Friday, 5 December 2008

We Shall Remember Them: Neighbour "B"

Number Two in a series of articles about the people who lived in the same Hellhole I did for my four year tour of duty there (a UK inner-city Chav haven, not Iraq). This particular guy lived next door. Lived in this Godforsaken place for at least 25 years. He knew everyone. Everyone knew him. Didn't take any nonsense, his son was an extremely large and angry looking skinhead. Nobody would mess with him, so he thought, because he'd seen the parents of the current crop of kids grow up and they knew to leave alone.

So he thought.

It all went wrong for him when some new kids moved in and tore up the playbook.

When we started having aggro of the "what the fucking-fuck" variety - back in the days when it was the odd stone at the window or the occasional "festive" comment shouted across the street - he didn't take it too seriously, like most people there.

"Kids will be kids", etc. As it went on, my personal favourite was where he'd try and insinuate it must have somehow been my fault.

Yes, of course it was. Sorry, my mistake.

This guy knew he'd gone about it the wrong way. He was grateful for the advice I tried to help him with. Neighbour "B" (let's call him Bob) just insisted I'd done something terribly wrong to wind these kids up (yes, I dodged the bottles they threw at me) and so had to just "put up with it" till they got bored.

Whenever it really started to kick off, despite his half-hearted words of support, he was nowhere to be seen when the missiles came flying over. Keep it at a distance, yes terrible isn't it and oh my, isn't that the time, must go. They're just kids, they're after a reaction, just ignore them.

Then one night one of them missed my house with an egg and got his car.

Oh, fuck me. You'd have thought they'd shot someone. He came flying out the house, face red and pumped up, then his wife (in classy silk nightgown and pom-pom slippers, a right battleaxe) flies past him like some kind of banshee and goes legging it down the road after the kid who threw it. Then he's off too, and I'm left standing there wondering exactly what happened to his Ghandi routine.

Apparently it's only SERIOUS FUCKING BUSINESS when it's not just happening to the guy next door.

Anyway, off they went. Minutes tick by, and I'm wondering if I should phone in a pair of missing persons reports. Suddenly, they reappear - walking back looking glum because they didn't catch the kid.

Next minute, a car zooms up the road. At this point, I'm expecting guys with shotguns to come leaping out - instead, an old guy clambers out of the car and warns them not to mess with "these kids", because they live in a house facing his and they smash his porch every time it gets fixed.

The insurance won't even pay out anymore.

He also says they wrecked his car, but I'm looking at it and can't see any damage.

At least, I can't until he gets in and turns the car around. You know those films where someone launches a rocket at a car and half of it just falls off?

It was like that. One half of the car from front to back just wasn't there anymore, like one of those cartoons where someone saws a car right down the middle and you can see inside. Christ knows what they were hitting it with but breeze blocks laced with C4 would be my best guess.

That was it for the supposed "everybody knows me" guy, at any rate. He started to get the eggs, the stones, one huge chunk taken out of his fancy brickwork, a large sagging cock painted on his wall, a couple of chips in his prized windows - the works.

Oh, and one night they pulled his wing mirror off, then threw it at my window.

Good to see they're creative with their mindlessness, if nothing else.

Long story short, Bob was a bit of a twat who buried his head in the sand under the sadly mistaken notion that if he kept his head down, nothing bad would happen. Bob couldn't understand how having bricks thrown at my windows every night could possibly be annoying, but then completely flipped his shit like someone had murdered his daughter when someone threw an egg at his car. Bob had moronic semi-chav grandkids come to play every weekend to "give the parents a break", and those kids would endlessly tap on my windows disturbing the cats, roll around in my front garden and shout over the back fence at my dog. Bob once blamed me for our shared drains being blocked ("I'm not saying you do this, but don't put your kids nappies down the toilet as it blocks them up"), then said I'd have to pay for it as "more of the pipes were on my side", then ate a healthy slice of shut-the-fuck-up pie when the guy flushed it out and found his grand-kids plastic coke bottles down there.

Bob still lives there. I don't. Enjoy your shithole, Bob.

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