The stretch

‘Remember Henderson’s apples.’ Serge drilled his brother with a pointed stare.

‘What? Look. She’s gorgeous. I’m gonna talk to her.’ Jim slid off his bar stool.

‘Henderson’s apples, J.’

‘Eh? Oh yeah. Whatever. Eighteen months ago she was just another chick at school. What does it matter?’

It mattered a fair bit. Eighteen months ago Heidi Schwarz had ben plucked from the obscurity of their small town and into the international modelling limelight. Now as she swanned through the old hall heads turned and cameras snapped.

Everyone agreed she’d changed. Her voice was deeper and spokesmodel perfect. She walked with high steps, as exaggerated as they were light. She seemed taller. Her cheekbones more pronounced. Her eyes wider. The locals stopped her for autographs or to be photographed with her, or just to say, ‘well done, Girl, you’ve put the town on the map’.

Jimmy weaved his way between the throng, Serge, at his heels, reminding him, all the while, of those apples he’d wanted so much, just out of reach over the back fence.

Jimmy made a dive between a closing gap, to her side. ‘Eh, Hides.’

The model turned. Paused. Her mouth opened. Shut again. Then the eyes that had been searching the ceiling for a name lowered. ‘Jimmy Valos. Isn’t it? How are you?’

Serge sidled behind his brother. ‘Three months in traction,’ he whispered.

‘Yeah, good,’ said Jim. ‘Y’self?’

Half an hour later Serge was still hovering. ‘When the bough breaks, Jimmy,’ he whispered but his heart wasn’t in it. He had to admit a little familial admiration. How did Jimmy do it anyway? A nerd like him?

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