by Pete Sortwell
sat in this fucking probation waiting room again. I
seem to spend half my life sat waiting for Judith.
take a seat, Simon,” says the receptionist. “Judith will be out in a moment.”
Fucking lying-bitch receptionist.
bloody week, it’s the same. Now I have to sit here next to this middle-aged,
bald man who is trying to justify his sexual perversions.
swear she looked sixteen . . . .” he starts to say.
Noncey, I may look and smell like I ain’t washed in a week, but I am not
one of your lot! If you don’t fuck
off with your kiddie-fiddling bullshit, I am going to put my boot in your
balls, CCTV, or not. OK?” I tell him, deciding not to beat around the bush.
err I was just . . .” he starts.
it,” I say, which he does.
sit in relative silence until he starts sniffling, attracting the attention of
the receptionist. The bitch gives me the evil eye, and picks up the phone. I’m
a petty shoplifter, not a sexual deviant like him. He hurts kids and I’m the one
judged for making him cry? I hate it here. Why should he get a chair, and
a coffee, and the right to sit next to me? The only chair he should get is an
on a minute! Where’s my fucking
the door leading to the interview rooms, someone curses and it sounds as if
they have dropped some files. “Oh damn, and blast!” The muffled voice is
Judith. I prepare to stand and smile as she opens the door, holding a folder
and loads of paperwork, all crumpled up. She doesn’t even look at me.
"Brian, come through please,” she says, and old Noncey Bri stands up and
on. I had an appointment ten minutes ago,” I protest.
Well. I am running behind, today. You will just have to wait,” she says.
for fuck’s sake!” I say.
heard that, Simon,” Judith says with a tone I know so well.
I didn’t say it in sign language,” I say, in my pissed-off , stroke, sarky
voice. I’ve been waiting to say that for ages and I feel quite proud of myself
for slipping it in. Shame no one is around to hear it except for Noncey, and
Judith, stroke, Judas.
of your abusive behavior to me, the staff, or other clients, and I will have
you removed from here and you will be
breeched, Simon,” Judas tells me, no doubt making herself feel a little more
powerful than she looks, walking off into the sunset with a Peado.
opt for shaking my head and mouthing what she has just said by way of reply.
am left for a few moments to regret not saving my great joke for when someone
else was round to hear it, but I am not alone for long. A couple of young Chavs
bowl in, throwing about the “in’ it, bruv, seen, seen’s.”
Chav twats are forever giving me shit. Those two poor excuses for tracksuit
enthusiasts are from my estate and immediately they turn their attention
disorders towards me.
Si, What up son?” The one with his own name tattooed on his arm says to me.
Son? I ain’t your fucking son, mate!
fingered your mum at school. “Hello, Mickey,” I say.
the Feds got you for this time? I know it ain’t no kiddie porn, you can’t
afford a pooter, in’it, ha-ha,” he says, earning himself some knuckle love from
his mate, Trevor. From what I can see, Trevor is lucky to even see me with
the way his eyes point. He is ginger too and a future serial killer if ever I
I say, keeping my eyes away from the evil ginger. It’s hard when you can’t
tell where he is looking. I opt to stare at the wall.
seen. What you get away with?” Mickey asks me.
dun’t wanna talk about it,” I say.
My. Days,” Mickey says, forgetting he is not, and never has been, black. “You
got busted nicking cheese again didn’t you? Oh, you retard! When will you
learn, you fucking crack ’ed?”
it wasn’t cheese, actually,” I lie.
Come on, Judith, you twat bag, don’t
leave me sitting here. I wish I had a coffee so I
could throw it all over my own knob to take the attention away from my nicking.
Trev, this joker gets caught nicking cheese every other week,” Mickey
needlessly tells Trevor, which prompts Trevor to talk to the poster to my far
right. “You wanna buy some puff, grade A?”
look round to see if the poster is interested, then realize it is me he is
talking to, rather than the poster or his own nose.
is much better than that shit you’re on,” he continues, regardless.
must be sat in his blind spot or something.
sat in probation with grasses everywhere,” I say, nodding at the receptionist,
who is taking notes while trying to make it look like she is writing a really
important date in the diary, or something. This is why she is a receptionist in
a place that crap criminals are already in, rather than secret Sheila of the
dese fools can’t touch a brudda,” Trevor tells me, and his nose, which brings
on some brudda love in the form of some ‘street’ hand holding from Mickey.
think about it,” I say. Then decide to wander outside for a quick butt rolly I
the pair of nipples stay indoors and discuss ways to get crisis loans. “I told
them I washed my money last week, bruv, in’it, got £60 quid, ha-ha,” I hear
Mickey lying as I leave.
I come back in, the bredjins have gone. For fuck’s sake, their
appointments were before me, too.
sit and wait for my son-of-a -bitch probation officer. After a half hour of
trying to will Judith dead using only my mind, “Peter the Pervert” bounds in,
wearing shorter than short shiny shorts and a puffer jacket.
they’re all in today,” I say, hoping he’ll hear me, get offended, and start
screaming and punching himself like he does.
doesn’t like being made fun of, or called Peter
the Pervert, but how can someone be sensitive to jibes when they pull their
socks up that far and wear Clarke’s shoes?
have an appointment with my offending rehabilitation assistant,” Peter says,
all-matter-of-fact, to the reception lady.
