Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

George and Jeremy's Tale - Pt 1

Midnight in Westpoint, a dark and stormy midnight. And it was. The howling winds drove the rain in horizontally from the sea and lashed the small town like a giant fire-hose playing across it. It was dark, really dark; the power had gone out a couple of hours ago.

Hardly a soul was sleeping through the storm, but the only lights showing around the town were flickering candles and the occasional glare from carbide lamps as miners' helmets were being used for emergency lighting.

The thunder rolled and lightning flashed but even that couldn't throw much light across the scene. It was often wet and sometimes stormy here on the wild West Coast where the rain-laden clouds dumped on the first land they came to, but this was exceptional. This was the night that residents of the town would compare future storms to and tell their offspring, "You think this is rough? You should have been here in 1965 - February the 13th., the night the roof blew off the grandstand. That was a storm."

That wasn't the only roof that blew off that night, but it was the biggest and the most spectacular. Several houses lost bits and pieces of their roofs, which was no fun for those living in them, but the grandstand roof tore off in one huge piece, lifted up and smashed down into a row of houses several blocks away.

It was a miracle that no-one was killed. Somehow there was nothing more serious than a few cuts and bruises. Rumour had it that old Grannie Stephens shit the bed when the grandstand roof smashed into her house. This wasn't true, but she did wet herself in terror. As you do.

Police Constable Michael Jamieson didn't wet himself, but he came close to it when a flash of lightning showed the bulk of the big roof flying over his head. He was struggling up Brigham Street in the rain and he came out with a string of four-letter words, entirely inappropriate for a policeman. Luckily no-one heard him in the storm.

P.C.Jamieson stood staring in shock as the long expanse of the old roof smashed into the ground like the crash-landing of an immense kite. The noise of the direct hit on houses over in Richards Street could be heard above the storm.

The noise shook him out of his stupor, and he hurried off on his mission to summon the men of the Volunteer Fire Brigade. They'd be needed even more now.

The phones were out and the fire siren was busted - literally. The old wooden tower that it had sat on was an early casualty of the night and it was now lying strewn across the broken roof of the fire station. 'Oh, what a night! Who'd be a cop on a stormy night in Westpoint?"

Still, it could be worse; at least he was on dry ground, sort of. This storm had come up out of nowhere, there'd be fishing boats still out at sea. That would be no fun at all!

And it wasn't. Of the four small boats of Westpoint's fishing fleet caught out at sea, one sank in the night drowning all three crew members on board and a man was lost overboard from one of the others. He was wearing a life jacket, but it didn't help, he was still drowned. When his lifeless body was eventually found washed up on the North Beach, he was still wearing the life jacket.

It was ironic really, Pfc. James Ryan had survived the carnage of the D-Day landings in Normandy in World War Two, only to finish up twenty years later, dead, lying on the storm-swept beach of his hometown. He would later be buried in the returned servicemen's section at the local cemetery. One more in the growing list of deceased ex-servicemen.

The soldiers' generation was beginning to fade away as another, different, generation grew up to take their place. 1965's youths and teenagers were the 'baby-boomer' generation, born en-masse after the return of the soldiers from their prolonged absence overseas in the war and after.

These were the children of the 1960's, a 'perverse and rebellious generation'. They rejected everything that their parents had accepted. Especially their blind obedience to all authority. The same authority that had sent thousands of young men, (and women), of their parents' and grandparents' generations to fight and die in foreign lands.

Today's kids grew up in a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity, but with the ever present threat of nuclear destruction hanging over them. They sought life in fun and music - today's music, not the crappy old stuff that their parents listened to. They were rebellious and politically aware, far more so than their parents had ever been.

In Westpoint there was none more political than young Tom Craddock. Though he would have made a strange politician with his long greasy hair and uniform tight blue jeans and white T-shirt. An unlit cigarette continually hung from his lips as he roared around the town on his noisy old Triumph motorcycle. This had been an ex-army machine sold off as war surplus, but Tom didn't care. It was cheap.

He did his best to model on his movie heroes, especially James Dean and Marlon Brando, and the oldies all agreed that, even if he survived his wild ways, he would never amount to much. You'd almost think he was a Carver. "A bad lot, young Tom Craddock."

