Kaimoana Tales

by Kiwi

The Malloys

Part 9

"There was three of them," Tommy shrugged.

"So what? I don't want to hear your excuses. Does a builder build without tools, does a boxer fight without his hands? If you've got to fight, fight to win and use the bloody brains that God's given you!"

"Brains?" Sarah said. "I think Tommy was away that day."

"You can shut up, Girl. Clean your father up." Nancy turned and looked at Michael. "If you've finished gawping, you can get out of here. Go and see what the kids are doing. Take the baby with you too, he doesn't need to see this."

"Yeah, okay, sure, Nancy."

He scooped Paulie up from the play-pen on the floor and took him away. Nancy was getting stuck into Tommy again as he left the house. Whoah, he was glad that he wasn't him! Molly and Hori were on the swings in the backyard, so he sat down next to them, holding the baby and thinking. He was totally confused. Nancy was wild with Tommy and he didn't blame her, but she seemed to be more upset because he lost the fight. (?)

He didn't have much choice, did he? It was three onto one, and that one was Tommy - how could he not lose? Damm. He would never understand these people.

Tommy wasn't there for dinner that night, which wasn't unusual. Apparently he was 'sleeping it off' and no-one wanted to talk about it. When he asked, Michael was told to shut up and mind his own business. Nice.

It was an early start the next day. Big Mike was going to school and Michael had to go with him. He'd thought that Nancy, or someone, would be coming with him, but - no. "You're not a baby, you're a big boy. You found your way here from halfway across the country, I think you can find your way to school. Big Mike will see that you get there, and then you're on your own."

So, in his tidiest casual clothes, he went to school with Big Mike, who left him at the office to enroll, and went off to his classes. The Secretary enrolled him in his new school and arranged for the records to be sent from his old one. It took bloody ages and, when she was finally finished with him, he left clutching a list of the books and uniform etc that he'd need.

He'd have to pay for all this himself! He could afford it, but there wouldn't be much left in the bank when he'd done. The kids were all out for recess when he emerged. There was no sign of Big Mike, but Ben was there, smiling at him. It was good to see one friendly face.

"Hey, Ben. How're you today?"

"I'm good. Hey, Michael and welcome to your new school."

"Yeah, thanks. I start tomorrow."

"You've got the day off? Lucky Bugger! Wish I could join you."

"Well you can't," Michael grinned. "Maybe some other time?"

They stood chatting in the sunshine and Michael was feeling good. He liked this kid. He didn't know if it'd go any further, but he'd be glad to have him for a friend. He wasn't looking for trouble, trouble found him, in the shape of a bunch of big, spotty idiots.

"What's this, Phillips?" the ringleader sneered. "Got yourself a new girlfriend, have you?"

"Yeah," a second one agreed. "Last thing we need around here is another bloody queer. Fuck off back where you came from, why don'cha?"

"I don't think so. Fuck off yourself." Michael wasn't backing down to this lot. That'd be a dumb way to start in his new school.

"Eww. Big Man! Gonna make us, are you?" a third one chimed-in. "Hey! I know who you are. You're the new fucking Malloy. Just what we need!"

The first one, the biggest one, shoved him. "The Malloy? We've been looking for you, Fucker. You're the one who smacked my little brothers over in the park. Fucking Malloys are all the same and you're all useless. Just wait 'til we get you alone somewhere, Queer Boy - you're dead!"

"Yeah?" Michael flared back. "Your type are all the same too -real big when you're in a crowd. Try it when you're on your own and I'll do the lot of you!"

"Yeah, right. Sure you will. But we won't be on our own, will we? You will and you're gonna be sorry you ever set foot in this town."

The 3rd one said, "We'll try not to break your legs, the first time. That'll give you a chance to fuck off after we've finished with you.."

"This is big-time, Faggot! No Queers touch my brothers and live."

"You've been watching too many bad movies. I'm so scared!" Michael replied. (That wasn't a lie, he was but he couldn't let them know that).

"Just piss-off, McCutcheon," Ben defended him. "You touch this kid and you'll be sorry."

