mercredi 22 avril 2009

The Poor List Ch.7 - Danny's first appearance in the order of things

[PL1/40 “Proletarian Shopping”)

Danny threw the door open and stood in the pub’s doorway, goods under his arm cigarette in mouth. His face registered a ‘Where the fuck am I again?’ look, then he smiled a massive grin. The noisy interior was crammed. He strolled in and leered jauntily at two young women he half knew. They sneered in return.
The pub was built into the slope and as people walked by outside all you could see were their legs. It was the type of pub regulars would hammer on the windows to get in of a morning. Danny Quinn wasn’t a drinker but a regular anyway. This morning he had less time than usual. He glanced around and trying to spot familiar punter. Barefoot Karl over in the corner, Hitch, Dover, Trist. They’d do. He sauntered over. Barefoof Karl and the people at his table nodded obliquely to the looming figure. He had to shout over the music and the TV
“Course they’re fucking nicked”, he said to someone next to barefoot Karl “I can get rid of the tags, obviously. Fifteen. Tenner then. Here you go.”
Business was brisk. He moved quickly from table to table with the bag of clothes and other sundries, (men’s and unisex sport’s wear children’s tops, DVD’s, perfume, console games) and took some more orders. By the time the landlord noticed, he’d got through practically all the stuff.
“You again. Fuck off out of it,” the landlord shouted and moving quickly, raised the partition, but he needn’t have bothered. Quinn had taken a gulp of Triste’s lager and had eeled his way back out onto the dusty main street. He dodged smoothly but obtrusively through the cut price crowd up the main route to this weekend’s hq.
He was to meet up with Coily and Lump again back in Spearman’s. They were filling in slips and drinking tea from plastic cups, when he got there. Danny sighed royally and sat beside them, on a stool nailed to the floor, under a bright light that made him squint.
“Where the fuck have you been?” Coily asked Quinn.
“Yeah you took your time.”
“Fuck off. Did you flog all yours?”
“Nah. The underwear thing. I told you it wouldn’t work. Go’ shut o’ the trainers though.”
“Cool. Another run and we should have enough. Keep the frills for your sicko life Lumpy eh. "Where next? We haven’t done the Castle for a while. ”
“Keep your voice down for fuck’s sake,” Lump said.
“Get us a tea Coily.”
Spearman’s betting shop was tucked in between a charity shop and a pub all under the car park next to the Abbey House tower block. This was why it was always dark when you looked out of the window. The place was half full. The clientele was all male and there was an atmosphere of almost reverential silence. Horses were paraded on the screens for the Chepstow twelve fifteen. The commentators’ up market voices, consoling and posh, droned on. The majority of the people listening were from the sharp end of the way things were, though, Coily thought. Apart from the odd copper. Which was why Lump’s advice was well placed.
“Look at all these fucking numbers and shit. What the fuck?” Danny said and frowned at the selection of Racing Post pages pinned to the wall.
“Why call a horse ‘Biter arse’?” Danny said then checked his mobile. He sipped his tea and glanced at the three women clerks behind the plastic screen at counter as they dealt with a pre-race rush of five or six shambling men.
“It says ‘Bitter Harvest’. Twenty to one. Might have a throw at them odds.”
“Wever. Lumpy, Shaz and your slag are meeting us down the precinct in twenty minutes. We’ll do Scars and the Slipped Disc and that Superdrug and that. Reminds me you 'ave got in touch with Posh Dave?”
“Don’t worry. Is sorted.”
“She’s too up market for you Dannyboy”
“Fuck and off Coily you goat fucker.” Coil stared at Danny’s multi-pierced face and extended his middle finger from a grubby fist towards him and turned to the sodden race build-up on the high screens.
Adrian Haze who had for years answered to ‘Lumpy’ from family, friends and enemies stared glumly at a work poster. On it a smiling family stood against a blue background reaching out towards a woman in a suit smiling behind a desk, a man, also smiling, in a white laboratory coat with a clip board and a young black girl in a fork lift truck smiling and giving the thumbs up sign and behind them other officials and workers smiling and beckoning, all in a happy circle.
The design had been amended in blue biro. Pert breasts had been drawn on the female characters as well as some of the male ones. A crudely scrawled elephantine penis coiled its way from the father in the middle of the scene and behind the suited woman who had had her eyes and mouth artistically drawn over into smudgy ecstasy. In a bubble extending from her mouth, the artist had written, “Anytime big boy”. A similar more untidily executed bubble from the technician’s agape mouth exclaimed “Me next.”
The “going forward” part of the poster’s slogan had been modified to read “going down”. There was an email address of sexual content, mirrored swastikas and ‘AWA’ scrawled on the technician’s coat.
“You ever wonder though”, Lump said into the rising volume of shouts and pleas as the race got underway, “What it’d be like to, like, have proper jobs?”
Danny looked at Lump who looked at Coil who looked at Danny and then at Lump. In the background the upper class southern voice droned to a mechanical sounding climax. People grimaced and shouted. A few made towards the door screwing betting slips up and throwing them away in disgust.
They stayed for two more races, which Coil and Lumpy, taken together, came out of just above even.
“Come on, “ finishing his tea, “stuff won’t nick itself.” Coil said later.
Outside, Danny carried out a biological event in the doorway right opposite Spearman’s betting office. Once leaving the doorway step, the stream of warm yellow water picked up dust, chocolate wrapping and, for a short distance, a small tin can, as it flowed its way, with seeming purpose, towards the centre of town.