Itroduction

What in God’s name happened? I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. Why the hell am I lying on my back on the kitchen floor and why is my head clanging like it’s hosting a steel-drum-band, practice session? Right, don’t panic Kathy, let’s take stock here. Think, let’s try to work this out.

Okay, the wall clock says it’s nine-thirty-five, that means I’ve been on the floor for about an hour and a half, because I remember hearing the eight o’clock radio news. Maggie and the miners, as usual. I had a mug of coffee in my hand and I was walking across to the grill to put some toast on. There’s the proof, a broken mug and the two slices of bread, floating in the spilled coffee over near the cooker. I can move my neck at least… let’s try an arm… bugger, nothing doing. Okay Kathy, we agreed not to panic, let’s try the rest of our limbs one
at a time.

Shit, what the hell have I done to myself? … Hang on, this may just be all a seriously bad dream, let’s try to get some focus.  OW! Okay, I’m awake, I felt that all right. Note, no need to bang your head on the floor tiles again anytime soon.

So, I’m awake, and I can’t feel anything from the neck down. My vision is okay and my hearing is fine because Pat Boone is crooning away on the all-day, oldies radio channel. Okay, let’s concentrate on getting up. Maybe try to get into a sitting position first… Christ, don’t try that again for a while, it felt like I’d just got off the Waltzer at the Goose fair. Dizzy… who sang that? Come on Kathy, concentrate… Tommy Roe, phew, your brain is still working at least. Christ, I was nearly sick then, better stay down here a while longer, maybe I’ll feel better after a nap… so tired… who’s this on the radio? Marty Wilde? This song will always remind me of the Goose Fair. Why Must I Be A Teenager in Love …



Chapter One

Teenager In Love

‘Kiss me quick? Don’t mind if I do.’

Kathy pulled her face away as the Brylcreem smeared head
appeared in front of hers. She placed both hands on the man’s ample shoulders
and pushed him away.

‘Sorry, I’m saving my kisses for someone special.’

The man stepped back, a look of disappointment across his
face.

‘You shouldn’t be wearing that hat if you don’t want
offers.’

‘It’s a hat, not an invitation,’ said Kathy, curtly. ‘And
there are hundreds of girls here wearing them, one of them might not mind.’

Maxine broke off from a deep kiss with a boy who had had
better luck.

‘Phew, that was a proper Hollywood smooch.’

Kathy took Maxine’s arm and led her away from the crowd of
young men.

‘Didn’t you fancy him then, Kathy? said Maxine, looking back over her shoulder.

‘He thought he was James Dean, but he was more like Christopher Lee from Dracula,’ replied Kathy with a shudder. ‘You could just seem him hanging around the crypt with his pet bat.’

Maxine laughed. ‘With blood dripping from his teeth?’

Kathy smoothed down her polka-dot skirt, and took off the offending hat. A crowd of girl guides scurried noisily past. Kathy stuck the hat on the head of the one closest to her.

The girl squealed with delight and showed it off to her
friends. ‘Thanks, Miss.’

‘Watch out for vampires,’ Kathy warned.

Maxine adjusted her own hat so that the Squeeze me slowly,
message was in plain sight.’

‘You’re too picky, Kathy, that’s your problem.’

‘I have a boyfriend in case you’ve forgotten.’

‘Not much of a boyfriend if he won’t even take you to the
Goose Fair.’

‘He’s gone to a wedding in Derbyshire with his mother. He’ll
easily be back in time for a slow dance at the Palais tomorrow night.’

The girls eased their way through the tide of people making
their way past the stalls and rides of the annual Nottingham Goose Fair. The
smell of candy floss, hot dogs, fried onions and mushy peas assailing their
nostrils. Girls walked in pairs, arm in arm, singing along to the latest pop
songs as they passed the Waltzer and the Dodgems. Kathy stopped at the Helter-Skelter
and leant against the barrier.

‘Ooh, listen Maxi, Marty Wilde, I love this so much.’ Maxine
took Kathy’s hand and they performed an improvised Foxtrot to Teenager in Love.  

Maxine bought a toffee apple and a sticky twirl of candy
floss for Kathy.  As soon as she began to
eat, a brisk wind blew half of it into her face. She turned to Maxine sporting
a bright pink beard and giggled as she took out a white handkerchief and her
compact mirror from her baf and attempted to wipe the sticky mess away.

Kathy looked at her watch, a birthday gift from Ronnie. She pictured him at the wedding, suited and booted, hair slicked into a sharp quiff. He looked good in a suit.

‘It’s ten past nine. We’d better get back home; I’ve got to go to work in the morning.’

Maxine pulled a packet of filter-tipped cigarettes out of her bag, slipped one into her mouth, cupped her hands against the breeze and and lit it with a small, stainless steel, Ronson lighter. ‘Come on Kathy, it’s Saturday tomorrow so you’re only working ‘til one.’

‘No, I’d better go. It’ll be close to ten by the time I get back and you know what my mother’s like. I’ll be interrogated and checked over for smudged lipstick before I can go to bed. Aren’t you working tomorrow?’

‘I should be, but I told, The Empress Franny, that I had bad guts this afternoon. She’s not expecting me to be there.’

Ahead, a group of women waved in recognition.

‘Kathy, Maxine, Ooh Ooh.’

‘Shit,’ said Maxine. ‘Bloody Franny’s with them.’

The Empress Franny, supervisor at Glamour Garments, pushed her way through the crowd. She dropped a Park Drive cigarette stub on the floor and smothered it with a twist of her high heeled, foot.

‘Feeling better than Maxine? That’s good; I’ll see you at your machine tomorrow. Seven o’clock, sharp.’

Maxine forced a smile. ‘Time we were going, Kathy. We’ve got a bus to catch.’