SAMPLES > Spencer


Spencer wouldn’t exactly say that he was much of an alcoholic, though he did once excuse himself from his own intervention to pour himself a tumbler of whiskey. Not only that but his sixth sense for locating the nearest pub is matched only by some sort of taxi driver / homing pigeon hybrid that has a satellite navigation system for an uncle. Needless to say AA meetings are not familiar territory for our drunken hero. This probably explains why he turned up to his first session with a carburettor.

“I really don’t think I belong here,” Spencer protested, “Everyone says I have jauntiness in me.”

“Jaundice,” piped up the group leader, “they said you had jaundice.”

Spencer eyed up the members of the group. Obviously he didn’t know any of them, but he could certainly recognise a few archetype characters in the room. There was the middle-aged mother of six million children with a cigarette grafted to her fingers and eye sockets so tired and deep that tiny creatures holding fishing rods could rest in them. Kind of like that kid in the DreamWorks logo.

There was Bob the Veteran Pisshead (chances are Bob wasn’t his actual name but for some reason Spencer took an instant disliking towards pensioners: Boring Old Bastards he would call them). B.O.B. was a decrepit being who had spent the latter part of his existence buried chin-deep in cans of Tennents wondering why his family never called or what that strange meowing sound was coming from some dank corner of his living room.

Of course there was the self-righteous AA leader himself. He was an obnoxious Jeremy Kyle figure who believed he was an example for all recovering alcoholics to look up to as he chastises and sympathises with people’s habits; claiming that no matter what anyone else had been through he could guarantee he’s had it much worse:

“I drank so much I developed cirrhosis of the liver,” someone would say.

“Ha!” would be his response, “I haven’t had a liver since 1983. See these kidneys of mine? No you don’t do you because they’re at home in a pickle jar.”

In short: he was a cunt.

As for Spencer, he wasn’t completely sure when he became an alcoholic. His mother was an alcoholic before him. And his Grandmother was an alcoholic before her even. And so it went on in that fashion down the generations. He couldn’t but wonder whether the forks in his family tree were a secret map detailing various roots to local breweries. He had never thought his drinking had been much of an issue until the courts decreed he attend these AA meetings. Spencer wanted to make sure that the people in his group understood this trivial piece of information. Especially that prick of a leader whom Spencer had decided to refer to as Twatty McTwatterson from now on. When he got home that is.

“So,” Mr. McTwatterson began, “tell us about yourself and why you think you’re here.”

Spencer was able to compose himself internally and answer his patronising statement in three easy words:

“I’m a terrorist,” he said.

A tense atmosphere grew in the vicinity. One person even managed to stifle her hiccups in shock.

“But…you’re white,” B.O.B. finally replied.

Spencer had anticipated this kind of reaction. He’d seen it before from the police who arrested him, to the passengers he took hostage. No one could believe that a young white male could even consider terrorism as a viable career path. Who the hell wants to be held up by someone who’s shit at dancing anyway?

“No no no,” said one woman, “Terrorists are all Muslims and Arabs and that. Everyone knows that. Don’t you watch the news?”

She seemed to scorn Spencer for his lack of appropriate terrorist look.

“You don’t have one of them big bushy beards?” one eagle-eyed member mentioned.

“And aren’t they supposed to wear them funny towels on their heads as well?”

They muttered to one another about his doubtfulness to be able to become involved in any terrorism act. Did he even read the Koran? Could he quote bits from it out loud whilst hi-jacking a plane? Although Spencer had experienced this kind of grilling before down at the police station, he was beginning to regret opening his mouth. Perhaps he may have got less of a horrified reaction if he’d just walked into the meeting and said he was a chicken molester.

He protested once more.

“But I didn’t hi-jack a plane.”

Again his gaze was met with several other eyes all glaring at him in disbelief. He counted eleven eyes in total. One guy had had an accident. Before more mutterings could commence he told them that he had, in fact, tried to hi-jack a train.

“A fucking train?!” asked B.O.B. “Terrorists don’t hi-jack trains you twat.”

“A train was easier,” Spencer said, “Plane hi-jacks usually end in an explosion and a cascade of body parts. I wasn’t planning on killing myself by nose diving a 747 into a national monument or something.”

“And how exactly do you hi-jack a train then?” asked McTwatterson.

What do you say to something like that? In all honesty Spencer could sense more tension arising in the room. No one believed his story. No one was prepared to believe that he had masterminded a terrorist activity, or rather made a vain attempt to at least.

“Okay,” he finally said once the stupid questions had subsided. “I’m not getting anywhere am I?”

The rest of the drunks could only watch as Spencer stood from his seat and moved towards the exit.

“Bye then.” Said B.O.B.

“I’m not going anywhere.” Spencer replied.

Baffled faces turned to shock as they watched the geeky fellow lock the only door that lead to the safety of the outside world and turn to his onlookers. Contemplation shone in his face as he removed the revolver from his jacket pocket. Blind rage quickly dominated after that.

“Alright you fuckers!” He shouted, aiming the barrel at the offending AA attendees hoping to gauge an appropriate reaction, “on the fucking floor!”

It was the 15:48 to Aberystwyth all over again. It was the repeat of trolley carts zooming down aisles and hitting people in the stomach. It was businessmen hurling copies of the Daily Telegraph into the air in a panic as the wee ran down their trouser legs replaying in his mind. Well it would’ve been had the train conductor not asked him politely to sit back down in his seat as he was sat in the Quiet Zone of the train.

And now, as he hurled abuse at a room of recovering pissheads whose only concern was him accidentally knocking over the free coffee and biscuits during his ‘spazz attack’ (one members actual words) he began to realise that not only were people doubtful about what he was trying to do but that no-one seemed to care.

“Why aren’t you fuckers listening to me?” He yelled.

The group turned to their trusted leader for a collective response. McTwatterson clasped his hands together and placed his index fingers by his mouth like a supervisor does when firing an incompetent worker.

“Because,” he began, “you’re not well. You have a problem and we, as your friends, are here to help you through this difficult time.” He held out his arms in a welcoming manner.

Holy fuck it’s the Messiah, thought Spencer.

He had to give up at that point. He’d wanted so badly to prove to people that he was capable of doing wild and crazy things. He didn’t have the heart to tell them that no matter how loud he shouted and how mean he tried to look, no one was prepared to take him seriously. Certainly not while ‘White, British middle-class data entry clerk’ emanated from his very presence. Nor did he have the courage to tell them that the gun was actually filled with gin.

Spencer lowered the gun to his side and sniffled back the tears that were creeping up behind his soft eyes.

“Anyone fancy a pint then?” he sniffed.


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