(illustrations by Grace Wilson http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/grace-wilson )
It was not a good time to be alive. Hyde would stare at the moon and kick an imaginary can in frustration and rail against the world's injustice as the wind blew gently, indifferent to his torment. Once a few months back when particularly agitated, he missed the imaginary can and kicked the curb. That hurt pretty bad and in frustration Hyde pulled out his gun and tried to shoot the guilty leg. Failing to get a clean shot he arrested his leg and dragged it back to the station to throw it in a cell.
The times they were a changing, and Hyde was not willing to reset his Swatch. Even though his escapades with his own body had earned him a transfer from his home in New York to Rotherhithe, a residential district in inner southeast London (Google), he was literally five hours late for work everyday. As I say, he was not willing to reset his Swatch. Or accept the fact that he was in Rotherhithe. No one could tell Hyde what to do, he was a cop like they don’t make anymore. Ignorant, arrogant, misogynistic, he was all those things like the best of them, but Hyde wore a moustache too. It was a big one; it looked as if he had stapled a cat to his face. Somehow this didn’t deter the woman in bars who would swarm to him like flies to shit. Sensitive souls looking for a woman to share their lives with would sit in silent awe and watch as Hyde told woman after woman night after night that they meant less to him than a Hot Dog. And they cried into their ales as every night Hyde vacated the premises armed with ladies. His self-assurance served him well. This was a man who was angry at a world, which was making the printed word redundant, whilst gleefully admitting that he had not once wasted his time reading a book.
The minute hand on the clock hit the hour mark. “Right boys, it’s lunch,” said the Constable without missing a beat. A gentle breeze filled the room as the policemen started shuffling their papers in unison. The waft from the papers suddenly blew back the other way as the doors swung open aggressively. "What’s up with you fuckers, you always start the day with lunch?” Hyde was in the building. “ It’s one o’clock Hyde, you’re five hours late…again!” retorted the Constable. “Anyone ever tell you lunch is for wimps?” Hyde snapped back while deliberately looking at a person he wasn’t talking to. “You told us that yesterday when you came in late …again!” said one of the officers, patting the Constable on the back. The chief wanted to give him a high five, but he was scared to attempt one in front of an American. Especially such an intensely angry and unreasonable one. “ You have to accept it Hyde, this isn't New York anymore, you’re in Rotherhithe”. As the Constable spoke, Hyde placed a cigarette in each of his two ears and screamed “aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh”
“ I want you to meet Baljinder Singh, he’s going to be your partner for the rest of your stay.” The Constable pointed at an unassuming man sitting at a desk in a far corner of the suddenly empty room. “Now you'll have to excuse me. There’s a ham sandwich with my name on it”.
“Hold up! Ball Digger who?” Hyde pulled out the cigarettes from his ears and pointed one of them at Baljinder. “What is that?”
“That is your new partner, I want you to introduce yourself.”
“Now chief, you know I’m a plain talking guy, I just say what I see. No beating about the bush.”
“Yes I’ve noticed,” said the Constable, taking one step closer to his ham sandwich.
“Well, that’s a coloured guy, and he’s not even black. Do you know how confusing this is for a white American stereotype?”
While looking into Hyde’s perplexed face, the Constable began to slowly slide his feet towards the door. He didn’t respond to Hyde’s question, he wasn’t sure how to. Hyde looked more and more perplexed as he watched the Constable try to leave the office without actually taking any steps. Who did he think he was dealing with here? He was a cop from New York! At the bare minimum he was trained to tell when somebody was getting further away, even if they were doing it slowly and without walking. In New York, a sense of perspective was one of the first things they taught you at Cop School, and Hyde’s senses were telling him that the Constable had a ham sandwich with his name on it.
Hyde walked towards the desk the silent man was sitting at and kicked away the empty chair in front of him. He faced his new partner, and made the speech mark gesture with his fingers, even though he said the word partner in his head. “Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t like you, never will.”
“Hi, I’m Baljinder.”
“Listen Ball digger, we have to learn to live with each other and I don’t like learning so this won’t be easy”. Baljinder nodded warily. “I understand,” he said.
“Whaddya hiding under there?” Hyde pointed at Baljinder’s turban. “Is it crack? You asshole!”
“Hey come on! I’m a policeman.”
“It’s a shame,” said Hyde. “Because you look more like a pineapple."
