When I was in the army I acquired the nickname ‘Grotty.’ Here is how I got it:
Most of the battalion never went out, when we were posted in Belize. There we were, in an amazing tropical country where everything was completely different from anything we’d ever seen before, and out of 600 men, there were about ten of us that went out, met people, did things and got to know the country we had to live in for six months. The rest of the guys spent their nights in the NAAFI drinking cans of Tennents and watching video tapes of football and Coronation Street. I joined the army to travel and have adventures, not to watch soaps.
I made friends with some of the local street walkers. We had a sweet deal going on, it went like this: health services tend to suck in poor countries like Belize and these girls struggled to get their hands on decent condoms, the local brand, Jizzies or something, having a strong tendency to split. What these ladies could get hold of though, was good amounts of the mind-blowing local weed, and what I could get hold of was plenty of thick, strong condoms.
The army doesn’t like their soldiers getting STDs because it affects their combat readiness, so condoms were always available from the guard room for any of the troops that were planning on getting some on a night out. The first time I asked for some, it was funny; the corporal in the guard room had his head down in an overused copy of Playboy. He didn’t look up when I asked, “Can I get some johnnies Corporal?”
“Sure, how many?”
“Oh fuck off you clown! Why don’t you-” he began, and then he looked up “Oh, it’s you Mew. I thought someone was being serious for a minute.”
“I am serious Corporal, I need thirty johnnies.”
“What the fuck for?”
“We’re holding a balloon party down by the harbour.” I said sarcastically, ” What do you think I want them for?”
“So you’re gonna go fuck thirty whores?”
“I was thinking of maybe fucking some of them more than once, so it might not be as many as thirty.”
“You are one grotty cunt, Mew. First it’s all them hippies back in Aldershot and now this! Here you go, you grotty mother fucker,” he said as he handed me the box so’s I could help myself, “Now fuck off out of here, Grotty.
The name stuck.
Cuddles and I had it all sorted. The gear would get dropped off at Sally-the-Knife’s, who was just down the road, and Cuddles would drive it through in a Bedford. He knew a million places where you could conceal all kinds of shit on a truck like that. We sold shitloads to the other guys on camp and we both came home with more money than we’d set out with. Cuddles never smoked weed or fucked prostitutes. He did fuck a colonel’s daughter once, but that’s another story.
No one ever knew why Sally was called The Knife, except me. She told me one night, but she swore me to secrecy, so sorry but I can’t share that with you.
People sometimes ask me if I’ve ever been with a prostitute. I never know what to say. Does it count if you didn’t pay?