First Things First by Alex Shough (Irreverence Inc.)

First Things First

by Alex Shough (AKA Irreverence Inc.)

It must have been 2005, so I was 15. That feels kind of old, 6 years to get from first to second base, but that’s ball sports and me in a nutshell. It must have been that year as that’s when IMDB says Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was in the cinema, I’ll never forget what I was watching, and where because it was creepy. as. hell. But what was I meant to say? No, step away from my penis, c’mon now I was fifteen.

Six years later I’d be at this photography exhibition in the states, and I’d see a picture of Bob Marley hanging out in the alleyway that used to run down past the Odeon, but now stands a store dedicated to clothing douchebags, and I’d exclaim how Bob was walking past the building where I got my first handjob, and the room would hush to turn and look at what kind of person would announce something like that in a photography exhibition. To be fair I couldn’t be the biggest tit there, as one of the photo’s there was of Vanilla Ice. I was with my then new friend Daniel, he was redder than I was at that moment, he’d get quite used to that kind of shit from me.

So, as has become a running trend with myself and women, I was on a date that I hadn’t realised was a date until my female acquaintance has started getting better acquainted with my desirables. I’d met – name changed to protect the promiscuous – the girl who would live on in infamy as ‘Handjob Helen’ a week earlier; and collectively we were as hilarious as a pair of yapping teenagers could believe themselves to be. I can’t remember who wanted to see that movie, I’d like to think it was innocent old me – given Helen’s intentions – but then I’d also like to pass the buck to her seeing as it’s a Tim Burton film from the 21st Century, and who would want to see one of those?

Anyway so I’m there thinking I’m a little too old for this film, but it would be rude to talk through a movie – even with the most appalling shit I worry that someone in the auditorium is engrossed in the most amazing movie they’ve ever seen, and who would I be to break the spell? There were children present more impressionable than even I, and Roald Dahl was/still is a bad-ass for stirring imaginations – when a wild hand appears, clutching thigh, not knowing where to look (I feel no shame declaring that Jnr. likes to tuck himself away within his own self when in hibernation, then and now, we’re a very self-involved pairing which is why we work so well together).

She’d have been watching me for my expression, I can’t recall if I’d have responded with the wry ‘oh my’ smile I’ve perfected for surprise encroachments these days, but I’m thinking I was less cool, and probably wore a face of sheer terror. Maybe it came with a flabbergasted grin that would have read ‘finally Jnr.’s made a new friend’, but definitely partnered with eyes screaming ‘what the fuck do I do?’ with more than a hint of ‘dude – there are like thirty children in this room!’ That said it didn’t stop me reaching over after a couple minutes of… how you say… crotch-stroking, riling the beast, in a polite attempt to reciprocate. I wouldn’t have known what to go for, or how to play it (these days of course I know it’s a swift uppercut, straight in there, vast expanses, they’re all the same) so I was relatively relieved that she quickly knocked my fumbling hand away.

She’d planned it all along; no way would I have opted to sit at the back, only to find myself looking downhill at a movie. I had not planned it all along, hence why I was wearing jeans fastened with metal buttons rather than a zip. I don’t make a habit of remembering how old pairs of trousers fastened, but I do these days make a note to not buy ones that button-up. They were a challenge to pop-off when I was undoing them stood up; slouched down in a dark room being opened by someone more use to wearing skirts was farcical. After a few minutes struggling, I’m there in the back row, not far from where Bob Marley once walked (he probably played in that very room, but that wasn’t in the photo) laughing at our pubescent comedy of errors. She’s all but ready to give up, starting to sulk at either her inability to perform the simplest of human tasks like grabbing at a cock, or my ill-preparedness for having my cock grabbed.

Either way, we never really spoke again after we parted ways a few hours after (conversation wasn’t muted after we came out of the cinema, owed largely to us not mentioning how much of a flop we clearly were together) though the week after, back in the sanctity of our respective single-sex secondary’s, word soon spread around our concentric circles of how I’d tried to feel up Helen at the movies, but she was having none of it. I can recall being offended for the lies behalf, before quickly realising that this alleged attempt at getting some still sounded a lot better than whatever rationale would have emerged if my mates had known of the reality, that she went for the catch but the fish weren’t biting, safely fenced behind button-up-fucking-jeans.

Irreverence Inc. is an author, self-publisher and – by day – a kick-ass admin assistant. Through Irreverent Ink he hopes to promote other writers/artists in zine-form, looking to edit and publish other writers; he’s looking to swap zines for his own to use as examples of the many uses of the zine-medium, and is eager to put on workshops to encourage collaboration and creativity, starting in Birmingham and infecting outwards. If any of this makes you think you need Irreverence in your life, get in touch (feel free to call him Alex, you’re right it is a pretentious pseudonym!):
@apstwatter
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