Doing it, p.1
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           Melvin Burgess
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Doing It



  Also by Melvin Burgess

  Title Page



  1 either or

  2 the incredible journey

  3 the secret history

  4 dino

  5 knickers on

  6 jackie

  7 pressure

  8 the party

  9 dino

  10 jonathon

  11 party fairy

  12 dino

  13 ben

  14 mother love

  15 nemesis rising

  16 happiness is a full binbag

  17 dino

  18 jonathon

  19 sue

  20 ben

  21 six inches away from home

  22 dino the destroyer

  23 this is me

  24 cool or what?

  25 ben

  26 jonathon

  27 dino

  28 set-up

  29 ben

  30 jonathon

  31 thaw

  32 beauty and the beast

  33 ben

  34 boy siren

  35 two’s company

  36 jonathon

  37 deborah

  38 ben

  39 dino

  40 sue

  41 finale

  Other books by Melvin Burgess

  An Angel for May



  Burning Issy

  The Cry of the Wolf


  Lady: My Life as a Bitch

  Nicholas Dane

  Sara’s Face

  The Baby and Fly Pie

  This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

  Version 1.0

  Epub ISBN 9781448187546

  This edition first published in 2014 by

  Andersen Press Limited

  20 Vauxhall Bridge Road

  London SW1V 2SA

  2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

  First published by Andersen Press Ltd in 2003

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher.

  The right of Melvin Burgess to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

  Copyright © Melvin Burgess, 2003

  British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data available.

  ISBN 978 1 78344 063 4

  With thanks to Mr Knobby Knobster


  either or

  ‘OK,’ said Jonathon. ‘The choice is this. You either have to shag Jenny Gibson – or else that homeless woman who begs spare change outside Cramner’s bakers.’

  Dino and Ben recoiled in disgust. Jenny was known as the ugliest girl in the school but the beggar woman was filthy. Her teeth!

  ‘You are so gross,’ said Ben disgustedly.

  Jonathon acknowledged the compliment smugly and nodded. He was the King of this.

  ‘At least they’re both female,’ said Dino.

  ‘I’d take the homeless,’ said Ben, after a moment’s thought. ‘She wouldn’t be so bad once you’d cleaned her up.’

  Jonathon shook his head. ‘You have to take her as is.’

  ‘Agh! You’re the one who thinks of this stuff,’ Dino pointed out. But that was the delicious horror of it. You had to make a decision. You had to consider it yourself.

  Ben squirmed as he tried to focus his mind on the actuality. It was beyond a matter of taste. Disease came into it.

  ‘Can I shag her from behind?’

  ‘No, from the front. With the lights on. Snogging and everything. And you have to do oral sex on her too.’

  ‘Jonathon!’ hissed Dino.

  ‘You never said anything about oral sex,’ said Ben.

  ‘Oral sex until she comes.’

  Ben winced as his mind shrank back like a slug on salt. ‘You are disgusting. Well, if I could have her cleaned up, I’d do the tramp, but if she has to be filthy, I’d do Jenny. But … if you had to leave Jenny out on the street for a few months until she was as dirty as the tramp, I’d do the tramp. What about you?’

  ‘I’d take Jenny,’ said Jonathon promptly.

  ‘That’s just because it’s the only way you could get a shag.’

  ‘She’s ugly, but I bet her body isn’t too bad. It’d be all right once you got going. And the tramp would have rotten teeth and smelly breath, bits of old kebab rotting in her teeth. Cold sores, probably. Ulcers, that sort of thing.’


  ‘OK, Ben,’ said Dino. ‘What about … Jenny or Mrs Woods.’

  They hissed with laughter. It was a clever one. Mrs Woods was at least sixty, obviously hated anyone under the age of twenty and her breath smelled of tinned cabbage – but at some time in the distant past, she might well have been a bit of a looker.

  Ben paused. ‘Are they both clean?’

  ‘More or less.’

  ‘Mrs Woods,’ said Ben boldly.

