Youth growing up on scottish housing estate and his fall into crime and drugs
|He had dressed for the cold but didn’t expect snow, it had only started to lie and his cotton hood was starting to soak through. It was 4am late November.he entered the square by way of an underpass the square was made up of three rows of houses and a block of flats. He stopped to look around and noticed now that his were the only footprints in the snow and when he looked up to the yellow glare of the lamppost that there was a small breeze that seemed to hold the snow there for a while before it came down, it was so quiet that he could almost swear he could hear it land. He was beginning to feel the weight of what he was carrying and it urged him on to the job at hand. Approaching the flat door he started to feel uneasy he stopped once again to look around this time taking his hood down feeling that it impaired his vision and that if someone should be creeping up on him he would want to see them in the corner of his eye. Opening the door and feeling the warmth of the close he noticed the smell of urine and disinfectant stepped inside and let the door shut behind him he winced as the door shut home and the pane of glass seemed to rattle in the door. Standing there silent for a while until sure no one was moving around in the close he put down what he had been carrying against the door and took only what he would need this way if any one should enter the close when he was on a higher floor he would hear them. He started up the stairs and passed the first row of windows which looked out over the washing lines there was a few garments left on one of the lines yesterday being mild compared to this. He moved on passing a few doors always with his back to the wall and facing the doors up the next flight getting to the top he noticed his reflection in the window back lit by the light from a hall across the landing. He looked out and up at the grey sky the snow had gotten heavier and it was calming to look at it swirling down he stood a while just watching then caught sight of his own reflection again and what he was carrying glinting in the light he could feel it smooth and cold in his hand he headed on and up the next flight and passed another few doors he stopped thinking he could hear voices no whispering from above he headed up the next flight even more slowly with the hair on his neck up and butterflies in his stomach nearing the top of this flight he heard the unmistakeable sound of an audience laughing and cursed himself for getting so edgy it was just someone’s telly. He edged on passed more doors one of which was the source of the noise and stopped once again hearing some thing else thinking maybe it was what he had left against the door still and silent he heard it again only this time did he realise it was the revving of an engine looking out of the window he noticed it was a van that was struggling its way up the hill on the road that passed by the square he watched the snow swirling in the head lights like a swarm of bees as the van laboured up the hill then watched as the swarm turned red as the snow came down around the back lights of the van as though angered by the vans presence its exhaust fumes and tyre tracks turning the pure white into brown slush. He moved on the last set of stairs, the top dancer, past the few remaining doors to the one he wanted this was the place he looked down at what he was carrying …. A pint of semi skimmed no ..aghhh this door takes full cream.
That was me late November 1995 aged 15 running about at 4 am with a crate of milk heavy enough to give you arms like a Chimp. People have this idea of milkmen like in the old English films pristine overalls and hat nice little milk float cruising around at a leisurely pace and whistling and whishing every cunt a good morning no far from it I’m out there with my old trackies and my dads old works jacket with a hoody underneath freezing and you would only get a grunt out of me if you happened to be unlucky enough to be up at that time no way this is not for me I made a decision out there in the cold dark mornings to change my job and do something with my life this inevitably led to my first brush with the law and my first time in the paper, well it was a start.
I came running onto the van screaming george ive been mugged ,george was the guy who drove the van that we collected and deliverd milk on.
My jumper was all stretched and i was shaking like a leaf.
"whit dae ye mean yiv been mugged"
i proceeded to tell him how after collecting in the money for this area a passing car stopped and asked me for directions the guy asked how to get to a place i knew so i started telling him when he grabbed my jumper through the window and pointed a knive at my face
"keep the fuckin change i just want the notes he told me george"
i said as i put down the money i had left a pocket full of coins. we drove around after that looking for the other boys who were still collecting money.it was an open backed ford transit van and the other boys came jumping up looking at me wondering what was wrong.
George took me to the police station and they took me in to a room and i told them what had happened ,they gave me a cup of tea and asked me to look at some mugshots, i coulnt see the guy i told them .
"take your time son, calm down and have another look"
I was shaking even more now and i think they thought i was in shock. I looked again but still i couldnt see the guy who had grabbed me. they took a description of him and the car and finally let me out of the interview room. George was waiting ,probably not for my sake but to find out about his money miserable old bastard never let you off with a penny when you were paying in and this must have infuriated him.
