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“Kossi? Kossi… yeah it’s me, wha’ you saying? Where were you yesterday? Sick? Rah, sorry bruv, what happened? … Seen. You better now, like you’ve taken paracetamol and that? Okay, good. Do you think you’ll be back in on Monday? … Yeah, at least you have two more days to rest… yep, innit. Oh my days, cuz! You missed one of the craziest days ever… Trust me, it was mad! English class, innit… remember the movie Miss Brooking wanted us to see in the West End? Yeah, yesterday… Oi, it was nuts.
“Miss Brooking goes we can wear whatever we want, no uniform, so you know everyone was trying to look fly… yes, my jeans were a little faded, but my cousin dropped one Iceberg sweater on me… cuz, it looked cold… what?! About Iceberg is played out, shut up, man!
“Anyway, when I turned up at school, morning time, everyone was looking different, but Lily – oh my days – Lily, she was wearing a very short skirt… cuz, it was ridiculous! Most of the girls had tight things on, but you know no one has a bum like Lily… blud! You should have seen her. She looked like a video chick or something… yes, she was looking that hot, and then she had on a white top and I don’t know if the girl was wearing a Wonderbra but her breast looked nice, and you know it usually don’t look like she has breasts like that.
“All the girls were hating… yeah, it was mad ‘cos all the boys must have surrounded Lily and they were telling her how nice she was looking, then Balogun pushed past all of them and put one hand on her waist like, ‘Babes, I’m taking you home tonight.’ Lily started laughing, like properly showing all her teeth. To be honest, I think Lily proper loves Balogun off, and I don’t understand why, ‘cos he never trims his hair and his garms always look dirty. Man was wearing any hoodie yesterday and that his A-Town fitted that he likes a lot, and you know how it’s white and that? … Innit, well you could tell he hadn’t washed it ‘cos there were bare areas on it that looked brown. … Nah, like, I chill with the bre, but sometimes I think man looks like a tramp, real talk. But the girls feel that, innit?
“Anyway, Miss Brooking said we’ll take the tube to the cinema and the bus back, so that’s how all 25 of us started walking to Highbury and Islington station. The sun was proper shining down, so Miss said we should walk to the station, innit. Everyone was looking good and trying to show off, even Miss must have pushed on some Gucci sunglasses… exactly! Trust me, she looked proper different. I said to her, ‘Miss, I’m feeling your style today’, and she laughed for enough long and said, ‘Babatunji, you charmer!’ – ha-ha, that’s how she speaks, innit! – ‘Well, thank you.’ Then I walked back to the front, where Balogun was. The guy was walking side by side with Lily, and Mark and Ahmed were behind him. I swear those two are beg friends, always acting like security… wait, what do you mean I’m a beg friend as well? Not at all, mate – me and Balogun are friends… you’re dumb anyway.
“No joke, yeah – from the school to the station, Balogun was talking to Lily non-stop. He was telling her bare stories about how he banged up this bre and that bre and Lily was just laughing. I was trying to walk behind them on the sly, ‘cos I was clocking Lily’s bum, and sometimes Balogun would look at me and laugh but he wouldn’t say anything.
“So we got to Highbury and Islington, paid for tickets, and took the Victoria line to Oxford Circus. We were making bare noise, but not too many people were around. When we came off the tube at Oxford Circus, Mark shouted, ‘Yes, man can go out of the station and buy ten Nike creps, standardly!’ Then he started to laugh but man got air. Everyone just looked at him but didn’t say nothing… I swear that bre is moist. Man said he can buy ten creps, but I looked at the ones he was wearing – cuz, they looked peak. The laces looked dead! Don’t mind him… even me, I was quiet but I was wearing brand new creps… yes! My mum bought them for me three days ago; she said that she could either buy trainers, or jeans and a top for me, so I chose trainers, innit… nah they look good, still. When you come through next man will show them to you.
“Anyway, we walked from Victoria line to the Bakerloo line and then took the tube to Piccadilly Circus. Oi, Piccadilly Circus is ‘nuff busy and there were bare tourists there. Mark was saying that we should rob one of them, but I did like I didn’t hear him, flipping ediot. We walked past that place that has bare lights at night, with all the adverts, then we reached Leicester Square. Leicester Square is decent, man – bare things to do. Miss Brooking was saying something about the history of the place but no one was listening apart from Adaeze and two other neeks. When we got to the cinema I was excited! Blud, the cinema is huge. I said, ‘Miss, it must be about £100 to watch a film here.’ She laughed and said, ‘No, Babatunji, but it is rather expensive.’ Nah, trust me, bruv, the place looked big and you know me, I love going cinema, but true say, I haven’t been for a while ‘cos tickets are expensive everywhere, and I can’t use my eating money to watch movies.