"For why? What're you going to do, Girly? Run and tell Mummy?"

"You'll find out."

"Eww. Watch it, Troy. She'll scratch your eyes out."

"She'll fucking try!" He swung a fist at Ben. He missed.

"Back off, McCutcheon!" Harri, with Fiona and another girl arrived, closely followed by Big Mike, Max and two other boys. "Fuck off or you'll be sorry."

"Oh, Fuck. Watch it, Guys. The butch-girls are here to defend the sissy-boys. We haven't got time for this." He pulled out a knife and pointed it at Michael. "Last warning, Queer. You've got until tonight to get out of this town and don't come back." They swaggered away.

"You okay, Michael?"

"Yeah, thanks Big Mike, I'm fine. Those creeps don't scare me."

Hari said, "Maybe they should. Don't do anything stupid. Walk down a dark alley and you might not come out of the other end. They really are bad news. You be careful."

"Thanks, Harri. I will."

"See you do," Big Mike said. "I can't always be there for you to hide behind. What are you doing now?"

"'Kay, Big Mike." He showed his list."I'm going shopping, there's all this stuff I need."

"Sooner you than me. You got money?"

"Yeah, some."

"Have fun then. I'll see you at home. Take care, Brother."

"You too. Thanks, Ben, Harri, everyone. See y'all tomorrow." He left the school and headed downtown to clean-out his bank account.

The next couple of hours were spent getting rid of all his money and buying the things he'd need on the list. He was feeling pretty good when he arrived home, laden with parcels. That didn't last long.

Nancy met him at the door and frowned. "What've you been doing and why aren't you at school?"

"I've been there and enrolled, but I don't start until tomorrow. They gave me a list of things I'll need, books and uniforms and stuff, so I've been shopping."

"Oh have you just? And how did you pay for all of that?"

"From my bank account. I've got some money, or," he shrugged and grimaced, "I did have. There's not much left now."

Nancy was not smiling. "How then are you are you going to pay for the food you eat around here?"

"I have to pay?"

"And the electricity you use, and wear and tear on the furnishings. It all costs money you know."

"I know it does," he said quietly. He raised his head and looked her in the eyes. "I can work for it. You give me things to do and I'll do them. Plus, I'll get a job. I'll go back downtown now and see if I can get work. If you don't want to wait, I'll ring my mother and borrow some money. If that's not enough, I guess I'll just have to go."

"Go?" she roared. "Go? You're not going anywhere so you can get that idea out of your head right now! Tommy is your father and, for better or worse, you're part of this family now. There'll be no more talk about going."

"I'm sorry, Nancy, I don't understand. If I'm part of the family, why do I have to pay to be here?"

"You don't, obviously. You don't have to pay for your bloody school-books either. You think Big Mike pays for his? Or Molly?"

"Well, no. I guess not."

"Of course they bloody don't and neither do you. I'm offended that you'd think for one minute that you had to. We're not the richest family in town, but we're not the poorest either - far from it."

"Sorry, Nancy. I wasn't thinking."

"You weren't. In future use the brains that God's given you. You're as bad as your father! I want a detailed list of everything you bought and I want to know exactly how much it cost."

"Okay, if you really want me to. But it's all done now, couldn't we just leave it this time? I won't do it again."

"Damm right you won't. And you won't do it this time either. I will pay for everything. What if the Queen Mother found out that you paid for your own books? I'd never hear the end of it.. I'm not giving that old bag something like that to hold over me.."

"Yeah, that wouldn't be good."

"Damm right it wouldn't. Besides, I want you to be a part of this family. We've got plenty of room for you."

"I want to be, too," he was almost crying. He grabbed hold and hugged her.

"Phaww! Get off me Gay-Boy! What'll the neighbours think?" She pushed him off. "Put that stuff away, and then you can go out to the back and finish the lawns. You only did half of them yesterday."

"Sure thing, I'm on to it." He stepped down off the verandah, stopped and looked back. "Nancy, thanks."

"Mow the lawns!" She went inside.

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