But, that's another story. Back to the storm - the wind slackened off as the night went on but the rain kept coming down. By the dawn's early light the destruction across the town could be seen. It looked like the morning after in a battle zone, but the stoical people of Westpoint were not downhearted, there was too much to do.

The community united as people got stuck in to clean up the mess. Heavy, tarred, canvas railway tarpaulins were stretched over broken roofs everywhere. This was against Railway Department regulations, but, who cared? 'Needs must', as they say.

Devastation was everywhere but nowhere was worse than out at the Carver's farm on the South Beach. The big old house and outbuildings were a complete disaster. Already run-down and ramshackle through lack of maintenance, the place was a complete write-off. All that was holding the barn up was Harvey Carver's old truck parked inside it.

No-one came to help the Carvers, they were out of sight and out of mind. Nobody liked them much anyway. The Carver family had plenty of people who could clean up their own mess, but they didn't bother, not in the rain. "Stuff that for a joke."

Harvey stood out on the verandah behind the old house, beer in hand, looking around at the devastation. "Bloody Hell. That's it. We're selling this old dump and moving into town. The land's got to be worth something even if the farm's buggered."

He looked over in disgust at his second son, fussing around like an old woman, trying to cover the broken kitchen window with some loose sheets of iron.

"Forget it Jeremy. Get in out of the rain. The place is shot anyway. Bloody weather!"

Jeremy ignored him, as he usually did, and carried on trying to at least keep the rain out of his grandmother's kitchen. The Old Man wouldn't lift a finger to help, but he'd still expect his meals to be on time.

A few days later, to the absolute horror of the neighbours, the Carver family moved into town They came in a convoy of beat-up old cars, two small trucks and a tractor with its large farm trailer piled high with old furniture and junk, complete with granny's rocking chair strapped on the top. The 'Beverley Hillbillies' came into town - there went the neighbourhood.

They paraded slowly through the streets. The tractor didn't have much speed - not did some of the cars. Several residents heaved sighs of relief when the Carver's procession went on out of their immediate neighbourhoods.

Finally the convoy halted outside the old Heslop's place in Derby Street, opposite the Secondary School. At least one neighbour was delighted to see them arrive and start unloading. George Barnes stood out on the sidewalk with his baby sister in her pram, watching the squabbling tribe move into their new home.

George winced as two more people came around the corner and headed up the sidewalk towards him. It was too late to walk away and avoid them, so he bent over the baby in her pram, straightening her blankets, and hoping that they'd just pass on by.

The runner was Bob Reynolds, big and tall for sixteen years old. He was a nice enough guy, pretty cool actually, in a sports-god sort of way, but his girlfriend was not.

Doris Bartlett was fifteen and hot!, (and she knew it), and nasty with it. She was riding along on a bicycle beside her boyfriend, her long legs rising up and down and her mini skirt riding high up on her thighs. She was wearing a skin-tight pink sweater which showed off her large, (braless!), boobs alarmingly. Her brassy bottle-blond hair was piled up high on her head and her face was covered in make up, even this early in the day.

George noticed with dismay that Jakie Carver stopped what he was doing, (which was arguing with his twin), to stand and stare at the 'bitch on a bike.'

"Hello, Georgie Porgie. Checking out the talent are you?"

It was a wonder she could speak at all with her mouth full of gum and a cigarette hanging from her cherry-red lips. Who did she think she was? Marilyn Monroe's slutty little sister?

"Hello Doris. I'm, aah, I'm just walking the baby," he stammered. How did she do this to him? He was a year older than her, dammit.

"Yeah, well. Not a lot of talent there anyway. They're just Carvers. They'd eat you for breakfast, Georgie Porgie."

"Come on Doris. Leave the kid alone." Bob Reynolds continued on his way, pounding the pavement.

"See ya, Georgie Porgie. Don't do anything I wouldn't do." Doris pedalled on after him.

'Well that wouldn't be much', George thought to himself as he watched them go. 'Stroppy Cow. What does Bob Reynolds ever see in you? Must be the sex I suppose. I'll bet you're doing it."

