God be blown

The blast flung Scott the length of the corridor, through the back door of the pub and all the way into the yard. When its force finally waned, he crumpled to the ground to a round of applause. Looking up, he saw a row of people arrayed along the wall grinning. What had he done wrong? And what was this clasped in his hand? A brick! Where in blaze’s name had that come from? He clawed his way up the wall then squinted at the object in his hand. Apart from its excessive weight, it seemed quite ordinary, a dull orange pitted with tiny holes. Scratching his head, he tended the brick to the young woman leaning against the wall a few feet from him. “What do you make of it, Louisa?” She might once have been an acclaimed Miss Chichester, but for all her bold colours Louisa was no hero. She shied away, her glass sloshing its sherry over the bank clerk parked in a wheelchair next to her. But Scott insisted. Pulling a hanky from her pocket, she dabbed the sherry from the clerk’s knees then took the brick and, feeling its full weight, almost dropped it before she deposited it in the clerk’s lap. The clerk manoeuvred his wheelchair into a patch of light and examined the brick as if it were a holy relic. “‘Ere. Give it t’ me, Mate,” a young man in paint-stained overalls said, plucking it from the clerk’s lap. He stroked its bevelled edges, a broad smile on his lips. “Now there’s a good un. What d’yer think, Louisa?” She scowled and sipped her sherry. Flexing his biceps, he tossed the brick a short way into the air, sizing it up. “It’s a good un, Reverend,” he said and bowing deeply proffered it in outstretched palms. The vicar grasped it with both hands and shook it vigorously, no doubt expecting a tiny devil to fall out. “If you didn’t drink so much, Walter, you wouldn’t be so amazed by a mere brick.” He looked like he wanted to dispose of it as fast as possible, but that wouldn’t be very Christian, so he bestowed it on the last of those propped against the wall: a boy whose feminine features and frail form were almost angelic. The youth cringed at the feel of the brick, as if it might bewitch him. Flicking the long hair from his eyes, he pulled away from the wall and watched the others slink towards the pub door as if they wanted to have nothing to do with him. Shifting uncomfortably from one foot to another, he screamed and hurled the brick, shattering the window at the back of the police station. The resulting blast blew out the window, frame and all, and hurled the boy back across the yard where he landed at the feet of an astounded group, the brick firmly clasped in his hands.

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