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    Dodger
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The Church and the Tradesman - 4. The Bite

“Let me go, you freak,” he said but I held on and tightened my grip around his wrists. We were deadlocked but when he kicked me in the shin, I instinctively replied with a swift knee to his bollocks and he cried out in pain.

It alerted the security guard who came running towards us with Bob behind him, but as I turned towards them ready to plead my innocence, the golden haired brat leaned his head forward and took a bite out of my hand.

“Argh, you bastard.” I let go and stepped backwards to study my hand, he hadn’t drawn blood but his tombstone like gnashers had left deep indentations in my skin. “What did you do that for, you little wanker?”

I reached out to grab him but the security guard was already between us, pushing us apart. It was me, of course, who was the focus of his attention as he held onto my arm and escorted me away from Tyrone and along the corridor.

“What are you doing, are you nuts or something?” he said.

“He just bit me.” I held up my hand up for him to look at, before turning my attention to Tyrone who was following a few paces behind, straining his neck to survey the damage. “You're a nutter!” I said.

“Calm down,” said the security guy. “Or I’ll have to call the police. You’re not supposed to get into fights with the guests. He’s a VIP!”

I could see Tyrone’s smug face behind him, keeping just out of my reach. “He’s the one who wanted to fight me,” I said. “I was just defending myself. He kicked me and tried to punch me, and then he bit my hand. I don’t care if he’s a pop star or not, he attacked me.”

“You kicked me in the balls!”

“You kicked me in the leg.”

“Okay,” said the South African. “I think that you two need to keep away from each other.” Tyrone rolled his eyes as if he had heard it all before. His mannerisms were winding me up; he was beyond rude and I couldn’t even look at him.

“What happened?” said Bob. He seemed a little puzzled by my altercation but focused on his priorities. “Did you make the tea?”

“Yes,” I said pointing to the cups on the side, “then he bit me.” I showed him my hand and he shook his head.

“Maybe he’s teething,” he said and chuckled at his joke.

Tyrone wasn’t amused with my seasoned colleague’s remarks. “You’re not funny, fat man,” he said. “Why don’t you stick to what they’re paying you for and fix the hot water. Who hired you jokers, anyway?”

“I did,” said Mrs Dewsbury, as she marched towards us, head bowed, and looking thoroughly peeved. “What’s wrong now, Tyrone?”

“It’s too cold in this house and they can’t fix it. You need to get rid of them and hire someone who can.” She looked tired and I had some sympathy for her; keeping him happy would have tested the patience of a saint.

She looked at Bob and cringed as he dribbled tea down the front of his antique shirt, and then clucked his dentures. “Are you having problems?”

I was about to tell her what had happened and show her the teeth marks on my hand but the security guard put his arm in front of me and shook his head just enough to keep me quiet.

Bob scratched his stubble and nodded. “Where do you want me to start, Mrs Blueberry.”

“Dewsbury.”

“Yeah, well it hasn’t been easy. We ad to jiggle about with it to get it in. All the fittings were the wrong size, the overflow pipe needed replacing, I ad to cap off the tank, and the nuts were rusted. Oh, and whoever fitted the storage tank was a cowboy, you need to get it sorted.” It was mostly bullshit but not exclusively for her benefit; he repeated the same lines to every customer and I got the feeling that she knew it.

I didn’t blame her for not wanting to hear about Bob’s rusty nuts or the problems he was having getting it in, and she pursed her lips and raised her hand to stop him.

“How long?”

“We should be away by six.”

That was all she needed to know and she turned around and repeated those words to Tyrone as if he hadn’t been able to hear them himself. He looked bored with the conversation and changed the subject.

“Can I go out?”

“No, Tyrone, not on your own, sorry,” said Mrs Dewsbury.

“But I only wanna do some shopping; it’s boring in here. I’ll be okay.”

“Sorry, it’s not my decision,” she said. “You have to stay in the house today.”

“And tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.” He stormed off again and marching upstairs.

“I’ve ordered dinner for you Tyrone,” she called after him. “Italian; your favourite.”

“I’m not hungry,” he said slamming his door and I noticed Bob’s eyes light-up at the thought of a free meal.

Mrs Dewsbury cleared her throat and shook her head. “He gets restless stuck indoors all the time.”

“Yeah, it’s tough at the top,” said Bob sipping his tea. “Got any biscuits?”

There were chocolate biscuits in the kitchen cupboard and I suspected that Bob had already helped himself because there were grubby hand marks on the wrapping that looked suspiciously like the hand marks on everything else that he touched.

