My thanks to NaughtyAngel1369 for al her help with this story. The story is set in the 1960s when things were a lot different. It reads a lot better following her assistance. I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 1 - A Working Man's Tale
My given name is Charles or Charlie Givens, but due to circumstances I have been nicknamed Gimpy for so many years now that I respond to that name as well. My father was a farm labourer and mother was a stay at home housewife and mum, to myself and my three young sisters. The tale I'm writing now starts during my childhood in the late fifties and through to, well, we'll all have to wait and see when. It will depend on whether you get bored with me or I think that we have reached a point where I have exhausted my own patience.
I'm conscious that many of you reading this tale will be a lot younger and perhaps with limited knowledge of that time and what it was like. It was a time when here in the UK, people were born, lived and died in the same area. Imagine if you will, car ownership was rare, most families relied on public transport, Television was limited to two channels and in black and white, few families had a phone installed. I could go on but I hope you get the picture for times were hard; we were the post war baby boomers.
Don't get me wrong, I am not bemoaning or trying to live in the past, but to appreciate the story, you need to understand that computers, mobile phones, the internet, instant communications and video games were only a glimmer on the horizon. OK, so we didn't have the advantages of today's youngsters, but I think, all in all we have had the better start in life than today's generation. To my mind, the post war baby boom generation have had and taken the best this world will have to offer and I have a fear that our legacy to our children and grandchildren is less bright.
The reason for my nickname goes right back to when I was just five years old and in my first year at the Catholic primary school. We were a catholic family though not very devout, but if you were a Catholic, you went to a Catholic School!
It was November 5th 1953 and my parents took me to a Guy Fawke's night firework display organised by the local council. It was a cold November evening and we were standing well back from the bonfire when the fireworks display started. A rogue rocket went up in the sky trailing a red and orange tail, when it suddenly veered downwards and dived straight towards us. My father, pulled me away, but the rocket struck my right leg and exploded showering me with flames. I was told afterwards that I was lucky not to lose my leg or sight, if my father had not acted so quickly and doused the flames with his donkey jacket, I would have been crippled for life. As it was, I had scars on my hands and right side of my face that will live with me forever. My right leg was not only afflicted with burns, but was broken in two places. The hospital was great and managed to save my leg but the result was that it was always shorter than my left and once the plaster was removed I walked with a permanent limp, due in part to the muscle damage.
That was how on my return to school some three months later I was quickly nicknamed Gimpy Givens. It could have been worse, despite four operations, the right side my face would be scarred forever, so I could have been called scar-face.
Kids can be very cruel and school bullies always seen to pick on the weakest to test their power. There were a few in my primary years, but when they realised that I would fight back, they moved onto easier targets.
It was when we moved up to secondary school in August of 1959 that my particular nemesis called Bullet Barnes arrived at our School. His dad was ex army and had just moved into town. Bullet wasn't his real name, but because he was a big lad for his age with a blonde crew-cut hairstyle, he was given this name by one of the PE teachers and it stuck. He was two years above me in school and more than six inches taller. He made my life a misery for the remainder of my school years. I tried to fight back and had many a scrap with him, but when your two years younger and a lot smaller than your opponent, there was only ever one winner.
I was not academically minded at school and there are many excuses I could put forward as to why, but I refuse to do so. I got used to being the butt of the teacher's jokes when I failed to answer questions that the rest of the class seemed to know. Ever since, I have loathed the Holy Fathers who made up the bulk of the teachers in our school. I guess I started to believe them when they called me stupid. By the time I reached secondary school, I was streamed into a class where the students were destined to be the steel workers; fodder for the shipyard's that needed a steady stream of strong, fit young men to help build the ships which carried Britain's exports all over the world. I wasn't all that strong and because of my limp, I would never be quick or agile enough to work in the yards. The one talent I did have was that I could draw, people, still life or animals and I could draw them accurately. Nowadays, in a different school and different environment, that talent may have been nurtured and given the chance to blossom, but not in the early sixties.
