Tuesday, 28 August 2012

#28 Billy and Cat Parker

Cat: I knew Billy from before. He’s a bouncer at “Chancers” one of the busiest clubs in town. So I’d run into him now and again just in the line of duty. Picking up drunks, dealing with disorderly conduct, that’s par for the course on a Saturday night around here I’m afraid. So I’d noticed him let’s say. But we didn’t know each other very well, at least not until the party.

Billy: Somebody pit somethin’ in ma drink. Ah wis spiked ken?

Cat: I’m sorry. He’s from Scotland. That’s how they talk. Anyway, Billy was at this party and who should walk in but his ex…

Billy: Ma ex aye… 

Cat: Now Billy’s had a few drinks and he doesn’t want a row so he does what any man would.

Billy: Aye, ah went upstairs an’ pit ma pal’s ma’s clobber on eh? Turned masel’ intae a braw lady so ah did. Then ah went tae the tap o’ the stairs and told Gina she couldnae talk tae Billy nae mair ‘cos Billy wisnae here, just this beautiful lady. Ah felt…liberated. Like aw ma problems had jist melte’t away. The looks on folk’s faces. It made me laugh. Ah wis free ken? Free. Then ah fell doon the stairs an’ did a fair bit o' damage tae ma pal’s hall.

Cat: When he arrived at the station, he was agitated and really quite aggressive with the arresting officer. He kept insisting that he be searched only by a female officer because he was a lady. We kept telling him that no one wanted to search him, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. When his Mum came to collect him there he was, torn dress, bruised and bloodied, make up all over his face with his wig looking like someone had duct taped a travesty to a monster. “Billy! What happened?” cried his mum. And what did you say? What did you say Billy?

Billy: Ah said, “Ah fell.”

Cat: Right then. That was when I knew.

Friday, 6 April 2012

#27 Kenny Fence

See, the more you have the more can go wrong. All it takes is for the dishwasher to pack in and your perfect little life just crumbles and falls crumbles and falls crumbles and falls. Not a lot of people realise this. They don’t realise why they are unhappy.  Why they are so tense. One minute everything is fine the next a light bulb pops and you’re shouting and smashing and you can’t stop. You can’t stop. You don’t know how to stop. It’s all a house of cards.
So yeah, stand-up can be tough. I remember one time I did a show when no-one laughed. I’m not talking about when they don’t listen. That happens all the time. This was different. Everyone listened. You could have heard a pin drop. But no-one laughed. I later found out they were all from Norway. Norway. Funny story right? Wasn’t funny when I was up there. The longest 10 minutes of my life. Afterwards they apologised. Apologised for not laughing. They were so pleasant and polite. I don’t know why that made me so angry but it did. Still, it was no excuse for what I did to their mini-bus.
After that I had to go to hospital for a while because I couldn’t stop thinking about how someone or something was stealing all my time. Where does it go? Have you ever thought about that? I couldn’t stop. When they found me in the park, I’d been running in nothing but a bed sheet for three days. I was lucky they managed to save my feet. Anyway, long story short, I work up at Gigglemouse Castle now. I do matinee shows for the kids. I thought it would be easier and in some ways it is. Most of them can’t throw very well. But the sound of a room full of kids booing stays with you. Stays with you when you’re doing that thing you used to call sleep. I wonder what time it is. Do you have the time?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

#26 Darren Malloy

You know that programme on the tele “Don’t Tell the Bride?” Yeah? Well don’t tell Stacy I’ve spent all the money we’d saved for the wedding.

What did I spend it on? It would be easy for me to say it was gambling. Because it was mostly gambling. I don’t know if you’ve ever been gambling before but it’s a fast and easy way to lose lots of money. Basically you try and pretend you know what is going to happen in the future with money, then you get it wrong and men take away your money. It’s kind of like a shop but you don’t get a pizza or a twix or a bottle of juice after the money goes away.

What am I going to tell Stacy? I was planning on either moving away without telling anyone or just brassing things out. Pretending I don’t know her and don’t know what everyone’s talking about when they mention the wedding. “Sorry, Stacy who?” That kind of thing. The more I think about it, running away seems the better option.

I know a lot of people will think I am bad to run away because of the baby, but I’m fairly sure it isn’t mine. You need to do stuff with a lady to make a baby, I know that much. And I haven’t done anything like that since the bonfire night I tried to make my friends think my winkie was a rocket. I had a lot of time to think about things after that in hospital. I also had a lot of time to finish Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising on the Gameboy Advance which was brilliant. I remember thinking about how stupid I had been trying to make my friends laugh. Trying to make them like me. I remember thinking that I should never do anything I don’t want to just to make other people happy ever again. And that I would get a Nintendo DS as soon as they came out.

#25 Stacy Plumstead

The thing about my Darren is he accepts me for who I am. I mean at the end of the day, this is a small town with a lot of lonely older men. And I have things to pay for. Plus mum was getting too old for it, God rest her.

There are pressures that come with being Mothwicke’s only topless laundress. As well as genuine dangers. You try ironing in the nip and you’ll see what I’m talking about. And try explaining to insurers why you need extra cover for your tits.