3. The Name
It had been troubling Baljinder since they first met that Hyde thought his name was Ball Digger. He had initially let it go, and put it down to difficulties in acclimatising to new cultures. But where is the cut off point after which your name has been changed for good? Surely when someone has called you Ball Digger five times without being corrected, then it’s your own fault for any confusion.
“Hey Ball Digger, whaddya doing?” That was number four.
“I am waiting for the phone to ring” Baljinder replied.
“Ball Digger, let’s go! We can’t just sit and wait for the phone to ring!” Hyde got up and kicked his chair across the room. That was number five.
“I would just like to say Hyde, that my name is in fact not Ball Digger. It is Baljinder, Baljinder Singh.”
“Sorry dude. I can’t say that”
“But that is my name, Baljinder”.
“Ba..a..ll…d.d.d.iiiig…Yeah sorry. I just can’t do it.”
“Look it’s easy, I’ll spell it out on this piece of paper for you,” Baljinder wrote his name in big capital letters and held the piece of paper up for Hyde.
“See it’s funny, cos if I take all those letters individually I can say them fine, but you put them in that weird jumbled order, and it’s Ball Digger”.
“Hyde, Ball Digger, we have a case for you!” The Constable walked in with an air of excitement and anxiety. “About fucking time chief,” Hyde said while playing a sweet air drum roll on a three hundred and sixty degree kit. When he was at one hundred and eighty degrees, Baljinder took the opportunity to speak. “Constable, my name is Baljinder. You know that!... I’m not 'Ball Digger'.”
“Can you believe this guy?” Hyde laughed, pointing directly at his turban. “Every one calls him Ball Digger and he just won’t accept it’s his name, what a dick.”
“Maybe it’s best if you just go with Ball Digger,” the Constable said in a soft reassuring voice. “I’m thinking there are people reading this and the guy writing it has to keep checking he got the spelling right, which is probably a hassle, and then no one knows how to say it properly and it becomes that annoying name they just mumble in their head every time. I mean you remember reading books right? ”
“Yeah.” Balljinder was being pummelled into submission. “So you’re saying this is going to be a book?” He questioned.
“It might be.”
“But the writer doesn’t have a clue what’s going to happen, he’s just writing as he goes, probably with his trousers down.”
“Look” the Constable agreed, “I know what you’re saying but we will just have to see. In the meantime there is a man in Rotherhithe and he’s fallen over. Do I have a team for this?” The Constable raised his voice to generate some enthusiasm for the task.
“I’ll get my keys…Let’s go” said Ball Digger.
4. On The Way To Finding The Man Who Fell Over
Ball Digger drove at a leisurely pace. Whenever he got a chance to get out the office he would embrace it, soaking up Rotherhithe’s modern housing and commercial facilities with a nostalgia others were yet to feel. It was projected nostalgia. Gazing at the Brunel Engine House he could almost shed a tear. Though not today, not with Hyde in the passenger seat. Today Ball Digger hid his love for his surroundings so as to not show weakness. He was distracted enough however to fail to notice Hyde, not being one to take a back seat, reaching an arm over and placing one hand on the steering wheel. But it didn’t really bother Ball Digger. He would rather Hyde just felt comfortable.
“You know the name Rotherhithe derives from Anglo- Saxon times? Rother was for sailor and Hithe meant haven… A sailor's haven!” Ball Digger sighed as they drove past a TK Max. “Yeah.” Hyde did not sound very impressed. “Well I come from New York City, my friend. New stands for fucking and York stands for cool and city…that just stand for city…Fucking Cool City.”
“You miss your home don’t you?” said Ball Digger, as their hands touched almost intimately on the wheel.
“Fuck you Ball Digger, I’m Hyde. Hyde don’t miss anything …not even TV shows he doesn’t want to watch. You get me?”
“That’s a different kind of missing.”
Hyde let go of the wheel. “You know, if you drive any slower chances are the guy who fell over will probably have stood up.”
Abruptly, Ball Digger stopped the car. “What the fuck ya playing at Ball Digger???” barked Hyde.
“Look, there!” As he spoke, Ball Digger exited the car and ran across the road, picked up a discarded item and raced back towards the car. He took a moment to drink in the residential district's balmy air, and looked carefully to his left and right before crossing.
