The Right Hon. Gabriella Blenkinsop, hands on hips, surveyed the vast green expanse. There was a scattering of stalls selling odds and sods, and blobs of people standing or reclining on the grass all along the boundary rope. In the pavilion to her right, quaint in its old-fashioned gabled twenties look, sandwiches were now being prepared for lunch. She glanced at the match taking place out in the middle. Except for their gaily coloured caps, male figures ambling about the pitch were clad all in white. She vaguely registered the smack of leather on willow, followed by casual bursts of applause as middle-aged matrons released their hands from wide-brimmed hats, quickly returning them to hold on against the breeze’s gentle gusts. Gabriella felt the breeze play about her billowing skirt and, as if someone were breathing on her fanny, curl shiveringly up her thighs. She gave a little self-induced inner squeeze to her genitalia, sensing her hotness and the rub and pull of her pubes on knicker and flesh. She ran her hand through her golden hair, tied loosely halfway down her neck, and gave a lick to her reddish lips, swallowing the clinging taste of the Harrods lip-gloss she had lovingly rubbed on that morning. She stood there, self-confident and supreme, wallowing in everybody’s admiring gaze. As always, she was the belle of the ball, the idol of her school. She was tall and sexy. Her features were pronounced and classically beautiful. She had firm, swelling breasts, the tiniest of waists and quite sturdy hips. She stood with her legs apart, the wind stirring her loose skirt like washing on a line to swirl here and there a glimpse of knee and fleshy thigh.
She was the Head Girl of St. Swithin’s Girls School. There were just a few weeks left to the end of year, and her time there as Queen of All She Surveyed would be over; then she would be off to Oxford, where her uncle was Vice-Chancellor. She looked around for her current beau, Algernon Montague-Smythe, the Head Boy of St. Swithin’s Boys School. He was just coming off the pitch, leading in his team, who had managed to restrict the visitors to a very modest total. She gave him a look and wandered off to the back of the pavilion. Once there she took off her knickers and waited under the chestnut tree. When Algy got there, all considerate and breathless, she took a hand-mirror and an apple from her shockingly expensive leather handbag, lay back and waited. While Algy was humping and groaning away, she lay propped against the tree-trunk, looking at herself in the mirror in her left hand and munching on the apple she rotated and rubbed in her right. As always, she made sure he withdrew his thingy before the messy stuff came out; all that disagreeable business was finished off by him the other side of the tree-trunk. When Algy, all sweaty smiles and ingratiating coughs, emerged from behind it, she’d already buggered off, ready to do a majestic walkabout of the cricket ground and milk all the envious looks and gasps.
It was the annual end-of-term match between St. Swithin’s and the local grammar school. It had been played for years, a special treat for the middle-class and working-class lads at the boys’ grammar; the public-school toffs walloped them each year, and the grammar-school boys felt all the better for it. As she passed by the nets, she saw some of the plebs warming up for the St. Swithin’s innings. Two of their bowlers were practising. One was tall and blond, and looked almost upper-class; the other one was shorter, a bit stockier with shortish brown hair and a slight half-fringe. He looked a little younger. She didn’t like the moody, disrespectful way he glowered at her as she passed by. It made her feel a bit wet. She stumbled on an ant-hill in the field, jarring her legs, and some moisture dripped down on to her upper inner thighs, collecting in blobs on her flesh. She stood still. She must put her knickers back on. She stood like that for ages, seemingly impervious to the boy. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. In the breeze, and in her stillness, she felt the drops of vaginal sweat cool and her flesh drying out and becoming chapped. She moved her hand down as if to scratch her thighs but stopped, resting her hand near her fanny. She stared at the boy. He glowered back at her. She opened her handbag, took out her knickers and placed the bag on the ground. Without shame, and with smooth movement of legs and hands, she slipped on her knickers, running their thin fabric up her superbly shaped legs. She pulled them up tightly around her bum, giving them an especial squeeze as she stared at the cheeky boy. She gave him a final jab of her groin, like a genital pout. He stared at her, his face turning crimson, and gulped. She gave a languid chuckle and moved on. What she couldn’t stand were uppity lower orders. They had to be put in their place. She would have a word with Algy; when he was batting he would be sure to give the yobbo a good whacking.
