Illustrations (c) Nick Abadzis, 1997-2000
It was a Friday evening, and the twelve members of St. Jude's Youth Club were holding their regular get-together. Or, rather, NOT-get-together!
"The trouble with girls," said the strong, powerful voice of Lennie Gould, "is that they're totally useless at things that matter - like football!"
"And the trouble with boys," retorted Daisy Higgins, in her only slightly less powerful voice, "is that they've all got heads like footballs - filled with air!"
Colin 'Colly' Flower jabbed an angry finger in Daisy's direction. "At least we know how to use our heads to score goals!"
"Without worrying about messing our hair up!" sneered Jonjo Rix.
From the other end of the room Rhoda O'Neill swung round and pointed at Jonjo. "Only because you haven't got any hair worth messing up!"
Mick Ryall peered through his glasses at Jonjo's shaven head. "She's right y'know."
"She is not right! "yelled burly Barry Watts. "Girls are never right! Ain't that right, Lionel?"
Lionel Murgatroyd frowned uncertainly. "Er ... well ... it is possible ... technically ... on the odd occasion ..." A sharp jab in the ribs from Barry made his mind up for him. "No, Bazza!" he yelped. "Girls are never right!"
Lulu Squibb took an angry step forward, pulling Kirsten Browne with her. "You big bananas! You think you're best at everything. But none of you is a better goalie than Kirsten!"
"Only because she can catch the ball in her mouth!" laughed Jeremy Emery.
"And still carry on talking!" giggled Tarlock Bhasin.suggesting that we girls talk too much?"
Lennie, tall and powerful like his voice, stomped forward to meet her. "No, we're not suggesting that."
"Were saying it!" yelled Lennie. "Because its a fact!"
The other boys stalked forward to join their leader. On the opposite side, Daisy, Lulu and Rhoda hurried to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Kirsten. Within moments the air was filled with insults.
If they'd been asked, none of them would have been able to explain exactly why they argued so much. It was simply the way it had always been. Boys against girls. Girls against boys. Football, darts, table tennis theyd argue over anything. Sometimes theyd even argue over which side was better at arguing!
"Right!" Lennie Gould finally yelled above the noise. "There's only one way to settle this! A contest!"
Original cover for this collection
Handball Horror and Midfield Madness were originally published as separate books: