|Cleethorpes Pier ©Tracey Edges|
Friday, 22 June 2012
PIGY 4 – The Return Visit, A Few Bruises and the Swimming Lesson
I was beginning to wonder why I just didn't move to Cleethorpes and have done with it.
Maybe P I G Y should have been called P I C L P S, after all, as I didn’t seem to be spending much time in Grimsby – apart from living there. Hmm – ok – I was there quite a lot of the time then and P I C L P S was a bit of a mouthful stuffed with candy floss, a sugar dummy and a couple of doughnuts.
Needing to get around a bit I succumbed to the painful luxury of diesel consumption and parking machine feeding and took down the car keys, off the hook.
The dogs looked hopefully at their leads. Six big eyes pleaded “Beach...beach...beach...” but I couldn’t take them as it was far too hot to leave them in the car. I heard Maude loudly protesting as I drove away. I stopped out of sight but as soon as I was out of sight she stopped.
I picked up Ally, who was looking slightly hooker-ish in a short skirt and peeking out tummy button, posing on the corner by People’s Park.
“You looked slightly hooker-ish,” I said.
“You’re only jealous,” she said.
“I know,” I said and stuck my bottom lip out.
As I slowly drove along Alexandra Road, I looked up at Ron Gilbert’s drab flat. It didn’t look any different to the other day when we’d called round on our fruitless mission to introduce ourselves. The paint still peeled, the windows still needed a clean and the aroma was of tired, over-fried oil. It was so pungent it curled and wisped its way across the road and in through the open car window.
“If we have time, shall we have another go to see if he’s in? Doesn’t look like he is though,” Ally suggested.
“He could be lying on the floor, in his underpants and socks, with a big bag of Doritos, reading Dostoyevsky as far as we can tell from here,” I retorted.
“True,” she said and stuck her bottom lip out.
We nipped to the Boating Lake and said a quick hello to Jaime, in the Discovery Centre, where she said:
“Have a lovely, but monumentally huge and very pink cupcake oozing with calories.”
“No no,” we said
“Go on, go on,” she said
“Okaaay, okaaay. Yum yum,” we mumbled through exquisite crumbs and swirled icing.
While still wiping our mouths, our tops and broggling down our respective cleavages, with the odd yelp of pleasure when one or other of us found a piece of cake-treasure, we walked alongside the boating lake. Geese, ducks, coots and swans all parted to let us through, how polite of them, and we tried our best not to slip on the lethal white poo that plastered the pathways. I didn’t think that was very polite of them. Surely they could have gone and used a bush, as there were plenty about.
We found the poo-free bush-residence of George and his family and then, in the nearest part of the lake, the family themselves. It looked like it was swimming-lesson time. I wondered what they got for successfully accomplishing a lap or two. I shouldn’t think it was an oval, frog sew-on badge. I gave them all some seed and hoped they’d all done well enough to warrant the reward.
My Mother, had reached that age where she didn’t just fall over – no she had the far more dramatic, ‘HAD A FALL’ with its more dramatic guilt-inducing-overtones of; I could have broken something.../be in hospital now.../died... and I wouldn’t have done that if you visited me more than once a fortnight....Have you built that luxury Granny-annexe for me yet?
I made us all mugs of tea while she showed us her multifarious bruises. I’m sure going to the cinema would have been more visually gratifying, but unfortunately we had driven straight past the multiplex and came here instead. It was all played out in super Technicolor though.
Varying shades of yellow, red and blue snazzed up the mass of black on various body parts, which she insisted on revealing while we tried to pretend to sympathetically look and not too visibly shake with horror and disgust. You needed to be of stern stuff to come round here.
“Ooh June, they are really nasty,” Ally gurned sympathetically. It was always handy to know that Ally could pull a good face when the need arose. I speed-walked into the kitchen.
“Anyone for biscuits?” I yelled, usefully.
By the time I returned, snail-walking in this direction, all sleeves had been pulled down, trouser legs unfurled and tops smoothed down too. God, was I relieved. I was so relieved I ate 3 chocolate digestives I didn’t even want.
We were once again at the top of the rickety wooden stairs, peering through the grimy kitchen window of Ron Gilbert’s flat. We had steeled ourselves for the flying missile cat but this time she just sat in the middle of the kitchen floor, mewling plaintively and staring up at us with sad, big, green, eyes.
I think that we both felt that something was amiss and frowned at each other, wondering what to do next.
We had asked around a bit, both in this vicinity and among people we knew, but they had either never heard of him or not seen him for while.
“Go on – try the handle,” Ally suggested as she stood back and angled herself behind me.
