Chapter 1 The New Boy
Rob stood with a spanner in hand as he came into In the Pits Auto Repair Garage. As the name suggested, one of the more affordable to every pocket business in the area. It's one prominent feature was its reputation. Excellent!
His welcoming smile pleased most permanent staff. His manager, usually a cantankerous old bastard; considered the new apprentice a breath of fresh air. As he clocked in on the way to the tea room, the whiff of his shower gel together with the sweet-smelling amino acid fragrance of a famous shampoo hit your nostril like a bullet hits the target. There, he’d got you. ‘Morning,’ the lads would say to him. Some, with at least some effort. Smiling back in return dressed in his freshly laundered and ironed mechanics overall, the scent of a spring meadow suggested to all of the lads that Robert, was just a bit too clean.
His hair was pristinely groomed. This lad’s best friend could only have been the bathroom mirror. It was apparent he was no stranger to working out either. His physical fitness was on display from the first lunch break the lads took together. Rob sat outside the garage on a tea-room chair having stripped down to his jeans and steel toe capped work boots to savour the unusual summer sunshine. The sun was out for once and beating down on all and sundry as hot as a baker’s oven. Sunbathing? You could have turned yourself over and seen if you’d been done.
His six-pack gave the appearance they had a mind of their own. Whether he stood up or sat down, his abdominal muscles danced in harmony. His pecs were a thing of beauty. Taut wasn’t the word for them; they were rock hard and incredibly impressive for a young man of his age. His back muscles too gave him an early nickname of Triangle by the lads as they formed the trapezius. At least they knew what one of them was.
The biceps he put on display that hot summer’s day was perhaps the most impressive. As the most muscular thing that hit you, they were a thing of beauty for the lads to behold. The rest of the lads knew he was showing off. Although applying a few sprinkles of suntan lotion over his chest, his stomach and his arms did raise the odd eyebrow from the foolhardy among them. None of the other boys would have done such a thing in public view of their workmates. ‘That’s what girlfriends are for,’ one joked. Of course, one of the younger boys intimated those girlfriends were only good for one other thing to which he confirmed, ‘feeding his belly.’ A few drops dribbled onto his blue jeans which he just brushed away with the back of his hand outlining what lurked beneath them.
‘I’m not doing yer back mate,’ Simon told him as he sat on the edge of his chair almost expecting to be asked if he would.
Smiling away, Rob asked him, ‘and what made you think I was going to ask yer to?’
Simon always sat next to Justin. He considered himself to be the most senior of the apprentices. As such, he sat in the sunshine with his overalls on. Whatever he had on beneath Rob was sure would need a double laundry visit. Mind you, even washing his hands seemed to be too much trouble at times. Justin? He had far too much lip about him. Some of his comments were at times, well below the belt. Accused by some of talking through his feet, stronger language would be used on occasion when the lads had heard enough. Still, he had taken his overalls off at least. His jeans did his glutes justice and hugged them leaving little to the imagination when he turned around. This, was very easy on the eye. Although, his big red college jumper did his physique no justice. Must have been chosen by his mother, Rob dismissed.
Just what should everyone know about those two? Well, you needed a crowbar to separate the two of them. It was if they were super-glued together. They both walked to and from work, together. They went to the pub for a beer after work, together. Even on a Sunday, they were out doing something, together. Justin and Simon must for some reason when they first met, be drawn together like magnets. If one said the sky was pink, then the other agreed. This day was like no other day. The two thousand and two registered sporty red Daimler had come in for an oil and filter change. To listen to these two, you would have thought it was heart surgery. Job done and awaiting the owner, they preferred to sweat it out in the sunshine as there was no way either of them would go shirtless. The screams from their lily-white skin so desperate for some colour fell on deaf ears.
From the corner of his eye, Rob eyed them both up and concluded on first impressions that the pair of them were dickheads. Justin, the cheekier of the two, had a small tattoo on his right forearm which had some resemblance to a snake. Not one to judge people’s appearances, Rob would wait until he knew him better before asking if there was any significance to it. Never live by your first impression was his motto. His unusual warmest feature was his witty comments. They were sharp and well thought through. It was this he used to hold Simon’s impetuous decisions back.
As for Simon, that lunch break, he spent more time flicking away his overgrown fringe from his eyes. He told it as he saw it. Rob guessed he’d always know where he stood with him.
As Rob put his sunglasses on to protect his delicate brown eyes, Simon said, ‘hope it’s not too hot for you?’
’If it is, I’ll roast myself like good ‘un,’ Rob told him with an even bigger smile on his face. He’d quickly learnt that referring to food in Justin’s earshot distracted him not to understanding his comment's true meaning. On the other hand, Simon’s sly smile gave a little more away to Rob than he at first realised. Little did the unsuspecting Rob know it at this time, but he’d make an enemy of one and a follower of the other. He had just become the crowbar that would split these individuals in two.