There’s a story I need to tell you

There’s a story I need to tell you.

The reason I need to tell you my story is because I need to highlight the fact that everything thing you do in life has an impact. Something along the lines of that stupid butterfly in the Pacific that flaps its wings and makes it rain here in Wales.

I was a very quiet kid. Almost mute in fact. It wasn’t until I was about 6 that I started conversing with people and that wasn’t out of choice. I didn’t swear until I was 14 years old and that was because my school friend Frank had an infection in his nipple and I accidentally said the word ‘tit’. When I realised that God hadn’t struck me down with lightning, I assumed it was safe to carry on swearing and haven’t looked back.

At the age of 14, I still didn’t enjoy talking to people but realised that I could reach people through writing. I started an informal school magazine that I’d write in felt tip pen and staple together. It contained such news stories as ‘Old man’s botched hip operation means he can now kick his leg up backwards and hit the back of his head — landing himself a star role in a Royal Variety Performance’. No idea where that story came from.

I called the magazine ‘Meekie Monthly’. Stick with me for this bit. There was a kid in our class called Lee who had lots of hair that made his head look big. For clarification, his head wasn’t big. His hair made his head look big.

A friend of ours remarked that he looked a little like the Mekon, a villain from the Dan Dare comics. ‘Mekon’ was converted to ‘meekie’ and the new magazine focused on stories of people with big heads.

Actually, it was just a pisstake of my good friend Lee. The magazine got me laughs and made me popular, albeit at my good friend’s expense. You see, I never showed Lee the magazine as I knew it’d upset him. I was getting cheap laughs at his expense. I was a coward.

A few years later, in Sixth Form College, Lee happened to see a copy of the magazine that I was still writing. He loved it but had no idea that he was the meekie that I’d based it all around. I was very relieved.

Fifteen years after we all left school and went our separate ways, Frank called me and asked it I fancied a pint. I agreed. Then Frank told me that Lee was coming. I hesitated.

‘I haven’t seen Lee since school,’ I said.

‘You’ll be ok,’ said Frank. ‘He still doesn’t know he was the meekie kid.’

I was very nervous as I walked into the bar. My jaw was clenched and my mouth was dry. But I had no need to worry. It was as if we’d never left school.

A few beers and a few hours past. As I went to take a sip of another cold beer, I clocked my workmate Mark walking past the window. I banged on the window and we waved. Then I ran outside to say hello. I’d told Mark a few months previous to this about my meekie magazines and I was excited to point out who was the inspiration behind it.

‘See that kid sat there in the window? That’s the original meekie.’

Mark looked unimpressed and his inabililty to talk properly made me realise that he was a bit worse for wear.

‘You coming to Flares?’ he asked, slurring his words. Flares was an 80s theme bar. Not my sort of thing.

‘Nah. We’re staying here thanks.’

Mark zig-zagged up the road and I headed back inside to my two friends.

A few hours later, we decided to head to another bar so headed out and up the street. Without warning, my workmate Mark popped out from down an alleyway and fell towards us, trying to zip up his trousers.

‘Just had a piss,’ he said proudly. I had no choice but to introduce him to my friends.

‘Mark — this is Frank.’

‘Hi Frank. I’m Mark,’ he said, offering his hand.

‘And this is Lee,’ I continued.

‘Ah. The meekie kid,’ said Mark.

I looked at Lee. Lee looked at me. I looked at Frank. He looked at Mark. Mark looked at me. I looked at Lee. He was still looking at me. I watched in slow motion as the penny dropped and our friendship crumbled there on the pavement.

A lifetime of friendship gone in an instant.

Mark made the wise decision to move on. Frank, Lee and I continued our walk in silence.

It wasn’t until the next bar that Lee confronted me about it.

‘I thought you were my friend,’ he said, looking at the floor. I felt awful. I bought him a few drinks and tried to explain that the magazine had started off as a pisstake but soon moved onto other things. He wasn’t buying any of it at first.

It was only when the bar was chucking out that he reluctantly accepted that I was still his friend and that it wasn’t as if the whole school knew he was the meekie kid apart from him. Which it was.

We decided to call it a night. The night hadn’t gone as well as we’d hoped and my friendship with Lee was left in tatters. We decided to cut down one busy lane and get a cab and go our separate ways once again.

As we were making our way through the drunken crowds, a van behind beeped and we turned around to see that it was a police van. The sort we called the Riot Box because its windows were all barricaded with mesh.

The van tooted again and moved to pass us.

All of a sudden, a copper stuck his head out of the window and shouted:

‘Oi! Move out of the…’

He never finished his sentence. At exactly the same time, we realised that this riot cop was in fact our friend Dave from school.

He shouted:

‘Oh my God! It’s Frank! It’s Paddy. And fuck me, it’s the meekie kid!’

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