Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Flight of The Toucan - Pt 1

The Keenans moved into town, a new town and a new beginning for them all. Hopefully, Robbie might make a fresh start and forget all this nonsense about being gay.

His dad believed him when he said that he was, but he couldn't understand it. Robert Keenan had never, ever, been tempted that way himself. He was no homo, and he was very disappointed in his oldest son.

With a bit of luck, he might grow out of it. Kids go through these phases and Robbie was still very young, he was only fourteen. It wouldn't do any harm to get him away from that Graham boy and all the temptations and bad influences of the city.

He certainly wouldn't be finding any homosexual nightclubs around here. Westpoint was a small town, a nice little town. Small town life was more like the way it used to be, the way life should be. God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

As soon as they had joined a church, Robert would see about getting the kids into a decent youth group. All the kids but especially Robbie. He was a bit lost and he needed some good influences in his life. A good looking boy like him could come to all sorts of harm, but, hopefully, not in a nice little town like Westpoint.

If the local churches didn't have a decent youth group, well, he'd start one. Robert was good at that sort of thing, that's what made him a good bank manager.

He was looking forward too, to the challenge of his new job. The last incumbent here was a bit of a drunkard and he'd let things slide. His four staff members didn't know it yet but they were in for a new beginning as well. Robert had plans, big plans, and the Westpoint branch of the National Bank was in for a good shake-up. He was going to make to make his bank a shining example of how a small-town branch should be run. That wouldn't do his future career prospects any harm either.

The kids might miss the city, for a while, but they'd soon get used to it. There should be plenty for them to do around here, he'd make sure of it. His mother would like it anyway.

Granny Keenan was a small-town girl, born and bred. She'd never really taken to city life. She didn't even drive a car for goodness sake! Here, she could walk to the Supermarket and anywhere else she wanted to go. The old bank was in the heart of the town, right in the centre of the main street and they'd be living in the manager's accomodation above and behind the offices on the ground floor.

Robbie had been quick to claim the largest bedroom, at the front and looking down over the main street. But that was okay, he'd be sharing with his two brothers so they needed the space.

Robert carried a couple more boxes up to his new bedroom. It was at the back of the house and it was a small room. It didn't seem right, somehow. He was the branch manager and the head of his family, and he got the smallest room. Still, it was practical. The three boys and their two sisters got the largest rooms, Granny needed a room of her own to retreat to, and there were only four bedrooms in the place.

He didn't need much room anyway. Robert slept alone now and always had ever since Elizabeth, his wife and the kid's mother, had died of cancer at only 33 years of age. Two years ago now, but he still missed her. He missed her a lot.

Anyway, his small room was at the top of the stairs where he could keep an eye on the comings and goings. Practical.

Robbie was sitting on the window seat in his room, surveying the town outside, when he heard his father coming up the stairs and into the back room. He quietly slipped downstairs and outside, away from Granny as wel. He was still not very happy with them. They were talking, when he had to, but he wasn't happy with them. Why did they have to come and live in this one-horse dump of a town?

He knew all their reasons, he'd heard them often enough, but he still didn't like it.

He liked his life in the city and he was missing Brian already. Brian Graham was his first boyfriend. He was the only person who understood him and he was the first person he'd had sex with. He was going to miss him.

It wasn't fair. What was he going to do in a small town like this?

Robbie's young sister, and a brother, were busily swimming dolls in the concrete fish-pond in the back yard. He couldn't be bothered with that, so he kept walking, out of the yard, up the side of the bank, and out to the street.

Standing on the sidewalk, Robbie looked up and down the long main street. He had nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no-one to do it with. His life was not good.

There was an old bench seat at the back of the sidewalk, outside the front door of the bank. Robbie went over and sat down on it. This seat belonged to the bank anyway. It must do, it was painted the same dark-blue color as the door and window trimmings on the bank building.

So. This was it - life in a small town. What on earth did people do around here? Unbelievably, there was only one television channel. They used to have four to choose from.

