Pickpockets, Boat Builders & LSD Takers – Excerpt from the Novel ‘Kicking Back Drunk’ by Paul Tristram

I hit the Full Moon looking for the boys, couldn’t find them.
I hit the Bluebell, no one about.
Hit the Duke, still no sign of anyone.
Then Spider walked out of the toilet.
“Aw right, Jack?”
“Alright, Spider?”
“D’wanna drink?” he asked.
“Aye, I’ll have a pint of dark, mate.”
“Right you are.” he grinned.
“Seen any of the boys about?” I asked.
“No, I wish I had. This place is fucking boring. I’ve
been amusing myself by spitting at Chin. Look at him. The
back of his leather jacket is soaking.”
“Aye, serve the cunts right.” I stated, “He’s like the
fucking pub prefect. The sooner someone fucks him up, the
We got our drinks and sat down. I walked to the jukebox
and put on ‘Do The Dog’ by The Specials, then returned
to my drink.
“Nice choice, Jack.” said Spider.
“Did you know they’ve got a Dogs D’amour album in that
“What?” I shouted.
“The fucking Dogs are in the building! Which album is it?”
“In The Dynamite Jet Saloon.” he replied.

“Oh yes, I want it, I want it all!” I said as I strutted
back over to the juke box.
I stuck in enough cash for the whole album, thirteen songs.
As I returned to my seat I shouted to Tasha, the daytime
“You get ‘A Graveyard Of Empty Bottles’ in that fucking
machine and I’ll live here.”
“You already do!” she shouted back and laughed.

I blew her a kiss and sat back down. Tasha came over and
put a double Jack Daniels down on the table in front of me,
then bent down and gave me a monster of a kiss.
I sat there stunned…..
Fuck me, I thought, as I watched her arse walking back to
the bar.
How the fuck did this work?
Last night I had slept with heartache and heaven all rolled
up into one. I survived, hit the Duke, met me mate Spider,
got a drink in, found out the Dogs D’Amour were playing in
the house. Then Tasha the fucking barmaid comes over and
eats my face, then puts a double whisky in front of me.
Normally when I’m on my own I can’t manage to scrounge
a drink or a friend.
This was unbelievable.
This was insane.
Any minute now, I thought, I’d be woken up in cell two, by
a big thick-as-shit, truncheon happy tit head saying ‘wake
up you drunken excuse for a man. You’ve been here for two
But I wasn’t.
I drank the double Jack.
Spider got up to get some more.
Fuck me, I couldn’t work it out, so I stopped trying.
Life was peculiar enough without me trying to dissect it, so
I didn’t.
I just sat back and smiled.
If this was Lady Luck, then I wanted a fucking triple.
Spider sat down.

“My missus has left me.” he said.
“Oh, bummer” I replied.
“No, I wanted her to go really.” he said.
“Oh, nice one then.”
“But I miss her. I can’t stop thinking about her.”
“Oh, sad one then.”
“But I am probably better off without her ain’t I?”
“It hurts, Jack, you know, but I feel free at the same
time, ya know?”
“Aye.” I replied.
“She’ll probably phone here any minute now, looking for
me or checking up on me.”
“Aye.” I replied.
“But she’s taking her fucking time… the bitch.”
“Do you think I should phone her up, Jack?”
“Fuck no!”
“Why the fuck not?”
“Well the fucking bar is open, innit?”
“Aye.” he replied.
“You’re a good friend, Jack. A good listener.”
“Aye.” I replied.
“I owe you one, mate.”
“Pint of Stella.” I replied.

He got up to go and get it. That was the hardest pint that
I’d ever earned.
I was becoming bored shitless.
I hoped the boys would arrive soon.
If it wasn’t for the ‘Dogs D’Amour’ I would have left as soon
as Spider started his shit. By the time the ‘Dogs D’Amour’
were playing ‘The kid from Kensington’, the boys appeared.
They bought themselves some drinks, came over and sat down.

“My missus has left me.” said Spider to Dai.
“F-f-f-f,” continued Dai.
“Aye, for pastures new.” interrupted Slag.
“F-f-fuck off.” said Dai angrily.
“I c-c-c-come here to f-f-fucking drink.”
“Enough said.” said Slave.
Spider took his leave.

