By now, the Bros had a joint being passed round and were knocking back the ‘crate piss’. Hemi had caved in and accepted a beer off them. There was no way he could refuse; refuse the gang Bros piss? Might as well ask him for a smack in the face.
‘Have a toke, bro’, the joint was offered to Hemi.
‘Aw, I don’t smoke, ay’.
Hemi was telling the truth; he didn’t like smokes, they stunk up his home and everything.
‘What? Don’t be a dumb arse, bro! This isn’t a smoke, it’s just some cabbage, have a fucken drag on it’,
The joint was thrust at Hemi, so he took it and held it like they had been doing, pinched between the thumb and forefinger. How you hold a joint is different to how you hold a smoke for some reason nobody has ever explained. Hemi took a puff and immediately exploded into a coughing fit as the harsh hot smoke burned his mouth and throat. The Bros erupted into a fit of giggles and belly laughs. They knew it was coming, but it’s still funny as fuck when someone has their first drag. Toots snatched the joint off him,
‘Ah fuck bro, you’ll drop it, give it fucken here! Better not waste it on you, ay?’
They were still laughing, Hemi was still coughing. He took a swig of beer to try and dull the effects from the smoke. He was already getting a bit lightheaded from the combination of half a bottle of crate piss and a lung full of cheap dope; the air was thick with the smell of it. Hemi wasn’t scared of these guys anymore, though. They were funny and they were just hanging out, having a good time, talking shit and telling jokes. They were alright, he thought. Right then the sound of a big V8 approaching fast, Hemi recognised the sound of course. That’s his dad’s car; his mum must have finally remembered him. The Bros’ demeanour changed immediately though—this sounded like a threat to them. Another gang? Trouble! They braced up, held their crate piss a bit lower (in case they had to throw it at whoever was approaching), dropped and stubbed the joint out, took up staunch positions, looking ready for whatever was coming.
‘Fucken who’s car is that?’
‘I’ve seen that Charger before, ay’,
‘That’s my mum’.
Hemi said as Hine pulled up, angry as fuck, taking in the scene of her boy surrounded by half a dozen Bros.
‘That’s your mum, bro? Fucken choice wheels, ay fullas?’ one of the Bros said as Hine swung the big heavy door open and erupted from the car, storming across the road.
‘What the fuck, boy? Get the fuck away from my son, you fucken pricks! What the fuck are you doing hanging out with these pricks, boy? Get in the fucken car!’
The Bros at first were on the back foot, reeling under the initial onslaught of the angry little Maori woman with green eyes screaming at them as she approached. Just for a moment,then they got their staunch poses back on and started on Hine.
‘Shut up bitch, where the fuck were you, ay? Leaving your boy here? Fucken back off, ay, or we’ll fucken sort you out’,
Hine stopped in the middle of the street, despite her anger, realising she’s outnumbered by pissed up Bros.
‘Get in the fucken car, boy!’
Hemi slouched across the road, trying to appear as though he was even a little bit staunch. Giving his best impression of a ‘yeah, fucken whatever’ swagger. He slumped into the passenger seat. Hine was still in the middle of the road, glaring at the gang who were now slouching against their car, smirking back at her, waiting for her next move.
‘Stay away from my fucken boy.’ She turned on her heel and walked back to the car, slammed the door and gunned the engine.
The Bros all gave Hemi a gang salute,
‘Chur, bro! Catch you next time, ay?’
‘Next time my fucken arse!’ Hemi’s mum shouted at them as she squealed away, burning rubber. The Bros fell into a burst of giggles again.
‘Bitch needs to chill the fuck out, ay? Chur, bro’.
They clinked their bottles against each other and went back to their jokes and crate piss.
‘What the fuck, boy? You’ve been drinking their piss? What the fuck? What have I told you about the fucken gangs, ay? Fuck’s sake!’
‘I wasn’t doing anything, I was just waiting for you, you fucken forgot me!’ Hemi saw the slap coming but was surprised by the sting. Hine hit him in the face, backhanded. It was the first time he’d sworn in front of her, much less sworn at her.
‘Fucken get smart with me, boy, I’ll box your fucken ears!’
Hemi sniffed and looked out the window into the darkening sky.
‘I didn’t do anything; I was just sitting there’.
‘FUCK!’ Hine hit the steering wheel with the palm of her hand. It had been a really bad day for her.
It had been worse for Hemi. His life had changed fundamentally. He just didn’t know it yet.
Later that evening, Hemi was in his bed; he could hear his mum and dad talking. He couldn’t hear what they were saying, though, only the voices. He heard his dad laugh. Thank fuck for that, Hemi thought; he had been expecting a hiding. His dad must have thought it was funny. It was hard to know what his dad would think half the time. Hemi went to sleep wondering how to talk about the carving with his dad. His mum still hadn’t brought it up with him, almost a year after he told her.