When she had done her tour of the ground she returned to Daddy’s Rolls-Royce, parked in gleaming splendour in front of the oak tree near the entrance gates to the ground; Chivers, the chauffeur, gave her her salmon and cucumber sandwiches, chilled but not over-chilled, taken out of the car’s refrigerator, as she always liked, ten minutes before she would begin to nibble. She carried on her regal tour, munching, and sipping from her champagne-glass. She waved away Algy as he rushed up to her, and he bowed as she went by; she signalled she would see him in ten minutes. The grammar-school shits were moving out on to the playing area, throwing the cricket ball around and getting in more practice. So common of them. The two public-school openers were only just getting padded up, sitting outside the pavilion, giggling about the working-class females, mothers and sisters, they would give a good seeing-to after they’d knocked off the paltry sum of runs amassed by their boy-folk. She saw that young boy standing there awkwardly again, embarrassed and slightly apart from the others. How she despised such gaucheness, such lack of presence, such lack of savoir-faire. Young girls from lower down the school came to ask for her autograph which she condescendingly provided, passing her glass, and the last mouthful of salmon sandwich she didn’t want, on to them to be held for her. She waved them away when she returned their gold-embossed autograph-books. She took back her glass. ‘With love and kisses, and a wet hug, from Gabriella’, she had written. As she turned graciously round, two of the fawning third-formers hadn’t got out of the way, transfixed by her glorious presence, and Gabriella collided with their stupid, inert masses and stumbled. The glass was jarred and champagne got splashed over her white blouse, soaking through on to her breasts and nipples, tingling them with its gassy chill. She instinctively turned to look for the young boy, but he was looking away. She felt sure, though, that there was a smirk about his lips. She was furious. She smacked one of the stupid girls on the face, despite her profuse apologies, and the girl’s mother, furious and red-faced, came up, grabbed her daughter and started to pummel her.
"How could you do that! To Gabriella! Oh, Gabriella, I’m so sorry…"
Gabriella waved her away.
Chivers was sent for. He came running up with a new blouse.
"Oh, Gabriella, surely not…Oh, Gabriella, you’re so shameless…Isn’t she a card…"
They all watched, parents, lower-formers and Gabriella’s fellow sixth-formers, as she fearlessly began to take off her blouse, which had been made to look flimsy and thin by its wetness. She lingeringly, like in slow-motion, toyed with the buttons, as if struggling to work them through the damp, clinging openings. Clumsily erotic. She licked her lips. Her acolytes surrounded her in order to preserve a modicum of modesty, but Gabriella, with an imperious wave of the hand, didn’t allow them to come too close. Through the other bodies it was quite possible to view snatches of her firm bosom cupped in its Harrods bra, pink and black and laced, little trails of liquid still visible on her right breast. Algy was called up to unstrap her bra and was allowed to lick up the residue of champagne from her tits. When he got a bit too excited and tried to suck her nipple she kneed him in the groin and, now bra-less, slipped on the dry blouse, her nipples pushing forward their brownness against the whiteness of the blouse, like tracing-paper held tight over some etchings, or brass-rubbing paper pressed tight over engravings prior to being rubbed. She moved away, followed by her entourage, leaving Algy rolling about on the ground, his hands clasped to his groin.
"Sorry, Gabby, sorry," he kept murmuring. She turned round abruptly, a vicious gleam in her eyes. "I mean, sorry, so sorry, Gabriella…sorry…"
She looked round to see if the boy was watching her. He was looking away, head bowed, unable to look up. Little shit. He’d be wanking all night now. Dreaming of her. Dreaming of his betters. She gave a wave to Mummy and Daddy as they wandered by, she in her wide-brimmed Ascot hat and he in his top hat, probably heading off to the chestnut tree to have sex with a couple of the yokels that Chivers had rounded up. Probably Daddy would hang on just long enough to see the team knock off the runs and would then drift off back to the family pile to make sure the gardeners were gardening and the cooks were cooking and the maids were maiding or whatever they did, or maybe would go off to the factory with its great big chimneys that belched out smoke and kept all the locals in employment so they had enough to spend on getting cancer and rotten livers. She didn’t really know what Daddy produced there; he had tried to explain once but she assumed, since there was always so much of it coming out, that that was where smoke was made. You couldn’t have a modern industrial society, with hand-outs for the criminal classes and all that, without smoke. It was people like Daddy who kept everything going. Kept everything burning away. She also reckoned her daddy’s place, with its great big furnaces, was where the unwanted foetuses of the working-classes were burnt off.
