Our accommodation in Dieppe was a much smarter affair than the accommodation in London, though I doubted very much that the French would ever have heard of a Wimpy bar and I shuddered at the thought of, perhaps, having to resign myself to a snail burger at whatever passed for a Wimpy in this foreign country.
La Leo Le Grange. That was what this place was called. A French youth hostel and our home for the week we would be in this country. We had all been allocated rooms -dormitories -the girls were separated from the boys, which meant that, at least for some of the time, Susie Miller would not be able to get her claws all over Simon -though, admittedly, this was going to be during the hours when we would be asleep.
The dormitory that I found myself in had eight bunk beds. Bunk beds! Jesus, the last time I saw a bunk bed was a sleepover at Nicky Parker's house when I was six years old. Nicky had been a friend from infant school and I remember that his mother made great bangers and mash and allowed us to stay up until after The Magic Roundabout had finished before ushering us upstairs to bed. I had taken the top bunk and stared from my lofty position through the window wishing I hadn't eaten so much for fear of vomiting all over the sleeping boy in the bunk below me. It never happened, thank God.
"Hey! What's going on in there?"
The voice broke into my thoughts and I turned to see Simon Taylor standing next to me.
"You were miles away. Not homesick already, are you?"
He grinned. Oh, how I loved to see that grin. Simon Taylor, my best friend. The best friend anyone could have was grinning at me and I grinned back.
"No, not homesick," I replied, "I was just remembering when I last saw a bunk bed."
Simon surveyed the room and the grin disappeared momentarily, before it returned and he called, "I bags the top bunk," as he ran off towards the end of the dormitory towards a bunk by a window.
I quickly followed, shouting: "No way, that's mine!"
Simon beat me to the bunk and announced that he had first dibs and placed his hand on the top bunk, as if to prove the point and began to laugh. He soon stopped that, as I ran headlong into him and knocked him onto the lower bunk where I playfully began to pin him down.
"I get the top bunk," I said, catching him off guard.
"No, way, I said first!"
"I'm not letting you go until you say I can have it." I said, in a half-serious tone, as he began to squirm in an effort to break free.
"Then I'll keep you here as long as it takes," I responded.
The boy below me began to shuffle about, as if trying to his hardest to break free of my grip and, as he did so, I manoeuvred myself into a position whereby I was straddling his body looking down on him, one blue eye looking up at me, his blonde hair in complete disarray thanks to his squirming and shaking, covered the other and my heart melted at the sight. I had him where I wanted him and I felt myself begin to stiffen in the lower area of my body.
"Get off me!" he spat, squirming again and making my dick tingle with excitement.
"Not until you say I can have the top bunk," I grinned.
"Fine! It's yours."
"Promise? Jesus, Paul, are you all right? I mean, it's only a bed, what the hell do I care which bunk you have?"
Simon Taylor stood next to me, surveying the room. He grinned at me as he walked to the end of the dormitory and placed his small suitcase on the bottom bed of one of the bunks near the window and I followed to claim the top.
"Did you see them?" Kevin Bradshaw, occupying the top bunk of the beds next to mine.
"See what?" I asked.
"Those policemen when we got off the ferry and into the coach,"
"What about them?"
"They had guns."
"Yeah, guns! You know, bang-bang," he had formed his right hand into a make-shift gun by making a fist before extending his top two fingers and raising his thumb and pointing at me.
"I know what a gun is," I said.
"Well, fine, but did you see them?"
I had to admit that I hadn't, but Mike McKenzie, occupying the bottom bunk of the Bradshaw bed called that he had.
Why hadn't I seen them? I mean it wasn't something you saw everyday, except on TV and they were usually American cop shows -Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, Ironside, that sort of thing. I couldn't recall ever having seen a French cop show and, even if I had, I didn't speak French, so what would be the point of watching La Rue de San Francisco?
"Quite frightening, really."
"I know. Imagine if our police carried guns."
"Another frightening thought."
The conversation between Kevin Bradshaw and Mike McKenzie continued in this vein for some time. It was true. British police didn't carry guns, just big wooden sticks -truncheons. Not for us the adventure of Kojak and Hawaii Five-O, or any of those other American cop shows, we had Dixon of Dock Green and Z Cars and bobbies on the beat ruffling your hair and threatening that next time it would be a more serious affair if any more mischief was gotten into before telling the culprit to "get along home now, sonny." I couldn't even imagine George Dixon turning to Andy Crawford and ending a show with the words, "Book 'em, Andy."
Guns. I still couldn't believe how I could have not seen the French police -the gendarmes; I think I heard Mike MacKenzie call them, with their guns. Perhaps I had been otherwise occupied. I remember getting off the ferry and heading to the coach that was waiting to bring us to the youth hostel, I remember pushing my way onto it so that I could get a seat next to Simon, but being beaten to that by Susie Miller and, therefore, I ended up next to Alex Matthews, who just stared out of the window. My attention must have been focussed on the seats two down from where I sat, occupied by Susie and Simon. That's how I must have missed seeing the guns.
I remember the giggling -the sound of Susie Miller deliberately flirting with Simon. How he could put up with that was beyond me, but at least the trip was a relatively short one, or so it appeared, but that could be because I fell asleep.
The question brought me back to reality. Simon stood on the floor, resting his head in his folded arms, placed on the top bunk that I occupied.
"You said you fell asleep."
"Yeah, just now, you shouted out that you fell asleep. I mean - that's nothing new with you, always falling asleep or daydreaming about something.
"I was trying to remember why I hadn't seen the police with the guns," I said, by way of explanation. "I think I must have fallen asleep on the coach."
"Lucky you. I had Susie Miller in my ear for the whole journey, talking non-stop about shopping in France, the opportunity to get new shoes and some new clothes and that kind of thing, really, really dull."
Simon made a yawning sound as he uttered those last words and then grinned.
"Anyway, I guess when we get to wherever it is we're going tomorrow we can lose her."
I hoped he was right.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
"No idea, I haven't seen the itinerary, yet."
Simon pulled himself away from my bunk and sat down on his own. I peered over the top to continue to talk to him.
"So what do you think we'll be doing tonight?"
"Dinner in the canteen, I guess and then, maybe, if we're lucky, they'll let us do some exploring. The beach isn't too far away, I heard Mike say it was close, anyway, so maybe we could go down there and check it out."
"Okay, but can we please try to get away from Susie Miller?"
"Hey! It's all right for you, it's to me she attaches herself."
"Be more forceful and tell her that you have no interest in shoes and clothes."
"Not sure about that, she'd only think that I wanted to walk around naked, or something."
"I mean, like anyone would be interested in me walking around naked."
"Sounds good to me."
"That's sorted then, that's what we'll do."
"What? I'm not sure it would be allowed."
"Why? Can't do any harm."
"You serious? I can just see Mrs Hunter's face."
"What would she care?"
"A lot, I would have thought."
"I really don't think that Mrs Hunter would be that bothered about us taking a stroll to check out the beach."
"Neither do I, but she might if you were naked."
"Naked? Who said anything about being naked?"
I was saved from an answer by the call to dinner in the hostel's dining room and we all herded out of the dormitories to see what delights the French cuisine had to offer. I made a mental note to pay more attention to what Simon was saying to me and not to drift off into a daydream every time he opened his mouth.
Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.
[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]
* Some browsers may require a right click instead