Angel 4 (at the dump)
Wind whipped rain into Angel’s forehead and high cheek bones and made her look like a sixteen-year-old waif. More like herself than the make-up she’d applied to make her more the age she was meant to be on a false birth certificate to get into the dancing. She kept to the glow of the street lights, away from the strands of wire, bushes and untended ground and favoured the edge of the wide pavement near the grass of the dual carriageway as she walked towards the roundabout at Parkhall. Cars splashed run-off water going in the other direction, towards the intersection at Drumy, headlights on full beam, picking out her sodden hair and coat, her handbag slung over her shoulder.
Up ahead a rag-tag group of boys seemed to be hanging about, waiting for trouble. Angel doubled back, measuring the distance across dual carriage way, but not wanting to step onto the sodden turf of the Central Reservation and clog her heels. She waited until a gap in the traffic appeared and, with heels clicking, ran across to the tarmac intersection and over onto the opposite pavement with the backdrop of St Columba’s school and the shadows of the gravel football parks fenced with spikes. None of the boys on the other side seemed to pay her any attention, but she kept a wary eye on them as she walked in their direction, but across the road.
Ahead, next to the unfenced ground, used a dump, she spotted a flash of red hair and it didn’t need twenty-twenty vision to work out the girl with him was Kimmie. Her long woollen jacket clung to her strapless dress like a sodden grey mop. And her hair was like a child’s flat cap. He didn’t even have a jacket. Nor did he seem to need one, he was wearing Kimmie like a bathing costume and her short muscular legs were wrapped around his waist as they smooched, grinded against each other and simulated underwater sex.
As she got closer she spotted another guy in a dark coat with the collar up standing a little away from them, beside a section of broken brick. It was the guy with the moustache. He was trying to light a cigarette, and the way tobacco was packed and wrapped with Rizla papers she realised it was a massive joint.
‘You got a light?’ he cupped his hands and flicked at the cog-wheel on his yellowish, disposable lighter, but although it sparked, didn’t ignite. He flung the dud lighter behind him and into the bushes.
Angel pulled her bag from her shoulder and picked through her bag, pulling out a box of Bluebell matches. She flung them towards them and he caught them. ‘Just keep them.’
‘Cheers.’ He struck a few matches before he lit the joint and breathed in and out.
The harsh stink of the weed was a bridge between them. He eyed her through the smoke before holding the joint out at arm’s length. ‘You want a wee smoke of the doobie?’
‘Nah,’ she shook her head. ‘I don’t dae drugs.’
‘Whit dae you dae?’
He took another toke and held it in longer and his eyes seemed to soften when he breathed out. He nodded in the direction of his mate and Kimmie. ‘Fucking murder!’
‘Aye,’ Angel smiled. ‘Young love.’
‘Don’t suppose you want to go to a party?’
‘Whereabouts?’ The words were out of her mouth before she could take them back. She ducked her head down and shook rainwater out of her hair.
‘Back at mine.’
‘Nah,’ she made a face. ‘Don’t think so. I’ve got work in the morning.’
‘See yeh.’ She waved her hand and turned on her heels, but Kimmie broke away from the ginger-haired boy as she passed.
‘You want to go to a party?’ Kimmie asked.
Her one-hour boyfriend slouched away to join his pal, who passed him the joint and they stood sniggering.
‘Nah, don’t be stupid. He’s already asked me. I’ve got work in the morning. Remember! And so have you. Look at the state of you.’
‘Look at you and listen to yerself. You sound about ninety. It’s no just my clothes that are wet.’ Kimmie grinned at her. ‘But we cannae get doon to the business with that cunt hangin about like a bad smell. You’d be daeing me a massive favour if you just tagged along for a wee while. Too keep him company. And out of our hair.’
Angel looked in the direction of the guy with the moustache. He’d the joint in the crib of his fingers and was standing gawking at her. ‘Nah, I don’t even like him.’
‘Oh, please, please, pretty please.’ Kimmie grabbed Angel’s shoulder and pulled her in tight. ‘You don’t even need to like him. I’m no that sure about that wan either.’
‘Jesus, you could have fooled me. And you’re hurting my arm.’ Angel brushed her away. She held a finger up in warning. ‘Alright then, but just one drink and then I’m getting a taxi doon the road.’
Kimmie shrieked and grabbed her tight, hugging her and laying her head on her shoulder. ‘You’re the best mate, ever.’
They took a shortcut across the dump and out to the main gates of St Columbus schools and down past St Euan’s church. Angel allowed the guy with the moustache to take her arm and guide her through the darkness and the bushes. He knew where he was going. Kimmie and the ginger-haired boy were no longer smooching. They hurried behind them through the wind and rain, not even speaking.
Angel hesitated before they crossed the road at Kirkoswald. ‘I don’t live that far from her.’ She looked up towards Clydebank College, which was in darkness. ‘Just up over the hill and doon again. I think I’ll call it a night.’
The guy with the moustache gripped her arm tighter. And Kimmie who had closed the gap behind them shrieked. ‘You promised.’
She pulled her arm away from him and gave him a hard stare.
‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘It’s no far.’
‘C’mon’ said Kimmie. ‘Don’t be a spoilsport, all yer life.’
‘OK then,’ she said. ‘But just one drink.’
She fell into step beside the guy with the moustache. Kimmie beetled up beside her and put her arm through Angel’s and her ginger-haired boyfriend stuck his arm through Kimmie’s.