“Look at this, it’s a pair of trousers, why would there be a pair of trousers in the middle of the road?" he screamed to Hyde, hurtling towards the car.
“What’s the waist on those?” asked Hyde, like he had seen this all before.
5. The Squirrel
Ball Digger started the car and began the twelve-metre journey his Sat Nav was telling him he needed to go to reach his desired destination. The whole of the journey was filled with a deadly tension. There always seemed to be tension when Hyde was in company, but this time it felt deadly. Hyde was clearly angry that the trousers would not fit him. Ball Digger could hear him muttering something or other under his breath about his being cursed with a fast metabolism. Hyde was not a 34 waist, and no matter how many hot dogs he slid down his throat he could never catch up with the other fat American cops on the force. He had at times become the subject of ridicule for it, and looking at this pair of unfilled trousers only bought the haunting memories flooding back.
“We’re here” said Ball Digger as he slowed down the car moments after starting it up. The pair looked out in silence. There was no sign of a man on the floor, or a man who had once fallen, nor any sign of a man walking away after a fall, there was one sign and that sign said “Road Works Ahead” Hyde got out the car, “let me investigate” he said and slammed the car door shut. In one of his rare outbursts, or at least an outburst by Ball Digger standards he shouted back “Watch the Mazda!” Hyde looked around a bit, and then bent down and looked under the car. After thoroughly inspecting the space under the car he pulled himself back up to the window. “I don’t think there is anyone here”.
“No I was coming to that conclusion myself,” Ball Digger said nodding in solid agreement.
“Look there!” Gasped Ball Digger suddenly. “A squirrel!” Ball Digger could not resist a squirrel. “And look he has a nut awww”
“Hang on a minute!” said Hyde in a rare state of excitement; he rapidly shuffled through the pockets in all his clothes, which were five as he had forgotten to count the two on the back of his jeans. Eventually he yanked something out his jacket pocket. “I have some hazelnuts!” Hyde couldn’t resist a hazelnut. He ran like a child to within feet of the squirrel and placed the half eaten bag of nuts on the ground and ran back (again like a child).
“At least we can’t say this mission was a total waste of time,” said Hyde getting back in the car.
“You know it’s funny though” Said Ball Digger “ The man just disappeared without a trace” He turned to Hyde who had now fashioned his own turban out of the aloof trousers.
“I don’t think that’s very respectful” It was clear to Ball Digger the bonding that had happened over the squirrel was over. Hyde was back and overcompensating in his cruelty in fear of having shown a soft side. “We all shit you know” Ball Digger wasn’t sure why he said this, but he did.
“Fuck you Ball Digger,” said Hyde.” I’m thirsty, look there’s a Hooters let’s get a drink”
“But it’s only half past two”
“They do lattes”
6. The Hooters In Rotherhithe
“Wow Carpet!” Hyde seemed impressed. As a connoisseur of the Hooters establishment (he had been to two others In his hometown) he had never seen a carpeted Hooters. “Strange choice”.
“I don’t know what you’re suggesting Hyde but this is Rotherhithe, we’re not animals” Hyde turned to Ball Digger dramatically and stared him in the eyes.
“We’re all animals, all of us,” he said through his teeth. “And turquoise, it IS a strange choice” Ball Digger took a look down.
“I suppose, I wouldn’t want to live with it, but for a couple of hours on an evening out it makes a change. It’s a bit like I’m walking on the ocean”
“What are you some kind of poet?”
“No” Ball Digger said out loud, almost defensively, but in his head he was saying yes. Through his late teens until the age of twenty-three you could have caught a younger Ball Digger sitting under many of Rotherhithe’s Medium sized trees armed with a pen and a pad struggling for couplets, which would bring him a sense of fulfillment. Or at least the attentions of a girl. Sitting under the trees observing the creatures of Rotherhithe going about their business it was here that Ball Digger developed his love for the Squirrel. He gave up his poetic tendencies when it became apparent to him only his mum was reading his work, and though she was once a girl, she was not the (once) girl whose attentions he was seeking. That girl only read text messages, and the poems did not read well in this format, and he did not know her name let alone have a number to send to. He chose the Police force thinking that if he could not touch her soul, at least he could protect her… And arrest her boyfriend.
“Mother fucking undercover poet” Hyde shook his head; he seemed to be getting angry.
