Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (60)

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.

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Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (59)

By the time the Bible-bus pulled back into the driveway, this time minus the flower-power inspired vocal stylings of Glynn and Lynn Flynn, Daisy was bathed, dressed, had guzzled down three bowlfuls of lentil and chickpea soup and listened to both sides of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, The Eagles Hotel California and side one of Low by David Bowie, mainly because he was modelling a ginger barnet not so unlike hers on the album cover.

Also, far from it being lunchtime which was when Lynn Flynn had promised they’d be back, it was now well after four in the afternoon and Daisy had been getting seriously worried as to her parents’ whereabouts.

Yet the answer to that question became immediately clear when Glynn Flynn, assisted by his wife, opened the front door.

Daisy’s dad looked like he’d been in a car crash. One arm was in a sling; he had two black eyes and his head was thickly wrapped in a turban-like bandage.

Furthermore, his new second-hand guitar, that he had recently replaced after his encounter with Steve Cool’s not so cool dad, was broken; the main body hanging limply by the strings from the detached neck as Lynn Flynn stumbled in with it. She held the smashed guitar in one hand whilst with her other she supported her bandaged husband, her face full of concern for him.

“Oh, my!” Daisy squealed, rushing over to help her mum support her dad. “What’s happened? Are you okay?”

“Hey, I’m fine, baby girl,” said Glynn Flynn, sounding exactly like ‘Dylan the rabbit’ from The Magic Roundabout, just a few bruises and a couple of broken bones, that’s all.”

“Oh, my!” Daisy said again. “Did you have a crash – are you alright – Mum are you hurt too?”

“I’m fine, honey,” said Lynn Flynn as she and Daisy helped Glynn into the Bedouin tent-like lounge and carefully eased him down onto one of the low couches that the Flynn family used instead of traditional furniture. “But no, we didn’t have a crash – someone just didn’t appreciate your Dad’s singing, that’s all.”

“What? You mean someone beat him up?”

“Hey, not beaten up exactly—” her Dad began to say before her mum jumped in.

“Yes. They snatched his guitar off him and smashed him around the head with it – then started laying into him with their fists – they even twisted his arm around his back and broke it—”

Suddenly, Lynn Flynn broke down in tears, the shock of the incident finally hitting home. “We… we didn’t do anything to them – we just sang, that’s all, and they beat your dad up.”

“Hey, it’s okay – I’m fine,” winced Glynn, clearly in pain.

“Was it the same man as before?” Interrupted Daisy, remembering Steve Cool’s Glaswegian gorilla of a father, “Was he the one who did it?”

“No, baby girl,” said her dad. “Someone different this time. Guess the folks around here just don’t like your mum and me – they don’t seem to wanna listen to our words – y’know?”

“They don’t want to see, Daisy. They don’t want to hear what your dad and me have got to say – they don’t want to know about the glory of The Lord.”

Her mum was sounding a bit mental now and Daisy couldn’t think of anything to say in reply.

In fact, she could understand where the people of Bradley were coming from.

It wasn’t that they weren’t religious – indeed, Daisy suspected that most of them were, but they just didn’t want to be harangued by a pair of hairy hippies.

But beating her dad up was unforgivable. He wasn’t a violent man; he was a peaceful, spiritual, kind man – albeit completely spaced out most of the time and totally out of touch with reality – but good-hearted and well-intentioned nonetheless. He didn’t deserve to get beaten up for what he believed in.

“You’ve been up the hospital then all this time?” Daisy guessed by the state of her father’s appearance.

“Yes. In Casualty. They reset your father’s collarbone and plastered his wrist. Both were broken.” Lynn Flynn began to sob once more, appalled by what had happened and clearly shocked by it.

“Does it hurt, Dad?” Daisy asked softly, her own eyes filling up, the sight of her mum crying tearing her up inside.

“A bit, but I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”

Daisy smiled and her mum sniffed and wiped away her tears. “We’ve made a decision though, Daze, while we were up at the hospital waiting for them to see your dad.”

“You have?” Replied Daisy, uncertain of where this was going.

