Tales From The Riverbank – Never Again

by • August 12, 2013 • UncategorizedComments Off on Tales From The Riverbank – Never Again799

Wee Davey woke up shivering. It took him a moment to work out where he was. After a arrestedmoment of blind panic, he realised he was in a prison cell of some sort. His mind flurried back to the night before. His heart sank as he recalled the defeat to the enemy, three nil was hard to stomach at the best of times, but against the Mackems, it was catastrophic to say the least.

He felt like shit, and his head was splitting and his stomach was loudly registering its protest at the chemicals it had been fed hours before.  He looked down at himself, his trousers were covered in muck and grass stains. Davey struggled to remember where he had been and what had happened.

He vaguely remembered drowning his sorrows in the local, but after that his mind was blank. He sat up with his head in his hands and tried to get some saliva into his mouth and roll his tongue, but it was dried up like sandpaper. There was a sink in the corner.  He went over and rinsed his mouth out with cold water. He needed to have a piss as well, but there was no toilet.

Fuck it.

He unzipped his jeans, and in doing so, a dart of searing pain exploded up his right arm, and he noticed his right hand was twice the size as his left one.

Must have whacked someone last night then.

It was painful to free himself.

His urine came; orange, toxic and steaming.

The window in the thick door opened with a bang, and Davey farted in fright. ‘You’re awake then?’ The eyes darted left to right and then rested on Davey in mid flow.

‘Ahh, ye dirty bastard. Fuck sake use the bucket,’ the voice added as the window was slammed shut.

The voice sounded like a school teacher, and that made Davey even happier, he had hated school. Davey tilted his head back, enjoyed the relief and closed his eyes. When he had finished, he opened them again, facing the ceiling.

It was minging.

It looked like a sickly yellow, with years of cigarette smoke coating its once white paint. Clumped footsteps approached and Davey could hear whispering outside. He zipped himself up with his left hand and ran the cold water over his swollen right, whilst he waited to hear from the officers behind the large blue door.

After a short while, the window abruptly opened again. This time it was a female, but it was hard to tell. ‘You want tea, or coffee?’

‘Coffee please and givus a fag, will ya?’

No acknowledgement was given, and the window to the outside world closed quietly, almost with tenderness or at the very least, with an effort to carry out the closure in silence. It made Davey feel uncomfortable.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and tried desperately to think what he had been scooped for.

He could only recall a blur of drinking shots of Sambuca before going to the Chinese for some food at closing time. His favourite Toon shirt was a mess. Blood and sick all over it, it looked like a piece of modern art with its own hidden story.

Davey was bound to be a central character, but he had no idea as to what role he had played. His face was ok in the mirror, and apart from his hand, nothing else was sore.

Logically, he could only assume he must have twatted someone and got nicked somewhere after leaving the bar.

He couldn’t remember leaving the Lucky Dragon restaurant, nor could he recall arguing with anyone.


For the third time that morning, (was it morning?) the small window slid open and a cup of coffee was placed onto the tray, followed by a roll up cigarette and a single match.

He noticed they were placed by a female hand wearing a wedding ring and with varnished nails that were faded, just like the paint in the cold cell.

He noticed these things.

He was about to say thank you, but caught himself in time.

He didn’t want to appear too grateful until he knew what the score was and why he was being held. He struck the match against the rugged wall, and lit the cigarette.

And that’s when things started to go wrong.


The first inhalation was the deepest, and most prolonged.

A wave of relief washed over him, if felt like a comforting blanket in a nice clean bed after having a thorough shower. He sank against the wall on his bed and sipped the coffee.

Boy, this tasted good. It was the best coffee he had ever tasted; he loved it like no other coffee had been loved before. Davey took his time smoking and reflecting on the present circumstances.

He knew things couldn’t be that bad, the Toon would sign a few decent players next year and they would trounce that shower from down the road.  No problem.

He was starting to feel a lot better, in fact, he felt on top of the world. He closed his eyes and drifted off into a film reel of memories gone by, holidays, his wedding day, his Dad laughing with him with his slick hair combed back.

Davey’s legs were numb, and it was suddenly the funniest thing ever.

Imagine not being able to move your legs!

He started giggling.

He could hardly smoke for laughing.

He felt himself sinking; it was as if he was dissolving into the bed, like a big melting lump of rubber, seeping into the fabric of the structure, into the bedclothes, until he felt himself being absorbed into the mattress. Now he was really fucked.

He couldn’t even move anything except his lips which held the remnants of the Rizla paper between them as he sucked the last of the roll up.

The smoke stopped, and Davey watched helplessly as the butt fell onto his shirt.

It added to the art he thought to himself, and he gazed in admiration at his own work.

It was beautiful; he was almost moved to tears at the intensity of the spectacle.

The tapestry was complete; it had to be seen to be appreciated.  He lay for what seemed like ages, floating, but somehow still inside and part of the mattress.

He felt as if he had regressed and was in a womb, the bed was where he belonged and he didn’t want to be anywhere else.

He felt safe; he hadn’t been this content in a very long time.


Nightshift was always a pain in the arse in the station.

