Fall Out ~ Melissa Mann

July 21, 2008

Disgust an’ fear crash through’t toilet door, me right behind ‘em.  I fumble wi’t lock, breath I’ve been ‘oldin’ since I climbed over ‘im ready to burst out o’me top.  There’s barely room to swing a cat in ‘ere.  On’t floor, a pool o’piss laps at me flip-flops. I steady meself against sink.  There’s a bar o’soap turnin’ to scum by’t tap.  I pick it up – it’s all slimy in me fingers – then I sink me teeth in an’ bite a birr’off, lerr’in it lie there on me tongue a bit.  Then I close me eyes an’ start to chew.  Me lips’re tryin’ to peel the’selves off me face.  It tastes like dead roses an’ mecks me gag.  I scrape a fingernail down me tongue, along’t inside o’me cheek then start scrubbin’ at me teeth an’ gums ‘til me finger goes all numb.  I spit into’t sink, wipin’ me mouth wi’t back o’me arm.  Bloodied spew slithers down’t plughole like a jellyfish.

Coach brakes an’ swings left, throwin’ me against door; we must be leavin’t motorway. Eventually it stops, ‘ydraulics gaspin’, engine rumblin’, door ‘andle thrummin’ in me fist.  I unlock toilet door an’ peer out. Ron’s ‘eadin’ up the aisle toward me. Next thing am pushin’t  emergency door open, theme tune to’t ‘Great Escape’ playin’ in me ‘ead. Am Steve fuckin’ McQueen, me!  Or mebbe it’s theme to ‘Reach for’t Sky’ in which case am Douglas Bader an’ well, am fucked then, aren’t I.  Ron reaches out, ‘and like pork sausages, all blotched an’ knuckleless.  But am ‘avin’ none of it, me.  I jump off’t coach, door alarm screamin’ as I fall out into’t path of an on-comin’ Volvo.

* * * *

Two hour or so back

I look down an’ see me smilin’ back at meself, smilin’ like am about to breck me teeth.  Emlyn’s in’t middle, one arm round me, t’other round our Paula.  They’re lookin’ at each other instead o’t camera.  I fold’t photo in two so am pressed against Emlyn’s chest.  We’re that close I can feel ‘is ribs pressin’ into me cheek.  I squeeze the folded edge between me finger an’ thumb, firm like, up an’ down… then I tear us apart.

They’re screwed up in’t ashtray now, pair of ‘em.  Ow, fuck! I’ve a paper cut now, look.  I suck me finger.  It’s a sign that cut; someone up there tryin’ to tell me sommat.  I slot what’s left o’me into’t seat pocket, wipin’ under’t eyes I can see starin’ back at me through’t nettin’.  Just me now. Am on me own an’ am never goin’ back.  Am free though, s’all that matters.  Me great escape, this is.

We’ve just pulled into Leeds coach station.  There’s a few people waitin’ to gerr’on but not many: this Asian lass wi’ bootleg jeans under ‘er sari, an Arthur Scargill look-a-like an’ some bloke wi’ no neck in a Leeds Rhinos’ shirt.  Seat next to me’s gorr’all me stuff on it – bag, Now magazine, can o’Red Bull an’ some cheese sarnies I got from’t kiosk at Bradford Interchange.  Tons o’seats further back though so it mecks no odds.

Yeah, me great escape, this is.  Knew’t minute I set eyes on Emlyn ‘e’d be me ticket out o’Wakefield an’ ‘avin’ to work in mam an’ dad’s fish shop.  Never thought it’d turn out like this though.  ‘e’d come to work for’is aunt in ‘uddersfield ‘ad Emlyn.  Dead exotic ‘e were what wi’is slick-back ‘air an’ Welsh accent. Yeah, it were lust at first sight wi’Emlyn – fo’ me any road.  Same fo’ Paula as well, though she reckons it were love.  Love?!  What does she know about love?  Never even done it, she an’t.  I bare me teeth at winder an’ scrub at a red lipstick mark.  Below me’t driver throws in’t last bit o’baggage an’ slams the flaps shut.

Well that’s just bloody great tharr’is.  Arthur fuckin’ Scargill wants to sit ‘ere, dun’t ‘e, next to me. All those seats at back but no, ‘e wants this one. Christ, would yer look at state of ’im.  Bet yer’any money ‘e gets travel sick.  Nervy sort, yer can tell.  Look at ‘im, slammin’ ‘is trainer on’t footrest like it’s the brake or sommat. See, it were a sign that paper cut. A five-hour coach trip to London sat next to some middle-aged Bradford City supporter, weaned on Tetley’s an’ liable to puke any minute. Yeah, somebody up there’s defo gorr’it in fo’ me.  Oh an’ did I mention the attractive comb-over?