“No I just said it was a bit like walking on the ocean”
“Who are you Jesus you’re walking on Hooters, reality check”. He snapped his fingers with the percussive thud of a coconut cracking.
“Well well well, look what the cat dragged in, a couple of Sikhs” A big bosomed woman appeared from nowhere. It was difficult to describe the woman’s features because of the size of her breasts which had they been yellow could have been perfectly summed up in one word. Melons. Her greeting seemed unreasonably antagonistic considering Hyde and Ball Digger where not only the only potential customers in the building but also the only humans in the building , bar the strippers who seemed to be hiding.
“What’s a Sikh?” Hyde asked Ball Digger, as he did so he noticed his Turban and realized he still had the makeshift one fashioned out of the trousers on his head. He yanked it off quickly.
“I take it back,” said the melons. “The cat has dragged in one Sikh and one American”.
“Let’s get one thing straight, we didn’t get dragged in by no cat” Hyde seemed irritated with the constant references to be being dragged by a cat.
“What can I get ya boys?” asked melons whilst pretending to chew gum.
“Two lattes, and give us a menu”
“Are we eating?” Ball Digger said checking his Swatch.
“You’ve never been to Hooters have you?” Hyde laughed to himself. “You can’t go to Hooters and not eat the food, that would be like shitting in your own mouth”
It had come to Ball Diggers attention that Hyde definitely was not a poet. Or if he was he tried his damnedest to hide it.
The two policemen took their seats in the middle of the large empty Hooters. There was a strange atmosphere in the place, the turquoise carpet seemed to almost illuminate under the dim lighting. The tables matt’s were patterned with pictures of owls, which seemed to stare up at you in an intimidating way only fifty patterned owls could. Amidst the darkness there was some shuffling noises, something was going on behind the walls. Though the room was empty you would have to be an idiot to presume you were alone.
“This place is as dead as a Dormouse” Said Hyde looking around. Suddenly a voice was heard.
“Ya nooo whadda want yet?” Melons attitude to her job really stank. It seemed clear she lacked people skills and her accent kept changing which was confusing to the customers of which she had two. It was almost as if she was trying to hide something, over and over again, perhaps she was hiding multiple things. Either way she had the personality of a malfunctioning computer.
“I’ll just have a plate of Jalapenos” Hyde knew what he wanted. He didn’t even need the menu he’d asked for, he had decided when he pointed at the Hooters from inside the car that he would be getting a latte and a plate of Jalapenos. Melons noted his not using the menu to order and curled her lip.
“And what about you? Melons prodded Ball Digger with her finger.
“Oh, I’ll take a Ham sandwich”
“I didn’t think you’re kind ate pork” Hyde said through his teeth
“And what is my kind exactly?, I’m a policeman Hyde” Ball Digger said assertively into Hyde’s face. He then looked back up at Melons. “I’ll have a Ham sandwich please”
“Arr right me hearties” Melons said like a pirate and turned to leave.
“Hey” shouted Hyde at her while stroking his moustache. Melons stopped abruptly but didn’t turn around. “Where are all the strippers?”
“They will be out soon, they’re getting undressed”
7. Steaming Cold Food That Tastes like shit
Hyde was an American and so he wasn’t going to say anything that would make him sound unsure of himself, but he really was not so sure what was going on in this Hooters. From the gleaming turquoise carpet to the owls staring up at him from what seemed like all angles he felt like someone was watching over him. It should be pointed out these were not sexy Hooters owls, these where old owls, who had the expressions of humans who had been defeated by the cities tawdry transport system. A pissed off owl does not make for a sexy atmosphere; hundreds of them make for an exceptionally unsexy one. The unease was heightened by what seemed like random puffs of cigarette smoke that had no owner.
“You can’t smoke in a public place,” said Ball Digger
“I know but I can’t see anyone here can you? I can’t just arrest smoke can I?”
“I heard you arrested your own leg, I presume you have the arrogance to arrest anything”
Yeah this Hooters was definitely under some sort of voodoo hex. Ball Digger whom he must have now known for the best part of two hours had begun acting like his petulant put upon wife, and what was confusing was he was accepting of his responsibility in making Ball Digger that way. He felt an over familiarity to Ball Digger and was beginning to feel bad for their crumbling relationship. Needing to get away from the nagging and sarcasm (for feeling bad and doing something about it are different chapters in a self help book) Hyde got up flashed his handcuffs and followed one of the balls of smoke. He was not going to turn down a challenge.
