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Barry Lowe

The Day of the Cliffords

He thought it was the end of the world…but it was just the beginning.

The teenage Clifford brothers, Jerry and Matt, spell trouble when they begin spending their summer holidays next door to fellow teen Sam Dempsey. Sam and Jerry become inseparable, Sam developing a romantic crush on his best friend, although they share a guilty secret that will eventually tear their friendship apart. Matt and Jerry’s sibling rivalry for Sam’s friendship leads inevitably to disaster. Can anything be salvaged when Sam meets the brothers ten years later?

eBook Cover Price: 0.99

Length:  94 pdf Pages / 18060 words

Gay,  Romance, Drama

Heat rating: 3


When a day that you happen to know is Saturday starts off by sounding like the end of the world, there is something seriously wrong somewhere. The noise woke me from a troubled sleep. I was exhausted from weeks of stress. The previous day I’d buried my nan, the woman who had brought me up after the accident that claimed my parents when I was a little nipper of ten. I have scant memory of my parents; the woman holding me in her arms in the only photographs I have of them is a stranger, the man giving me a piggy back in another even more so because the occasions on which he had time to play with me were fewer. They were the two people who brought me into the world, but it was my nan who brought me up.

THE EXCESSIVE noise from the party next door was beginning to give me a headache. I’m as big a party animal as anyone else but enough is enough. I was surprised no one had called the cops as yet although knowing the local constabulary they would just pass the buck onto the local council rangers. I suspected, though, the locals had merely shut their windows and closed their curtains to damp down the sounds which were a common enough intrusion in the holiday season. I would have done the same had it not been for nan’s funeral. I wanted to grieve and that’s almost impossible with the thump of dance music. You need peace and quiet, a sense of calm, to grieve. What I had was David Bowie, T-Rex, The Bay City Rollers, and Blondie.

Sighing, I got out of bed, wrapping myself in the first loose-fitting clothing I came across and went outside to see if I could get them to lower the volume to a respectable level. I trudged around to their front door which, fortuitously for me, was open, as I doubt they would have heard me knock. I did try rapping my knuckles against the fibro wall next to the door but it was to no avail. I repeated the exercise adding a shout of ‘hello’ to the mix. After a few futile attempts to attract somebody’s attention, I gave up and pulled open the fly-screen door to enter the premises. Once inside, I stood watching a group of about a dozen people around my age hedonistically smoking, drinking, and chatting at the top of their voice in order to be heard over the raucous background soundtrack.

No one noticed me even after coughing loudly and again calling my greeting. There was only one solution. I went to the stereo to turn down the sound. Conversation stopped immediately and all eyes turned in my direction.

“What the…?” a male exclaimed from another room, the partygoers making way for his entrance. He glared at me for a moment. “Who the fuck are you?”

I was too startled to answer but I saw the look of recognition slowly filter across his face. “Oh my God.” We both said it at the same time.

The man staring at me open-mouthed was the last person I ever expected to see again. It was Jerry Clifford – as large as life and twice as gorgeous as I’d ever seen him before.

“What’s it been?” he asked.

“Ten years, give or take a week.”

One of the young women went to stand beside Jerry in an obvious act of proprietorship. Jerry put his arm around her shoulder as if to shield himself from any thoughts I might have about him. I had plenty. Jerry Clifford had been my first crush.

I was fourteen when I first met him. He and his younger brother, Matt, came up from the city to spend summer school holidays with the Fittons, their grandparents. That first year we were wary of each other. The ice had been broken by Matt wandering into our backyard in search of Pearl, the Fittons’ Staffordshire, who had a tendency to chase after nan’s chooks. The hens were given free access to the backyard during daylight hours to root through our small garden to pick off any bugs and snails that dared trespass on her veggies. At night they found safety inside their specially constructed shed enclosed by wire mesh. Every now and then Pearl would find a loose paling in the fence and squeeze her way through, wreaking havoc on the usual equanimity of the poor egg layers. Nan would usually scare Pearl away with the help of a large straw broom and a scream of, “Come and get your bloody dog,” directed at the Fittons’ house.