Poor Joey

July 7, 2014

This week’s #200v200 title is borrowed from the Blockheads track ‘Poor Joey’.

   “Poor Joey.” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.

   “What did you call me?” He wasn’t angry. He was hurt. Gavin scrabbled around internally for an explanation that he could feasibly sell. But if such an explanation did indeed exist, the time to pitch it had passed. 

   Joey McCann was, in socio-economic terms anyway, just like everyone else. Middle-class. Professional parents. Two cars. Joey Quigley however, with his DIY haircut, knock-off trainers and vague look of undernourishment, stuck out from the beginning. No-one could remember who said it first, but ‘Poor Joey’ was simple, succinct and funny (in that edgy way that appeals to teenage boys).

   Joey Quigley wasn’t unpopular. In fact, everyone seemed to like him. Of course, he knew that his classmates were better off than he was – that much was obvious – but he had always felt that they didn’t care, that they liked him for who he was, not for how much his father earned.

   In five years, no-one had ever slipped up, forgotten themselves and said it to his face. Until now. Gavin would have given anything to take that moment back. But words, once uttered, can’t be unsaid.


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