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by juleschoc 

Posted: 09 November 2004
Word Count: 552

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It started with jeers and swearing as a man passed the park. There were about fifteen of us. We were just faces. We didn't really know each other. We used to to buy cheap cider, sit in the park and smoke. It was all exciting to a thirteen year old. Some of us knew our parents would throw a wobbly if they knew what we were up to. Others pushed it further under their noses and waited for a telling off that never came.

It didn't just happen. It was something we had decided to do. We were bored.

'Let's scare someone,' Fisher said.

Then he passed. Vulnerable with his glasses and sticky out ears he became our first victim.

'Hey Dumbo,' Stark yelled. 'Got a light?'

He didn't answer, but that only excited us. We caught up with him and pushed Kit onto his path. Something happened as he tried to hurry past. Something inside us began to stir as we sensed his fear. We stood around him for what must have been a minute just staring as his eyes darted from face to face.

We laughed as we let him pass. Yes, we let him. It felt good to know his fate was in our control.

'C'mon,' Fisher said after. 'Let's get back to the swings.' But it was to late to go back and be what we were.

We were not so lenient on our next victim. He must have been about nineteen. He lit a cigarette as he passed the park.

'We want your fags,' Kit ordered.

He didn't argue. Some of us looked mean. Others were big for their age. We fought over his fags as he sped away.

We hit the town shops kicking over bargain baskets, throwing empty coke cans. People were wary. They looked at us with what we assumed was respect. In the gang we were secure. Together we were loud. Initimidating. Nobody could stop us.

'Him,' Fisher said nodding towards the park gate. It was the signal.

He was a man. Small and wiry he was about thirty. Clutching the hand of a three-year-old girl he was an easy target.

'He probably has money for ice cream,' somebody sneered.

Kit yelled as we made our way onto his path. 'We want some money, Mister.'

Fisher poked him and the girl began to cry.

'Well you're not having any,' the man jeered. He picked up the little girl and pushed his way through our shocked faces.

Fisher went red. 'Get him!'

In a few seconds the man was on the ground. Screams of 'daddy,' mingled with the scuffling sounds of feet as they pushed their way in to kick at his curled body.

'Stop it!'

But we ignored the muffled cries.

We didn't stop until he finished yelling. Except for the sound of the little girl sobbing it was quiet as we left the park.

'Will he be alright?' I asked later.

Nobody answered. Some of them sniggered or lit up their fags. Others stayed quiet. My stomach churned whenever I thought about the screams and looked at the spot of blood that had dried on my trainer. I felt disgust and fear as I looked at their faces. I began to wonder why a gang of girls would do such a thing.

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Comments by other Members

Heckyspice at 12:05 on 10 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Jules,

Welcome to Writewords.

This was a good piece, well executed with decent pace and a good twist at the end. I imagined the gang as mini me baseball hat wearing thugs that we all see in towns and parks, so the reveal at the end was a great suprise. You did a good job of keeping this hiden by the choice of names.

The narrator might regret her actions but somehow you get the feeling she will never leave the gang. She understands only too well that no action will ever come against them. It is a sad reflection of the times we live in.

I enjoyed this and hope that decide to post more work.

Best Wishes,


Joel at 06:57 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Jules,

I thought this was well written and interesting to read. You kept the tempo fast with short sentences and gave a good insight into how the gang developed in confidence as it realized its power. I was wondering though if the jump from stealing someone’s ciggies to kicking a man unconscious was a bit too much of a leap.

I completely didn't see the twist coming and was suitably surprised. In my opinion this would be even more powerful if you showed us it was a gang of girls rather than told us. Perhaps saying something like "I felt disgust and fear as I looked at their faces, their lip stick smeared and eye liner smudged with sweat." So their is a more subtle realization that they are girls.

Finally, this probably purely down to male pride, but do you think a group of teenage girls could spank a thirty year old man, especially one protecting his daughter?

Those are just my thoughts. I hope they help.



juleschoc at 11:07 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
What a brill site!
Thanks for your comments..encouraging (so far lol!). I actually wrote this piece of work almost three years ago and feel that my writng has moved on a little since then. I've sort of developed another writing style (influenced by Raymond Carver). I chose to post this particular story because it was short. However, as I am on the free trial, and not a paid up memeber (yet)it is only one story I am allowed to post (sob!)

Believe it or not I was inspired to write 'Yobs' after a Kilroy show about girl gangs. After watching it, Joel, I could actually believe such a gang would be capable of this sort of thing. The show shocked me quite a bit as it is the sort of behaviour we tend to associate with the male gender (not being sexist just a realist..sorry but it's the kind of society we live in and if you were suprprised that they were girls you are just as guilty lol!)I hasten to add that they didn't 'spank...they kicked lol. Regarding the leap from stealing cigs..it was three leaps..it started off with name calling, moved on to stealing and finally the violence. (thumb at the nose to you) So there!!! lololol. I suppose if I was ever to pull this out of the bottom drawer and work on it I could make it a little longer to slow the pace..give an insight to the character's home life perhaps?

That comment about being a little more subtle at the end is really justified and I think it would improve the story 100 percent..thanks..just wish I'd thought of it myself! Well, it should have occurred to me in the first place (shame on me!) Subtlety is a key to good writing I believe!

David, it is interesting to see you are a gemini..most gems I know have a way with words (Raymond Carver himself was a gemini lol!) Another good writer I noticed on the site (Paperback) is also a gemini..interesting.

Well I'm off now to have a nose at some of your work...............

scottwil at 11:22 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
I liked your enthusiasm for the site, jules, which is why I'm here. I like the twist and enjoyed the unadorned staccatto style too.
There are couple of tweaks that I'd make:
"He was a man. Small and wiry he was about thirty."
I think this gender emphasis pre-empts the twist.
So, you might consider: He was small and wiry; about thirty.


"We were not so lenient on our next victim."

"We were not so lenient to our next victim."

I hope you take out full-membership and look forward to your next piece.


Nell at 08:39 on 15 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Jules, welcome to WriteWords. I'm coming late to this so haven't much to add to what's already been said. I think Joel has a good point in that a man would fight to protect his daughter, but you could get over that by writing in some details of the struggle, making the kicking less of a pushover than it seemed. Showing the end rather than telling would lift this into a great piece of flash. Something like this happened to me many years ago - country children in a deserted park. I wasn't actually attacked but it could easily have gone too far. Lord of the Flies may be the truest novel ever written.



Forgot to mention that I noticed you'd used 'sneered' and 'jeered' close together. I'm not sure you need either, but maybe think about replacing at least one of them.


By the way, did you realize that 'yobs' is butchers' back-slang for 'boys'?

juleschoc at 20:23 on 17 November 2004  Report this post

Thnx again for all the comments i will take them on board if I ever decide to rewrite or send it off somewhere. This site is really helpful.

Hi Nell...butchers' back slang..can't say I've ever heard of that but it has just dawned on me that YOBS is also an anagram of boys. I'm clever without realising it lololol. Adds another dimension to the story methinks.......


Nell at 18:44 on 22 November 2004  Report this post
Jules, butchers' back slang consists literally of words reversed - or as near as possible. Sometimes a vowel is added to make the word pronouncable. Butchers used it when they didn't want the customer to know what they were saying - a butcher might say to his assistant 'Give the lady the dilo piece' - 'dilo' meaning 'old'. I expect it's fallen into disuse in these days of supermarkets.


nasha17 at 20:53 on 04 December 2004  Report this post
Hi Jules,

I have to say I really enjoyed this piece until the twist. It didn't work for me, I think some early, mysterious clues would bring this in more smoothly. But I loved reading it and think it is very well written. It made me think and reminded me of walking through dark parts alone, although at thirteen I always wished I was part of them as well as being terrified.


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