Midnight Smoker

The day wouldn’t end. It just wouldn’t end. It just went on and on and on. It was like that film. I tried to think of something bad that might happen later in the day, that evening, in a bid to speed up the day because, hey, time goes faster when there’s something bad on the horizon. I thought I’d get home and, I dunno, press my hand on the hob. I wouldn’t like that. Burning my hand. That’d be bad. It’d kill. Yeah, I told myself, that’s what I’ll do, I’ll burn my hand.

An hour later I looked at my watch and saw seventeen minutes had passed. I wasn’t going to burn my hand and part of me knew it. My brain part and so the day went on and on and on. It was the Duracell bunny of days. Worst thing was it started to cloud over. Generally I like it when it rains at work because we get to wear our waterproofs but rain would ruin what I’d done and what I’d done was exceptional.

Cycling through the gates that morning I’d noticed Graham’s little white van was incredibly dirty. He’d been rallying in it, by the looks of it, scrambling, and the mud it was caked in had dried and so I decided to leave a message on the van. I didn’t get fully off my bike but went up next to the van and removed a glove and wrote, CLEAM ME. I then tried to sort out the erroneous M which should have been an N but it looked rubbish so I wiped off that whole message with my palm.

I wasn’t too disheartened as when I was fucking up writing the first message I’d remembered the real message I’d wanted to write. I knew ‘clean me’ wasn’t what I actually wanted to write —I’d just written that because I hadn’t instantly been able to think of what I did actually want to write— I WISH MY WIFE WAS THIS DIRTY.


So that’s what I wrote under the clean square then wiped my hand on the floor which didn’t clean my hand because the floor, if anything, is dirtier than Graham’s van. I was smiling as I rode up the hill to the hut and for the rest of the day I tried to keep a straight face. It was pretty easy, actually, because the slow passing of time was killing me. I felt like telling Graham to go look at his van RIGHT NOW but that would give it away. I could wait.

Graham is a prankster extraordinaire. One time he smashed Vince’s phone! Oh God, that was funny. He’d found a phone on the heap the same make as Vince’s and while Vince was up in the excavator he’d waved it at him. He’d then dropped it on the floor and stamped on it. Vince went nuts, jumped out of the cab, limbs all flailing Frenchly and jumped down and I thought they were going to have a fist fight. I was crying with laughter. Vince called Graham a midget and Graham hates that because he’s short and then Graham tells Vince it wasn’t his phone and Vince shakes his head because he didn’t find it funny and goes back to work. Two minutes later Graham’s got Vince’s real phone and stamps on it. Vince goes mental and jumps down and Graham’s telling him to never call him short again and I’m laughing now just thinking about it.

EVENTUALLY it’s home time. It didn’t rain. I’m normally first out because I’ve got a bike and everybody else walks to the car-park but I hung back. It was difficult to make this seem casual and innocent, me hanging back, but I cycled alongside Graham while standing on the pedals. I put my brakes on now and again, causing my suspension forks to suspend. It was a bit like a really casual stunt. I told Graham that the guy upstairs from me had flipped his car over one time because it was so powerful. Graham said he’d done that too. I whistled. I then sat on the seat of the bike and tried to accelerate as fast as possible to see if I could flip my bike, I couldn’t. Got the front wheel off the ground a couple of inches though. I then stood up on the pedals and applied the front brake, causing the forks to suspend while Graham caught up.

“What? The? Fuck?” asked Graham and I knew he’d seen it. I winced.

“What?” I was looking over at the incinerator. A huge grey square building. I sensed Graham begin to run off to my right and so I followed.

“Who did this?” asked Graham pointing at the letters written on his van. Although he said ‘oo-did-dis?’ Because he’s from Liverpool.

“Dunno, mate,” I said wiping my nose on my glove and looking back from where we’d come from. Vince was on his way. He had four keyboards. He’s doing something with them. He must have, and this is no exaggeration, a thousand keyboards.

“Check it out!” I said to Vince, pointing at Graham’s van.

“I wish my wife was this dirty?” said Vince reading it and then laughing. Graham didn’t see the funny side.

“It means dirty in a sex way. Wish my wife was the dirty? Cock sucking and that?” I was looking at the words and although I was trying not to I was smirking. Graham was staring up at me through narrow eyes. “Because your van’s di-”

“Ooooh!” said Graham finally getting it. “Oh my God, that’s so funny!” he said. He laughed a little bit, then there was a pause, then he laughed a bit more and then there was another pause and then he was laughing. He was bit like a Spitfire starting. I was laughing and Vince was laughing. Vince was also struggling with the keyboards’ cables. Everyday he takes keyboards home and yet he still hasn’t got a system for carrying them. I’d wrap each cable around each keyboard.

“Did you do that?” asked Graham. Because he’s from Liverpool he actually said, ‘did-yoodoo-da?’

“Dur, maybe,” I said doing my gormless voice and rolling my eyes, a gloved finger pressed to my cheek.

“Did ya?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. We all looked at the side of Graham’s van.

Graham chuckled again and shook his head. “Dat’s grrreat, dat is,” he said. “Me wife’ll flip.”

“Well, see ya guys!” I said and then I turned my lights on and rode home laughing.