'Ah well, it'll save arguments I suppose. I wonder what the radio's like? At least there's a movie theatre, I saw one up the top of the street on the way into town Not too far to walk either. Nothing's too far around here.'

The street was quite busy. Or, at least the wide, sheltered sidewalks were. There weren't many cars about. It looked like everyone was walking everywhere, which, he supposed, you could do around here.

It would take about ten minutes to walk right out of town, if you wanted to. There was nothing but trees and paddocks out there anyway. What would the beaches be like? He'd have to go and check them out. Not today though, it looked like it was going to rain and he had no desire to get wet. Bugger that.

Robbie liked buggering - lots of fun. He used to do that a lot, with Brian. They'd been doing it every chance they got, ever since they figured out what their willies were really for, apart from peeing.

He was going to miss Brian, but he wasn't in love with him, not really. Brian had a girlfriend anyway. He wasn't doing "it" with her, she wouldn't let him. So he still came to Robbie for sex. Robbie wasn't complaining.

He'd had lots of offers, plenty of propositions, from the older guys in the nightclubs that they used to go to,(illegally), but he'd never been interested. It was better to stick with Brian. Brian was safe, they'd known each other forever and he knew him well. Vey well. Intimately.

Was he ever going to find someone around here? Time would tell, but the sooner the better. There must be someone, there were 3 or 4,000 people around here and more in the surrounding duistrict, about 6,000 in all.

He'd read the Kinsey Report, bits of it. One in nine or ten people were supposed to be homosexual. Or, "gay" was the word now - that sounded much better. Anyway, that meant that about six hundred people around here were like him. That was a lot. Of course, half of them would be female, so that ruled out three hundred for a start.

Then, they's be all ages, some too young and some, most, too old. (Eww.) So, if you took the years from zero to sixty, that was six decades, so three hundred divided by six is fifty people within ten years, or five people his age, were gay.

Half of them would be closeted homophobes living in the great river of Eygpt - in Denial - so that left two and a half, or two. Half of them lived out in the country areas, so that left one. Not very much at all really.

He was living in Westpoint now, so maybe he was the one. The only gay person his age here. All alone. Prospects? Not very good. Why, oh why, couldn't they have stayed in the city?

Okay, he was getting depressed now. It looked like his sex life would be on hold for the forseeable future. Ah well, he could wait if he had to. Probably he'd have to. Bugger it! As soon as he could, he was moving back to a city, where the people were.

Sitting there, he started counting the people walking past so see what each tenth one looked like. "One, two, three, . . eight, nine, ten - no, too old. Eight, nine, ten - too young. Nine, ten - Eww!' Then, "Eight, Nine, ten - Yes! you look good. I wonder if you could be the one.I wish.'

"Checking out the talent, Robbie?" His sister, Liz, red-haired and older than him by one year, sat down beside him.

"Talent? I was just thinking that the pickings are pretty slim around here."

"Yeah, you're probably right. A serious shortage of hotties."

"They're rare, but there are a few. Look at that one there."

"Where? Across the road? No, blonds don't do it for me. When I breed it won't be with a blond. All my kids would come out with red hair."

"ALL your kids? How many are you planning on having?"

"I dunno. As many as I can afford, I suppose."

"Oh. None then."

"Don't be cheeky, Robbie. Anyway, I guess that we won't be competing for the same ones then."

"Of course we won't, you like boys who like girls."

"Yeah, and you just like boys."

"Boys who like boys."

"Boys who like boys. There won't be many of them around here."

"That's what I was just thinking.'

" Still, you never know your luck."

"The way my luck's been lately, there'll be none, not for a hundred miles."

"Aah, poor Robbie. Why don't you switch sides then? Get yourself a girl."

"Why don't you get yourself a girl?"

"Eww. Gross."

"Exactly. Gross. Me too."

"Oh, Robbie. I do like you, you're the best brother I've got, but I do wish that you weren't like this. Why can't you be normal and into girls like everyone else?"

