I lost my wallet somewhere between buying a black pudding supper at the chippie, a seagull swooping down on my head at the shortcut to Dickens Avenue and tripping over my own feet and dropping my chips. Admittedly, I might have been a bit drunk. The seagull made off with part of it laughing and then there was a shipload of them all squawking the same tune above me, before shite dropped on to my head.
All my money and the picture of my dead cur was in the wallet. Sometime you’d rather have the keepsake, but the landlord was coming to get the overdue rent money and other unsavoury characters had phoned promising to rip off my arms and legs over some white powder that had accidentally blown up my nose. So upon reflection I decided I wasn’t that fussed about the image of little Dostoevsky, which admittedly was quite a mouthful for any crossbreed Alsatian and Pekinese who walked with me, and with hell of a strange gait, into my heart. I retraced my steps and silently prayed to God that I’d find my wallet and the cash would still be in it. Dostoevsky must have been looking over my shoulder.
But as you’d expect God never answers prayers to the likes of me. I’d traipsed all the way back down to the chippy, red hoodie up as a disguise scanning the pavement like an ornamental, nodding dog. I couldn’t have been more miserable if it started raining a plague of locusts.
I passed a bearded barefoot guy, just before the turn-off to the dump and he looked at me and I looked at him and I saw the flash of recognition.
‘Here,’ he said, holding out my wallet and smiling like a daftie with his heart showing.
I grabbed it off him, rifling through the compartments. ‘Thank God for that.’
‘You’re welcome,’ he slipped away and out of sight.
Next thing I know I was on The Jeremy Kyle Show. He asked me in that sneering voice, ‘if there was anything I wanted to tell the audience and the people at home?’
And I told them all with a bit of beep, beep, beeping for swear words, ‘that I used to hate Jeremy Kyle and every time I saw his face I wanted to smash it in. But now I’d met God and changed my life around and was off the drugs I no longer felt that way. I’d still give him a battering, but only for his own good and to teach him a bit about righteousness.’
You know they’ve got those two big bully-boy bouncers standing by, in case of trouble. Well, they crowded in and I swear to God it wasn’t my fault. I accidentally stuck the head on the bald one and my fist connected with the other one’s nose, and as Jeremy scarpered away I made one of those flying kicks you used to see Captain Kirk doing on Star Trek and landed on my tailbone. It was fucking agony to be honest and but came away with one of those life lessons people witter on about and a greater admiration for Captain Kirk.
The audience went wild with cheering for me, or that sleekit weasel, I wasn’t sure. His two goons huckled me away along a few makeshift corridors, backdrops to the dressing room, a camera man filming at their back.
But when the tag team of muscle men closed the door on the camera and faced me, I made a grab for the chair. It was dimpled grey polyester and lightweight, but the only weapon available. The chair legs were pointed at them, keeping them at bay as if I was a lion tamer. The show-biz mirror reflecting my arse and that old adage sprung to mind, ‘Go break a leg’.
‘Fuck off, fatty,’ I said, to the bald one and swung the legs of the chair at him.
He grabbed it off me and bent the tubular leg with one hand and dropped it to the floor.
Lions might maul and eat you, but at least they don’t laugh at your feeble attempts to scare them first.
A runner stuck his head in the door, a young guy with fluffy blonde hair that got all the crappy jobs on set and had to grin and bear it. He saved me from a severe beating. Fluffy head turned and mumbled something to someone behind him.
Jeremy Kyle slipped into the room, now he’d been given the all clear and knew it was safe.
‘I’m not going to press charges.’ And he looked as trustworthy as Jeremy Kyle can look, without being Jeremy Kyle waiting for an audience to applaud any of his ritual rants, which always ended with the punchline ‘Get a job’.
‘Neither am I.’ And I eyed the hired muscle. ‘And you’re dead lucky because somebody could have got hurt.’
They swelled up like bull frogs and leaned in, but Jeremy held his hand up, as he does in the show and they backed off.
There are two people in the world you can never trust any more than you can trust slime to hold a poster of a naked Halle Berry to your bedroom wall and both of them begin with Jeremy and end in Kyle, which wasn’t his real name.
Everything, apart from the expensive suit, was fake from his Trump hairdo to his perma-tan, false teeth. I had to check it wasn’t the American President standing in front of me, but you can’t fake height, unless you’re Alan Ladd playing Shane. Jeremy Kyle had no box under his arm, but he did have built-up shoes. His face had so much Botox that he only had one expression - that of moral outrage – and the runners had to splash his face with water to stop it from melting under the heat of the lights. And they had to use his twin brother Carl Perkins as a stand-in for public appearances.
‘I’ve got the viewing figures in and there’s been a massive spike and it’s all over social media. you attacking me. I’ve had some phone calls and I’m going to be on News at Ten.’ And he stared at me with those watery, grey eyes. ‘You know what that means?’
‘Aye, I said, ‘I know exactly what it means, I’ve been avoiding watching your show for years. You’re a cunt that uses poor gormless folk for your own vile ends. If we’d any sense we’d burn you at the stake, but what we do instead is hand you even more money to be even more vile.’ And I gave him some advice. ‘It’s a vicious circle Jeremy, I’ve spoken directly to God and you know where you’re going to end up?’
‘I know exactly where I’m going to end up. I’m more worried about you.’
‘Look Jeremy, stop talking shite. You’ve no worried about anybody since you’ve been in the crib. And even then I bet if you shat in your nappy, you’d blame somebody else. I’m on to you, pal. You’re forgetting, I know God personally and you know fuck all. Trump that ya cunt.’
We might have stood in that way for a while, his face frozen, but then the runner rushed in, sweating, waving a bit of paper, and almost knocking him over like a Tussaud’s statue. ‘We’re on again in ten minutes.’