RAIKES PARADE Part 1

A story about lunatics on one level and even greater lunatics on another.

The clackety-clack-clacking of typed white letters tapped-out onto Conquerer paper. The letters read:  Billy thought the revolver's nozzle tasted of liqourice. It even looked like liqourice too. Not that he could see the pistol from its position, positionedright under his nose. But that he remembered how it looked a moment ago resting in the palm of his hand. Seemingly asleep. Content not to be doing what it was designed to do.

Linda whips out the sheet from the typer. Folds it. Slots it into an envelope. Licks it. Seals it. She strides down the street; red-bricked houses either side, they all have small walled gardens. Cycling beside Linda is Chuck. “Somebody smashed up the Bennett house last night.” 

“Who?” 

“Don’t know.” 

“It’ll be one of his kids.” 

“Where you going?” 

“Post box. Where you going Chuck?” 

“For a shit.” 

Chuck shoots off. Hurtling along the pavement. Then skids into a front yard. Dropping the bike to the ground. He charges through the open front door and pounds up the stairs. His pounding steps reverberate throughout the house. 

 

Downstairs, in the front room, Sandy screams, “Oy! Slow down.“ She sits on the sofa, rolling a cigarette. “What’s that? Sat on an armchair opposite is Gaz. In his hands a pristine air rifle with silencer and telescopic sight. “It’s an air rifle.” Sandy ignites the roll-up. Exhaling. “What’s it for?” 

“Display purposes… That bell-end next door wanted one.” 

“How much was it?” 

“Twelve hundred quid.” 

“Where’d you get twelve hundred quid?” 

Gaz lifts the rifle, aiming it at the net curtains and the window. Through the scope he sees Linda swipe past the cross hairs. 

 

The envelope’s address begins: POETRY MONTHLY… Linda inserts it through the mouth of the Post Box. Then heads back up the street. Crossing the road. “Oy!” Linda stops. Looking up. Chuck is standing on the sill, yelling out of the gap in the upstairs window. “Do you know what it means?” 

“What does what mean?” 

“What somebody wrote on the Bennett’s wall.” 

“What did somebody write?” 

“I don’t know. I can’t say it.” 

“Why not?” 

“It’s weird words.” 

A red laser dot dances over Linda’s face. “Weird how?” Linda feels the laser. She glares at the window across the road. The red dot is coming through the net curtains. Linda gives the window the finger. Asshole! 

 

Gaz lowers the rifle. Sandy taps the ash off of the roll-up. “You either nicked the rifle or you nicked the money to buy the rifle. Either fuckin’ way I’m due that cash.” 

“Nope.” 

Sandy screws up her face. “What the heck has that kid been eating!” Then yells, “Chuck! Spray some fuckin’ air freshener!” Then back at Gaz. “That lad’s guts are rotten.” 

 

Chuck jumps down from the sill, runs across the landing and down the stairs and leaps out the front door. Up onto his bike. Pedalling furiously. Passing Linda. “Cabbages! Cabbages! Cabbages! Cabbages!” Chuck disappears ahead. Linda turns into a front yard. The front door is open. Linda waits on the step. “Hello?” Nothing. Linda tap tap taps on the door. Nothing. Slowly she enters the house… 

 

A shattered mirror. Torn wallpaper. Doors ripped off hinges. Linda stands at the entrance to the living room. The room is demolished. Sydney Bennett stands in front of the fireplace; his face screwed-up. Sprayed on the wall: ARMAGEDDON LOOMS. “You ok Sydney?” Sydney shifts his eyes over to Linda. “No.” 

“Which one did it?” 

He turns to look back at the words on the wall. “The fuckin’ one that’s deranged.” 

“Johnny.” 

“No. That other turd.” 

“Darren.” 

Sydney glares at Linda. “I agree Linda. The whole fuckin’ bunch of ‘em are deranged and twisted but the particular turd responsible for this fuckin’ turmoil is a wee twat called Arthur.” 

 

Arthur staggers out of the door of the Salvation Army; Tenants Super in hand. He hears the Renault Clio out in the car park.

 

Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph…! The music is loud. Inside: Dave, Rob, Bonehead and Titch all jabbing their chins in time to the pounding beat. Through the windscreen they can see Arthur shuffling towards them. The four doors of the Renault swing open. The four lads spring out; fists and elbows pumping to the beat. Their faces taut. Arthur stops. He sways. He’s apprehensive. Dave struts over to Arthur. Dave is wired. Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph…! Dave’s face is inches from Arthur’s, thrusting his chin to the beat. Arthur knows what’s coming… BIFF! Arthur staggers back. Blood leaks from his bust lip. The rest of the mob start chanting, “GIRO! GIRO! GIRO! GIRO! GIRO!…” Their fists all punching the air. 

