Friday, June 06, 2008

Mirth and woe: Quitter

Mirth and woe: Quitter

I had a teenage paper round, where a chain smoker known locally as Darth Vader (on account of his ceaseless 40-a-day-habit wheezing) paid me 50p a day to deliver newspapers.

Hardly "This time next year, Rodders, we'll be millionaires" territory, but when you're that age with a 2000AD habit to support, you take the money wherever you can find it.

The round allowed me to get out of bed early, get the job done by seven, and give me a full hour and a half to get my homework done and give me the evenings free to set fire to things.

I soon found, to my disgust, that the village's other newsagent paid their paperboys a whole, shiny pound per day, but Darth was adamant that "there are gasp plenty of other kids gasp willing to work gasp for peanuts, and you can gasp fuck right off gasp if you don't like it".

You didn't even get extra for Fridays, where everybody in the village got the Maidenhead Advertiser, a doorstop of a publication that never weighed in at less than 100 pages. On top of the slew of Daily Torygraphs, Fridays were a Hell on Earth, and all that effort for ten bob.

Well, sod that, I went and found myself a weekend job in a supermarket where I got to watch people having loads of sex, and worked out a week's notice for Darth in which he would pointedly blow Capstan Full Strength into my face by way of poison gassed revenge.

Still pissed off at his attitude, I hatched a plan. A plan that would – if perfectly executed – engender much-needed community relations in a village that was in danger of becoming little more than a dormitory town, where one neighbour would never even acknowledge the chap over the road.

I gave everybody's paper to the house next door, and all the Advertisers went to the last house on the round, who just happened to be the village doctor. If they wanted their morning rag, they would have to go knock for it.

This was made all the more fun by the fact that one side of the road was entirely posh houses who all took the Telegraph, The Times or the Daily Mail, while the other was decidedly council where the Daily Star was seen as highbrow reading. It was also the side of the road where Peter McCartney's enormously fat mum got dressed in front of the living room window every morning, I sight I never want to see again in my entire life.

I popped into Darth's shop the next day to pick up my money, just in time to see Dr Thomas storming out, veins bulging on his forehead in fury.

"You gasp cunt" said Darth. I didn't get paid, but I was already on Easy Street. One pound ten per hour. One pound fucking ten, and a digital watch that played "It's a small, small world". Stick that in your pipe, Vader.

And then he sicked his lungs up in a hedge.

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