She gazed round again at the scene. The endless green. The collections of fawning people. Her sixth-formers wandering off as she dismissed them. Algy running up to the chestnut tree to receive her commands and maybe a quick hand-job. Life was wonderful. She put on her gloves, her suede white ones, and gave Algy a few twists and turns, moving away towards the end so that Algy could finish himself off and she wouldn’t get messed up. The sticky mess was all over his hands.
"Lick it up," she ordered him.
She wandered off past the pavilion and headed towards the boundary rope to watch the innings. Algy came up to join her a while later. He sat down on the grass beside her.
"Now, Algy, you see that young boy over there who’s opening the bowling for the grammar-school shits? I want you to give him a good thrashing."
"Has he tried to take liberties with you, Gabby? Let me get my belt," Algy said, licking and swallowing the lingering remnants of his sperm.
"I mean, give him a thrashing when you’re batting, stupid!"
"Sure, Gabs. Actually, I think his dad works for my dad."
"What does he do?"
"Who? My dad?"
"No! The little tyke’s dad."
"I don’t know," he said.
"And what does your dad do exactly?" she asked.
"My dad? Well, people work for him. That’s what he does. That’s what I’m going to do when I leave Oxford."
"I see," said Gabriella, just for a moment, despite herself, feeling a stab of admiration for Algy. He wasn’t Head Boy for nothing. "Remember to teach that shit a good lesson."
"Your wish is my command."
"And never, ever, call me anything but Gabriella in public in future."
St. Swithin’s only had eighty runs to score, so the game wasn’t expected to last too long. The grammar-school boys had probably gorged themselves on the cheap paste sandwiches made especially for them and, once they had been made to run around a bit, would probably throw in the towel fairly quickly.
"When are you batting, Algy?" Gabriella asked.
"Number four, Gabs," he answered. "Might be all over by then. They’re only grammar-school types."
"Be thankful for small mercies," murmured Gabriella. "At least we’re one of the areas that still have grammar schools. My cousin, Rebecca, you know, down in Hertfordshire, she says they have to play against the local comprehensive. Just imagine; probably here we’d have to play against the local colliery first eleven."
"Crikey! Isn’t that a sort of dog?"
A sudden shout of “Howzat?” distracted them. A ripple of applause echoed desultorily around the ground, and a white figure, scuffing the ground with his white boots, taking off his red-and-blue St. Swithins cap, and shoving his bat under his arm, walked slowly from the cricket pitch to the pavilion.
"That’s a turn-up," said Algy, looking bemused. "George is out. That bugger of yours got him, lbw. I’d better get padded up."
Gabriella looked annoyed. She stood up, screwing her eyes to focus on that young boy surrounded by his smelly working-class mates patting him on the shoulder. As she moved to the right to get a better view, Algy stretched out his left leg in order to put on his pads. She tripped over his leg and fell flat on her face.
After she had stopped kicking his balls in, Algy stood up.
"Remember, Algy, if you sort him out, I’ll let you stick it up my anus."
"Oh, Gabby, what can I say…"
She watched Number Three go in, take guard and prepare to receive his first ball.
Jim Collier looked out towards the boundary and saw the tall blonde girl staring at him. She had her hands on her hips and stood legs wide apart. He swallowed hard. He was at the end of his fifth year. Next year would be the sixth form. He already found the ethos of the grammar school, with its public-school pretensions, a bit overwhelming and unpleasant, let alone all these upper-class twits and tarts he was surrounded with today. He’d asked one of his mates who the blonde bombshell was. Gabriella Blenkinsop. Same name as the street his family’s terraced house was in. Blenkinsop Terrace. He hadn’t known where to look when she’d put on her knickers for him. He was a shy, awkward little virgin. The only experience he’d ever had with a girl was at the age of twelve when, every now and then, the girl two houses down had sucked his fingertips. He was a boy who diligently did his homework, and dreamt one day he might write decent poetry. Girls scared him, especially old eighteen-year-old tarts like her. And all those upper-class twits she belonged to.