I met a girl in school when I was fourteen and I thought she was stunning. Her name was Holly Miller and her family had recently moved to our town. She had long red hair and green eyes, at least that was what I noticed at that first meeting. Her father was a teacher at our school and she was seated next to me for registration every morning.
We got on well and she was the only one to call me by my given name, other than my mother. We were inseparable and everyone was aware that we were close. My father had passed away when I was eleven and my mother struggled to make ends meet. I never had new clothes, but this didn't bother me except when Holly asked me to take her to the School Christmas dance. I was too ashamed to admit that I didn't have the money or clothes to wear, so I told her I had something else on that night. She wasn't very pleased about my refusal and went off and asked Bullet Barnes if he would take her. Despite being two years older than Holly, he accepted straight away. Holly was quite the most beautiful girl in school with long red hair and even at just fourteen had well developed breasts that had every boy and some of the masters staring at her in admiration and lust. The night of the dance, I stood outside the school gates and watched as he escorted her. The way she looked up at him and smiled made me want to go over and fight him, even though I knew he would beat me without breaking sweat.
After my rejection, she and Bullet became an item and were rarely seen apart. He always made a point of pulling her close to him whenever I was around. He would look over me with a smirk on his face. One of the last fights I had with him was when I was fifteen and overheard him bragging to his mates and their girlfriends that it was only a matter of time before he fucked Holly and that he had already had her half way there. He was staring at me as he said this and his eyes were challenging me to do something about it. I didn't disappoint him and I think he thought I was easy meat as he skipped away from me, taunting me to catch him, something he knew that I could never do. In the end they must have gotten bored as they moved away leaving me with calls and laughter about Gimpy Givens and his gimpy leg ringing in my ears. Holly did get to hear about this incident and my attempt to defend her honour and she came over to thank me in full view of the school. She told me. "Ignore him! Bullet Barnes has never got past first base with me. I'm sorry that you got involved, but it was very sweet of you." With that said, she leaned over and kissed me on my right cheek ignoring the scar, then left.
I left school at the age of fifteen in the summer of 63 and went straight to work for a local building firm. I only got the job as the foreman was a friend of my mother's. Well, he was more than just a friend and he felt that he owed her. As I wasn't any use for scaffold or ladder work, I was shown how to use the cement mixer and drive the tipper or fork truck as circumstances arose. I was still only about five four in height but I was growing fast. By my sixteenth birthday, I was five eight and had put on a lot of muscle. Lifting cement bags into the mouth of the mixer and shovelling sand and cement soon built me up. There wasn't a lot of spare time, but on my lunch hours, I took to drawing my fellow workers as they ate their sandwiches and drank their tea. I always showed them the results of my efforts and many of them took them home for their wives to see.
At seventeen, I was now as fully grown as I would be and topped out at five nine and weighed in at thirteen stone. It was all muscle and I had grown in enough to be confident in my own abilities, but I was still a virgin. It wasn't as if I didn't try, but when the girls I approached y saw my scarred face they backed off. It hurt, believe me it hurt a lot.
This was the swinging 1960's, everyone was talking about the Beatles, The Stones, The Animals and the Mersey sound. Mini skirts and long hair were the fashions. Carnaby Street ruled and everything was buzzing. Somehow, it all passed me by. I was into music and along with my mates, spent most of my waking hours thinking about girls and in the evenings trying to get into their knickers. At this, I was spectacularly unsuccessful. I always seemed to end up with the nice girl who was saving herself for Mr Right or at the other end the one who looked like she had been short changed when the beauty genes were distributed.