“Yeah,” said Glynn, “kind of a big one, y’know. Kinda mind-blowing, man, but hey, it makes sense, Daze – makes sense for your mum and me – for all of us.”

“What do you mean?” Daisy was now worried.

“We’ve decided not to stay where we’re not wanted, honey,” said Lynn. “We’re gonna sell up, put the house on the market—”

“What?” Screamed Daisy, shocked.

“Then, as soon as it’s sold—” Lynn Flynn looked lovingly into Glynn Flynn’s black eyes and then they both looked at Daisy and said in unison, “We’re going back to Africa.”

Which was precisely when the bottom fell out of Daisy Flynn’s world.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (58)

Daisy buried her head under the covers and tried to go back to sleep but her mind kept playing over the events of last night and the consequences of all that had transpired.

Sleep was impossible so, exasperatedly, she threw back the covers and jumped out of bed. Stumbling out of her room blurry eyed she navigated her way along the psychedelic landing to the equally bright and trippy bathroom. Once there she swilled her face in the sink then found the small twin pots that housed her brand new contact lenses which she was still finding a little tricky to insert.

When eventually she had succeeded and her teary eyes had cleared sufficiently she ran the bath.

Waiting for the tub to fill, Daisy studied her reflection in the mirror as it began to steam up from the heat of the tap water and was quite surprised by what she saw.

She had been so preoccupied and upset by having her hair so savagely sheared that she had not properly looked at the finished result.

But now, standing there naked, in front of the steamy mirror as piping hot water poured into the bath she finally took a good hard look at herself.

And the transformation was amazing.

Her red hair actually looked good short. It was kind of elfin in style with little spiky bits that ran down the centre giving the cut a cool sort of edginess. The shade of ginger was perfect for the style, too; punky and sharp – a bit like Bowie’s only shorter and much more feminine.

Much less last night’s ‘insane lass’ and much more a very trendy Aladdin Sane.

Her big, blue eyes looked huge and striking – set off perfectly by the short hairstyle, whilst her little button nose, decorated prettily by a smattering of delicate freckles, was given pride of place on her lovely face – especially now the hideous horn-rimmed glasses had gone.

Furthermore, and even more surprisingly, Daisy’s boobs had now grown sufficiently so that they no longer resembled a couple of fried eggs.

They were not enormous and probably not as sizeable as some of the girls’ at school, Pippa Wilson’s in particular, but they were in perfect proportion to the rest of her slender figure.

In addition to this, her hips had widened whilst her waist had remained tiny, giving her a wonderfully curvy, very womanly shape.

She also had a pair of long, shapely pins which, in her considered opinion, rivalled even those of the lithe, lusted after legs of the luminously lovely, aforementioned, Pippa Wilson.

Truly astonishing. Daisy the Duck had become Daisy the Swan and it had seemingly happened almost overnight.

Daisy felt a huge rush of excitement and couldn’t wait to tell Gordy – but then, suddenly, she thought about what had happened at the roller-disco and once again felt the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Gordy was probably with Pippa now and she, Daisy, was apparently going out with Frazer.

Things had changed in more ways than one and Daisy’s uncertainty returned once more.

She hoped desperately that things wouldn’t be different with Gordy now and that she would still, at least, have a friend.

Tomorrow she would find out because they were both due to be working together at Bailey’s Bandstand – their last week together at the shop before the Summer holidays finally came to an end.

And then it would be back to school.

However, what Daisy did not know, was that things were about to change dramatically once more in ways that she couldn’t even begin to imagine.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (57)

Chapter Twelve

Next morning Daisy woke up in a kind of befuddled haze, uncertain if the events of the previous evening had actually happened or whether, in fact, it had somehow all been a horrible, very confusing dream.

But then, with a hideously sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, she realised that it was all rather worryingly true.

She had gone to the roller-disco. Steve Cool had called her a ‘lezzie’ and she had somehow, inexplicably ended up going out with Frazer – a boy who up until the moment he had his tongue down her throat she had not thought of in a romantic way whatsoever – if indeed someone sticking their tongue down your throat somewhat uninvitedly could be considered in any way, shape or form romantic.