 

Donna is speed-walking, she approaches passers-by, chewing her words. “Mister. Got a spare quid?” The passers-by blank Donna. “My man’s just been beaten up.” She's ignored. To another, “Just a few quid to get to the hospital…” Following is Arthur. His face swollen and bloody. Donna goes up to a woman at a bus stop. “To get a taxi to get to A&E.” The woman snaps, “I’m getting a bus so you can get a bus.” Donna carries on. The woman shouts after her, “Too good for a bus like you’re too good for a fuckin’ job!” Donna ignores the woman. Over her shoulder Donna calls back, “Keep up!” Arthur is lagging behind. They pass a newsagent. A headline board blurts: CRISIS TALKS IMPLODE. “Fuck’s sake. Slow down.” Donna homes in on another target. “Just a quid mate. Look at his fuckin’ face,” pointing back at Arthur. “Gotta get him stitches or he might bleed to death…" 

 

Jim is blind. He shuffles across the room with one arm outstretched in front of him. Heading toward a budgie cage. En route Jim chirps, tuts and chats like a budgie. In between he calls out the bird’s name, “Joeeey.” No response. Moving forward. “Jooooeeeeey boy!” Edging closer. He reaches the cage. Jim’s fumbling hand opens the grill. He rummages inside. Eventually he feels the dead bird, on its back. “Joey… Joey?” Carefully Jim retracts his arm, budgie in hand. Holding it before him in two hands. Lifting the bird to his face. Placing the dead bird next to his cheek. Jim cries. Edna, blind too, shuffles into the room; one arm outstretched, “Jim.” Edna hears Jim’s faint sobs. She tilts her head, “Jim?” She shuffles further toward Jim. Edna touches his shoulder. Moving closer. Wrapping her arms around him. Cuddling tightly. Jim speaks, “The motherfucker’s dead.” Through the wall: Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph…!  

 

UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH…! The music is LOUD. Dave, Rob, Bonehead and Titch topless swilling booze. All performing a spasmodic angular dance to the pummelling beat. Barely audible bangs on the wall from the infuriated neighbour… 

 

Tony bangs on the wall. He wears just Speedos. “Turn that shite DOWN!”  Tony walks into the workout room and closes the door behind him. Tony is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stood at the bench press is Candy. A skimpy bikini allows the universe to see her glistening tangerine body. Ripped muscles from head to toe. Built like Rasa von Werder. Tony is simmering with rage. He loosens up. Candy guides her man, “Channel that anger.“ Tony sits down on the bench. Candy continues, “Anger is fuel. Fuel for the fire. Incinerate all fuckin’ weakness.” Tony lies down. His hands clench the bar. He puffs out his chest. Then raises his crotch. Candy’s eyes expand, “Jesus Tony, I’m dripping wet.” Tony lets out an agonising SCREAM“C’mon honey! Push it! My nipples are like fuckin’ torpedoes.” Tony ROARS! The bar eases off the support. He grits his teeth. Blood vessels bulge. His arms tremble. Up. Up. Up… Tony SCREEEEEEEEAAAAAMS! Candy shouts, “PUUUUUUUUSH!”

 

Sat on Stubsy’s front garden wall are Chuck’s mates, Ez and Zak. Chuck is leaning in, pushing hard at the wall. Ez pipes up, “It ain’t gonna go.”

“It will.” 

“It won’t.”

Chuck stops pushing. “Well if you got off and gave us a hand then it might.” Ez and Zak jump off the wall. All three boys push hard; grimacing and straining. Next door to Stubsy’s house is Chuck’s house. Gaz steps out the front and sparks up a cigarette. Exhaling coolly. “What are you chumps doing?”

“There’s a giant crack in the wall. I think we can push it over.”

Gaz walks round to inspect the crack. He looks at it. It’s small. The three boys relax and stand tall. Gaz inhales smoke. “Fuck. That’s a big crack.” then exhales smoke. “I’m gonna have to call the council. That’s dangerous that is. That wall could fall on any one of you and kill you.” Chuck leans in again and starts pushing at the wall. “That’s why we should push it over.” 

 

From inside Stubsy's house the rotund silhouette of Stubsy stands behind the net curtain watching Gaz, Chuck, Ez and Zak discuss his wall. He quietly mutters to himself and shakes his head.

 

Back outside Gaz has his mobile to his ear. “I’d like to report an extremely hazardous structure…” Gaz looks right at the net curtains, defiantly; there’s no visible sign of Stubsy but Gaz knows he’s there. “A wall. It’s gonna collapse any moment…"

 

Inside, Stubsy’s silhouette spits out more mutterings. The shape is trembling. Through the net curtains Gaz is pointing at the hairline fissure but looking straight in at Stubsy. 

 

“Number 26… Excellent.” Gaz curls his lips. Hangs up. Puts the phone in his pocket. “Can we still push it over?” asks Chuck. Gaz, eyes on the window, “Nah, best leave it to the council Chuck. Now piss off. Give us all some fuckin’ peace.” 