"we will give you a phone in a few days and see if you remember any more details"
I got in the back of the van and the other guys were sitting with there faces trippin them ,they had lost out on a nights worth of tips, but they still asked if i was alright. George dropped us off and told me he was sorry and that he shouldnt make drops so big between paying in. Probably thinking about the money he had lost and not our safety i said to the boys as we were walking home
" hold on a minute ive got something in my shoe"
they stopped and waited as i took off my shoe and then my sock and their eyes lit up as i produced a bundle of notes. Murphy looked at coutts and started laughing it took coutts afew seconds to catch on but when he did he just smiled. 170 Quid i made that night i gave the boys what ever they had lost about 15 pound each it still left me a fair bit. The police didnt think it was strange that i had been mugged on my biggest drop, fannys, mind you i was shaking like a leaf but not through shock, but because of the cash in my sock the boys thoght i deserved an oscar for that nights performance. I quit the job a week later as planned and the headline in the local paper that week was MILK BOY ROBBED AT KNIVE POINT.
You see every milk boy does this when its time to quit its sort of like your pension.
I bought my self some new clothes and bought my first bit of dope, i was fifteen and going to enjoy my last summer before getting a real job. Drugs are for mugs, nah ...Drugs are for mugees.I spent most of that summer smoking hash and playing cards with my mates the nights were warm and long and everywhere you went oasis seemed to be playing on the radio ...Live forever.. fuck id have loved to have stayed in those days forever but employment awaits and so did London.
I don’t remember the exact day I left school, just that I left. I had not to bad a set of grades, not enough for brain surgery but not bad. I didn’t know what I wanted to do only that I wanted money. I asked my old man and he told me printers get a good wage and that was that I wanted to get into the printing game. I applied to a company and got an interview I didn’t get the job but they offered me a job as a boxmaker …I didn’t no what that was either but they said they would send me to London for training in some college that pretty much sold me on the idea. I was 16 and they told me another boy of the same age was going Stevie his name was and he was from Easterhouse great I thought at least I wouldn’t be going alone and Easterhouse was known as one of the rougher schemes in Glasgow so if I got into any scrapes I would have backup. Two weeks after I got the job and I had said my goodbyes to my old dear my old man ran me into the train station he hung around for a while until Stevie turned up with his old man in tow this was the first time I had met him and he was a big fellow to look at and nearly had a full grown beard his side burns Elvis would have been jealous of. Fist impressions were good and we said our hellos and our goodbyes to the olds the train was ready to depart so we got on and got ourselves comfortable for the journey ahead and the akward nervous conversation you have when you meet someone for the first time.
“so wit de ye dae at the weekends and that”
“play fitba mostly”
“do ye go out at night to the dancing or anything”
“no no really”
“wit dae ye dae then”
“nuffin sit in mostly or go round to my cousins and play the computer….i play fitba”
I sat there nodded a few times then looked out the window for a wee bit thinking about what else to talk about he did the same.
“ so dae ye take a carry out then”
“no no really ….i play fitba”
I nodded again and looked out the window then picked up the book I had brought and opened it and smiled at him and pretended to read as I thought of something else to say
“whit about yer cousin whits he dae does he take a cargo”
“does he go up the dancing”
“no shes fourteen”
At this point alarm bells started ringing …this isn’t right im thinking hes fae Easterhouse
“so whits Easterhouse like then…pretty rough I bet eh “
“ I dunno iv only just moved there I don’t hang about much…and we stay on a new housing scheme just out side it….i play fitba “
At this point my vision of Stevie my future hard man best mate drinking buddy just crumbled and I realized he had been kept in a cupboard till he was sixteen. I knew then I had my work cut out we were going to live in south London for fucks sake …the heygate estate the crack capitol of Europe in 1990. I looked at him and nodded again looked out the window played with my book for I while then got up told him I was going for I piss and went to the bog to roll a joint I didn’t bother asking if he took a smoke I knew the answer I would get “I play fitba”. I came out the toilet and slid the wnidow down in the gap between carriges and sparked the joint watched the graffiti fly by the buildings blur in and out of my vision the hedges come and go I floated back to my seat sat down and smiled at stevie and nodded he was reading a magazine and his head was now just one big fitba with side burns I picked up my book but looked out the window Scotland slipped away and England dripped in slowly first the gradual change of accents at stations then the England fitba tops finally after what seemed like a hundred train announcements Kings cross . It was 96…. euro 96 and the English fans were running riots .So began the re education of Stevie Bailey.