“Thank fuck for that!” I exclaimed.
Spider was a good guy.
I liked him, but we all had women trouble of our own.
If we all sat around talking about it, well, there would
be no time left for drinking, now would there?
“Oi, Slag.” I said with a grin, “listen man.”
He did for a second or two, then leaped off his seat.
“The Dogs D’Amour are in the fucking building, alright.”
he cried.
Tasha the barmaid shouted over,
“That’s enough of that shit, Slag. Anymore of it and
you’re out on your arse.”
She winked at me and smiled.
I smiled back.
Slag picked up his pint, he looked bewildered.
Slave filled a glue bag and went off to the toilet.
“Is he back on that again?” I asked.
“Aye, he got his fucking giro this morning, didn’t he.”
replied Ethel.
“Oh great!” I exclaimed, “We’ll have his nobody loves
me but my pot of glue routine to listen to later on then.”
“Oh no we fucking won’t.” replied Ethel, “I’ll stick his
fucking glue bag over his head if he starts any of his shit
Slag started laughing.
His bewilderment seemed to have vanished with his first
mouthful of alcohol.
“Jack, do you know what happened when he went in to buy
the glue?” asked Slag.
“No, prey tell me.”
“Well,” explained Slag, “he keeps going into the same
shop to buy his stinking, fucking glue. So the lady turns
round today and says to him, ‘I don’t know if I should be selling
you all this adhesive jelly, you may be giving it to minors?’
Slave turns round and says, ‘Am I fuck, I need it all me
fucking self.’
‘I’m building myself a boat’ he continued.
‘Must be a big boat.’ she answers him, ‘You’ve been coming in
here for six years.’
‘Aye’ he says, ‘but it’s a fucking classic’.”

Everyone laughed.
I laughed so much that I nearly choked on my pint.
Dai got up to get a round.

“Tell us one of your stories, Slag?” asked Ethel.
“Oh, come on, I must have told you all of my stories
a hundred times or more.” replied Slag.
“There must be one or two you haven’t told us yet?” asked
Ethel hopefully.
“Tell him about the first time you took acid.” I advised Slag
“Oh, that was fucking horrible!” he exclaimed, his face
cringing as the memory came back.
“Why, what happened?” asked Ethel.
“Well,” began Slag,
“we were in the fourth year at comprehensive and
we were at Slater’s place in the Melyn. He was a school
friend of mine and Jacks. There were about eight of us and
I was the only one who hadn’t taken a trip before. Well,
anyway, I took it about eight o’clock at night, sat there
drinking and waiting, half an hour later it started.
Slater put the TV on and there was some crazy fucking
programme, like a dark musical or something impossible like
Everyone started laughing, really fucking laughing, mun, and
I just sat there feeling crazy, I was not laughing. The whole
scene was freaking me out.

I decided to go out for a walk to try and calm down a bit.
I walked to the shop on the corner and as I turned the corner,
Oh my God, there were police everywhere. I wanted to run
but I couldn’t.
I was about two foot away from them and they were looking
at me.
There was nothing I could do, mun. I swallowed down my panic
and walked past them into the shop.
I just kept thinking to myself, they know, everybody knows
I’m tripping. I can’t handle this.

When I got into the shop there were two policemen talking
to one of the girls behind the counter.
She looked at me, pointed and shouted,
“That’s one of them.”

I stopped in my tracks, halfway across the shop floor, mun.
I was fucking panicking. The two policemen started walking
towards me. I didn’t know what to do. I thought if one of
them touches me, my head’s going to blow up.
Shit, there were tears running from my eyes, but I wasn’t
crying, I was going insane.
I started screaming, ‘I only want some fucking smarties,”
over and over again. Just before the policemen got hold
of me, Jennifer came out of the back of the shop, her father
owned the shop. She was in my class at school, she shouted,
‘It’s not him. He’s Slag, I know him.’

The policemen turned, looked at each other and said, ‘Slag’,
giggled and walked back to the girl at the counter.
I picked up a tube of smarties and walked over to Jennifer,
‘We’ve just been robbed by some skinheads and you’ve got
that crew cut. Sian must have thought you were one of them.’

I put the smarties down on the counter and pulled my money
out of my pocket, it was mostly in pennies. I kept dropping
them and picking them up. The fucking things kept falling
through my fingers.
‘you can have the smarties for nothing, after that fright
we gave you’ Jennifer said.
‘No, I’m paying for them,’ I insisted. ‘I’m fucking paying for
them,’ I threw all the change in my hand onto the counter,
picked up the smarties and walked out of the shop.
As soon as I turned the corner, mun, I decided to grow my
hair, then I ran back to the flat.

When I got in, everyone was still rolling around laughing
at that stupid, fucking TV programme.
I told everyone what had happened and they all started laughing
at me instead of the TV programme.
That was it, I couldn’t stand anymore.
I ran out. I ran all the way up to the Melyn Woods and stayed
there all night, sitting under a tree, hiding, paranoid and
freaking out until I came down off the acid. It was now
about six in the morning. It was just getting light and the
first thing I noticed was that I still had the tube of smarties
clenched in my hand. I opened the tube but they were all
That’s how my first trip went.
The second one was better. I knew what to expect and I did it
in good surroundings, but that first fucker, what a bastard,
really frightening shit!”

“Fucking hell!” exclaimed Ethel.
His fear of LSD reaffirmed. You see, Ethel had only ever
done one trip and it frightened him to his very soul. He
sat and cried all night. Some people just can’t handle acid.
It makes their failings and weaknesses stand out painfully
in their minds. They become pathetic and stupid to themselves.

