It was about half six and we’re all fucking steaming and then I’m all smiles because Christine goes and turns up completely out of the blue. Fucking bingo. No doubt out looking for me. She’s put make up on and she looks so tasty it’s unreal and I catch her eyes. They sparkle like stars, shine and twinkle as our sights link up. I smile over at her and she smiles back. I’m cool as fuck. She’s in my pub and I’m on a roll and feeling great and she just looks fucking stunning. She’s got her brown hair in two neat brunches that stick out like the eyes of a Dalek but I like it. I’m not even put out that she’s accompanied by those two fatties. I say hello when they come to the bar and I get blanked by the trogs but so what do they think I care when it’s only Christine Dean I’m interested in. I try to make conversation, ask what she’s been up today and all that, but I can hear the sound of my voice and it’s dull as fuck and I’m realising that I’m more pissed than I want to be right now. But fuck it. Even though I’m bursting for a piss, I do the honours as I get all three of them drinks. No hard feelings towards the two unwanted guests. Nothing is going to bother me tonight. Christine wants a bottle of orange Bacardi Breezer and the fat cunts want Smirnoff Ice. I give them their drinks, make my apologies and then I shoot off to have a piss. It was a truly magnificent piss as it goes. Total satisfaction. All that release. I’m well happy. Well sorted what with Christine turning up. Coming in here to see me. I even on this occasion make the point to wash my hands. I had them under the blow drier when Terry Slade came in with John Hollis and they look at me like there’s something wrong with me because I’m doing something we all should do when we’ve had a piss. Moments like this make you realise how much you let standards drop when you’re out on one. As I leave John Hollis says something and then they both laugh but I don’t hear anything clearly as the drier is still noisily doing its stuff. I just walk out. And then I worryingly wonder for a minute if I was supposed to turn it off. I feel stupid for a second but I’m on a roll here and get a grip as I come back into the bar and look for the girls.
I’m now all smiles, Jack the Lad, with clean hands and a dirty mind. Bring it on. And then just when I am full of the energy of a man who is a brilliant success, the moment goes and collapses, fucking falls apart right in front of my idiotic face. I can disappointingly see that all of them have moved well away from the bar and are at this moment flirting like fuck around the lads over in the far corner behind the pool table. I wouldn’t have minded if it wasn’t for the fact that because Christine was a million leagues above her fat mates, she therefore had all the focus from the boys. Fucking Johnny Startup’s trying to charm his way right in there. I’m not gay but we all know he’s a good looking fella. He’s really plastering on the wit and flattering words about how tidy Christine’s looking and is she out to meet a bloke and do we know him. She laughs says she’s seeing no one and it’s more than fair to see the whole scene’s putting all this fucking needless pressure on me. What the fuck is going on here? I really feel sick and don’t know what to do. But I had to do something. I couldn’t let things get out of hand here. So I went over to where Stevie and Garry were. Took up my position there. Billy was also now clowning around with that cunt Johnny Startup and Kev Morgan was also flirting like fuck with Christine – she’d see nothing in that bald cunt, surely – and then Terry Slade and John Hollis came out of the bogs and sinisterly they’re still laughing (at me?) and this laughter now mixes anger up with the paranoia and fear as they both swagger over to the corner where I should be based. Where my girl is. John Hollis says something to Christine as he goes passed her and she hits him, but there’s no menace as she’s disconcertingly wearing a smile. But I reckon he must have touched her up, pinched her arse. Another fucking cunt fucking my night up, signing on to be my enemy. I’m losing the plot here. My fires burning. And who can blame me? Just listen. They’re all now laughing. Loudly. I shouldn’t have gone for a piss when I did. I should have held in my piss, stayed about and made sure Christine stuck by me. Been wiser and waited until it was absolutely safe to leave Christine with this lot of scum while I took a piss.
“I’m getting wound up here?” I say before drinking half a pint down in one.
“What you on about, Jim?” goes Garry.
“Nothing,” I reply. “Who wants another?”
He then calls his son Anthony over; he had been playing pool against himself.
“No thanks mate,” Garry then says. “I’ll see you two later when I’ve dropped him back. About an hour, okay?”
Stevie then decides he wants to get something to eat and goes with Garry and Anthony out the door Even though I’m invited along, which was nice of Garry, I sensibly decide to stay put so that I can keep watch over any further situations that I may need to police if it all starts to get really messy. I decide to get some air and see the boys off out the front and when I come back in the pub, seeing Johnny Startup grabbing hold of Christine and then her screaming and laughing oh so fucking loudly, causes me to make a big mistake. I hit the top shelf and with it all clarity about what unfolds during the next hour or so. I vaguely recall Terry Slade and John Hollis going at some point and then out went Billy with Kev Morgan. I am certain they went down the Chill ‘n’ Grill kebab bar. That left just the girls and that big cunt Johnny Startup. I was stuck at the bar on my own. Feeling and obviously looking like a fool. I wished so hard that Stevie and Garry would make a speedy return. But they never came did they and so I did the next best thing. I waited for my moment. It seemed to take forever. But it did finally arrive. My moment. It came when Johnny Startup finally went into the bogs and I made for the corner like a rocket and as she had her back to me I grabbed hold of Christine and pulled her round. She said something and so did Maureen Harper, with her face all screwed up. Fucking ugly cunt. I don’t know what they were saying but I regained consciousness and roughly believe the conversation went as follows:
“What the fuck you up to then, eh?”
