Sunday, 24 October 2010

Modern Fable

"Have you not learned, my esteemed communicator,
 That the created is not the creator?"

                                             Arthur Conan Doyle, To An Undiscerning Critic           

Chapter One

There once was a town in the north of England. In days gone by it had been a giant of the Industrial Age: Now those dark, Satanic Mills were shrouded in dust. How dismal it was in the bleak mid-winter and no amount of gaudy lights or glass baubles on plastic trees could mask the pervading air of pessimism. It is here that our tale begins.

On this grey afternoon, a group of lads rode into town. They came with the flag of St George rippling in their wake. They parked, descended into the precinct and prepared themselves. Their self-appointed leader stepped forth to speak:

“We have come here today to issue this town with a warning. We are in danger; danger of losing our identity. There is a growing threat to our town, a dark cloud that looms over us, threatens to wash us away. It is threat of immigration. A threat that has been clear and present in our once proud nation from before I were born.”

“Both my grandfathers fought in the fields of France. Fought and died, I tell thee, that Europe could destroy fascism forever. And for what? How did our leaders reward us for defeating Hitler? Huh? They filled ships with foreign garbage and dumped it on our shores to stink up place. Britain has become a dumping ground for everyone else’s unwanted junk. Well I say enough is enough. Shut the borders and ship them out: All of them.”

“Now, a man will ask, ‘I was born in this country, but I’m Muslim, can’t I be both?’ And I'd ask him, then what cricket team do you support?” He smirked. “Obviously he would reply, ‘Pakistan’.” He emphasised the first syllable of the final word. “Then you are Pakistani. Go home, your country needs you. Mine does not. Go, worship your heathen god in your own land and I will do same in mine. This…” An oblong of Islamic green was held aloft. “This is his flag.” A white star and crescent at its centre, a white bar at its seam. “It is not my flag and it is not yours. I will not let it end up mine. If you feel the same as me, you must stand with us, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder on cliffs and shores of this still proud nation and protect it from barbarian hordes.”

The others applauded their leader, bolstered by a single pair of hands from the crowd. Half a dozen people had stopped to listen. Most wandered off at the end, reluctantly accepting the leaflets that were foisted at them. Only one remained. Two women, previously unseen, approached the group. They stopped in front of the leader.

“Michael John Brown,” said one, “you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

“Too right.” said the other. “That young Asian lad’s not two minutes out of hospital and here your lot are back on't streets preaching hate.”

“Ladies, ladies.” Mick replied, calmingly. “We ain’t preaching hate to no-one. We’re exercising our democratic rights. We’re standing up for our right to live in a white Britain. To not have it swamped with bogus asylum seekers who scrounge off social, then blow us up in return.”

“Oh yeah,” rejoined the former, “and what about young Rasif, eh? Who had he blown up?”

“Now Maggie, you know right well that case hasn't come to court yet and I’d be in contempt to talk of it. When it does, my lads will be acquitted.”

“Oh please,” Maggie said, “everyone in town knows you lot did it.”

“Aye,” said the other, “though I see you managed to get off scot free as usual. You always were good at letting others take blame for you. Like our Chris.”

“Your brother got expelled ‘cause he got caught. Had nowt to do with me. As for that Paki, he had it coming, whoever dealt with him.”

“What, because he stepped out with our Ashley? Where was t’arm in that?”

“Where’s t’arm? Where’s t’arm? What if they had a kid? We need to keep this country white, our blood’s already thin enough from all the fucking Jews we took in. No, whoever dealt with that little shit stinker deserves a medal. If that’s what it takes to stop us from turning into mongrels, like them, so be it.”

“Oh, now your true self comes out, Mick Brown.” The argument had attracted far more attention than the speech that caused it. “You say your stopping us from becoming mongrels, but your t'ones that roam about place like pack of dogs.” There were many nods and noises of general agreement. “Your mother would be ashamed to see what you’ve become.”

All pretence vanished. “Never, EVER insult my mother again.” Mick towered over the women. “If you do, I will make sure you regret it.” Unbowed, Maggie made some reply, but another of the gang was speaking at Mick’s ear and pointing to the far end of the precinct. Two policemen were striding towards them. “Mick, let’s get out ay here.”