“Tosser.”

Chuck sprints away… Gaz darts after Chuck. “You little bastard…” Both run past an idling taxi. 

 

The taxi driver twists his head round. Arthur’s face has been cleaned up. He has a few plasters and scabs and swellings. “One sec, I’ll have to get the cash from me dad.” The taxi driver nods at Donna, “She stays here then.” 

“Fine by me chief. Can I smoke?” 

 

Arthur exits the taxi and walks up the path to Sydney’s house, through the front door and into the hallway. Sydney leaps out of the living room. “You’ve got a fuckin’ nerve!” 

“I just need twelve quid to pay for the bomber.”

Arthur suddenly notices the devastation. “Did a tornado rip through here?” Sydney grabs Arthur by the throat and slams him into the wall. “Is your brain that fuckin’ addled that you don’t remember.” Arthur struggles to wrest himself from Sydney’s grip. “Yours is the brain that’s fuckin’ addled mate.” 

“Get the fuck out of here…" 

Sydney slings Arthur out the front door. “You worthless piece of shit.” 

 

Arthur stumbles out of the house. The taxi driver glares at Arthur. “I’m just gonna have to knock on a few doors. The old man’s gone batshit.” From inside the cab Donna chimes in, “Try number 42. The blind folk are always good for a tenner.” 

 

The taxi driver follows Arthur scuttling down the street. Kghur! Kghur...! Donna’s cough is dry. “Big man! Can you open some fuckin’ windows back here I’m choking to death.” The taxi driver looks in his rear view. The cabin is filled with smoke. A cigarette dangles from Donna’s lips, the palms of her hands raised upwards, her shoulders shrugging: Well?

 

Linda’s eyes move left to right, reading. Cigarette dangling from her lips too. She yanks out the sheet. Crumples the page. Slings it in the bin. “Garbage.” Lyn, Linda’s mother, pops her head inside the door. “Is Arthur in hospital?” 

“No.” 

“Donny called saying the twat was diagnosed with lung cancer, bowel cancer and deep vein thrombosis.” 

Linda is not interested. Her fingers hover over the keys of the typewriter. “Go to the shops for me.” Linda keeps her eyes on the paper. “Can I keep the change?” 

“No.” 

“Then I can’t.” 

“You can and you fuckin’ will.” 

Lyn suddenly heaves the typewriter off the desk. “I’ll fuckin’ trash it.” Linda calmly looks at her mother. “Do it.” 

“I ain’t kidding.” 

“I said DO IT!” 

“I’ll fuckin’ set fire to it.” 

“Smash it up for all I care!” 

Lyn spins round and charges out of the room onto the landing and into another room. Entering the back bedroom she walks straight over to the open window. Lyn hurls the typewriter... The typewriter crashes to the ground, buckling and splintering. 

 

Down in the back alley Lisa is doing kick-ups, wearing a BFC kit plus football boots… Rewind; CRASH! and miss-kicks the football. She glowers back at where the crashing sound came from. From the bedroom window Lyn yells, “I wish you’d piss off with that ball…" Lisa bellows back, “I wish you’d just shit off!” 

“Shit off?”

Lisa runs and thwacks the ball. It shoots up into the sky… “Bugger.” 

 

Motes of dust hang in the air. Jim’s eyes seem to be searching but finding nothing. “This house seems dead without that demented bird.” Buzzzzzzzzzzz! Edna grimaces. BUZZZZZZZZZZ! The doorbell is insistent. The old couple stay sat in their seats. “A bird in a cage is wrong. I was never comfortable with that.” 

“Well it ain’t in it now Edna... Can you train a bird to shit in a pot? 

“I doubt it.” 

“If you could you could leave it out of the cage.” Buzzzzz! BuuuuZZZZZ BUZZZZZZZ! “The house is still a cage.” 

“What about a bird flap?”

Edna shakes her head. 

 

In the hallway the letter box flips open. Arthur’s eyes peer in then vanish to be replaced by his mouth. “Jim! Edna! It’s Arthur. Can you you lend us twenty pounds for the taxi.” 

 

Jim continues, “It ain’t so stupid.” 

“Ain’t it?” 

“A trained seal can juggle and it ain’t got no arms or hands.” 

“I s’pose.” 

“And chimps ride bicycles…" Jim’s eyes bulge. His face tightens. The blood drains. Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buuuuuuzzzzz! Edna finishes the thought, “And parrots ride ‘em too…Maybe it ain’t such a daft idea.” Jim does not move nor make a sound. Jim is dead. “And pigeons, they come home…” 

“Jim! Edna! C’mon. It’s Arthur. I’m desperate likes.” 