As he caught up with one of the balls he whipped out the cuffs but failed to ever get a hold on the smoke. “This is hard,” He said. It became harder as two plates of steaming food started to come towards him, making it hard to differentiate between the potentially guilty smoke and the innocent steam.
“You will never catch them, they are transient” From nowhere Melons appeared attached to the steaming plates. Hyde followed her back to the table. Hyde and Ball Digger looked at each other then back at the food that had been served to them. They were scared to verbalize their concerns, as they were also scared of Melons who was standing over them, but both thought to themselves why would steam emit from a bowl of Jalapenos and a ham sandwich. They silently began eating under Melons watchful eye. They did not look at each other or speak a word. Just silently they stared into their plates and ate, like children in a particularly strict boarding school.
As Ball Digger chewed on his sandwich with it’s grey ham and nothing else, he thought to himself about what Hyde had said, and decided Hyde was wrong. Going to Hooters and eating the food was pretty much as close to shitting in your own mouth as you could get, at least as close as Ball Digger was ever willing to get.
“I’m sorry could I see the chef?” Ball Digger could not take anymore; the food was so bad he was willing to take the wrath of Melons.
“I’m interested in how this sandwich was prepared”
“You guys are cops right?” Melons asked with her arms folded over her bosoms.
“That’s right Madam, that’s what we would be” Hyde would make for a terrible undercover cop for he was so keen to tell people he was a cop. As he spoke a number of Jalapenos fell out of his moustache. Ball Digger glared at him with the eyes of a pissed off owl. Hyde whispered to him in defense, “I’m sorry it tasted like shit, I might have a death wish, but I don’t want to die”.
“What you guys doing messing around here anyways, aren’t there men fallen over on the streets for you to help?”
“Initially we just came for lattes,” Ball Digger said politely
“Oh shit I forgot to make those, I’m so sorry” It didn’t really matter to the cops, coming in for lattes felt like a lifetime ago.
“We’re looking for a man,” Ball Digger said with some assurance. We think he’s missing his trousers.
“Wait, we haven’t talked about this” Hyde seemed irritated.
“Come on whose are these?” Ball Digger waved the stray trousers.
“Oooh that’s good” Hyde instantly understood Ball Diggers logic.
“We’re looking for a man with no pants on, we’re worried he might be in trouble” Hyde said getting up, and pulling down his own trousers. “I apologise we have no sketch artist with us or a pad or pen to attempt one, but he’s gonna look a little like this, have you seen this guy around?” Hyde was a bit of an exhibitionist, the thing he loved second to telling people he was a cop was having an excuse to pull down his trousers in public. For behind him Ball Digger was quietly sat with a pen and a pad.
“You’re asking someone in a strip joint if they have seen a half naked person? Mister half naked people are a dime a dozen here.”
“Lady, nothing in this place is a dime a dozen”
“I’ll go get the chef”, Melons seemed deflated, “And those lattes”.
Hyde sat back down with his trousers round his ankles, as they patiently waited for the chef and the lattes. Ball Digger stared at him disgusted by his decision not to pull up his trousers. As he stared a single Jalapeno fell from Hyde’s moustache into his underwear. Ball Digger chose to keep quiet about this, deciding that that would be Hyde’s punishment and surprise for a later date.
8. Introducing Tits
The Lattes actually looked pretty good. I suppose anything served after the atrocity experienced was going to be an improvement, and the Amoretti cookie was a nice touch. At least Ball Digger thought so. Hyde picked his off the saucer and flung it on the table with a slurred “ If there is one thing I can’t fucking stand it’s amaretto”. He almost looked like a sulky child deprived of a Jaffa Cake. That is exactly what he was. Since his transfer from New York to Rotherhithe Hyde had refused to adhere to the ways of his new home, but for the Jaffa Cake, which he could not deny, had worked his way into his heart. “ I mean it’s a drink made of nuts”, he was talking to himself now. Had there not been a complimentary cookie, none of this would be happening for he had not been expecting anything at all, hell he’d even stopped expecting the latte he had asked for. Life was simpler when he was not expecting anything at all. The world was out to get Hyde and it was really starting to tick him off. Ball digger was eating his cookie, he was unaware of what amaretto was and just enjoyed the crunchiness of the cookie. He took the one Hyde flung and placed it on his saucer.