“When we got in, Miss Brooking went up to the counter to pay for the tickets. By this time everyone was like, ‘Rah, this place is nice!’ Mary-Anne said she could live there, but true say, Mary-Anne is a tramp. Balogun started poking Lily in her ribs with his finger and she was like, ‘Balo, man, stop it!’ You could tell she didn’t want him to stop it. Certain girls started chatting among themselves, calling Lily a hoe – you know how girls go on with other girls. Ahmed and Mark started rapping – if that’s what man can call it – so I decided to go over to Miss. When I saw her bring out bare twenties I said, ‘Miss, rah, how much are the tickets?’ She said they were £10.25 per head, us man… bruv, I wanted to die! This is me, ‘Miss, we’re not even 15 yet!’ She cracked up and said, ‘I know Babatunji, I know. Anyway, here’s a quick question for you: How much in total must I pay for 24 child tickets?’ I was like, ‘Rah, Miss, you teach us English’, but then I started calculating: £10.25 times 10 is £102.50 and double that is £205. Four times £10.25 – four tens is £40, four times 25p is a pound- that’s £41, so all together that’s £246. I said, in under a minute, bruv, ‘Miss, you have to pay £246.’ Bruv, she looked at me like I was an angel, then she put out her hand and said I should spud her… I’m not lying! She said, ‘Spud me’, like she was mandem. I laughed and then I spudded her. She said, ‘You are brilliant at maths. In fact, you are a brilliant pupil, full stop, but I really wish you would pay more attention in class and believe in yourself more.’ She paid the money and said, ‘Kids, let’s go in and get some popcorn and drinks.’ Everyone moved quickly, boy. When Lily passed me she must have said, ‘Why are you licking the teacher’s bum for, wasteman?’ and Balogun just laughed, he didn’t back it for me… I just hissed. I know she’s a bitch anyway and maybe she was just jealous. … ‘Do you want me to lick yours?’ Ha-ha, bruv, you’re dumb! Nah, I should have said that, but you’re the guy that thinks of things quick like that, not me. I just wanted to cuss out her dad… ediot girl.
“Anyway, we bought our popcorn and drink and went into the room to watch the film. As soon as we got in and I saw the small screen, I told Adaeze the film would be shit, ‘cos it just came out and it was only showing on this small thing, but she said it didn’t matter. I was only talking to her ‘cos Balogun hadn’t looked away from Lily since the time we left school, and man would rather lick the school toilet seats than hold convo with Mark and Ahmed, but when I saw Balogun and Lily going to sit at the back, I told Adaeze to follow me and then we ran up to the back as well. By the time Ahmed and Mark clocked what was going on, they had to sit in front of Miss Brooking (who was sitting directly in front of me) ‘cos the back was packed. It was pure girls at the back and me and Balogun… I know, weird, innit? The girls all wanted to see what him and Lily would do.
“Anyway, the trailers had just started when Balogun started rubbing up on Lily. He was touching her everywhere, and when he started touching her breasts, I saw more bra, and I think it was definitely a wonder bra – blud, are you stupid? Man did not get a boner! Shut ya mouth! I didn’t! Why would I get a boner? Oh my days! I’ve seen more than that before… listen, shut up or I’ll dash my phone out the window – I won’t even drop the call… leave me, man, I said I didn’t get no boner… okay, okay, a little bit, but blud, it was crazy, ‘cos he was doing his thing and Lily was proper enjoying it. … She was, trust me – remember I was sitting next to her. Her eyes started rolling and she started to moan a little bit… exactly, that’s why man had a boner. I saw him try to lift her so she would sit on him, but she said, ‘Nah, I’m not no hoe’, and she smiled. No lie, I must have looked at all the other girls; they were all looking at Balogun and Lily. All of them. Adaeze whispered to me that God would punish Balogun and Lily for what they were doing. I said to her, ‘Don’t try it; you would do the same thing’, and then she said God would punish me, and she looked like she was going to cry, so man had to say sorry, and, like, boy – I even hugged her… oi, I had to! Serious, it’s the first thing I thought of doing so she wouldn’t get vex. All the girls started making bare noise like, ‘Adaeze and Babatunji, Adaeze and Babatunji!’ Lily was eying me differently and then she said to me, ‘Why are you trying to copy your boss man?’ Blud, man was going to slap her! Man’s not a wasteman – I’d never hit no girl – but how long was I going to listen to her rinse a man? It’s wasn’t right, proper parrage, like, and Balogun still wasn’t backing it; he just kept winking at me… like, why is man winking at me for, though, but before I thought of something to say, the film started.