 

Scrubbing the paving slabs with a tough-bristled broom is Elaine. “That bastard’s trained those fuckers to jettison a load soon after take off.” Colin sups his coffee. “That right.” Elaine stops scrubbing. “Can you hear them?” Colin listens hard… The distant hum of a decrepit town. Elaine starts furiously scrubbing again. “He says pigeon guano is no more harmful than cat excrement.”

“The pigeon man?”

“The councillor… I said how would he like cat shit pelting down from the skies onto his fuckin’ patio…”

A novelty doorbell chimes - Viva Las Vegas. Elaine leans the brush against the wall and enters the house. 

 

Outside, a sign in a window: VACANCIES. Wayne waits on the doorstep. Two small eyes shading under the peak of his cap. A beard covers the bottom half of his face. Elaine opens the door. Wayne says, “I’m looking for a room for a week.” 

“We got one.” 

“How much?” 

“Twenty quid a night. Breakfast included.” 

“Do it for a hundred and twenty?” 

“I might… Depend’s on your profession?” 

“I teach ungrateful little bastards.”

 

Ez gives Chuck a peg-up. Zak keeps watch. Chuck crawls through the small window into the school. The three boys ransack the classroom then run amok in the corridors. 

 

The alley is littered with rubbish. A dog squats shitting on the cobbles… Then scurries off. A spray-painted slogan shouts: DESTROY POWER NOT PEOPLE. Distant sounds from afar. Musical sounds. Getting louder. Getting closer. Loud. Very LOUD. A booming musical cacophony marches around the corner. Chuck pumping on a trombone. Ez barking on a tuba. Zak banging on a snare drum.

 

Tony and Candy, up against a wall mirror, fucking. Candy’s hands flat on the glass. Tony works from behind. Both admire their glistening reflections. Candy moans, “Ooooh that’s goooood!”

“In. Out. In. Out…"

Tony tells it like it is in time with his movements. Mixing it up a bit. “Push. Push. Push…" 

“Mmmmm mmmm!… That rhythm has a river running through me…" 

Candy licks her moist lips. “You’re driving it daddy…" Tony bites his lips. Candy tweaks one of her nipples. “You’re driving it like a demon.” Clenching her teeth. “Here we go. Step it up. Shift gears. Time to pump this fucker good... Pedal to the goddamn METAL!” Tony obliges. “Push. Push. Push. Push…" 

“Yeah baby… Drive that rocket HOME!” 

Tony suddenly drops a gear… “Boom!Boom!Boom!Boom!Boom!Boom…!" 

“Oh man! Hit and run daddy! HIT AND FUCKIN’ RUN!” 

“BOOM!BOOM!BOOM!BOOM!BOOM!BOOM…!" 

Tony is a blur. Pounding like a jackhammer. Candy’s hands claw at the glass. Candy howls, “Chattanooga CHOO CHOO!” Tony is sweating buckets. “Open the fuckin’ gates baby… OPEN THE FUCKIN’ GATES!” 

"They’re open baby - WIDE OPEN!” 

“HONEY I’M HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMEE…”

 

A picture frame hangs on the wall. Wayne stares at it. A crocheted image of a quaint cottage. Underneath it the inscription: HOME SWEET HOME. From his breast pocket Wayne pulls out a thick black marker pen. On the glass above the E on HOME Wayne writes an O. He writes an O over the very last E in the second HOME. The wording now reads: HOMO SWEET HOMO. Wayne smiles. Tonight will be a night. The dance floor will be packed. A thousand men gyrating to a high energy beat and somewhere in the middle will be Wayne and on his face will be an expression that suggests he is the happiest man in the world.

 

Midnight. A portable B&W television silently emits 24hr NEWS; panicky politicians being interviewed by smug journalists. The scrolling text announces: UK FURIOUS OVER FOREIGN MINISTER EXPULSIONS. The room has no furniture and no carpets. Zero fixtures and fittings. Large slabs of plaster hang from the ceiling. The room is illuminated by the flickering light from the TV. Arthur is sat on a crushed cardboard box, staring at the TV. “Donna.” Donna is also sat on a crushed cardboard box. “Arthur.” 

“I’d like a place like this.” 

“Snap.” 

Donna finishes off her White Lightning. “Something’ll have to happen. Like the Earth being shunted off it’s fuckin’ axis.” 

“I know. And I’ve been thinking.” 

“Thinking?” 

“I’m thinking self-esteem.” 

“Self-esteem?” 

 “Get that back first…” 

“The booze gives me plenty of self-esteem. I don’t need to think about getting it from someplace else.” 

“Maybe not but I do... The wife-beater at number 73 has a baseball bat. Get that and batter fuck out of Dave. Leave the bat at the scene of the crime. Two balls one bat.” 

“Who nicks the bat?” 

“The little shits.” 

“Who batters Dave?” 

“Johnny.” 

“And that’ll get your self-esteem back?” 

 

Johnny is thuggish. Face-to-face with Sydney. “Can I see her?” 