“I don’t fear no pigs.” Mick sneered.

“Aye, me neither, but see us three, we’re on parole, Gaz here is on probation. You, ya jammy cunt, you can stay and stand up tae them if ya like, but we canny afford nae more trouble from police.” The last word sounded like, poll-eece, in his thick accent.

“Fine, go.” Mick commanded. “But I’ll not forget this.” The others pushed through the swelling crowd, using its mass to obscure them from their pursuers. Once clear, they jogged off. Mick turned to the crowd, raised a fist in the air and declared in a proud, clear voice, “No surrender to Paki-fucking-stan.” Then he ran.

Their captain may have missed a penalty, but the crowd of the George and Dragon were philosophical about the 0-0 draw. “I’d rather be a Paki than a Turk.” they sang. “I’d rather be a Paki than a Turk. I’d rather be a Paki than a Turk.” Someone started a chorus of Rule Britannia, the rest quickly joining in. “Britain never, never, never shall be slaves“

Centre stage, Mick’s gang occupied their usual table. A sheet of bronze coloured material overlaid the MDF. Pools of beer had formed between the bumps, the ashtray smoked from the continuous supply of half-finished cigarettes.

“Nice speech that today Ian. Nice and short.” Mick told him. “Might even use it at demo tomorrow.”

Ian drained his pint. “I still say you shouldn’t have changed it to, ‘before I were born’.”

“We’ve been over this Ian, it were too long.”

“What did it say before?” Frasier asked.

“It said,” Ian replied, proudly, “’before the men who stand before you here today were born’.”

“Like I said.” Mick replied, sternly. “Too long.”

“Aye, right enough.” agreed Frasier, “that’s tae long son. Don’t want tae confuse cunts with tae many words.”

“See.” Mick said. “Even the Jock agrees. No offence Frase.”

“None taken.”

“Yeah.” said Tom, the youngest of the gang. “Jock knows something about speeches, ‘e’s always making ‘em at work.”

Frasier stared daggers at Tom. “See if you call me Jock again son, I’ll fuckin’ do you so I will.” He hooked a thumb at Mick. “That cunt there is the only one who calls me Jock.”

“Aye, ‘cause I’m the only one that would last ten seconds against him. Shut the fuck up Tom. Our Frase may be a Jock, but at least he ain’t a cockney fairy like you. Happen that’s as bad as being a fucking Paki.” The northerners laughed at their southern cousin.

“Hey Frase,” asked Ian, “can we call you a Scot then?”

“Sure son. That’s what I am, a Scot and proud of it.”

“And yet these Pakis hate being called Pakis. I don’t get difference.”

“Who gives a fuck what Pakis think.” Mick bellowed. “They’re Pakis and they can fuckin’ well lump it.”

“Hey.” said Gaz, returning fully laden from the bar. “Check out guy at bar.” A man in corduroy jacket and spectacles sipped from a cognac glass.

“Don’t know him.” Mick said.

“Apparently, that’s Carl Miller.” Gaz informed them.

“Carl Miller’s an urban legend.” Ian replied.

“Nah, Harry swears down that’s Carl Miller.”

“Who’s Carl Miller?” Fraser asked.

“Carl Miller, so it goes, married a spook.” Mick replied. “African she was.”

“He was a teacher at the college.” Ian joined in. “She was one of his students, Nigerian I reckon.”

“Does it matter, Ian? They’re all the fuckin’ same, wherever they got hit with ugly stick. Anyway, turns out she were only after a green card. Soon as her papers came through, she fucked off with another coon. Had a boyfriend all along.” Mick swigged at his ale. “Well that’s what you get for trusting a fucking nigger. Carl Miller, eh. Excuse me lads, I gonna have a word with Mr Nigger-Lovin-Miller.”

Mick picked up his pint and slammed it down on the bar. “You’re Carl Miller.”

The other turned his head, looked Mick up and down, then faced forward. “I know.” he said.

“You married a nigger.”

“Well, I was married to a woman of African extraction, if that’s to whom you’re referring.”

