I had gotten my ticket, but still two problems remained. The first was that with a teen pass I needed an adult to usher me in. I would have just jumped the fence with my pass, I had after all been studying their security all afternoon, but you needed to redeem the pass for the wristband, and without someone passing himself off as my guardian they wouldn’t let me have that.
I suppose it wouldn’t have been hard to find someone, if I’d asked – hard as asking is for me – because peeps were generally really friendly and relaxed at the festival. But there was the second problem: As the day went by the weather had gotten worse, and by early evening it was raining hard. Without a tent or anything like that it would become an uncomfortable night indeed. And by the time I realized that it was too late to even try to go back to Eastnor or Ledbury and see if I could purchase one there.
So that left me with the option to ask random peeps at the festival if they had a second tent they might be willing to sell to me (I still had a lot of dosh, after all). Or I could do what I did: I lifted someone’s mobile phone and called Dewey.
They came all three. Dewey ran up to me, screaming “ISH!” at the top of her lungs as she threw herself into my arms.
“Whoa, easy, Tiger,” I gasped and hugged her back.
“I knew you would be back. Huey and Louie didn’t believe me. Hah, I was so right, though.”
“You sure were. Did you have a good day?”
“Nope, it was totally boring. We went to There-ford, and that was boring, with boring old houses, and a boring church, and a boring whole grain lunch because Louie wouldn’t let us go to Burger King. And Bled-bury was totally the same only even smaller. And then Huey took me fishing, but we just sat there for one whole hour and he didn’t catch anything at all, not even an old boot or some rusty tin can. Will you play with me, please?”
She beamed at me and held up her LED illuminated Frisbee.
“Louie is tired and Huey sucks at Frisbee, he never catches it, or, like, once in a thousand throws. I mean, I hit him in the head with the thing more often than he catches it.”
“Dewey, it’s pouring.”
“Yeah, but it’s warm rain, and we’d be running, and I’m bored. Pretty please?”
“Let me talk to your rents first.”
Huey was amiable, Louie guarded. She could smell a con, even if technically there wasn’t one. But I suppose I’m not exactly the most trustworthy of fellows. I showed them my ticket.
“Where did you get that?” Huey asked.
“Did you…” Louie cut in, leaving the sentence hanging.
“I didn’t nick it off some poor sod who now has to cry bitter tears over being excluded, if you mean that,” I said slowly. “I paid good money for it, quite a lot at that.”
Technically that wasn’t even a lie, and I didn’t see any reason to burden Louie with the particulars of that transaction. She looked doubtful but nodded.
“Thing is, it’s a teen pass. I thought, we could maybe help each other. I’ll spend some time with Dewey, keep her out of trouble, so you two can catch some acts together, and you get me through the gate?”
I could sense Huey tense up at that. He threw Louie a furtive glance. The moment passed. Louie smiled wanly and put one raincoated arm around my wet shoulders.
“It’s a deal, Ishmael.” She sure liked to rub my nose in that one. “Welcome in the family for the weekend.” And to Dewey: “Why don’t you show your big brother the way.”
And so I was in. I offered to take care of my own sleeping arrangements, but I suppose I knew them well enough by then to not seriously expect them to take me up on it. They didn’t.