Things had returned to normal after arriving at a seemingly amicable solution. By that, I mean just over the course of one single night. What the next day would bring was anybody’s guess. But still, I had a now “disowned” bicycle leaned up against the fence of my backyard and it’s deranged previous claimant living just a few meters away from me. Not the best case scenario, I’m sure you’d agreed, but this is what went down the following day…
Looch was at mine, us per usual back then. Two bored youths, analysing far too deeply into an unnecessary nuisance drama in which neither of us had any intention of being a part of in the first place. Alf had some house duties to attend to that day. How convenient, I thought to myself. After a little further discussion and a number of different choices presented, one seemed a clear cut winner. And a most sensible one, at that. I hoped, anyways.
”Right. So are "you" going to leave it outside his? Or shall I?” Given the dubious nature of this perilous mission, it may have been more apt to draw straws. All two of them.
”It’s cool.” Looch replied. ”I’ll do it. Let’s just get this thing over and done with.”
I think I’ll just mention the fact that Alf was originally Looch’s close friend, which then spilled over into all three of us hanging out together. Therefore, because of the roots of this debacle possibly stemming from his minor part (i.e. Alf’s presence in my home being somewhat to do with his good self), he put himself forward for the task at hand. Goes without saying, it was obviously something your narrator would rather not have partaken in, so I was extremely grateful for this gesture. Then again, he was always very accommodating like that.
So, we proceeded to take the bike from the back, through the main hallway of the house and out front. I recall the weather being quite pleasant with tufts of lazy clouds drifting overhead and flowers in full bloom. The only dark clouds being the invisible ones thundering above us and that accursed house next door. I chose to stay behind whilst Looch strode up to the house and disappeared into the pathway. I may have mentioned about “the mother” of the house, who’d rarely make an appearance to trim the large, bushy hedge surrounding their lair. So, whenever anybody entered the premise, they’d in effect vanish from sight! Even though I was quite certain he'd return safely, verification of that fact was essential to ease my growing anxiety. I just wanted this crap to end. Like, yesterday!
He emerged from around the corner of the green leafy hedge, empty handed and holding one thumb in the air. I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. For the time being, at least. Half the nightmare was over. But the very next instant proved otherwise.
Aubrey stepped out, a few feet behind Looch. And looking sorely pissed.
”Oh right?” He snarled, erasing all traces of affability he exhibited yesterday. ”So "you" took my bike. That’s great. Now I know the truth.”
Before I could say anything, Looch piped up. Digging deep to find courage enough to say “enough is enough”. ”It wasn’t me!” He exclaimed. ”I’m only returning it because I thought that would be the right thing to do! Don’t think you can scare me, alright? I ain’t frightened of you! None of us all!”
I’m not gonna lie, I was petrified. We were at a crossroads already and delving into territory that had yet to be explored by anyone on our street. I couldn’t help getting this feeling comparable to prodding a hungry lion with a wooden stick, but hey, Looch just didn’t wanna play this game of cat and mouse any longer. Especially as he wasn’t exactly responsible for any of it. Aubrey froze for a moment, almost in utter astonishment as to someone standing up to him. It was like a scene out of some classic western. Well, I soon found out who was gonna draw first.
”Wait there, guys.” He said calmly, turning back to retreat back home. ”I’m just gonna go grab a knife to stab you all up.”
WHAT??? The shit had truly hit the fan. And things were about to get a whole lot worse.
”Yeah! Go on then!” Looch yelled back. ”I’ll be waiting for you out here!” I remember running up to him, barely hearing the front door to Aubrey’s dimension slam shut. ”Are you crazy!” I screamed. ”He’s gone apeshit! You know that, right? Let’s get the hell inside! Quick!”
”I've had enough, man!” My enraged friend bellowed back. ”He thinks he can terrorize the neighbourhood and leave everyone fearing for their safety? Not me! Not today, goddamnit!”
I could tell from the anger in his vein-filled eyes that he wasn’t kidding around. Well, words can hurt plenty, but not as much as a knife stuck in your belly. I grabbed Looch by the torso and physically lifted him into the air. He kicked and cursed at me, but this was for his, as well as my, own good. I just about managed to heave him through the front entrance to my house, along with himself.
”The hell is wrong with you, man?” he yelled, temporarily losing control of himself. ”We gotta make a stand against this vicious prick!”
”I know, but not like this!” I replied, attempting to reason with him. “Let’s just take this situation down a few notches and re-evaluate. I live next door to this guy. You want him coming after me? Waiting outside my house with a weapon of some kind? Come on, man. I understand you’re pissed but let’s get a grip here!”
I’m not sure if it was my stern words or having several seconds to compose himself, but he relaxed back into his normal self soon after. Still panting from the rush of adrenaline pumping through his veins, he shook his head.
”Oh man, this is going too far now.” He lamented, still a little charged with emotion. ”How did we get to this point?”
”I don’t know.” I replied. ”But he hasn’t come back out yet like he promise. Maybe he can actually differentiate between utter insanity and plain old "big-man" talk. One thing is for sure, though. I need to get this shit squashed, one way or another.”