Mrs Dewsbury had noticed it too and armed herself with a duster and some Mr Muscle to clean up behind him. It was something that we should have done, but at that point, I think that she would have done anything we asked if she thought it was going hurry the job along, and make her master happy.

The security guard followed us to the basement to try to smooth things over and apologise to me for Tyrone’s unruly behaviour.

“Look lads; just try to stay out of his way. I know what he’s like. The kid’s bored out of his mind; he’s got fuck all to do here and he sees you as entertainment. It’s just a game to him, he’ll try to wind you up, but if you retaliate you’re the one who gets in trouble.”

The teeth marks were still clearly visible even in the poorly lit basement. “I can’t believe that I just had a fight with Tyrone Spencer.”

“Yeah,” said Bob, “and he won!” He finished his tea and gave me a half-cocked smile as he handed his cup to the security guard.

“No, he didn’t!”

“Yes, he did. He would have had you as well if our friend here hadn’t come to your rescue.”

“Bollocks!” I said.

“Spanner!” said Bob holding out his hand. “Twelve mil please.”

- 4 pm -

The boiler was snug in its new home and everything was connected and ready to be wired-up. This used to be a long and painfully tedious job, but lately, it had become my domain. It was a job that I could do and Bob couldn’t. Well, he knew how because he had taught me, but his increasingly poor eyesight and banana shaped fingers were a handicap when it came to intricate electrical work so I had been promoted to chief sparks. It was a concession that I had worked hard for over the years and it provided Bob with an hour or so at the end of the job to chin wag and thoroughly annoy the client, before checking my work and calling it a day.

My slender fingers were more delicate than his and I used them well, both at work and at play. That day, however, seemed cursed from the very beginning and I should have known that there would be more problems. They had supplied us with the wrong thermostat and we were short of connectors for the wiring.

Bob was on the phone to Sidney within minutes, he rarely panicked but his slightly more urgent approach was a sign that he was beginning to worry, which made me panic for him.

In less than twelve hours, I had to be in church and I hadn’t even finished work. Usually, I would be at home soaking in a tub and relaxing in preparation for the ensuing madness.

I liked to clear my head before transforming into my weekend alter ego. Superman may have been able to change in a phone box, but all he had to do was squeeze his arse into a spandex suit. For me, it was more of a metamorphosis than a simple switch of clothing and it couldn’t be rushed.

“He’s sending it over by courier,” said Bob but his cheeky grin had vanished and he was beginning to look tired. He yawned, which made me yawn. It had been a long day for me too and I was heading for an all-nighter.

“What time are you meeting your girlfriend?” he asked and he sounded concerned even though he had been holding us up all day.

“Not until late.”

“What nine, ten? You don’t go out until that time do you?”

“We’ll leave about midnight.”

“Bloody hell, I’d be knackered. What time do you get in then?”

“Tomorrow…if I’m lucky!” I left it for him to mull and shuffled upstairs to the loo.

There were toilets on each floor but we were instructed to use the ground floor ones next to the kitchen. Bob had a disgusting habit of pissing behind the van whenever he could get away with it, although I could never figure out why. I wasn’t too keen on exposing myself in public when there were dedicated facilities available for us to use, but then I was one of the freaks of this world.

I splashed my face with cold water and looked at my reflection in the mirror. It was scary; my eyes were red and there were shopping bags underneath them. Too many late nights and early mornings; there had been times when they had nearly met in the middle and I had survived on less than an hour.

I was losing weight; I needed to eat more. Jazz was always trying to feed me without much success. Sometimes she would cook me a meal but she had her own problems which took their toll and when she was down, she would rarely come out of her house.

That day though, she was in good form and had left several messages on my phone, which I was able to retrieve when I went outside to get a better signal.

Hi, Jazz.”

“I’ve been trying to call you all day, where are you?”

“Still at work,” I said. “And we’re not gonna be finished for a while. I still have to wire up the….”

She was more interested in the boy celebrity than my job. “Is he there?”

“Who Bob,” I said, playing dumb but I knew who she was asking after.

“No, Tyrone Spencer, stupid. Have you met him; has he said anything to you?”

“He bit me.”

“Get his autograph for me or a signed photograph. What did you just say?”

“I said, he bit me. On the back of my hand. The marks are still there…he’s a real wanker.”

“Andy, are you doing drugs?”

“No, of course not. I’m at work. It’s the truth,” I said. “He bit me.”

“Oh my God, what were you doing with him?”

“What do mean, what was I doing? He tried to fight me Jazz, seriously.”

