Mickey, Sammy and others are pretending to have a shootout. Mickey says the ‘F-word’ and the others laugh at him, saying he’ll die and go to hell as a result. A girl called Linda, protects Mickey and tells the others to leave him alone. Linda and Mickey go to Edward’s house and convince him to sneak out and play with them.
Influenced by the Johnstone’s kids’ behaviour and games Edward is about to throw stones through some windows, but is seen by a policeman. The policeman visits Mrs Johnstone and warns her harshly that any more trouble from her children will mean a court visit. In contrast, he then visits Mrs Lyons but chooses to explain away the trouble as merely a childish ‘prank’. He asks her to make sure Edward ‘keeps with his own kind’.
Mrs Lyons’ knows that Edward will be drawn into friendship with Mickey and she is afraid of the consequences. After the incident with the police, Mr Lyons agrees to move the family to a different house, away in the country.
Soon afterwards Mrs Johnstone receives a letter from the council to say that her family is also being re-housed to a nicer area. She is thrilled and dances and sings at her good fortune.
Mickey, Edward and Linda as teenagers’.
The story jumps forward another seven years. By coincidence both families moved to the same area, and the twins live near to each other, although they do not know this.
Mrs Johnstone has settled happily into her new home, although Sammy has been put on probation for causing a fire at his school. Mickey is now an awkward fourteen-year-old at the local comprehensive school. Meanwhile Edward is at an all-boys private boarding school.
Mickey is on the school bus with Linda when Sammy joins them. Sammy tries to get a cheap ticket reserved only for schoolchildren, but the conductor refuses. Sammy pulls out a knife and threatens the conductor, before running off, chased by policemen. Linda tells Mickey she loves him, but only if he doesn’t become a criminal like his brother.
Mickey and Linda go up a high hill, where they see a young man looking out of his window. Linda says the young man is ‘gorgeous’, but Mickey doesn’t like her saying so. Linda leaves in a huff and the young man approaches. It is Edward.
Edward and Mickey look at each other as they get nearer and we hear them both wish that they looked more like the other. Mickey confides to Edward that he doesn’t know how to tell Linda he loves her. Edward recommends they go to see sex films at the cinema to ‘see how it’s done’.
Act two continues
Mrs Lyons turns up in Mrs Johnstone’s kitchen. She wants to know why Mrs Johnstone has decided to ‘follow’ her. She offers a large sum of money to bribe Mrs Johnstone to move away, but Mrs Johnstone rejects this, saying that she has made a better life for herself in her new home. Dramatically paralleling Sammy’s violence with a knife, Mrs Lyons grabs a kitchen knife and tries to stab Mrs Johnstone, but Mrs Johnstone dodges it. Mrs Lyons exits cursing.
We see Edward and Mickey leave the cinema with Edward thrilled by what he has seen. He is shown as clearly enjoying the escape from the restraints both of his home and his school.
We fast forward and see Mickey, Edward and Linda become close friends as they grow up year by year – the narrator tells us that they are now eighteen.
Edward and Linda meet. He tells her he is sad as he is leaving for university the next day and wonders if he can write her letters, despite Mickey being in love with her. Linda reveals that Mickey still hasn’t asked her to be a proper girlfriend. Edward sings lovingly that if he were Mickey he would have asked a long time ago.
Mickey arrives and Edward urges him to declare his love for Linda. At last Mickey asks Linda out and kisses her. Linda and Mickey want Edward to come out with them to a club, but Edward declines and seems dejected.