It was Christmas, just before my eighteenth birthday when Holly Miller came back into my life. Unfortunately, so did Bullet Barnes. My mates and I were in our local pub playing darts and having a few beers when in walked Bullet followed by some of his cronies and their girlfriends. I picked out Holly straight away and my stomach lurched. She was drop dead gorgeous. Her hair was still blonde, but no longer long, she had it cut page boy style and it accentuated her long neck. She had on a long coat, but when she took it off to reveal a short mini dress that did nothing to disguise her figure, I for one let out a gasp. She looked around as if checking to see that everyone had noticed her, she needn't have worried, even the old men supping their stout had stopped talking in admiration. She hung up her coat and Bullet handed her a drink. It was my turn to throw, with a chance at double top to win, but I was still in a turmoil, brain dead and tummy churning, so it was no surprise that I missed with all three darts, much to the amusement of my best pal, Andy Connor. He picked up his darts and proceeded to throw a one fifty one finish to win the game. The loser had to buy, so I went to the bar and ordered the round.
Bullet must have recognised me and shouted out to his friends. "Well if it isn't Gimpy Givens! How's it going Gimpy, still scarred and limping I see?"
I ignored him; he was clearly drunk and itching for a fight. I picket up our beers and he grabbed my arm causing me to spill some of the beer out of both glasses. He laughed at that and I turned to put the glasses down, he pulled me by my shoulder and spun me around, causing the rest of the ale to spill over his jeans. I laughed and ordered two more pints as he tried to throw a punch at me. I ducked easily under his wild swing and told him, "Bullet, you're drunk and in no condition to start a fight, just sit down with your pals and relax."
He was not having any of that and swung again at me. This time I reached out and grabbed his fist in mine and squeezed. He howled as I increased the pressure forcing, him down onto his knees. "I'm a lot bigger now and stronger as you can feel, so why don't you do as you're told and sit down!"
This time he did as he was told and sat down muttering oaths and swearing he would get me back. I just laughed and resumed playing darts. A short while later, I felt a hand on my arm and looked round to see Holly smiling at me. I felt as though my heart had stopped as I gazed into her deep blue eyes. "Are you not going to say hello to me?" she asked.
"I thought you were with the Bull?" I replied nodding at a dozing Bullet sitting in the corner seat. "I don't make a habit of chatting up other men's girls, even if it is very tempting in this instance."
"He asked me to accompany him and his friends down to the 'dark side' as he called it. I'm not his date or anything and I had no idea that I would meet you again." She responded.
"The 'dark side'? Is that what you call the Queens Head? This is my local and I like it in here. It's a working man's pub and proud of it. If your looking for fancy cocktails and wine spritzers, you had best go to the Golden Plough, that's the local up market establishment, it's more like your lot are used to!"
"My lot? What do you mean my lot? We have as much right to be in here as you and your lot!" she said, the contempt clear in her voice.
After that, a few more words were exchanged and she stormed off to pull Bullet to his feet. She needed the help of two of his mates to get him up and they half dragged half carried him out the door.
I turned to see Andy Conner grinning like a Cheshire Cat at me and laughed as he said, "You've got it bad boy. She's way above your league, best leave her alone and forget her."
"You're the one that's wrong this time, I hardly know her for god's sake! I have not seen her in three years or more since she went off to University and based on one short conversation you tell me I've got it bad? You're wrong, so wrong."
Andy turned to the others and asked, "What do you think then guys? Has he got it bad or what?"
The general agreement was that I had indeed got it bad. I refused to admit it, even to myself, but that night, sleep was hard to come by as I lay awake thinking about how I had just screwed up a golden opportunity to chat up the girl of my dreams.
Christmas Eve came and we were out celebrating. In those days, three or four live bands would be playing at the dance halls every Friday and Saturday night, none of this disco stuff in those days, no, it was real live bands playing. To be fair some of them were pretty awful and the one on stage playing when I next bumped into Holly was murdering their rendition of the Beatles Christmas number one from the previous year, 'We can work it out'.