‘If she ever met him, she’d understand’.

That wasn’t likely to happen and she wasn’t getting an autograph either, but after explaining everything, she started to believe me.

“You’re so lucky, ask him to bite you again before you leave? Get him to do the other hand, so that it matches and I can colour in the marks later.” I knew that there was supposed to be some humour in that statement but there were times when I would question Jazz’s sanity.

“Why don’t you just cut off my hand and stick it on your wall,” I said and when she went silent, I actually thought that she may have been considering it.

“I’ve got a better idea,” she said but I didn’t like her tone. “Why don’t you ask him if he wants to go to church?”

“NO! No way Jazz. He wouldn’t get in for a start, he’s a kid.”

“He’s eighteen.”

“He’s not even gay.”

“I bet he is. Go on ask him!”

“I’m not asking him anything; believe me, he’s a horrible little shit.

I was beginning to regret calling her as I paced up and down the gravel driveway. Then something caught my eye. A small, yellow stream trickling over the damp ground towards the drain, and it was coming from our van.

“BOB?”

I heard footsteps in the gravel and waited for him to appear. He had a cigarette in his mouth and he gave me a tentative smile as he zipped his fly.

“Jazz, I have to go, I’ll call you later.” As I ended the call my mind was already in overdrive trying to replay our conversation. He would have been able to hear my end for sure, but I couldn’t remember if I had said anything incriminating. “You were pissing behind the van, you dirty bastard.”

“You was in the toilet.”

“You could have waited, I was five fucking minutes!” I rarely lost my temper, and never twice in one day, but that day was proving to be an exception and I was annoyed to think that I could have outed myself to him because of his disgusting habits. He didn’t say anything, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t overheard me.

‘I’ll be glad when this day’s over’.

- 5 pm -

It was already dark after a cold and dreary day and as I walked to the front gate to collect our parcel from the courier, it started to rain again.

“There’s gonna be storms later,” mumbled the courier from beneath his crash helmet and I wondered what it would be like at four o’clock in the morning. Whatever the weather; the church was always packed to the rafters.

There was a man standing on the pavement in a waterproof jacket, he was watching us and he walked over as I signed for the parcel.

“Alright, mate. Is Tyrone Spencer staying here?” I was tempted to blow the whistle on the little runt, but I remembered what the security guard had told us and I needed to get home.

“No mate,” I replied as I shut the gate.

“We were told that he was here.” I shook my head as another man approached from the side lifted a camera and took my picture.

“Who are you?” he asked and there was another bright flash in front of my face from his camera.

“He’s not here okay, you’re wasting your time.” I locked the gate and hurried down the driveway to get out of the rain. It was my first experience of the press but I couldn’t work out why he wanted to take my picture.

“They photograph everything and everyone,” said the South African when I reached the security office. “How many of them are out there?”

“One photographer and another guy.” He nodded and seemed satisfied with my answer.

“Maybe they’re just trying their luck; they don’t know anything, if word got out, they would be everywhere. I’ll let Mrs Dewsbury know anyway, she’s expecting you to be finished by six remember.”

“Tell her six-thirty,” I said. I would have to work quickly to keep to that schedule but I didn’t mind. I had other more important things riding on it.

When I walked through the living room, Tyrone was lying on the sofa next to an electric fan heater. He glared at me as I walked past. “Are you still here?” he said but I ignored him and carried on walking. “How long can it possibly take. You people are incompetent. I’m gonna complain to your boss.”

“Good!”

Admittedly, without the central heating, that big old house was starting to get cold and it was even worse where we were in the basement. Now that we had everything that we needed though, I knew that it wouldn’t take long, and I worked as fast as I could while Bob stood, watched, and bent my ears.

“You know, I feel sorry for that kid,” he said.

“I don’t, he’s a prick. I would rather save my sympathies for someone more deserving.”

“I know he’s a prick, but he’s bored to fuck in here on his own. He’s away from his home, in a strange country, no mates, no family, and no one to talk to. He’s not even allowed to go to the shop on his own.”

“That’s showbiz, Bob. He doesn’t have to do it; he could swap places with me if he wanted. Then he wouldn’t be bored; he would be able to listen to you rattling on all day.”

“It’s no life though, for a youngster, is it?”

“Tell me about it.”

“Not you, you tosser, I’m talking about him!”

“Oh, well, I don’t feel sorry for him at all; not even a little bit.”

‘And I’m not inviting him to church’!