Peter, I'll call Dave down now,” she says, with a smile she only extends for
men in headbands, it seems.
you, Barbara,” Peter says, teaching me something new. After two months of coming
here, I’ve learned her name. I promise myself an extra bag later to help
me forget it again, just so I don’t slip and call her it. I don’t want to give
her any idea that I might like her. I don’t. I fucking hate her. I hate them
problem, Peter. How is your mother?” Barbara, err-shit, I mean,
embarrassed, I should think,” I say, this time hitting the target just shy
off! Fuck off, Fuuuuck Offfff! Peter
shouts at me, while rocking forwards and backwards in that off way that
on, Petey. There’s no need to make a song and dance about things,” I say,
impressing myself for the second time today.
only annoys him further, and he starts to grind his teeth. It’s loud enough
to hear, but his mouth isn’t
moving. He's staring at me too, like, well, like a madman. Peter is not really
a pervert. He just looks like one from the way he dresses and the odd way he
acts. That pretty much ticks the boxes in mine, and every other small-minded
crim. We all need someone weaker, uglier and stranger to look down on.
goes through to the consultant rooms. I’m still waiting.
comes in, someone I know from the “wet zone,” which is basically a bus stop
round the side of the pound shop on the edge of town where we're allowed to
drink. He’s always there; he likes a good drink. Doesn’t touch the gear though,
just his drink, and a Meth script from Boots once a morning.
Jed shouts out, like a boxing compere, as he spots Peter's back end going
through the door.
you boy, you fucking boy!” Peter shouts from the other side of the door as it
clicks shut. There is then an almighty bang,
bang, bang on the door followed by a deafening alarm.
sound scared the shit out of me—Jed and I cover our ears. Jed allows his left
ear one more second of pain as he takes his finger out, to breathe on his
fingernails and run them on his right tit, in celebration.
he comes over, and sits next to me raising his eyes and putting fingers firmly
in his ears. The alarm stops after two minutes and from the other side of the
door, it sounds like Peter is fighting half of the probation service single
off me, you cuuuuunts! Peter’s muffled voice, screams, and a dozen “calm downs”
hell, hold his legs he’s just kneed me!” someone shouts. After a few more
bangs, the noise stops as Peter is dragged off.
really, when you think about it, isn’t it?” Jed says, with a smile.
Yeah, but fucking funny,” I say.
decide to try my luck and ask Jed for a smoke. “You got any smokes, Jed?” I
here ya’r.” Jed opens a twenty pack of Taylor mades.
mate,” I say, as I take one.
know what the plan for the rest of the day is. It’s clearly giro day for Jed,
and if I can't manipulate him into giving me some of his giro money, I'll take
it when he’s not looking or too pissed to fight me off. I mean—he's a mate, I
suppose—but who cares about that, when it comes to free money? It’d mean I
won’t have to nick cheese, whole racks of batteries, or nick A–Zs out of
Waterstone’s and sell them to the corner shops. The bottom line is, he’s got it
and I want it. This means I’ll get it.
head outside as I ask him what his plans are for the day.
he muses. “Could get pissed, I suppose?” Like this was never not going to
happen, anyway. “You fancy it, Si?”
do some graft first, mate,” I say, pulling on the first of many of Jed’s
you ain’t, are you?” He whines. “I ain’t coming with you again. I got
coming here for 3 months as a reward last time.”
gotta, mate. I'll be sick, else,” I say, laying it on thick.
angling for half his Meth. He gets double, if not more what he needs, to keep
the Wolf from the door every day. He normally swaps it for a drink or some
blueys, but today he is the king in the king-for-a-day, cunt-for-a -fortnight
suppose I could give you my excess, if you sort us a Frosty shat in the week.”
that’s a lovely offer, mate, are you sure? I’d still need to get a few bits for
the voddy, but not a lot,” I say.
worry about that. I'll get you drink,” he offers, kindly. Mug. “Just return the favor,” he says,
adding a condition I have no intention of keeping.
course, mate. Course,” I assure Jed, in my best sincere voice.
flick the fags over the edge of the rail, bouncing them off the nearest car
bonnet, and go back inside just as Noncey is being shown out by Judith.
don’t sit down, expecting her to call me through, but she turns on her heels
and heads back towards the door.
Ain’t we having this fucking appointment?” I shout, after her.
that’s three people you have verbally abused since being here. I’m going to ask
you to leave and mark you down as a breach for non-attendance,” she says.
I say. “You mean I don’t have to come?”
not seeing you today, no,” she says.
it’s for verbal abuse?” I ask, hoping.
Well I might as well make it worth it, then. . . . You fucking shit-cunt-ugly-
fuck! Ya saggy-titted bitch!” I shout, as she walks through the door.
turn to Jed and shrug with a smile. “Right, I’m off down Tesco. I’ll meet
you back here in an hour,” I say.
I’m walking towards town, I feel like a winner. I’ve not had to sit with that
bitch and I’ve got a free day on the wreck, out of Jed.
you, Judith is no doubt thinking the same, she has got out of sitting in a room
with my smelly arse and she has got to punish me for it, too.
real win-win situation.
After spending his
childhood lying to his
mother about eating all the crisps, Pete now lives with his wife and on top of
lying about eating all the crisps, he has put his habit of fibbing to good use
and started writing fiction. Enjoying success in the short story world, Pete’s
first short story was published by Bykerbooks in March 2011. Later the same
year, he was a runner up in the Lightship publishing flash fiction competition.
Not content with short stories, Pete also jointly started a blog called Close
to the Bone, which in the first
year, got thirty thousand views and made no money whatsoever. His debut novel, So
Low, So High, is completed and
looking for a home.'