So here we are, the sixtieth and final excerpt of ‘Jam Tops, The Fonz and Pursuit of Cool.’
In fact, this is the last day of my year-long blogging journey. At this point, I had hoped to begin posting excerpts from my very latest novel, provisionally titled ‘Flesh and Blood’, but due to major changes in my working schedule, it has simply not been possible.
However, there are still plenty of things to read within the archives of this blog, including all sixty excerpts from my last six novels. Along with those, are some of my Christmas stories for children, which are great for kids during the run-up to the big day. Some are also fully illustrated whilst others have not yet been published. Either way, I hope you’ll find something to enjoy.
As for those of you who have taken the time to read this blog over the past year, thank you very much and, as always, if you would like to continue with this latest entry, then you can download the full novel here. It is also available to download in various formats from most other online bookstores.
In the meantime, keep a lookout for my new novel, which I hope to be publishing excerpts from in the not too distant future.
Thanks once again for your continued support and, until the next time I revisit this blog, here is the last instalment of ‘Jam Tops, The Fonz and Pursuit of Cool.’ Enjoy!
Excerpt 60 of 60…
Lying in bed on Sunday morning, Gordy was relishing the memory of the hug Pippa had given him and was still able to recall the waft of her perfume as she wrapped her arms around him.
She even kissed him. And it was fantastic.
He replayed their conversation over and over in his mind and concluded that he had handled it well enough and she may even have thought him slightly cool.
His instincts told him that Pippa’s friend was telling the truth when she blurted ‘She fancies you!’ as Pippa was definitely flirting with him – and why do that if she didn’t fancy him?
But then, girls were strange. Gordy just didn’t understand them. For example, what was all that with Daisy last night?
Why the hell had she gone and kissed Frazer? Gordy didn’t know she even liked Frazer before then, not in that way at least.
More to the point, why did he, Gordy, feel so bloody betrayed by it? He was getting angry just thinking about it.
It just didn’t make sense.
Today should be a triumph for him for last night he had been cool, he had been witty and he had, at last, received a positive reaction from Pippa who had finally given the cooler than cool Steve bloody Cool the boot. Surely he should be pleased by the final outcome of the night’s events so why had Daisy kissing Frazer soured it so much for him?
Why had that one seemingly unimportant factor spoiled things so?
Gordy decided that things might look better after a bowl of Sugar Puffs and a Sunday lunchtime episode of The Persuaders, which he would normally go around Trevor’s to watch but this morning he just couldn’t be bothered. Nevertheless, the exploits of ‘Lord Brett Sinclair’ and ‘Danny Wilde’ never failed to make him feel better.
“Hello, sweetie,” Barb Brewer said as her youngest son walked into the kitchen, her hands covered with a bright yellow pair of Marigolds and a frilly apron tied around her waist, “Did you have a nice time at your little disco?”
Gordy had snuck in under the radar last night whilst his mum and dad watched Parkinson, thus successfully avoiding both them and, Izzie, his noise-activated tittle-tattle of a sister as he hurriedly rushed upstairs to his bedroom so that his shredded Levis would not be seen.
He thought of them now, cast aside on his bedroom floor, amongst the ragged remnants of the roller-disco which included Kev’s screwed up T-Rex T-shirt and Daisy’s crumpled snorkel parka.
No longer were the Levis the glorious, golden-stitched garment of yesterday but more the destroyed, discarded denim of disco disaster, never to be worn again.
But the loss of the jeans was worth it as Gordy thought of Pippa again and smiled. “Yes, thanks,” he said to his mum, “it was great.”
“Oh, good.” Replied Barb, “Did you run into Kevin by any chance? I think he said he was going down to the Drill Hall, too.”
The image of Kev’s angry face popped into Gordy’s mind as he vividly remembered being pinned against the wall by his big brother; his roller-skated feet dangling freely in mid-air, the small urethane wheels spinning unhindered. It was not an image to be cherished.
“No. Didn’t see him,” Gordy said innocently. It was an unwritten rule between the Brewer brothers that they didn’t squeal on each other. It was a kind of ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ deal except, where last night was concerned, the words ‘in Vegas’ could be replaced by ‘at the Drill Hall,’ which would, admittedly, make it a much less glamorous phrase.
At that moment Kev wandered into the kitchen from the lounge and immediately saw Gordy.
Their eyes locked on each other, both recalling their encounter at the roller-disco which ended triumphantly for Gordy but not so well for Kev; his memory of the angry punk Frazer who sprang to his brother’s aid, not one he wished to dwell on.
However, Kev was not one to hold a grudge; whilst almost permanently surly and morose he tended to act very much ‘in the moment’ and once his anger was spent then it was all but forgotten about.
“Hope you’re gonna put my bloody shirt back,” Kev grumped.
“Yeah, course,” replied Gordy, trying to match his brother’s sullenness.
“Good. You’d better. Anyway, who was that spiky haired twat you were with last night?” Kev sneered, clearly referring to Frazer.
