When I regain consciousness, I’m lying down, face up. My vision is very blurry, but I can make out people’s faces crowding around me. What happened to me, my feeling of elation? I feel like shit now. I have a headache and feel like vomiting last year’s Christmas dinner out. I probably overdid the Blues again. That’s another fiver burnt. Fuck me, I need to do something about this. It’s like an addiction.
It’s the same every Saturday. Get some pills, ride down to the Flamingo, get wasted, fly, fall, and moan. There’s a reason why Mod and miserable sod rhyme. I have no idea how or why my mates put up with me. I go absolutely mental every week, and always end up in the shitter. I feel sorry for them, having to pick up the pieces and tell me who I am, where I am etc. I need to change, but I can’t.
And that’s what pisses me off. There are so many philosophies I know and I ignore them all. “Life’s about making memories, not destroying them” is a personal favourite, given to me by my old granddad, God rest his soul. He died shortly after telling me that, fell out the back of a Routemaster near Goodge Street. I was there, and I’ll never forget it. In my eyes, it was murder in the daylight.
The bus was full, and when I mean full, I mean Oxford-Circus-tube-station-at-rush-hour full. An impatient bastard started snapping at my 75-year-old war veteran of a grandfather telling him that he wanted to get off. Old Charlie (That was his nickname. He loved it so much it’s on his gravestone in inverted commas) tried to calm him down and said that he’d wait until the bus had stopped then step off and let him go, as my granddad, being 75, was very unsteady on his feet. This ignorant fucker was having none of it, got mad and pushed by Old Charlie and jumped off. His blatant selfishness knocked Old Charlie off balanced and he fell backwards off of the bus whilst it was still moving. I tried to grab him, I really did, but he fell backwards too fast.
Unaware of approaching traffic, I jumped off as well in an attempt to save his life. He was my favourite family member and I knew that his death would tear us apart. He was our foundation, our bedrock. I couldn’t let him go. In my efforts to save him, I nearly got run down myself. The quick reaction of the Mini driver in front of me may have saved my life, but could do nothing to revive my granddad, my role model.
That was 1957, I was 13, and that’s when the downward spiral of drinks, drugs and driving myself to near death began. 6 years later, nothing has changed except my mental state. I still visit his gravestone every Sunday, either to help me cope with my almighty hangover or just to get out of the house, usually both. I know both mum and dad hate me and each other, but no one wants to leave. They can’t leave because the government is too busy drinking money out of them through a straw. And we’ve gone bone dry. It’s a choice between life on the streets or nothing but domestic abuse and constant arguing. That’s why my granddad raised me more than my parents. He only lived a short walk away from us. We were in Hackney, he was in Cannonbury. If I was feeling exceptionally lazy I could just take the tube for a stop and cross the road to his house.
My grandmother passed away when I was about 3 days old, so I never really knew her, and from what I’ve heard she never knew me either. It feels weird knowing that a close family member never knew of me when we were both alive. She was in a coma for a week before she died, induced by a stroke, which then killed her in her unconscious state. Our family is very cheery.
All the best people in my family are dead. My brother’s a complete fuckwit, only thinks about himself and tortures me daily and nightly. My mum takes out her rage from my brother and dad on me for no reason whatsoever. Then my dad. My dad, my father, my main male role model, I hate his guts. He’s more fuckwitty, angry, ignorant and selfish than my brother, my mother and every other person in the world who takes themselves for granted. If I could do anything about it, I’d kick their fucking faces in, one by one.
Unfortunately, the rules of the universe state that I’d more than likely get a lot of shit beaten out of me. One fucked-up teenager against the world, no chance.
My story is probably the reason I’ve turned into an alcoholic and a self-resenting druggie. I want to escape, but my only mode of transport is a Vespa weighed down by about 16 tonnes of chrome, lights and mirrors. I know no one beyond the outer boundaries of Acton, and have about enough money to my name to get me a sandwich from Watford Gap, which I’d probably use for drug money anyway. Life is shit, and it’s not getting any better.
Back in the real world, Shorty and Clive are helping me onto my feet. Like last night, I’m rising up, only to fall down again, face first into the hard tarmac outside. Once again, I’m gonna have to face a parking fine for leaving my scoot overnight, or is this morning now? I’ve completely lost all sense of everything, and in need of serious help.
Shorty, the short one, makes up for selflessness what he lacks in height. At 4 foot 10 he has a lot of trouble riding anything larger than a smallframe Vespa, and finding the clothes was a task and a half, but he was a good fella. Best man I knew. He was a year younger than me (And a foot smaller. We always make jokes like that, but he doesn’t mind) and had already gone through more than I could cope with. Practically his whole family had been wiped out in the war, and he was left on the street as a baby aged 2. Luckily for the good in the world he was found, and orphaned to a strong Christian family who were the straightest pricks that could ever walk the Earth. About 3 years ago, he found out he was gay. None of us minded, he’d made too much of an impression on all of our lives for us to sweep him under the rug. His foster parents, however, signed him up to aversion therapy, which killed a part of him. He’s never been as bubbly as he used to be after that. He still openly admitted to being gay, so his foster family kicked him out. We smash their car and windows when we’re either drunk, hyped up or feeling dangerous, sometimes all 3. Shorty will never join in though. Despite what they did to him, he has respect for them, as they raised him from a street baby to a rational and respectable member of society.
This is when Clive steps into the picture. He helped Shorty pick up the pieces of his life and get him back on track. Clive took Shorty into his home and a week later he was back to near normal. No one knows what went on, and neither of them tell us. Without Clive, Shorty wouldn’t be who he is today. But recently he’s been down. His mother lost the battle against the cancer that she’s been fighting rigorously against for years. Clive is of age and has inherited his house, but bills are mounting up and he’s had to sell his Lambretta, a scooter that his mother got him for his 16th birthday, the thing that he looked after and cared for the most (besides his ill mother) for a couple score quid to make ends meet. He can’t find work and we’re seeing him less and less frequently. Luckily for me, he was here tonight. We really were the cheeriest bunch of folks from the East End.
Shorty gave me a lift to my home-borough of Hackney from what I remember. After I regain consciousness, I fade in and out of time and space and am in control of what I want to happen, or so it seems. What I want to see happens, until I’ve had sleep and realised that it was probably part of the dream or a vision from the unconscious state. Many a time I have woken up to find myself on the Flamingo’s doorstep cowering in my Parka for warmth when I was sure someone drove me home to bed.
This time, however, that did actually happen, apart from the bed bit. Shorty and his trusty Smallframe got me to the door when all hell broke loose. Dad had heard the buzz of the 2-stroke and rushed out. Shorty had got my key, as I’m too wasted to find the door, let alone the keyhole. He was in position to unlock it in when the lock was replaced by my dad’s fist, knocked Shorty clean out, broke his nose and he lost a couple of teeth. Dad realised that he’d hit the wrong lad and blamed it on me, shouting things like “YOU FUCKWIT! YOU’VE MADE ME KNOCK OUT A POOR LAD! IS THAT WHAT YOUR FRIENDS MEAN TO YOU? IS IT? THEY’RE YOUR GUINEA PIGS?” until I could take no more and landed him a kick in the bollocks, surprisingly good aim for my state, then fell backwards down our stone steps that had just claimed Shorty’s consciousness. I split my head open, but dad then pounded me to a bloody pulp nonetheless and left me out on the street. He pulled Shorty out from under me and nursed him to health. That was the end to my night, as retold by the neighbours anyway. That combined with the audible domestic abuse paints a lovely picture of us in the eyes of the neighbours. It’s getting completely fucking ridiculous.