- 6 pm -

I was upstairs replacing the thermostat when Bob got a call from our boss, Sidney. The record company were concerned about the time that it was taking to complete the works. Tyrone had called his agent and kicked up a stink and they wanted assurances from us that there would be heating by seven o’clock. It sounded crazy when Bob explained it to me.

“Wait a minute, you mean, he called his agent in Los Angeles, to complain that he was cold and being mistreated?” Bob nodded. “Then his agent called the record company in Chicago, who called their people in London, who called Sidney, who then called us, to ask when we’d be finished.”

“That’s about the size of it.”

“He’s only in the next room, all he had to do was pop his head around the door and ask us himself.”

He laughed but it didn’t matter anymore because we were now on the home straight and my chances of making it to the church on time had dramatically improved.

“Okay, I’m ready when you are,” I said. Then I collected my tools and headed back downstairs to connect the pump and thermostat to the power supply. It would take me about twenty minutes to do but the power would have to be switched off first. Health and safety regulations required us to shut off the ring circuit—you don’t mess with two hundred and forty volts—so there would be no power on the ground floor until I had finished.

The successful completion of the job now rested entirely on my capable shoulders but I enjoyed the added responsibility knowing that when I finished we could go home. My mood was improving by the minute and it seemed that our nightmare was over when Bob switched on the power and the boiler roared into life without a hitch. He checked the settings while I packed the tools away and took them upstairs to the van. When I returned, the big South African was waiting for me in the security office.

“Be careful when you leave,” he said. “There’s a few of them outside now; photographers mostly.” He pointed at his monitor. “If they ask you, whatever you do, don’t tell them that he’s here or we’ll be overrun.”

“Don’t worry, I haven’t got time for their questions.” I looked at my watch.

‘Where is he anyway’?

“Well, at least you got to meet a real life pop star, and you’ve got the marks to prove it.” I found it funnier now that we were leaving than I had done earlier, but my schedule was tighter than a duck’s arse and my driver had gone AWOL.

The house was warming up quickly and the radiator in the hallway was too hot to touch as I walked past it, searching for Bob. He was in the kitchen talking to a much relieved Mrs Dewsbury and I signalled to him that I needed to make a move.

“Before you leave,” she said. “I got Tyrone to sign these for you, it’s a small token of our appreciation.” She handed us a CD each with his illegible signature scribbled in black felt-tip across the case. It was the album that had topped the charts for several weeks the previous summer but it wasn’t welcome in my music collection.

‘At least it’ll get Jazz off my back’.

Bob’s misses would be happy too, although no one had ever seen her smile. “I need to go Bob, it’s getting late.”

“He’s out on the razzle tonight with his bird,” he said but I doubt if Mrs Dewsbury had a clue what Bob was talking about and she wasn’t silly enough to ask either.

As I hurried him along the hall, Tyrone was standing halfway up the big staircase, gracing us with his presence for one last time. He was obviously there for a reason and I eyed him cautiously, expecting another confrontation or an ambush even. I was sure that he would want the final word, but I also knew that he was capable of anything.

“Hey, guys wait,” he said and we stopped as he walked downstairs. “I’m sorry about earlier,” he said. I was still angry at his vampire like antics, but when he offered me his hand I reached out and shook it. “No hard feelings.”

“No,” I said as he gave my hand a friendly squeeze and smiled.

“I hope you win the Oscar,” said Bob as the boy turned and ran back up the stairs.

“It’s the Brit awards, Bob, the Oscars are something completely different.” I guess he didn’t need luck though, after the year he had just had, he must have known that he was likely to clean up.

- 7 pm -

“He’s not a bad kid really, is he?” said Bob as he opened the van.

I wasn’t convinced; I had seen enough of his bad side to know different. “He was only nice to us after he got what he wanted and he probably doesn’t want me telling the press about our fight.”

He laughed. “They probably wouldn’t believe you anyway.”

I called Jazz as Bob searched for his cigarettes; he couldn’t drive without one. “We’ve just finished,” I said. “I’ll probably be a bit late getting to your place.”

“You’ve got plenty of time, you big poof,” she said and I switched the phone to my other ear as Bob pulled up a few metres before the gate. “Did you get his autograph?”

“I DON’T FUCKING BELIEVE THIS!”

“What? It doesn’t matter, I was only joking…. Andy are you still there?” I put the phone down on my lap and turned to Bob.

“Bleeding ell-fire! Where did this lot come from?”

If you enjoyed reading this chapter, then please take the time to like, follow the story or leave a comment below. All feedback is appreciated and noted.

Will Andy make it to the church on time?

