Billy is a 'work in progress' book, the synopsis and the chapter will be subject to further editing and possibly rewriting of various sections.
Colonel George Carpenter is about to see the start of his dream. Rapid response British Rescue and Aid teams consisting of previous young offenders. This is the story of one young man, recruited by the Colonel for the experiment in becoming one of the first BRAVe's (British Rescue and Aid Volunteers) Billy's ideas, attitude and involvement with a young girl, also a young offender. progress from a young 'tearaway' to a responsible leader with the completion of his training and his involvement in a major disaster Although completely fictional it holds a promise of "what could be,"
‘You’ll go down this time, Billy.’
He looked at his mother, old long before her time. Weary and worry lines on her face, her hair grey at the temples.
He nodded, ‘I know, Mum,‘ he said.
‘I’m glad your father isn’t alive to see this day.’
Billy remembered that stern and forbidding figure that could be so gentle at times and yet
so hard at others. He had been killed serving in Afghanistan nearly two years ago.
'I’ll be on my own now, how will I manage?’ his mother continued.
‘I’ll behave myself Mum and be back in no time at all. You’ll be OK till I get back and I promise I won’t get into trouble again,’ he said, taking her hand in his and squeezing, then pulling it away quickly in case they saw it.
She gave a ”love you” squeeze back, and wiped the tears from her eyes with a frayed
Billy looked around the waiting room.
Four of his gang were sitting nearby, they looked at him and grinned. . He grinned back and waved his hand, “no problem” he conveyed. They had come to see what was going to happen to him. It was all right for them, he thought. They’ll be going home afterwards, I’ll probably be banged up. It was his own fault; if he hadn’t been so lippy, I would never have laid a finger on him. OK, so I put him in hospital, but he had it coming, cheeky sod. He wondered who would take over from him. Probably Joe, he’d always wanted to be boss and with Billy inside for a couple of years now was his chance. I’ll just have to take it back when I get out, he thought.
A young girl about the same age as Billy was sitting close by with two people who looked like her parents. He was sure he’d seen her around somewhere. A nice looking bird with long blonde hair. She was wearing a long grey skirt that couldn’t hide her nice long legs. Her father kept on glancing at her and she looked at him, her lips together in a weak smile. A sullen looking teenage boy was slouching nearby in a chair and a man in uniform sat at the back. Billy was sure the old man in the uniform had been watching him and the blonde bird. Bloody pervert, he thought.
The door opened and a large man with a clipboard in his hand came out of the courtroom.
He glanced at the board and in a loud voice said, ‘William Jeremy Foster,’ looking around the waiting area for a response.
Billy stood up and helped his mother to her feet. They followed the man into the courtroom; the man motioned his mother to some seating, and directed Billy forward to the table where his solicitor was sitting. Billy and the solicitor had discussed the best action to take and decided that a plea of guilty may reduce the sentence. Sitting at the magistrate’s desk was the district judge who was flanked by two magistrates. Billy could see them referring to some papers and commenting on them to each other. The magistrates nodded at a remark made by the judge and he turned his attention towards Billy. The large man positioned himself below the magistrate’s desk and picking up a piece of paper announced, ‘William Jeremy Foster. You are charged under the Offences against the Person Act of 1861 that on February 4th of this year, you did commit aggravated assault against one, Malcolm Jedder. How do you plead?’
‘Guilty, your honour,’ said Billy looking directly at the judge, and maintaining a hang dog expression that he had been advised was the best thing to do under the circumstances.
“Show repentance” had been the actual words used.
‘Is the victim in court?’ asked the magistrate.
‘He has expressed no desire to attend and I understand he is still in hospital, your honour,’ said the court usher.
‘I see from the Youth Offending Team assessment, you have previously been awarded ASBO’s and a Supervision order. In view of your continued habit to offend, and the seriousness of this offence, I am mindful of awarding a Detention and Training Order for a period of two years. However, as a result of a request, I will postpone my decision for a period of one half hour whilst the accused is interviewed, and a recommendation is proposed.’