“What you up to more like. Get off me, Jim, you’re pissed!”
“Trying to get me all fucked up and jealous are we?”
“You’re pissed, Jim. What you fucking doing?”
“You do know what I mean here. You know exactly what I mean and what you’re up to. C’mon. Let’s go outside a minute. Sort this out.”
I grab hold of her arm and pull her towards me. So then Maureen Harper has to grab hold of me and now I’m in a spin and I’ve got both fatties in my face and now all three of them are turning on me. The bitch army. Fucking slags. This is madness. Being attacked in public by a bunch of slags. It’s times like this when you realise that maybe on certain occasions, a bloke should be allowed one punch. To calm down a fucked up situation. Show them the rules. Remind them where the mark is, where they’ve crossed over too far. And now while I’m still under attack, out comes Johnny Startup from the bogs and he jumps right in and tells me to leave the ladies alone….or else. Fuck off cunt. Ladies? You’re more pissed than I am mate. Mate? Hmmm. As I was saying somewhere back there….mate. Fucking slags. That’s what they are. Plain and simply. Fucking slags. In any language. Universal translation. Fucking slags. For fuck’s sake, I’m getting worn out here and now Startup’s bringing it on, threatening me, seriously, that he’ll batter me if I don’t fuck off now. He gives me a hard smack in the ribs. It hurts and I try not to show it. I nearly topple over as it goes. Startup’s standing there ready to deliver a few more strikes and I back off instantly. Fucking hell where I’m I? I can’t see the coastline. I’m drowning beneath the cruel waves. Then, with me staggering badly towards the edge of the bar, feeling the sting on my chest where that cunt has hit me and from nowhere arrives Stevie and Garry on a lifeboat – how long you been gone my real friends? – don’t seem like five minutes and they’ve got Billy and Kev Morgan on board with them and everyone’s in on the scene and I’m really not sure what’s fucking well going on here, there’s voices, like everyones talking over each other, all talking, shouting out at once, and I’m spinning, fucking ready to fall over maybe and now someones got their arm round me and it puts pressure on my sore ribs and now I can see that we’re all outside in the front car park and Stevie and Garry are doing their best in telling me I ought to call it a day for my own good and then I don’t know how this has all come about but here I am walking home alone and it can’t be even half past eight yet on a Saturday night and I’m not happy with events as they stand and as for my so called mates, well they’re cunts. They’ve really let me down here. Every fucking one of them.
When I get in the old girl also has to go and start on me as well. Thanks mum. Well appreciated. You telling me what a state I look. Kicking me while I’m down. Bang out of order. Why don’t you kick me in the ribs mum. Kick me where that cunt bully Johnny Startup nearly snapped them. He’s done boxing. He knew what he was doing. Picking his spot with those fists. Fucking can’t believe someones hit me. Can’t believe it! It’s making me depressed and the old girls still in my face. But I don’t say a word back. I’m better than her. I just get some crisps out the cupboard and go upstairs. She’s lucky I don’t just pack my bags right now and walk out on her. That would have her in tears. She’d melt in the loneliness. Without me here. She obviously thinks I haven’t seen how she’s grown in confidence since I came back. How the scene I’ve made here has allowed her to regain a former self. Let her grow and glow. Even if it is a total false dawn. I could really bring her down if I wanted. An easy job. No effort necessary. But I’m better than that. She doesn’t know what a good son I really am. After an unhappy stumble upstairs, I’m soon registering how fucking well pissed I am once I’m sat on my bed. As I’m also still full of so much passionate spite, I sensibly decide that what I really should have here is a pissed up heavy wank over some sluts as a tonic to support my deflated spirits. Yeah that’s what I needed to do. But where the fuck I’d put my latest couple of mags I couldn’t remember. So I got an old mag out of the cupboard but soon got bored with the same old tits, fanny and arses and anyway, all movement in my right arm pinched my ribs, real biting pain. So much in fact, that I almost had a good mind to go back down the pub and wrap a pool queue round that cunts face, break his fucking nose and then boot the cunt as he went down holding his brain so it didn’t roll out like a pea out of the pod that was his head. Let him know who he was fucking with. But that never happened. I wanted that to happen, of course I did. But that never happened as I never left the room let alone the house. I was soon lying on my back, still and careful, nursing my ribcage, hopeful and ready to fall asleep. And fortunately, even with all the pain I was in – in mind and body – that didn’t take too fucking long at all.
An extract from the novel Green Light To Paradise by Joe England