Kaimoana Tales

by Kiwi

Part 96, Andrew

The Hornets Rugby League Under 16 team went to Christchurch for the South Island League Tournament. Some went in cars, but most of them travelled on the bus, which was much slower.

No-one expected them to win. Rugby was the big game in Kaimoana, not League. Anyone who was any good played Rugby, the Hornets got the left-overs. The talent pool was pretty shallow anyway, it wasn't a big town. Still, hopefully they wouldn't disgrace themselves. They'd have fun anyway.

Cameron expected to have fun - he'd better! The only reason he'd signed-up for the team was so that he'd get to go on the Christchurch trip. He was no great shakes as a player, but they took him anyway. They needed the bodies to make up a team.

The most exciting thing about the trip was the accomodation. They were all staying at the Excelsior Hotel, a big old pub right in the heart of the city, on Manchester Street, where the whores hung-out at night. Way exciting for a mob of 14 and 15 year old boys. Not that they'd be using their services, but they could look and dream. If there were any hookers in their town, they didn't know. Some girls were reputed to be but they certainly didn't display their wares on the street corners.

Secretly, Cameron would rather be with a guy anyway, but he wasn't telling anyone that. Did they have rent-boys here? He'd read about them, but had never seen one, he thought.

They arrived in Christchurch and, as the bus made its way through the busy city streets, their coach, Big Norm Hewison, stood up at the front and looked back at his charges.

"All right! Listen up, you Little Shits. This is not your nice little town, we're in the big bad city now and there are people out there who eat ladies like you for breakfast. For the next 2 days and 2 nights you are in my charge and, trust me, you do not want to see me get upset. Enjoy yourselves while you're here but be sensible, stay safe and behave yourselves or you'll be very bloody sorry!

We'll check into the hotel. You'll be sleeping with 4 of you in each room. Dinner is in the dining-room at 6, and then your time is your own until breakfast at 7. Don't be late. If you go out, stick together in your group and stay out of trouble. Anyone fronting-up with a hangover tomorrow will suffer more than you know. Don't stay out all night and try to get some sleep. You've got some hard games tomorrow.

That's it. Behave and stay away from the whores or your mummies will be hearing from me."

They arrived, checked-in and hung around, waiting for dinner. There were no hookers out on the street yet. Everybody ate far too much at dinner - well, it was a buffet and you have to.

Cameron was sharing a room with his friend, Giles Townsend, and also Stevie and Grant Archer. They were brothers and good guys too.

Giles wanted to go to a movie, the others all said, "Stuff that." They could go to the movies at home. They went out to see the sights. There were still no hookers out there.

They wandered through the Square, it was pretty quiet. There was a strip-club in Armagh Street, they weren't allowed in. The Guy at the door laughed at them, and got a mouthful of cheek in return.

They wandered back up through the City Mall and along Colombo Street, the city's main drag. The riverside 'Strip', in Oxford Terrace, wasn't that exciting. It was just a string of cafe/restaurants with chairs and tables out on the sidewalk. The smokers had to sit outside, of course. It was all very busy, bright and colourful, and they were too young and had bugger-all money anyway. Giles said that they should've gone to the movies. He got told to shut the fuck up.

The old Video Game Arcade was shut-down, which was a bummer. There was meant to be some very cool games in the Hoyt's Movies place, on Moorhouse Ave., but they weren't walking all the way out there. Giles wanted to anyway. "We could go to the Science Alive place out there. That's really cool."

"Shut the fuck up, Cowsend. We're not here to be educated - not like that anyway."

There was still nothing happening in Manchester Street, so they walked back to Cambridge Terrace to sit in the park across the Avon River from the cafes in the Strip. Some river! The creek at home was bigger than this. It was fairly dark in there. The long, narrow park was a strip of darkness with bright-lit streets on either side of it. They sat on a park-bench at the top of the lawn sloping down to the river.

Cameron actually agreed with Giles, they should've gone to the movies, but he wasn't saying that.

It was busy over on the Strip, there was just a few people walking backwards and forwards on their side. Someone, a kid around their age, was sitting on the grass with his back to them, quietly watching the river. He had very long hair, tied back in a pony-tail.

Grant produced a joint, so they shared that. They had no booze. They should've brought some with them.

A group of young toughs came along and stopped. They looked down at the kid on his own, on the grass. One of them walked over to him and slapped him on the back. "Hey, Bro, got a dollar?"

The boy looked around and up at him. "Pardon?"

"Have you got a dollar? We need some cash."

"So do I. Sorry, I've got none to spare."

"Yeah you have. Poncy white boys have always got cash. Give us what you've got."

"Look, Kid," he struggled to his feet - or foot actually, he stood with one foot up off the ground. "I said no. I haven't got any money on me."

"We'll go to the ATM and you can get some then."

"Get lost. I need my money. Why should I give it to you?"

"'Cos if you don't, you'll be sorry."