  ‘Mrs Woods?’ said Dino, acting appalled. ‘I mean, Jenny is ugly, but Mrs Woods is old.’

  ‘Old is better than ugly,’ said Ben definitively. The other two looked at him curiously. That was Ben; he always knew exactly what he wanted.

  ‘You’re really quite weird, aren’t you?’ said Jonathon. ‘Nothing is worse than old. What about personality? Jenny’s quite a nice sort of a person, but Mrs Woods is a monster.’

  ‘Yeah, but she wouldn’t be a monster if I was shagging her, would she? She’d be …’

  ‘Friendly?’ suggested Jon.


  ‘So old is better than ugly and personality doesn’t come into it?’ asked Jonathon.

  ‘We’re talking shags here, not marriage. No one mentioned having to talk to them,’ pointed out Ben.

  The boys laughed.

  ‘I’d do Jenny,’ said Dino.

  ‘And me,’ said Jon.

  Ben shrugged and smiled. ‘Ah, but at least I got to shag a teacher,’ he teased. ‘And she’d be experienced.’

  ‘A woman as horrible as her would probably be prepared to do anything,’ Jonathon agreed.

  ‘Let’s not go there. OK,’ said Ben. ‘My turn. Mrs Woods or … Mrs Thatcher.’

  Dino sighed. He hated this. It was, in his opinion, one of the few things he wasn’t any good at. ‘OK,’ he said. ‘Mrs Thatcher. She’s uglier and older …’

  ‘And she’s had a bit of a stroke,’ pointed out Jon.

  ‘… but you’d have to see Mrs Woods at school every day, whereas with Thatcher, you’d never have to see her ever again. Definitely Thatcher.’

  ‘Coffin snatcher.’

  Dino grinned sheepishly.

  ‘I’d do Mrs Woods. Thatcher’s practically dead,’ pointed out Jon.

  ‘I know one,’ said Dino happily. ‘The Queen … or Deborah Sanderson?’

  ‘Not Deborah again!’ protested Jonathon. The Queen was hideous, no one in their right mind would sleep with her even if they were eighty years old and called the Duke of Edinburgh, whereas Deborah’s only crime was that she was a bit on the plump side. She and Jon were
good friends. The theory was that Jonathon fancied her to bits and was too embarrassed to admit it.

  ‘You have to answer,’ insisted Ben.

  ‘Deborah, then.’

  ‘Ah ha!’

  ‘But only because anything’s better than the Queen.’

  ‘Bollocks,’ said Ben. ‘It’s because you fancy her. The Queen is obviously far more attractive. I’d rather sleep with the Queen, any day. What about you, Dino?’

  ‘The Queen, definitely.’

  ‘You lying bastards! You’re only saying that to wind me up!’

  ‘No way. I mean, Deborah! Fat!’

  ‘Plump!’ hissed Jonathon.

  ‘Still, you know what they say. Fat Girls Are Grateful For It,’ said Ben.

  ‘Yeah,’ said Dino. ‘She’s probably the only woman living who’d be prepared to sink to your level. I knew you fancied her all the time.’

  ‘Right.’ Jonathon pointed a finger at Dino. He had one that would see them off all right. He’d been saving it up. ‘Either you can sleep with any woman – OK? Any woman, at any time. They can’t say no. No matter how beautiful and gorgeous, all you have to do is ask. At your disposal. And they have to do whatever you want them to. Anything. But. You ALSO have to be buggered. Once a year for twenty minutes. On the radio.’

  ‘On the radio? Why not on telly?’ demanded Ben.

  ‘Because on the radio you’d try and keep really quiet so that no one would know it was you, but you wouldn’t be able to. Little noises would escape. Oh. Oh. Oo. Ow. You know. Mmm. Ah. Mmm. Woo. Ah. Na-ha. And if you don’t, then you get no sex ever. Never. No one. For life.’

  Dino tried to think about it, but he couldn’t. No sex was impossible. So was being buggered.

  ‘I’m not answering that.’

