They think it’s fun! by David R Graham
Most of the villagers weren’t church goers. But Sundays were days of rest.
That Sunday was no exception.
It was a heatwave. No-one was inclined to do too much.
The village was quiet, and peaceful.
I was prepared. A ploughman’s, a jug of Sangria, and a bottle of white wine were cooling in the fridge.
I got comfortable on the swing chair in the shade of the chestnut tree.
The latest Lee Child lay to hand.
I was naked beneath my dress. That always got Ryan going: my own Jack Reacher; working on a day like this, poor soul.
I had just followed Lee Child’s Jack Reacher into the fourth chapter when it happened.
Several cars came over the humpback bridge and roared through the village.
They screeched round the war memorial and roared back to the bridge.
The air was rent by shouting and hollering and shouting.
Seething with anger, I strode to the bottom of the garden.
From the top of the compost box I had a clear view of the bridge.
My heart sank.
Seven cars blocked the street. Their engines running, their doors open. Rap music assaulted the air.
A crowd of yobs blocked the bridge.
Several of the yobs clambered onto the bridge. They whooped as they jumped into the river.
Two of the cars spun their rear wheels in a cloud of white smoke then raced passed below me.
They screeched round the memorial cross and raced back to the bridge.
They were having fun.
I was angry and frightened. I got down off the box and went and called the police.
The operator was sympathetic. She assured me that a patrol car would be along shortly.
The cars roared up and down the road: their drivers shouting, their horns blaring.
Twenty-five minutes later, I called the police again.
There had been several calls about the disturbance. As soon as officers were available they would attend.
My neighbours called.
We were afraid.
We consoled and encourage.
The wives and mothers wouldn’t to let their husbands confront the youths.
Two police officers arrived in a patrol car. They parked well away from the bridge.
I joined my neighbours gathered by the church.
The officers took statements.
Then they drove down to the bridge. They did not get out of their car.
They came back.
They had told the yobs to keep their speed down and not to obstruct the highway.
They advised us to call 101 if the youths caused any further disturbance.
Then they left.
The yobs watched from the bridge. They were laughing and joking and gesticulating. And they were waiting.
They waited until the patrol car was well out of sight. Then they started all six cars and began to spin their rear wheels.
The banshee wail of screeching rubber filled the air and the bridge was enveloped in a cloud of white smoke.
I went indoors and called the police.
Officers would attend as soon as they were available.
The cars roared back and forth.
The yobs hollered and shouted.
Again we called the police. Again we were told officers would attend when they were available.
I went to get my book. I would have my lunch indoors.
Returning from the garden I heard a familiar sound.
I went to the gate and looked to my right.
The cars were back at the bridge.
I look to my left.
Jim Possey’s JCB was rumbling down the street. A muck grabber bucket was attached to its yellow snout.
Where’s Jim going?
What he’s doing?
Surely he’s not going to…?
It wasn’t Jim behind the wheel.
The driver wore a black boiler suit and balaclava.
I watched open-mouthed as the vehicle rolled by.
I closed my mouth and looked to my right.
The yobs were watching the JCB.
They were triumphant.
But they were uncertain about the JCB. Its gaping talon-like bale grabber and bucket looked predatory.
It was not slowing down.
The yobs saw the black clad driver.
They grew wary. They prevaricated.
They wanted to be obstructive. They stayed where they were.
The JCB stopped.
The bridge was blocked.
The driver got out of the cab.
He swung easily onto the bonnet, stepped lightly onto the grabber and dropped out of sight.
Then he stood up.
He reached both gloved hand behind his head and drew two long black sticks from the back of his boiler suit.
I jumped down; raced indoors, bound up the stairs, cleared the bed, and reached the window.
My jaw dropped in disbelief.
A black whirlwind was scything into the yobs crowded onto the bridge.
Like ten pins struck by a bowling ball they fell left right and centre before the blur of the whirling batons.
A hardcore of yobs rally; armed themselves with beer bottles, and charged.
In the blink of an eye it was over.
All of the yobs lay about the bridge as though felled by a gas attack.
Their black clad assailant returned the sticks to the back of his boiler suit; gripped the nearest yob by his clothes, hauled him to the far side of the bridge, and laid him on the verge.
He repeated that same manoeuvre eighteen times.
I thought he was finished.
He got back into the JCB and drove slowly over the bridge.
The bale grabber opened, the bucket skimmed the road, and scooped up a black Golf Gti.
The JCB did a three point turn; drove off-road, and tipped the car down the embankment.
I was in a trance.
The JCB performed the manoeuvre five times.
Then it stopped.
The driver got out. He walked across the narrow meadow; vaulted a fence, jogged across the adjacent pasture, and entered the trees on the far side.
The police arrived: in two squad cars.
They were joined by four ambulances.
To my great relief, Ryan showed up. He had a bruise on his left cheek: an accident at the base.
I told him everything that had happened.
Then I gave him the TLC we both needed.
The following morning we learned that the eighteen yobs had been knocked unconscious. Each of them had sustained at least one broken or fractured bone. All of them had been discharged from hospital the same day.
‘I imagine they’ll think twice about coming back here,’ Ryan murmured sleepily.