He was the second opening bowler. He had a short run-in, and then, a yard or two from the umpire, he would extend his right arm out to the right and turn a mini-circle with it like someone signalling to turn left with hand-signals, as in the old days, and would then straighten his arm out and bowl with the straightest of arms, if anything, bent in a bit towards his own body. He was very accurate, and the ball would swing in to the batsman; he would pitch it up and he often got wickets through bowling batsmen out or getting them lbw. His type of bowling allowed the batsman to come forward on to his front foot. If the batsman missed the ball, it would hit the stumps or his leg; that’s how he had just got his wicket. He had started to develop an alternative ball, where he would bowl with a rounder arm and pitch the ball shorter; this would make the ball rise up into the body of the batsman, and force him on to the back foot. He had yet to use it in an actual match.
Blenkinsop Terrace was just round the corner from the ground; he’d rushed off there during the lunch-break to see if he could get his parents to come round and lend some support. He’d felt a bit vulnerable before the gentry and their ladies, and especially before that girl with the upper-class fanny and tits.
He’d found his mum and dad in the sitting-room. His mum was sitting in an armchair, with her apron on, wearing her glasses, her legs lazily apart. She was reading her celebrity magazines. His dad was sitting in the other armchair, snoring, his newspaper, open at the sports pages, laid over him. The television was on.
"Hey! Mum! Dad! Why don’t you come and watch the match? Give a bit of support against the toffs?"
"Oh, I can’t," said his mum, "I’ve heard on the telly a couple of celebs have just died. Isn’t it sad? I’m waiting to hear when the funerals are on. Maybe your dad can come to watch you."
"Hee-up! What’s up, son?"
"Do you want to see the match?"
"What match? Football doesn’t start till August."
"Come and support us against the toffs!"
"Oh, I don’t know," his dad said, scratching his balls, "cricket’s not really my game. Hey, luv, what’s up?"
"Oh, nothing," said mum, sniffing a bit, and wiping a tear away with a corner of one of her celebrity mags. "I’m OK. It’s just I’ve heard two celebrities have died. Isn’t it sad?"
"Oh dear. What’s their names?" asked Dad.
"I can’t remember. I’ve never heard of them. Isn’t it sad? I’m waiting to find out when the funerals are, so I know which issoos of my magazines they’ll be in."
"C’mon, Dad! Support the revolution!" Jim interrupted.
"Now, don’t start that again," said his mother. "Speaking against Her Majesty and all that. I’ve told you I don’t like that. She’s wonderful, when she’s got her tiara on, and her jewellery, she’s just like one of us…now, Jim, you run along and play with your friends…"
"S’long, son," said his dad, closing his eyes and dreaming of his favourite footballer’s biceps. "I’d better stay here, son. Mum’s just ‘ad two bereavements."
Jim rubbed the ball against his white flannels, to the right of his dick. It was still a fresh-looking ball, as red and untouched as a ripe cherry. Well, a large ripe cherry. He put his first two fingers across the seam and stood still at the mark he had scraped in the grass. Ten paces. That was all he ran in. His first ball was off the mark, slanting off down leg-side. The second one was on target, and the batsman, tense and blinking, nervously concentrating, kept it out. The third was fast; he put an extra sling of arm into it, grunting loudly, and the batsman, legs wavering and retreating a bit, just kept it out, getting an inside edge on to his pads. Jim sensed the rich tosser’s son was scared.
Gabriella had glanced up on the first grunt from the pitch, like being slapped in the chest or poked in the ribs, or tickled in the fanny. It was like the grunt of an animal. The next ball about to be delivered tensed her body; she watched the little shit approach the crease and turn over his arm, bringing it down with force, his head drooping down and falling away as the body bent double and moved to the left, towards her. That loud grunt hit her again. The stumps shattered, the bails spinning into the air. Gabriella’s mouth opened and she gasped. Or even moaned. She flung back her body. Algy gave her a curious glance.
"Ten for two, old girl. Time for me to shape up, and sort things out."