And then there was the whole Gordy situation. Why had it bothered her so when she saw him hugging Pippa? And, perhaps more importantly, why had she responded by kissing Frazer who, it seemed, as a direct consequence of that overly hasty and stupidly impetuous reaction, was now her boyfriend.

Daisy Flynn, the formerly four-eyed, freckle-faced, hitherto hirsute Hair-Bear, was now going out with the biggest, baddest punk-rocker in Bradley.

It was all just so bloody mental.

And to make matters worse, today was Sunday or, as it had become known to the Godless folk of the surrounding suburbs, ‘Mad Missionary Day’ – because today was the day that Glynn and Lynn Flynn, the happy hippies, took to the Bible-bus and went out into the world to spread the word of The Lord.

What is more, they would no doubt be expecting Daisy to accompany them – complete with crew-cut, kazoo and all.

What a nightmare.

She yawned wearily, already able to hear her dad tuning his new second-hand guitar and her mum warming up on the tambourine.

“Daze!”Yelled her mum up the multi-coloured stairs, “C’mon baby girl – it’s already nine-thirty – time to go!”

Daisy groaned. She really didn’t feel like going-a-calling today, especially not after last night.

“I feel ill, Mum!” she called back, the lie out of her mouth even before she had time to think about it – although, in truth, she genuinely did feel sick to her stomach – but not due to illness. “I can’t go today – I’ve got tummy ache and feel sick!”

Immediately Daisy heard her concerned mum come a jingling and a jangling up the stairs, the rattle of her beads and tinkling of the tambourine acting like a hippie version of the cavalry advance before she burst into the spotlessly white bedroom.

Lynn Flynn was dressed in her customary kaftan and headband; her long, almost impossibly straight ginger hair hanging to below her generous bottom from the precise centre parting on her perfectly round head.

“You poorly, honey?” She said sympathetically.

“Mmm hmm,” Daisy nodded, her eyes big and doleful as she milked it for all it was worth.

“You don’t think you’re up to coming with Dad and me? Dad’s got his new guitar now so it should be good.”

“I don’t think so Mum, sorry. I’d really like to but I just don’t feel well today.”

Lynn Flynn crossed the room and lay a hand on her daughter’s forehead. “You don’t feel warm so I don’t think you’ve got a temperature. Maybe you’ve just picked up a bug.”

Daisy smiled weakly, keeping up the pretence, knowing she would never go to Heaven.

“I know how much you like coming with us,” Lynn continued – not suspecting that Daisy actually hated their Sunday Scripture Safaris with a passion – “But perhaps it’s best today if you stay here in the warm ‘til your Dad and me get back. We won’t be long – home by lunchtime and I’ve made some lovely lentil and chickpea soup which will make you feel much better.”

“Okay. Thanks, Mum. Sorry.” Daisy said guiltily.

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it – and it is very pretty you know – especially without your glasses, and I really love your hair now that I’ve gotten used to it. Suits you, shows off your face.”

Daisy involuntarily raised a hand to her cropped locks and felt a pang of regret for the loss of her bushy, ginger fleece. She once again thought about the shearing she had been subjected to by that snip-happy psycho Madge, never, ever believing that she would miss her old ‘Hair Bear’ doo. But she did.

“Thanks, Mum,” she said without conviction.

“Okay, baby girl. Keep warm and we’ll see you in a bit.” Lynn Flynn said as she bent and kissed her daughter on the top of her head.

“I will,” Daisy replied as her mum wafted over to the door in her flowing paisley kaftan.

“Bye,” Lynn said as she slipped out of the door and jingle-jangled back down the stairs to where her hippie husband was waiting.

A few moments later, Daisy heard the Bible-bus startup and the sound of the Mamas and the Papas spark into life from the old eight-track stereo Glynn had installed as they reversed out of the driveway and roared off down the street; her parents singing along happily to the strains of Monday, Monday – even though it was actually Sunday.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (56)

Daisy had been waiting for Gordy. She was less upset now and had even removed her bobble hat, defiantly refusing to be dragged down by her own insecurities and the meaningless opinions of people she didn’t know. The only person whose opinion she had cared about, other than those of Gordy and Frazer, was Steve Cool and he had already seen her in all her hideous glory so what did it matter now.