“Can yer believe this driver, eh?  Useless in’t ‘e, the pillock.  Y’all right?  Not squashin’ yer am I, love?”

“Well, I could do wi’out ‘avin’ yer lunch box in me lap, thanks very much.”  A Star Wars bloody lunch box too, if yer can believe that.  I mean, fuck me to Wakefield an’ back!

“Oh yeah, sorry love.  Don’t want yer nickin’ me egg butties when I nod off now, do I.”

Oh just take the bloody thing, will yer.  I turn me back on ‘im an’ look out winder. Kid goes past in’t back o’this Merc.  Stickin’ its tongue out one minute then ‘idin’ under’t seat the next.  Up an’ down like a yo-yo ‘e is, little brat.  I look down, watchin’t M1 slide away under’t wheels.  It were seein’ Emlyn an’ our Paula in’t back o’is car what started it off. That’s when I knew I ‘ad to do sommat. ‘oldin’ ‘er face ‘e was, lookin’ right in ‘er eyes – ‘er speccy-four-eyes, ha!  I pull on me lashes; mascara’s all clogged up.  Yeah, drastic action were called fo’ cos suddenly me way out were lookin’ more like a dead end.

God, I could murder a fag – fuckin’ hours ‘til we get to Milton Keynes.  Could sneak a puff in’toilet I s’pose.  Yeah! Since when did National Express get s’bloody PC any road?  Smokin’ pro’ibited but anti-social comb-overs welcomed wi’ open arms, is tharr’it?

“Me name’s Ron.”

Christ, do we ‘ave to bloody do this?  I don’t want to talk to yer, ar’right.  I force a smile, feelin’ me foundation crack then I turn an’ look out winder again.  Travellin’ by coach allus does this t’me, mecks me ‘ate the world an’ every fucker in it.

“‘Ave yer not gorra name then?”

“Err…sorry, yeah. Alice.”

“Oh, like that lass what went to Wonderland.  Very nice.”

Fuckin’ ‘ell!  Nod an’ smile Alice, nod an’ smile.  I look at ‘is lunch box an’ get this, ‘e’s only gone an’ gorr’ a nametag on it.  A bloody nametag, I ask yer.  Well congratulations Ron Butterfield.  ‘alf an ‘our in your scintillatin’ company an’ am already on page ten o’me self-‘arm manual. I look at me watch.  Great.  Another four an’ an ‘alf hours meckin’ small talk wi’ some fat twat who probably ‘as ‘is name sewn in ‘is underkecks.

I pick me bag up offat floor an’ pull out a mirror.  God, I look a right fuckin’ sight; make-up’s all over’t place.  Not like it were’t other night.   Immaculate it were, then. ‘ad me war paint on, din’t I; Emlyn didn’t stand a chance, poor bugger.  I pick at what’s left o’t nail polish on me thumbnail.  Feel a bit bad about it all now, if am honest. ‘ad to be done though.  Needed to see, din’t ‘e.  Needed to see before it were too late.

Ron’s fidgetin’ about in ‘is seat again; warm-up to openin’ his gob again, I bet. An’ while we’re at it Ron, ‘ow much bloody room d’yer need, eh?  Is yer tackle really that big yer need to sit wi’ yer legs so wide apart?  It’s a coach seat not some big girthed mare yer tryin’ to straddle.  Euch, I can’t look.  ‘e’s got that white gob-shite stuff in’t corners of ’is mouth.  Stringin’ between ‘is lips, it is when ‘e talks. 

“Am a salesman, me.  Sell zips an’ Velcro an’ what ‘ave yer.  Get to travel all over’t country.”

A nod an’ a smile wi’ a bit o’raised eyebrow called fo’ this time, Alice.  There yer go, a 6.0 fo’artistic expression from’t Barnsley judge fo’ that one.  Oh, eh yup, Ron’s usin’ ‘is passenger brakin’ system again.  What we stoppin’ fo’?  Fuck’s sake!  Another sign this is in’t it; somebody up there layin’ it on wi’ a trowel.  Well I gerr’it, ar’right.  Yeah, so I shagged Emlyn when ‘e’s supposed to be gerrin’ wed to our Paula but I never… it… well it just ‘appened, din’t it.  I just ‘ad it in mind to seduce ‘im a bit, that’s all, gerr’im to see sense.  Meck ‘im see ‘e’d chosen’t wrong one, like.

