Rats and Mice

‘Now,’ says Bernie, ‘we’re gonna play a little game.’

As he’s sayin it he pulls out of his pocket a dice. The poor Scouse is mesmerized. Let’s have it right he’s willingly given up his money, his watch, his briefcase an his self respect.

‘Know wot the game is?’

The Scouser shakes his head an I’m prayin the train pulls into Victoria an the game gets postponed an never re-played in Liverpool with me cast in the part of Richard. Though if it did some fucker as well as me would get well an truly hurt.

‘Right, here’s the rules, explain them Rafferty.’

Rafferty sits up on the luggage rack, as best he can, his head against the train roof.

‘Right, a dice as you know is numbered one to six. In our little game you get to roll it an if it comes up one, two, three, four or five we kick your Scouse head in, Dick.’

Twat, I’m thinking. Rafferty ain’t never kicked no fucker’s head in ever.

Bernie takes over speakin. His face is a foot away from the Scouser an his eyes are mad.

‘You’re probably wonderin wot happens if it comes up six,’ he says.

The Scouser is terrified. In his fear he’s both smilin an cryin.

‘If it comes up six then you get to roll a fuckin again,’ says Rafferty.

Everyone is laughin, everyone except Dick an me. I decide to end the game. No more humiliation, no rollin no dice. I take the Scouser out with one punch to the jaw. He falls sparkled. Everyone looks at me gobsmacked.

We get off the train as fast as possible, an for all the wrong reasons I’m immediately one of the gang.
Bernie is full of admiration.

‘Wot’s your name?’ he says.

‘Bobby Doyle,’ I say.

An the clock ticks forward again as we stand outside Victoria Station.
‘You comin to the Press club then?’ he says
‘No,’ I say, ‘got work in the mornin.’
An we go our separate ways.

Mike Duff lives in Collyhurst. He was the winner of the Poem for Manchester competition in 2004, and is the author of two books Low Life and The Hat Check Boy.

Pages: 1 2 3 4



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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