Her dream of Steve Cool had disintegrated and her hopes of ever being his girlfriend had been brutally dashed forever.

His laughter and his cruel taunts had wounded her badly and it would take a long time for the scars to heal.

But, if she was being honest with herself, she knew that someone as beautiful as Steve Cool would never be interested in a ginger, freckle-faced, ironing board like her. Not in a million years. And now was the time to finally accept it and move on.

Gordy and Frazer, on the other hand, had both been brilliant. Gordy’s heroics in the face of a certain beating had truly touched her and Frazer’s all-encompassing protection had been such a comfort. Daisy hated violence, hated boys that fought and showed-off, but the way that Gordy had bravely, selflessly, put himself in the line of fire to spare her embarrassment and the way in which Frazer had so expertly laid Steve Cool out had given her a little moment of victory in what was an otherwise awful night.

Even now Frazer had his arms around her, keeping her safe.

If this night had shown her nothing else, it had shown her that, for the first time in her life, she had true friends and that cheered her up immensely.

As she leant with her back against Frazer’s chest, she looked across at Gordy and the sight of him made her smile as he stood talking to Trevor, her snorkel parka wrapped around his waist.

Gordy was nice. He was kind and funny; a bit mixed up maybe but then who wasn’t. He looked quite handsome now, especially with his new haircut and lack of glasses. As she watched him and thought about him; about all the fun they’d had in the last few weeks at Bailey’s Bandstand, she became aware of a warm, sickly feeling in her stomach, like butterflies but a bit different.

Frazer said something to her; whispered something in her ear but she didn’t quite catch it, although she felt comforted as he tightened his arms around her. But the sickly feeling was still in her stomach as she continued to study Gordy.

Then she watched as Pippa took his hand and was utterly horrified when she hugged him – and then kissed him. Suddenly her anger flared, much like it had previously when Gordy had failed to compliment her on her appearance, only this time it was worse. Much worse.

Frazer said something to her again, his lips close to her ear as he spoke. “Go out with me?” He said.

Daisy turned to look at him, their noses just millimetres apart. Then she thought of Gordy and Pippa hugging and the anger flooded through her once more.

Then she kissed Frazer on the lips and he kissed her back. She opened her mouth to speak, to apologise, to say something, but as she did so his tongue slipped in between her teeth and she was suddenly lost, her mind full of thoughts of Gordy, of Steve Cool and now, most confusingly, of Frazer, too.

And she carried on kissing Frazer, unaware that Gordy was looking on.

***

When, at last, they had finished, Daisy again looked up; her head spinning, a little shell-shocked by the sudden turn of events, to see Gordy standing right beside her.

“You two look cosy,” he said flatly, handing Daisy her snorkel parka back. Then added, “See you at the shop on Monday” before turning and stomping off, suddenly wishing that he had asked Trevor to wait for him after all.

“Yeah, see you Monday!” Daisy said after him, a bit shamefaced and feeling a little like she had just been caught with her hand inside the cookie jar.

“See you next week, mate!” Said Frazer wondering maybe, just maybe, if it wasn’t Steve Cool who Daisy had fancied after all and hoping that he hadn’t just put his giant, size eleven, hob-nailed Doc Martens right in it.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (55)

Oblivious to Trevor’s feelings, Gordy was busy scanning the area for Daisy and eventually spotted her over by the wrought iron gates, amongst the groups of disgruntled kids still milling around outside the Drill Hall. She was standing with Frazer who still had a thick arm wrapped protectively around her waist, just in case someone else dared to make a remark about how she looked. But, with Frazer there, no one would, not unless they were completely insane.

Again, Gordy felt that unwelcome pang in the pit of his stomach as he watched the two of them together. Why on earth did it bother him so? However, he dismissed the question quickly before his brain had a chance to answer and was about to wander over to them when someone grabbed his hand and pulled him back.

For a moment he thought it was Trevor and turned to shrug him off, but as he looked around he saw that it was not him but Pippa who was holding his hand. And he very nearly fainted with delight.

Pippa Wilson was standing before him, holding his hand, her grip as tight as her faded jeans. She was smiling; her big blue eyes looking deeply into his, “See you next week, at school?” She said, still holding his hand.

