Breaking bones in your body can’t be nice.
I’ve only ever had the experience on the one occasion. It was an unfortunate incident, recounted elsewhere on these pages, involving my foot, rampant stupidity and a flight of stairs - and I didn’t even notice that things weren’t quite right in the bone department for several days. As a general rule, I think you’ll find that the excruciating pain would be a dead giveaway in the circumstances.
Take my poor old mate Geoff. He suffered badly at my hands, and I can hardly be blamed for that time he went septic. If you’re going to show off gaping wounds, it’s best not done in polite company with a heavy cold, after all. I was there then Geoffy broke a not insubstantial number of bones in his hand and wrist. Not that I should be taking the blame in any way, shape or form. I put it all down to low-quality adult supervision, naturally. And the natural enemy of the adolescent male: girls’ arses.
Kids can bounce off things – trees, walls, each other, and generally escape with only minor injuries. Put them in a school gymnasium, however, and even the most padded of equipment is turned into a lethal weapon. Even the merest lapse on concentration in these hell rooms can be fatal. I should know, and now it must be told: Girls’ arses broke Geoff’s thumb.
Not me. Not little Stevie. Arses. Arses on girls.
In my defence, Mr Prince really wanted us all to be Olympic gymnasts. All his gym classes were geared toward the day that one of us might do a few forward rolls and a burpee to impress the Russian judge and get us up on the podium, preferably with Nadia Comaneci. Prinny had been an Olympic boxer - judging by the twitch, every punch had got through – and he wanted his youthful charges to excel in anything other than pugilism.
So, he set up the vaulting box at one end of the gym, and we had to take turns to run up, launch ourselves lamely off the springboard, do some sort of forward roll manoeuvre and land safely on the other side.
Excellent, if not a little tame.
After we’d all gone round a few times, Prinny upped the stakes a bit. Instead of the tame forward roll, give it a little more “oomph” and flick-flack yourself over, landing squarely on your feet. All except Fat Alan, who was allowed to climb over the box any way he could with the ladder provided.
Obviously, there was a bit of a change in the degree of difficulty, so a couple of lads were stationed by the vault to help their mates up-and-over. After your vault, you would relieve one of the supporting crew, who would them line up for their turn on the beast.
Simple. As. That.
Except there was one minor flaw in Prinny’s plan. There was a minute possibility that, at some stage in the proceedings, you might end up with the two smallest boys in the class on support duty, while some larger, hairy hulk who had gone through puberty years ago would end up charging down the runway towards them.
It could never happen.
So, there I was, Little Scary, glancing nervously across to Little Stevie as Great Big Geoff lumbered toward us, a steely look of determination across his face.
I’m going to name names here: Martina.
Blonde. Lithe. All woman. And the tightest gym shorts you could imagine.
The merest of glances out of the corner of my eye was enough.
Arse! Oh sweet, sweet arse! Such a firm, mellow peach of consummate beauty. Arse of Martina! Arse!
I was snapped out of my day-dream by a blood-curdling scream as Geoff bore down on the vaulting horse at 200 miles per hour. Arses.
By the time I realised what was going on, he was already airborne and, judging by the way he was flailing about, completely ignoring Prinny’s detailed instructions as to how a world-class athlete would do the perfect flip. In fact, the words “sack of potatoes” would have been more appropriate.
Stevie and I did the only thing possible as Geoff careered towards us, sideways and in extreme slow motion: we dived for our lives.
For Stevie it was simple self-preservation. However, my only thought was the safety of Martina’s arse. So, it was only natural that I should attempt to drape myself over it in some fashion to deflect the blast.
“CRACK!” went Geoff as the vaulting horse made a bolt for the door, bodies and gym equipment flying in all directions.
“Aaargh!” went Geoff, holding up a hand that appeared to be connected to his arm at the wrong angle.
“Aaargh!” everyone went at the horror of Geoff’s mutant arm.
“Stop staring at my arse” said Martina. Also: “Aaargh!”
“Aaargh!” I went at the shame of my Martina arse-staring discovery. Also: “Aaargh!”
This story could only be complete with somebody puking up in horror at the hideous mutant hand.
“Aaargh!” went Stevie. Also: “Plep!”
See? Not my fault. At all.
I am so over Martina now.