“No. She’s sleeping.” Sydney holds Johnny’s stare. “But you knew she would be.” Johnny flicks his head at the graffiti. “When was Darren here?” 

“How’d you know it was him?” 

Johnny smiles. “One day you’ll fuckin’ pay attention to us lot.” Sydney doesn’t flinch. “Why?” SCREAMS and THWACKS and windows SMASHING coming from outside. Both men frown. Then head over to the window. Pulling back the curtains. Through the window up the street a woman stands on the roof of a sports car slamming a baseball bat into the windscreen. Sydney sighs, “Seems like the beaten wife is finally doing the beating.”

 

Despite the blood and the tears streaming down her face Alison is empowered. BAM!… BAM!… BAM!… “Arrrrrggggghhhh!” She hurls the baseball bat… It flies… The bat hits the road, it clatters and cartwheels and slides into the curb and comes to an abrupt halt. 

 

Flashing blue light swipes across the net curtains. Gene gawps out the window. “The pigs have handcuffed Alison.” Carrie shakes her head. “What about the piece of shit?” 

“I dunno. Paramedics jumped out of an ambulance.”
A radio plays smooth music. Carrie sits in a comfy chair. She pulls on a cigarette, “Fingers crossed eh.” Gene pulls back from the window and sits on the couch next to his twin brother Dean. Gene snarls, “Gene doesn’t like the pigs.” 

Dean backs him up, “Dean doesn’t like the pigs neither.” Carrie frowns at the twins. Then, both of them together, “No fuckin’ way.“ Both spit fresh air: Tuh! Tuh! “Why do you guys do that?” In unison, “Do what?” 

“He said…" Carrie nods at Gene, “Gene doesn’t like pigs.” 

“Well he doesn’t.” answers Gene. “And you said…” Carrie now nods at Dean, “Dean doesn’t like pigs neither.” 

“And, what’s your problem?” asks Dean. “Why not say, 'I don’t like pigs'?" 

“There’s no I in team baby. We’re a fuckin’ team. You know that.”

“Fair enough. So why not speak for the other and not for yourselves.” 

“Eh?”
Carrie points at Gene. “Why not say, ‘Dean…’” Carrie then points at Dean but stays looking at Gene, “Well he hates the pigs…” Carrie then looks at Dean as well as points at Dean, “And you say, ‘Gene…’" Carrie’s finger switches back to point at Gene but her eyes stay fixed on Dean, “My God, he hates the pigs too…” Again, in unison, “But that’s what we said!” 

“No, no, no, no, no…" Jabbing her finger at Gene, “Gene said, ‘Gene doesn’t like pigs.’” The twins are exasperated, “Exactly. ‘Cos he doesn’t like the pigs!” 

“And you said Dean…” Carrie jabbing her finger at Dean, “Dean doesn’t like the pigs neither.” 

“We know. We both hate the stinkin’ pigs!”

“NO! Gene saying Gene!” 

“Eh?” 

“Dean saying Dean!” 

“I’m DEAN!” says Gene. 

“I’m fuckin’ GENE!” says Dean. 

“Bullshit!”
“Fuckin’ hell! How long have you known us?” 

Sudden silence. All three trying to figure out what just happened. Eyes darting to and fro. Dumbfounded looks being thrown about. Brotherhood of Man’s Save All Your Kisses For Me plays quietly on the radio. Carrie turns up the volume then stands up in front of Gene and Dean who are still perplexed. Carrie starts moving to the jaunty beat; she has the dance routine nailed. With your cute little wave, will you promise that you’ll save… Carrie, feet together, elbows out, thumbs tucked into her belt starts bobbing along, left knee out, then right knee out… Your kisses for me save all your kisses for me… Hand waiving, knees bending… Bye bye baby bye bye, don’t cry honey don’t cry… Arms marching… Gonna walk out the door but I’ll soon be back for more… Left knee, right knee, left shoulder, right shoulder… Kisses for me, save all your kisses for me…

 

The police van radio is on as Alison sits handcuffed in the back. She is laughing/crying and laughing/crying and laughing/crying. So long honey so long. Hang on baby hang on… Black mascara streaks, bloody teeth grimace. Don’t you dare me to stay ‘cos you know I’ll have to say… 

 

Inside Alison’s house, in the living room, wife-beater lies in a pool of blood. That I’ve got to work each day and that’s why I go away… A policewoman exits the house carrying a small girl who’s chin rests on the policewoman’s shoulder. But I count the seconds ‘till I’m home with you…

 

A dark room. Stubsy sits topless. Ogling a computer screen. On the screen is a naked Japanese girl. “I love you.” Stubsy does not react. “It’s true.” Stubsy smiles. 

