Marty's Welcome Party

Marty ambled ambled slowly along his old street. Everything seemed deathly quiet. He reached his parents' house and put his key in the door, his heart thumping away. He called out but there was no answer so he just went upstairs to his bedroom. From his window he could see the block where Jem lived. Perhaps he should go there to see the boy who meant - had meant - meant so much to him. Perhaps he shouldn't. Maybe he should start a new life right here and now. He lay on his bed staring at the ceiling, his mind full of different thoughts.

The 'phone rang. It was one of his parents' friends. He politely took a message and they thanked him and hung up. There'd been no surprise in the caller's voice. Maybe they'd been too ashamed to tell their friends about their embarrassment of a son?

He looked in the fridge. His mother seemed to have made a lot of exciting puddings and covered them in silver foil. Perhaps he should just leave them. He helped himself to an Imperial Orange Squash with plenty of water. He switched on the television. The news was filled with the local election results: Lord Ashdown had widened the franchise to anybody of either gender who earned 80,000 pounds per year or more. He'd presumably expected that they'd all be so grateful to him that the Whigs would wipe all the old Tory councils out. Actually, to the Establishment's horror, the winners were the Labour Party, followed some distance behind by the Fascists. Some way behind them came the Whigs. Their only crum of comfort, though, was that the Tories, who'd dominated the local councils for years, were, indeed, all but wiped out - they came just ahead of the Communists, which was something the Whigs would tease them about for many drunken dinner parties to come (only gentlemen went to those dinner parties - no Fascist, Labour or Communist rabble would be let in with their bad accents and lack of Classical education).

Marty found the brakdown of the old Britain at council level underwhelming. He switched the television off and went for a long walk. After three quarters of an hour Stella Drummond, Marty's sister, appeared in front of him, brushing her long red hair, as was her wont. He hurried to the other side of the road and looked at the wall. Luckily she didn't seem to have noticed him. She was looking somewhat distracted. He then turned a corner and literally ran into Patricia, who laughed nervously and apologised. He apologised at the same time... the two suddenly found themselves in an embrace. They both said nothing for a bit. She then led him by the arm to her tower block, where she said he might find something interesting.

Marty's heart was racing again. He wanted to run away. What was going to happen? Somehow he trusted Patricia, though. He focussed on an old Empire Cola can drifting down the road; a plastic bag borne silently on the wind; anything, anything... mustn't think about what was going to happen.

They turned a corner and saw a huge crowd of people standing, shushing each other outside the council block.

"He's here," called out Patricia. The most ignored boy in school nearly jumped out of his skin as the crowd burst into the largest cheer he'd ever heard. So many of his school friends were there; quite a few of their parents, too. Jem was there with his family, Patricia's family were there; a band had been hired and started to play "Hotel California" by the Eagles. People were hugging him and wanting their photo with him.

Jeremy came and gave him a kiss in front of everybody. Everyone cheered. Somehow being openly gay AND the cause of the school bully being carted away to the Grey Tower had suddenly made him the coolest guy in town. News had travelled really, really quickly round here!

He nearly choked when a taxi pulled up and his parents got out, looking slightly out-of-place in the working-class surroundings here but nodding and trying to move in time with the music as they made their way towards the long buffet table which had been laid out. Marty's mother placed a lot of delicious-looking puddings coated in silver foil on it. She turned and nodded at Whig MP Marc Sethargis, who smiled at her whilst talking into two mobile 'phones at once. In his long suave jacket, dark glasses and trilby hat he also looked out of place next to a council block surrounded by partying comprehensive-school children.

"Ah, there he is," said Marty's mother, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Stiff upper lip and all that. She strode elegantly towards her son, her black fur coat and white dress billowing in the wind.

"Hello, dear," she said, giving him a small kiss on the cheek. Marty cried. His father looked very uncomfortable but shook his son's hand, looking slightly sideways at the professional photographer's camera.

Marty would never know it but his family had been all for cutting him off earlier in the week but his father had just become a Whig councillor, which would supplement his income substantially. His surprise victory over Branston Hammond had deprived the Tories of a council seat  which had been theirs for over a century. Lord Ashdown had made his party gay-friendly and had contacted Marty's dad personally about his son, wanting there to be lots of publicity about it. Marty's parents would look back at this in years to come and feel ashamed that they'd only accepted their son at this important juncture for the sake of political advantage. But Marty would never know this. Sometimes it's better not to know stuff.


The End

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