"How's that?"

For an answer, he got a punch in the face which knocked him over. Well, he was standing on only one foot. The other two rushed in and they started laying in to the kid, putting the boot in while he lay on the ground.

"We'll have your fucking cards, and the pins!"

Damm. This was not on. Cameron got to his feet. "Oi! Tough Guys, leave the bloody kid alone!"

"What's it to you? Fuck off!"

"Gonna stop us, are you?"

"Yeah, I like your chances."

"So do I." Cameron looked back at his team-mates who all got to their feet.

"Fuck off if you know what's good for you," Grant growled.

The street-toughs counted heads and weighed their chances. They fucked off.

"Thanks, Guys," Cameron grinned.

"Anytime," Stevie replied.

"You shouldn't have got involved," Grant growled. "We'll have no show of winning tomorrow if we're a player short."

"Gee, thanks Grant, you're all heart." Cameron turned back to the kid who was sitting on the ground hugging his legs. "I think he's hurt."

"Of course he's bloody hurt. He just got the snot kicked out of him. Come on, Cameron. We're out of here."

"We can't just leave him there."

"Yeah, we can. None of our business."

Stevie agreed. "Anyone walking around on his own, after dark gets what he deserves."

Cameron looked at Giles, but he wasn't buying it either.

"Leave it, Cam. Let's go back to our room, we can look down at the hookers, they must be out by now."

"Well," he looked at the kid. "No dammit. We can't just leave him there."

"Maybe you can't, but we can. Bye Cameron. Have fun." Stevie and Grant walked away. Giles looked from Cameron to the others.

"Come on, we've gotta go, Cam."

"I'm not. Go if you want, I'm staying with him."

"Well, damm. Okay, I'm going. Have you got your cell?"

"Course I have."

"Call us if you have to. 'Bye." Giles ran to catch-up to the others.

'Nice to have good friends. Fuck 'em anyway!'

He knelt down in front of the kid. Teary eyes looked up at him.

"I really have got no money," the kid said.

"I don't want your money. I'm one of the good guys. You're hurt, aren't you? What's wrong with your foot?"

"It's so sore! I can't stand on it, it's bloody agony. I think it's broken."

"Broken? How did you do that?"

"A car ran over it."

"Really? How the hell did that happen?"

"I was in the middle of the street, the lights changed and some jerk shot forward and ran over my foot! He didn't even stop. I crawled over here and, well, you saw what happened then."

"Yeah. Just not your night, is it? What're you going to do about it?"

"I don't know. I was thinking about drowning myself in the river there, but it's not deep enough."

"Might be if you lay face-down. But, you can't do that. You need help, like a doctor or something."

"I can't. I can't walk a step and I've got no money for a doctor. There's some in the bank but I can't get it, I haven't got my card."

"Okay. How about your family then? Can I ring somebody?"

"There is nobody. I haven't got a family, they threw me out."

"They did? Why would they do that?'

"Oh, they had their reasons, you don't want to know."

"But surely, if they knew you're in trouble like this, someone would come for you."

"They wouldn't. They'd probably laugh. They're hundreds of kilometers away anyway. I just arrived here today and I don't know anybody."

"Bugger! You are in trouble, aren't you? I wouldn't walk away from you. We'll go to the Accident and Emergency, at the hospital. That won't cost anything. You'll have to stand up, and then I'll carry you."

"Carry me? Why would you do that?"

"Because I'm nice. You need help and I can do it. Come on, on your - umm - foot, and I'll piggy-back you. We'll go over the road there and phone for a taxi."

"Okay, thanks. I do need help. I can't pay for a taxi though."

"I can, no worries. Up you get."

Cameron helped him to get upright, and then stood with his back to him. "Put your arms over my shoulders and hang on. I'll lift your legs, and then we can walk."

They went along through the small park, across the river on the road bridge, and he deposited him on a seat outside one of the cafes. He went inside to phone for a taxi. The girl on the counter wasn't keen, but when he told her why he needed a taxi, she took him through to use the office phone. He rang for a cab, and then went back outside to wait for it.

The taxi soon arrived and took them both to the hospital. It never even occurred to him that he could leave the boy in the care of others now. He wanted to stay with him and the boy obviously wanted that too. Cameron paid the driver and carried the boy, on his back, into the hospital.

They were met at the main doors by a nurse who asked what the trouble was and scolded Cameron for carrying him. "There's no need for that. Put him in one of those wheelchairs and go to the reception desk."

It was a busy night. There were people everywhere. When their turn came, the rather grim-looking woman at the desk frowned at them.

She opened a screen and demanded, "Name?"

"Cameron Black. Oh, no, sorry. I'm not the patient, he is."

"Make up your mind," she sighed and started again. "What's his name?"

"I, umm. I'm sorry," he turned to the boy. "I don't know your name."

"Andrew," he replied. "Andrew Vincent Davis."

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