This is the 2nd of a Trilogy of Leon’s Journey through the madness of his addiction. From Erdington to Primrose Tower… To his Last Stop. Click on the titles to read them or the links will feature at the end of this story along with a link to Leon’s Art Gallery.
Trigger Warning: Contains coarse language, sex, drug use with paraphernalia and homelessness.
As I have stated previously, I don’t pay too much effort to edit Leon’s writing. He writes with pen and paper and I think it would be a crime to take out the character of his storytelling by trying to make it the Queens English.
When your mum and dad say ‘no more, you’re a gonner’. So I say, ‘I’ll show ya, I’m a big man now’. With my worldly possessions in a black bag, hanging out of my hands, off I trot, to the local neighbourhood office. I go down ‘The Fold’ and when I get there, they’re saying ‘appointments only, come back tomorrow morning at 8:30am when we’re open’.
It was a red rag to a bull. I pull one of my legendary temper tantrums. Everyone’s running around like blue arse flies. My final finale was when I pointed to the woman that works there and said, ‘I know your daughter, and where she lives, up Hawkesley Estate’. I say ‘Don’t worry, my mate’s got a tent, and I’ll put it up in your front garden for the night’. With that I go out for a fag and see who’s in the bookies, my local hangout.
I think ‘I might need a maid, or a girlfriend, one that I can keep hold of for more than 5 minutes’. So I meet this lunatic that was smoking crack. Lovely jubbly.
I’m telling anyone that will listen that ‘Them lot’ have made me homeless. I go back into the neighbourhood office, and this fat little red-faced bloke says ‘We do have a property in Primrose Tower’ I say ‘Well I was thinking more along the lines of a 2-bed garden semi?’. He laughs and offers me a lift up so we can have a look. Off to the tower of gloom. I’m on the 5th floor, facing Redditch Road and I’m off scrounging for furniture and anything that I can get my grubby mitts on.
Managed to get a bed and someone’s TV so I was good to go. I think ‘I might need a maid, or a girlfriend, one that I can keep hold of for more than 5 minutes’. So I meet this lunatic that was smoking crack. Lovely jubbly. I would like one of your finest coca-cola can pipes please.
Next thing I know, I’m acting like a crackhead. The lunatic girlfriend got 11 years, out for 2 months, and my mate got another 11 years for his crack habit. Crack stories are another book. Not a short story.
I met a lovely Irish girl with the sweetest smile. So I stopped the crack and the pills, the pussy and parties. We did do that so well for so long, and it was ace. She made me smile and had a body a man would fight to the death over. She worked in a bank and loved her job and family and her two brothers were two of the funniest, honest scallies I know.
The brothers from the far off place, Frankley. My son is named after Kathy’s brother. He got 13 years for apparently chopping off a hand in a pub fight. He was found not guilty after 9 years of intense fighting the criminal justice system.
A Holiday To Remember…
We went on holiday one summer. Kathy says ‘I know this lovely BnB in Torquay on the South Coast.’ Off we go to Torquay for a week of sunshine, moonshine, pills and pot…a very chilled week. We get welcomed by Morticia out of the Addams Family, grumpy old slapped-ass face, shows us our room. So the coach from Brum was long, let’s lie down.
We were on each other like panthers ripping clothes off and making a whole heap of noise. So we head out to the pubs, clubs, dancing, drinking, you get the idea. The last night is on us…two lovers walking down the beach at 4 o clock in the morning, looking for somewhere to play hide and seek. Remember, we are full of E’s, speed, weed and drink.
I see these beach huts, so I kick the door off, just being noisy and drunk. There was nothing in that one, so ‘next one please’. Kathy is saying something like ‘That old geezer with the dog was watching you’. So I shout, ‘Look at this, baby!’ Then there’s a blowup boat or a dinghy, I should say. Kathy’s reminding me that the man walking his dog has seen me. I shout again ‘He can watch my white ass!’ and off into the sea we go.
I go into James Bond mode, underwater swimming. I’m thinking it looked piss-easy in the films. So under (the water) I go. My lungs start to stop.
We paddle out into the sea, full of love, booze and drugs. We were having a right laugh at the old boy with his dog. Now, three cop cars are on the road, so I’m saying we should paddle away towards the cliffs. Only now, there are at least 7 to 10 cop cars on the beach, with full beams on their Montegos.
So… they know where we are. Kathy’s shouting at me and now I’m panicking, thinking ‘This is getting out of hand’. I look behind me at what Kathy’s screaming about, and it’s only the RNLI (Lifeboat) with a spotlight bigger than anything I’d seen in my life, absolutely blinding. Them boats are fucking big as well when you’re in the sea trying to swim away!
Then I see another shining ‘star’ above me. I’m getting cold and tired at this point, ten minutes in the sea at 5 o’clock in the morning with a helicopter above and a boat winching up my darling banker. All I remember was her brown, size five Rockport boots, walking up the side of the RNLI boat that was full of coppers.