"Don't you think I've wished that too? I didn't choose to be queer, I just am. Did you choose to have red hair?"

"Not bloody likely. I don't mind the hair, but the sensitive white skin that comes with it is just a pain. Come on, Robbie. Off your butt and we'll go for a walk."

"A walk? Get lost. We can just sit here. It looks like the whole town's parading past us anyway."

"This is not the whole town. Come on, Brother. There's a whole new world to explore out there."

"A whole little world. Okay, let's get it over with then. It shouldn't take long.

Robbie and his sister joined the parade of walkers going up and down the main street. They'd already seen the east end, that was the way cars came into town, so they went the other way, west, to the bottom of the main street. It took a while - Liz was seriously into window shopping - but they eventually came to the end of the street.

Liz had money, so she bought a couple of cans of soft drink from the last shop - the dairy and take-aways at number one, Main Street. They crossed the side road to sit up on the bank behind the fishing boats' wharves and the lagoon there.

"That's better. Thanks Liz, for the drink. What do we do now?"

"Keep walking, I suppose. Let’s go and find the school, it's back up that way, I think."

"What do you want to find the school for? We'll have to go there soon enough."

"I know, but it'd be good to check it out. We need to know where it is anyway."

They came down from the small embankment and started along the side street running away from the main one. It wouldn't be hard to find their way around this place anyway. All the straight streets ran either east-west or north-south in a square grid pattern, and the clocktower and the tall concrete silos, (cement company's?), towered over the flat landscape. There wasn't even a hint of a hill anywhere in the town.

A few short blocks back, the side street ended at another long, east-west, street. Across the road, behind the fence and the tall hedge of pine trees, lay the racecourse - Pattinson Park.

"Okay," Liz said. "This was on the map. That's the racecourse and this is Derby Street, so the beach is down to the left there and the high school is back up here to the right. Which way do you want to go?"

"To the right, of course. We were going to the school. I'm not standing on a beach in the rain."

"It’s not raining, Robbie."

"No, but it might. Those clouds look pretty dark."

"Right. Right it is then."

The school was disappointing. It wasn't particularly old or new, it was just average. It was much smaller than the ones they were used to, but they expected that. What was disappointing was the people there - they ignored them.

Robbie and Liz weren't expecting a big welcome or anything, they were strangers there, but there were quite a few people around when they walked in from the street and no-one took any notice of them at all. Liz in particular was not used to that. She was a striking looking girl and her long and bright, carroty-red, hair made her stand out in any crowd.

A noisy, laughing, impromptu game of touch rugby, with far too many players, was happening out on the field behind the school buildings. Dozens of spectators were milling around, chatting, socializing, and half-watching the game. Liz and Robbie strolled along the sealed path at the edge of the field and no-one took any notice of them whatsoever, they hardly even glanced at them.

They went back out to the street and carried on going, east, past the small red-brick hospital and up to where the "Give Way" signs indicated the main road, north, out of town - Brigham Street.

"Friendly lot, I don't think," Liz snorted, a bit miffed.

"Well what did you expect? We're outsiders here. They seemed friendly enough to each other."

"Yeah, but not to us. Screw them anyway, let's go home."

"Yeah, good. I'm sure they'll love you once they get to know you, Liz."

"Of course they will. If I let them. Snobby sods."

Along Brigham Street, just one block before the main street, there was another sportsfield and there was a small crowd there as well. There was a rugby football game happening here too, but with older players and more organized, they wore uniforms. They walked in there and along the track in front of the grandstand. Once again, no-one took any notice of them. They walked back out to the street and went home.

"I've never felt invisible before." Liz was pissed. "Do you think they'd see us if we took all our clothes off?"

"You can do that if you want to, but I'm certainly not."

Back home, in the back of the bank, Liz stayed in the kitchen, talking to Granny about girl stuff. Robbie went up to his room where he threw Michael and Bruce off his bed under the front window.

"This is my bed and you little shits can stay off it. Get back in your corner where you belong."

"How come you get the best bed?"