“Kossi, on my dad’s grave, the film was dry! Any type of British film. No people like us in the movie, but bare chat about gardening, marriage and class. Bare of us started sleeping. I didn’t even want to watch the dumb thing, but the two people who were watching it hard kept looking at me. Guess which two? … Yep, Miss and Adaeze. Miss started looking back every ten minutes to ask me what I thought about the movie, but then Adaeze would answer instead and then I would say, ‘I think the same as Adaeze.’
“As Miss was talking to me again, Balogun got up and went out of the place. I wanted to follow him but my legs didn’t move. Five minutes after, Mark left, and then one minute after that, Lily left, and about two minutes after, Ahmed left, so I thought that if I left at that point it would have been super bait. Miss didn’t say nothing and I didn’t even think she saw anything at first, but after Ahmed left, she looked back and when she saw me she smiled… nah, she didn’t… of course she saw them, she must have. … That’s what I’m saying! Them man always get to do whatever they want, Miss Brooking doesn’t tell them off or nothing. If that was me now… exactly. One thing I’ve noticed is that Miss never says anything to Balogun, never asks him any questions… Nah, she didn’t speak to him once yesterday, although, to be fair, I think she is shook of him… that’s weird innit, when a teacher is shook of a student. So, yeah, I just tried to watch the movie, which was hard, innit, ‘cos, like man said, it was dead, but also ‘cos the girls at the back were using their phones, and the light and the vibrating sounds were distracting. I looked at Adaeze and she looked mad focused, so I asked her if she was enjoying the movie and she smiled.
“Nah, Adaeze is buff, or at least she could be, but she doesn’t try to look nice – that’s the thing. Like her hair is not even straightened, just bare, bare forest. I kept looking at her and then I started to think about what she would do if I kissed her. She looked at me once or twice and proper smiled at a man, but bruv – she’s weird! Nah, like seriously. First of all, how could she have enjoyed the movie? And she was talking to herself as well, a lot… different things, like sometimes she’d call out a name, like Hemswords, or something like that, or she’d talk about the castle… yeah, the film was in a castle. Then, she must have laughed to herself at one point and said, ‘This movie is so PG.’ I didn’t get it either, like why is that funny? Then, when the butler of the castle introduced one bruk bre, who came to the place to chirps the daughter of the bre who owned the castle, she (Adaeze) said, ‘The gentleman is of no having’ and started giggling like she was possessed! I swear she’s loopy. I asked her what the whole movie was about and she laughed but not in a bad way, and said, ‘it’s a satire on the middle class.’ I said, ‘what?’ then she said, ‘it’s taking the piss out of posh people’, then I was like, ‘seen’, then I asked her, ‘Adaeze, why do you like this movie?’ She shrugged, so I left her alone.
“Just as I was wondering where them man went, I saw them coming back. First, I heard some girl laughing all crazy, then I saw Balogun’s hair sticking out of his cap and I knew it was them. They had a big tub of popcorn each and they were walking ‘nuff slow. When they got to me I clocked where they’d been – they stunk of weed. Balogun spudded me and said, ‘Tunj, I hope a man’s been writing notes for us’, and started showing me his teeth. They weren’t even back for five minutes before Ahmed started throwing popcorn at the people sitting on the lower seats, but Miss Brooking was so into the movie that she didn’t clock him. I was thinking about him and his sheg rhymes, when Lily whispered into my ear… Kossi, she did it on purpose; she let her lips touch my ear and… wait, bruv! I did not get a boner, can a man finish the story? Exactly. She said, ‘You like Adaeze, innit though?’ I was shocked. I said, ‘Noooo! Why?’ But I think I must have said it too loud, ‘cos Miss looked at me and said, ‘Shhhh!’ Lily smiled and said, ‘Ok, whatever, innit. I mean, she’s a nice girl if that’s your kind of thing.’… I know, hating, innit? Don’t mind her.
“When we got out of the cinema everyone started acting like there wasn’t any air in the building: ‘Ahhhhhh, Miss Brooking! That was longggggggggggg!’ That’s what everyone said. Adaeze didn’t, though; she was writing some stuff in a small notebook. I wanted to ask what she was writing, but then I noticed Lily was watching me with one evil smile on her face, so man ‘llowed it.