“Kevin!” Cried Barb, “Don’t say ‘twat’ – it’s rude.”
Both Kev and Gordy looked at their mum a little shocked.
“Well it is rude, isn’t it? Twat’s a swear word, I’m sure it is.” Said Barb innocently.
Kev and Gordy sniggered, which instantly diffused the tension between them.
“Well it is isn’t it?” Continued Barb. “Is a ‘twat’ bad? What is a ‘twat’ anyway?
“You don’t wanna know, Mum,” said Kev with a wide grin.
“Oh, okay. Well anyway, don’t say it. It’s not nice.”
“Sorry, Mum,” said Kev, sounding anything but. “I’m going out anyway. Be back for tea. See ya.”
“What about your lunch?”
“Don’t want any, thanks – I’ll get something at Pete’s.”
“Okay, sweetie. If you’re sure. See you later – be good,” said Barb as Kev exited the kitchen via the back door en-route to the aforementioned Pete’s house – no doubt to dissect all that had happened at the roller-disco whilst smoking cigarettes, listening to Black Sabbath and drinking cheap cider.
Whilst Barb finished the washing up and started on lunch, Gordy poured himself a huge bowl of Sugar Puffs and wandered off into the lounge to watch the telly, switching it on just in time to catch the opening bars of The Persuaders familiar theme tune.
He settled into the armchair and sunk his spoon into the huge mountain of Sugar Puffs, relishing the thought of having the lounge all to himself for the next hour; just him, Danny and Brett. Marvellous.
Barb was busy doing housework, Alan was mowing the lawn – his usual Sunday morning ritual – and Izzie was playing Barbie in her bedroom.
Yet a quarter of an hour into The Persuaders and a third of the way through his bowl of Sugar Puffs, Gordy had no idea of the plot and didn’t have a clue about what Danny and Brett were up to as his mind had wandered completely.
He kept thinking about Pippa. And Daisy. And Pippa. And then Daisy again.
Finally, he resolved to think only about Pippa.
Daisy was a friend, that’s all, whereas Pippa was the girl of his dreams.
Indeed, she had been the one who inspired his need to be cool and the whole reason for him creating The Cool List in the first place – the step-by-step guide which was purposely designed to make Pippa like him.
Gordy pulled the crumpled list out of his pocket and unfolded the now tatty piece of paper for maybe the thousandth time. Balancing the Sugar Puffs on his knee whilst he reviewed each item, he decided that in the main it had been pretty much a success, albeit with certain failures and miscalculations (calling Nicholas Parsons from Sale of the Century a ‘bad ass mother fucker’ in front of his nan being a case in point).
Outwardly, Gordy had to admit that he had definitely become cooler – he was undoubtedly more stylish and, thanks to Daisy, certainly more switched on music wise; his taste and knowledge of it now wide and varied – very much more The Who and far less ‘the who?’.
But inwardly was he cool? Gordy still wasn’t sure. How did someone learn to think cool? Especially when their natural instinct was to think like a nerd.
As if to demonstrate this, Barb Brewer opened the lounge door and poked her head into the room. “The afternoon matinee on BBC2 is Calamity Jane if you fancy a bit of a sing-song after lunch, sweetie,” she said.
Gordy’s nerd instinct immediately told him to say ‘Great!’ – already imagining singing along to such timeless classics as The Deadwood Stage, The Black Hills of Dakota and Once I Had a Secret Love.
But the new, improved, ‘cool’ side of him knew he should be screaming “No!”
In the end, and so as not to hurt his mum’s feelings, he played safe and just said, “Er, yeah, maybe, thanks, Mum.”
However, he did want to watch it. Calamity Jane was one of his all-time favourite musicals – but to be perceived as cool he had to deny himself such simple pleasures.
Yet the very fact that he wanted to watch it meant the nerd side of him was still alive and kicking and lurking just beneath the surface. Much like Captain Scarlet it was indestructible and the best Gordy could hope to do was conceal it so that no one – Pippa in particular – would ever be exposed to it.
However, conceal it he obviously had because Pippa had already noticed him – in a really good way. Somehow he had successfully managed to hide his inner nerd from her, somehow she had seen only his new cool exterior and that was all that mattered.
So what if Daisy had kissed Frazer? Gordy didn’t care, or, at least, that’s what he forced himself to believe because The Cool List had worked. Pippa liked him, she had even given him a kiss! Pippa, Pippa, Pippa – not Daisy bloomin’ Flynn.
By carefully following The List, Gordy had very nearly fulfilled its purpose – which was to get Pippa to go out with him – and as he scooped out the last remaining Sugar Puffs from his now empty bowl he reached a momentous decision which would hopefully, at last, reward his efforts.
When he returned to school next week, dressed in his non-regulation school uniform, modelling his newly feathered haircut and wearing his prized pair of polished jam tops, he, the new, improved, spectacle-less, slimmer Gordy Brewer, was going to ask Pippa Wilson to go out with him.
Now that really was cool.
To read on, please download the complete novel here.