The party was good enough to stay at until past 2am. Then I sloped off without anyone seeing me leave. I’d niftily managed to hook up a can of beer as I moved through the kitchen on my way to the back door.
The air felt cold against the few bits of exposed skin of my face, and as I pushed the buds into my ears I already knew exactly what I wanted to listen to. I never had any intention of waiting for the two night buses that it would take to get me home, and the standing joke amongst my friends was that I always insisted on walking from parties to home late at night. Normally I’d have a fight on my hands as everyone would try to persuade me to go with them, but tonight, no-one saw me leave.
The streets were dark and almost silent. You know what I mean, that sort-of-silent that is almost, but not quite; there’s no-one there to make a sound, but the streets have a eerie way of producing their own voice. This is a voice that I don’t much like, it unnerves me, and my earbuds help drown it out.
This was a time for me to think. Yeah ok, loud music and thinking might not be something that adults can understand, but most teenagers that I know can only think with loud music playing! Anyway, I enjoyed the time alone, in my own world.
I’d crossed the main road and had begun winding my way through the residential streets that were so familiar to me. And then they appeared. From nowhere. Three boys, bandannered and hoodied and offering trouble.
‘Fam, what’ve you got for us?’
‘I’ve not got much.’
‘What’ve you got. Food? An eighth?’
‘Nah, man, I’ve got nothing.’
The speaker sucked his teeth, looked away and said:
‘You got no phone?’
I put my hand in my pocket and handed it to him. He looked at it, looked up at my face, sucked his teeth again, and shook his head:
‘What’s that piece of shit? You expecting me to take that?’
They walked off handing it back to me, and were gone as quickly as they had appeared.
I had been anti-mugged. My muggers had rejected my bashed up phone.