Saint Joe the Prick

Novel Snippet Number 2

Here’s the second snippet from the first draft of the new novel. I intend to get this book done, dusted and published by the middle of 2017. The book is set in a seaside city in England in the mid-70s. It features a gang of small time, small thinking men with one, very big thinking woman. Meet two of the “Loose Lads Gang”. I’d be interested to know what you think.

 

Saint Joe the Prick

Vince got his nickname because he’s locked himself out of this dingy little flat on more than one occasion while trying to get one of his scabby cats back in for the night. While it’s obvious to everybody else in the small world that the Pyjama boy inhabits that the cats are taking the piss – they’re cats if they want to come in they’ll jump on his windowsill and tap and scream – Vince still worries.

More realistically he believes that because he saved them from extinction at the hands of the local authorities or dogs or kids with fireworks and bricks or from their own bad decisions, the cats should bond with him and his weedy, reedy commands that rapidly descend into entreaties and then, inevitably to locked-out beseeching. The cats go about their business.

He loves to read cheap pornography, to collect knock-off martial arts weaponry and to practice Kung Fu. The shame here is that if only Vince had the slimmest insight into himself he would realise that he’s not just grid at martial arts, he’s actually very talented. He understands all the moves. He just doesn’t understand the ideas that underlie them. This makes him excessively useful to the Prudoms and this in turn makes him one of the Loose Lads.

Vince orders a pint of warmish, pallid bitter beer. Matty orders a vodka, ice. Vince’s order is honoured by Danny Fitch the barman, the hardman of the group. Matty is given a pint of warmish, pallid bitter beer.

“It’s half-past eleven in the morning, mate. Be serious”, says Fitch as he places the beers, in clean glasses, on beermats on the ultra-polished cherry wood bar top. He smiles at both of them and returns to making the glasses gleam and the optics shine. Fitch takes pride in his immediate surroundings wherever they happen to be. He is always immaculately turned out, all five feet six of him. He’s a very brutal man too as his face and arms, and his belly scars can swear. Like all the rest of the Loose Lads though, he’s small time brutal. He’s hand-to-hand and box cutter Stanley knife to face or shins. He likes the sight of blood but he bloody hates cleaning up afterwards. He went to sea when he was younger, all over the world he went – a fight and a girl in every port except his home port, there was never a girl there. Merchant navy man is Fitch, through and through. A galley slave who once saw an outbreak of food poisoning in the middle of the Pacific ocean due to poor hygiene. Men died. Men wished they had. It was a horrible few days that was Fitch’s one great life lesson. His only tattoo, aside from the one he never mentions, is a reminder of that event:

“Wash Up or Die!” it says, beneath an image of a weeping mermaid cradling a puking sailor in her arms.

“Wash Up or Die!” this is Fitch’s life lesson and he is happy with that. Make a mess for sure, spatter some blood and guts in your path but do it with a clean knife for fuck’s sake and make sure the work surface is sanitised after the event.

(c) Copyright Timothy Noel Smith 2016

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