This time Bullet was sober and talking with his friends. When he saw me approach he moved to place himself in my path. I tried to step around him, but he moved to block me off. I was getting a little pissed off with this, but what the hell, it was Christmas, so I just shrugged my shoulders and turned away. I must have been about fifteen feet away when I heard a shout of warning. I ducked and turned as his fist flew just over my head, brushing my hair as it passed. If it had connected, I would have been floored, but it missed and I was ready for his next attempted punch. I hit him with a straight left moving inside his wild swing and followed up with a right that put him down. It was all over in seconds and it was so quick that even the bouncers didn't have time to respond. I turned and went back to my friends. His pals helped him to his feet and they slunk off to the bar.
A couple of hours later, I was chatting with my friends and happened to see Bullet on the dance floor with Holly. She looked as though she was pretty drunk as she was finding it hard to stand up and fight off his hands as they tried to take advantage of her drunken condition. I was determined not to get involved, so I continued to keep an eye on events across the floor. Holly was fighting a losing battle and he was openly groping her with his hand under her dress.
It was no good, I had to do something, so I walked over and asked her if she needed a hand. She may have been drunk, but not so drunk that she didn't recognise that she needed assistance if she was to fend off his advances. He was getting mean and told me to "fuck off." I took exception to this and pulled his arm away from Holly's waist. She spun back out of his arm and fell to the floor, exposing her trim white panties in the process. I bent to help her up when his fist crashed into the back of my skull. I saw stars for a moment and then heard the screaming start. I shook my head and when my vision cleared I saw Bullet coming at me with a wicked looking knife in his hand. I parried his thrust and grabbed his wrist. I squeezed as hard as I could on his knife hand and felt the bones crush beneath my grip. He howled in pain and started hitting me with his free hand. He got two good licks in before I head butted him and he fell away. The bouncers grabbed us both and took us towards the exit. I looked for Andy and saw he had a hold of Holly and he just nodded and gestured he would meet me outside.
We were both thrown out of the hall. Bullet was all for continuing the fight, but the police were patrolling, waiting for just such an event and he told me again that he was going to get even, but his wrist was clearly bothering him. He ran off when he saw the bouncers approach the police with his knife and told them what had happened.
Andy had brought Holly outside following me to check I was ok. I walked Holly home and at her front door, she pulled me to her and kissed me on the lips with just a hint of tongue. I asked if I could see her again and she gave me her parents phone number.
I spent Christmas with my mother and sisters and it was Boxing Day before I got up the nerve to call Holly. It was her mother who answered and when she asked. "Who can I say is calling?" I told her and she got straight on my case for bringing her daughter home in such a drunken state on Christmas Eve. I tried to deny it but she only stopped ranting when Holly pulled the phone from her hand.
She apologised to me and asked. "Why don't you come round and explain what happened. I want to see you again but we need to sort this thing out first. All I remember is a fight and you bringing me home. Please say you'll come?"
So I went round with some trepidation to face the wolf and his bitch in their lair. I got a frosty reception and after I told them about the events of Christmas Eve, they somewhat reluctantly thanked me for helping their daughter. That first meeting set the tone for all my future dealings with her parents for year's to come. Holly and I had several dates before she had to return to University. Our second date was on New Year's Eve and things got pretty steamy. We were in my mother's front room. Mother was out with her 'friend' and had told me not to expect her back before morning and not to do anything stupid. She knew Holly was coming round that night.
I was excited, there were very few places you could take a girl in those days, especially in winter. I didn't have a car, so that option was out and her parents never left us alone for more than five minutes when we were round there.
My mother must have been psychic or something. I didn't have a condom, you couldn't just buy them in any corner shop or petrol station in those days. No, they could only be purchased at the Pharmacy where the counter assistants would likely be young girls with whom you went to school. It was embarrassing to ask someone you knew or who you went to school with for a pack of Durex as you knew word would get round and every girl you courted would have her morality called into question.
In any case, I had never had the need to procure one before as I was still a virgin and as was Holly when I asked if she had taken precautions or if she had any protection to offer?
She was understandably upset and asked indignantly. "Just what kind of a girl do you think I am?"