Rusholme Ruffians

‘How the fuck do you know his name?’

‘Sorry?’ Stephen is shocked. He’s read this wrong. Fear beings to choke him again.

‘Future, how do you know his name?’

‘I don’t.’

‘Why did you have to say his name? You… why did you have to go and do that?’

‘I don’t understand, I – ‘

Full Stop is now pacing the room, the machete swinging as he rants. He looks on the edge of tears. ‘I’m going to have to kill you now. Why did you have to say that, Stephen? Why the fuck did you have to say that?’

Full Stop stands in front of the chair and holds the machete above his head. Stephen closes his eyes, pleading: ‘Shit! No! I had no idea! You know where I live, you don’t have to…’ Stephen’s head is in his hands, tears, snot and blood mingling, a wet patch forming at his crotch. Full Stop has to stop this now. He has to silence him. If Future hears this he’ll…

‘Shut up, just shut the fuck up!’

Stephen is sobbing hysterically. Words sound like a disturbed wasp nest as they escape from his throat.

‘Steve, Steve. Stephen! Shut up. If he hears you we’re fucked. For fuck’s sake shut the fuck up!’

And then there is silence.

Stephen has stopped screaming. He opens his eyes. He doesn’t think he is dead. He sees Full Stop’s eyes before his own but closed, tears barely dammed beneath the lids. The bandana has been pulled down and there are beads of sweat on his cheeks. There is a wetness, a soft wetness. It is then that Stephen realises what has silenced him. A kiss. Full Stop’s lips on his.

A sound on the stairs. Future. Full Stop pulls away from Stephen and pulls up his bandana. His eyes are static-fuzzed, stunned. Stephen too is trying to process what has what has just happened. His look is glued on this boy. He feels embarrassed, ashamed but grateful, even as Full Stop’s fist smashes into his mouth.

‘Fuck is goin’ on down here?’

Future is stood in the doorway holding on to the lintel. His eyes sway from Full Stop to Stephen and then he sees the blood building up in the student’s mouth, the busted lip already fattening. Future smiles.

‘Good lad, little man. Sometimes these dickheads don’t know when to shut the fuck up.’

Matthew David Scott is originally from Manchester and he now lives in Wales. His debut novel, Playing Mercy, was listed for the 2006 EDS Dylan Thomas Prize and his second novel, The Ground Remembers, is due for publication in May 2009. Matthew has just started work on his third thanks to a bursary from the Welsh Academy. A founder member of the Leeds-based company Slung Low, Matthew has written for all of their shows to date. More info can be found at

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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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