“Miss Brooking went like she was going to Covent Garden, but she turned left at Hippodrome and we started walking up Charing Cross road. Everyone there was looking ‘cos there were ‘nuff of us on road. Mark and Ahmed still had their huge popcorn tubs and they were yamming the thing like cavemen. We finally got to Burger King, after Tottenham Court Road station, and a 73 was coming, so when it stopped we all got inside. I was thinking it was a dumb idea to take bus ‘cos the 73 can get packed, but ‘cos it was about 1p.m. there weren’t many people on it. We got on and all of us stayed at the back. I sat with Miss Brooking ‘cos I was pissed off with Balogun and I didn’t want to see Lily’s face. Adaeze sat opposite me and Balogun and them lot took up the proper back row. Big forehead Tanya started telling someone on the phone how wack the film was, and all of us started bussing up, even Miss Brooking. Miss was proper enjoying herself, boy.
“We must have reached one stop after Warren Street station, when Miss saw someone she knew in the front of the bus; I think the person just got on. ‘Oh, that’s Sally!’ she said and then she told me that she’d be back, and she went to talk to her friend. That’s when Ahmed started throwing popcorn at one blond girl who was sitting to our right, like a seat in front. He kept throwing and missing, but when one shot hit her ear, Ahmed, Mark and Balogun started bussing up hard. The girl made one weird sound with her mouth and didn’t say nothing, but she went proper, proper red. Adaeze didn’t find it funny at all She shook her head and looked over at Miss Brooking but Miss was gone she was just laughing with her friend Adaeze said to me Your friends are idiots and I wanted to say something like I agree or that idiot is not my friend when I heard Baloguns voice he said What did you say bruv At first I thought he was talking to me and the way he said it made me a little shook but when I turned round he was looking at one bre that was sitting next to the girl that got hit with the popcorn. The bre was looking down like no one was talking to him. He had a book and he was pretending to read. Balogun asked him again: Bruv what did you just say Oi listen I beg a man dont let me get annoyed cos I will get up Then I heard Lily say, ‘Nah! What did he say? Spark him, look at his face.’ The bre looked up at Balogun and said, ‘I- I didn’t say anything.’ Balogun said, Seen, and then he got up I put my hand on Baloguns arm and told him to ‘llow it, but he was like Nah Tunj chill it’s nothing i just want to talk to this bredda first. These times now, Mark and Ahmed got up and went to the front of the bus. At first I was baffed – like, why were Balogun’s beg friends gonna snitch on him? Then I clocked: they were trying to make sure Miss Brooking didn’t look back. By this time all us lot knew something bad was gonna happen. I heard bare people say Balo leave him man stop being long I have never seen Balogun try bully a bre that looked older than him but the guy was wearing a bowtie and those begging intelligent glasses and he had some fat book he was reading those three things fucked him up I tried to look at the book cos first I thought he was reading a bible but the book had some name like Grime and Punish Men. Gully title, innit? That’s what I thought as well. But bruv, it’s scam – the book was big! I don’t know why people read those things. If man read that book, man would get a fever and just go mad suddenly, trust.
“The guy just looked like a first class twat with his bowtie and glasses. When Balogun stood over him and said You think im stupid but I heard you What did you say Say it again The bre didn’t answer, he just looked down again. He looked ‘nuff guilty and I didn’t know what was going on, ‘cos I didn’t hear him say nothing before. Balogun snatched the book from the bre, looked at it for a while and then he turned to me and said, Tunj do you want this book I told him I didn’t, and I said, ‘Balogun, man, come on; ‘llow the bre, it’s long.’ Imagine, yeah – Balogun nodded at me, but then he turned back to the bre and clapped his head with the book The bre didnt even shout he put his head down even more and started biting his lip all of us were watching this but no one wanted to call miss brooking i looked at her but she wasnt even looking back ahmed and mark were talking to the sally lady and they were looking like they had respect like they were proper polite youts i couldnt believe it i turned back to see the book flying out of the bus window the bre looked up and said to balogun why are you doing this i said i was talking to this girl here i didnt say anything to you adaeze said balogun stop being stupid leave the guy alone balogun was like shut up adaeze then he said to the bre i thought you said before you didnt say anything the bre got up and said this is my stop im sorry i have to go im sorry but balogun pushed the bre back onto the seat and said you think i didnt hear you you said why are they acting black am i lying the bre didnt say anything he just looked down again and said look i dont want any trouble im sorry i shouldnt have said but before he finished talking balogun gave him a back hand and the bres glasses flew off his face bruv it sounded like a ribena carton when you blow it up and then step on it the guy fell to the ground and balogun started kicking him adaeze lost it immediately she screamed miss brooking miss brooking miss brooking i saw miss look back and i could see the horror on her face everyone in the front must have heard the slap and the guy had started howling as he was being kicked on the ground mark and ahmed started running back before miss brooking moved so when she came back they blocked her from getting to balogun me to be honest at first i didnt feel nothing cos im used to seeing balogun do this stuff and true say the bre was an ediot why did he say what he said if he really said it balogun kept kicking him miss brooking was screaming people were laughing filming adaeze pushing me tears in her eyes babatunji do something do something come on please i couldnt look away I started seeing blood bruv the blood thats what i remember the most the blood redness all around him i couldnt see the bres face properly red all i could see was blood i started to panic red i really really thought the bre might die the blood it was too much everybody screaming laughing adaeze i didnt know what to do my chest something was making me breathe weird somebody got the driver stop look at what is happening the driver stopped the bus but he didnt come to the back mark clocked what was about to happen he shouted five oh oi balo boydem will be here soonest come we get the fuck off the bus I looked at balogun to see how he was reacting kossi his face was blank he didnt look angry he didnt look happy he looked like he wasnt even there he was just kicking the bre kicking stomping lily kossi this girl had the weirdest smile on her face bruv remember i told you i hate looking at that mona lisa picture ‘cos that her smile is scary to me bruv lilys was worse worse worse it looked like she needed to see all of that like she needed it i cant explain more than that it was weird maybe it was turning her on i dont know but im going to start avoiding that girl.