Copyright © 2017 Dodger; All Rights Reserved.
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Quote

“Bleeding hell-fire! Where did this lot come from?”

Obviously more paparazzi blocking the driveway. Or has the attention-seeking jerk organized a fleet of quadcopters to buzz in front of the ‘windscreen’ to distract Bob? I suppose it could be a herd of preteen fans hunting for autographs…

 

Interesting how the British-Canadian author manages to blame us by having this incredibly annoying idiot come from the US…

 

It appears that the extremely juvenile brat thinks that biting someone is a sign of affection – just like pulling a girl’s hair or hitting a guy. We just saw the twat run upstairs. Has he figured out a way to jump onto the ‘lorry’s’ roof to escape his imprisonment?

Edited by droughtquake
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5 hours ago, droughtquake said:

Obviously more paparazzi blocking the driveway. Or has the attention-seeking jerk organized a fleet of quadcopters to buzz in front of the ‘windscreen’ to distract Bob? I suppose it could be a herd of preteen fans hunting for autographs…

 

Interesting how the British-Canadian author manages to blame us by having this incredibly annoying idiot come from the US…

 

It appears that the extremely juvenile brat thinks that biting someone is a sign of affection – just like pulling a girl’s hair or hitting a guy. We just saw the twat run upstairs. Has he figured out a way to jump onto the ‘lorry’s’ roof to escape his imprisonment?

It's nothing personal against my many American friends but Canada already has a real life attention-seeking jerk and Britain has an entire family of them at large. A fleet of quadcopters and jumping onto the lorry's roof makes Tyrone sound like a bit of a James Bond character, which wasn't really how I was trying to portray him but maybe he sees himself in that kind of role. Really, of course, he's just a commodity, used to make money for the already rich fat cats who own him. They'll want to get as much out of him as possible before he reaches his sell-by date and the scrapheap of teeny pop stars. What age is that now 19 or 20?  Thanks for the comment @droughtquake

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6 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

OK now this I a curious cliffhanger. Tyrone is a spoiled little wanker!

Definitely, a spoiled little wanker and I could think of a few other choice words. Thanks for reading.

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4 hours ago, chris191070 said:

A curious ending, wonder what Tyrone has done know

Well, as Andy found out, he's capable of anything. Probably because he never has to face the consequences of his actions. We will see, thanks for reading.

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4 hours ago, quokka said:

Great story

I look forward to more great chapters

Well Done

Thank you @quokka for reading and commenting, it isn't a long story but there are a few more chapters to come.

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4 hours ago, Dodger said:

It's nothing personal against my many American friends but Canada already has a real life attention-seeking jerk and Britain has an entire family of them at large. A fleet of quadcopters and jumping onto the lorry's roof makes Tyrone sound like a bit of a James Bond character, which wasn't really how I was trying to portray him but maybe he sees himself in that kind of role. Really, of course, he's just a commodity, used to make money for the already rich fat cats who own him. They'll want to get as much out of him as possible before he reaches his sell-by date and the scrapheap of teeny pop stars. What age is that now 19 or 20?  Thanks for the comment @droughtquake

The fleet of quadcopter would be possible since he seems to be entirely too spoiled and would seem to have nearly any toy he wanted.

 

Jumping on the lorry’s roof would be something a desperate teenager might try…

 

And his sell-by date was 15 or 16.

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1 hour ago, droughtquake said:

The fleet of quadcopter would be possible since he seems to be entirely too spoiled and would seem to have nearly any toy he wanted.

 

Jumping on the lorry’s roof would be something a desperate teenager might try…

 

And his sell-by date was 15 or 16.

You're probably right, in which case he's past his sell-by date already. These so-called pop stars don't have particularly long careers, which is understandable when most of your fans are under 12-years-old.

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Immediate problem: 28,000 paparazzi blocking the gate. Prime suspect: Jazzy. Excellent writing and storyline...why, that's you, Dodger!  Now what? Can't wait. 

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21 hours ago, JayT said:

The only thing in my head at the end was "But get me to the church on time" from My Fair Lady. hehehe

I was doing the same thing when I was writing it!

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11 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

Immediate problem: 28,000 paparazzi blocking the gate. Prime suspect: Jazzy. Excellent writing and storyline...why, that's you, Dodger!  Now what? Can't wait. 

Thanks, Parker. I love it that you're reading the story and it sounds as if you're enjoying it. I'm not sure about 28,000 but it probably seems like that many and someone must have tipped them off. Could be Jazz!

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I think that when the brat complained about how long it was taking to get 

the boiler sorted out someone has let it slip where he is.

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