He looked over again at the Carver twins with a sigh, then continued walking with the pram. He didn't want to be too obvious.

"The kid? I'm older than you too, Bob Reynolds. Well, by a couple of weeks I am.'

George picked up the baby's teddy bear for the umpteenth time, then carried on walking. He couldn't stand there all day looking at the Carvers. At the Carver twins really. The rest of the family were pretty scary, but the twins fascinated him, especially Jakie. Not that there was much difference between them at all, but Jakie was the bigger, stronger and more outgoing twin. Sometimes he even said "Hi", when they passed at school, and he never called him 'Georgie Porgie', which was good. George hated that name, which was, of course, why people called him that.

"Georgie Porgie pudding and pie kissed the girls and made them cry. When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away."

It wasn't true anyway. He wasn't fat, (very), and he never kissed the girls, (Ewww), but he did run away when the boys came out to play. Boys - big boys - fascinated him but they were scary too. He didn't want anyone finding out what he was really like, but he wished that he could find someone like himself. Bob Reynolds? Jakie Carver? No, not a chance, ladies men the both of them.

But, Jeremy? Who knew? Jeremy was different, sort of gentle and sensitive. Jeremy Carver? Maybe. He'd be seeing a lot more of them now that the Carvers were going to be living around the corner. The Carver's didn't have a lot of friends. Scratch that - the Carvers didn't have any friends.

George didn't think his Mam would approve of him having a Carver for a friend either, but he'd like to. Jeremy Carver? Maybe. Twins do that sort of thing don't they? With each other? Maybe.

'You never know your luck in the big city - Yeah, but what about in a small town.'

He carried on up the street and passed the new red-brick hospital. His Nita was one of the first babies born in there; it wasn't even completely finished at the time. It really was a fine new hospital for the town, much better than the old dump. He liked the look of it, but he hoped he'd never have to use it. He'd never be having babies born in there anyway.

George was a queer - a homosexual. He'd worked that out a while ago, but no-one else knew it. He hoped they never would.

Further on and around the corner into Peal Street, he saw two boys kicking a ball around in the street. Dick Kynnersley and Michael Jamieson, the cop's son. George knew something about those two. He'd seen them once, down at the Domain. They were kissing in the bushes. Dirty little buggers. Lucky little buggers.

"Hey Georgie Porgie. What have you got in the pram? Puddings and pies?"

"Yeah, did your Mum pack you a picnic, Georgie?"

George just grinned, said "Hi", and kept walking. Cheeky sods.

'Sods' was short for sodomites, wasn't it? Maybe they were then. Who knew. He wished that he had someone though. A friend. Not necessarily for sex. Well, not just for sex, but someone who he could open up to - who he could be really honest with. Who he could be himself with. A friend. He was so lonely.

He was definitely going to, try to, talk to the Carver twins next time he saw them. He SO wanted a friend.

"Somebody to love. Somebody to call me Turtle-Dove, somebody to love," he sang to himself.

The baby smiled up at him. "Yeah, I love you too, Nita honey, but it's not the same."

He walked around another corner and into Romney Street, going home. Home to where his divorced mother was "housekeeper" to old Jimmy Seddon, as if anyone couldn't work out what that was all about really. Why couldn't they just be honest about it? But, not in this red-neck town he supposed.

The milk cart was working its way towards him. George rolled his eyes as he always did when he saw them. Honestly! Fancy delivering the milk by horse and cart in this day and age. Hadn't the Westpoint United Dairies ever heard of trucks? Trucks were much more modern and they didn't crap in the streets.

The milkman's boy was running back and forth, delivering the bottles and collecting the empties. Wait a minute. That was young Tommy Peters wasn't it? He was, what? Ten years old? That's a bit young to be working. Or, maybe he was just helping out. It'd run a bit of puppy fat off him anyway. Maybe George should get a job on the milk cart? No. He didn't think so.

He got home, there was no-one there and the baby stunk!

"Phew, Nita. Maybe you should get a job on the milk cart? Ah, well, joys of babies. Who's a smelly girl then?"

While George was resignedly cleaning up his sister's backside, around at the Adelphi Milkbar and Tearooms, in the main street, Kathleen Adams was cleaning up a mess of a different kind.