He stood up, and undid his white trousers. Gabriella slipped him the protector, and he wriggled in the plastic oval-shaped box over his bollocks, but not before Gabriella had given them an encouraging tug.
"Go out there and do it for me," she said. "Massacre that little runt."
Nothing much happened the next few overs. Algy may have been a woolly sweater short of a full cricket kit, but he knew how to steady things, play with a straight bat, calm things down, and ride out a storm. It was in the blood, the genetic inheritance gained from those past generations who grittily faced down the natives and irate yokels incensed over the deflowering of their offspring. Algy managed to withstand Jim’s onslaught, straight-batting everything bowled at him. He automatically came on to the front foot, and, however fast Jim bowled, or however he varied his pace, it became a little too easy for Algy. On the other hand, such defensive play meant very few runs were being scored. The other bowler, the taller, blond one, was quite fast, but inaccurate, often giving away runs through wides or byes when he sent down the ball beyond, not just the batsman, but the wicketkeeper, the slips and the covering fine leg. Suddenly, though, he got one on target and Algy’s partner was bowled.
Gabriella had moved over to the pavilion, and winced when she saw the fall of the wicket from there. She looked up at the scoreboard. Twenty-one for three. It was tense. It could go either way. As the batsman entered the pavilion, he was given a few claps, but Gabriella strode up to him.
"You wanker! You’ve let your class down!" she hissed. The poor chap looked heartbroken. "Get out of my way!" Gabriella said abruptly, pushing away one of the third-formers she had nearly tripped over earlier, the one she hadn’t slapped, and who was still hanging around her, starry-eyed.
Another few overs went by. Thirty for three. Fifty more runs needed. Gabriella felt she would burst from the tension. She paced up and down, the breeze ruffling her golden hair, strands of it straying and playing about her mouth and even entering it as she breathed excitedly; she licked them and then spat them out, only for the breeze to waft them back. She placed her arms on her hips, mouthing obscenities each time the little grammar-school devil geared up to bowl. It was always the same: first he would approach his mark, steady himself, look up and walk a pace or two, then begin to run in until there would be a flourish of his body and that vicious flinging away of the ball and falling away of his body. It would bring a shudder to her own body. She would have to turn away, waving her hand before her face as if she were feeling faint and placing her other hand on her midriff and giving it a nervous touch or two. But she had stabbings lower down, such that she had to tense up her fanny area and go and sit down now and then. She felt as if the honour of her race depended on the outcome of the match, and all she had to rely on were silly, weak-backboned males like Algy and his chums. To keep her chin up, she had even needed to retreat round the back of the pavilion and sniff up some of the white stuff Chivers had laid out in a couple of lines on a napkin spread out by the chestnut tree. Chivers. Dependable old Chivers. That was how it was supposed to be. Her toothbrush there in the mornings, with toothpaste freshly squeezed on it, or her cocaine, whenever required, neatly laid out for her.
In between balls Jim would glance over at the blonde figure in her white blouse and billowing skirt in front of the pavilion, nervously pacing up and down. In a funny way, he was bowling both for her and against her. Thirty-five for three. He was getting a bit anxious. That Algernon git was just blocking him out, and the other batsman was getting a run or two at the other end, and John, his bowling partner, was giving away the occasional run through untidy, uncontrolled deliveries. Jim tried everything. Slower balls. Pitching the ball at leg, middle or off stump. Even giving the ball a twist to try to spin it. Nothing worked. Algy was an unadventurous, unimaginative sod, stuck in a groove, but it was working. There was only one other thing Jim could try. His new delivery. The one he had been practising recently. Where he bowled with a rounder arm, keeping his arm lower and his back not so straight. That way the ball wouldn’t swing in but, if he pitched it shorter, in line with middle-stump, he could make it bounce and rear up at the batsman’s body. That would disconcert them. Then he could vary the deliveries, and one moment the batsmen would be on the back foot, the next on the front, and they would get confused, and make mistakes. Anyway, that was the plan. And, as he, at fine leg, sprinted after one of John’s wayward deliveries and failed to catch it, giving away four runs as the ball bubbled over the boundary rope, he realised he would have to try it next over. He looked towards the pavilion and grimaced angrily as he saw that dirty tart jumping up and down in upper-class ecstasy.