He nodded to the clerk and Billy was escorted out of the court to an interview room close by. A chair close to a table was indicated and he sat down. The clerk left the room, closing the door behind him. A short time later, the man in uniform opened the door and held it open for his mother to enter. Billy’s Solicitor followed and sat down on a chair close to the table. The Colonel moved across to the chair next to Billy’s and moved it back for his mother to sit down. He then went round the table and sat down facing Billy. He was quite old, Billy decided, at least in his forties. He had a brownish leathery face, intense blue eyes, that seemed to penetrate your thoughts when he looked at you. The uniform was a of a light tan colour with an Indian’s war bonnet on the sleeve near his shoulder. A thick dark band ran around the sleeves near his hands. A collection of ribbons was on his left chest.
Colonel Carpenter looked at the teenager sitting across the table from him. A fresh faced youth with short brownish hair. He took a file from his briefcase and opening it placed it on the table.
‘Glancing at the paper he said, ‘William, you seem to have got yourself into trouble again.’
‘He prefers to be called, Billy,’ said his mother.
The man smiled, ‘Billy, it is then,’ he said
'My name is Carpenter, Colonel Carpenter, and I run the British Rescue and Aid Volunteers, the Braves as we will be known by. I am going to give you the opportunity of signing up with us instead of going to jail.’
‘I’m not joining no army,’ said Billy.
The Colonel thought for a moment and said, ‘I can understand that you believe that from my uniform. I know your father was in the army and died in Afghanistan, but the truth is that the BRAVe’s exist to save lives, not to take them. Yes, we are very much army orientated but for teams that we train, some form of discipline and organisation is required.’
We are a completely new body and our aim is to provide aid and rescue facilities wherever they are needed throughout the world. Initially, we intend to recruit only through the courts. The magistrate has already indicated that he is going to send your case to Crown Court, do you realise what that means?’
Billy nodded, ‘It means I’m going to a detention centre,’ he said.
The Colonel nodded in agreement.
‘I’m going to give you the chance of avoiding this sentence by signing an agreement to serve as a volunteer in the BRAVe’s for a period of three years.’
‘If I go to the Detention Centre I’ll be out in a year,’ said Billy.
‘Very true,’ said the Colonel smiling, ‘so I’ll make you a deal. Sign up with us and if after one month, you don’t like it and want out, you’ll be released from our agreement and you can take your chances in the centre.. The month you’ve served will be taken off your sentence, but I reserve the same privilege for myself. If I believe that you are not for us, at the end of the month, I’ll release you from the agreement. So, what have you to lose? I’m not saying that it’ll be easy. You’ll have to work hard and if you mess up in any way during the three years, you’ll be out and back here. Your companions will be lads like you, all there under the same conditions.’
‘What happens afterwards?’ said Billy. ‘What will I do in three years?’
The Colonel grinned, ‘Whatever you want to do,’ he said. ‘One things for certain, your prospects will be far better.
This is your chance, probably the only one you’re going to get to make something of yourself, and your life. It’s up to you, but if you agree I’ll have a word with the magistrate and try to get him to accept this alternative.’
‘Don’t be stupid, Billy,’ his mother said. ‘Take what the Colonel’s offering.’
‘I’ll offer you a bonus William, if you meet all our standards in the first three months, that is if you last that long, you’ll get a weeks leave to come home. After that you will get a further two weeks every six months and plenty of weekends.’ Billy’s mother smiled, ‘that would be wonderful, Billy, tell the Colonel, yes.’
‘Do I get paid?’ asked Billy.
The Colonel shook his head, ‘ For the first year you’ll get a weekly allowance to buy things like toothpaste, a cup of tea or coffee and any other bits, and if you wish you can save a little from it. From then on you will get the normal pay of a private in the army’
‘Do I get a uniform like yours?’
