Stones In Me Pockets


Lefty had planned it like he were military.

First target were the police van that’s always there at weekends waiting for the clubs to spill their guts.

Turk’s crew went across all casual.  Soon had it over.  Smashed the windscreen and went at the outside like it were a steel drum.

Didn’t take long for the riot squad to arrive. One bus from the left, another from the right. It were going to be the pincer movement just like Lefty said.

They poured out of them buses like I’d seen down at the quarry, only this time it weren’t no practice.  Visors down and shields up, they ran into neat lines and stood their ground.

Now it were our turn.  The cops might have the pincer move, but we were the crabs’ claws.

Useless buggers from the Broadgate started up with their petrol bombs.  Every one of them landed short.  I were going to show them how our crew from the Tardy Gate handled things.

I lit mine off Raj’s zippo.  Black flames curled into me eyes.  Saw the bottle were a Bacardi Breezer.  A bloody girl’s drink.  Threw it like it were the Olympic games I were so pissed.  Landed smack on the head of a copper who were facing the other way.

The flames covered him like someone were pouring orange paint. He span around on fire, hands pawing the air like he were swatting mozzies.

Another copper went over.  Screamed at him above the sounds of brick on Perspex.  Probably didn’t get the message. Hardly surprising when his ears had just melted onto the road.

I were ready for high-fives, only the lot of them were pegging it over to the cenotaph.

Me, I were rooted to the spot, like the North End were about to take a penalty.

Watched as someone popped an extinguisher and covered the guy in foam like he were the winner at the Grand Prix.

Show were over.  Left the other gangs on the High Street clearing stores like it were the January sales.


Slept like a log.  Woke up like it were any other day.

Then I turned on the news. Were just like an action replay.  Camera zoomed in.  Me, bandana slipping low and me face filling the screen.

The copper were dead. Left a wife and three daughters. They showed a picture of his girls all sweet and happy.  Heard them screaming, I did.  Put me fingers in me ears – just made them louder.

Couldn’t say where the tears were from, just that they came out of me eyes and nose and mouth all at once.

Took a shower.  Scrubbed me fingers hoping they’d to disappear.

Then me mum were at me.  “What’s taking so long?”  She coughed up some of the night before.  “Give over playing with yerself.”

Couldn’t look her in the eye when I came out.  Just stared at the tattoo on her shoulder, the big heart and me name underneath.  Like I meant something.

Grabbed a few bits and bobs from me room and headed to mass.

Sneaked in the back and dipped me hand in the font.  Didn’t make things any better.

I looked up at the cross.  His eyes were cold.  No way he were going to forgive me this time.

Went to me usual place at the docks.  Broke in to the portacabin and curled into a corner.  Tried to work out what next.  Realized there were no next, not for me.

Filled me pockets with stones. Climbed up to the top of the crane.

Can see right into the posh flats with the view.

I want to jump, but me hands wrap round the bar.  Soon as I get one off, the other tightens.  And then I remind them what they did and me fingers go slack.

When they let go, I’m off.

The wind shouts in me ears but not loud enough to kill them screams.

I watch me life pass by. Don’t think there’s anything worth watching.  First shag, maybe, or the day we got promotion.

Doesn’t take long.  There’s hardly time to blink.

I pinch me nose and close me eyes.

Second splash I’ve made today.

And the water fills me ears and the screams get louder.

And louder.


~ fin ~

Nigel Bird is the author of 2 critically acclaimed collections of fiction entitled ‘Dirty Old Town’ and ‘Beat On The Brat’. Widely published by the best in the business, he won the Watery Grave Invitational in 2010 and was nominated for Spinetingler’s Best Story Online category this time around. A teacher and fatherof 3, he is the co-editor of the anthology ‘Pulp Ink’.