Kaimoana Tales

by Kiwi

Part 17, Joel

"Stephen Griffin, you're nothing but a bloody idiot!"

"Lay off him, Sally. Mind your own bloody business."

"My own business? You're a great one to talk, Dougie. Why don't you mind your business? Why don't both of you? I've got the biggest pair of idiots in town for brothers. Leave the kid alone!"

"The kid? The kid's a bloody little pansy."

"And he's fucking our cousin!"

"So bloody what? I don't see Joel complaining, do you? They're a couple, they're together and what they do is nothing to do with either of you."

"Of course it's got to do with us! Joel's our bloody cousin, worse luck. He's living here in our house and he's fucking that pansy. What if people think that we are too?"

"Oh yeah, right! Like that's going to happen. Virgil can't stand either of you, and why should he? Joel has got no time for you, and neither have I at the moment. Why do you have to be such a pair of bone-heads?"

"Bone-heads, is it? You turning into a fag-hag or something? We're not queer."

"We're not and we can't stand queers. Bad enough having them in the town without having them in our house as well!"

"Virgil is Joel's mate and, as long as Joel's living here, he'll come around to see him. You needn't think that your ranting at him is going to scare him off. He's not frightened of you, I don't think he's scared of anyone."

"Maybe he should be."

"Yeah. Maybe it's time we taught him to be scared of us."

"Yeah, we'd be doing Joel a favour if we scared the little pansy off. Joel's not queer," Dougie said.

Stephen agreed. "He wasn't until bloody Virgil came around flashing his fanny at him. Joel used to have a girlfriend. Maybe he will again if the Virgin's out of the picture."

"You really are a pair of thundering idiots aren't you? Joel's totally rapt in the boy. He's his best friend, he loves him and what's wrong with that?"

"It's wrong, that's what."

"It's sick and it's disgusting. He'd be way better off without him."

"You're so bloody thick! They are in love and that's what matters. What you think is not worth a dog-turd. You lay one hand on Virgil and Joel will knock your bloody heads off!"

"He'll try."

"Oh, I'll do more than try." Joel walked into the room and into the argument. "I'll do it! If you two even think about giving my mate a hard time, you're dead. Or, if you aren't, you'll wish that you were."

The Griffin brothers looked at each other, like they were making sure that they had support.

"Fuck off, Stafford!" Stephen flared. "We're not scared of you."

"Yeah," Dougie agreed. "Why don't you fuck off and go live with your bum-boy? You spend more time there than you do here anyway."

"Yeah, do that," Stephen said. "We don't like having queers in our house."

"Don't think I haven't thought about it. And, who said it's your house?"

"Well, it's certainly not yours. It's more our house than it is yours, Fag!"

"It's not yours. It's your father's house and he said that I could live here."

"Actually," Mrs. Griffin waded in. "It's my house and I'm not sure that I like having queers here either. You've done nothing but upset this family ever since you've been here."

"Mum! That's not true," Sally protested. "Joel's done nothing and neither has Virgil. The only problem here is this pair of bone-headed idiots."

"That's enough, Sally! This is your brother's home and I don't see why they have to put up with this. I don't see why any of us do. Joel, I think it's time that you found somewhere else to live."

She turned and sailed out of the room, like a galleon lumbering up the Channel. Stephen and Dougie stood with identical smirks on their faces, which enraged Sally even more.

"You pair of fucking idiots! Now look what you've done. I hate you. I fucking hate the both of you! I hate this whole bloody family!"

Sally was so wild, she started crying and she fled to her room, slamming the door behind her. She wasn't standing there with them grinning at her.

"That's one down," Stephen smirked. "Are you going to cry too, Stafford?"

"Shove it, Griffin."

Joel left the room, left the house, got in his car and drove. He didn't have a clue where he was going and didn't care. He just had to get out of there before he did something really stupid.

From habit? The car went up and over the hill to South Bay. He didn't turn in there though, he just kept going down the highway, south, and away from the town.

A few kilometers along, he pulled off the highway and stopped in a quiet place between the road and the rocky beach. He turned everything off and sat looking out at the quiet sea.

Damm! What a mess. It was going to happen, he knew that it was only a matter of time, and now it had. What was he going to do now?

One thing he knew, he wasn't going back there. He had the worst family in the world. They didn't like him and he didn't like them either. Well, except for Sally. He did like Sally. She was worth more than all the rest of them put together.

What about Uncle? That was a whole different problem Uncle did like Joel, but not in a good way - he'd like to get into his pants, and that was not going to happen. Apart from that, Uncle wasn't a bad guy really. He was good to work with and Joel liked his job. It was a great job and he was learning lots.

Oh, damm! That was another thing. He had no home now, did he have a job? He'd need it more than ever now.

