Scrape: Chapter two, Part one
If the Van Boesekoms knew anything, they knew how to fight. It was in the genes; strong bones, powerful muscles, quick reactions and a ruthless determination to win.
They had a violent history, but they were not all uncouth.
Herbert Van Boesekom was a drunk; Billy Van Beosekom seldom drank anything stronger than Red Bull. Herbert enjoyed a fight, he enjoyed looking for them and almost always won them. Billy enjoyed fine art and opera; he was saving to study creative arts at university. Herbert had left Holland penniless, moved to Australia and made for himself a sizeable fortune. Billy lived in London and drove a minicab. Five generations separated them.
Billy’s father, Herbert’s great grandson, was born in Holland, brought up in Australia and served in the Army in the Dutch Congo. He had lived in a dozen different countries whilst in the Dutch Secret Service and married a striking willowy beauty from Belarus. Their youngest off-spring was a boy called William. Billy, as he preferred to be called, inherited the best features of both of his parents. Even as a child, he was beautiful, but this was not a surprise to anyone, his entire family were stunning to say the least. As a boy he was mild mannered and caring, much like his mother. He had a great interest in art and culture, heavily influenced by his father’s travels and he became increasing cultured as a young adult. It was evident that he had the Van Boesekom genes; he was stronger and quicker than all of his peers and even though he hated it, was taught to fight from an early age. As he grew older he discovered a love of long, solitary walks in the wild and relaxed evenings with friends listening to obscure music; he never left the house without his treasured Nikon F5. Unlike his three elder brothers and much to the annoyance of his father, he did not like heavy drinking or personal aggression, and even though it caused his mother great sadness, he didn’t much care for his family either. Thus he found himself in London – an independent man but not of independent means – driving a minicab during the day, working in a bar in the evenings and doing the odd photo assignment in his spare time, and all to make the money he needed to pursue his dreams.
Tuesday had all of the potential to be a day like every other. It certainly was grey like every other, hot like every other. The morning was full of grumpy faced, bland clothed, mushroom people rushing about their Tuesday Business. Waking up that morning, Billy had no idea that anything extra-ordinary would happen and certainly not to him. Only Tuesday was not a day like every other day, Tuesday was a shit day. The best thing that happened to him, in fact the only good thing that happened to him happened 30 minutes after he left the house. It was seeing a young, fresh faced, blonde girl running like the wind, or more like a gazelle, at 8.57 in the morning. Twenty seconds of private joy.
The worst thing that happened to him, in fact the only other thing that happened to him, were the stitches in his side and the pending police charges. The day had not been fair to him. It was not like him to run out of petrol; nor to forget his wallet; nor to allow himself to get drawn in to any kind of altercation – but all on one day? Yes, by any reasonable measure of a day, it was shit.
He had insisted that the only reason he did not want to give the four youths a ride was that he had no petrol – and anyway a minicab has to be booked with the office not on the street. He hadn’t even noticed their colour, to him it meant nothing. To them it meant everything. He insisted, they threatened, he backed off, they aggressed, he mollified, they attacked.
He defended. He did not even mean to – but the Van Boesekom genes, muscles and reactions and the training his father had given him since he was two all kicked in. The black boys got broken. He saw the knives. He got one of them, but the other nicked him in the side before he turned it on its handler. Billy got battered and Billy got beaten, but Billy won. The police heard how he had racially abused the boys and then attacked them. Charges were pending.