I lean me ‘ead back an’ think on about other night.  ‘e were a bit worse fo’ wear after ‘is stag do, wer’Emlyn.  Dead shaky an’ all cos ‘is best man Timmo’d organised an ‘hit’ for’im.  Timmo’s uncle runs this business, right; Party Assassins it’s called.  They do practical jokes an’ that.  Yer know, strippergrams an’ spikin’t groom’s drink then leavin’ him stark-bollock-naked on Emley Moor, that kinda thing.  Timmo’s uncle were part o’t Bradford Mafia, if yer believe’t talk.  This were a few year back now.  Party Assassins was ‘is way o’going “straight”, like, or so folk said.  Bradford Mafia?!  Yeah, what-ever.

Anyway, there we was, me lust an’ me, sat on mam an’ dad’s couch when Emlyn walks in, covered ‘ead to toe in Alphabetti Spaghetti an’ Cheerios.  Like a female ‘unger striker’s wet dream, ‘e were – ha!  Next thing I’d fallen out me clothes, am on top o’im an’ ‘e’s printin’ mucky jokes all over me tits in pasta an’ ‘holegrain ‘oops. Din’t know what’d hit him, poor bugger. An’ I wan’t takin’ no for’an answer, me – full works or me money back!

So, ‘ere’s me now, stuck in a five-mile tailback wi’ Arthur fuckin’ Scargill’s clone sat next to me.  Yeah, somebody up there’s defo meckin’ me pay fo’ it, big time.  I never set out to ‘urt our Paula though, ‘onest t’God.  It’s just, I were bored, fed up, yer know ‘ow it is?  An’ Emlyn needed to see what ‘e were missin’ before ‘e settled on little Miss Innocent wi’ ‘er specs an’ ‘er M&S dresses.  Why ‘er, eh an’ not me?  I don’t gerr’it.  Must ‘ave ‘idden depths that one.  An’ she in’t all sweetness an’ light neither.  Gorra right temper on ‘er, that one, ‘specially when she’s on ‘er period; she can be a right cow.  Well anyway, mecks no odds now cos I’ve gone, am’t I; left ‘em to it, all that gerrin’ wed an’ ‘appy ever after bollocks.  I snap the ‘air elastics round me wrist an’ peer through’t raindrops spermin’ across winder.  London 87 miles.  Come on, gerr’a fuckin’ move on bus will yer.

Oi, Ron, gob-shite, stop leanin’ on me – Christ!  What’s ‘e gorr’in that ‘an Solo flask, then, voddy? An’ what the fuckin’ ‘ell’s ‘e grinnin’ fo’, eh?  God ‘is breath’s rank.  Smells like fags an’ ale an’ denture glue.

“Did yer know there’s 824 cones in yer average contraflow system?”

Nice one Ron, yer’ve only gone an’ used up me entire stock o’polite conversation.  I slump in me seat an’ look at me watch.  Reckon I’ve still gorr’another four hours o’this, traffic way it is.  Four fuckin’ hours sat next to some saddo ‘ho knows’t reference code fo’every zip an’ strip o’Velcro ‘e’s ever sold.  Christ, if this in’t the coach journey from ‘ell, I don’t know wharr’is.  Please, somebody shoot me!  Oi, now what’s ‘e doin’?  I’m warnin’ yer, gob-shite, lean any closer an’ I’ll stab you in’t gonads wi’ that Bradford City badge o’yours.

“’Ave gorra little present fo’ yer,” ‘e ses.

What-the-fuck….. let go o’me face yer nutter. ‘e’s gorr’is lips suckered to me mouth!  Get-the-fuck-OFF-me!  That’s norr‘is tongue in me gob that’s norr‘is tongue in me gob… think am gonna puke.  Oh thank bloody God.  I press an ‘and to me mouth.  Can’t feel me lips now, can I; they’ve gone all numb.  Christ, that’s norr’is gob-shite snailin’ down me chin, is it?  Fuckin’ is, an’ all! 

“What the fuckin’ ‘ell d’yer do that fo’, eh?”  ‘e’s got this big grin all over’is face, an’t ‘e. 

“S’like I said, a little present fo’ yer, courtesy o’t Party Assassins from your Paula.   It’s fo’ shaggin’ ‘er fiancy.”  ‘e scratches ‘is balls. “An’ I can’t tell yer ‘ow much am lookin’ forward t’next bit o’ this ‘hit,’ Alice,” ‘e ses, lickin’ ‘is lips, “cos it won’t be just me tongue I’ll ‘ave inside yer.”

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