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Don’t call my dog a ‘bitch’…

Submitted by on September 26, 2014 – 11:36 amNo Comment

german-shepard

From AFL issue two:

The taxi driver is a cunt, of that there’s no doubt, as he rattles on about how disgraceful it is the BNP’s membership list has been ‘outed’ on the internet. Then he starts on immigration.
It’s a black cab and it’s got those speakers in the back they all have now, so there’s no escaping the twat’s nasal recants as he continues to peddle his bollocks theories on life.
Instead I have a look around the cabin, in desperation more than anything, and I spot in front of me a familiar face beaming back from an advert for Salford City Council.

At first I can’t put a name to him, he’s a black man, with a bad Lionel Richie tash and broad, friendly grin. On closer inspection I see a caption next to his picture, it reads: ‘Glenn. Support worker’. And it dawns on me. The man I recognise is ‘Sweet G’, and the memories come flooding back.

G was from Queens in New York. He fell in love with a girl from Stockport, whom he met in a nightclub in the Bronx as she travelled the world. They got married and moved over to England to settle in Dukinfield – a place G fondly referred to as ‘the hood’. He was a frustrated rapper. That wasn’t a musical style or anything, he just never made anything of his ‘talent’. The truth was he thought he was better than he was, but as we all worked together in a call centre at the RAC in Cheadle, anything could pass as entertainment so long as it reduced the numbing throb of dullness that engulfed us every time we logged onto that fucking phone system.

We all hated working there but looking back, as so often happens, the mind’s retina fades to a rose tint and a certain fondness sets in.

G was one of a group of us acting as the ‘RAC front desk’, a name that suggested more status than we actually had. We didn’t have desks and the only thing we were at the front of was the queue for abuse. We were the first port of call for people whose cars had broke down or suffered accidents and we got nothing but shit from irate customers. We had to become adept at fucking them off somewhere else.

The job did have its perks – we got some famous people’s numbers and that led to us regularly calling Simon Le Bon for a chat. One New Year’s Eve he got so irate he threatened to get us shot. The daft get still kept answering his phone, unable to turn down the chance for some attention as his career lingered on the scrap heap. But it was another musician that passed the hours most expertly – G’s raps, often about fellow workers, helped alleviate the boredom, especially when the subjects of his lyrics took umbrage. A lad who looked like the popular film mouse ‘Stuart Little’ took great exception to this being pointed out and his adapted name being rhymed with ‘giggle’ (fair enough, considering they didn’t actually rhyme). He threw his pen down and stormed out. G loved it. It was his finest hour.

But then he met his match in Mad Mo from Moss Side. Mo was held in high regard by his Somalian community and acted as a go-between for the younger kids coming over seeking asylum and the elders who ran the area along similar tribal lines to that of their homeland. His Somalian nickname roughly translated as ‘belly slasher’.

He took great delight in telling me this. As he did when we were listening to the radio one break time and a story came on about a man who had attacked a bus driver in Cheetham Hill. Mo turned to me and said: “I twatted a bus driver once…” He pulled hard on his cigarette and not one more word was spoken about it. I daren’t ask, he was a scary motherfucker and no mistake.

He was that confrontational he would deliberately stand outside his house on Great Western Street wearing his United shirt whenever City were at home, just to wind the blues up in the hope one of them would call him a ‘Munchen’, as he put it. They never did. They weren’t brave enough. Sweet G, however, was made of sterner stuff. He was a hard man no doubt, but his weakness was his dog. A German Shepherd, who had to stay at home in Queens due to what he referred to as: “This fucking quarraline you Brits insist on.”

G’s eyes would well up every time we spoke about his beloved ‘Shirley’ (after Bassey, one of his favourite artists). Mo was on to it in a flash. “Hey G, tell me more about the dog,” he opined. So G described in detail how he loved brushing her and taking her walks around the block and how he missed her jumping up at him as he came home each night. Feigning emotion, Mo interjected: “Is your dog a bitch?” A normal enough question it would appear, but not to G. Immediately on the backfoot he replied: “You what man? What you saying Mo?” Mo repeated the question: “Is your dog a bitch?” G looked aghast and turned to the rest of us for support. He said: “You calling my dog a bitch man? A fucking bitch?” Mo reiterated the question. G responded: “Take that back, don’t call my dog a bitch man. That’s my dog man, don’t you fucking talk about Shirley like that.” Mo wouldn’t let go: “So your dog is a bitch then?”

We tried to explain to G that it was a technical term for a female dog, but he was having none of it as he started screaming: “Take that back Mo man, you can’t call my Shirley a fucking bitch, I’ll fuck you up man.” Mo was lapping it up and just kept repeating: “So your dog’s a fucking bitch”. It was too much for G as he leapt across the floor and went for Mo, who simply side-stepped him as the hapless American tumbled towards the drinks machine. The bosses were by now alerted and we had to jump in to separate them. As mean Mo laughed, so Sweet G cried tears of despair and sadness.

The man from Queens reduced to acting like the place he hailed from, all over a dog. I never saw him again, until tonight when I spied that poster in the back of the cab. Just as he served the same purpose all those years ago, seeing his face and remembering those days helped me pass the time in that taxi and it also helped me cope with listening to a knobhead talking shit – I could have been back in that call centre all over again. Thankfully I’m not.

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