I’ve got the helicopter to deal with so I go into James Bond mode, underwater swimming. I’m thinking it looked piss-easy in the films. So under I go. My lungs start to stop, my Stone Island jumper is like a lead balloon wrapped around my sorry cold ass. I get to the rocks, thinking, ‘Sweet, just a little climb and I’m away’. I get about two minutes grace as I reach up to a rock and feel a handcuff wrap around my wrist.
This copper and his oppo were just waiting for lily-white-ass to come straight to them. They know the territory. So I’m gently dragged by my hair or sometimes my handcuffs down this cliff towpath to the circus waiting on the beach. The star of the show, yes, me. Wet, bleeding, bruised, cut to bits, nearly drowned three times in 45 minutes. I was officially in the shit, wet and suffering with pneumonia.
My solicitor told me the cost and all the shit they had to go through with my stupid fantasy of making love in a dinghy.
My jaw was going like I’d had 3 grams of whiz. When the coppers got me to the cars all parked on the beach, like Blackpool Pleasure Beach on carnival day, they throw me into the back seat of the Montego, the police car of choice at the time. Shit. So as my head is in the middle of the back seat facing down, I hear a voice, and he says, who the fuck put that sorry wet Brummy in my car?
At that, I feel 2 hands around my ankles, my hands are cuffed behind my back, so my jaw was the first contact with the floor. That was the last of the sand and blood because I think I could have blacked out there. I remember going down lanes very first, a fucking convoy of old bill, back to base to show the catch of the day, moi.
The coppers are all high on adrenaline and I’m, well, I’m alive. I know no copper wants someone to die on their watch, murder investigations are big business. They don’t stop. One copper says ‘You’re fucking lucky the undercurrents didn’t take you’.
I have landed at my ‘hotel’. I know they will have doctors there, I’m dying, cut, bruised, pneumonia, sand in my eyes, and I’m not drunk anymore. So there must be 10-15 coppers standing at the booking desk, I think what a nice welcoming community, but I see the fear in their eyes. That they’re relieved that I’m alive because 20 minutes into the sea rescue, they believed that I’d been taken by the undercurrents, and my next stop would have been France.
I stand in the middle and shout ‘Come on then you bastards, let’s ‘ave it!’ They look at me like I’m a madman, reincarnated from a demise in the sea.
So I’m in a cage, in front of the Sergeant’s desk. I’m going mad like an animal, trapped in this cage. I’m very cold and I’m shaking. I’m screaming abuse at all of them. So they won’t give me a towel or a blanket, they give me a white jumpsuit made of bog paper. I start going nuts again, headbutting the bars, spitting at them, every horrible thing I could think of, to every one of the police officers that just saved my life.
I cost the taxpayer near £30,000 for the boat, helicopters, divers on standby. My solicitor told me the cost and all the shit they had to go through with my stupid fantasy of making love in a dinghy.
I’m put in the cell with my white bag suit, that’s ripped just under my balls, so my flute and Donegals are in the wind. The police thought that was a great laugh when the bag ripped. I start banging my wet Stone Island jumper off the door, making a loud booming sound down in the cells at 6 o’clock in the morning, so all the inmates were up and ready for their day.
One shouts ‘I’ll kill you if you don’t stop banging’, so I do some more shouting. ‘You country bumpkin muppets, I’ll kill the lot of ya’ blah blah blah. About 8 o’clock there’s breakfast in the cells. I see an old woman cleaner through my hatch and I ask her ‘Have you got a fag please?’. She tells me I’m mad and gives me a fag, but no light, and scoots off with her mop.
Burglary times three sounds nasty. Arson, however, sounds like a long time in some far off prison near a cold clifftop.
The morning Seargeant is handing out breakfast, he’s not too pleased, I’m a big headache. He growls and barks at me, something, and then kicks the food through my door, and boom, it’s shut. I shout ‘I need a fucking light!’. He shouts ‘There’s no exercise until after breakfast, and you won’t want to come out with this lot that you kept up all morning, shouting abuse for hours’. I said ‘Do you think I’m scared of this load of muppets?! I’ll KO the lot of them!’
So after breakfast, they are taking trays out and a bit of yard walking, and I mean a yard. It was a cage in the middle of this old police station, backyard style. So I’m last and the sergeant is laughing at me, saying, ‘Are you sure you want to go out there with that lot?’. I tell him to open the door and we’ll see what happens. Out I bop, wet Rockport boots, sweating in my white suit ripped at the balls. I stand in the middle and shout ‘Come on then you bastards, let’s ‘ave it!’
They look at me like I’m a madman, reincarnated from a demise in the sea. One of the guys with a bad gash across his nose and eye says ‘Sit down and relax man, we thought you was dead. The radios in the police station were all about an air sea rescue at 4am in the morning, with you in the middle of it trying to escape’.
So now I’m the centre of attention, with me telling the boys about my near James Bond escape. We go back in and Seargeant simple Simon says ‘they’ are here now, the big guns. I think, ‘What the fuck is this simple cunt going on about?’ Then I see my solicitor, he’s got a cheap blue suit on and red socks, the fat prick, but we will do what we can with this idiot saying ‘Everything’s going to be tickety boo’.
