3 June 2014
Darryl sauntered along Langlands Road heading back to the park. The sun was still high as the evening was just beginning. He was alone on the pavement as cars and the occasional bus blew past him. He threw a finger up at a large black saloon that beeped as it sped past him. When he reached the roundabout he could see some of his crew turning to go into the park before him – he could hear their laughing after they had slipped through the fence and out of sight.
Once he had entered the park and they had seen each other Darryl jogged the last few feet to meet up proper. Five other boys had shown, including Johnny who was older and going to be running things on Friday. “Aye here he is, map maker. How you doing?” he said as Darryl joined up. “Awright, you had a look about?” asked Darryl. A few of the boys looked round at their surroundings. Unlike Darryl’s visit two days before there were people in the park. Dogs chased after balls thrown in different directions. Some boys were playing football, their excited yells and shouts filled up the air and sounded clear to the crew even from their distance. Darryl saw a young couple walking slowly under the fully bloomed trees, hand in hand, a woman with shiny hair blowing gently as she rested it on his shoulder. The flags and markers he had seen before were all still present along with more signs of the impending activity. A few large generators were dotted around with clamps on their wheels.
“There’s not going to be that much,” said Darryl. “Not as much as they’ve said there was gonnae be anyway. The flags,” he waved round in their general directions, “are where the rides and that are gonnae be. The parade’s at that side, the Govan road side, so the gates there are gonnae be shut until that’s past. The gates at this end,” he pointed round past Lady Elder’s imperious stare, “will all be open during the parade as there’s people coming in here. If we do anything it’ll be best if it’s when the parade’s on tae, you’ll have the polis at two ends trying to deal with stuff as well as all the people there who’ll get panicky if something happens.” “Mastermind here this wan,” drawled Johnny. “How much stuff will there be at the rides an’ ‘at?” “I don’t think there’ll be a lot. There’s only about three generators now that I never saw at the weekend. I think what stuff there is will have lots of folk centred around it though.” “Magic, more carnage,” said one of the boys, causing outbreaks of laughter. “Aye sounds good, nice to have the genius on board eh?” said Johnny, clapping Darryl on the shoulder. “You all had a look about? Know what you’re doing and what you’ll need?” asked Johnny. The rest of the boys nodded silently. “Another thing,” said Darryl looking at them with scorn. “Don’t staun about looking like that,” he zipped his tracksuit top up fully tucking his chin under the collar and threw his hands deep in his pockets. “The polis take wan look at you like that, one of you never mind a bunch and you’ve had it. Don’t look as if you’re here trying to hide from folk or waiting to do something.” “Aye, the General is right,” said Johnny. “You’ll get us papped oot if you even manage to get in in the first place. Right, ‘mon. I need to go tae ma grannie’s, you lot dae what you want.”
Darryl stayed behind to talk to some of his boys as they walked around the park. He was due to move school after the summer and was anxious to spend as much time with them as possible during the summer – he wanted the Fair to be the start of things, great memories to take with him when he went to a new place in his life and met new people. He was never open with any of his crew about this, preferring to show his appreciation through his actions. Part of his motivation for their Fair activities was this, wanting to put as much into it as he could.
As the sun started to go down the boys dispersed and went their separate ways. Any more specifics about Friday could be sorted by phone, but Darryl felt better about what was going to happen, more secure in their plan and above all happier knowing he had played an important role in their plans. He went home with a smile on his face which grew when he saw a police car pass him, knowing something they didn’t.