"Cause I'm the oldest and I'm bigger than you. Have you guys seen my radio anywhere?"

"Open your eyes, Robbie, It's right there next to your head."

"Where? Oh, yeah. Thanks."

He plugged in an ear-phone and turned his radio on. A present for his latest birthday, it was just a tiny, blue, transistor radio, but he loved it. It was much more powerful than it looked.

Not that that did him much good now. There were only four stations on the dial. Three of them were national links, the National Program, the Concert Program and Nationwide Hits. The fourth was a local station - Westpoint Community Radio. They promoted themselves as "News, views and interviews. Music old and new on your local radio," but there seemed to be more talking than anything else. There wasn't much music and what there was, was pretty cruddy. ( Robbie liked that word - cruddy - it wasn't exactly swearing but it still sounded disgusting.) A real old people's radio station.

The Nationwide Hits was better, they had more music, but it wasn't a local station.

Robbie had always been interested in music and the radio that was his ambition; he wanted to be a radio disc jockey. Somewhere, but not here, this town's radio was crap.

He'd recently seen the movie "American Graffiti," so that was his ambition now. He wanted to be like Wolfman Jack - dark, mysterious and hugely popular, howling on the radio. One day he'd do it too. You didn't have to be yourself on the radio, you could be anyone you wanted to. No-one could see you anyway. 'The Wolfman rocks.'

The Keenans settled in to their new town. Granny soon had the house organized the way she wanted it. Robert met his staff and started shaking the bank up. His plan was to join a church and every service organisation that he could fit in to his busy schedule.

The kids all started in their new schools - Liz, Robbie and Michael in the High School, and Bruce and Sarah in the neighbouring Westpoint North Primary School.

Michael took to Westpoint High School like a duck to water. He was still only twelve and younger than any of his classmates, but he was a bright kid and advanced for his age, he'd skipped two classes in the primary years. What made him easily popular was that he was a keen sportsplayer. He'd give anything a go and he was generally pretty good at it too.

All Liz had to do to advance in the popularity stakes was to toss her hair and flash a smile. She was a good-looking girl and she knew how to use it. She was still a virgin, Robbie thought, but you'd never know it. Liz flirted with everything in trousers.

Robbie, on the other hand, was never going to be popular. He was no sportsman, he was too clumsy and inept and he wasn't interested anyway. Couldn't see the point really.He was just as bright as Michael, though no-one ever knew it. He was much too quiet and shy to shine like his brother did. Even in written exams, he never achieved what he knew he could, he preferred not to draw attention to himself. He didn't dare show who he really was, this was a conservative, red-neck, working class town. So Robbie kept quiet and stayed back in the shadows. Brian was the only person who had ever understood him and he was nowhere around here. He missed Brian.

By the end of the first week, Liz and Michael were busy and they both seemed to have made a lot of friends. Robbie had made none, not even one. He did, however, have a plan. His life was going to change and it was not going to be a repeat of how it used to be back home. Granny had always told him that he should find what he was good at and stick to that. So he was going to do just that.

Some things were completely out of his reach, but some things were not. Thursday was allowance day. Robbie collected his cash from Granny and headed straight to Bedggoods' Music and Appliance Store, where he purchased a couple of blank cassette tapes and some carefully selected new music.

Back home, he shut himself in the already prepared garden shed that he'd taken over for his own use. (No gardeners in this family.) He made a few last-minute alterations to his written script. Not that he planned it following it exactly, but it was useful for prompts. Then he inserted a cassette, lined up an album on the turntable, pressed 'record', and began.

He started the reel-to-reel tape in the other machine, to play his already recorded sound-bite, a short parody of the National Program's regular bird song feature. Twice a day the National Program played a clip of birds singing and the announcer identified which species it was. Now Robbie played his own version - a piece of quiet bird song lifted from a nature-sounds tape of his dad's. This was joined by a series of screeches from a parrot, getting faster and faster and louder and LOUDER, until it drowned out the other birds.

