The fact that I didn't attend school made weekdays painfully boring. Kris and Billy were in the same boat, so we would usually drag ourselves out of bed at around mid-day and meet at the Picnic Basket for lunch and a few beers.
Today was different though. I woke with a start, to horribly bright sunshine flooding my dark room. I felt like a vampire. But then I remembered that vampires usually don't have bitch-mothers who wake them up at eight o'clock in the morning.
"Up." My mother shouted, tearing the warm, safe duvet from above my body. The cold air sent a burst of realisation up my spine, and I quickly spun onto my front.
"Mum!" I shouted, "I'm f--king naked!" She smirked at the disturbance she'd caused to my morning.
"There's nothing down there that I haven't seen before, Greg." She cackled, picking up a weekends worth of dirty clothes. I felt like crying. The combination of being woken so early in the morning and being arse-naked infront of my mother, made rational thinking impossible. So I did what any other pissed-off teenager would do and launched into a rant of abusive language.
My mum waited until I was done, before dropping one hell of a bomb on me.
"Get showered and dressed," She said, "Your going to school." I felt like exploding. I spat out a few more swear words, before declaring that there was no way in hell I would be going back to school. I gasped in pain and shock when she shot a hand out and wrapped it around a chunk of my hair, before wrenching my head backwards.
"You are going to school," My mum hissed. She released my hair and if it wasn't for the fact that I thought hitting women was low, I would have let fly. Instead, I grabbed my duvet and dived under it in peaceful protest. I heard my mum sigh and felt her perch on the edge of my bed.
"I'm sorry if I hurt you, but Greg, please," She begged, "You have to try again. For me?" The emotional tug worked far better than trying to pull my hair out. I groaned as I poked my head out from under my batman covers.
"Fine," I conceded, "I'll go to bloody school." My mum smiled and pulled me into a hug.
"Thank you." She said. Once she let go of me, she bounced merrily out of my room.
I sighed and rolled out of bed. I scratched my nuts and headed for the bathroom. After a shit, a shower, a shave and a wank, I towelled off and headed back into my bedroom. I pulled on a pair of D.C jeans and a Scotland football jersey.
I was sat at the breakfast table, munching on a slice of toast when my three-year-old brother, David trudged down the stairs wearing a full-body spiderman pyjama-suit.
"Hey, sleeping beauty." I smiled, offering my hand for a high-five. He couldn't speak properly yet, so he gurgled his made up word for hello and slapped my hand. He watched me eating, twirling his hair inbetween his fingers. This habit had started as soon as he had grown any hair, and his crown stuck up in a funny cone shape. I finished off my toast while having a limited conversation with David, grabbed a fiver off the work-top and shouted a goodbye, before heading out my frontdoor. **********
It had been two years since I'd gone to school. Now I was sitting there, opposite my old head teacher, feeling like I wanted to stick a gun down my throat and blow my guts out my arse. For the past half-an-hour we had been discussing my future. Dr Mckinley was rattling off question after question and it was starting to annoy me. Most of the questions were about my future. What were my plans? If I stuck at it, what would I like to study at university? What career path was I going to choose? The thing is, I didn't know the answer to any of these dumb questions. It had been my mother who'd been desperate to kick me back into the education system, I had no real interest in earning supposedly valuable qualifications. But I wanted to keep my mum happy.
"Greg," Dr Mckinley said, leaning forward, "Your case is complicated, because you've missed two of the most important years in education." He evidently thought I would care about this statement, and waited for a reply. When he didn't receive one he sat back in his seat and regarded me through round glasses.
"If you were to come back to school, I would need you to promise me that you would commit to putting the effort in."
"Okay, I promise." I said, shrugging. This made Dr Mckinley smile slightly and he shuffled a few piles of paper around his desk.
After this meeting, the plan for the next year and five months seemed fairly straight forward. Work like hell We'd come to an agreement that I'd be put into classes with students two years younger than me. Intead of the usual eight standard grades, I'd be studying for five. Music, Physical Education, Maths, English and Biology.
After a morning of English, Maths and double P.E, I met with Christian for lunch. We sat at a table in the canteen with a few other people, munching on burgers and talking about the school.
"It's just how I remember." I said, swallowing a lump of processed meat.
"Yeah? How's that then?" Christian asked.
"Shit-hole." Was my fairly blunt responce. Christian was about to reply, but someone rested their hand on my shoulder and squeezed hard.
"Who the f--k are you?" Said a threatening voice. I pushed the hand off my shoulder and turned to see who was trying to push me around. He was a chunky lad, with a fiery, spot-infested face and ginger hair. He was also quite a bit bigger than me. I stood up and gave him a shove.
