheek with the wand.
He jerked, slipped, twisted and slid back down.
Shaming them didn’t quite work, but we had electric backup.
Four thousand volts, but only milli-amps.
He shot off the slide and landed, badly on his bottom..
-’Killian Bate..Out The Gate.. Who do we hate……?’-
I looked up and they were coming out the fire doors. All the black and yellow Clanners from the Assembly. Sauntering across the yard. Clapping and jeering.
Master Bate sat on his butt, silent with shock and awe.
Others had grabbed the two skinheads and taken their ‘knives’. The rest had disappeared.
-’Hurray just in time.’- I said in the megaphone. -’This is the end of the Hoods and Killian Bate’s rule.’-
It wasn’t like the dramatic sting I’d visualized, maybe a lot of kids were just confused.
But for the bullies, and all the bullied, things did change completely.
Because now everyone was joining in the chant, as Jerry’s friends climbed the slide and came out with their comments.
Jessica, one of the organizers had climbed up, and spoke, or rather squawked, into the mini megaphone. On the video they had to re-do the sound…
-’Let’s denounce these sickoes then, so that their power is gone. When you slip down this slide, imagine you smash through the invisible wall, and come out in tomorrow’s world!…‘-
-’They wouldn’t let me in the club because I’m black and have dreadlocks.’- said Joanna, next in line.
-’They said they´d cut Jerry’s balls off and they’d do me too. We were too scared to fight them.’- said Jerry’s skinny friend.
-’I had to do the cleaning and they wouldn’t let me play.’-
-’Killian said I’d be raped if I wore my headscarf.’- said that Muslim girl.
That was just the start of it. All the gay and black kids climbed the slide. Though most of them didn’t comment. Then another gang of the girls tried sliding through..
-’Me too. They scared me too. They ordered us about.’-
-‘He called me a monkey and a prostitute.
-’I’m just slipping down…..’-
Jerry had taken the slide, so I was left holding the megaphone.
-’Thanks everyone for saving us. Let’s never let those nasty Hoods come back again.’- was my comment I think..
Then I closed my eyes and slid down through. It’s still a thrill, though I felt no invisible wall.
-’Let them go. Let them run away. . No no don’t hurt them that’s their game.’- said Jerry.
-‘We’ll do you slowly for this.’- Killian snarled at me and Jerry. –‘You’ll suffer till you die.’-
Pretty idiotic, as Jerry was trying to protect them.
He and his last skin were backing away from the shaming clapping crowd.
-‘And you, stupid Linda cunt,’- he was pointing at me! –‘We’re going to saw your head off.’-
I’m not sure he really said that. The fireworks were exploding behind us.
Then a rocket whooshed right past us.
The occupation had already begun.
To check out the concepts behind this scene you can check the references HERE, …fascism, un-schooling. CLANs, gay, etc … and click to the links for various books in the Anarchist Library.