The room is dark. Light from a street lamp gives shape to Edna still sitting in the same spot. “You lied Jim.” Jim is fixed in the same position as earlier. Edna’s eyes stare at nothing; her face empty. “It ain’t the first time but it’s sure the last.” She takes a tissue from underneath her sleeve and blows her nose. Then puts the tissue back under her sleeve. “Filthy habit, I know…” Then mimicking her husband, “You’re not gonna use that again so bin it…" Edna falls silent. Staring at nothing. Then, through the wall: Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph...!

Lyn is walking up Raikes Parade. An unhurried ambulance drives past. Lyn approaches Dave’s house. Front door and windows wide open. UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH…! As Lyn passes a bare-chested Dave staggers out the door. Lyn stops. Dave chews his lips, “Alright Lyn.” 

“Alright Dave.” 

“Where’ve you been?” 

“All night garage.” 

“What for?” 

Lyn holds up a box. “Tampax.” Dave’s face is rubberised. His eyebrows lift. “Did you soil your panties?” Lyn looks intently at Dave. “I did Dave… Do you wanna see ‘em?” Tony busts out of his house. Naked except for leopard skin briefs and trainers. Dave blissfully unaware. Still chewing his gums, “I would Lyn, I really would…” Tony, ignoring Lyn, whips into his neighbour’s garden and wraps his giant arm around Dave’s neck and drags him forcefully back into his house. “Maybe next month Dave.” A little disappointed Lyn carries on up the road. The distant Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! suddenly stops.

 

Steve drives the milk float. Turning onto Raikes Parade. A radio on: “Ministers were frantically scurrying about Whitehall trying to figure out where they went wrong. Sources say that internally disastrous mistakes have been made and fear there may be no turning back…” The float stops. Steve jumps out. Grabs two pints. Up the path. Bottles down on the doorstep. Picks up the empties. Turns. And back to the float… Lyn crosses his path. Steve winks, “Morning darlin’.” Lyn smiles coyly, “Morning Steve.” Steve places the empties in the crates. Jumps in the cabin. Foot on the electricity. Glides off... Whistling. 

 

Lyn enters the house and heads straight up the stairs. Linda is slouched on the sofa. Pen and paper in hand. Linda reads her new poem, “He plummeted and hit the water with a slap. Below the bridge, beneath the surface, Billy got his wish.” Linda scrunches the paper and throws it on the floor. The sound above of Lyn’s heavy footfall on the landing. Linda shouts at the ceiling, “Who the fuck’s my dad?” Lyn dropping her trousers stops abruptly. Shouting back down, “Eh?”

“Is he the fuckin’ milkman?”

Panicking Lyn pulls up her trousers, “Eh?” From below Linda’s voice is muffled, “It’d be nice to know who he is and where he is.” Lyn visibly relaxes, “Oh.” Lyn drops her trousers again. 

 

Lyn enters the living room. “You been writing?” Linda frowns. “Yeh.” Lyn slumps down in a chair. “You want to read it for me.” Linda is suspicious, she sits up. Eyes locked on her mother. Lyn avoids Linda’s gaze. “The fuckin’ milkman?” 

“No.” 

“The milkman?! Steve the fuckin’ milkman is my dad?!” 

Lyn gives in. “He is fit.”

 

The guest room is dark. In bed Colin is having an epileptic seizure. His body flips, snaps and cracks. His arms whip and his legs kick. Inching his way toward the edge of the bed… THUD! On the floor Colin writhes, his body jolting like a sprung mousetrap. His head, elbows, ankles all thumping the floor.

 

Down in the B&B’s lounge Wayne passionately kisses Stuart. Wayne is pinned to the wall as Stuart grabs his crotch. The banging from upstairs causes Stuart to pull back. “What is that?” 

“I don’t know.” 

Wayne grasps Stuart’s head; the two kiss chaotically. The din continues up above - ignored. Wayne thrusts his hand down Stuart’s pants. Stuart pulls back again, gasping, “Let’s go to your room this one’s killing the ketamine.” The lounge is kitsch. The racket from up above does not stop. Wayne, his eyes bulging, “Let’s go fuck till the sun comes up!”

 

Early morning. Walking up Raikes Parade is a furtive-looking Councillor Cosgrove. He turns into Stubsy’s garden and walks up to the door and pushes the doorbell - brrrrrrrrrrr! Councillor Cosgrove is restless. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Looking at his watch then looking up the street. Brrrrrrrrrr! Brrrrrrrrrrrrr! Brrrrrrrrrrrrr...! Onto his tip-toes - looking at a specific house. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! He goes to leave… The front door suddenly opens. A bleary-eyed Stubsy in his boxers scowls at Councillor Cosgrove. “Mister Stubbs?” 

“Yeh.” 

“I’m Councillor Cosgrove from the council.” 

“Is that so.” 

“We’ve had a complaint about the state of your front wall.” 

“Are you fuckin’ joking?” 

“No. This is a serious matter. That wall could fall at any time.”

"Have you seen the crack?"