“Yeah, course” was all he could manage in reply.

“Great, see you then.”

“Yeah, okay. See you.”

Then, on impulse, Pippa released his hand and hugged him tightly. “You were so brave in there,” she said, giving him a quick peck on the cheek.

It was all very unexpected and Gordy was quite taken aback.

“Er, thanks” he replied, utterly flabbergasted and feeling vaguely ridiculous in his new but completely ruined Levis.

Nevertheless, Pippa obviously found his awkwardness quite endearing, “Love the new jeans, by the way.”

Gordy laughed nervously, “Yeah, thanks,” he said. “Split-crotch jeans – they’re the latest craze, you know.”

Pippa giggled, a sound which was like music to Gordy’s ears, “Obviously”, she said, before adding rather provocatively, “I think I might even get some for myself”.

“Wow!” Gordy said out loud before he could stop himself, the image of Pippa in a pair of split-crotch jeans suddenly popping into his head and making him feel a little woozy.

She was laughing now as she finally let go of his hand. “Night Gorrrrdy,” she said, putting specific emphasis on his name, letting him know that she now knew it for definite. “See you next week!”

“Yeah, night, Pippa,” he said, trying and failing to disguise his elation as a big, dumb smile spread across his face.

As he watched her walk away into the night with her group of friends, she turned and smiled and her friends giggled.

“She fancies you!” One of her friends shouted before Pippa quickly shushed her, clearly mortified by the outburst. But then she turned to look back at Gordy again and smiled beguilingly, allowing Gordy to think that perhaps her friend was not joking – that Pippa Wilson did actually fancy him.

Bloody Nora.

As Pippa and her pals vanished into the night, Gordy mulled over all the tantalising possibilities of that startling and quite unexpected revelation in his mind, scarcely believing it possible.

When he could see Pippa no more, he turned and headed happily towards Daisy. However, as he looked up, his view now unobstructed by roller-disco refugees, he stopped sharply in his tracks, amazed and slightly outraged by what he saw.

Daisy was snogging Frazer.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (54)

As Gordy stood reflecting on these last two factors, a dumb grin appeared on his contented face. Then, with Daisy’s snorkel parka tied around his waist to conceal his modesty, he heard a familiar voice behind him.

“Heyyyyy!” Said the voice, which Gordy immediately recognised as Trevor’s.

Gordy turned and smiled. “Hi, Trev,” he said to his friend, looking him up and down and wondering exactly what it was that he was wearing and feeling, much to his shame, a tad embarrassed by association. “That’s er, some outfit you’re wearing.”

“You think so?” Replied Trevor proudly, “I thought you’d like it.”

“You did, why?”

“Cos I know how much you like The Fonz.”

“Yeah, and?” Gordy was a bit confused, what did Trevor’s outfit have to do with the Fonz?

“—And well – that’s who I’m dressed as – you know, The Fonz!” Trevor’s face had suddenly transformed from a happy ‘glad to see his friend’ expression’ to a very despondent ‘oh my God, he doesn’t know who I’m dressed as’ expression. Never before in his whole life had Gordy not automatically known what or who Trevor was dressed as – even on the day he took a punt and decided to dress as ‘Penry the mild-mannered janitor’ from Hong Kong Phooey – not the most recognisable outfit and a tricky one even for connoisseur’s of the masked mutt but Gordy had known instantly who he was.

But Trevor’s ‘Fonz’ – which should have been immediately obvious to Gordy – somehow was not.

To Trevor, this just emphasised the huge chasm that had opened between them and suddenly he feared that he and Gordy might no longer have anything in common at all.

Indeed, they might not even be friends.

“Oh, yeah! Of course – The Fonz!” Said Gordy trying to muster all the enthusiasm he could but it was blatantly fake and both he and Trevor knew it.

Gordy tried a different tack and said genuinely, “Hey, thanks for helping me out in there, Trev. It was amazing what you did – and you definitely stopped me from getting battered.”

“S’okay,” said Trevor inspecting his feet and feeling more than a little stupid in his now clearly ridiculous get up. “That’s what friends are for, right?”