We got our things together got off the train and headed to the escalator at the end of the platform it was about ten oclock at night and we had been on the train for almost seven hours and it was now dark. The first thing I saw when I reached the top of the escalator was two coppers with a black guy lying on his stomach being handcuffed one of them had what looked like a bit of tinfoil in a clear plastic bag and was holding it upto the light with one hand and holding back some bird with the other she was screaming at them and spitting at them I looked at Stevie and he looked as worried as me. we made our way to where a sign was pointed for a taxi as we made our way through the automatic doors I looked back to see the bird being put to the floor . outside wasn’t much better the taxi que was a mile long and we joined it and waited patiently tired and unsure where we were going it wasn’t long before this old bag lady approached us and asked for some change I said I had none but stevie gave her a pound in change she walked off towards a row of phone boxes 2 mins later she was back with her friend who approached us stinking off bevy and hardly able to stand he looked at me and I looked away so he shuffled upto stevie and asked what I could only guess was a request for change stevie said he had none and the old cunt just stood there to my astonishment stevie produced his wallet and showed it and the contents to this old guy and his bag lady pal it was full of notes expense money we had been given for grub and stuff I saw the pair of there eyes light up thankfully the que had moved forward abit and I pushed stevie forward and whispered in his ear are u fuckin mad he looked at me dumfounded and at that the old bird tapped him on the shoulder telling him she could go get change for him I could tell he was actually giving the matter thought and I gave him a look which he read well he put his wallet back in his pocket and just looked forward but the old cow and her pal weren’t for giving up they tapped him again and I turned to them and told them to fuck off I think they realized I wasn’t fuckin about and the saunterd away towards the phone boxes again .i turned to stevie and told him to talk to no cunt till we got in the taxi we waited almost an hour in that que being accosted every now and then by one homeless person after another finally it was our turn we struggled our cases in side stevie climbed in and I hearing shouting turned to see the old pair of drunks and another homeless guy swing punches for each other seems they were fighting over changed hed found in the refund slot in their phones I jumped in and told the driver where we were going I sat back beside stevie and asked if he was alright he looked shaken and I didn’t blame him this place was nuts I hoped our hotel would be better . we headed towards south London,other than the noise of the doors of the black cab locking and unlocking every time we stopped for traffic and the clicking of indicators stevie and I sat in silence we came to waterloo bridge and as we passed over I looked to my right to see big ben and the houses of parliament light up and reflecting out on the thames and I looked to stevie and we both smiled and relaxed a little more maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad after all. That soon changed when after ten more minutes the surroundings began to look a bit more and more run down and more and more highrise blocks of flats seemed to crowd in we were now in south London and things weren’t getting any prettier we pulled up to the London park hotel around twelve at night .
I Heard somewhere that when the SAS want to surprise an enemy and take them out they go in at 4 am this is the time of the morning when a person is at their most vulnerable I think its something to do with our bodies internal clock at this time u are supposed to be deep in sleep , even when awake at this time your body starts to become less aware and your senses start to faulter a little. I could see the sense in it as it was only 3.15 and i was feeling fucked when the alarm on my mobile went. When the shower hit me it seemed to wake me up a bit I went through the usual routine shower gel shampoo only this morning I needed less shampoo than usual as my hair was freshly cropped the day before and less time spent cleaning under my nails as these were also trimmed short and neat I needed the time though as I reached for the shaving foam and started to lather up first my chest hair ,arms, legs then anywhere else I could see or feel . I also heard somewhere that all you need to murder a person and get away with it can be easily found around the house or in the work place this I found true apart from the two suitcases wich I bought out of town , 83 miles away to be exact using cash and taking care to make sure there where no cameras near the market stall.