“Well, I hope you’ve learned your lesson. Coons will fuck you over soon as look at you. Just like the fucking Jews.”

“Very enlightened I’m sure.”

Mick sneered, “You’d do well to mark me lad. They’re not like us.”

“I know.”

“They’re different.”


“Ya hear me.”

“Yeah, yeah, Black people are different to white people, I get it.”


“Same as Muslims aren't like Christians.”

“Yeah. Bunch of fucking extremists.”

“And the French aren't like the British.”

Dirty, soap dodging bastards.”

Nor are the Welsh like the English.”

“Sheep shaggers.”

Or southerners like northeners.”

“Bunch of queers.” Mick's voice directed back towards his table.

“Or Yorkshiremen like Lancastrians.”

“Don’t even get me started on them cunts.”

“Or City supporters like Rovers fans.”

“Blue scum.”

Carl's laugh was filled with scorn. “Mick, is it?”

“Aye.” Mick wasn’t laughing.

Carl narrowed his eyes, “So, if I understand you correctly, you hate anyone who doesn’t live like you do.”

“If they ain’t white, aye.”

“So long as they're not French.”

“White, British, smart arse.”

“Unless their Welsh or from the south or Yorkshire or support the wrong team or, presumably, are gay or drink the wrong beer or live in the wrong part of town, eh.”

“Oh you’re a real fucking smart arse, aren’t you!”

“I am. See, this is my theory.”

“I don’t care.”

“I wasn’t giving you the option. See I think you’re so ignorant, your incapable of accepting that there might be any other way to live life other than the one you’ve chosen. Which must confuse you, yeah. You’re infallible, why aren’t you much better off? Well it must be someone's fault, right. So you look out of your window and what do you see? Muslims and Jews and southerners and Goths and City supporters, all living an alternative lifestyle to your's. Well, if you ain't to blame, it must be their fault. If they lived according to your creed, or went back where they came from, you’d be ruler of the universe by now, wouldn't you.”

Mick stared through Carl. “I am going to make you regret every word out of your fucking mouth.”

“But isn’t that fascism? Make everyone dress like you, think like you, worship you, and eradicate anyone who deviates from the norm. Then, and only then, can you claim supremacy, while the world inexorably regresses.”

“Did you hear what I said?”

”Yeah, yeah, I hear you loud and clear. You don’t have a coherent counter argument so instead you resort to threats of physical violence.” Mick made to speak again, but Carl silenced him with a raised hand. “Please don't delude yourself into thinking that I'm the least bit afraid of you, Mick. I pity you. But perhaps you're right. Get rid of the Pakis. Get rid of the Niggers too. And get rid of the Yids and the Frogs and the Queers and the Poles and the Reds and the Blues and the Green Eyed and the Trannies and the people who live at No 73. But keep people like you. Come the apocalypse, we'll need someone to sweep up.” Carl drained his glass dry, while his opposite stood frozen with rage. “Anyway, must be going, I’ve obviously been here too long, I can feel my IQ starting to dip. Besides, having witnessed your sing-along-a-bigotry earlier, I'm a little concerned you're about to start throwing faeces at each other.” Mick's face was bright red, but still he didn’t move. “By the way,” Carl said, spinning back ‘round, “you might be interested to know that I married Mbelina to stop her being deported back to rape and torture. I married her to save her life. A friend did the same for her fiance.” He winked.  “See ya around.”

After a time Mick seemed to emerge, as if from a trance. He looked about, but Carl was long gone.

“So, did ya give that nigger lover what for?” Frasier asked, as Mick’s sat down.

“What? Oh, yeah, yeah.” Mick drained his glass. “Who’s ‘round is it?”


“Right, Wendy, four pints of beer, as you’re still drinking that fizzy, queer shit.”

“Now look Mick, I don’t mind a joke, but don’t call me queer.”

Mick grabbed Tom by the jaw and pulled him close. “When you sup a man’s drink then I’ll call you a man. Until then, I’ll call you whatever the fuck I like and you’ll take it.” Mick released him. “Don’t make me add your name to the list of people who are gonna get my foot up their arse. Like those two witches, and Carl fucking Miller. Move it, bummer boy.” Tom sulked off to the bar. Four sets of bitter soaked lips laughed.