"Who the f--k are you?," I snarled back at him, as the canteen went quite and everyone left their food to stare at us. The boy was about to retaliate but Dr Mckinley appeared from no where and forced himself inbetween us. He turned to face the boy, but we kept our eyes on each other.
"Johnstone, keep your hands to yourself!" The headteacher shouted, "Get out of here." Johnstone hovered for a few more seconds, trying to stare me down before turning and stomping out of the canteen. I watched him leave, before sitting back down.
"And you'd do well to keep out of trouble on your first day." Dr Mckinley steamed. I didn't bother gracing him with an answer, so he scowled at the back of my head and left to bother someone else.
Christian explained to me that Johnstone was a bitter loner who bassicaly liked starting fights with anyone he didn't like the look of. I couldn't of cared less that I was on some fat prick's hit list.
After lunch I got to see the school's pride and joy in the form of their music department. It was the only subject in the school which churned out exam results higher than the national average. This was the first time I'd met a teacher who didn't treat me like an idiot. Miss Scott was the youngest member of staff and she had joined the school after I had left for the first time. It was times like these when I conveniently forgot that Leila was my girlfreind again. Miss Scott and I sat for two periods chatting about everything, while all the younger kids split up and practised their instruments. She gave me a quick tutorial of the school's recording equipment at the end of the day and offered to help me Christian and Billy record a demo tape. The school had splashed out on a pro-tools set-up which ended up being a cross between a home set-up and a profesional studio set-up. Very D.I.Y.
I sneakily eyed her legs and bum when she bent over to push a plug into a socket. I looked away when I realised things were getting hard, deciding that it wasn't a great time to have an erection.
We arranged to meet after school to record part of a song. Billy wasn't available to come in, so Christian and I sat listening to Miss Scott.
"Right guys," She said sitting down beside us, "Whats the plan?" Me and Christian looked at each other.
"60's Way Of Thinking?" I asked. Christian nodded and Miss Scott explained that we'd need to record the drums first.
"I'm not an expert with all this stuff," She told us, handing me a pair of sticks, "But I can do basic, rough recordings, and I can show you how to mix it all afterwards." I sat behind the school's Premier Drum-Kit and hit each drum one at a time. Miss Scott went into a large storage cupboard and brought out a box of microphones.
"Condenser microphones," She announced, "We've only had these a few months but it's a minor miracle that they haven't been broken yet." I didn't know what a condenser microphone was, but as Miss Scott started arranging them at different points around the kit I noticed that they looked very delicate. I tried not to imagine the cost if I mis-hit one of the drums and smashed one of the microphones. Once she was done, Miss Scott straightened up and went round to the monitor where Christian was sitting. She clicked a few buttons on-screen, then smiled.
"When your ready." She said, clicking once more and giving me a thumbs-up sign.
I tapped the sticks together four times and started playing the song. I hadn't thought for a second that I'd find it hard to play the song without hearing guitar and vocals playing along to my beat, but I made about twenty mistakes before we finally got a decent recording. By the end of it all I was sweating like a woman in labour, because the radiator beside the drumkit was burning hot.
Miss Scott smiled as Christian plugged a school bass into a big beast that said Washburn on it. I sat down next to her and looked at all the different things on the screen. She explained to me that each wave represented a different drum.
"You went out of time once or twice," She told me, "But it sounds alright, so we'll just keep it." She handed Christian a set of head-phones and asked him to tell her if the volume was alright. After a few adjustments, Christian was ready to record the bass part to my creation. He bounced through the song in only one take and grinned smuggly at me, as he set down the bass and came round to the monitor.
"That is how you record music, bitch." He said, making a big deal of my mistakes infront of Miss Scott.
"Yeah but you had a backing track to play along to." I pointed out, "I've never played the song without you and Billy playing it with me."
Miss Scott let us bicker for a few minutes before interupting us.
"Right guys," She said, tapping the space-bar, "Here's what you've got." We listened to the song smiling. It was only bass and drums but it still felt like an achievment. I couldn't help wondering why Miss Scott had never offered to help Christian with the equipment. After helping the hot music teacher tidy away all the microphones and wires, we said our thanks and goodbye.
"Not bad for an hours work," I said happily, "And we'll be able to get the guitar and vocals done next week with Billy." I had to admit that school had been far better than I expected. Shame I only had music four times a week.
We were walking through a desserted park when we heard a shout. We turned and watched a group of nine or ten boys, dressed in Nike and Adidas tracksuits stop at the gates to the park. At the front of the group was Johnstone.
"Hey Christian," I said, turning to my friend, "What the f--k happened to that guy being a loner?"