There was the car park and the fields near the school, and then there was the tower.
At 7:30pm after the fields, Kev says goodbye to Corey at the entrance to the alley and walks down it into the park. It’s still light but a hundred yard in three Banditos ask him what phone he’s got, ask him for a fight. He walks quicker and dumps his school bag knowing it’s only math books and a packet of cigarettes, then sprints toward the other side.
He can hear them running now and shouting Long-Haired Prick, they’re shouting Come Back I’ll fucking stab you. Kev jumps a fence into the garden next to his then scrambles over to knock, panting and shaking, on his back door.
When his mum opens he jumps out from behind the shed where he’s hiding and pushes past her to get inside.
Before the tower there was the car park. There was weed, cheap white cider, everyone finishing each other’s funny made-up stories about nothing, skating on the concrete blocks, giving out sweets and free hugs, making friends with the homeless men when they woke up, security being sometimes safe sometimes dickheads.
In the fields near the school there were no teachers at night. There was a small fire in a bin, wrestling in the long grass, making out.
His mum’s saying Are You okay, she’s saying What happened, she’s saying Again? and welling up. She’s in the kitchen making two cups of tea and stroking his hair as he explains that it’s not a big deal. She says It’s happened three times and Kev says Don’t touch my hair then runs upstairs.
On Myspace Kev’s friend Davey whose parents are in the Socialist Workers Party tells Kev that Metalheads and Goths and whatever are kind of a Middle Class group, so it’s a class thing getting chased by Working Class Youths. Kev gets furious, punches his wall until the skin breaks then rants for two paragraphs with his knuckles bleeding. He says Me and my mum are fucking poor, he says We don’t chase people through parks. Kev leans back, dizzy, and sees Davey, post-revolution, lining Cradle of Filth fans against a wall.
On MSN Aaron sends out a link to Kev and their friends for a petition on the Downing Street website to widen the current Hate Crime definition, but Kev cringes where the authors write Alternative, they write Goths and Emos and Subculture, and all Kev can see is some dreary looking kid from a high school movie, some joke and some parody song. All he can see is some phase, but he’s seen his mate’s parents, seen a lot of different people in a lot of different places for his age, and he knows it’s not.
Three times is too many, so he comes back before 6pm and goes online.
Now there’s the tower, lined with Kerrang posters and smelling like cheap incense. Through the net curtains he can see the streetlights over the other side of the park. He can hear a dirt bike, and he can hear a police helicopter flying overhead.
In the tower there’s a computer screen and a Myspace profile with a constantly updated HTML code, an iTunes library filled with LimeWire downloads, a separate table next to his computer desk with a half-painted Warhammer 40,000 Eldar Army on it, a Dream Theatre poster over his bed, and near his feet is a signed Devil Driver LP and three Deftones CDs with the cases wrecked by a Turpentine spillage.
When Sophie Lancaster was murdered, Kev had gone to the car park and got drunk with his friends and they’d held him as he cried. The witnesses for the case said They were jumping up and down on her head, they said This Mosher has just been banged because she’s a Mosher. They’re saying to Kev This’ll be you.
Kev didn’t know Sophie Lancaster but it had been a few days after the first time Kev had been chased, down the hill near school, when they’d caught him and kicked the shit out of him and he’d come home with a bloody head and a broken rib.
His mum’s saying My baby, my baby, all this blood, she’s saying I’ll call an ambulance and Kev’s saying Shut up, he’s saying Stop over-reacting.
In the bathroom mirror his blonde hair is greasy and needs a wash. It trails over his big shoulders and he wonders why he doesn’t just shave it and give in.
On Myspace Davey says It’s not the same thing as Race, because you can change it. Kev is saying Why should I, he’s saying A Trannie could wear men’s clothes if you forced them to, saying I’m not just pretending to like Metal, you want to cut my fucking ears off?
On MSN Corey invites him out to see Converge but Kev knows he’ll have to walk back from the bus stop at 11pm. When he peels back the net curtains the sun is setting and there are four kids sitting on the grassy hill leading down to the dip in the middle of the park, where there’s a dirty stream and a small playground with a mother in an Adidas tracksuit with her pram.
Kev’s trying not to cry and typing to Davey on Myspace Kill Your Parents, lol, he’s typing Your Socialism looks a fucking lot. Different. To. Mine. He thinks again about the Hate Crime thing and between his fingertips he lifts the blonde locks off his shoulders and flicks them out of his face.
In the corner of his bedroom there’s a plastic tub with the hair trimmer in that he uses for his beard. Above his computer monitor there’s a sticker that says Machine Fucking Head, and on his hand in biro one of his friends has drawn a heart broken in two as part of some kind of joke they had going at lunch.