  ‘You have to.’

  ‘No way. I’m out. Anyway, you asked it, you have to answer it.’

  ‘Easy. I’d take the endless women and the buggery. It’d be worth it.’

  ‘Me too,’ said Ben. ‘Think of the rewards! Anyone. S Club 7. Kylie. Jackie Atkins …?’

  ‘Poofs,’ said Dino weakly, but he’d already lost.

  ‘OK, you,’ Jonathon pointing his finger at Ben.

  But Ben spread his hands and smiled. ‘No thanks. You win. Again.’

  ‘You can’t just back out!’

  ‘Yes I can. I know what you’re going to say. The same as last time. My dad or my mum. I’m not doing either of them.’

  ‘Ugh! No! That’s not fair. No family,’ insisted Dino.

  ‘That’s the rules. You’re allowed to say anything,’ said Jon. ‘So I win again. Wimps.’

  ‘I won really,’ said Dino, ‘because both of you took it up the arse.’

  ‘You might like it,’ said Ben. ‘You never know till you try.’

  ‘Twice the chance of scoring on a Saturday night,’ said Jon.

  ‘I’d rather not.’

  ‘It probably means you’re a suppressed homosexual, they’re always the ones that hate it the most.’

  Dino pulled a face. ‘I might as well be.’

  ‘Still no punanni,’ said Ben sympathetically.

  ‘You should get a girlfriend. Punanni is usually found in the same vicinity. Unless you get one of those plastic ones,’ Jonathon pointed out.

  ‘Shut up,’ said Dino; and Jonathon did.

  ‘Give it up, Dino,’ advised Ben. ‘She isn’t interested.’

  ‘I’m not thinking of her,’ insisted Dino. ‘There just isn’t anyone else I fancy at the moment.’

  ‘What a stupid waste,’ said Jonathon. ‘Half the girls in the school are wetting themselves for him, and there he is, mission impossible, Jackie Atkins or nothing. Only the most gorgeous will do for our Deen.’

  Dino shuffled his feet and smiled.

  ‘You’ll probably get it before I do,’ he said. He left Jonathon smiling fondly at this thought and headed off home.

  As he left the cloakroom, Dino paused to look at himself in the mirror. He liked what he saw. Jackie was the most gorgeous creature in the school – with one possible exception: himself. Dino was It. He had dark hair speckled with honey blond, even features with just a hint of rough, a wide mouth, full lips and deep golden-brown eyes. Girls fell into them and disappeared without ever being seen again.

  But Jackie was more than gorgeous; she was sensible. She already had a boyfriend years older than her and she thought that Dino was a prat. Dino knew better. As the two officially most gorgeous people in the school, he and she belonged together. He deserved her. His crush on her had gone on for so long he never said anything any more, but he didn’t believe she didn’t want him, he never had. It was just a question of how long he was prepared to wait.


  the incredible journey

  Three nights later, Dino strolled across the room of the Strawberry Hill Youth Club with just the slightest backward glance to check that Jon and Ben were following. He leaned on the wall next to the Coke machine and began a lively conversation with two girls who came up to use it. One of them bought him a Coke. Dino smiled with pleasure, like a lamp slowly lighting up, and the girl shone straight back.

  Jon leaned across to Ben.

  ‘The rustling of nipples stiffening against the poly-cotton pads of a thousand Wonderbras. The gentle hiss of a roomful of drenching gussets,’ he said.

  ‘Shut up,’ said Ben.


  The Youth Club wasn’t the sort of the place where the boys usually hung out. Dino had persuaded his friends to come along because Jackie was there. Jackie came to fence. She’d been there the whole time, getting togged up, and now she came into view in the big hall at the other end of the room. Dino knew her at once, even covered as she was with protective clothing and the wire mask. She began making passes with the rapier, her hand poised in the air behind her head. He was hoping for a snog later on. No chance. Jackie was right: Dino was a prat. He was even too big a prat to understand he had no chance, despite any number of very clear messages about it.

