It’s strange when you get out hearing soft, whispering womanly voices – he’s been sick—licking of soft strawberry lips to create a sympathetic sound.
Then you get the hard voices: junkie bastard. They’re less weasel and more honest. No secrecy when you get out. Everybody knows your fucking business. Waiting for you to fuck up and return behind bars.
Her up the buroo, for example, looking down her nose at me. Had more money than she could shake a stick at. More than she’d ever seen. Armani suits in every colour apart from blue. Ties made from silk. Shoes made from fucking crocodiles. And she says she’s going to sanction me and starts wittering on about food banks.
Fleshy and rosy face, cheeks like sherbet saucers, soft hands. She would know about food banks. I’d lick her right out. She’d be glad of it. There’s a desk between us.
‘Away and raffle yourself,’ I say.
She looks straight through me, it’s the kind of look cultivated in prison wings and lock-down institutions, who are you kidding, you’re done, that looks says. I take another dekko of her before I leave. Know her type. She’ll have a fat Chubb lock on her front door. I’ll be in and out of her house in ten minutes flat. Steal her false teeth. Take all her valuables. Shite in the bottom drawer, where she keeps her lingerie. That’ll teach her to be such a snobby bastard of a cow. What country do we live in, Pakistan? Foodbanks. Fuck right off.
By the time I’m standing outside, leaning against the railings having a fag, the traffic from Kilbowie Road has stalled at the lights; I figure what I should have said to her. I flick the dout at a lime-green Hyundai with tinted windows and spoilers, music blaring. I can’t see who is inside, but I’m in the mood to teach the cunt some lessons about noise pollution, when the lights change and the gears crunch and it heads up the hill. It starts spitting with rain, and I pull the collar of my coat up and head down towards Singers station.
I don’t have enough dosh for the fares, but it’s public transport and I’m a member of the public. If anybody says anything I’ll give them what for. What’s the worst they can do? Lock me up. Fuck off.
The stupid cunts have given me a top floor flat and I can’t use the lifts. Strange that, being scared of being stuck in a metal box, after being so many years inside boxes much the same size. But I’ve always been like that. School report: Tommy Johnson, kicking and screaming and doing anything to be noticed. I’ve changed, of course. Joined the Fellowship. Practiced serenity. I was the kind of con others looked up to, those cons with the tricks and the trainers, big trainers, white as boxes, pumped, laces never tied, but tucked into the side of the tongue, just so, because I wouldn’t judge them. We’ve all been there I’d say. Or else we’d be deid. That was the get out clause.
The dark sweet heart of smack never dies. Always cooking. Always a solution. Take me and dissolve yourself it says. Leave behind the charade of your life. In sickness and in health.
Even with the sound of the trains and the lifts, the silence in the flat is unsettling. Turn on the telly. It’s one of those old-fashioned tellys that sits on a chair, like a goldfish bowl. A charity telly. Turn it on and it takes me a few seconds to figure out what I’m watching. Talent shows. That’s all you ever get. Fucking eejits making a cunt of themselves. But can’t help smiling at one of the panellists. She’s well tasty. And |I find myself laughing, not at the stupid cunt telling jokes but at myself.
The last to get a girlfriend in our class. Big and cumbersome, but it wasn’t just that. Hand-me-down clothes. Poverty. The smell crawled up inside you like a rat. I could hear it sometimes, animalcule, crawling about inside my head, eating my brain. I wasn’t daft. Knew I couldn’t tell anybody about it. But the way I tilted my head and couldn’t look anyone in the eyes meant I was always excluded. No fucking point going to school if you’re excluded, is there? Stupid cunts. Mum thought I was handsome. She would, wouldn’t she, but I never reckoned on being handsome. Not with money behind me. By that time it didn’t fucking matter. My cock begins to stir and grow hard. Biggest aphrodisiac in the world. Money.
One phone call. That’s all I need to make and I’ll be sorted. Sometimes life catches you like that. A bit like malaria. You get bitten and think you’re over it. Back in rainy Clydebank where nothing happens and you’re safe. Turned over a new leaf. Then you get the shiver and the shakes. Fucking mental. Noise in your head like an old fashioned modem whining and trying to connect to the phone network. And you’re waiting and praying and you don’t know if you should or if you…