Ethel reckons tripping is like insanity. He still comes
picking mushrooms with us, but he doesn’t take any. He just
drinks and watches us taking them. Me, on the other hand,
I can take acid whenever I like. I’ve never had a bad trip.
I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, or am I?

Slave came out from the toilets, sat himself down and had
a sip of the warm, flat pint that he had left on the table.
He was no longer included in our rounds. He didn’t drink
much when he was sniffing that Devil’s snot.

“Tell us a story, Slave.” asked Ethel.
Slave thought for a moment.
Then coughed.
The fucking fumes from his breath nearly burnt our hair.
He was stinking.
“For fuck sake, keep those cigarettes away from him.”
I advised everyone.
“So how about a story, Slave?” Ethel asked again.
“Well.” said Slave.
“The dinosaurs never got paid as much as the zebra’s
and buffaloes for eating all that grass, so they gave up,
and that’s why they’ve become extinct.” he looked at us wisely,
filled another glue bag and returned to the toilet.
“Jesus Christ!” I exclaimed despairingly.
“We’ll be visiting him in a psychiatric ward if he keeps
sniffing that shit.”

Slag got up and went over to the pool table, there were two
girls playing. I didn’t recognise one of them but the other
one was Tracy something or other. Slag slept at her place
from time to time.
“How about a story, Jack?” asked Ethel.
“No!” I replied.
“One day but not quite yet, I’ll tell you a good one,
I’ll tell everyone it, I’ll tell it to the whole damned world
but meanwhile I’ve got a bit more drinking to do, so shut
the fuck up and get the drinks in, it’s your round!”
“Alright, alright.” he replied.

I sat there for a while, just looking about the Duke, watching
the people at their many games. There was lots of drunken
flirting going on.
The girls were flashing a bit of leg here, a bit of breast there,
laughing aloud at something their friend had just whispered
to them.
It was all crap really, all just a game. The friend had probably
only asked her for a cigarette but they all did this laugh,
they think it makes them look interesting and care free.
You always know when a girl fancy’s someone in a pub, she
stares in the bloke’s direction and gets her friends to ask
her for cigarettes, so she can laugh like a fucking mad woman.
It’s the first come on, most blokes don’t understand it,
they have to wait for the third or fourth come on.
Whenever me and the boys hear this laugh, we spin around
to see if it’s directed at us. Sometimes it is.

The blokes are the worst fuckers, standing around in groups
of two’s or three’s, straight as fucking lamp posts. Whipping
out their wallets and money whenever a nice girl goes to the
They walk up next to her and order an expensive drink,
flashing all that cash.
Sometimes the girls notice, sometimes they don’t but the
pickpockets (Oh, that’s us, by the way!),
we never miss a fucking trick.
The blokes are two shy to go up and talk to the girls, or
maybe they’re scared of rejection (sad isn’t it!). The laugh
that the girls insist on throwing at the blokes, doesn’t help
matters, it makes them even more nervous. So they all
resort to bumping into each other all night,
“Whoops, sorry!”
“We’ll have to stop meeting like this!”
“Whoops, sorry again!”
Then she hits him with the laugh to show him she’s interested
but of course it frightens the shit out of him. So there’s about
30 seconds of embarrassed silence and they go their separate
ways again. It’s pathetic.
The only time these blokes pick up the courage to chat up
girls is when they’re drunk, which isn’t very often, then ninety
per cent of the time they forget about the girl and start fighting
with their friends. Sad bastards.
Nobody’s had more rejections than Slag and nobody’s had more
women than Slag. What’s the point of being stuck on someone
for six months and not having said anything to them except for,
“Whoops, sorry!”
“We’ll have to stop meeting like this!”
“Whoops, sorry!”
It’s best to find out straight away or forget about her.

Then I started watching this guy. He didn’t look like he
belonged in the Duke, he looked like he belonged on a golf
course or something.
(And I don’t mean buried on one, although some of the fuckers
here looked just like that, especially that fucking Chin!)
These three girls were taking this poor fucker for a ride.
He was running back and fore to the bar, buying them doubles.
All the while their boyfriends were sitting across from them
grinning. It was going to be a cheap night for them. This other
poor fucker was greasing their girlfriend’s for them.
Then when he was skint the boyfriends would go over and reclaim
their girlfriends. Anyway, the poor fucker was dribbling and
drooling and running back and fore, he was like a dog with two
cocks about the place.
Sadly he wasn’t gonna be rewarded for his dedication.
Never mind, at least he was trying, I thought to myself, which
is more than can be said for some of the other cardboard
cut outs standing around, too scared to even try just in case
they ended up getting scammed by someone. He’d score, and pretty
soon, judging by his enthusiasm. Good luck to you poor fucker,
I thought, then I turned away and forgot about him.



paul smoking

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet. Buy his book ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/








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