Suddenly a creature seemed to be moving towards them, her figure becoming more and more apparent through the mist of mystery smoke. She was beautiful; she glided across the turquoise floor like a swan and was as white as one too, though she didn’t have an orange beak. Hyde didn’t want to admit it but as he sat there with his feet as wide apart as the trousers around his ankles would allow him to go, he thought to himself “It’s like she is walking on the ocean”. She was naked, except for an apron, which as she got nearer turned out to be one of those comedy aprons with a print of a naked body on them. Luckily for Hyde and Ball Digger the naked body was that of a woman’s and so no difficult questions were going to be asked of their sexuality. They were cops and they were straight. End of. She got to a few feet from the table; she was young and healthy and clearly did not eat the food from Hooters.
“You wanted to see me?” she asked in a sweet questioning tone.
Ball Digger dropped the second Amoretti biscuit into his Latte, he couldn’t speak. He had fallen in love. It didn’t happen to Ball Digger often, but when it did, it happened in a split second and the feeling would stay for life. It was as if from out of nowhere this one person who was yet to introduce herself had become the one his little world would revolve around. He felt embarrassed looking at his table which now had his dissected Ham Sandwich sprayed across it. Hyde was also embarrassed because he too had fallen in love, and he had noticed the mess Ball Digger had made on the table. His falling in love tended to be a little less long term and so for now he still had the use of his mouth. He chose to steer away from the “what the hell kind of cook do you think you are line of questioning” he had intended to open with.
“Listen Tits” Hyde said with confidence.
“How dare you call her that?” Ball Digger said.
“Oh it’s ok, my name is Tits” Tits pointed at a name badge which was pinned on the breast of her apron.
“Can I call you Tit for short” Hyde asked pretending to put a cigarette in his mouth, and making use of the pre existing smoke.
“No it’s Tits” Tits looked angry.
“We’re Cops, and we’re looking for a man, we thought you might be able to help. He’s probably trouser less, we didn’t have a sketch artist so consider me your visual aid”
“Did he have a Jalapeno in his pants?”
Hyde took a look down, but he didn’t buckle, he was a cocky asshole when he wanted to be. “We have a good reason to believe that may well be the case”
Ball Digger couldn’t believe he was going to talk himself out of the humiliation of having bits of food inside his trousers.
“I’m sorry officers I don’t see why you think I could be of any help I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day, I haven’t even got a window back there.”
“Is it hygienic to cook naked?” Hyde took an air puff.
“Don’t worry I have an apron”, she removed the apron to illustrate her two tiers of nudity. The real version was definitely better than the apron version, though the apron version was also good.
“Look there is no food on me”
She had somewhat missed Hyde’s point, but neither he nor Ball Digger had really heard a word she had said. Ball Digger had become so confused he started clapping for absolutely no reason. They were in awe.
Suddenly Ball Digger got a call on his mobile. “It’s the Constable”
“We better head back” Hyde coughed; he’d taken a heavy drag on his fake cigarette. “You’re going to need to come with us”
“Me? Why? I told you I don’t know anything,” She pleaded.
“Because the guy writing this doesn’t know where he is going with it, but he is desperate to move things out of the Hooters, he wasn’t planning on being here this long”.
“Someone’s actually writing this?” How exciting said Tits. “I always wanted to be a writer”
If Ball Digger was able to speak to her he would have shouted out his poetic aspirations, regardless of Hyde’s presence, but no sound would come from his open mouth.
“Yeah I was going to be a writer” Hyde said shaking his head, “I got taught by the best, Mr. Ernest Hemmingway, he gave me some great advice. He said Hyde just close your eyes and write what you see, and I did. Unfortunately when I opened my eyes I’d written half of it in my pad and half on the desk. I came back from the toilet to transcribe it and the Janitor had wiped the desk clean”
“That’s so sad”
Ball Digger could see Tits falling for Hyde.
“Hemmingway said a lot of great works were lost like that. I guess it’s Karma, they cleaned up my masterwork, now I clean up the streets…from crime, I’m not a street cleaner”
None of this was making any sense to Ball Digger but it was clearly working for Hyde and so in his head Ball Digger labeled Hyde a “Mother Fucking Asshole”.
