“Right, they’re on the way, I tell you they’ll sort out The Kevin, this will be the end of him”.
“That sounds ominous”
We walk back to the flat, it’s all gone quiet, the front door is still open. Silence. We creep into the kitchen. Bob is sitting in the middle of chaos smoking a cigarette. He’s paler than the wall, or what’s left of it. You can see clear into the bedroom next door.
“The Bob, where is that fucking mutant?”
No reply. He tries again. Bob sits there, unblinking, staring at nothing in particular. Denis slaps him. Nothing. Slaps him again. Right, fuck this The Few, he takes the cigarette out of his mouth. Picks him up and carries him through to the bedroom. When I check later he’s still lying there staring at the ceiling, he hasn’t moved.
There’s a banging on the door. “Open Up, It’s the Police.”
“Jakers, that was quick, I told you those boys wouldn’t let me down.” As he’s speaking Crystal appears down the stairs, smirking, fag in hand, she’s standing beside me as Denis open the door.
“We’ve ‘ad a report of a disturbance sir“*, the copper’s lip is literally curling with disdain as he looks Denis up and down, he pushes past followed by 6 more of the Met’s finest.
Denis turns to me and mutters “They’re not fucking mine I tell you..”
“Listen mate this is a..” One of the others pushes him to the ground with a “shut it you slag”. The main man turns to me “You do realise this is a council property sir, ‘ow many of you lowlifes are cohabiting ‘ere then?”
I didn’t know, but I tried to explain what had happed, he ignored me completely. “’ad a little bit too much to drink ‘ave we Paddy? “You should not even be ‘ere do you understand? If we get one more sniff of trouble you will be out on your ear.”
I say nothing. My family don’t talk to the police. End of. (Jesus wept)
“Oh, and one more thing”
I lean in, he punches me in the face. I fall backwards, knocking Crystal to the ground. I can feel the blood and the loose teeth straight away, I’m wrapped in alcohol so when he kicks me I don’t feel the broken ribs until the next day.
My trademark gold tooth (vile)
They gave Denis a good kicking on the way out too, I don’t like the guy but most of it was undeserved. If only he could stop talking but they got the whole green blood, swam the Shannon, married when he was twenty one routine. And he paid for it.
Afterwards, Crystal helped us both up and made us a cuppa. There’s a knock – the cops were here again, this time it was the two Irish blokes, the ones Denis had called earlier. He has a word and they’re storming up the stairs, smashing in a bedroom door, I’m standing by the kitchen as they drag Kevin down. He’s not resisting but they manhandle him anyway and he’s pleading with me to stop them. I stare at the floor. He’s gone. I never saw him again.
Crystal is watching too, she’s like “Fucking ‘ell boys, you’re ‘aving a laugh – 2 more cops now, 7 earlier, that’s like 10 cops in one night!”
That’s Crystal math.
“’I’d say you’ve had more than 10 cops in one night darling” That’s Denis.
We looked in his bedroom, he’d always kept it locked. There was an old couch that had been sawn in two, quite charred and not just from reefers. Reefer madness. There’s four or five old bibles, and several large knives, but he was a chef.
I checked in on the boys, Flash was sound asleep but Ted was nowhere to be seen. We didn’t meet him again that summer, in fact he went missing for a few months. Maybe two years later I bumped into him outside The Archway Tavern – he was preaching on a soapbox, long black beard down to his arse. He pretended he didn’t know me, told me I was damned to hell. Maybe he was right. Maybe it wasn’t him. God. I loved Ted.
Bob was fine afterwards, a little bit quieter, a little bit drunker but essentially ok. We did get a start on the buildings. Denis introduced me to a guy from Sligo. He asked if I knew Shuttering**. I said isn’t that in North London. He hired us anyway.
First day on the job an old Irish guy Michael, asked me where I was staying and was I digging it. I said yeah man it’s really groovy. He said I meant were you staying in digs. I fitted right in.
The dawn was struggling through a bleak Belfast sky. We hadn’t heard anything from Denis for a while.
“Few, forty eight hours ago I was a struggling hack on a failing website, now I’m barricaded in a room and there’s madman prowling around out here somewhere. I don’t understand. Denis doesn’t have any redeeming features, he’s a thoroughly horrible human being, you obviously detest him. What gives?”
“He has something very precious, something that I simply must have returned.”
He says nothing for long time, then he takes my head in his hands, puts his lips very close to mine and I swear he says
* Sorry about the accents innit
**Shuttering definition – refers to the boxing of specific areas on a building site ready for concrete to be poured into.
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