The Colonel laughed, ‘well not exactly like mine, but you do get a uniform and all the other clothes you will need while your training. Now what do you say, Billy? I have to speak to the Judge first before I can tell you more.
Billy turned to his solicitor, ‘What do you think, Mr Jarvis?’
‘Sounds like a big adventure and a great opportunity, it’s up to you Billy.’
Billy nodded, ‘OK,‘ he said, this could be a breeze.
The Colonel picked up the folder and got up from the chair, ‘Wait here, ‘ he said and left the room.
They both sat quietly for a while, each one with their own thoughts about the situation. Billy, wondering what it would be like, his mother hoping that everything would be OK and the Judge would allow Billy to go.
‘What do you think, Mum?’ said Billy.
‘I think you should take it son,’ she said, ‘I had a word with the Colonel before we came in here. He served in Afghanistan and knew your father. You’ll be all right with him as long as you do as your told.’
‘Did he say he knew Dad?’ Billy asked.
‘Yes, he mentioned it to me when we were talking about you.’
‘What did he say?’ asked Billy.
‘We were talking about the case and he said that it was probably difficult for you losing your father. That’s when he mentioned he’d known him.’
Colonel Carpenter came back into the room.
‘Mum says you knew my dad,’ said Billy.
The Colonel nodded, ‘he was a brave man,’ he said, ‘he died helping his comrades. You should be very proud of him. I got the green light from the Judge.. You now have to go back in court’
Billy and his mother got up from the chairs, following the Colonel and Mr Jarvis back to the waiting room. The clerk was standing by the courtroom door and indicated for Billy to go in.
Billy followed Mr Jarvis into the courtroom and sat down at the table. The Judge and magistrates were already sitting and the Judge looked down at Billy.
‘I have been persuaded that this situation may be best resolved by placing you in the custody of Colonel Carpenter for a maximum period of three years.’
He stopped and looked at Billy intently, ‘William, he said, ‘you have been given an opportunity a person in your situation rarely gets. I advise you to take advantage of it. I do not want to see you in this courtroom again, understand?’
‘Yes, your honour,’ said Billy and the clerk nodded for him to leave.
Billy and his mother returned to the interview room with the solicitor where Colonel Carpenter was already waiting.
All you have to do is sign these forms,’ he said, placing them on the table.
‘Give me a pen,’ said Billy.
‘Don’t you want to read them first?’ said the Colonel.
‘If you’re going to screw me, it won’t matter anyway.’
The Colonel grinned, ‘I’m not going to screw you Billy,’ he said, as Billy signed where the Colonel indicated.
The Colonel completed some paperwork and handed Billy a document.
‘This is a one-way railway warrant to Chippenham in Wiltshire. You must report there by three pm on the Friday the 27th of February. That gives you a few days to check up on the trains and get your ticket. Bring only a few personal things. You won’t need any clothes, apart from what you stand up in. Someone will meet you at the station and you will be taken by bus to Melksbury, where the camp is situated. Any questions you want to ask?’
Billy shook his head, ‘I don’t think so,’ he said.
‘Right,’ said the Colonel, ‘I’ll see you on the 27th.’ and he left the room.
Mr Jarvis turned to Billy. ‘I have to get back in the courtroom Billy. I think you made the right choice and I wish you the best of luck.’
Thank you Mr Jarvis,’ said his mother, ‘for helping Billy.’
Billy nodded his thanks and the solicitor left the room.
Billy and his mother sat there for a few minutes, he was trying to take everything in.
‘Come on love,’ said his mother, ‘let’s go home and I’ll make you a nice dinner. I never thought we’d be going home together.’
They left the interview room and walked into the waiting room. His gang had already left.
‘Jane Mary Daniels,’ shouted the clerk, and the blonde girl walked into the court with her parents.
I hope she gets off, thought Billy. So her name is Jane, must remember that, I might meet her again.
His mother tucked her arm into Billy’s and they headed for the bus stop