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Forward Pass


Forward Pass
Three different sexual predators : The Boy, the Girl and the Rugby Master.
The Game
1979. Billy and Dave are 16 yr olds at school. A game of rugby has just finished. They play scrum-half and centre. The Rugby Master, a fashionable and handsome man, is shouting about the poor performance not being good enough if they want to win in NZ. As they leave the field, Dave is flirting with Sue, one of a pair of twins. Billy is trying to tell Dave that his girlfriend Rose will need looking after while he’s gone to NZ with the first team.
Rose is watching from the touchline standing with the twins. Sharon, the other twin is shouting encouragement at Brian the hooker; her boyfriend.
At the changing room door Billy tries again to get Dave to listen but is interrupted by Brian teasing Dave that he’s not going to get anywhere with Sue.
Dave agrees to protect Rose from herself. He tells Billy “I’ll watch her; you’ll have to watch out for yourself” As they enter the Rugby Master is chasing naked boys into the shower by flicking a towel at them.
The Walk Home
Leaving the school gates, a few days after Billy has gone to NZ, Rose asks Dave to walk her home. They are both wrapped up against the cold. At her front door Rose opens her coat and gets Dave to hug her inside it. They kiss.
The Welcome Back Party
Billy is drunk, sitting on a sofa by the food. Dave is eating straight from the buffet table when Brian comes up and comments on the amount of time Rose has been with Dave while Billy was away. His parting shot is “If you were trying to make Sue jealous is hasn’t worked”
Billy overhears. Rose comes over as Billy struggles off the sofa and puts her arms around the pair of boys. She kisses them both. “Dave did a marvellous job looking after me you know”
Billy looks down ruefully – “I wish someone had been looking after me”

Billy looks across at the Rugby Master who gives him a special wink and directs a look at his watch and rolls his eyes toward the door.



FORWARD PASS (the novel version) Jan 2012



Dave could hear the slight fizz in the air as the drizzle hit the power lines that ran high over his head. He looked up at them and followed their line to the uprights of the rugby posts in front of him.  Beneath the cross-bar was a disinterested huddle of defeated schoolboys waiting for him to convert the try Billy had just made. Dave struck the ball sweetly between the posts and the referee blew his whistle with a flourish that everyone knew meant the end of the game. The cold November wind at once began to bite through the invisible coat of exercise and focus.  Billy, the captain, barked at his team to form up to applaud the losers off the field.  Crawley shook hands with the opposing rugby masters, then the referee, then strode to the touchline to congratulate his team. He was still in his twenties, just, wore platform shoes even on the field, his flared trousers barely out of the mud. His big worsted trench coat was open as he moved swiftly on his long legs. His tie blew over his shoulder and his long permed hair tried to follow it. He applauded with the boys as they made the corridor of bodies that the first of the dejected team had begun to pass through. Crawley had a word for all his team mates Dave noticed. Billy had his hair ruffled, Brian his upper arm punched, most had a hand laid on their shoulder. He said and did nothing to Dave, didn’t even catch his eye. That suited Dave. Instead Dave looked down the touchline to where the girls were standing. Susan and Sarah, the twins, were naturally standing side by side, dressed fashionably but identically. The only thing that appeared to be keeping them warm was their school scarves, bundled up round their necks, it wasn’t their short skirts. Rose was there too, waving a school scarf over her head, still celebrating her boyfriend’s try. Dave managed to catch Sarah’s eye and winked but she turned away and whispered into her sister’s ear. He felt like he wasn’t getting anywhere.  He had seen at first hand that rejection hurt.  He didn’t like being the subject of it now.  Playing rugby might be a manly thing to do, but he felt getting Sarah in his arms would make more a man of him. Dave was already quite well built; his shoulders had recently broadened to give his torso a more tapered look, his legs, formally matchsticks poking from a pair of rugby shorts, were now muscled and covered with hair.  The hair on his face was still fluffy though, and circled a number of acne spots.  These could have looked better since his Dad had told him that the best way to get your face in condition was to shave the spots off, not put all that cleanser nonsense his Mum and sister kept pressing him to use.

Dave believed his Dad, and he also believed the key to ending the chaotic ambiguity he felt after his brush with Crawley was losing his virginity. This was not just a rational belief, he physically felt it too.  His whole body seemed charged at the thought of sex; there was a jumble of imagery in his head, and the things that really excited him were the male images as much as the female ones. That didn’t sit well for a 16 year old rugby playing lad from Ilford, Essex. When Crawley had driven him home injured once after rugby practice and put his arm round him just before he got out of the car, Dave’s body had responded in a way that had surprised him.  Crawley had then offered to give his twisted knee some physiotherapy. He had looked Dave straight in the eye as he said it, an innocent enough phrase that could indeed have been innocent, but the look in Crawley’s eyes said otherwise. It was the same look Dave had caught himself having in his bedroom mirror while looking at the ‘Knave’ he kept under his bed. Dave knew lust.