Well, he supposed, he'd wait until the morning and then go and find out if Uncle still wanted him. He'd like to keep his job, but not at any cost. The only person who was getting into his pants was Virgil; no-one else, not now, not ever. His relationship with Virgil was the best thing in his life, the best thing he'd ever had, and he was not going to stuff it up. He'd made mistakes before, it was not going to happen again.

He guessed that he could probably go to Virgil's place, couldn't he? Yes, of course he could. They'd give him a bed. Virgil's mum and gran were great, they liked him and he liked them too, but, no, he'd better not. He didn't want to sponge off them.

As long as he had his job, he'd be all right, he'd find somewhere to live. If he didn't, he didn't know what he was going to do. He was not going back to his father's place. His father was back in Tiroroa, Virgil was here, so he was not going to leave Kaimoana no matter what. Not until Virgil did anyway. He could always live in his car if he had to.

And - that was enough for today. Tomorrow he'd see what happened, for now he was going to sleep. At least he had a roof, of sorts, over his head. There were a couple of blankets in the boot of the car, they were good for cuddling under on chilly nights. He got them out, got into the back, took his sneakers off and curled up on the seat under the blankets. He slept.

Chevys don't have drapes to block-out the early morning light. Maybe they should. This one definitely should, but it didn't. Joel was awake at first light in the morning, the sun wasn't even up yet.

It wouldn't be long though, the sky was turning pink over the eastern horizon. It would soon be rising up out of the sea and a new day would begin. What was the time?

"Oh, Lordie," he groaned. It wasn't even 6am yet.

Chevys also don't have bathrooms. He crawled out of the car to pee on the rocks. It was cold out there! There was a definite chill in the air, summer was on its last legs. He did his business, closed his fly and stood stretching and looking around.

There was a small creek, in a mini-culvert under the road. The water looked clean enough, so he lay down beside it and had a drink. It was okay. Maybe a bit brackish, but better than nothing.

He did think of having a bit of a wash in the creek, but no. It was too cold and he had no towel, or soap, or a toothbrush. "Damm! You need a lot of stuff to live. What's for breakfast? Not a lot."

He got back into the car and under the blankets to wait for things to warm-up. It'd be nice to go back to sleep, but there wasn't much hope of that. He was awake now.

He waited until 6.30, and then drove into town to get something to eat.

Some people lived in cars all the time, didn't they? They'd need to be well-organised.

There weren't many businesses open yet, but there were some. Some people's day started early. The service station was open, so he stopped and went in there.

"Good morning, Lad," the lady smiled. "You're up early, or haven't you gone to bed yet?"

"No, I've slept. I just woke-up too early. Way too early!" Joel grinned. "I need something to eat, what've you got?"

"To eat? That depends on what you want. There's groceries down the back there, canned-goods and suchlike. Frozen food in the freezers. There's cookies and stuff, or, if you want something hot, there's pies, hot-dogs and maybe a couple of burgers left."

"You've got a lot of stuff here. Here I was thinking that service stations sold petrol, oil and car accessories."

"Well, we do, of course, but that's not all. Service stations are becoming one-stop shops these days. We've got magazines and papers, music, toys, clothes, food and drinks. We even sell bloody cut-flowers, though I don't know why. What would you like?"

"Have you got cereal?"

"Yes, of course we have. Milk too, if you want it."

"That'd be good. But, no - I haven't got a bowl to put it in."

"Oh, we've got those too," she smiled.

"Of course you have," Joel smiled back.

"Tell you what, we've got those plastic, disposable picnic sets." She indicated some boxes on the racks behind him. "They're pretty good value and they've got everything you need - two of everything, including bowls.

"That sounds great. I'll have one of those, some cereal, canned-peaches and some milk."

"Self-service, Lad. That means you find them yourself. Milk's in the coolers there."

He made his purchases, and then drove back to South Bay to park by the workshop, eat, and wait to see what the day would bring. Uncle was late getting to work. That couldn't be good, could it? He would've opened up the business himself, but he didn't have a key. He bloody should've!

When his uncle finally arrived, he was towing a small caravan behind the van.

"Good morning, Joel. I'm glad to see you here."

"Morning, Uncle. I'm glad that you're glad."

"Yes, well. I hear that you had a bit of trouble at home last night."

"You could say that, yeah."

"Yes. I heard all about it when I got home. Sally told me her side of the story too. Oh Boy! Did she tell me!"

"I imagine that she did. Uncle, have I still got a job?"

"I don't see why not. I've got no complaints about you."

"Oh, good! Thanks."

"No worries, Joel. I know that my sons are jerks and your aunt's not much better sometimes. However, what goes on at home has got nothing to do with work. I need you here, and you need somewhere to live. So, we could try this."

"Try the caravan?"

"Yes, the caravan. It's nothing flash, just a little old thing, but it's better than nothing. It's got a good-sized bed. We could park it in the yard here. You can sleep in it and use the facilities in the 'shop. There's a shower, washing-machine, toilets and a kitchen. What more do you need?"

"I don't need anything else at all. Thanks, Uncle."

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