9. Hyde, Ball Digger and Tits
When Tits said she “just needed to get her stuff” she hadn’t made it clear she was in between homes and so her stuff would include a gramophone, four bin liners of clothing a wok and two kittens. It was as if Hyde and Ball Digger were going back to the station having won all the prizes on the conveyor belt on the Generation Game. Tits obviously being equivalent to what would have been the Jet Ski’s or Yacht, basically the star prize. At least this was the case through Ball Diggers eyes. The shapeless knitted jumpsuit she had chosen to put on, made her look like a Yeti, and though he could tell Hyde would probably still make sure he sealed the deal, he definitely wasn’t as interested as when she was naked. Hyde tried to discreetly turn the heating up in the car. “Phew for the middle of January this is one steaming day,” he said flapping the collar on his fur coat. He looked out the rear view window to see if he had tricked Tits into removing her clothes. Hyde definitely felt that things were better when Tits wasn’t wearing the knitted blob of an outfit. Ball Digger looked at Hyde as he tried to discreetly spy on her. He thought to himself if he could omit laser beams from his eyes at this moment he would have. Green beams that would singe the moustache from Hyde’s face.
“I want to hear more about your writing” Tits said from the back, clothed.
“Absolutely, I have a lot to tell, it’s nice to find someone who is actually interested in culture” Hyde was clearly bulshitting.
Ball Digger still unable to speak was beginning to feel like he was hallucinating, which wasn’t a good way to feel when you are driving, and responsible for the livelihoods of a beautiful woman, a pain in the ass, two kittens a gramophone and a wok. He found it hard to stomach Hyde’s successful attempt at impressing Tits with his bullshit. Particularly because this Bullshit, omitting Ernest Hemmingway’s involvement was almost Ball Diggers truth. He thought to himself isn’t it funny how one persons bullshit could work better than the truth, even though the bullshit was the truth. Just coming out the wrong face. “I’m incredible at Ice skating” suddenly noises were flying out of Ball Digger mouth. Ball Digger had never been good at bull shitting and the silence that followed his claim proved that had not changed.
“Stop here!” Hyde suddenly screamed out. Ball Digger pulled an emergency stop. “ I need to get some Jaffa Cakes” Hyde got out the car and ran as fast as he could into one of the many Tesco Expresses which were slowly littering Rotherhithe’s street corners. Mysterious shops, which sold nothing you, wanted. Hyde really did run like a small child, lots of little steps but with intense enthusiasm.
“So how often do you go ice skating”?
Ball Digger was surprised to hear a voice come from the back of the car. He checked in the mirror to make sure it wasn’t one of the kittens talking at him.
“Oh it’s like a drug, I go whenever I’m not on duty, I can’t get enough” He didn’t feel comfortable with his lies, and knew in himself having finished the sentence, he would now have to invest in some skates and some lessons and make this a reality. As much as he wanted Tits to like him, he couldn’t live with the lies.
Suddenly Hyde appeared, he was carrying a giant bouquet of flowers. He was hand signaling for Tits to roll down her window. She did, and he stuffed the flowers in, with not a word spoken. It was one of the worst and most aggressive handing over of flowers Ball Digger had ever seen.
He got back in the car with a doorstop in his hands. “They didn’t have any Jaffa Cakes” he said, angry. “I’m not sure why I bought this,” he continued.
10. The Snack and The Reality Check
“Bitches” Hyde nodded to the room as he strutted through Rotherhithe Police Station arm in arm with Tits. He was walking like a pimp, which was misguided in its cockiness considering he was a policeman in a police station. Ball Digger trailed behind holding onto their newly acquired doorstop. “Where the hell have you been? It’s the end of the day!” The constable said putting down his duster. He registered the female presence in the room and noted that he was not looking at his most masculine. He lowered his vocals down a couple of octaves, to a thick inaudible baritone, and continued “ You’re lucky there was absolutely nothing bad happening in Rotherhithe today”. Hyde being smart instantly clocked the way the constables new voice was shaking Tits’s world like a miniature volcano. She could have just been hungry, but the grumblings began as the constables booming voice erupted and Hyde only had one way of thinking and that was always worst-case scenario. Though he had only known Tits for a couple of hours, and the last hour had been spent with her dressed in what looked like a knitted sack, he enjoyed the feeling of envy he received off the other policeman. Not to be out done Hyde lowered his octaves a further two. Practically as if talking in slow motion Hyde replied “Oh Yeah, then what do you call this?” He threw the trousers in the Constables direction. For a second the ferocity of the trousers movement broke up the hypnotic mood the two men had created. Tits didn’t understand what was going on, she still didn’t fully understand how she could help in the case either, but she was keen to hear more of Hyde’s Ernest Hemmingway stories, and she didn’t mind getting out the kitchen for a while. As she watched the two of them speaking in deeper and deeper voices their body movements and hand gestures synching up with their voices in half speed it dawned on her she may have been hungry for a real long time. She snuck out of Hyde’s grasp while he was still trying to out deep voice the constable in search of a snack.
