The Satellites & The Major Planets.

Ffooks mums got one fucking bosom!

This assertive oddity, surly odd ditty, this ode to an odd titty, with its grammatical shortcomings, is rendered in white chalk on the door of the third cubicle in the boys’ lavatory. It appeared among the bristling graffiti galaxy the first week of January and will serve as good a place as any to begin or end this story.

The rumour milled around the school. I noticed, whilst shitting one morning, that it had made a pencilled appearance on the neighbouring cubicle door: this time appended with a doodled nipple. There was, shortly, tittering behind the bike shed. The air turned from blue whisper to black giggle. By April – month of cruelty, month of foolery – the tittle-tattle had swollen to such an extent to have become the recognised mantra of the 4thForm Wargamers Club (also, one of the shanties of the showering 2ndEleven). Come summer time – when the weather is fine – the playground was choral with a rotten, slow handclap and stabbed finger chant.

“Ffooks’ mum has only got one tit. That’s why all her bras don’t fit.”

Even old Acres, the principal, out on the tarmac, piss stains at his crotch, tin whistle in his gob, combover flying like an anarchist flag, bore a pained and painted grin. But that may just have been wind. Poor Ffooks. He orbited the farthest reaches of the universe. He took to eating alone in the science room, fingering the contents of his lunchbox. He watched the world, the major planets, the moon and the stars through hot glass. I imagine Michael Collins is feeling something similar right now.

“It used to be a song,” says Knott of the tune. “About Hitler.”

I look at Knott. He says he reckons it all a little unfair. How so? I wonder. We are stood in the glare of the playground. The chainlink rattles and the air, with voices like flies, buzzes. Kendo is cuffing a cigarette (his arm must stink). Kipper is keeping dog. His back is against the fence and his eyes slide back and forth across the playground. He listens with his eyes. There are others – Tommy K, Nelson Keen, the sickly boy with stick legs, others – they are with us, but they are satellites.

“Well, Hitler was actually a bit of a nasty bastard.” There are, I notice, several nodding heads, several twisting faces. Knott fills in the gaps for the latter. “What with the death camps, the gassing and the vee ones and twos.” He demonstrates with his fingers in our faces. Cheeky. “Hitler also invented the goosestep.” Now, I’m not sure what this means, so I just half nod. “But Ffooks’ mum,” he concludes. “Ffooks’ mum’s just got one fucking bosom!”

“Adolf Titler,” one of the satellites mumbles. But, sadly, it is one of those jokes, strokes of genius, that comes around only once and is gone forever, lost in space. Almost immediately I wonder if I even heard it.

Everyone gives Knott their highest eyebrows, their ugliest mouths. Spastic sounds abound. Simian moves follow – bowed legs and dragged knuckles – and then, ‘sieg heil, sieg heil,’ with much gusto. The word bosom still brings amusement. Kipper, first to lose the smile, calms the crowd by patting the air down and, once there is peace, or near so, he says that this very last statement makes Knott number-one-son-thumb-up-his-bum-dumb-fuck-bastard. For comedic emphasis he pulls his eyes wide when he says this and thus wins, by some majority, award for best Jap’s eye joke. Ever.

“Hitler only had one ball,” Kendo says. “And the other is in the Albert Hall.” Official.

Kipper fakes a flick to Knott’s ear. Knott flinches. “Slippery,” hisses Kipper. Someone, perhaps Kendo, yeah, Kendo, catches Knott by the shirt and a good enough rabbit punch is delivered to the balls, or thereabouts. Playful, painful though, I bet. Knott goes down with a yelp and the satellites and the major planets rush forward and collapse in on top of him.

Knuckles and knees and elbows. Hot pissy spurts, spitty laughter. Tiny ripping sounds. Hissing. Boxy words and grunts.




13 thoughts on “The Satellites & The Major Planets.

  1. Excellent Nick! A perfect opening to a scene that seems like it could have been pulled from my own childhood. How innocent we are when cruelty forms! “Titler.”

    I agree with Liz Gauffreau: Masterful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What I enjoyed most is the style of the prose- it’s as quirky, brutish, and yet rhythmically offbeat as the very characters it is portraying. You descriptions are incredibly concise, but rich and flavorful. You have a great talent in the econonomy of your words, and it was refreshing not knowing which direction the next pause or sentence was leading to.

    Liked by 1 person

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