"Toucan," Robbie announced in his best imitation of a National announcer's voice. "A small and noisy parrot with an exceptionally large beak. Toucan."

This was followed by the sounds of a radio dial changing. A short piece of Concert Program type music was also interupted by the parrot's screeching.

"TOUCAN!" Robbie yelled at the top of his voice. "Toucan. Toucan! Toucan!! Away with the crud. From the wilds of the West, local music on your local radio. This is Toucan messing up the air-waves. Away we go."

The turntable spun out, at full volume, the wailing introduction to the Beatles' "Revolution."

"You say you want a revolution, well you know, we don't want to change the world.

You tell me that it's evolution, well you know, we are doing what we can.

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao,

You ain't gonna make it with anyone, anyhow."

And he stopped the music.

"Boss song, but that's not what we want. What do we want? Well, this -"

He played the Beatles again - "Just let me hear some more of that Rock and Roll music. . ."

The song ended with the parrot again. "Toucan. Toucan! Toucan!! (Screech!), And anyone who thinks that rock and roll is old hat, well, chew on this -"

Chuck Berry's "Rock and Roll Will Never Die," played.

Over the next hour, song followed song, old songs and new. Mostly loud rockers, but a few slower, romantic ones as well. ("Time for some mushy stuff.") A couple of songs started but were cut off by the screeching, "Toucan. Toucan! Toucan!! Enough of that crud. Try this..."

He talked and yelled and laughed and joked. He had fun. Some songs were dedicated to people around the town, including sports teams. At the end of the hour, he wound up with the Woody Woodpecker Theme.

"Yabbity, yabbity, yabbity, that's all folks. This was Toucan on the airwaves. Hope you liked the music, but really, I don't care - I did. If you want to hear something, ring me and I'll play it, as long as it's not crud. Go well Westpoint. (Screech! Toucan. Toucan! Toucan!!)"

He faded out to the Beach Boys, "We've been having fun all summer long."

As soon as school was out of the way on Friday, Robbie went to the offices of the local newspaper, the Westpoint Daily News, on the main street, a couple of blocks along from his home. The studio of Westpoint Community Radio was in the same building.

"Hello Lad," the lady in reception smiled at him. "If you've come about the paper delivery job -"

"No thanks," he interrupted. "I don't want a paper route. I want to see the manager please. Is Mr.Warwick in?"

"Mr.Warwick? No. I'm sorry, Sweetheart, Colin's not here. He's gone up country. Aah, delivering papers actually. The lady who does the country run is off sick, so Colin's doing it today. Can I help you?"

"Oh. No, sorry. I really need to see Mr.Warwick. When will he be back?"

"Not for a couple of hours at least. Are you sure there's nothing I can help you with?"

"No. Thank you, but I've got to see the boss, Mrs. . . Umm?"

"Warwick," she smiled. "Mrs.Warwick, Colin's wife.If you've really got to see the boss, well you're looking at her."

"Oh. Great. Thanks Mrs.Warwick. I've got this tape here, a tape of how Westpoint Community Radio could be if you want to get the kids listening. No offence, but that -" (He nodded at the radio speaker playing behind her.) "That stuff is just crud. Westpoint Community Radio needs a bit of life in it, like the big city stations."

"I agree with you. That stuff is, er, 'crud', but big city radio is powered by big city radio personalities. They're pretty thin on the ground around here."

"Listen to the tape, please, Mrs. Warwick and have Mr.Warwick listen to it as well. Tell him if he's interested, he can contact me at the National Bank. My dad's the manager there."

"Oh. You must be Robert Keenan's boy then."

"Yes, that's me. Robbie Keenan. Thanks Mrs. Warwick. You will listen, won't you?"

"Of course I will. I'll put it on right now. Anything's got to be better than that, er, 'crud.'"

"Great. Thank you. Enjoy it. 'Bye then Mrs.Warwick."

"Goodbye, Robbie Keenan." Mrs. Warwick watched him leave "You're a nice boy. What have we here?'