“You got any snacks around here?” She walked over to Ball Digger who was stood holding the doorstop with two hands. Tit’s moved towards him with the grace of a swan. As had already been noted by him earlier there was something incredibly Swanlike about her. However she did not have a beak and there were other things that also set her apart from actually being a Swan. For instance she was asking for snacks, using the medium of speech.
“What do we look like here? ... A Spud U Like?” Ball Digger had tried to assert an arrogant manliness he had thought he had seen in Hyde’s success with tits, but somehow he had got the tone all-wrong
“I wouldn’t call a baked potato a snack, would you?” Tits was smart, and irked. Ball digger wasn’t sure how to reply. He felt bad for letting himself down and not being himself. He had always upheld a strong sense of self. In defiance of all his insecurities Ball Digger always believed his fundamental being a good honest person would win out. His insides would laugh in disbelief as he listened to Hyde bullshitting about Hemmingway’s teachings. Hyde was no way a writer, sure he was a racist, and a misogynist, and possibly an alcoholic and sure these are qualities that good writers have in abundance, but let’s face it it’s a fine line that divides a writer and a racist, and as far as Ball Digger was concerned Hyde had not crossed over. What most upset Ball Digger though was the realization that he had to go and book himself some Ice Skating lessons, and the realization that however he may have enjoyed feeling at least morally superior to Hyde, he was actually the same. When left alone with Tits, he couldn’t tell her how he had ridiculously fallen in love with her within (according to his stopwatch) two minutes and thirty-seven seconds. He didn’t have the balls to actually lay it on the line honestly, instead he tried to impress her with niche skills he didn’t actually have. Why had he chosen Ice Skating? It would be hard to showcase the skills, and harder to pick them up in the first place.
“No, I guess not” Ball Digger replied solemnly, he was surprised the irked Tits was still waiting for a reply to her baked potato being a snack question, while he wallowed extensively through his thoughts. “We have a Scotch Egg vending machine in the corridor”, as he spoke Ball Digger wedged the door open with the new doorstop, and stepped aside-allowing Tits to investigate the Scotch Eggs. In his eyes he had stepped back, a heroic loser admitting defeat in his actions. In her eyes he was the guy who told him where to find some Scotch eggs.
11. The Brad Pitt Cameo
Hyde and the Constable had to call a stalemate after the Constable nearly choked on his own tongue while trying to out deep voice Hyde. After fourty minutes of listening to what felt like a didgeridoo with occasional swearing the two men’s normal voices almost sounded like they were on helium. “Wait, who’s that?” Hyde had used his eyes to spot somebody familiar looking just sitting at a desk. He was familiar, but not familiar to Rotherhithe Police Station.
“That’s Brad Pitt,” The Constable said discretely. Hyde’s eyes lit up.
“The Architect?” Hyde was visibly excited, “How’s the New Orleans Project going?”
Brad Pitt gave no response he just sat in his seat wearing his shades looking as if he was blind, which didn’t explain why he couldn’t answer the question. The Constable leaned in and whispered to Hyde, “He isn’t allowed to speak”
“What!” Hyde was pissed
“He’s doing a subtle cameo, when the ratings are down, the writer asks favours from his better known friends and then the mention of their name gets loads of hits again on the Internet. It serves no purpose to anyone, he doesn’t care about Brad, He doesn’t care that my wife doesn’t love me anymore, or that you have a Jalapeño in your moustache still. He just wants to make himself feel better with some accidental views from unassuming Brad Pitt fans”
“Well that seems like a load of bull crap, do you not think when you have a world famous environmentally conscious architect in your space you would not want to benefit from his thoughts?”
“If he spoke, he’d be acting, and we’d have to pay him”