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The Mates

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The football game on the box finished. Dave wondered if he could be bothered getting up to go in search of more beer. Ah, problem solved, Kev was levering himself unsteadily off the couch.

‘Get us another beer, mate.”

“Queer fuck! Can you believe that prick getting up in front of the whole school and...and...”

“Christ! You’re not still on about that?” Dave was bored with the whole subject. Who really cared anyway?

”He needs to be taught a lesson.” Kevin was nothing if not singleminded.

“You gonna teach John one, an' all?”

“Johnny's not queer!”

Dave looked at Kevin in disbelief. “Keep telling yourself that, mate.”

“He's not, I tell you.”

“Oh for fuck's sake, Kev. How blind can you be? He and Carter were practically shagging when we burst in on them in the locker room.”

Kevin sat abruptly down on the couch again. He looked dismayed. “No,” he denied, but it came out sounding uncertain.

“Look how weird he's been acting lately. We hardly see him anymore. He lied to his folks about staying at your place the weekend of the dance. He ever tell you where he was?”

“He was with Christina.”

“He tell you that?”

“Well, no. Not exactly.”

“He dumped Christina.”

Kevin’s face screwed up in thought. “I went round to his place last week and he and Carter were mucking about in the pool.” His eyes widened. “That lying bastard. That lying...queer... fuck...”

“Oh, get over yourself mate.” Dave was starting to get exasperated.

“What did you say?” Kev said dangerously. Kevin always did lash out when he was upset. Dave couldn’t be bothered with it.

“Johnny's our mate.” He could really do with that beer. He was starting to feel way too sober for this conversation.

“He lied to us. To me.”

“Gee I wonder why. You can be a real prick, Kev, you know that?” He staggered to his feet. “Want another beer?”

“Yeah all right.” Kevin looked like he was actually thinking for once.

Dave went for a piss while he was up, grabbing a six pack from the kitchen fridge on his way back.

“I can't believe it! Dixon's a faggot.”

Dave sighed. Kevin apparently hadn’t got far with the thinking. “So, what you gonna do, Kev? Beat up on Johnny too?”

“Huh?”

“Your best mate since you were what, ten?”

“Eight.” Kevin grabbed the beer Dave held out and took a long swig. Then another.

Dave settled back on the floor and grabbed the remote. Maybe they’d finished talking about this. He’d find something else for them to watch.

“He should’ve told me.” No such luck. At least Kevin didn’t sound pissed off anymore. A bit hurt maybe.

“Yeah, maybe.” Dave smiled to himself as he flicked through the channels. “Maybe he thought you wouldn't take it well.”

“Stop taking the piss.” Kevin spoke mildly.

“So what you gonna do?”

“I dunno. I've gotta think.”

“Don't strain anything.” Dave ducked as Kev reached out to cuff him about the head. He grinned at his mate. Kevin was all right. He’d come around eventually. Then things’d get back to normal. About bloody time.