The ale flowed and time marched on. Last orders came and went. Ian was the first to leave. 'The Wife' texted him home. “Come in number four, your time is up.”

Aye, you’re just jealous. Night lads.” He wrapped himself in a German Army and jacket and slipped out the door to much laughter and pressing of thumbs to foreheads. And when, an hour later, the landlady insisted it was time for bed, there was much innuendo.

The gang bundled out into the winter chill and splintered into three. Mick went his own way, as did Gaz. Frazier and Tom staggered down the street together. For a time, neither man spoke, each lost in his own intoxicated thoughts, boots against pavement the only sound as long, rubbery strides brought them closer to home.

They came to an alleyway to piss. Frasier crashed his hand against Tom’s shoulder. “Listen son,” he said, his neck no longer able to support his head, “I’m sorry about before, showing yous up in front of them cunts.” He clumsily buttoned his fly. “They nae more respect me than they do yous, y’know. It’s no respect son, it’s fear. See if they didnae know I could do the lot of them, they’d treat me nae different.”

“Mick, ‘e don’t fucking respect you though, Frase.”

“No, son, but I ain’t about to mess wee that cunt. The man’s insane. Y’know what he tells me? He tells me he writes, ‘I Hate Pakis’ on fivers wee one of they ultraviolet pens. Then he pays for drinks at the George.”

“So?” Tom replied, the two men balanced against each other in a wobbly triangle.

“So? So some daft wee cunt pays wee a twenty and gets one ay Mick’s fivers wee he’s change.”


“Right, so he goes tay buy fags at the Paki shop and they’s one of they ultraviolet lights Pakis use to check you’s no slipping ‘em fakes.”

“Shit.” said Tom with a dawning realisation.

“Aye, Paki checks the guy’s money and it says, ‘I Hate Pakis’. At best he gets a mouthful ay abuse. At worst three ay they cunts work there kick shit out ay him. Happened to Wayne Archer last week.”

“Fuck.” said Tom, incredulously. “What did Mick say?”

“Nothing.” Frasier replied. “Says it’ll teach cunts no tae buy from nae Pakis.”

“Jesus man, cunt’s fucking tapped.”

“Hey, none of your blasphemy. And none ay your jive talk neither. Just ‘cause ya smoke that shit, there’s nae excuse for talking like nae nigger.”

“Sorry Frase.”

“Nae problem son. What I’m saying son, what I’m saying is it’s one thing beating up a Paki, but when it’s our own kind, that’s bang out ay order, ya get me? I disnae give a fuck who cunts is buying from, you don’t turn on your own. My old dad taught me that.

“Agree with you there Frase, bang out of order."

"Listen son, I’m sorry about showing yous up before.”

“Ya said Frase.” The Englishmen patted the Scot on the shoulder.

“Aye, right enough. You’re a good lad, Tom. Stick wee me and I’ll see ya go far.”

“Cheers, Frase.”

“Oh and Tom.”

“Yes Frase.”

“See if you tell anyone what’s been said here, I’ll cut ya fucking balls off.”

“Yes Frase.”

“No even me, ya here.”

“Yes Frase.”


“Come on.” Tom said. “Let’s get fucking ‘ome.”

“Aye, right enough.” The men staggered on their way. A pair of eyes watched them from the darkness.

The door slammed louder than expected upon Tom’s return. A curse escaped from his lips, but no sound echoed from above. He slipped on the chain and crawled upstairs.

Tom crept into his room and switched on the bedside lamp. He kicked off his aging trainers and threw his Burberry cap on the floor. Then he removed the pint glass from his bedroom table and tiptoed across the landing. Here he rinsed it, filled it with water and drained it dry, before filling it again. It clinked heavily on return to its original place. His hand slipped under the mattress, removing the cigarette papers and brown material hidden there. He burned one edge of the eraser shaped lump and crumbled the pieces into the cigarette paper, adding tobacco to the mix. The lot was rolled into a tube and his tongue ran down the rim. He roached one end and twisted the other to a point. Then he drew the curtains, turned two handles at either end by ninety degrees and pushed the window open. Once his head was clear, he ignited the cigarette pursed between his lips.

