The crowd is dangerous, and also liberating, but mostly dangerous. A mob. When you’re younger: peer pressure. When I lived in Milton Keynes, Coffee Hall housing estate, there was a place for playing football, next to the playground. I showed up in my red Liverpool kit. Liverpool was everything, especially Ian Rush. I wanted a mustache like Ian Rush, but this was long before I developed the ability to develop hair on my face.

The older lads were playing, and I didn’t get picked, so I dribbled my ball on the footpath and it popped in the bushes. I was painfully shy, with a funny Northern Irish accent, and the older lads felt protective. When they saw my popped ball they thought it was the lad on a bicycle. I went along with it, and it stuck with me, 39 years later. The scapegoat.

Here is the microfiction, from my novel Never Mind the Beasts, forthcoming from Dostoyevsky Wannabe in May 2020. It is called “Wanker.”

Wanker by Marcus Slease


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