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.

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16 Responses to “Rats and Mice”

  1. October 01, 2008 at 9:56 am, Amy said:

    I’ve got a funny feeling in my tummy, that was really horrible, which obviously means its a well written story because it’s provoked a reaction. But how awful. Is it true?

  2. October 04, 2008 at 1:01 pm, mike duff said:

    wot is truth?

  3. October 04, 2008 at 5:19 pm, Danny 'Laureate' loki said:

    This reminds me of a similar incident I witnessed on the Orient Express back in 1932. Some poor chap got chived up bad in the shitters at the back. Then some old tart sussed out who did the crime and got him sent down.

    Actually, that bear little or no similarity to this tale, Duff. So in essence, meh.

  4. October 04, 2008 at 5:22 pm, ralph milnefanclub said:

    *shakes with fear*

  5. October 07, 2008 at 12:09 pm, mike duff said:

    loki i have the dice ready willing and able…and i am prepared to re-live my youth

  6. October 10, 2008 at 7:10 pm, Rainy City Stories « 40three said:

    […] the stories that are up I particularly liked Rats and Mice by Mike […]

  7. October 12, 2008 at 10:42 pm, smith3000 said:

    Nice story Mike – well you know what I mean. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff on here – or will you not bother if they’ve got no dosh for you?

  8. October 21, 2008 at 7:49 pm, mike duff said:

    dear smith3000……sent three things for the price of one….money is not a thing that drives my art….i went unpublished for thirty year….so i’d willingly give kate another 50 things for free


  9. October 22, 2008 at 9:00 am, smith3000 said:

    Sorry Mike, just realised that might have seemed a bit snide. Humour doesn’t come across well in comments, I suppose. The only stuff I’ve read of yours before is Low Life and I was confusing you with the narrator … I wasn’t having a pop.

  10. October 22, 2008 at 12:10 pm, mike duff said:

    no problem smithy…..a good friend of mine the writer pete kalu once calculated that he earned two pound an hour from his writing….to which i replied “well yer jammy bugger that’s four times more than me”…..try “the hat check boy” by me….different from “low life”….and don’t buy it use a library…..

  11. October 22, 2008 at 1:08 pm, smith3000 said:

    The speed I write at, 50p an hour is probably about right. Thanks for the tip, I’ll track down The Hat Check Boy one way or the other ..

  12. October 26, 2008 at 2:59 pm, brady said:

    top writin mike…puts you in a room with them all an I squirmed for mr suit like he were me…. dunno what I would have done…hard to know really til yer cornered

  13. October 27, 2008 at 10:37 pm, Bees said:

    who would know …by act or ommission …to do the right thing…chilling real mike…

  14. October 28, 2008 at 1:50 pm, rob said:

    …basically u were a scally or chav before that demographic was given a title (credit) – haha – sorry! but so was i… so can relate to being in your predicament.
    i really enjoyed the story… cheers mike… ill now borrow your books from the library… but im such a slow reader ill probably end up lining your pockets as u can only borrow books for 2 weeks… which aint long enough for me!

  15. October 08, 2009 at 6:40 pm, Jo Kirtley Pritchard said:

    loved this.

  16. November 25, 2009 at 7:48 pm, Ian D Smith said:

    Reminds me of the time the kids opposite came back from Manchester on the train and some scallys talked them into taking out all the CDs they’d bought, and then legged it with the lot at Levenshulme. One born every minute. Nice story. Like it.


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