A while ago I did a poll asking what you would like to know. The winning entry was the Badger (me) meeting the Clopper (the wife ska angelhands).
So settle down with a good mug of tea, adjust your eye wear and prepare yourself for an epic adventure involving drugs, debauchery, mysticism and more loose ends than a wall of shelves put up by stegzy….Now read on….
Part 2. The Favour
Christmas 1996. I was on the dole living in a flat off Smithdown Road above a fishing tackle shop recovering from the aftermath of the Teana debacle. I had few good friends, no girlfriend and waning ambition. I had just met up with Ray after a few months of no contact.
“I need you to do me a favour mate” he said.
Ray’s favours normally meant bad things or something that would only benefit him. I took the bait like a hungry shark.
“There’s this girl I work with mate…she’s doin me head in. I think you an’ her would get on really good kidda but she’s just in me face all the time. I need you to take her off me hands like”
Take her off me hands – “Well cheers Ray. Thanks a lot” I thought. Was I only good as a clearer upper? Someone to dump baggage on? My self-esteem was not its best anyway and I thought it could do with a boost. Besides, I could use this to my advantage and maybe meet some new people. Christmas came and went and I was still to meet this girl. February approached and I had a visitor. It was Ray.
“Hey mate. Remember that bird I was tellin’ yer about? I need you to take her off me hands mate…she’s really on top lah! Doin’ me head in. If I set you up on a date would that be alright?”
I said it would be. I reminded Ray that it was 2 months since he asked me to “assist him” with his “favour” and that I wasn’t keen on waiting another two months. He kept to his word, with in a week he’d arranged a meeting. Nothing special. We’d “meet as mates so as not to arouse suspicion” and take it from there. He also told me to try not to make her laugh because her laugh was “bloody awful” and tended to “grate” on Ray’s nerves.
It was in the Finch & Firkin (previously the Brookhouse, laterly called The Scream now more of a Youth Club than a pub but called The Brookhouse again), it was a chilly February night. Present were myself, Ray, somebody else and this girl. I say girl, more of a woman. She was dressed in a mixture of violet and black. Shortish, nose pierced with a stud, longish hair and a lovely cheeky smile. She also had a bizarre accent. Voluptuous. Yes…thats the word…voluptuous.
“Ah stegzy! Nice of you to join us.” greeted Ray “This is Clair who I work with.”
The evening went well. We got chatting and soon established we both had a love of ancient monuments, weird goings on, supernatural things and bizarre theories on esoteric stuff. It was soon established that Clair was studying Sociology at the University of Liverpool, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire and very spiritual. Midway through the evening Ray made an excuse and cleared off leaving me with Clair. We really were getting on fantasticly. It was electric. You could feel the buzz between us and more. We swapped numbers and I agreed to show here where my flat was and where there was the remains of a local standing stone in the Wavertree Mystery (a local park/sports ground/playing field place. It’s called the Mystery because it is a mystery who bequeathed the land to the people of Liverpool….or so the story goes).
So in the clear February night we examined the little known stump of the Mystery Park’s boundary stone. Clair said a little prayer and we held hands over the stone and kissed.
But there’s more to this story. Our relationship grew but in a strange way. I wasn’t introduced to her pals and we kept our relationship under wraps at her request. We kept it casual, nothing too strong. We did drugs together. We did the funky thang together. We smoked dope and talked bollocks together. Then she got ill with salmonella. Her gran fell ill and died. My suspicious mind worked overtime. Were these excuses? Was she trying to avoid me? Eventually I got to see her again after a month of non-contact. It was May 1997. She asked me to meet her for a drink in town as there was something she wanted to discuss.
We met in Lennon’s Bar in Matthew Street. A favourite haunt of mine. I kind of knew what was coming.
“We need to talk” she said. Those 4 words making my heart sink with every syllable.
To Be Continued