  Dino was unfazed. Jackie obviously didn’t understand something. He had right on his side – his good looks, a sudden smile that could charm the knickers off a supermodel and a disarming openness that took you by surprise over and over again. And the voice. Dino had a voice like a lecherous teddy bear. It was magic.

  And he was It. That’s what really counted.

  ‘Tonight’s the night,’ he said.

  ‘No chance,’ said Ben. ‘I told you. She thinks you’re a prat.’

  ‘And you are a prat too,’ observed Jonathon.

  Dino laughed, then sighed. ‘I’m scared,’ he confessed, and swigged his Coke. The girl who had bought it for him, who had been waiting by his side uncomfortably being ignored for five minutes, walked off in a huff. Dino watched her go, his mind on other things.

  ‘Perhaps you ought to give it a miss,’ suggested Jonathon.

  Dino scowled. ‘You’re supposed to be helping here, not letting me down,’ he said. ‘Thanks, friend.’

  Jon was immediately mortified. ‘I didn’t mean it like that …’

  Dino rolled his eyes and snorted, but he let it drop. Jon and Ben exchanged a wry glance. Dino walked through life like a blind man on the edge of a cliff, but angels guided his steps and he never fell or tripped. It was just a matter of time. Surely, that time was now.

  One reason why Jackie despised Dino so very much was because she was It, too. She’d been It since she was little, just like Dino. Unlike Dino, she’d put such childishness behind her. She knew that she thought far too much of herself, and didn’t like herself for it, but she couldn’t avoid the conclusions that she was far more mature than most of her fellow students – certainly far more than any of the boys, who were mere children. That didn’t stop them from wanting her, of course. They knew she would, they knew she had, they knew she did – but not with the likes of them. To get anywhere with Jackie, you had to be so grown up you were almost old. Her boyfriend, Simon, was eight year
s older than she was. He occasionally picked her up after school in his car. He had his own flat where she often stayed over, with her parents’ consent. They trusted him. By his side, Dino was a foolish boy-child. There was no reason on earth for her to swap.

  She only snogged him that night out of curiosity. The club held its monthly disco that evening. People let their hair down a bit, had a few slow dances, got into a clinch or two, a bit of a grope. Jackie had been going out with Simon for two years, she was very faithful but she was starting to feel that she was missing out on this kind of thing. Perhaps that was why, when Dino came up and asked her to dance, instead of rolling her eyes and telling him ‘NO!’ again, she shrugged and let him hold her close and waltz around the room with her. She allowed him to manoeuvre his thigh between hers, felt him swell against her stomach and felt – tickled. Tickled enough to allow him to kiss her as the track was ending. Just out of curiosity.

  The kiss went further than she intended. She ground herself against him. Her legs went. When he pulled back, she still hadn’t finished and hung around his neck, eyes half closed, dazed. She felt like a leech prematurely pulled away from its host. Dino looked into her eyes and exclaimed, ‘God!’ passionately, before he pressed her to him again and murmured over her head, ‘That makes me so happy!’

  Jackie started to think, What a crap line! But even as she did she knew it wasn’t a line. It was true. He meant it. She’d made him happy. She tried to stand up and her legs twitched. Her pelvic floor clenched involuntarily. She panted three times. Dino was a popsicle; she could lick him all up. He pulled back to look at her again as if he couldn’t believe what she was doing to him. His face was shining. It was as if he had just handed her the glowing ball of his happiness, and could she let it drop?

  He rested one hand against the side of her face in a way that made her feel both slightly threatened and vulnerable. ‘Come out with me. For a walk or something. Tomorrow afternoon?’ he begged. ‘Please?’

  ‘Oh. OK.’

  ‘Thanks.’ Dino squeezed her tight again and his heart beat against her like a bird. He didn’t hang around. Some instinct made him leave her and go home before she changed her mind. Suddenly abandoned, Jackie staggered back to her little group of friends.

  ‘Enjoy?’ someone asked.

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