i try to hide where i originally came from, but sometimes that’s impossible. here’s a story set in Felling that was published in the Winter 1998 edition of “The Magpie’s Nest.”
Everyone was skint after Christmas, so the mid-week trade went down the pan in The Fox. Two Lumps knocked twenty pence off a pint and held a quiz each Monday to try and drum up trade. To save money he got the gjg as Quizmaster. The twenty questions he set each week didn’t exactly tax you. Films, football and music. The sort of stuff we’d talk about anyway. Two Lumps was really called Neil, or NTH for short, but got his name from the huge tits he’d started growing. He didn’t like the nickname, but accepted it. Less hassle that way. If he’d started complaining, the slagging would have been ten times worse. If he’d barred anyone for taking the piss out of him, we’d all just have fucked off somewhere else, cheap beer or not.
The first couple of weeks about seven teams entered. The lot who came down from The Greyhound always came last. Not surprising really, as none of the fuckers could read properly. They stopped coming after a month or so, apart from Vin O’Neill that is. For a joke, this bunch of students invited Vin to join in with them. It got the biggest laugh since he won some Calvin Klein aftershave in the Columba Club Christmas Draw. Vin wasn’t what you’d call an intellectual.Always pissed, whilst his Glenda took on two jobs and brought the kids up by herself, never saying a bad word against him in public. That said, he often turned up with black eyes, cuts on his face and the odd bandage or sling. Glenda might have been giving him a right hammering indoors, but it was probably just from him falling over going back up Rochester Terrace and collapsing into hedges on Willow Grove after the bars.
One week, Vin turned up three quarters pissed, having spent the day drinking_ sherry with the winos round Ossie Graves’s flat. Two Lumps didn’t want to serve him on account of the state he’d be in by closing time and the students weren’t bothered about playing one man short, so Vin staggered out cursing one and all, giving Two Lumps the finger , unsteadily.
Next day I was in The Blue Bell just after opening, when Vin came in with his left hand and forearm in plaster. Over a quick one he told me what had gone on. In his temper Vin had come up to The Blue Bell and got really hammered. Long_after closing_time he’d gone back down to The Fox. Two Lumps had been locking up, but invited Vin in for a late one as he thought the lad was there to apologise. Once inside Vin had downed the pint in two gulps and knocked Two Heads spark out with a punch flush on the Jaw .That morning Vin had woken up with a hand twice its normal size, all purple and blue. It wouldn’t bend and was agony to the touch. Glenda phoned a taxi and they’d gone up to the hospital. The x ray showed he’d hit Two Lumps so hard he’d broken his wrist and two fingers.
Mind, it wasn’t the fact he’d started on the bloke that was making Vin feel like shit, it was the knowledge that whilst we were sat there, Glenda was on her way to The Fox, ready to give Two Lumps a piece of her mind about her Vincent’s injuries. I knew then I’d be staying in with a few cans on Mondays in future.