It was a snowy winters day in Grimsby, 1993. I had met up with my school 'chums' Jon Wood and Stokesy, and we were ambling idly along the street en route to another day of teacher-baiting and general mucking about at school. We decided to take a shortcut through the crisp layer of snow that adorned a neighbouring school field and caught up with our good 'friend' Turdy along the way. Much snow-related shenanigans ensued and Turdy ended up taking the day off school due to his coat, trouser, shirt pockets and shoes being filled to bursting point with snow. That and his tie being buried and his being forced to eat copious amounts of snow by Jon (I protested but he's a downright bully).
Needless to say, Turdy grassed on us to that lousy dean, and we were duped into going round his house that evening to apologise. Now, it should be added that Turdy's dear mother Maureen, has a wangy eye, which had led to her being affectionately nicknamed Mogeyed Morag by, well everyone, even my dad. So the three of us stood at the door and Morag arrived. She looked at Stokesy and asked his name, to which I answered Stuart Colebrook. So she turned to me and said, "I wasn't talking to you," to which Jon replied, "I never said anything!" Genius.
25th June 2004
On ungrateful tramps
On the bus on the way into work this morning I saw an old man fall over in the street. It looked nasty from my vantage point, and he lay there prone. Being the Good Samaritan that I am, I jumped off the bus to help, even though I knew that by drawing attention to myself I would undoubtedly get the blush. Which I did. Anyway, I go to help the old boy, and it turns out he's one of those crazy, drunken types that probably pisses himself and eats stuff from bins (the rubbish receptacle, not the dead classy high street store). He yells at me to "get to shit", rejects my attempts to help him stand and stays on the floor grinning like a fool (and I'd like to say he pissed himself too but I have no proof since I didn't touch his crotch... this time). My bus is still waiting so I sheepishly re-board, blushing like a cunt, and get tutted at by a few old dears for not helping him more. As I'm shy and ineloquent, my efforts at explaining what happened go unheard or ignored, and I have to spend the rest of the bus journey feeling like a chump. Moral of this tale - all old men are probably tramps and you should never, ever help a stranger.
2nd July 2004
On dreaming of cats
I had a dream last night where I'd moved into a new house where the floor was all black and white tiles, and there was this cat that kept trying to steal stuff from my cupboard. I kept yanking at the cat's tail but boy was that cat strong. This went on for ages, and then the cat moved and I moved around to see what it was trying to get but the cupboard door kept obscuring my view. It was like that Simpsons scene where Homer dreams about an invention that would make him rich but can never quite see it. Yep, it was a dull dream, but then I woke up, and my bathroom floor has the same tiles and there's a cupboard in there that I realised I'd never looked in. So I looked in it and found an old copy of Cosmopolitan, some spiders and a pile of soil. I think maybe the message that my dream was trying to tell me was that you should never trust a stubborn cat cos its probably just chasing that secret old mud. But at least I know where our dirt cupboard is now.
22nd July 2004
On fleeing from bear attacks
This morning, whilst walking through Stoke Newington Common on my way to catching the bus, I spot in the distance what looks like a child being attacked by a bear. Needless to say I was both apprehensive about approaching but also quite excited about approaching. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a very small man of the nerdy, suited, Oriental persuasion, being set up on in a not overly vicious, but I imagine still terrifying manner by the biggest fucking alsatian I've ever seen. The dog was muzzled, so couldn't have caused any lasting damage, and was probably just being friendly, but the poor guy looked terrified. And then I spotted the dog's owner, standing no more than ten yards away, grinning and I'm sure I heard him say "Go on boy!". This owner looked only slightly less scary than the dog - a camo-clad skinhead that was short, but about as wide as the little man was tall. And despite the grins, his face still conveyed a look of pure evil (or if not pure, at least 80% evil, the other 20% being made up of hydrogen and lesser gases). Now I saw a number of available options. I could:
a) rush to the little man's aid and attempt to reason with the owner to call off his beast.
2) rush to the little man's aid and attempt to fight off dog and man.
iii) join in with the mocking and attacking
d) panic, run and catch my bus to work.
I'll leave it to you guys to guess which option I took but as I breathlessly looked back from the safety of my bus seat, towards the scene of the mauling, it appeared both man and dog had tired of their little game and moved on. The victim looked shaken but I think he may have secretly enjoyed the attention, the nerd.
4th November 2004
On kidnapped gangstas
Sat on the bus this morning whilst parked at a busy stop with loads of people getting on. There's this obviously tapped old dear, looked like the lady from Tom & Jerry, but more bonkers (she had a HUGE straw hat with a HUGE flower in it). She asks a few people to help her on with her bag but people kind of averted their eyes and shuffled away or on to the bus. This left the lady standing looking pleading (and crazy) eyed at this HUGE, gangsta looking coloured chap who obviously wanted no part of it. I lost interest for a second as someone stood on my toe but then I heard raised voices and looked to see the lady get on the bus whilst looking back at the guy as if he was her naughty kid. Then he follows, struggling with a HUGE comedy suitcase, adorned with various ribbons and flowers and netting all pink. He fights his way past a few people on the bus and unceremoniously dumps it in the crowded aisle, all the while trying to maintain his "don't fuck wid me nigga else I'm a pop a cap in yo mo'fuckin' ass!" expression. Then the doors close and the bus drives off, leaving him irate and panicky as he wasn't planning on catching it in the first place.
On planning a robbery in San Diego
For 3 wonderful weeks a couple of years ago I house- and cat-sat for some friends of my boss in sunny San Diego. Just me, an amazing house, the sun, California, and a cat. A cat that hated me to begin with, shitting and coughing up furballs all over the place. Furballs are not as cute as they sound. The house-owners had told me a few ground rules before leaving - never let the cat out the front of the house as he's crazy and would get lost, and always make sure to take my keys when I went out as the door was likely to shut and lock behind me. So as dusk fell, I closed all the windows and, dressed only in shorts, went out front for a cigarette.
It's worth noting at this point that the cat, Gally, had not yet warmed to me, taking to attacking me at every opportunity. I lit up, inhaled deeply, and watched in despair as the front door locked shut, leaving me outside, phoneless, keyless and half-naked. I panicked briefly and heartily before remembering the bathroom skylight - an 18 inch square hole dropping around 3 metres on to a concrete floor.
The front gate was my first obstacle - a gate which it seemed was chosen due to its difficulty in clambering over. No footholds, and topped with lethal iron spikes. Being barefoot didn't help, but I managed to scramble over suffering only minor lacerations to my naked legs and torso. Next, the drainpipe leading to the roof, but passing between two overhead livewires. Do I wander around the street in the hope of finding help, or do I risk death but save face?
Looking back at the pipe afterwards, I have no idea how I scaled that thing, but scale it I did, dropping through the skylight to safety. Gally must have been expecting me, as he'd left the stinkiest pile of shit on the floor by my landing point. When I'd done grimacing, he promptly attacked me.
Now, this is where the story ended originally, but a couple of months after I'd returned to England, I was informed that the house had been broken into and all the valuables stolen. Unfortunate, I thought, but then it dawned on me...
I'd been keeping a journal during my time there, writing up everything and everyone I saw and did, including the above story, and the address I was staying at. It had reached over 100 pages when I got shitfaced on my final night, ending up drinking at the house of a couple of shifty guys. I woke up on a neighbour's lawn the following morning, and had regrettably lost my journal. From what the police could tell, the burglars had broken into the house by scaling the front gate, shimmying the drainpipe, and dropping in through the always open skylight.
Coincedence, or did I unwittingly plot out their crime?