“Allo” said a strange voice.

“Fuck me.” Tom jumped, the joint nearly falling from his fingers. “What the fuck are you doing there?” A face had appeared at next door’s window.

“Err, I am sorry, I am new ‘ere.” A slow, hesitant voice.

“Great, that’s all we fucking need.” Tom replied. “Fucking Poles moving into the area.”


Tom spoke loud and slowly, “Are… You…  From… Poland..?  Why…  Don’t…  You… Fuck… Off… ‘ome..?

“Err, no, I am Engleesh.”

“No offence mate, but you don’t sound very English to me.” Tom took a toke and blew smoke in the stranger’s direction.

“I am, how you say, born in this country, but my family move away when I am enfant, no.”

“Yeah? Funny, ‘cause I was born in London, but ma dad brought us back up ‘ere, where ‘e was born.” He sucked on the spliff once more “So 'ow come you come ‘ome?”

“Err, I do not like France so much, so I come ‘ere, to my ‘ome, no. The French, they are too arrogant, no.”

Tom laughed. “Ha ha, nice one. Nah, seriously mate, good on ya. We need more guys like you, coming ‘ome, ‘elping us to stand arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder against these black cunts swarming in.”

“Pardon?” said the man, furrowing his brow. “I do not understand what you say.”

“Pakis, blacks, coons, ya know. From Africa and Iraq and that.”

“Ah yes, I understand ‘ow you say, you do not like black people?”

“Nah, some of the coons are alright I suppose. Guy I get my stash from is half-caste. ‘e’s pretty sound. For a nigger. By the way, don’t tell anyone you seen me smoking this shit.”

“Smoking sheet?” The same baffled look.

“Yeah, weed, y’know.” Tom replied, taking another pull. “’Ere son, get on that.”

“Thank you.” the man replied, pinching it by the middle. “You are most kind.”

“Sorted. Keep it quiet though. Jeez, Mick would ‘ave my balls if ‘e caught me smoking weed. Nigger poison, ‘e calls it. ‘E’s one to talk. Cunt snorts so much coke, swear down ‘e’s the only one keeping them cunts going.”

“Ah, I see, this Mick, ‘e is your frère?”

What's that? My frère?”

“Oui, your frère, your, eh, ‘ow you say, brother.”

Tom laughed again. “Mick, my frère. Ha ha, nah, I ain’t related to that twat. ‘E’s just a guy I know. Nasty fucker, too. I mean, fair enough, I ‘ate Pakis, right, but that cunt ‘ates every fucker. Pakis, coons, Jews, cockneys, queers, the lot of ‘em.”

“Pardon, I still do not understand, what is, ‘ow you say, Paki?” The man handed back the spliff.

“Cheers. Pakis, from Pakistan, Muslims like. Y’know, there are streets in this town where whites like us get our ‘eads kicked in just walking down 'em. Not that you’d want to go down ‘em, smelly bastards. Cunts are too busy blowing themselves up to bother to wash. We go down for a rumble though. Bang a few Paki heads together like, teach cunts a lesson.”

“Ah, I see. So I ask, if you were in charge, no, ‘ow would you do them?”

"Sorry mate, I don't get ya."

"Err, if you were in charge, the, 'ow you say, ruler."

Ah, right, you mean what would I do with the Pakis?”

“Err, yes, these Paki.”

“I’d ship ‘em out, get rid of them.”

“Get reed of them?”

“Yeah.” He smiled at the thought. “If I ‘ad my way, Pakis wouldn’t exist.” There was a moment’s silence. “’Ere,” he said, passing the joint over, “finish that off will ya mate. I ‘ave to go to bed, my ‘ead’s gone all furry.” He giggled.

“Most kind.”

“See ya ‘round.”

“Ah yes, bonne nuit.” The window shut and the man was left alone. He took a single drag on the butt and flicked it out into early morning air. “Never existed.” he said, in perfect English. “Interesting, very interesting.”  An instant later, he was gone.

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