Gamble

Tonight I’m wound tighter than a watchspring
‘Cos when the skies are clear, the threat of rain is always here with you
Everything you say is a call to arms
With all that’s gone before my motives never felt so pure.

Christ, it still hurts. Every time I move my bloody arm I can feel the sting in my elbow like some bugger is stabbing a biro in to me. Who’d’ve thought that banging your arm off a table would hurt so much?

Well it probably wouldn’t – and actually it didn’t as it happens.

But who’d admit to their workmates that their bird regularly twats them. With an iron, or a toaster, or in fact any nearby household object that can be easily hurled with intent to hurt?

No real man that’s for sure. I don’t know why I stand for it – I really don’t. It’s not as if she gets all guilty and apologises after. Rather than promise to never do it again she insists that next time it will be much fucking worse and that I fucking better get used to it. Five foot five of pure devilry, that’s what she is.

It could be over anything, leaving the milk out, or the time I told her mother to fuck off out of our relationship. The interfering bitch is always sticking her nose in where it doesn’t belong and (ha ha) get this, that if I ever lay a finger on her she’ll come down on me like a ton of bricks. Once my wife threw a brick at my head while we were in the garden. Nice eh?

One summer a few years back I was out in the garden trying to build my own shrine to burnt sausages when she stepped out of the kitchen and started screaming at me. She was accusing me of staring at the woman next door. I said, ‘what are you on about? She’s on holiday’.

Naturally she kicked off saying I seem to know everything about her holiday plans and that I stare at her tits whenever I see her. I walked away to the far end of the garden hoping she would go back inside and leave me alone. Instead the mad bint lobbed one of the bricks I was using to knock up my tidy little barbecue area. Luckily all it did was scrape my shoulder and bounce off around the fuschias near my feet. I turned and glared at her but she was in the house already. I lifted the brick up, stared at it for a few seconds weighing up whether I should stove her face in, then placed it back on the pile of bricks ready to be laid at a later point.

I know tonight’s gonna be a big one. One fucking mistake, albeit a pretty big one. She’s going to fucking kill me. You see about six months ago we had a huge row. She ended up belting me across the face with the house phone and shattered my nose because I left the front door unlocked.

I stayed at a hotel for a few days. The only company I had was my debit card which I use to pay off bills and such like. While I was away on the first night I went down to the casino in the basement of the hotel and played a bit of roulette and won big. I took a grand! Fucking brilliant!

So the night after I refused to answer any of her calls, pulled a sickie from work and immediately went to the casino at ten in the morning. I was the only fucker In there at first. I had to wait an hour for a beer and even longer until someone came to the roulette table. I was in no rush so I didn’t complain.

Instead, rather cleverly, I handed over all the money I had in my account in a vain attempt to win big again. At four in the afternoon I departed the casino and the hotel two thousand pounds lighter. I walked back home shell-shocked, looking like shit, I must’ve looked so pathetic she just actually gave me a hug when I arrived home and made me a cup of tea.

She’ll be home very soon. She knows what I did because I told her just before she left for work. I told her and she stood motionless, incandescent with rage. But she had a very important meeting at work and she departed without saying a word.

I watched her walk to the bus stop across the road from our house. She stood at the bus stop seething with rage until the bus turned up. I stood in the window just fascinated by that angry, beautiful woman. You see the problem wasn’t that I lost the money. It was what the money was for that I made the bigger mistake.

The money that went to the casino should have gone to the government to pay for road tax. However, I had no way to pay it as I had no money and I could not get any more. I had a holiday to pay for and I thought that I could enjoy a week in the sun without the hassle of being back home. She’s always on her best behaviour abroad. That’s possibly why I keep saying we should emigrate. Actually there’s no possibly about it – I see it as the best way to keep her from hurting me.

So yesterday I was driving along when the police pulled me over around the corner from my house. It wasn’t good news. Combined with my unpaid parking tickets and numerous points on my license and the tax disc expiring six months ago, the police made the decision to seize the car and have it crushed.

Bollocks was the word I said then. And one I keep repeating now.

Bollocks.

She will be home any minute, my muscles ache with apprehension and my mouth is dry and already tastes of blood. In my hands I hold a rolling pin. I’m getting the first shot in today and the bitch is going to feel a bit of what I’m going through. Outside I hear the bus pull up and the doors open. I can sense she’s getting off the bus, an sense of impending barbarity surrounds me like an aura, this time she won’t hurt me.

The door opens. She walks in and looks at me with eyes that Satan himself would admire. I drop the rolling pin on the floor and it rolls away from me as my strength ebbs away. She walks towards the rolling pin and picks it up. She looks at me and smiles. Then she saunters towards me lightly tapping her leg with the pin…

by Martin O’Brien based on Marblehead Johnson – The Bluetones

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