Kathy is waiting for me in reception, all dry and looking like she’s had a great night’s sleep.
That’s who I get that saying off, fatty boom boom. He tells me they want to do me for: burglary times three; attempted arson (trying to get a light in the huts I left the gas on); theft of a conveyance (a bloody dinghy); theft of an oar (lost at sea) and shipping line offences, if I was another 100 metres towards France. The costs of £10,000 for RNLI rescue mission plus the expense of the helicopter looking for me for nearly an hour is what eventually totalled the big 30k.
Torquay and Birmingham had played football there 2 weeks ago and caused havoc, smashing up pubs, people, police, shops. So they already weren’t my number one fan, me being a BCFC supporter. I also might have had a little bit of ganja, only a three sheeter, but this hotshot new boy made it into a big deal. Whereas I know the Seargeant would have just put it in the bin, instead of having the paperwork with a drugs charge.
The two CO’s were looking like they had four dicks between the two of them. Burglary times three sounds nasty. Arson, however, sounds like a long time in some far off prison near a cold clifftop. So I’m starting to think quick. I got charged with criminal damage to one beach hut, possession of a Class B and theft of a conveyance/dinghy. Three charges, sounds about right.
So, as we are scoffing our faces, I stop and feel a trickle down my leg.
Kathy is waiting for me in reception, all dry and looking like she’s had a great night’s sleep. The coppers dried her clothes, gave her hot chocolate, and the full VIP. I’m in the cell with pneumonia, dying, in the nick thinking I could get 5 or 6 years. We go back to the BnB, Morticia had locked the door, so we ring the bell and she answers the door with our bags packed and throws them on the street with a newspaper.
Frontpage headline: ‘Man Escaping Air-Sea Rescue’ I’d hit the big time, the Torquay Times front page. Also, a place on page 15 about how well the police treated me. So me and Kathy walk off to the coach station, we miss the one that we’d booked for that morning, this coach only goes to another town. Then in the morning, we’d have to get the coach to Brum. We have to find a BnB for the night.
Sorted one. Me and Kathy get a feed by this woman who was like a cooking machine rolling out cakes and sandwiches. So, as we are scoffing our faces, I stop and feel a trickle down my leg. I’m shitting myself. I run up the stairs, Kathy behind me, being sick. I’m on the bog with diarrhoea, and Kathy’s in the sink puking up. The woman must’ve thought we were a right pair of fruitcakes.
We stayed in that toilet I think all night. Wiped us both out. And we had a 5-hour coach journey back to Brum at 8:30am. I’m going through the horrors, my ass was on fire all the way back to Primrose Tower.
The Chaos Of Home
Me and Kathy came to an end and I started where I left off with my old lover, crack cocaine and the next thing I know, my gaff is a full-blown crack and smack flat. Drinking, fighting, police, criminals and low lives of Poole Farm, Hawkesley and Primrose. The three estates. My gaff was one of the first that the Yardies from Balsall Heath and Handsworth would drop a parcel off.
1994 and my life was going downhill pretty quick…
So I was telling people how much money they could earn off selling this herbal shit to the general public if you don’t have that first pipe, otherwise, it’s off to the moon you go. So I’m the middle man now for the crack. 1994 and my life was going downhill pretty quick, free crack, but how the hell do you come down from this? Bungee jump, few lines of brown (heroin), lovely jubbly. With gas, alcohol, crack, brown and some dope. I have the perfect addition in the post, all over me like a snide coat off Del Boy.
Now the kids I’m selling the stuff to are going mad, bookies, dealers, shops, Post Offices, everything is getting robbed with guns and tie-ups. The old bill are on overtime. So I stop being the middle man for a load of crack lunatics smoking their own supply. A few of my friends were getting big sentences for some very stupid and serious crimes.
So my Primrose bolt hole had half asleep dribbling junkies outside and inside now rather than with gun-toting Yardies selling crack.
So I jumped on the smackhead train. Go out grafting, shoplifting, thefts and opportunistic crimes. I only had to earn £20 a day instead of £200 for crack. So my Primrose bolt hole had half asleep dribbling junkies outside and inside now rather than with gun-toting Yardies selling crack. My local wine merchant and smack dealer are all within a five-minute walking distance.
One night went out exploring the estates, on the rob and I find a sledgehammer in the back of a pickup truck. I think ‘This might be handy, going straight through the storeroom walls of shops’. My first victim of the sledgehammer is the outdoor (Off Licence) I’m thinking ‘Booze and fags’. Believe it or not, it’s hard work trying to smash a big enough hole for you to get in and start looting, but after a good hour, I had a hole in the bog.
I’m in, I open the bog door and the place lights up like a Christmas tree, bells, the lot.
To Be Continued…For Part Two: Primrose Tower click here.
You can follow Leon’s journey of the madness of his addiction and how he found his way back in his other stories:
You can also see Leon’s Art Gallery by clicking here.