"A complaint is a complaint Mister. Stubbs." 

“It’s six-fuckin’-thirty.” 

“Do you not have a phone?” 

“No.” 

“If you had a phone I assure you I wouldn’t be here.” 

“What about ten thirty or eleven thirty or twelve fuckin’ thirty…” 

 

Up the street Elaine bends down to pick up the crate of milk bottles. Coming up something catches her eye down the street. Her vision zooms in. Speedily placing down the crate, Elaine, curlers in hair, nightgown flowing behind her shuffles furiously onto Raikes Parade, her slippers flip-flopping as she goes... 

 

Stubsy is clearly agitated. “So his kids play on my wall…” 

“Your wall is a danger to his kids.” 

“But if they didn’t play on my fuckin’ wall…” 

“But they do Mister Stubbs.” 

“If it falls on them tough shit.” 

“Doesn’t work like that I’m afraid.” 

“Doesn’t it.” 

Councillor Cosgrove sees Elaine coming… “Got to go! Get it sorted…" He legs it out the garden and down the street. Stubsy hears Elaine, “Oi! Dipshit! Get back here!” Her fist jabbing the air. Councillor Cosgrove scurries round the corner like a rat. Elaine screams, “COWARDLY MOTHERFUCKER!” Stopping abruptly. Panting heavily. She looks over at Stubsy’s place - the door slams shut. Then back at the corner of the street. Suddenly a paper boy whizzes back round, his bicycle leaning into the bend. He rushes up the pavement. Elaine calls out, “Boy! Did you see the fuckin’ rat?” The paper boy scoots right on by giving Elaine the Vs. Elaine is stunned, “You little fuckin’ ass wipe.”

Up the street the paper boy pulls up outside the Bennett’s house. He jumps off and heads towards the door. The paper boy pushes the paper though the letterbox. From inside Sydney snatches the paper. Sydney enters the bedroom. “Look!” He holds up the front page: WORLD WAR THREE IMMINENT. In bed Sydney’s wife, Kathleen, screws up her face trying to focus on the headline. “Can you fuckin’ believe this.” 

“It’ll blow over.” 

“You think?” 

“I think we’ve got mice. Listen.” 

Pit-a-pat-a-pit-a-pat-pit-a... quickly followed by frantic scratching. Sydney’s eyes widen. “Get the hell out of my house!” Their granddaughter, Kerry-Anne, joins them in the bedroom. “Did I hear daddy last night?” 

“No. You heard a rodent. You can hear them now too. Listen.”

Pit-a-pat-a-pit-a-pat-pit-a... Sydney hunkers down, “You know mice can gnaw through bone.” 

“Eh?"  

“Meaning they would eat every inch of you…”

Sydney! Kerry-Anne jump in here.”

Kathleen pulls back the sheets. Kerry-Anne jumps in. Sydney grabs his walking stick. He starts stabbing the floorboards. Dunk! Dunk! Dunk! Dunk! Dunk! Dunk!… Pit-a-pat-a-pit-a-pat-pit-a… Sydney loses it. “Hoe Lee Shit!” 

 

Elaine is sat on the toilet, screwing up her face. Nothing doing. Knock! Knock! Knock!… “What?” From behind the door an agitated voice: “If you don’t want me to piss blood on this carpet right here and now you better let me in.” 

“What!” 

“I’m saying let me in NOW. ‘Cos I’m gonna stain this fuckin’ shagpile!” Elaine hoicks up her knickers and opens the door. Stuart pushes in and pushes out Elaine and pulls the door closed. “Who are you? Who were you staying with?” 

Stuart holds his dick. His face looks in agony. “What!” 

“You heard. Doubles are dearer than singles. You owe me eight quid!” Stuart grimaces, “You need to invest in fuckin’ en-suite facilities.” 

“Eight quid asshole!” 

“How’d you know my nickname?” 

“What?” 

AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH...! 

Stuart’s piss is red. 

 

A coal fire burning. A framed painting of a pigeon hangs above the fireplace. 

 

Mr. Pigeon exits the pigeon loft. He wears a t-shirt emblazoned with a pigeon. Respectfully he holds a dead pigeon in his hands. He enters the back door. Mr. Pigeon walks through the kitchen into the living room. He stands before the fireplace, recollecting. Then throws the dead bird into the flames. Prrring prrring… Prrring prrring… The telephone startles Mr. Pigeon. He grabs the receiver: “‘Ello.” 

 

Councillor Cosgrove sits behind his desk. “It’s Cosgrove.” 

 

“‘Ello councillor.” Mr. Pigeon sees something through his window… “We need to organise an EGM. Plan A ain’t working.” Mr. Pigeon ignores the other end of the line, across the road Stubsy exits his house with a sledgehammer… “The nut-job’s gone AWOL.” 

