Rats and Mice
By Mike Duff
Location: Victoria Station
So I’m walkin down Miller Street headin toward Victoria Station. I’ve had a drink an it’s getting late. I notice a figure swayin in front of me. I recognize immediately the United shirt (it’s one of them green an yella ones brought out to commemorate the centenary an Newton Heath’s part in it). I fuckin hate Newton Heath, fuckin smackheads an women with ‘honey I shrunk the giro’ kinda faces.
As I get alongside him our eyes meet. I look away but he’s seen me.
‘Fuck me with a wooden broomstick an call it the brush off, if it aint me old mate Bobby Doyle,’ he says in a drunken slurred Welsh voice.
‘Right Bernie,’ I say, ‘where you off?’
A gleam comes into his eye an he offers me a can of Stella. ‘Not seen you for a long time Senor. Off to the Press Club, you wanna come?’
An I notice the Welsh voice has mellowed to near Mancunian after thirty years in the City. Quite a few of them spent in Strangeways an other of Her Majesty’s guesthouses.
We walk along together. It’s maybe half two in the mornin.
An me mind gets lost in useless thought as the tangents of time take over an I think about the first time I saw Bernie. We were on a train headin for Victoria Station, just like now, both aged about 14. We’d bin to Blackpool. Davis was with a gang of Miles Plattin lads an I was with me cousin Rafferty. Rafferty knew them all so no hassle.
It was a good laugh at first flingin light bulbs an toilet rolls out of windows, an other kids stuff. The train was one of them old sorts that had a corridor that ran right down the side of the train an you could swap compartments at will. No ticket collector on. So no authority figure to safeguard the interests of Mr. Commuter.
Anyway the train stops at Preston an this suited man gets on. Our compartment is full so he settles down in one about four away. Ten minutes pass by an we get bored. There’s a little Livingstone in even the youngest Mancunian so we go explore. There’s a girl with a good size pair of tits in one carriage but her boyfriends with her an he’s built like Jean Claude Van Damne on steroids, so we leave them well alone.
We move a little farther down an we come across Mr. Suit, an he’s chosen to be alone.
‘Never mind, we’ll relieve the boredom,’ says Davis, who is firmly in charge.
An we all pile in.
‘These seats taken?’ says Rafferty as he climbs on the luggage rack.
The little shithouse. No chance of gettin punched up there. Our host moves a few things for his uninvited guests, puts them in a briefcase, an then commits suicide by speakin.
‘No you’re alright,’ he says.
An I wince; he’s got a Scouse accent, a posh one but Scouse nonetheless. There’s a stunned silence at our end, we’ve caught an enemy spy. ‘Hey who’d you support, our kid?’ says Rafferty as Bernie blocks the door.