It’s been a while since I was here, I had other things to do. While I remembered I had a blog of course, I’d just neglected the writing. Actually I had decided taking photos was more rewarding.
Here’s the thing though, I started a book a few years ago. I’ve talked about the story a lot, but done nothing about finishing it. I’ve decided it’s time to get on and write the bloody book.
I know how the story goes, I know what the parts that make up the whole are. But I decided to not necessarily write them in order. So having written chapters one, two and three, which you can read here if you haven’t already, following the links to the next chapters.
Now I’m leaping ahead to chapter six. The reason for posting this chapter is to help motivate and remind me to write the rest…
(Apologies in advance for the language, if you are offended by that sort of thing)
Chapter 6: Being Forgotten.
Hemi enjoyed his footy. Luckily because his mum worked at the freezing works on the other side of town, he could get to practice during the week. Footy practice was an hour and a half after school. Hemi’s school had a handful of rugby fifteens and Hemi was a 2nd 5 in the 3rd fifteen. Not bad for his 2nd year at High School ay? He was day-dreaming as he made his way across the rugby field with that unique smell of linament from the changing rooms and freshly mown grass hanging in the early winter afternoon air.
He’d played rugby all through primary school, starting in bare feet as all the kiwi country kids did. The big day was when you turned 11, qualified for ‘juniors’ instead of midgets which meant you got to wear boots. Wearing boots was bloody awesome after freezing your feet off on those frosty Saturday mornings.
The 3rd fifteen was a pretty ordinary side, playing in a pretty ordinary league of ordinary schools. The High School wasn’t very big or well respected so all the talented players went to other schools outside the district. Boarding schools in the cities like the one Guy went to. He hadn’t spoken to Guy much since he went away to school. He never seemed to come home much now, that seemed stink to Hemi, what did Guy do at School seven days a week, how come he hardly ever came home? Hemi hadn’t found out about that stuff yet. Guy certainly didn’t talk about it.
The ordinary High Schools rugby competition played against other average Schools is a cycle of average that’s hard to break out of, or get noticed in. That didn’t really matter though, Hemi enjoyed the game and he wasn’t thinking that far ahead. Man, he was never going to be an All Black was he? He also wasn’t that close to the other guys in the team mostly because they were Pakeha and he was Maori and he’d had that fight with Craig Coleman in town last year. Things had never been the same after that. But he was a good 2nd 5 and the boys respected his skill.
He was a tough player, fit, strong and fast, but he could lose interest a bit if things went against them in the game. He only liked winning, losing was stink and if you’re already getting a hiding early in the game then you know it’s over so you just want it to finish ay?
Anyway, he was lost in his thoughts for a while, the boys ran back and forth, up and down the grounds passing the ball, the backs watched as the forwards packed down some scrums and as usual laughed as they felt they had the better job out there scoring all the tries. The forwards always felt they did all the work and those useless backs just stood around waiting to feed off the fruits of their labour. So it has always been in the footy fifteen. Of course it’s all good-natured stuff, but the backs and the forwards are like two different tribes in the same team. Each one thinking they do the most valuable job. Each one completely dependent on the other, a team. Hemi liked the team aspect, but he always felt one part removed from it.
The nights were still getting shorter as winter closed in. Now the boy’s breath was hanging above them, shapes like ghosts of former players in the crisp air. Steam was rising off the boys now sweaty rugby jerseys, the sounds of the practice echoed off the school buildings and trees. Shouts, grunts, whistles, mild or accidental swearing, it’s still a school team remember, and laughter, The lights above the park came on, it was only 5:30, but night was already turning up. A whistle rang out, practice was over and the boys jogged, sprinted, jostled their way to the changing rooms. The rhythmic sound of dozens of sprigs on concrete as they marched into the sheds almost like a steam train passing nearby.
Hemi didn’t shower, just pulled on his school uniform, said hooray to the boys and trudged off to wait for his mum to come and get him on her way home from work. All the School buses had long gone and it was 35k’s to home. A long way to walk ay? Luckily his mum had that job at the works now.
What Hemi didn’t know though, was that his mum had a stink day at work. Bloody clowns on the cutting floor had been buggering around with the hose again and given her a soaking. She bloody hated getting wet, you get wet in the works and it’s bloody freezing all day even though you had a spare overall to change into, you never shook off the cold. Those wankers were always pissing about on Thursdays, bloody payday, all they could think of was getting to the pub to spend all their hard earned wages on jug piss. Wankers, She stormed out the minute the knock off siren went for the end of her shift.
Hine Punched her time out, wished she could have punched those wankers in the face and marched off to her car. Hemi’s family had a pretty cool car, a Valiant Charger. Not really the sort of car suited a metal road and a family with 5 kids, but they never went anywhere as a family, plus Hemi’s dad liked it and it made him respected in the district because he had the coolest car for miles.
Hemi liked the lift home with mum rather than the school bus, his mum was an ok driver, but the car was cool. She smoked all the way home, which was stink, but the car was cool.
He would always hear her coming up the hill to school before he saw her, he could hear an engine now, it wasn’t her car though, and it was a V8. A big one.
