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RUNAWAY

"Some ride" GR looked across at the Church hall opposite the side road where the lads sat on their parked bikes. "Some ride" he put his hand on the Honda's engine. "Didn't even get the oil warm."

"Well," Moonie broke away from a passionate necking session he and Jacky were having "well we thought we'd go to a Youth Club dance instead. Makes a change like."

"You don't like dancing" GR accused Moonie.

"Hey look, here come the others" Lew who had been keeping watch down the main road turned back to face the lads. "And guess who's leading them GR? Spinx and" Lew paused for effect, "Johnny France. I haven't see him since he was chucked out of school."

"Did you say Johnny France?" GR buried his head in his hands. "Johnny France. Just what sort of trouble are you lot getting me into?"

"Come on" Jesus helped Foxy to dismount from the outfit. "And don't bother locking the bikes. We might need them in a hurry" he gave a wicked laugh, and checked the adjustable spanner was still in his jeans back pocket.

With a roar and a twitter Cecil pulled in and parked his Goldie at the end of the row of bikes "Hello peasants. Ready for the dance are we?" Cecil dismounted and trolled towards where the Arcade Mob we milling around outside the Youth Club. The others followed him.

"Not being men of violence" Lew addressed his colleagues from Bernie's "I feel it would be prudent if we went in last, so that whilst we give psychological assistance by building up the numbers we will, in fact, be ideally placed to make a strategic withdrawal if the situation deteriorates."

Gra elbowed Foxy, who was practising fierce looks "What's all that mean?"

Foxy looked up at him "We stick at the back, then if things get rough, we can piss off quick. Give us a fag Gra."

Graham obliged and the lads watched as Johnny France gave the doorman a shove and the lads from the Tooting Arcade moved into the hall.

"Hey Prefect. You still pushing your weight around?"

GR turned and studied the short youth with cropped hair and dressed in a Mod fashion that had been out of date for at least two months. "I thought you'd have been in Borstal by now. Must be at least three years since we got you flogged for running the third year Mafia protection racket." GR and Yvonne moved to one side to let Bernie's crowd enter the hall.

"Nah." The old fashioned Mod studied the packet of cigarettes in his hand "I wont be sent to Borstal. I'm too cunning these days."

"Tell me," GR took a proffered cigarette and passed it onto Yvonne, "do you ever see anything of that fellow with the limp? The one that stank to high heaven .... "

The inside of the hall was dark and the lads stayed in a group to help maintain the appearance of strength. Johnny France and Spinx strolled down one side examining faces and knocking over tables. They stopped at the end table. Johnny France drew himself up to his full six foot six inches and glared down at the dozen or so Mods seated below him "I believe you have been naughty boys, and I think that you ought to know that my friends here," he indicated the mob of lads at the other end of the hall "think that you need your botties smacked."

The Mods pushed away their chairs and stood up. The lads walked slowly and deliberately down the hall towards them.

"Oi!" GR poked his head through the door "Law. A Noddy bike has just pulled in."

The lads stopped in their tracks.

"What's one Noddy bike?" one of the birds from the Arcade asked, cracking her knuckles.

"No, he's right." Moonie turned back for the door "There may only be one here now, but in a few minutes they will be swarming around here like flies round shit."

The lads followed Moonie out and congregated on the corner opposite the Church hall.

First the squad cars arrived, three or four of them, then the meat waggons arrived and disgorged their blue clad contents, then two dog vans arrived followed by a motorcycle patrol.

"Won't they be disappointed when they find that the cupboard is bare" Little Ray led the others back to the bikes. "Still it wasn't a waste really. The Mods got a fright, the reputation wasn't put to the test, and we found out how long it takes to get from Tooting Bec nick to Belview Road."

"Well, what now?" Lew asked, the lads looked at each other.

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