The Bluebottle Boys: Holi, Holika, St. Patrick’s Day… and Trouble (Part 2)

The Bluebottle Boys: Holi, Holika, St. Patrick’s Day… and Trouble (Part 2)

[\The featured pic is a mildly psychedelic — or maybe “Holi – fied” — rendition of the pub Reggie and Stan attack.

HoliFor a while it was fun, and we got away with it. We even managed to prevent a fight between two raging drunks, who became too outraged at being blasted, and too busy trying to find us (which they never did), to remember to take each other on.

For the most part, though, we blasted staggering drunks, drunks singing off-key and drunks walking “extra cool,” i.e., slowly, deliberately, with perfect book-on-the-head posture so that no one knew that they were loaded (or so they thought) before they’d collapse in the street.

The mixture of shock, surprise, outrage and bewilderment on their faces, usually followed moments later by a shrugging acceptance (sometimes by falling down unconscious), was truly priceless.

Or it was until I was collared.

It could have been either one of us; just luck of the draw it happened to be me. A couple of police officers saw a pair of drunks getting blasted (by us), but not who did it. We quickly stashed the guns in some snow-covered bushes and ran. I was the one that they caught.

I was taken to the station, where I proffered a full confession, but told them I acted alone (there was no point in getting Stan in trouble). Although assault charges remained pending, I was released to my parents’ custody – though from the look on their faces when they arrived to collect me, I wasn’t sure that jail mightn’t have been the safer option.

Under the circumstances, I suppose they treated me mercifully: grounded for a month, no interaction whatsoever with Stan, no radio (which I didn’t yet listen to much in any event) and no television.

It made for a miserable Sunday, with the ensuing week not much of an improvement.

On the real Holi, as I later found out, Stan got a new gun, blasted a bunch of shoppers downtown, got himself collared and – apparently guilt-ridden over letting me take the fall – also claimed to having squirted the drunks on St. Patrick’s Day, likewise claiming to acting alone. He needn’t have bothered. My punishment stood; now the Guptas imposed a similar one on him.

Luckily, we still had Ian as a go-between. We could place him between us, and I could tell Ian to tell Stan things and vice versa – or at least we could until Wednesday night, when Ian bought a squirt gun too, took a bus to the same police station and also confessed to the St. Pat’s “shootings.” I suppose his confession was Stan’s and my own stupid fault, since we’d told him the details of the “crime,” never suspecting he’d use the information to formulate a confession of his own. He claimed he’d snuck out of the house through an upstairs window, taken the gun, crossed town on a bus and – again acting alone – blasted the drunks.

Ian was released to his parents’ custody, who kept him home from school the next day.

Now the police had three confessions, all mutually exclusive, and all equally credible – or implausible. They had “weapons” from Stan and Ian, but had never found the ones Stan and I’d stashed in the bushes that night, so had none on me. But I was the one they’d caught at the scene. They were at a loss as to exactly what to do, but they were determined to do something.

© 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.

It’s here! Here at last! The first edition of Volume 1 of “The Bluebottle Boys,” second novel of the Reggie Stone series, is now available from Amazon.

Yes, I’ll continue to serialise the novel (after all, we’ve just got “up-to-speed” and into the “main story”). Not only will I serialise all the “promised” chapters, I’ll be expanding the serial to include at least a few more chapters — maybe more than a few (how many more to be determined) — just for letting Reggie and his friends into your life.

They thank you, and so do I.

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G. H. McCallum

G. H. McCallum is author of the Reggie Stone series, the first of which, Walking Backwards for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall, was released on 12 December 2014; look for the second, The Bluebottle Boys, in late spring of 2016. He blogs principally on the 1960s, Victoriana and magic realism.