The big Chevy Impala rumbled up beside him, pulled up and stopped. The big Chevy was full of the Bro’s. Gang members, 6 of them, 3 in the front seat and 3 in the back. Plenty of room for everyone. They all had tattoos all over their faces and arms which were all he could see, tattooed faces looking at him from behind dark sunglasses, even though it was almost dark, and arms resting on the car window sills. They all just looked at him for what seemed like a minute, it was only a few seconds.
Hemi didn’t know where to look, he bloody knew well enough not to stare back at them, so he glanced at them quickly then looked away, looked down, looked up. Trying to look like it was all cool, but he was shitting himself of course.
“What are you doing here bro? Did you miss your bus?”
Gales of high-pitched laughter rolled out of the car, along with a strong gust of the smell of marijuana and beer.
Hemi wasn’t sure how to answer, she he just looked at them, deciding what to say. They called him Bro, though, they didn’t sound threatening, they were laughing, laughing in a good way, not the mocking laugh just before a fight way.
“Bro, what the fuck are you doing here?”
“I’m waiting for my mum” He said, and it immediately made him sound like a pussy, he thought that was a dumb thing to say, but he was still shitting himself.
“Waiting for his mum you fulla’s”
More laughter from the car….
All four doors opened at once, and the car physically lifted a few inches as 6 giant Maori gang members got out. Heavy boots’, jeans or leather pants, denim and leather, head scarves, the works, these bros were serious shit, Hemi’s life was becoming a lot more complicated in ways he didn’t know, couldn’t guess at and would never have imagined, where was his mum, she was late. She was never late. Now he was in the shit, big time. Just not in the way he thought.
“We’ll wait with you bro, you can’t hang out here all by yourself. Come on fulla’s, let’s wait with our new mate”. More laughter, “Wait with our mate” They giggled among themselves, one of those infectious giggles you only hear from Maori. No matter how big, or tough, or angry, or warlike, or tattooed. They all giggle like kids at a good joke or story.
“What’s your name Bro?”
“What? Hemi like the engine? Did you know a Hemi was the first Maori V8”?
Hemi thought ‘geez, these fulla’s are dags ay?’ He didn’t know about the Maori V8 though.
“Well we better introduce ourselves ay bro? I’m Toots” Toots offered an elaborate handshake, Hemi let his hand get shaken and manipulated.
Toots pointed to the other bro’s. “That’s Billy, Whetu, Jake, PK and Bung ear.”
The other bro’s all gave that Maori greeting of a swift single movement of raising of the eyebrows while lifting the head a bit, there was silence for a while, nobody really seemed to know what to do next.
Bung ear? What sort of a name was bung ear, Hemi wondered, then he saw bung ears ear. He had a cauliflower ear; he had a bung ear of course. Simple when you think about it.
Bung ear went to the boot, opened it noisily, the car seemed to complain about the boot being opened. He hauled out a crate of Tui. “Let’s have a beer while we wait with our bro”. He opened 7 bottles using one bottles cap as a bottle opener. Handed the luke warm beers round and offered one to Hemi. “Have a beer with us bro”, it wasn’t an offer, more like an order. “Oh no man, I can’t have a beer, my mum will kill me”. “You better fucken harden up bro, have a beer with us, be a man, does your mum run your life? Where is your mum? Oh yeah, she’s not here is she? Reckon you’ve been left behind bro, she’s forgotten you”
Hemi’s mum was half way home, still angry, she had some reggae tunes on to de stress her a bit. She looked at the passenger seat and suddenly realised it was supposed to be filled with her son. “Fucken Shit!” She slammed on the brakes, swung the car round too fast and sped back towards town.
It was a quiet afternoon in the local cop shop, early evening in small town New Zealand was a quiet time for the cops, everyone was at home having their tea. It would get busy later after a few beers at the pub on payday. So Doug Dresser, a local Constable was making his way back to the station after talking to a farmer about a stolen motorbike, He had his speed radar on though, just in case. The cops have radar that can see out the front and rear of the car. Hemi’s mum was speeding.
She saw the cop car coming towards her and the blue and red lights started flashing straight away, she’d been done. ‘Fuck man, could this day get any worse?’
“What’s the hurry?” Doug asked, smirking at her, he wasn’t really interested; it was what he asked everyone he pulled over for speeding. Just his way of starting the conversation.
“I’ve got to pick up my boy from rugby practice”, “Did you forget him Hine?’ Doug knew Hemi’s mum worked at the freezing works, He knew she lived in the opposite direction from where she was coming and she still had her overalls on. The local cops know everything.
She didn’t want the cop to think she was a stink mother, “ahh, yeah nah, I just had to do some stuff and the time got away from me ay? He knows I’m going to be a bit late and you’re just making me later man”.
“Yeah, I can see that, I don’t want to hold you up Hine, I’ll just post you the ticket. You better get on but take it easy ay? He’s not going anywhere, don’t want to make Hemi motherless do we?”
He wandered back to his cop car like he had all the time in the world. Hine sped off, a bit slower, she was spewing now. Angry at the situation, angry at herself, angry at her ticket, angry at the smart arse cop.
Her angry wasn’t over though, even Hine in her wildest dreams couldn’t have imagined where her already shit day was going next….Maybe Hine should have had a better imagination.