Tag Archives: alcohol

Skid Row

When, before 9 am
I hear the clink
Of bottles, I think
On the fine line
Between those who,
Like me
Drink coffee
Or Tea.
And enjoy a pint or 2
(In the afternoon or evening),
And men
Who, before 9 am
Bottles chink
On the quiet street
That does go
Down to Skid Row.

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There Was A Young Man From Dover

There was a young man from Dover
Who suffered from a terrible hangover.
When he called for the hair of the dog
His servant Hogg
Brought him a canine called Rover.

There Is Nowt So Queer As Folk

Shortly before Christmas 2014 I stood at a busy bar waiting to be served. Time passed but no one seemed inclined to attend to my requirements. I turned to the gentleman standing next to me,

“Do you think they have noticed me?” I said.

“Everyone seems to want food. I don’t know why they can’t eat at home, that is what I do. You are different, being blind I mean” my companion said.

 

The above conversation intrigued me. Was my fellow pub goer some kind of puritan with a deep seated objection to people spending money on eating out when they could, perfectly well knock up a meal at home? Puritans generally object to the drinking of alcohol and as my new found acquaintance was imbibing the demon drink I dismissed the idea that he was a strict Puritan.

The idea that the gentleman might be the adherent of a form of extreme left-wing radicalism crossed my mind. Did he feel in the very depths of his being that it was wrong to spend money on luxuries such as eating out when there are people starving in the world? But if he did indeed adhere to such an extreme perspective why allow himself the “luxury” of a drink as alcohol is, surely not a necessity?

As I pondered such philosophical questions a barman approached and enquiring what I wanted proceeded to serve me. I never did get to the bottom of what precisely my new found friend had against people who choose to spend a convivial Sunday afternoon enjoying a roast in a pub rather than slaving over a hot stove. It just goes to prove, as is often remarked in the north of England that “there is nowt so queer as folk”.

The Darkness

Laughter in the bar. Drink flows, hail fellow, well met.

Standing at the urinal, looking out, through frosted glass into the darkness from whence we came and to which we shall return.

We fear the eternal night, surround ourselves with light but, when we look into the darkness we are faced, struggle as we may to avoid the truth of it,

with the inevitability of death, the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns.

Returning once more to the laughter. The clinking of glasses while, outside the darkness waits, patiently to swallow me.

 

(I am blind but can distinguish between light and dark and perceive outlines of objects but not their detail. So, for example I might see a shape but have no idea as to whether it was a man, woman or tree).

Drunk

“Come on big man” the drunk slurred. He attempted to steady himself glaring bailfully at his opponent who looked back, his bloodshot eyes stirring straight into those of the drunkard.

“Come on, think you’re tough. I’ll show you what hard is” the drunk said spittle flying from his lips. The other mimicked the drunkard’s actions further inflaming his addled brain.

“You taking the piss are you, I’ll make you smile on the other side of your ugly mug, you see if I won’t”. The drunkard stepped back and, raising his fist brought it crashing down on the face of his tormenter. The shop window shattered sending shards of glass tinkling down onto the pavement.

“Come back you coward” yelled the drunkard glaring at the spot where his reflection had been.

Chicken

Julie took another swig of cider and passed the bottle to her friend Lizie.

“How’d you get it Jules?” Lizie asked taking a gulp of the dark liquid.

“How you think I got it. Bought it didn’t I” Julie replied taking another swig from the bottle which her friend had just handed back.

“But you aint old enough to drink Jules”.

Julie threw back her head and snorted with laughter.

“So fucking what. You aint old enough either but I could swear you’re drinking with me. Got it in that offie on Duke Street. Owner doesn’t give a stuff about how old you are, just cares about cash”.

“Its bloody good stuff Jules” Lizie said taking another mouthful.

“Its your turn next time Liz. I aint taking the risk every time. It aint fair. I got it last time as well”.

Lizie paled.

“But you look older than me Jules. You look all mature, I look like a little kid. I’ll never get served”.

“Chicken. Course you will. Borrow some of your mum’s make-up and those glittery heels your sister wears and nobody will have a bleeding clue that your 14”.

“Mum will fucking murder me if she finds out” Lizie said.

“Who’s going to tell her? I aint no grass. Just wait till she goes to work and nick a bit. She won’t notice” Julie said flicking a strand of long blonde hair out of her eyes.

“Angela’s mum went ape shit when the cops brought her home” Lizie said drumming her fingers nervously on the wooden bench.

“That stupid cow tried to buy cider in Sainsburys. Fucking idiot. Supermarkets are red hot on, oh what do you call it?” Julie asked.

“Age verification I think” her friend replied.

“Yeah, that’s it. Age verification. Why do you think I always go to the offie? Cause Mr Patel doesn’t give a shit. He’ll sell to anyone so long as they have the cash”. Julie said.

“Mum’s a teacher. She’ll kill me if I get caught. In fact it will be much worse. She’ll give me that I’m so disappointed in you Liz, how could you bring shame on me look. I can’t stand it when she does that. It makes me feel so small” Lizie said holding her hands six inches above the ground.

