Perhaps summer 1962
1. I arrived at Jones’s house, one Saturday afternoon, to resume our enacting of “The Game”; and, as had happened more than once,[more] Chris Woodhead was there. Up to this point, he had always been “just about to go” when I came; but, on this occasion, Jones asked me if it would be all right for Chris to join in “The Game”. Of course, Jones had already made up his mind; the asking was a formality.
I was doubtful. This was Jones’s and my own special game. In fact, it was almost like real life to me, and I didn’t want any intruders in it to spoil its serious nature. And Chris looked like he was going to get in a giddy mood; his lips were already curling at the corners in amusement. But Jones persuaded me: “Go on, Coops!”
Also, I was worried that “The Game” might look embarrassingly ridiculous to Chris: it had teddy bears in positions of authority in the organisation, after all! But that wasn’t the kind of thought to occur to Jones; he continued to press me, and I gave in—on condition that Chris would be serious about “The Game”.
 “The Game”: See My friendship with David Jones: “The Game”.2. So, we all went upstairs, to Jones’s room.Thornton. The sides with the gable ends were the ones towards and away from Victoria Road. The side facing the road was clad with vertical wooden slats, with brickwork showing only near the corners. Downstairs, there was space enough for two bedrooms, side by side, at the front, and the lounge and kitchen, side by side, at the back; but upstairs, confined between the eaves, there was only space for one room at the front and one at the back. One of the downstairs bedrooms was used by Jones’s mother and father, or “Mums” and “Dads” as Jones called them, and the other by “Grans”, his mother’s mother. Jones’s bedroom—“Davelyshome, 53A Victoria Road”, according to the coloured-crayoned notice on the door—was at the back, upstairs, leaving a spare room at the front. There was a billiard table in here: a small one, not full-sized.
From Victoria Road, one would enter the short driveway to the left of the house by low wrought-iron double gates, and the front door—actually, a “side” door if one regards the front of the house as that facing the road—was halfway along the left side wall. To the right of the front door was more wood slatting and a window, and to the left, beneath a wood-framed awning spanning the drive before the garage door, the wall was made of glass bricks to give added illumination to the rear lounge. When one pressed the ding, dong! bell-push and Jones opened the glass-panelled front door, to the immediate left, within, was the door to the lounge; ahead was the staircase leading up to “Davelyshome”, left, and along a short landing the other room, right; and to the right of the staircase was a hallway giving access to the downstairs bedrooms and leading somewhere behind the stairs to a bathroom and to the back door—again, arguably another “side” door.
3. “You explain ‘The Game’ to Chris, Coops,” said Jones, as we went upstairs.
“No,” I requested lamely, “you do it.”
Chris was grinning openly now. My doubts about his inclusion became severe. Jones fixed his steely blue-grey eyes on Chris and pursed his lips into a disapproving beak. The sobering effect of this, however, was only temporary.
Jones started to explain “The Game”, and Chris found great amusement in all he was told. He lost control and sniggered occasionally, to my consternation, and kept saying “Yes!” in a silly way to everything Jones told him.
4. Jones must have had some fears of ridicule, for he made no mention of Colonel Curly Bear-Jones nor of Rainmac. In fact, I am not sure now what elements of the authentic “Game” he explained or retained.
Chris continued to show his amusement and I was about ready to give up, but Jones, wishing to promote peace, asked Chris to promise not to mess about.
“All right!” he agreed, and seconds later sniggered again.
5. Jones briefed Chris on his rôle in “The Game”: he was to be a brain surgeon, since he was familiar from hospital with neurological procedures, and with devices such as electroencephalograms.[x] Jones had fallen sick, and Chris had to perform a vital operation on him.
6. The briefing was now over, and we three walked along the landing to the other room, to start “The Game” proper. Jones lay on the “operating table”—whether this was, in fact, the billiard table, or not, I can’t remember—and “The Game” began.
 Chris was not re-admitted into “The Game” for however long it lasted after this: but I did meet up with him again; see I meet Chris.
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]