“Yeah, course. Why?”

“It’s just that, well, just lately – what with Daisy and everything – I was wondering, that’s all,” said Trevor, awkwardly.

“Honestly, Trev,” replied Gordy, dismissively, suddenly aware of how silly they must both look; him in shredded jeans and canoe trainers with a snorkel parka sarong and Trevor dressed like a cross between Evel Knievel and a garden gnome. “It’s no big deal. Seriously.”

However, the mention of Daisy had pricked Gordy’s memory and he suddenly looked about him to see where she had gone to.

“Look,” he said absently to Trevor, “I’ll speak to you tomorrow, yeah? I just need to talk to Daisy and Frazer for a bit – okay?”

Trevor’s shoulders slumped as he turned dejectedly, “Yeah, okay,” he said slinking away, wishing to Christ he had not opted for the crash helmet as it was starting to make his head itch, which only seemed to compound his problems.

But Gordy’s mind was already elsewhere and he failed to notice just how much Trevor needed to be assured that things would, indeed, be okay.

“Great, Trev,” he said. But by then Trevor was out of earshot.

Unlike Gordy, who had lots of friends, acquaintances and people who generally liked him, not counting those now fleeing the roller-disco of doom, Trevor had very few friends at all – mainly due to his many eccentricities.

This fact had previously not worried him at all because he always had Gordy who he’d been friends with since they were just tots.

Gordy ‘got him’ – so who cared if nobody else did? But now, suddenly, Trevor felt that their friendship was slipping away – Gordy had moved on, grown up, become interested in girls, fashion, music – indeed everything that Trevor was either not interested in or just simply did not understand.

As Trevor sloped off, away from the Drill Hall, in his hopelessly unsuccessful ‘Fonz’ outfit this all weighed very heavily on his mind. He felt like McGarrett without Danno, Kojak without Crocker or Solo without Kuryakin.

In fact ‘solo’ is exactly what he was.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (53)

Chapter Eleven

Suddenly, almost as if at the flick of the light being switched on in the roller-disco, everything changed.

Now, standing outside the Drill Hall in the fading daylight of the balmy August evening, Gordy watched streams of disappointed and angry teenagers walk past him as they grudgingly vacated the hastily cancelled roller-disco. Almost all giving him very black looks and blaming him for having their fun so cruelly curtailed. “Knob!” One muttered under their breath. “Twat!” Said another.

Gordy considered this to be a little unfair in the circumstances and thought that, in truth, it was Steve bloody Cool who should shoulder most of the blame, as well as Kev, for his part in the whole sordid affair – but neither of them were still around to be held accountable and had, probably very sensibly, legged it.

Gordy suddenly felt like ‘Public Enemy Number One’ as he rather guilty watched Dave Dunn reversing his bright yellow Discomobile which was, in reality, just a rusty second-hand Ford Bedford, up to the wide double doors at the side of the Drill Hall in order to load his disco equipment.

The roller-disco had been a complete and utter disaster from start to (very early) finish.

This, the third seriously bad thing to happen in the month of August, had been responsible for the following:

1. Gordy being (almost) beaten up by Kev

2. Gordy being (almost) beaten up by Steve bloody Cool

3. Gordy (almost) displaying his nuts to all on sundry

4. Gordy being extremely humiliated in front of the aforementioned all on sundry

5. Gordy becoming ‘Public Enemy Number One’ in the collective opinions of said all on sundry

6. Gordy being the reason for Dave Dunn’s Disco Dynamite being stopped early and Dave Dunn’s subsequent dejected departure from the Drill Hall in the Discomobile

7. Daisy being sheared like a prize ewe at an Australian sheep station, her mythical Golden Fleece of legend now hanging in Madge’s trophy room, probably being sought after at this very moment by a ship full of modern-day Argonauts

8. Daisy being ridiculed and humiliated by that bastard Steve bloody Cool – the very person she was dearly hoping to impress

9. Daisy, in her opinion but not in Gordy’s, being ridiculed and humiliated by the now notoriously judgemental all on sundry

10. Daisy losing any chance she might have had, no matter how unlikely, of ever going out with Steve bloody Cool.

So all in all, the roller-disco; the third bad thing, had proved to be an absolute shitter.