"If I've told you once, Seddon, I've told you a thousand times. You keep your bloody hands to yourself. Those kids have got just as much right to come in here as you have and if you don't like it, well you can bugger off!"

"Ah, come off it Kathy. We don't need those people in here. Bloody kids. They're Carvers too, some of them."

"So what if they are? Their money's just as good as anyone else's. Just as good as yours, not that we ever see a lot of that."

"You don't see a lot of that? I must've spent a fortune in here. I've been coming here for years. I was a regular in this place before you could even see over the counter, little girl. Besides, it's not the kids so much, it's their bloody music I hate. "Yeah, yeah, yeah!"

That's not music - not rock 'n roll. Bloody long-haired pommie gits. Why don't they get haircuts and get real jobs?"

"Dick, you're getting old, that's your problem. Face it, rock and roll is dead. The Beatles are where it's at now. They're really Fab. I'm going to get Dad to put up in posters in here; it's about time the Adelphi got up to date. The Beatles are all so cute, especially George, he's a dream-boat."

"George? Which one's he? The drummer? They all look like girls. I bet they sit down to pee."

"Don't be coarse, Dick Seddon. You'll never know anyway. The Beatles are the kings!"

"Elvis is the king of rock and roll, Little Girl, he always will be."

"Elvis Presley is an old man. Anyway, the Beatles have got five songs on the American top twenty. No-one's ever done that before."

"They're just a flash in the pan, Kathy Adams. This time next year when you mention the Beatles, people will be saying the who?"

"No they won't," she smiled sweetly. "The Who are another group altogether. They used to be called the High Numbers, but now they're the Who. They're really good too, but the Beatles are the best."

"The Who? What a stupid name. They've all got stupid names - the Stones, the Animals, the Zombies, the Kinks. Why don't they just call themselves the Long-Haired Screaming Idiots? And, the Pretty Things? What about them then? One of them was so scruffy he got kicked out of the Rolling Stones, and that's bad!"

"There's already a group called the Uglies. Maybe you should join them."

"The Uglies? See what I mean? Bloody stupid names."

"Anyway, that's beside the point. You stop pushing your weight around and leave those kids alone."

"Or what? You going to get your old man to ban me? Throw me out like he did with Eddie Carver?"

"If we have to. Eddie Carver got kicked out of here for fighting, you could be too."

"You're a bossy little cow, Kathy Adams."

"I am not! Don't you call me a cow or you're out of here."

"Okay, okay. Settle down Girl. I'll behave - I'll leave them alone if they leave me alone, and stop playing their bloody awful music."

Tom Craddock sauntered in and joined their conversation. "Put some money in the juke box then, Dick. There's still some of your old stuff in there. 'The Times They Are a Changing", that's a Bob Dylan song. Good song too."

"Bob who? Never heard of him, Tom."

"Honestly Dick Seddon!' Kathy had to put her spoke in, even though she knew very little about Bob Dylan either. "He's a singer isn't he, Tom? One of those American folk singers."

"Of course he's a singer, Kathy. But not just 'one of those folk singers' - Dylan's the best there's ever been."

"Oh come on! He's not that good."

"He is too! Okay, maybe his singing is a bit - different, but he writes all his own stuff."

"So what? The Beatles write all their own songs too. Well, John and Paul do mostly."

"Yeah, but Dylan's got something to say. Something more than, "I wanna hold your hand, yeah, yeah, yeah."

Dick laughed, highly amused, but Kathy did not. "Enough of that too, Tom Craddock. The Beatles are number one, two, three and four, and the sooner you goons realise that the better. If you don't like the kids' music, why don't you both go and prop up the bar with the oldies in the pub next door?"

"Well I can't can I? I'm not over twenty-one and they know it - bloody small town. Dick's old enough though. Why aren't you hanging around the pub with the grown ups, Dick?"

"I could if I wanted to, but I don't. I'd rather be in here where the kids are, there's much more life in here."

"Well see you behave yourself then, Granddad," Kathy retorted. "And try to get with it. Nobody listens to that old stuff anymore, rock and roll is dead."

Tom smiled now, "Yeah, Granddad, behave yourself. Kathy, rock and roll is not dead. What do you think the Beatles are doing if not rock and roll?"