 

Stubsy sizes up his wall. Then lifts the sledgehammer high and brings it down on the bricks - FUD! And again - FUD! Stubsy is knackered. He takes a breather. 

 

Sandy is stood behind the net curtains also watching Stubsy gather his strength. Over her shoulder she calls, “Gaz come and take a gander at this.” Stubsy lifts the sledgehammer - FUD! Gaz stands beside Sandy. FUD! “Look at him. He’s fucked. Five swings!” Sandy corrects him, “Four. Five coming up…”

 

Stubsy slams the sledgehammer into the wall - FUD! He plonks down on the wall. Catching his breath again, wiping his brow. 

 

Still watching Stubsy, Mr. Pigeon shakes his head in disbelief. Councillor Cosgrove jabbers on, “Did you hear what I said?” 

“I did Cosgrove. Revoke her fuckin’ B&B licence.”

 

Councillor Cosgrove fiddles with his tie; it’s decorated with pigeons. “Ain’t my jurisdiction.” 

“Funny that. Membership ain’t my jurisdiction but I’m pretty fuckin’ confident that I could get you booted out.” 

“Just send your birds out to the north.” 

“What did you say?” 

Councillor Cosgrove slams down the phone. “Prick.” He leans back in his chair. Then leans forward pressing the intercom: “Ewan.” 

“Yes boss.” 

“I’m starving. Would you mind grabbing me a bacon bap and a tea from The Galleon.” 

“Sure thing boss.” 

“And Ewan…” 

“Yeah…” 

“Don’t eat my fuckin’ bacon bap.”

Chuck is pointing at a black golf ball-sized piece of dog crap on the ground. “You can eat that.” Little Alex is not so sure, screwing up his nose, “Really?” 

“Yeh. Are you hungry?” 

Alex nods his head. Chuck suggests, “Eat it then. It’s tasty.” Alex shakes his head. “Honest. I’ll eat it if you don’t.” Alex eyeballs Chuck. Chuck points again at the poo. Alex looks down on the poo. “It’s a kind of gobstopper.” Alex bites his lip. “Chocolate?” 

“Yup. Chocolate.” 

Then, very slowly, Alex bends down to pick up the dog crap. Chuck’s eyes widen. Alex grasps the poo. Chuck explodes, “Dog shit! Dog shit! Dog shit!…” Chuck jumps up and down like a lunatic. “Dog shit! Dog shit! Dog shit!” Alex lets go of the poo and legs it. Chuck hoots and hollers at the disappearing boy... “That was cruel.” Chuck is startled. Behind him stands Lisa. “Eh?” Lisa leans in, and snarls, “I’m gonna batter you.” PHUT. Ping! A bottle on a wall smashes. Lisa and Chuck look about frantically. Further down the ally an air rifle and a skinhead peak over a back yard wall. PHUT... Back up the alley: Pang! A beer can does a back flip. Lisa and Chuck bolt it. Gaz pulls his eye from the air rifle’s scope, then climbs down from a step-ladder, grinning. “And now for the bone-idle bastard.”

Darren walks up Raikes Parade, he looks tense, psyched…

 

Sydney is pinned to the wall via an arm at his throat. Sydney, straining, “What is it with you.” Darren shouts in his face, “You don’t fuckin’ know?” Sydney struggles to shake his head. “You read the papers. I’ve been warning you for years. Build a fuckin’ bunker…” 

“A what?” 

“Stockpile food for at least two years. 400 hundred gallons of water per person…” 

“Eh?” 

“Just confirm that I warned you.” 

“Yeah, you fuckin’ warned me!” 

Darren eases his grip on Sydney’s throat. Stepping back. Sydney straightens himself out. “Your freak-of-nature buddy has his competition today.”

“Ewan?” 

“Yeah. Apparently he’s going to suck Bandalucci’s balls dry.”

Neither Darren nor Sydney is sure if that’s good or bad. 

 

Tony slams the sledgehammer into Stubsy’s wall: THWACK! Rubble shatters across the front yard. THWACK! Bricks disintegrate, shrapnel scatters. THWACK! Half the wall buckles and crumbles. THWACK!… Stood a few paces back from Tony is Stubsy. He has one eye on the demolition and one eye on the window of his neighbour… 

 

Gaz stands behind the net curtain glaring through at Stubsy. Gaz spits under his breath, “Feckless piece of shit…” He lifts the air rifle. Stubsy’s distorted head fills the frame of the scope. “Stinking wing-nutted lazy fuckwit…" The cross hairs hover right in the centre of Stubsy’s face. “Dog-shagging butt-fuckin’ sloth…” Stubsy’s one eye looks right down the barrel. “Toothless gormless bastardin…” Stubsy’s face softens, a tiny wry smile surfaces. “Brainless wanking maggot…” Stood behind Gaz is Sandy. “Are you gonna shoot him?” Gaz lowers the air rifle. “One day.” 

The story continues: