So, the rooms we live in are provided by the charity we work for, the rent is very reasonable. they do keep nagging us though. about smoking pot in them. “please smoke your joints outside?” they keep asking, “that’s our property and we are legally liable”. of course, they have a good point, and of course, we ignore them and keep puffing away like octogenarian grannies on a the 25th mile of a marathon. thing is, the job is stressful, all that bum-wiping, and lifting, and bed-sores, and feeding, and death, and boredom and stair climbing, and caring. you need an outlet and weed was ours. well, that and e, and acid, and ska, and football hooliganism, and speed and uk surf: a genre of music that has sadly not survived.
eventually the bosses do what they got to and call the fuzz. i’m watching the box in the communal area and supping on a pint of shepherd neame, when i see four burly looking blokes and a german sheppard stop outside my room. i know instantly what has happened, and rather than panic, i get up and walk calmly into my fate of being a homeless and jobless criminal. i even manage a smile.
i lead them into my room and just point to the weed on the table next to the bong. they say “all very well and good sir,” all of them staring at my sorry little bag of grass, “but we will need you to strip.” so, i go through the humiliation of a strip-search (wishing that there had been at least one wpc there, to see my dong), and then they let the dog have a good sniff around. she is well trained and loves me, or at least how i smell. there is no other puff in my room and the only point that grabs her attention is my laundry basket. there are socks in there that, if you threw them at the wall, would stick to it, and the cops ask if i have anything in there.
“not that i know of.” i lie, knowing that the cop will have to rummage, very thoroughly through them all.
As they take me to the cop shop i think of doug.
doug and i have rooms next to each other, we smoke a lot of weed together. we score from the same geezer, every thursday, on payday. just like we did today. only difference between us is that i cycle and he walks or grabs a bus. i always get home quicker. he was just arriving, as i was leaving, which means… he’s like half an hour away. he ain’t back yet. there may well be a chance for him to avoid getting busted, if only i can get hold of him before he gets home.
the cops aren’t rough with me or anything, after all, they have what they want, and we almost have a laugh together. all the time i’m thinking of doug. “am i allowed a phone call?” i ask.
“sure.” they smile, “who do you want to call?” i tell them it’s my mate doug. “come with us.” they beckon, and i follow, assuming they are taking me to a telephone. all i wanna say to him is
‘get out of the fucking house man! the pigs are coming!’ they lead me into a room where i see doug, sat, being interviewed by two other cops.
“here is is”, says one cop, “what do you want to say to him?”
“get out of the fucking house man!” i say, “the pigs are coming!”
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?