His little reverie stopped as the last of the losing team passed and the corridor of young gentlemen rugby players became a huddle of muddy schoolboys.  Billy came straight up to him and put his arm round Dave’s shoulder as they turned towards the changing pavilion. Billy was a lot like Dave, well built and tall, but with curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes.  He and Dave had been fast friends only the last two years through secondary school since a school sailing holiday.  It didn’t feel odd for Dave to put his arm back over Billy’s shoulder.

‘Another mighty victory for Sussex School,’ said Billy

‘All down to you and your leadership of course;   nothing to do with my supreme kicking skills at all.      I’m not surprised the first team begged you to go on      their New Zealand tour,’ said Dave, his straight face hardly cracking under the sarcasm, ‘though it might be they just wanted a curly cute mascot.’

Billy laughed and tried to strangle Dave.  Their wrestling was suddenly broken up by Rose wrenching Billy and Dave apart. She started kissing Billy at a pace he could barely get his breath at. There is lust, thought Dave.  He chanced another look at Sarah. This time she didn’t look away.  Susan was talking to Brian so she didn’t notice her sister blush and look down at the floor. This is better, thought Dave.

Rose was still trying to kiss Billy as they got to the entrance of the pavilion. Her bright pink lipstick was smeared over much of his face and she had undone her long sheepskin coat unleashing future TV’s famous chest. She would have followed him in amongst the half dressed boys had Billy not spoke sternly to her.  Crawley was suddenly there too.  One look at him and Rose turned away, nearly cracking heads with Brian as he entered. In the collision Brian hardly stopped his strut. He was used to people getting out of his way, which would ultimately be his undoing. He would mistake an oil tanker for a small buoy one rainy night collecting drugs from a launch off by Jaywick in the Thames estuary. Now he headed straight for Dave. Dave was pulling his muddy shirt over his head.  Brian trapped Dave with his head still inside by grabbing his up stretched arms. Brian growled into the neck hole,

‘Stay away from Sarah shithead. She’s not interested   in a bum boy like you. Bury it in your Billy’s hole. I    catch you near her again I’m having you.’

Dave struggled but Brian held him firmly as he hawked up phlegm from deep in his twenty-a-day throat. He was about to spit when he yelped instead. Crawley had whipped him on the backside with the wet end of a rolled up towel.  Brian span round about to swear and stopped himself; half because it was a teacher, and half because the nicotine flavoured spit was choking him.

‘Get in the shower and cool off,’ said Crawley

Brian went on his way. By the time Dave had his head out of his shirt; Crawly was at the showers watching the boys shuddering in the lukewarm water.








This chapter really should go on a bit more until Billy asks Dave to look after Rose while he is away but the word count restricted it.

Dave wants to warn Billy about Crawley, but doesn’t know how to explain that he knows what Crawley is really like.

Dave does look after Rose, but both actually end up being unfaithful to Billy.

When Billy returns they pretend nothing happened but Billy has been seduced by Crawley and is now as confused as Dave.

The teacher is exposed by another pupil, probably Brian.

Both boys bridle at the lack of opportunity society leaves them to be truly free in how they would live their lives. It is as if they are forced to conform, get a job, get a wife, get a mortgage and everything else.

All leave school and go their separate ways. Rose into TV, Billy into banking and Dave, sewer maintenance.

15 years later all are at the top of their game, but only Rose is living the dream.  Dave never married; Billy did, but has lost his wife and kids in a car accident.

Billy hunts down Rose who persuades him to do a reality TV show ‘Fool the Pros’ where he has to pretend to be a professional photographer.

At the gay wedding he has to photograph, the happy couple is Dave and Crawley.

Dave’s work in the sewers is comradely and macho.  The death of one of their team forces Dave to look closely at what he wants from life and the missed opportunities.

Dave has been continually unlucky in love and in a mad moment hunts down Crawley who he finds running a launderette business in Bolton.  They seduce each other. (No easy task given the history) He now believes himself to be truly happy.

Billy can’t believe what he sees, knows if Dave should be with any man it should be him, and ruins the whole TV programme by stopping the wedding.

In the aftermath Billy, Rose, and Dave meet at Rose’s boat where they all live happily ever after together.

I have episodes that should explain much more about how the characters are motivated. Perhaps Rose overhears or sees her parents having fun at night and wants the same.

The fantasy of the freedom of sailing is a motif I want all three protagonists to have through the story so the ending is quite fitting.

I want to say much about how society governs opportunity so that you only take the easy choices.

I also want to see how comic I might be able to make the story. This would take some work, but might be worth the effort.  There is a lack of female characters in the story too.  Perhaps Dave does finally mange a date with Sarah.


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