Robbie went home a bit disappointed, but, still, she'd taken the tape. Hopefully, she'd listen to it and maybe even like it.

As he approached the bank, there was a kid, a teenage boy, sitting on the bench seat outside - his seat - and what a boy! This was the same blond who had caught his eye on their first day here, and he was freakin gorgeous. He'd seen him at school and admired him from a distance, but he knew when someone was out of his league.

Even if this boy was gay, (highly improbable), he would still never have a chance with someone like that. He was perfect. His hair was long and blond, his eyes big and blue and his face - well - perfect!

He was flawless and tanned too. He had a great suntan for a blond. They usually just burnt didn't they?

He wondered how far the tan went. Was it an all-over tan? 'No. Behave yourself, Robbie. You'll get a boner and embarrass yourself to death if you're not careful.'

The boy was still in his school clothes, of course. There were kids all up and down the street still in their school clothes, Robbie was still in his. But, what a boy! Didn't he fill them nicely! 'He should be a model, he'd be a sensation. A hot, teen-boy supermodel.'

Robbie had never spoken to him, he couldn't. He got all tongue-tied and nervous anytime he was around someone like that. It was a shame that he wasn't smiling, he had a great smile. But now, he looked - not sad exactly, but bored. Wow. If Robbie looked half as good as that, he'd wake up smiling every day and he wouldn't stop either.

The blond boy was normally always surrounded by friends and admirers, but not today. He was just sitting there alone, on the seat. On Robbie's seat. Well it was sort-of his seat, he often sat there and the bank owned it, didn't they? Yes, of course they did.

He looked up as Robbie neared and the smile switched on. "Hi Robbie", he said in his oh-so-cute voice.

"Umm...Yeah...Hi," red-faced, Robbie kept walking, rounded the corner and fled down the alley to the back of the bank.

'Idiot! He spoke to me. He said "Hi." "Ummm, yeah. hi." Great response. Keenan. You're so good with words you should be a radio star. Hey! He said, "Hi Robbie." He knows my name. How does he know my name? Bryce Hartigan knows my name! And I blew it. Nice one, Idiot. Now he's never going to talk to me again. Who'd want to talk to a simpleton?'

Up in his room, Robbie sat on the window seat and looked out. He could see the bench seat from here - or, rather he could see its reflection in the plate-glass windows of the shop across the street. There was no-one sitting on it anyway, it was empty. The boy had gone. Maybe he was scared that stupidness was contagious or something?

Whatever. They lived in two different worlds anyway.

For the next couple of hours, Robbie's world consisted of homework and study. The light was fading and he was still sitting there reading, when there was a knock and Liz's head appeared.

"Hey. Are you decent in here?:"

"Of course I'm decent, I always am."

"Well, good, because you've got visitors. He's in here."

"Visitors? Me? But who?"

"It's just us, Robbie." Mrs.Warwick appeared in the doorway. "Can we come in?"

"Mrs.Warwick. Hello. Yes, of course - come in." He dropped his book and leapt up from the bed as Mrs.Warwick and a man came into the room.

"We talked to your dad downstairs. He said that he doesn't know what's going on. He also said that he hardly ever does. This is my husband, by the way. Colin Warwick, meet Robert Keenan junior."

"That's Robbie Keenan, Mrs.Warwick. Just Robbie. Hello Mr.Warwick, nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too, Just Robbie." Colin Warwick took and shook his outstretched hand. "But what we really want is to meet this Toucan."

"To meet who? Who's Toucan," Liz queried.

"No-one you know. Thank you Liz. Go away now." Robbie pushed his sister out and shut the door on her. Turning back to the Warwicks, he asked, "Did you listen to the tape then?"

"Yes of course we did," Colin Warwick pulled Robbie's cassette out from his jacket pocket. "You were exactly right in what you told Linda here. Something like this is exactly what Westport Community Radio needs. We could blitz the opposition, if we can afford him. So, where is Toucan?"

"You can afford him, I'm sure you can, and Toucan is right here."

