Of course I crashed into her on purpose.
As I walked through Huddersfield’s shopping precinct I turned the facts over and over in my mind. At what point does it become premeditated? Surely there comes a point, even if it’s just thirty seconds before the act, at which you take a decision on who will become your victim. Does something need to have been planned weeks in advance for it to be premeditated?
I continued past McDonald’s and on towards The Cherry Tree, where a growing crowd of old men were gathering outside waiting for the 8am opening time to arrive. Sad bastards.
Stepping off the pavement I jogged across the road and into Wisla Supermarket, the local Polish shop that never seems to close.
“Just them please.” I plonked a Pot Noodle and a Mars Bar down on the counter.
“One pound fifty eight please boss. Bag?”
“Err yep. Bottle of that vodka too please mate – the big one.”
“No worries boss. Fifteen fifty seven.”
I paid and returned to the high street with my blue plastic bag of shopping, just in time to see the zombie hoard shuffle into the pub.
Fuck it I thought, and joined the back of the queue.
First thing was first: piss.
Once inside I headed downstairs and into the men’s room, where I locked myself into a cubicle and released into the toilet the most fantastically yellow neon liquid. It smelled rank, like chlorine mixed with sugar. Then I grabbed my plastic bag and took out the vodka, clicking the bottle open and taking two huge slugs. Jesus Christ that was nasty. The cheap stuff just tastes like industrial cleaner, but it does its job alright. I pulled the toilet seat down and sat there for a minute, letting the alcohol enter my bloodstream and dissolve away any worries about the police investigation.
“Fucking bastards!” I growled under my breath, before taking another mouthful of vodka and replacing the lid. The fumes burned inside my nostrils.
At the bar the breakfast rush had already begun to wane, with the local drunks relaxing into their first drinks of the day, laughing and sharing war stories. I ordered a pint of Stella and took a seat by the window, a prime spot for people-watching. Huddersfield was waking up to another grim Friday morning, and I was here to witness it. Witness and judge from my cushioned throne, surrounded by the town’s most prolific down-and outs.
Look at these dickhead wankers! Rushing for a train, where they’ll fight for a seat to carry them to the nearest city, where they’ll earn just enough money that they can afford to keep going – but not enough money that they can afford to stop. Each of them with a forty year plan: eat shit until you’re too old to pick up the spoon.
I was becoming more and more aware of my problem with the general public. Little things that never used to bother me would now send me into stratospheric levels of rage, but only on the inside. The only outward clue might have been a spasming eyelid or a clenched fist. No human upset me more than the type of person that was now standing right in front of me. Him a thirty-something flannel-shirt prick with a shit ginger beard and a stupid fucking fedora on his head, and me a twenty three year old skinny goofy twat with an 80s throwback tash and a stupid fucking mullet. Our lives separated by a commercial-grade pub window.
I took a large gulp of my export strength lager and studied him closely as he unwrapped the cellophane from a fresh packet of cigarettes, then removed the foil slip from inside the packet and discarded both items onto the pavement. I slammed my glass down.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
He fumbled his lighter as he span around looking for the source of the commotion, a cigarette dangling from his lips.
“Pick that up!” I shouted through the glass.
“Pick that up you untidy twat!”
He showed me his middle finger, then lit his cigarette and slowly plodded on past the pub and out of my sight.
“Fuck’s sake!” I snarled.
I picked my glass up and drained my pint, before crashing it down onto the table with a sharp thud. There was no music playing, meaning the noise of my little outburst had carried. I looked up to see four or five old men watching me. It was probably the most exciting thing these oxygen-thieves had seen that week. I ignored the nosy old twats, pulling my phone out and settling back into my seat.
Thirteen percent battery remaining and five missed calls – all from my uncle Frank.
Shit! I hope I wasn’t needed at the yard today
I returned my phone to my pocket, and took my empty glass to the bar.
“Same again please love, and can I order a sausage sarnie please?”
After paying I returned to my seat by the window, fresh pint of lager in hand, and thought again about last night’s events.
Fuck! My car!
I pulled the badly-folded police paperwork out of my pocket: an inventory of the items that were confiscated and returned, a blue slip confirming that I witnessed the interview tape being sealed, and a sheet detailing my drugs caution. There was nothing about my car there. I pulled my phone out again and headed for the door, pressing the handset to my ear.
[999, what’s your emergency?]
“Police please. You took my car and I need it back.”
[You wish to report a robbery sir?]
“What? No. I crashed into Alison Walker and I need my car back”
The booze had already hit me quite hard, possibly harder than usual due to no sleep and no food. I was struggling to find the right words.
[Sir, you wish to report a road traffic accident? What’s your location?]
Movement on the other side of the window caught my eye, and I saw my breakfast being delivered.
“I need brown sauce,” I slurred into the handset.
[Sir, this line is for emergencies only. Is this an emergency? If you are in trouble and unable to discuss it then please tap the phone mouthpiece three times.]
I was getting nowhere with the call. I held the phone at arm’s length and prepared to make my dissatisfaction wholly known. That vodka really had hit me.
Should I tell her to fuck off? Should I tell her that my requirement for a sausage sandwich is an emergency?
“FUCK OFF SAUSAGES!” I drunkenly squealed across Huddersfield’s now busying main street, my words a mangled hybrid of my drunken thoughts.
[Excuse me sir?]
I ended the call, sneering at a group of schoolgirls as they laughed and pointed at me from a bus stop 10 yards down the road.
“How immature is that? Does nobody have respect these days?” I said to myself under my somewhat rank breath.
Putting my phone away I staggered back inside the pub to my beer and my sandwich, travelling via the condiments counter and snatching 3 sachets of HP sauce. I reclaimed my place at the best seat in the dive, and tried my hardest to form a coherent and sensible strategy for the day within my hazy, alcohol-soaked, sleep-deprived brain. Chewing on cheap meat, lubricated with the finest Belgian export-strength lager, I formulated a plan.
I’ll need a taxi home. There’s no fucking way I’m taking the peasant-wagon. Shower, quick wank, avoid uncle Frank, and find my car. And then back to The Kestrel. It’s Friday after all. I also need to catch up with that rip-off cunt Stephan. I’ll give him twenty-five percent purity, the cheap fucker.
The sun had begun to shine in Huddersfield as I ploughed on through my unhealthy breakfast. Unhealthy because it’s not porridge and fruit, and unhealthy because I was twatted and it wasn’t yet 9am. My eyes followed each passing stranger, and I tried to guess their stories as they scurried back and forth past the window.
Shit haircut, recently divorced I bet. Ugly cunt. Another ugly cunt. Probably both off to Weight Watchers. Fit, definitely would shag, probably works at that posh barbers. Students. Students. Students. Mosher. Fat lass screeching down her phone – something about Darren not paying his rent. Huddersfield is a fucking zoo.
I wanged the last bit of sausage down my gullet, threw my napkin onto the plate, and stood up. My empty glass clattered as I set it down onto the bronze drip tray at the bar.
“Cheers love,” I shouted over my shoulder as I picked up my bag and headed for the door.