Rusholme Ruffians

Spliff finished, Future and Full Stop turn into the backstreets. Here, lamps hover over the pavement. Cars cluster for shelter beneath their light. The red-brick walls of the terraces run dark and thick. Cupping his temples, Future cuts a look through the frosted window in a front door. From outside the house looked dead, but seeing light beneath the door to the front room, he turns to Full Stop and smiles before knocking.

Future steps to the side; Full Stop lifts his bike. He jogs up towards the door, timing his approach perfectly with its opening, crashing in bike-first and knocking the student to the ground. He is already down the hallway and at the door to the front room when he sees Future enter and pick the student up by the collar.

A head-butt thuds the student’s cheek before he can say anything, the skin splitting around the cheekbone and blood already appearing. He is forced, on hands and knees, down the hallway and into the front room. Future kicks him up the arse as Full Stop casually lifts his bike to allow him to pass.

As he is thrown into the chair the student grabs the TV remote for comfort and holds it shaking in his hand.

‘You got Sky+?’ The student holds his face and doesn’t answer. Future grabs him again. ‘I said have you got fuckin’ Sky+?’

The student is reeling, disorientated. In his shock he cannot answer so Future snatches the remote from him and begins to flick through the channels. ‘Virgin fuckin’ Media. Right, get your wallet out.’

The student reacts through reflex rather than reason. ‘Pardon?’

‘You hear that, little man? Such lovely manners. Wallet, dickhead.’

The student painfully dips into the back pocket of his jeans but before he can hand it over Future has grabbed it and slapped the student once more. He takes a seat and sets about the wallet, tossing its contents across the coffee table: NUS card, library card, vouchers, bus tickets, receipts. Future is left with six pounds twenty seven in change and a bank card.

‘Where’s the credit card?’

Now beginning to regain his senses, the student answers quietly. ‘I haven’t got one.’

‘You haven’t got one? Little man – you think we need to cut him?’

The student’s eyes widen but Full Stop backs him up. ‘He hasn’t got one big man. I’ve only ever seen him use the bank card.’

Future eyes the student with suspicion before breaking into another smile.

‘Good for you. Debt’s a trap a lot of students fall into nowadays.’

He stands up, sliding the bank card into his back pocket, leaving the change on the table. He heads toward the door of the front room but stops before reaching it. It is a piece of practised dramatic timing, much like the violence just administered, planned, rehearsed. This is Future’s art. Spinning back to face the student, he pulls a machete from inside his jacket and makes a ritual of giving it to Full Stop.

‘If he fucks about little man, you know what to do.’

Future heads back out of the door and soon his steps can be heard on floors above.

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7 Responses to “Rusholme Ruffians”

  1. October 22, 2008 at 2:53 pm, emma roy- williams said:

    i liked this story it gave quite a vivid image of what it must have felt like to be in that situation without using too much language. and with it being set in rusholme it was easy to imagine the setting ie quite a miserable student house.

  2. October 22, 2008 at 6:13 pm, SPorter said:

    Full of surprises. Really like the names of the characters too.

  3. October 23, 2008 at 1:14 pm, smith3000 said:

    Very impressive. You got the details right, and the language and, I’d imagine, the mindsets of the protagonists too. I really liked the ‘sting’ in the tail too ..

  4. October 29, 2008 at 6:03 pm, Rachel said:

    Love the description. Very crazy, youthful and studified just like Rusholme is if you happen to be on the bus at night for whateever reason. Good story.

  5. December 12, 2008 at 5:05 pm, Martha Jones said:

    I agree fully with the other comments, just the way Rusholme is. I love the surprise ending.

  6. June 01, 2009 at 9:16 am, Matthew David Scott said:

    Hey, thanks all. Appreciate it.


  7. February 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm, Sally said:

    A well-written story with a surprise ending. I was a student and lived in student accommodation near “Curry Mile”; you’ve captured the visual and psychological atmosphere of the place. The spare style gives an eerie feeling to the story and draws the mental portrait of the “ruffians”, well done.


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