Jennospot 57 Moi Gang Leader
Are yew in a gang? Well, the leader o’ moi gang, the Pepper Mill Lane Mob, were John Jay, or “JJ” as we called ‘im. That is, before ‘ee were called up ter go ter the war. ‘Ee were pretty big too were JJ.
Any’ow, Oi were there when JJ an’ Peter met fer the first toime, only Oi didn’t say nuffink, not then, Oi only jus’ watched. An’ cripes, it were quite somefink ter see. Oi reckon Peter were roight lucky ter get away wiv it. It ‘appened when ‘ee was a-lookin’ in the winder o’ Ma Jennings shop at Gables Corner. ‘Peter St John wrote it all down later on in ‘is “Gang Territory”. This is wot ‘ee wrote:
“I turned, to find my way blocked by a giant, or so he seemed to me in that first startled instant before I realized that it was a tall, bulky adolescent much bigger than me. He was flanked by Braces and Itchyprick who were grinning widely and expectantly. There was a redheaded girl behind them. The giant's face was expressionless.
‘So, this is the great playground pisser?’ was his opening remark.
I gulped and nodded, trying, without much success, to slow my galloping heart rate. It seemed of the utmost importance not to reveal my fear to Braces and Itchyprick.
‘Yeah, that's 'im, that's 'im, JJ!’ they yelled excitedly.
I decided to attempt a casualness that I was far from feeling. In circumstances such as these, a little bluff can often be useful. ‘So, this is the famous JJ?’ I replied with a smile, holding out my right hand. ‘I've heard a lot about you.’
He ignored my hand. He was not going to lower himself by treating me as an equal. ‘We don't loike them Adare Road lot neither,’ was his only acknowledgement of the Slug's humiliation in the privy. His use of the third person ‘We’ didn't escape me: that is how monarchs refer to themselves.
‘Neither do we loike the Lions Avenue Lot a-coming into our lane,’ he added.
I wanted to point out that in order to go almost anywhere from Lions Avenue, it was necessary to cross the Gables Corner end of Pepper Mill Lane. Certainly there existed another exit at the other end of the avenue but that only led away in the direction of Clayton.
I looked at JJ's stony face and decided that in the presence of his underlings he was unlikely to be open to reasonable discussion with an inferior from another territory; so I merely nodded. A nod committed me to nothing.
‘Yer new, so Oi'll let yew off this time,’ he decreed from his majestic authority. ‘Jus' keep outta The Lane in future or it'll cost yer.’
He pronounced ‘The Lane’ as though it were the ‘Kingdom of JJ’. For him, of course, it was.
I said nothing, but merely stepped around him and his humble subjects, to cross the road sedately, head erect, with as much dignity as I could muster.”
(Gang Territory Chapter 14)