"The Beatles are not rock and roll. They far better than that. What are you having Tom?"

"What am I having? Don't tell me you're working in here now, Kathy?"

"Of course I'm working in here. I'm not a child anymore. I'll have you know I'm fourteen, Tom Craddock."

"You're fourteen? Already? Man the years are going fast."

"Yes they are. I'm fourteen and I know as much about running this place as my dad does. I'd better. I'll own it one day seeing as I'm the only child in the family. Can't see them having any more kids now, they're getting old. So, what will it be?"

"I'll have a coke."

"You will not, you'll have a cola."

"I don't want a cola, Kathy, I want a coke."

"You'll have a cola. It's just as good and I don't think you'd even know the difference if I gave it to you in a coke bottle. When you buy coke you're just giving money to an American company. Cola's made locally, you've got to support the locals."

"Support the Reynolds family you mean. They own the soft drink factory and Bob Reynolds is their number one son. Admit it, Kathy. You're just sweet on sports-hero, Bob Reynolds, just like every other girl in this town is."

"Bob Reynolds has got nothing to do with it. He's going steady with that awful Doris Bartlett anyway. You've just got to support the locals. If everyone bought coke and no-one bought Reynolds' soft drinks, they'd be out of business and the town would lose half a dozen more jobs."

"I suppose that makes sense. There not six jobs in the Reynolds' factory though, there's only about four. Give me a cola, Kathy."

"Fine. And don't call me 'Kathy'. Kathy is a kid's name. My name is Kathleen and don't you forget it. Time you bought something else too, Dick Seddon. What will it be?"

"I, umm. I think I'd better have a cola thank you, Miss Adams."

"That's more like it. And, I am not sweet on Bob Reynolds. Doris Bartlett's welcome to him."

Later, in the cool of the evening, Jakie and Jeremy Carver escaped for a while from the noisy, arguing, chaos of their new home and went for a walk around the town. They'd lived just outside Westpoint for all of their lives and it was all familiar territory to them, just not usually at that time of day.

They walked around the town, up one street and down the next crisscrossing the square grid of the town's streets. Everything looked the same, but different, in the soft twilight. The brothers were the same, but different as well.

As they walked, Jeremy was checking out the houses and the gardens around them. Jakie was only interested in the people they saw and he was spoiling for a fight if anyone looked at him the wrong way.

Technically they were identical twins, but actually they were very different. They did look similar, but then so did their younger brother Gordie and their cousin Eddie did too.

They were all tall and skinny, (except for Jakie who was heavier - he was on a body-building phase). They were all fair-skinned and blond haired. Their short, straight, hair, all cut the same way by old Granny Carver, was blond with just a touch of red in it. Granny called them her 'strawberry blond boys', and said that they'd all just missed out on being redheads.

Not that that worried them. Ginger hair was a good thing to miss out on. Eddie's sister didn't miss though. Sophie Carver was a full-blown redhead in all her glory. It didn't look too bad on a girl though, except for the freckles.

The major difference between the twins was on the inside - in their personalities. Jakie was more confident and out-going. He was proud to be a rough-arse Carver kid and was always ready to smack down anyone who had a problem with that. Jeremy was much quieter and more private. He did adore being the centre of attention though when he was performing.

Jeremy liked to dance and sing and he was a regular participant in the Westpoint Competitions Society's shows. He never won any prizes, they wouldn't give a prize to a Carver. He still kept performing just for the love of it and because he quite liked pissing the judges off. He knew he was good even if they weren't going to admit it.

Jeremy's clothes were always carefully colour-coordinated and they were neat and clean even if he had to change three or four times in a day. He'd done his own laundry and mending ever since he was eleven years old. Granny just wasn't careful enough. Granny's methods were good enough for Jakie though. He didn't care what he wore. As long as his bare arse wasn't hanging out, Jakie was happy enough.

Despite their differences, the brothers actually got on very well together. As you do when no-one else in town's got much time for you. Jakie didn't like Westpoint much and he intended getting the hell out of there just as soon as he could. That wouldn't be too long now, he was sixteen now and he couldn't wait to leave this one-horse town. Jeremy was in no hurry. He might never leave Westpoint, he quite liked it there. At least his family was all around him in Westpoint.