Course, there’s been a lot of talk about us postponing the wedding. A lot of…how should I say this? A LOT OF SLUTS AND FUCKING MOUTHS with nothing going on in their own lives have put it all over town that we’re splitting up, that Darren caught me in bed with my hen night stripper. I mean, how could Darren have caught me in bed with my hen night stripper? You show me where there’s a bed round the back of my local. I will say this though; if I find out who it was that put the CCTV footage on You Tube, I’ll have them. Thank God my Darren is scared of electricity.

The truth is Rachel is a cousin of mine and she was reported missing two days before the wedding. How could we go ahead when all they’d found of her was that piece of her dress in the woods?  We just didn’t think it was right. Not with no-one knowing what had happened. How could it have been our day after that?

But time passes and you have to get on with your own life don’t you? I hope that doesn’t sound mean. I didn’t really know her very well even though we were related. Rachel being gone, well, people have got used to it haven’t they? You can’t put your life on hold forever.

So we’re going ahead with it a week today. Darren’s got it all arranged. I’m keeping my name. And I’ll keep working. At least until the little ‘un comes in a month or so.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

#24 Rev. Cobb Waverley

Of course, the Bible tells us of the plague of boils, visited upon the house of the Pharaoh. Are you familiar? No? Few are these days I suppose. In any case, it seems plain to me that skin diseases of all types are simply manifestations of sin. In one way or other.

Take my own afflictions. Now I am not claiming to commune directly with The Almighty but I do believe that if you feel something strongly in your heart then this is The Lord’s way of lighting your path. And so I feel somewhat justified in saying that my problems stem from absorbing the sin of others, of taking unto myself their weakness, their evil, their depravity. It occurs simply in the course of my contact with parishioners. No one is totally “clean” after all are they? And some are quite the reverse.

It seems to me it is God’s will for me to draw the filth from the people of this town and take it unto myself. I take no pleasure in it you understand. But accept my duty. My role in His plan. Of course I feel…unsightly. Ugly even. I may even occasionally feel a pang of jealous despair. I am, after all, so far from The Lord’s splendid perfection. But the great and the low have purpose alike. Just as the Lion roars, the worm tills the soil beneath in silence.

Monday, 6 February 2012

#23 Sid Parker

You’d think it would be the blood wouldn’t you? The blood oozing from where their fingers used to be. From the slash wounds and the orifices. It’s not even the screaming that keeps me awake. No. It’s the laughter. Pat’s laughter as he’s doing it. Like a little kid in clover. Having the most fun. The best time of his life. That wakes me up some nights. I can never get back over after that. I hear it echo in my head for hours. Inescapable, just like the truth of what I done. My culpability.

But it’s not so unusual for a footballer to hang about with a gangster is it? Almost form isn’t it? Expected. I met Pat when I just moved back here, in my twilight, after my time with City. We moved in the same circles. I liked champagne and flesh and he like making sure I had all I could handle. He just loved the stories. Tales from the trenches. Cup finals, the European nights. The managers, the big personalities.

Then one night, a young lad bumped into him as he was telling one of his own tales. Just bumped into him. Knocked him off his stride and spilled his drink a little. Just a little bit. And then he made me come outside and showed me what he was famous for. After that he made me watch every time. Like having seen him once changed me in his eyes. Like it was all ruined. Like if the friendship was ruined he would ruin me. Ruin my peace. 

When I heard what had happened to him, I was relieved. Of course nothing like that should happen in life. Not to anyone. And you have to feel for his family. Who do I feel sorry for? The woman who bought the sausages. The police never got to her before she’d had them for her breakfast. But I was glad it was over. There’s the laugh. That’s what you get for finding comfort in the suffering of others.

Playing helps. When I’m on the pitch it all seems to blow away and I can be me again. The me I was before all this. But you can’t play forever can you? Eventually the whistle goes and you have to hit the showers. The floodlights go out and you have to face the big one. The match you can’t win. The one where the odds are stacked against you. The one that starts when the glass falls from your hand and you crash into the darkness.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

#22 Keith Brentford

I think the lesson where I’m concerned is “Never make fun of the local wise woman.” But I’ve not let my exceptionally small head hold me back. Quite the reverse in fact. I’m one of Mothwicke’s leading sports retailers and my distinctive head has given me quite an edge when it comes to drumming up business.

“Where should I go for some cycling shorts?” people might say.

“Go to Keith Brentford’s, the home of quality and value.” will come the reply.

“Who’s that?” some people who don’t know where my shop is will maybe say.

“That guy with the tiny head. You know, the curse victim.”

And they’ll know straight away who I am because obviously I’m regarded as something of a freak locally.

Yes, I was seeing Rachel for a while. We were together when she disappeared. Not “together” together, obviously! Otherwise I’d find myself implicated in what could quite possibly turn out to be a horrendous crime! But no, I mean we were seeing each other at the time. She’s a wonderful girl. Very giving and kind. And in bed? Well. A gentleman never tells. So I probably shouldn’t have brought that up. Now I have, I feel obliged to say she was exceptional. You know the feeling you get when you do a stock take of a large inventory of sporting goods and it balances off pretty much to the item? It’s a rare and beautiful thing.  But being with Rachel was up there. Almost as good.

Have I been lonely since? Of course. But it’s not about me. Someone out there knows something about Rachel. Someone can tell me and everyone else who cares about her whether or not she’s alive. So I don’t think of myself as “being lonely”. I am fairly well off. I can always get another woman.