On guide dogs
"I'm telling you," said Gaz over his pint of tasty, tasty Guinness, "Believe you me, Rottweilers make awful Guide Dogs. I, for one, should know."
I cannot argue. The fact that Gaz actually has a Guide Dog and has spent much of his professional life in doomed attempts to train them to answer the phone gives him a far better perspective on this issue than I.
He knows – to use the correct canine term – when he's been sold a pup.
"But..." I say, seeing my investment in several dozen spare Rottweilers and Staffies disappearing before me, "Surely, they're good for something?"
In truth –as ane fule kno – they are good for something, but that 'something' happens to be 'selling to chavs out of the back of a van', moments before the 'setting enraged, half-starved killing machine on me stealing all my money'. Not – at the end of the day – an enterprise in which I would like to remain involved.
"You might as well take 'em back to the shop," said Gaz, breaking into his sixth packet of dry roast of the evening, a habit that will surely end in nothing but woe in the early hours.
I harrumph and take a gulp of my pint of tasty, tasty Guinness.
"Yeah, take 'em back to the shop. Or give 'em to the Army. They like to fire 'em out of a big cannon at the Taliban, you know. They don't like it up 'em."
I have the vaguest of suspicions he may be lying, even though I know for 100 per cent of FACT that if there's one thing the Taliban don't like, it's getting it up 'em.
Then: The penny drops, and all of a sudden I am struck by a 'This time next year, Rodders' thought.
And it is this: Even chavs need guide dogs. Blind chavs who wouldn't be seen dead with the standard issue Labrador. Even an Alsatian wouldn't be good enough for these knock-off Burberry-clad types, seen in some quarters of incredibly violent BNP-voting half-wit as a ponce's breed.
"Gaz," I venture, buttering him up with a fresh pint of tasty, tasty Guinness, "I've got just the thing you're looking for."
"I'm not buying whatever it is."
"No, listen – Attack Guide Dogs for blind people who live in rough neigbourhoods. It's a win/win."
"Awww, come on – boon companion, seeing eye, will rip the throat out of anybody that so much as glances at you in a funny way."
"I'll let you train them to hold his spliff and kebab while the owner's having a shop doorway knee-trembler with the local fat girl."
"Oh, go on then. Deal."
This time next year, Rodders...