There was, however, two other factors that had made the whole sorry abortion of a night worthwhile:

1. Pippa Wilson had remembered his name

And

2. She had at last dumped Steve Cool

And for those two things alone, Gordy couldn’t be happier.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (52)

As his legs dangled in mid-air, Gordy found himself nose to nose with his brother, Kev, who was flanked by his Neanderthal buddies, Dave and Pete.

“That’s my fucking shirt!’ Snarled Kev.

Somewhere in the background, through Sylvester’s high-pitched wailing, Gordy was certain that he heard Pippa’s voice yelling at Steve Cool, telling him that he was ‘dumped’. But instead of rejoicing, Gordy instead had to brace himself for impact as Kev pulled back his fist and prepared to punch him.

Gordy could do nothing but shut his eyes, wince and await the inevitable. But then, suddenly, miraculously, he was released from Kev’s vice-like grip and plummeting sharply down the wall to the floor where he found himself, once again, back on his backside with a very hard bump.

Slightly dazed, he looked up to see that it was Kev who was now being pinned against the wall by Frazer. “Leave him!” Was all Frazer said, extremely firmly, and Kev, although no shrinking violet himself, thought it wise, in light of this sudden change of circumstances to do just that. He nodded his agreement and Frazer slowly released him.

Gordy couldn’t believe it as he saw his brother slinking meekly off, pursued by Dave and Pete.

However, Gordy was still not in the clear, as Steve Cool, enraged, dumped and humiliated was circling for yet another attack, much like Jaws did with Quint’s boat even though he was weighed down by barrels. This time though, Steve Cool wouldn’t be caught off guard by Trevor, who for some strange reason was dressed like a deranged Evel Knievel. Ignoring Pippa’s pleas to “Just get lost,” Steve Cool lunged towards Gordy, who was still laying, Y-fronts out, on the dusty wooden floor.

Again, Trevor selflessly tried to block his way, but Steve Cool was ready and shouldered him roughly out-of-the-way. “Move it, freak!” He growled, bowling Trevor over and causing his wellies to squeak loudly on the floor as he fell.

“Gordy, watch out!” Yelled both Daisy and Pippa in unison as Steve Cool lurched towards him.

But Frazer had it covered. The big, scary, punk rocker just turned, wedged the green stoppers of his pro-skates down onto the faded parquet floor and head-butted Steve Cool right on the nose. “Not today, you poncey, arrogant twat!” He said as Steve Cool hit the floor like a sack of potatoes, out cold.

Calm as you like, Frazer then walked over to Daisy and put his arms around her once more.

The next thing Gordy knew, Pippa Wilson was kneeling beside him. “Are you alright, Gordy?” She asked, for the first time using his given name, taking his head in her hands and clutching it dramatically, and most welcomingly, to her breast.

“Yes,” he said, “I am now,” desperately hoping that the semi forming rapidly in his Y-fronts wasn’t too noticeable through the large split in his trousers.

“I’m so sorry, Gordy. I really am – about Steve I mean, he’s such a bully”.

“That’s okay,” he said. “Hey, you called me ‘Gordy,’” He added, sounding slightly astonished, as he looked up into her big blue eyes.

Pippa looked down at him and smiled. “Well that’s your name, isn’t it?” She said innocently.

“I dunno,” said Gordy, grinning cheekily, “I was just starting to get used to ‘Geoff’”.

She laughed and in that moment, with his head held in her arms, Gordy believed his life couldn’t be any more perfect.

Then the lights came on, the music stopped and they all got thrown out.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (51)

Grabbing hold of Trevor for support, Gordy somehow managed to turn, expecting to see his brother bearing down on him all guns blazing but instead saw Steve Cool as he plucked the bobble hat from Daisy’s head and held it aloft victoriously as he sailed past majestically on his super snazzy skates with Pippa trailing in his wake glaring at him angrily.

With all thoughts of Kev expelled from his mind, Gordy, using Trevor as a pushing-off platform, sped in a gangling, ungainly way over to Daisy who was absolutely mortified by what had just happened.

