Puddle of Piss
It was a warm, sunny early summer Sunday afternoon. I’d had the day off work, so I had spent the last few hours in a pub garden with some friends, and I was looking forward to purchasing a heart valve blocking, very cheesy sandwich from Subways and eating it sprawled out in front of my television. After saying mygoodbyes I wandered out of the pub doors and surveyed the quiet town square in front of me. I like the town I live in, even though it can be a little bitrough and there are a distressing amount of beauty salons dotted around. I was happy and contented on this day, so when I spied a learner of mine over the road standing on a doorstep I gave a jaunty little wave. Possibly in the style of a spunky heroine in a musical, I can’t be sure
I will take a moment to explain a little. I work as a volunteer tutor for adults in a charity near me. Ihave now done it for about two and a half years. When the following events occurred I had been in the role for a little over two months, which goes a way to explain the utter naivety I was still in possession of. The student I hailed with a flick of my wrist was one of the more challenging learners, a woman who greatly dislikes change and will provoke all new members of staff. It’s a hazing of sorts, and I had passed her tests with a mixture of smiling, biscuits and ignoring her. She was now beginning to thaw towards me.
She waved back, and beckoned me over. Acceptance! My heart sang, how lovely. I wandered over to her and said
“All right” she responded “What are up to?”
“Well I’m headed home actually, I’m going to have a nice quiet evening. How are you?”
“Come in for a lemonade” She demanded
Well now, what was I supposed to say to that? I’d already let on that I wasn’t busy, and if I pretend that I was meeting someone she would have soon see me walk past alone clutching my sandwich. I was stuck in that terrifying grey area of politeness versus selfish wants
“Well….” I said, stalling
“Come on” She pushed
Okay, what harm could a quick lemonade do? I’m crap at lying, and it’s taken me an age to defrost her. If I had stood there staring at her gormlessly any longer she may have started to get angry, and I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with that.
“Okay” I conceded, and I was quickly ushered in through her front door.
It was a mistake, I knew that as soon as it happened. We passed through a very gloomy hallway, past a room with the door shut that had faint drunken groans emanating from inside, and into a small kitchen. My trainers instantly became stuck to something dark and sticky that had obviously fallen a good long while before. I stood waiting whilst a VERY large glass of lemonade was poured. Well I say glass, it was more like a vessel of hell. Things, dark and terrible things, were stuck to the sides, and it was greasy to the touch. I decided not to look at it too closely, and just to drink the flat, weird tasting liquid nestled inside as quickly as possible. Jane and I had a discussion about a broken ice cream maker she had purchased some time before, then she stopped, as if struck down by inspiration.
“Wait” she ordered “I think I’ve got something you’d like. I’ll go get it”
As she left the room, an gentleman entered. By my mystical intuition I knew he was drunk. The fact that he stank of booze, was swaying and slurring his words may have helped along my summation.
“Who are you?” He said, seemingly annoyed at my presence
“Rachel” I bravely squeaked at him
“What are you drinking?” He demanded
“Put some vodka in it” He said, whilst brandishing an almost empty bottle at me
“I’m okay thanks” Said I
“Put some vodka in it” He repeated
“I don’t drink”
He sneered at me. The fact that I don’t drink seemed to confirm something to him. I’m guessing it wasn’t something nice. Jane walked back into the room, my saviour
“Lenny, this is Rachel. She helps me on a Sunday. Lenny’s my old man” Jane said by way of introduction.
“Have a look at these” she continued “you can buy them if you want”
She was holding in her hand about five pairs of earrings. They looked nice enough, but I didn’t want them. I also didn’t have any cash on me, which I explained to her. I had drained the glass of lemonade in my hand.
“Freedom!” I thought. I was just about to say that I had to be on my way when there was a crash from down the hallway. The front door slammed open and two men and three women came through. Jane and Lenny are about fifty years old, and most of the new people looked about the same age. Except for one of them. She was a young girl, probably not twenty yet, and she was drunk. Very drunk. She was being hauled through the door by the others.
“What the fuck is she doing here?” Jane asked accusingly of the two women “I don’t want her here”
“She asked” Said the dark haired one of the ladies “and she wouldn’t listen when we said no”
The young girl broke away from the group and staggered up the stairs. Most of the group followed her up, with the exception of the woman with dark hair. Lenny, to my great relief, also followed them. I was getting uncomfortable with him glaring at me, I had the feeling he was wishing death upon me.
“Susie, this is Rachel” said Jane, sounding pretty pissed off
Susie and I shook hands
“Rachel helps me…” Jane’s words were abruptly cut off by the sounds of shouting and banging coming from upstairs. I heard the word shit exclaimed in a highly excited manner
“Jane, quick” Called a voice from upstairs
Jane left the room. I stood smiling at Susie in an awkward manner. She reciprocated .
“Fucking bitch” Jane cried from the top of the stairs. Susie and I both looked concerned, and Susie left the room to see what was occurring. I stayed stuck to the kitchen floor, wondering if It would be possible to leave without detection.
I heard the following events, so I can only guess who some of the ‘speakers’ were;
“What’s going on?” – Susie
“She’s done it again!” – Jane
“Dirty bitch” – One of the men. (I shall name him Bunty)
There were some bangs and miscellaneous swearing, then:
“She’s pissed on the floor. I’m gonna kill ‘er” – Jane
“leave it, leave it” – Bunty
I was gob-smacked. What am I supposed to do? Things were definitely sounding heated, a fight was brewing. I took my phone out of my bag. Should I phone the police? Should I text my long suffering friend Stuart for help? Sadly he has had so many weird calls for help and random requests from me he wouldn’t even question it any more. Before I could do anything there was the sound of someone running down the stairs towards me. Susie came bursting into the room
“ You’ve gotta help. I know you’re Jane’s social worker, you’ve gotta get her out of here. It’s all kicking off up there” Said Susie breathlessly
“What’s going on” I pointlessly asked, as if I hadn’t heard the previous screams that were only 20 feet or so away
“ Leah and Jane hate each other. Leah got pissed and insisted on being brought round ‘ere. That’s the young girl who came in just now. She done a piss in the landing upstairs” Explained Susie
“On purpose?” I enquired
“Probably. She’s done it before. You’ve got to get Jane out of here now. And you’ve gotta sort out somewhere new for her to live. The police are always being called, there’s always fighting going on. It’s not right”
I nodded sagely. Then I thought, hang on – what does she mean I have to get Jane moved? I mentally rewound the conversation and realised that I had been cast as a social worker. For some reason I didn’t feel that I could rectify this error – Susie was looking at me expectantly and I didn’t know what to do. The sounds of arguing and swearing from upstairs were growing louder in volume. So I said what any idiot under pressure would have said
“I’ll write a report then”.
I lied. Why did I lie? I rarely lie, I’m not good at it. This time it seemed to work though, as Susie looked relieved. Before I could dig myself in any deeper Jane reappeared. She looked furious, and was still swearing under her breath. The sounds from upstairs were getting louder, and Jane looked ready to kill. What the fuck was I supposed to do now? I really wanted to get out of there, and if Jane didn’t come with me I didn’t know what would happen. So I asked her to leave with me. She said no, that she was “gonna sort this out once and for all”. That sounded ominous, so I said the one thing that I really thought would work-
“let’s go to the pub”
It worked. After an hour and a half in the pub Jane had calmed down. We had a chat about life, and Jane was nice enough to take me into her confidence a little. We parted ways and I headed home.
I never got my sandwich.