Sally got sacked for bringing stray dogs to class, although she swears it was because she refused to wear shoes.
Chas got sacked for playing his guitar too much during lessons.
Duncey was a born-again Christian. He told his boss he would kill him with his love.
He got sacked.
Simon was living in an unfurnished flat. Correction. There was a mattress on one floor. His boss told him not to worry - she would do his washing. He did a runner at Christmas.
Ted is living in a flat with no windows. It's like an extended cupboard, minus the view. He's sitting opposite me, shaking. 'It just got worse,' he says, and bursts into tears. 'The landlord's painted it purple.' I order more rets.
'I need somewhere to plank a TV set,' says Garth. Garth is from Belfast. His boss has refused to give him his severance pay. Garth has kidnapped the appliances from his flat. 'He's got three days to pay up,' he says. 'Or the telly gets it.'
Garth is a dedicated jogger. I bump into him one evening. It's dark. He's in his shorts. He's sweating. 'What's with the big stick?' I ask. He raps the wood off the kerb and looks over his shoulder. 'Dogs, Andy,' he says. 'Dogs.'
The following evening. Garth is in his shorts, obviously off for a run. He's wielding the stick. He stops. 'Any dogs around?' he asks. Ah, I think. The dangers of jogging. 'Aye,' I say, and point back the way I've just come. 'You want to be careful, there's a pack of them...' I don't get to finish. He's off. In the direction of the dogs.
First night down the caff since I got back from Scotland. Tony's in. 'Have a good time?' he says. His eyes are bloodshot; he's had a few. 'Too right,' I tell him. 'Slap up Christmas dinner - all the trimmings. Hogmanay was a blast. Met up with some old friends and made lots of new ones. It was party time for two weeks. I'm glad I went. You?' Tony is glaring at me. 'I got sacked,' he says.
Scratch marks. They weren't mine. I tried to ignore it, but after a week the bar of soap looked like a stickle brick. I staked out the toilet. A rat came swimming out of the bowl and jumped onto the wash hand basin. I killed it with a shoe.
Moral: rats can swim and rats can jump, but they can't run faster than Doctor Marten.
Yanni brings me a bottle of Amstel and returns to his corner. I pour a glassful. It's flat. 'Yanni!' He comes over. 'There's no bubbles in this beer.' What a translator I am! Yanni picks up the bottle and peers at it. Then he puts his thumb over the end and gives it a good shake. He looks again. 'There's bubbles in it now,' he says. He places the bottle on the table and returns to his corner.
A junkie flops down at my table. He wastes no time putting the bite on. 'Gie us some money,' he says. It turns into a staring contest. Yanni comes over. 'He bothering you, Andy?' he asks. 'No,' I say. 'This is my new friend.' 'Oh, right,' Yanni smiles. The junkie smirks. 'Bring me a coffee,' he says. Yanni goes to the kitchen. The junkie stands up. 'Ah kent ye had money,' he says, and walks out.
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