"Here? Where? I don't see anyone." Mr. Warwick looked around the room.

"Umm. I'm here. You can see me."

"Well, yes of course, but . . .but . . .do you mean? Are YOU Toucan? No, you couldn't be."

"Yes I could be - I am. I made the tape, Mr.Warwick."

"You did? You are Toucan? But you're just a kid. How old are you anyway, Robbie?"

"I'm no kid, I'm fourteen. Yes I am Toucan and I want to be a DJ on the radio. That's all I've ever wanted to do. I'll work for nothing. If you'll put me on the air, I'll happily do it for free."

"Oh.I'm sorry, Robbie. Really sorry. This tape is great, it is exactly what we need, but . . . I'm sure you'll have a great future in radio. Come back and see us in ten years time."

"What? No Toucan?" Linda Warwick frowned. "The boy's good, Colin. You said so yourself. Why can't we give him a chance? Put him on in the evenings, a couple of hours a day. The local kids would love it."

"I'm sure they would. But, we can't, Linda, we just can't."

"Why not then? Be specific. I'm a shareholder too you know."

"How could I ever forget?" he sighed. "But, well look at him - he's just a kid, a schoolboy. If we put him on air, he'd be the youngest DJ in the country. Fourteen? It's just not done."

"I don't see why not. What's wrong with being the youngest DJ? Who do you want for an audience? The folks in the Old People's Home? The old grannies would adore him anyway, and their granddaughters would love him."

"Do you really think so?"

"I know so. You heard the tape, Colin. You loved it too."

"I did. But, fourteen? Well, okay. Why not? We took a big chance starting our own radio station in a small town. Why not take a chance on the world's youngest DJ? We'll give you a trial, Robbie. Say, one month, and we'll see how it goes. At least you should know what the kids like, and they can tell you if they don't."

"Great!" Robbie beamed. "Thanks, Mr.Warwick and thank you, Mrs.Warwick. I won't let you down, it'll be great, you'll see. The kids can tell me what they want, but only when I'm on the air. I'd rather that no-one knows who I am really."

"Why is that then?"

"Because Colin," his wife answered. "It's obvious isn't it? All super-heroes have a secret identity. Right Robbie?"

"That's exactly right, Mrs.Warwick. I'm just Clark Kent but Toucan can be Superman. Have you seen American Graffiti ?"

"Of course we have. Great film, but what's that got to do with anything?"

"I want to be like the Wolfman. In the movie everybody loves him but no-one knows who he is. He's a quiet and ordinary guy, but when he's on the air, he's a star. That's what I want to be - secret and mysterious and a star. I thought about being Wolfboy or Teen Wolf or something. But that's just corny. There's only one Wolfman, but if one can do it - well two can. So - Toucan, get it?"

"Oh yes. I get it all right. Two can. Well done. So, go and get your father and we'll talk business. You said something about working for free?"

"He will not, Colin. He'll be paid award rates at least. Go and get your bank manager, Robbie."

His father, when they told him, was amazed and delighted at Robbie's enterprise. He readily agreed to Robbie working on the radio, for a month's trial. As long as it didn't interfere with his schoolwork.

It didn't. And that was the last Robbie ever heard about being on trial until he retired from his full-time radio job many, many years later.

The Warwicks also owned and operated the local newspaper, and Saturday night's edition of the Westpoint Daily News had a front page article about Westpoint Community Radio's new, mysterious, (and young!), announcer and his great new show - requests, dedications, newstalk, (local newstalk), and nothing but great music. No crud.

The other regular announcers talked about and promoted the coming attraction for several days. On Wednesday evening, at 7pm, Robbie sat in the studio. He flicked a switch and Toucan hit the airwaves.

He talked and laughed and screeched and played for two hours, and again on Thursday and Friday nights.

By Friday, conversations between the kids in the schoolyards and around the town were about nothing but Toucan He was great, he was a star. But who the hell was he anyway? Robbie listened quietly, grinned and said nothing. Neither did Liz. He'd bust her chops if she did

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