Here’s Irene. She’s a bit of a cunt, is Irene. Her allotted, and happily embraced, duty in life is to sit at the end of the bar being this bit of a cunt. The ends of her mouth have never really been asked to curl upwards, so she’s stuck with a soggy bit of gob-flap and chin that looks a bit hinged. Also, she can just about wipe her arse with her tits.
Here is how she got borned.
Don’t be sucked in by the gormless face. She’s alive in there, somewhere. Don’t give her sympathy because she looks, and in all likelihood is, utterly retarded. She isn’t one of the giggling, lovely dumbers that you don’t mind giving up a Saturday to play with.
My dealings with Irene started when I was running the family pub, so they could go on holiday. I was happily serving the regular punters, when this malevolent flesh-sac hauled her spongy bulk to the serving hatch.
“So why are you here then?” she asked.
“They’ve gone on holiday,” I replied, with a joyful smile and a slinky flick of my hips.
“Who, Liz and Jeff?”
There was a relish in her voice, and I knew what was happening. Allow me to explain. I’ll be as brief as possible.
My dad opened the pub with my brother. My mum and my sister-in-law help out, as do I when I’m in Nottingham. This means that a successful older gentleman is seen working with a rather beautiful woman much his junior; the only conclusion can be that they’re stinking up their gender-specifics every chance the dirty sex-rats get. So I’m suddenly, absolutely sure that Irene is going to tell me my father is fucking my sister-in-law.
“No, the whole family.”
A short pause – for effect. She knows exactly what she’s going to say next. It’s in her blood.
“Well, it’s your brother I feel sorry for.”
Oh, you stylish bitch. That lordly tactic of the experienced and shameless gossip; say nothing, say everything, just colour yourself as a concerned observer. I have to be very careful. I have to be as good as she is. I’m going to be sly, give nothing away. I am a panther, I wear slippers.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Irene.”
Excellent. But Irene was expecting this; her cardigan bristled with static charge from her impending attack.
“You know.” She was pressing down the fire button and holding in down, charging her main weapon. In the seconds it took me to think of any response, she audibly sucked the inside of her head, repositioned her arms, and slurped;
“Of course, it’s your brother as I feel sorry fer.”
My weapon flies from my hand. I have nothing to say in reply to this. I cycle through traditional Coronation Street replies; “you want to look closer to home, our Reeny”- “save your pity, it’s not welcome here” – etc. But I can see how it’d all pan out. She’d come back with “if you can’t see what’s under your nose, it’s no lookout of mine”, sling a tit over her shoulder and huff out.
Irene is one of those people who’re impenetrable with routine and a complete inability to suffer self-doubt. As a person, she’s so visibly hideous and transparently fuelled by spite that it must take an awesome amount of delusional self-justification simply to survive. So I decide to ignore her, and pretend there’s something in the kitchen that needs doing.
As it turns out, there is all the ingredients for a cheese and ham salad roll, so that cheers me up no end.
When I come out again, she doesn’t waste a second. She chooses her weapon – repetition;
“As I say, it’s your brother as I feel sorry for.”
But me, I’m the player of the game, I’m the dancer of the dance. I’ve got something up my sleeve.
“Oh, fuck off, you nasty-minded bitch.”
She replies with something about seeing what’s under her nose, I went on to say something about looking closer to home and keeping her beak out of what doesn’t concern her. So much, I wanted to bend down, pick up one of her tits, and shout “HOW CAN SOMETHING SO EMPTY TAKE UP SO MUCH SPACE?”
Well, at least I’d drawn her attention away from my family – now she saw me as the enemy. As much dirt in the world as there is, it turned out that the only muck she had on me was… well, that there’s a TV show coming out this year based on the Law of the Playground.
“Well, at least I don’t need Channel 4,” she spat.
I felt quite put out that she didn’t know about my gayness. I would have hoped for “well, we all know about you”, with a snarling nod at my groin. But “I don’t need Channel 4” seemed like a bit of a confusing anti-climax. To be on the safe side, I carried on swearing at her.
And then she left.
I met her again, when I went back home for Christmas. And when she confronted me about the fact that she’d been barred from the pub, I faffed to get my voice recorder working – so we join the conversation half-way through.
Listen to her, listen to her voice… 300k. wma.
Having the voice recorder made me think we needed a punchline to the conversation, so that explains my final comment. Other than that…
“The others ain’t got the bottle to say it to his face”
Irene, you didn’t say it to his face. You waited until he went on holiday, then said it to me. I can’t think of anything less like saying it to his face, than saying it while he’s in another fucking country.
“I didn’t say nowt derogative I just said to him a certain thing, but he must have said sommat to his dad. So I’m barred.”
Why are you saying “him”, Irene? I’m here. You said it to me. I told my dad. I got you barred. Are you temporarily blaming this thing on a mystical third party, so you can bitch without causing direct friction with me? God, you’re good!
I loved saying “Coloured Melvin” back to Irene, it felt so naughty in my mouth. Especially as there’s only one Melvin, coloured or otherwise, in the area.
So, it’s with this life-affirming exchange behind me, and a new love of saying “fuck” and “cunt” in the same sentence… I bring you the serialisation of YOUNG IRENE IN THE SPACE CORPS!
SCENE 1. RECRUITMENT ROOM
IRENE APPROACHES THE RECRUITMENT OFFICER’S TABLE
Irene : I want to be a space soldier. I want to fight the spider menace.
Officer : I’m sorry, our army is full at the moment. Could you come back tomorrow when a few have died?
Irene : Oh, aye. It’s not the only thing that’s full around here, is it?
Officer : Excuse me?
Irene : You know.
Officer : No, I don’t. It makes no sense. Even if something to do with me was full – and I presume you mean my testicles, because you looked at them when you said it – I still don’t know what you’re trying to say.
Irene : Of course, it’s your poor wife I feel sorry for. She so wanted children.
[The Recruitment Officer moves into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, and tries to remember if he’s cheating on his wife or is gay]
SCENE 2. ON THE PLANET OF THE SPIDER MENACE
Irene : Well, it’s just so fucking childish. I didn’t even say nothing.
Phyllis : So fucking childish.
Irene : I didn’t say nothing. And it’s only because I said it to his face. People don’t like honesty, our Phyllis.
Phyllis : Well, if they can’t see as what’s under their noses, that’s their lookout.
Irene : Never a truer word, Phyllis. Of course you know the spider queen’s carrying his seed.
Phyllis : [tuts] It’s the fate of the human race I feel sorry for.
SCENE 3 . IN THE QUEEN’S CAVERN
Irene : Nice place, this.
Queen : RARCK
Irene : Of course it was nicer before. Doesn’t feel like a home anymore, does it?
Queen : GRARRCK
Irene : You know.
Queen : ACK ACK ACK
Irene : At the end of the day, you’re the Queen, you’ve got to expect people to talk. But you should just let it wash over your head, like a duck. But Melvin the Many-Coloured saw you coming out of the hospital. And the wig’s not fooling anyone.
Queen : MOUURRGGGG
Irene : Of course, it’s the billions of eggs in your sac I feel sorry for. They shouldn’t have to lose a mother so young.
[The Queen scuttles off to make a Quazlo and Xerxes sandwich. Some time later she returns. The two sit in silence for twenty minutes.]