“Thanks for that, Ally,” I snarled and frowned a bit more. I stopped frowning and hastily rubbed between my eyes. I may not think much to Botox or anything else that some people felt compelled to squeeze into themselves but it didn’t mean I actually wanted the Grand Canyon to appear on my forehead either. Really must remember not to frown.
It was a little stiff but the unlocked handle went down and I slowly opened the door a crack.
“Jesus Christ what the hell is that stink?” I cried, as I backed swiftly up and nearly sent Ally flying off the steps with my oversized arse.
“God knows,” she gasped as she clung onto the rail, desperately trying to find a pocket of seemingly elusive, fresh sea air to suck in.
The problem with hot weather is that you don’t tend to have useful items, like scarves, with you, so we both had to hitch up our tops to cover our noses. In Ally’s case that meant that barely (appropriate word that) anything else was covered now either and made the tummy button look seem almost demure. Thankfully my top was decently long so I wasn’t at risk at scarring the cat for life.
Bracing ourselves we tiptoed in. I had the urge to kick the door hard and jump in pretending I had a gun at arm’s length, prancing about from side to side looking for possible assailants. However, tip-toeing it was – more like giant church mice than Dempsey and Makepeace.
The door led straight into the unkempt kitchen and I looked for the source of the revolting smell. I presumed it was hot weather, un-emptied bin but it was a very sweet and sickly smell like nothing I’d ever smelled before. My tummy turned like it was going down a helter skelter without me.
The cat mewled and rubbed itself around our ankles before disappearing through the slightly open doorway to what I presumed must be the sitting room. Continuing in creeping slowly mode, we crept slowly towards the door. I pushed it open not at all expecting to see what lay on the other side.
It was a long, narrow, knocked-through room with the far end window framing an expansive, beautiful view of the pier Gardens, the Pier itself and the Humber Estuary. This side of the window was considerably less beautiful.
The room was full. Packed high with boxes of varying sizes, some shoe boxes and some appliance boxes and all sizes that came between. Scattered among them were hundreds of cheap whisky bottles. Gilbert certainly went for quantity over quality. Keeping up with the box theme were loads of used pizza boxes with green furry remnants of takeaways past clinging to them for dear multiplying life.
The mess spoke volumes to the sad, post pier-incident life of Gilbert and I very much doubted his tendency to read Dostoyevsky, but the interior design was certainly a crime that deserved a punishment.
Where was he though? He wasn’t in the small bedroom, which only contained a single, un-made bed as a relief against the same box and bottle accessorizing. Seriously – if you are going for a theme at least arrange it artistically.
The tiny, rhymes with grimy, shower-room was also empty except for a stub of deodorant stick, a sliver of cracked soap, a grey flannel and a toothbrush with splayed out brush. No toothpaste though.
“Tracey, come here, NOW!” Ally’s voice quivered from the sitting room. A few strides and I was there, next to her; also, looking down at the foot sticking out from the Candy Automatic Washing Machine box. It was ratty and old and frayed. The box that is, not the foot. Although I did feel that the description was possibly not that far removed from the reality of Gilbert, himself.
“Oh, shit!” I cried, forgetting to hold my top over my nose. The sweet stench of rotting body shot up my overly sensitive olfactory orifice just as Ally threw up. That did it – I also threw up and the two of us, rather noisily, heaved into a Weetabix outer. Why we were conscious of not making a mess I have no idea – too bloody polite for our own good. We even managed to puke as politely as possible.
Once our stomachs stopped behaving like we’d been on the Waltzers for three hours, being spun relentlessly by the obligatory manic, inevitably spotty, ego-enhanced, youth, I scooped up the cat and we backed out of the room and through the kitchen – just in case he’d turned into a zombie and would follow us if we turned our backs to him. Once outside, with the entrance door closed I gave Ally the too skinny cat and got my mobile out.
The police came speedily with blue lights ablaze and sirens screeching – presumably in case Gilbert had turned into that zombie and was going to try to escape.
It was supposed that the likely cause of death was nutritional self-abuse. The diet of whisky and pizza not being the best overall, for longevity. Why all the boxes? That was a mystery that even Scooby-Doo was unlikely to be able to solve.
PIGY had found its first missing person/body and, to be a teeny bit selfish about it, now had the monopoly on Investigations in Grimsby and Cleethorpes. We tried not to celebrate (as that would be very wrong) but did raise our nerve-quelling pints of Willy’s Best to poor old Gilbert and hoped that he was getting reacquainted with his prostitute lover, with the presumably ghostly-wobbly neck, wherever he had ended up.
Ally introduced the cat to Capt. PUGwash and, after a bit of power-circling, they snuggled together in his bed and instantly became best of friends. Out of respect for Gilbert and his lover, as well as Ally’s navel, the cat was affectionately named Hooker.