Sunday, 6 January 2013

Suck It

In the afternoon we went to a Thai restaurant – The Blue Lagoon. Eddie said he was starving and cold. I would have settled for Burger King; which we walked passed on route. Oddly, we didn't eat. We had four bottles of Cobra beer each instead. After an oppressive bout of silence and staring out of the window, Eddie came out with the following.
          ‘I cherish the time I used to come up here to London, to see great performances. I saw the fiftieth anniversary of The Birthday Party at the Lyric in Hammersmith. Never heard of it? Harold Pinter? One of the main characters is a fella called Webber. After the play had finished the actor who had played Webber was surprisingly sat at the bottom of the staircase, in the bar, sipping coffee and trying to project a regular guy sat there sipping a coffee. He might have achieved an amazing feat getting in that position so quick, but I saw through him. What with me being the first one down the staircase to be able to do that. What was he expecting? Me to shake his hand? He smiled at me he did. I just looked at him, all befuddled. Should have told him to fuck right off. His performance was perfunctory. He should have been out the back, sat on the bog, head in hands. Not sipping coffee and expecting praise. On our estate, kids, most of them known to me, would hunt down and attack the weak and the weird. It’s what kids on estates do. Part and parcel of killing time. After it had happened real bad this one time, I got blamed, arrested. Crowned ringleader. I wasn’t even on the estate the day Denis Hudson collapsed without anyone touching him. He had had a heart attack. Further to his own fists being raised, a reaction to kids hanging around outside his house; a window screen wiper on his motor got snapped so the story goes. No one was on his patch of filth he called his land, not one foot entered his private area. Who would anyway? He had grass a mile high. Snakes had been seen crossing the narrow pathway, from one patch of jungle to the other. Rumour was that his snakes ate cats. He was mental though. Always talking to himself. Never opening his curtains. A right state. You could smell him from one end of the estate to the other. I suppose it was wrong. Us always waiting for him to come out, go to the shops. We gave him hell. But we never killed him. All we were guilty of was trying to pass the time of day. When you’re that young and that bored you’ve got to keep an interest in life. Don’t you agree?’
          Eddie got up without waiting for a response and went to the toilet. A while later, when he returned, the bill followed. Eddie paid in full. Said it was his treat. He then said he had some cocaine on him. He passed it to me. Asked me if I had taken any before. I had. Told me to go to the bogs and to help myself. So I did.
          Outside and with both of us grinning Eddie asked me if I was scared of heights. When I told him I wasn’t he patted me on the back.
          ‘That’s what I wanted to hear. You ever fancied going on the Millennium Wheel?’
          ‘Do you mean the London Eye.’
          ‘No, I definitely mean the Millennium Wheel.’
          As we walked along Kensington High Street, a crowd of girlies passed us screeching hysterically. I gathered this was some sort of Xmas office partying. They seemed to sneer at us as we strode right through the heart of their huddled circle. Words were sent to us, hateful spiteful words, words such as worms and dickheads used. I hate that word, worm. Mandy used to call me that in the heat of fall out. And now I appreciate that Eddie doesn’t like the word either. As they moved away he turned and moved towards them, said something. At them all. I did not hear what he said.
          ‘Fuck off, how dare you say that!’ one of them raged, face twisted, fists rising.
          Eddie laughed viciously.
          The girl in question was visibly upset. The partying momentarily on pause as the group regarded us if we were known rapists.
          ‘What did you say to them?’ I asked him when he walked passed me still laughing.
          ‘I told them the truth,’ he said. ‘Now let’s forget about trashy sluts and head to the Albert Hall. It’s not far. I want to see Hitler’s other ball.’
          We didn’t get to see Hitler’s other ball. Eddie walked two paces stopped and turned.
          ‘Nah, fuck the Albert Hall. I saw one of my relations there when I was a kid. Acting the big man like he does and all them lost clowns getting excited every time he plucked a note. He was like a zookeeper feeding hungry seals. I could have gone backstage. Why would I have wanted that? Felt suffocated in there I did. Would have preferred my own company in such a place. No. Fuck the Albert Hall. We’ll take that in another day. Do you know what I fancy right now; among other things. I fancy a butchers at Old Father Thames.’
          ‘Sorry, Eddie, what were you on about, your relations?’
          ‘I’m Eddie Weller, right.’
          ‘I didn’t know that was your surname.’
          ‘It is.’
          ‘So when you say one of my relations you mean as in Paul Weller out of The Jam?’
          He looked at me accusingly; eyes burning, insulted, wounded.  
          Eddie then yawned.
          ‘He’s an uncle.’
          I was certain he was telling the truth.        
          ‘Wow, no kidding?’
          He began picking at a fingernail.
          ‘Eddie, no way, right?’
          ‘It’s no big deal. Not to me. Rarely see him and when I do he’s in a mood about one thing or another. Never had time for his music.’
          ‘Eddie this is mental, mate. I must tell the guys when we get back at work.’
          ‘You’ll do no such thing.’
          We got the tube to Embankment. Time had raced by. We talked endlessly. I cannot recall what about. Definitely not about his uncle. We crossed over the Thames on foot, marvelling at the Houses of Parliament. Once on the other side Eddie produced a small cube of paper with a cartoon picture of Batman’s face on it.
          ‘Darling, place this on your tongue and suck.’
          ‘What is it?’
          ‘My treat.’
          ‘Yeah, but what is it?’
          ‘My peace offering. You see, I really have forgiven you.’
          ‘For what?’
          ‘For that time at work, in the toilets, when you were aggressive and rude to me and also disrespected ‘Left Bank Two’ by The Noveltones. But I have let you off all that. Now place this on your tongue.’
          ‘You haven’t said what it is.’
          ‘Just suck it and see.’
          I placed the tab on my tongue.
          ‘Suck it and see,’ he said again.
          And I sucked.

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