Standing there alone, she looked so small, so tiny; her hair cropped like a boy’s. Tears were flooding her eyes and streaming down her face as she wobbled uneasily on the skates. Then, thoroughly embarrassed by her appearance, she clamped both arms over her head to prevent anyone from seeing what she perceived to be her ‘ugliness’.

“Help me, Gordy, please! Get me out of here!” She cried in utter despair. But, desperate as he was to do as she’d asked, he couldn’t make his legs cooperate. He was nearly to her, just a foot or two away when Steve Cool came round again, still holding Daisy’s hat high in the air whilst pointing at her badly butchered barnet and laughing cruelly at her.

“Hey, Hair Bear!” He shouted unkindly, “What’s happened – have you turned lezzie or something?”

Gordy was suddenly angrier than he’d ever been in his life and as Steve Cool glided past him, he leapt up and snatched the hat out of his hand and tossed it back to a very grateful Daisy who immediately pulled it back on her head, incredibly touched by Gordy’s heroism.

However, as he landed, Gordy’s feet slipped out from under him and as his left leg went one way and his right leg went the other, his newly bought, newly taken-in jeans burst at the seams, splitting from nut sack to bum crack and down both inner thighs – completely ruined; so much for his extortionately priced Levi 501s.

Frazer, meanwhile, who had been behind Dave Dunn’s decks hunting for the glimmer of any punk rock that might be hidden amongst the disco dross of Dave’s dire record collection, had looked up from his search and over at Daisy and Gordy just at the precise moment of Steve Cool’s second pass. Before Gordy had hit the ground, Frazer had jumped out from behind the decks and was hurtling like a cannonball over to where Daisy was crying, convinced that people would now think of her as something akin to The Elephant Man.

Steve Cool, though, did not take lightly to lowly nerds spoiling his fun and had skidded to a halt on his fancy red stoppers, momentarily shocked by Gordy’s outrageous audacity. How dare someone as insignificant as him even think about doing that?

“Hey, fat boy! Who the fuck do you think you are?” He yelled at Gordy.

Pippa, by now, had caught up with her boyfriend but was looking less than pleased, her face like thunder. “Leave him alone, Steve – don’t be a bully – and he’s not fat!”

“Fuck off, Pip – it’s got nothing to do with you!” Replied Steve Cool, before angrily pushing her away and heading back to where Gordy lay.

“Please, don’t Steve!” Pleaded Pippa, but he didn’t listen.

Trevor, still a little confused as to what was actually happening, turned at this point to see Steve Cool bearing down on Gordy, clearly intent on hitting him. Without thinking, Trevor stepped into his path and said, “Oi, leave him alone!

Steve Cool, stopped and looked Trevor up and down, taking in the wellies and the brushed denim jeans, the bomber jacket and the crash helmet. Then he laughed derisively, “And who the fuck are you, a fuckin’ garden gnome?” he sneered.

“No. I’m The Fonz, stupid.” Said Trevor. At which point, Steve Cool went to punch him full in the face. But, cool as a cucumber, Trevor just lowered his head and Steve Cool’s fist connected hard with the crash helmet instead. Even over the din of Sylvester, who was still wailing on incessantly about how ‘You Make Me Feel’, the loud crack could be heard as two of Steve Cool’s fingers broke.

As Steve Cool hopped around in agony, Frazer steamed into view and slid to an expertly precise stop beside Daisy, immediately wrapping his big protective arms around her. Daisy threw her arms around him, too, and wept uncontrollably in his bear-like grip. “It’s okay, Daisy,” Frazer said, “I’ve got you. Everything’s okay. Don’t worry.”

Meanwhile, Gordy, looking on, felt a pang of something strange deep down in his gut. Was it jealousy? He wondered briefly, confused by this unexpected emotion as he finally managed to clamber to his feet.

Gordy had quite forgotten about Kev in the ensuing melee and was now more concerned about his barely concealed gonads, with his brand new jeans now in tatters and his white Y-fronts clearly visible to anyone who cared to look.

But then his imminent thumping quickly returned to the forefront of his mind when a hand grabbed him by the throat and slammed him hard up against the wall.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.