Gangs

Two boys sat against a green mesh fence surrounding a football pitch torn up by disuse. White markings showed themselves on the pitch as scurries of several generations of track and broke off where the earth was waterlogged and the grass appeared in thin fingers exposed in water. The paste of the earth continued to rise. The side at which they sat was one of two that was fenced, the other two sides built to a steep incline towards a row of houses that looked down on it all. They both wore hooded jackets under a sky being pushed on by strong winds, Ryan looked on, resting his elbows on his knees, Kyle to the sky, both smoked long cigarettes.
—What do you wanna do? Ryan asked.
—Don’t know. I don’t really know.
—Do you fancy anything?
Kyle turned his head toward the Ryan. Ryan not making eye contact, instead focused on Kyle’s shaved right eyebrow, the soft of the skin underneath replacing the line. His eyes a dead hollow blue.
—I’m not sure. Like what?
—I don’t know. Just wondered if you fancied anything?
—I’m not bothered really.
Kyle through the woods that faced them, sat together and pale, Ryan inhaled on his cigarette and exhaled quickly. The smoke cold and broken and congested. To his left a row of houses partially hidden by a line of garages. This was a long way from home for Kyle, currently sleeping at one of the sheltered complexes by the border. He had only been there for a month so hoped to get a few more weeks out of it. He had been told stories by people’s parents but this many years down the line the housing wasn’t as busy and placement was much more casual. Prior generations told stories but were often the ones sitting with the guilt of giving up the kids in the first place. You can’t hate money, Kyle didn’t, and everyone was probably better off for it. The elderly were very elderly and the two groups rarely mixed. The road was silent and Kyle only listened to stuff about people’s houses.
—We could go round to yours? Ryan asked.
—No, my mum’s in.
—Oh yeah. Is your dad around?
—Yeah I think so. Kyle inhaled then pulled the cigarette far away from his face, rubbed his right eye with force then rubbed the palm of his hand into his eye. —I’ve got smoke in my fucking eye. Ryan turned and looked at Kyle, quickly turning away on sight. Kyle rested his hands on his legs and stared wide, his left eye and the skin around it bright red.
—Have you got- Kyle started rubbing his eye again. Ryan glanced back at him. —It fucking stings.
—Don’t rub it.
Ah. Kyle rested his arms on his legs. —It really stings.
—Yeah?
—Yeah, it’s the smoke in my eye.
Kyle’s right eye only partially, wet, and redder than earlier. He stretched it open and looked to the sky.
—Just don’t rub your eyes. And don’t fucking look up like that.
—I know but it stings… We could go to your house?
—I don’t know.
—Yeah.
The air was damp. The park always empty, it served no purpose for the town, paid for by government donation, offering and taking nothing. The air was almost non-existent, thin and heavy at the same time, falling into the line of trees that spread up in front of the boys and were planted with careful precision so as to seem natural, growing randomly and forcefully.
—Are you hungry? Kyle asked.
—No, I’m alright really. Do you want to go anywhere?
—No, I’m fine. I was just asking to see if you might want to go somewhere.
—Ah right.
A bag was blown out of a bin close to a slide a dozen or so feet away from the boys rustled static in the wind. The bag catching a small gust and taking flight for brief moments then tagged sharply by its handle secured to the wooden support under the long slide to the sound of parachutes. There was a lot of this.
—Have you got a drink of anything? Kyle asked.
—No, sorry.
—It’s alright.
The woods hummed with shuffling clothing, with the sound of wet twigs being trampled underfoot and the two boys were intent on continuing to look passed the floor, chin rested. A boys voice screamed like Uwue Uwue and it echoed high through the trees and dissipated over Ryan and Kyle’s heads as a third boy in black ran up to the monkey-bars and dropped his trousers before jumping and swinging while pissing, his white trainers marking the length of his body under the mass of black trousers around his ankles. The stream of piss swung in an arc from side to side. The two boys at the fence laughed.
—Do you want to go get something to drink? Ryan asked.
—Yeah, alright.
—We can go to the shop.
—Yeah.
—We’re going to the shop. Ryan shouted to Anthony.

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