It is spring, and summer is getting boistrous and rowdy, pushing in. I am in Walsall, walking towards the Arboretum with future housemate Jackson Five. The weather is stunning, and a football match has congealed. We’re excited! We’ve bought daysavers, and the day is saved. We’re heroes, and I haven’t even taken my shirt off yet! What else is there to achieve? I could be a sidekick. And Jackson loves getting kicked in the side! But it’s a bit of a step backwards isn’t it? And not in a silky football way I could use later. We mosey on over and find Christian Union chumps already kicking a ball around, like complete chumps. I love chumps. Not as much as when they were 10p. I look around, and decide it’s time to bring the ace.


I take my shirt off.


No women come over.



I put my shirt back on. As CU Helen comes over. CU Helen. The first person I met at the CU. The long-serving squadron member that never dies, and provides a fresh and very talkative face to every loosely-CU-based event. It’s Femiginge’s big birthday chump, and Helen’s in full chumping-the-guests flow.


“Hi Dan!”


I smile. I haven’t seen any CU folk in a while thanks to my placement shifts. And Helen is a CU folk that has always been very nice to me.




“How was placement?”


I smile, before realising that something strange has happened. Something that I did not expect. And something that Helen did not expect.


There is a hand on my belly.


Helen’s hand.


Erm. Right. So…. right. Bit random. Helen must have seen my belly and is trying to help hold it in. It’s a bold move, and feels like when oldschoolchum Hunk Matt Davis saw a car coming and accidentally grabbed my bum to stop me crossing the road. I haven’t seen him in ages. This must be him!


“Erm…. thanks Matt.”


Helen looks at me confusedly, before noticing her hand and removing it.


“Oh, sorry about that, Dan. Bit random.”


I smile.


“….Did you just call me Matt?”


I evade. Deftly.






“So… what’s the plan for today?”


“We’re hanging out in the Arboretum, and then going to Femiginge’s for pizza tonight.”


I smile, before hanging out in the Arboretum, and going to Femiginge’s for pizza tonight. I burst into the room like a child trying to fit into his dinner, and scan the floor. The lack of floor. I decide to grab a slice and risk my life trying to fit myself into a single buttock’s space between a wall and a stranger. I look around, and see Jackson standing by the doorway having a lovely conversation.


I sigh.


I love lovely conversations. But I am not within talking distance of anychumpy I know or care about. I pull out my phone, and decide to take a long time to check that I actually don’t have any messages or any games on my phone. I sigh, and pick up a balloon.




I look up, as does everybody in the room. Someone has just shouted at me. Which has been unusual ever since I grew taller than everyone else in the county. I follow the trail of fixed faces. They’re all looking at someone on the opposite side of the room. Someone who’s providing a fresh and very talkative face to this loosely-CU-based event.


“You OK, Helen?”


“Dan!!!! Don’t do it!!!”


Do what?


“Do what?”


“Don’t you dare pop that balloon!!!”


I smile. If I did, she’d never hear it with this many people filling up the room.


“What? Like this?”


I squeeze the balloon ever so slightly, with no intention of popping it.




I smile. She’s being pretty funny. I toss the balloon away and the party gets back into full meat feast-y swing. But I’ve had an idea! I really want to pop a balloon now. Not to be mean. Just because I haven’t popped one in ages, and it is quite satisfying. I look at Helen. She’s always been nice to me. She even stopped me crossing the road when that car was coming in the Arboretum earlier today. She saved my life. I owe her. I can’t go rubbing her phobia in her face, because the static would be even funnier, and she’s been funny enough today.


I decide to be respectful.


And to pop a balloon.


In the corridor.


I stand up, and edge my way towards the doorway, making sure I squeeze Jackson’s bum on the way to freak him out. He reacts, and I giggle. And look forward to this moment. This beautiful balloonsplosion. This is going to be amazing.


I throw a balloon onto the floor, and plot my steps.


I run forward.


And jump.


And land on it.


And fall off it.


And have another go, when it finally pops, and is much louder than I expected in the empty corridor. Suddenly the front room goes silent, and Jackson’s voice bounds through the hall.


“What? Why are you all looking me? That wasn’t me!!”


I laugh, and pop my head round the corner. Helen does not look happy. She looks really unhappy. She may have heard that pop. I decide to go back into the corridor where it’s safe.


“Hi Dan, did you just pop a balloon?”


Femiginge has arrived, and is doing a teacher voice and face.


“Erm…. may…be….”


I get told off.


What a chump.




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