“Anyway, Balogun finally stopped kicking the bre and then he spat on him. He looked at Lily and he winked. Lily said, ‘Bals, get the fuck off the bus, please. I’ll call you later’, then he looked at me and asked if I was coming. I looked at him, like properly, then I looked at Miss Brooking; she was speaking with someone on the phone and all her makeup on her face was ruined, or maybe just the eye makeup…yeah mascara; the mascara was all over her face. I heard her say, ‘Dashiel, I cannot do this anymore, I cannot. I tried; I really, really did…’ I looked at Adaeze; she looked so pretty. I felt proper bad for her, she was looking at me and her eyes looked huge and she wasn’t speaking but her lips were moving like she was talking to me secretly or talking to herself or someone else. I never felt like I wanted to kiss her like I did then. I looked back at Balogun and I didn’t say anything, but I knew that my face changed to screwface. He said, ‘Seen?’ and then he got off the bus with those two muppets. We must have been at King’s Cross station. I saw them run to the road McDonalds is on and then they disappeared. Bruv, all I could hear at that point was ping, ping, ping from people’s phones. Some were belling their friends, talking about what happened, and the girl who had the popcorn dashed at her was crying like her mum was dead. It was a lot. Some people at Kings Cross came on the bus just to look at the bre – he looked fucked. He was holding his face and his knees were touching his stomach. I saw his glasses near his shoes and even though he looked ruined, his glasses were fine… nope, no blood… that’s what I was thinking as well; like the glasses escaped the trouble, or maybe the glasses sold the bre out on purpose.
“The police got on the bus and they spoke to Miss Brooking and some people sitting at the front. I could see that she didn’t want to say nothing, but people on the bus were already saying that Balogun was one of her students like they knew, so the Police knew that Miss knew something. I didn’t even care anymore; I took one more look at Lily and then I left my eyes on Adaeze until the ambulance people came.
“Yep! That’s all the madness that happened yesterday… I know bruv, you should have been there! I called Adaeze today… shut up, I felt I had to check to see if she was okay… she’s fine, but she’s weird, I’m telling you. Like, she didn’t speak on the phone, she didn’t say much, but she said she was happy to hear from me. To be fair though, I didn’t say much either… shut up, I’m not weird. Balogun called me today as well; he told me that he was staying with one of his cousins in Birmingham, and that he’s gonna be there for a while ‘cos it’s hot right now in London. I asked him why he had to go in deep on the bre like that; he just laughed and said, ‘Tunji, boy, what can man say? I was on one; I was mad hype. But that bre was a prick! Did you not hear what he said? I should have stabbed him, even. What did he mean by, ‘stop acting black’, when he’s black as well?’
“He told me that he was going to invite Lily to Birmingham so he can sex her up. He said that she’s on it hard, that she called him last night telling him how much she loves him. I told him to take care of himself and that was it. IC3 tings now… exactly.
“That guy. The bre’s aggro is too much… nah, don’t be silly, don’t be silly; you’re my friend more than he’s my friend… serious tings, my mum even asked for you yesterday, she was like, ‘Omo Togo dà, are you people quarrelling?’ Yeah, that’s your name now: Omo Togo or Omo Lomé. Jokes. Oi, mum’s calling me to eat, man will speak to you later… yeah, come through tomorrow… yeah, yeah, after church. Bring your PS3… ok, ok… cool, cool… ok, later.”