“I get it. Its fine for bimbo Julie to stick out her neck and maybe have it cut off but that little angel Elizabeth Cox won’t buy cider cause she doesn’t want to disappoint mummy. Well I’m pissed off. Go and find someone else to hang out with because I’ve had enough Lizie” Julie said jumping to her feet.

“Don’t go Jules” Lizie said taking hold of her friend’s sleeve.

“I want a friend not a fucking chicken” Julie said wrenching free from Lizie’s grasp.

“OK I’ll get it next time, promise” Lizie said running after Julie as she headed towards the park gates.

“You promise?” Julie asked turning towards her friend.

“Yeah I promise Jules” Lizie replied.

 

 

Lizie looked up and down the street for the third time. At 8:45 on a wind swept and rainlashed Monday evening Cobden street was deserted with the exception of an elderly man fighting a losing battle with his umbrella. As Lizie watched the wind caught the umbrella and carried it away with the elderly gentleman in hot pursuit. Taking a deep breath Lizie pushed open the door to the off licence. The sound of the bell caused her to start guilterly. Funny that. She haden’t felt guilty while drinking Julie’s cider in the park but somehow the prospect of purchasing alcohol herself made Lizie feel sick.

“Can I help you?” Mr Patel said looking through the wire grill which acted as a safety barrier between those serving and the customers.

Lizie swallowed.

“I’ll have this please” she said placing a bottle of Woodpecker cider on the counter.

£3.75” Mr Patel said.

Lizie reached into her pocket for the money. Shit she could have sworn that she had £10 in her purse. It wasn’t there now, she must have left it on the chest of drawers in her bedroom.

“Sorry I’ve forgotten my money. Can I pay you tomorrow?” Lizie asked.

“Its only £3.75. Forget about it” Mr Patel said placing the cider in a plastic carrier bag, “but you could do me a small favour if you have a moment” he continued.

“What kind of favour?” Lizie asked.

Mr Patel grimaced with pain and massaged his back.

“I’ve hurt my back. The doctor says that I shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting but in this job I have to carry heavy boxes. I’ve a box of wine out the back. Could you carry it in here for me?” Mr Patel asked.

“I’m meeting a friend” Lizie said glancing at the time on her mobile.

“It will only take a minute. I can unpack the box, I just need your help to carry it into the shop”.

“OK, where do I need to go?” Lizie enquired.

Mr Patel gestured towards a door at the back of the shop which stood slightly ajar.

“The box is just inside, straight ahead as you go through the door. Don’t trip over it” he said laughing.

Lizie entered the stock room. The box was straight ahead of her just as Mr Patel had said it would be. Lizie bent down to pick it up. As she bent forward to pick up the case of wine Lizie heard the click of a latch followed by a burst of bright light as Mr Patel flicked a switch. Lizie blinked dazzled by the flurescent lights. A hand was clamped over her mouth.

“Lets have some fun. I won’t hurt you if you are a good girl and don’t struggle” Mr Patel said.

Lizie could feel bile rising in her throat. The smell of Mr Patel’s sweat mixed with the scent of his garlicky breath made her wretch. She threw up all over his shirt. Mr Patel released Lizie and began dabbing at his shirt with a tissue.

“You fucking bitch. I’ll kill you” he screamed at Lizie.

Lizie made a dash for the stock room door. Fuck the bastard had locked it. She turned to see that Mr Patel was almost on her. Lizie had no option accept to run. She dashed to the opposite end of the room and stood with her back against a stack of boxes. Desperately she looked around for a means of escape. There was none and Mr Patel was almost on her. Lizie squeezed into the tiny gap between the boxes and the wall. What a crazy thing to have done Lizie  thought. She was well and truly trapped. Mr Patel reached the boxes.

“Come out bitch or I’ll drag you out”.

Lizie could feel her heart banging like a sledge hammer in her chest. She took deep breaths attempting to calm herself. She needed to think.

“Right I’m coming in” Mr Patel said attempting to force himself into the small gap between the boxes and the wall. Unlike Lizie Mr Patel was overweight and he struggled to force an entrance. Lizie tried to think of a way out. She was about to be raped and there wasn’t a thing she could do to prevent it. Her gaze alighted on one of the boxes. It had split open and several cans of Heinz baked beans, the ones with the ring pulls protruded from the box. Lizie grabbed a can. She pulled back the lid and with a jerk of her hand detached it from the tin. Mr Patel had managed to force his way in.

“Don’t struggle and it will be over quicker” he said grabbing for the girl.

Lizie drove the serrated edge of the lid into Mr Patel’s face ripping open his left cheek. He bellowed in pain his hands protectively clutching at the wound. Lizie  drove her foot into his groin. With a pearcing scream Mr patel doubled over. He lay rithing on the floor animal noises coming from his mouth. Lizie bent down and felt in Mr Patel’s pockets. There it was. With a feeling of relief she retrieved the key and pausing only to kick the prostrate man in the face she walked to the door and unlocked it. The shop was empty. Lizie gazed out onto the deserted street. With a final glance up and down the empty pavement she stepped out into the rain swept evening.