Cooking Apples

Cooking Apples

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The excitement grew steadily as they filled carrier bags and bag-packs with as many large and rotting cooking apples they could find.

You know the sort, large, heavy and misshapen – they often lay in gardens uneaten and rotting away among the grass.

They chose with care the hardest ones they could find, laughing and shoving one another whenever they discovered a particularly veracious looking one.

They scoured their gardens and wandered across the park until their bags were heaving with cooking apples.

The silent walk to the supermarket car-park was punctuated with giddy bursts of laughter and wide, gleeful grins.

They had a few curious looks, as many as ten teenage boys dragging bags brimming with apples will tend to attract, but the look of purpose on their faces stopped anyone enquiring into the nature of their goal.

They dodged absent minded drivers carefully as they made their way to the back of the car park.

The back of the car park overlooked the high street, and in particular a number of pubs.

They pointed out possible targets to one another, and weighed the apples in their eager hands. They would only have one chance.

Dusk finally settled and men began to enter and leave pubs after solitary points standing at the bar.

They waited.

They had honourably decided that it had to be a man – and the drunkest they could find. It was dark now, and they were angry with impatience.

Finally a drunk emerged.

Their choice staggered along the road, laughing to himself and tugging at his belt in a manner that suggested he would soon be happily urinating against the ‘Cash for Gold’ shop.

A look among them agreed that the time had come, they crept forward, closer to the edge, as quietly as a cat stalking with anticipation.

They paused at the car-park wall and looked towards Peter, the undisputed leader of the expedition for his approval and with his scream, ‘get him!’ they attacked with a frenzied fury.

The first apple caught him in the face as he looked up to discover his impending doom.

Bang on the nose! His hands covered his face and his back bowed to the ground.

At least two dozen apples followed, hitting him hard enough to split on impact.

Peter and the rest cheered as he crumpled to the ground, they grabbed more apples in preparation for a second round.

He rolled onto his back and screamed, ‘little bastards’ up at them.

At this Peter suddenly went still with his mouth agape and stared down in horror.

‘Stop!’, Peter screamed, and flung out his arms to stop the next round of assault, ‘that’s my dad!’.

They froze, their arms suspended, and looked down at their furious victim and back at Peter who had ducked down behind the car-park wall.

The apples fell from their hands, and one by one they joined Peter behind the wall.

……………………………………………………

As the gang later listened to Peter’s dad tell them how he had been set upon by five huge guys, (that he had of course managed to fight off), they carefully avoided making eye contact with one another and silently agreed that some events are best forgotten.

About the Author

Holly Steell
Holly has an MA in English literature, works for a charity and despite her name was not born at Christmas. She likes eighteenth century novels, spicy food and is one of the founding editors of Middlebrow Magazine.