Little Pork Pie Man
I see him again. In the supermarket. Little pork pie man. Always that two-tone hat. But it’s not The Selecter or The Specials leaching out the phones. I hear rawwwk. Whitesnake, I’m sure. First time I saw him was outside a pub at 2 in the afternoon. Part of a drunken circle that’s holding back some blubbering teenager with a bloody face who wants to go back inside and do some damage. Little pork pie man skulks on the fringes. A thin amphetamine arm snakes in. A nasty slap for the teenager and back out it snakes. Too fast for the kid to clock who did it. Pork pie man with a gleeful smile of tombstone browns, a smile to set the ladies on fire, 11pm as he patiently waits for the drunk for the lost for the sadly desperate to hate themselves just a little bit more…
Pork pie man’s holding up the queue. Knows it, indulges it. Talks loud, pretends familiarity with the till assistant. Says her name several times but it’s printed on her badge. They might have spoken once before. Enough to pique an interest, capeesh? He’s asked around, found out more, small-talk and gossip that now inevitably leads him to the most mistaken of conclusions. That she likes him. Thinks he’s cool. A character. For who other than a character would ask for four number 3 and six number 11 scratchcards? Dude’s a player. Gotta be in it to win it but those black trousers so shiny with over-wear shout you’ve gotta know when to quit. But little pork pie man’s a risk taker. A wink for the till-girl and off he swaggers.
I follow him out. He crosses the road. Already furiously scratching his cards. We turn up a lane, every few steps he drops a card that I pick up. One by one until all ten are gone. He decides to punch a tree then slumps down on a bench. I sit down beside him. Shuffle the cards in my hand. He looks at me. You dropped these. I hold them out. He looks at me with genuine innocence. Not mine mate. You got me mixed up with someone else. And little pork pie man smiles, slowly runs two bloody fingers along the brim of his hat.