W3C Gordon DO U KNOW?

Gordon had never been a mate of Pete's, they had grown up together, played football (always on opposing teams), and usually spent the school holiday fighting. Gordon did not agree with hunting and had told Pete so late one evening when they had both had far too much to drink. Things got heated and blows were exchanged and, to cut a long story short, Gordon laid Pete out in the road outside the pub.

Soon after Gordon enlisted and went to fight in Blair's dirty little war in Afghanistan. He did two tours of duty and was discharged as being medically unfit. The things he had seen and taken part in had left their mark on him and he was not the same man as the one who left some years before. He came home as one does in times of crisis and tried to return to the way of life he had left. At first things went well, he returned to his old job, found a girlfriend and settled down, but the demons lurked in the background and slowly began to surface. Initially Gordon could handle it, but they would not be controlled and slowly but surely Gordon's life fell apart. First to go was the job; the owner could not and would not tolerate a man who came in late smelling of drink. Shortly after the relationship fell apart and Gordon was out on the street, from there things went even more downhill and Gordon began to live rough. For a while he was the talk of the village, there was much sympathy but no practical help and then a new topic of conversation came along and Gordon was forgotten.

One cold, wet night Pete finished his pint, said his goodnights and stepped out of the pub into the gale. He hadn't gone far when he heard a voice pleading, "Don't hit me again." He walked a little further and saw three of the local youths kicking a shape cowering in a doorway. It was Gordon.

The youths didn't hear Pete walk up behind them, but they heard him say, "That's enough." They turned around.

"Piss off, Pete," the leader said, "or we'll give you some."

The leader was a big lad with a reputation for violence. He was planning to meet a local barmaid later for a night of passion. His plans ended as a boot smashed into his groin and an uppercut on the point of his jaw took his feet away. The second youth fared no better except it took three punches to immobilize him. As for the third, he tried to run but tripped over the second youth and fell to the ground.

Pete picked him up and walked across the road to the bank of the river which ran through the village. With the rain the river was quite high and fast running. The youth looked at the river. "I can't swim," he screamed.

"You will," said Pete, dropping him in the water.

Pete walked back to Gordon; his face was bleeding and he had been sick.

"You know, Gordon, I never liked you," said Pete, "but everyone needs a break." He picked Gordon up. "It's Christmas, we haven't much but you're welcome." And together they disappeared into the darkness towards home.

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