Saturday and Sunday nights were always the same, and on derby day, it was guaranteed there would be trouble after the match, regardless of the result. Drunken fights, drugs and accidents made up the surreal conveyor belt of the dregs of society, bringing their troubles back to the station for the officers to sort out.

Some were tearfully morose, some had aggressive attitudes, and some simply didn’t care.

The amount of drugs that were confiscated on a weekend was staggering.

From pills of all shapes and sizes, to blocks of weed and other chemically enhancing concoctions, the evidence room looked like a junkie jumble sale.

The station could have had several tables advertising the wares, with each having a rating of how fucked up you could get by consuming them in whatever way was the norm.

Wee Davey, or David Ernest Patterson, to give him his full name, was probably one familiar visitor who would know how best to administer each and every one of the substances, since he had been on drugs since he was at high school.

He had been lifted early Monday morning, high as a kite, oblivious to the world as he pissed in the middle of the road, even though a Police car had stopped inches from his performance.

He smiled his stupid drug fuelled laconic smirk and continued waving at the officers in the squad car.

He passed out in the back seat after being cuffed, and unfortunately the back door had ‘accidentally’ slammed against his right hand, but there was no response from the well gone obstruction.


Wee Davey was slowly and blearily roused from his cocoon of slumber.  He had a strange feeling about something not being right.

He rubbed his eyes and felt himself still detached, but intensely involved in all that was around him.

He slowly brought his eyes into focus and found himself looking at what seemed to be an enormous purple rat.

It was sitting in the corner, munching on a sandwich and pausing to take a drink from a polystyrene cup.

It gave him the thumbs up, and continued eating.

Wee Davey’s heart dropped to the bottom of his soul.  He blinked and then blinked again.

His brain was unable to process what he was seeing.

He tried rubbing his eyes, but the large rodent sat impassive, slowly chewing, watching, and … watching.

A cold sweat broke out on Wee Davey’s neck and forehead.

His heart began to pump rapidly and he was scared out of his wits.

He knew he had dropped a couple of ‘E’s last night and a bit of acid, but this was something he had never experienced before.

As if the rat knew his thought process, it got up and waved to him in slow motion, constantly staring at him on the way across the cell and as it opened the cell door and left, it blew him a kiss.

Davey wondered if he was going mad, or if he was in some sort of dream.

He slapped his face.

It stung, and he cried out in pain as he had forgotten about his injured hand.

He was definitely awake.

He summoned enough strength to heave himself off the bed and walked on shaky legs to the door.

He knocked forcefully on the window flap, this time remembering to use his left hand.


He knocked again, only this time as hard as he could, until it hurt his knuckles.

The hatch began to slide back, ever so slowly, a centimeter at a time.

It was agonising.

He staggered back in shock.

He was now looking at a figure with a hood on, with a scythe and a shadow across the face.

He recognised the grim reaper.

His bowels loosened in fright and he could feel his anus instinctively but belatedly clench tight to stem the flow and his trousers were already soiled.

He began to wail.

He retreated into the corner, and curled up into a fetal ball, sobbing and shaking.

This is it he told himself, I am going mad.

He swore to himself, if he ever got out of the place, he would never take another drug in his life.

He began to pray, stammering childlike words trying desperately to piece together some semblance of coherent verse to any God who would listen, promising to turn over a new leaf and a clean life.

He sat trance-like for over an hour murmuring to himself and descending into a stupefied zombie state.

The little door hatch slammed open again.

‘You ready to leave, Davey?’ asked an authoritive voice.

‘YES, YES!’, yelled Davey, ‘please, YES!’

He was on his knees, his hands clasped before him.


At the desk, Davey stood shaking, pale and nervous.

His eyes were sunken, he looked like a reptilian version of a worn out superstar.

Sandra took in his appearance and deliberately slowed down the process.

‘Can I go now, please? Please?’ Davey pleaded with her.

Sandra leaned forward into his personal space.


If you promise me never to touch another drug again in your life, I will throw this charge sheet in the bin, and you can go. This is your one chance.’

‘Yes,’ he replied, like a little boy, desperate and vulnerable.

Davey furtively glanced around the empty station.

‘Yes Sandra, I promise, never again, no, never again’ Davey said softly, tears welling up.

He shook his head to emphasise his intentions and stared into her eyes.

‘You wouldn’t believe what I have been through this morning.’

‘Ok’ sighed Sandra.

‘Sign here.’

Davey snatched the pen and scribbled an illegible signature and grabbing his meagre possessions, ran swiftly out of the station.

Sandra lifted the piece of paper and wandered into the tea room behind reception.

She stepped over the fancy dress costume of a giant rat lying discarded on the floor, and the cloak and artificial scythe lying beside it.

A saucer sat beside the teapot with the last sprigs of ‘best Moroccan shit’ she had used to lace the roll up with, beside her silenced mobile phone.

Frank, the duty sergeant sat sipping tea.

‘Do you think it worked?’

‘I dunno,’ said Sandra, lifting her cup to her lips, with her left hand, complete with wedding ring and varnished nails that were faded, just like the cold cell; ‘but if it saves just one junkie, it’s worth all the hassle.’

© Stephen Cooper 2013 TF_INITIALS_LOGO

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