The biggest difference between the twins was one that was never talked about. Jakie didn't even know about it, (though he suspected and half-feared it). Jeremy was all too aware of the difference - it was girls. Jakie loved girls; they were all he thought about. Jeremy wished that he was a girl.

Jeremy was a homosexual. He never wanted to be, he never chose to be a 'queer', he just was. This was the one thing he could never share with his brother. Jakie was totally straight and he had no time for 'pansies'.

They had fooled around a bit, together, when they were younger. They had learned to masturbate together at about age twelve, but always with their hands on their own dicks.

They never did that anymore, well not together anyway. Ever since Jakie had discovered girls and had his first sexual experience at thirteen, he wouldn't even let Jeremy sleep in his bed anymore. They did share a room though, along with two other brothers. They weren't interested either.

At age sixteen, Jeremy lived in the midst of a large extended family, but he was lonely. He was different.

They found no fights, no excitement happening anywhere until they got back to the lively Carvers' house just after dark. The never-ending arguing was still going on and Jakie joined right in. Jeremy just rolled his eyes and went off to try out the new bath before he went to bed.

Next morning, when he decided that he'd had as much as he could take; Jeremy went out walking again to escape the noise. He turned around the first corner he came to, to get out of sight of the new Carver house, and then turned into Romney Street - he'd never been right up to the top end of Romney Street.

Out at the front of number five, Jeremy saw a movement behind the low hedge alongside the footpath. He stopped and looked over at George Barnes down there, on his hands and knees, doing what?

"Hey, Georgie Porgie, what ARE you doing down there?"

George sat back up on his heels and looked up at him. After a long silent stare, he bent forward and carried on weeding under the hedge.

"Well, I can see you're not deaf, but have you been struck dumb or something? I asked what are you doing, Georgie Porgie?"

"Piss off Carver. Go away and mind your own business."

"Ooh, nice! Way to make friends with people, Georgie."

"Friends? I don't think so. My friends don't call me 'Georgie Porgie'. I hate that stupid name."

"Oh. Okay then. So what are you doing - George?"

He sat up again and they exchanged another long silent stare, each with a question in his eyes - the exact same question, though they had no way of knowing that. Then George shrugged and flashed a small, tentative, smile.

"I'm just weeding under the hedge. It gets really messy. I don't know why Jimmy has to have hedges of Hydrangeas all around the place. They do look good, I suppose, when they're flowering anyway, but they're a lot of work. Hydrangeas are not really a hedge plant."

"So that's what they're called - Hydrangeas? I think they look really good. The big clumps of flowers always remind me of brides' bouquets somehow."

"Yeah, I've always thought the same thing too. They're a lot of work though; weeds just grow up under them."

"You have to do all the work do you? Your gardens look great actually."

"Yeah, they're okay. Jimmy and my Mam both do some gardening, but I get stuck with all the boring jobs - mowing lawns and pulling weeds. Still, it keeps me in a job; I have to do something for my money."

"You get paid for it? Hell, I'd do it for free. I wish we could have a garden. We never did out at the farm, I tried to grow stuff a few times but the bloody animals kept getting in and eating everything, so I gave up. Dad says we're not having a garden in town either. He reckons gardens are for sissies."

"No they're not. Gardens are great. They're a lot of work though. You can come around and do our gardens for free any time. That'd be great - you could do all the work and I'd get paid for it."

"I dunno about that. I wouldn't mind doing some gardening though, especially if I got paid for it. Do you want a hand now? I could help you for a while; I've got nothing better to do."

George gave him another long questioning look. Why was a Carver twin being friendly to him, of all people? He'd prefer it was Jakie, but Jeremy was pretty hot too. Was he looking for ... No. Not likely, only in his dreams. He shrugged again and said. "No. I'd better do it myself. I am getting paid for it and there's not enough money for two."

"Who said anything about money? Come on Georgie....Sorry, I mean, George. I'd like to help. It'd be something to do, I'm bored."

"Well, okay then, if you really want to. My Mam says that work is a good cure for boredom."

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead