WHERE’S Pigeon? Where’s Pigeon? Behind Gwyn you can see there’s a door inside the van, and maybe it’s a toilet? And maybe Pigeon’s in there, maybe that’s where he is?
“Murdrer, murdrer. He’s killed Pijin. Murdrer!” Suddenly Cher’s screaming and kicking the side of the van. I want to stop her, but I’m too shy in front of the big kids in the queue and so I just say, “Don’t be stupid, Cher, don’t be daft”, over and again. Cher ignores me and just keeps going.
“Murdrer. Murdrer!” she screams, and I know now why Pigeon keeps her out of his shed.
In the slot, Gwyn looks at Cher slow. He’s frowning, doing a job at looking innocent. Behind him, kids on The Twister scream and whirl round in the air. Some of the big kids licking ice creams are laughing at Cher and one boy puts on a girl’s voice and runs round in circles screaming “Murdrer! Murdrer!” while his mates cackle like gulls so that I’m all red now, and embarrassed. Pigeon was right about Cher. Cher’s a pain.
“Don’t be stupid, Cher. Don’t be daft,” I say again, all quiet, feeling sick as usual.
Cher doesn’t stop, and the big kids are laughing more now, so I get a hold of Cher’s arms, trying to keep her back. It’s like trying to hold back a dog that’s swimming, Cher’s arms and legs scratching and everything.
Then, behind and through everything, there’s a shape, moving like a cat out of the van, past the sign on the side that says Mind that child, and running down the bank below, off into the dark. Pigeon’s gone before Gwyn and Cher can turn round to see him. He disappears into the dark, like the smoke from his cigarettes disappears up to the black sky from his attic window. Then he’s gone. Gone.
Watching him, my hands have stopped holding Cher and so she’s running round the side of the van, pulling open the back doors. Cher’s pink coat’s flicking under the lights and my feet go smack and smack, hard and fast on the ground behind her, cos I hate being second most of all, even with Pigeon gone.
But now Cher’s gone too far. Too far. She’s jumped into the van with Gwyn and he’s saying “Get out! Get out!”