A long-forgotten memory came back to my mind lately about a mental situation I once found myself in. It’s about a potato, a blue Volvo and a kid who I once knew when I was younger. This is how it plays out in my mind and I swear to god it’s the truth and nothing but the fucking truth.
Johnny Haggerty was a cunt. Everyone knew this undeniable fact except Johnny fucking Haggerty. He came from a family of cunts so the blame can’t lie entirely at his door, it was probably in his biological make-up – his DNA or whatever you call it.
If you’d ever met his parents you’d know what I mean. His step-dad was the kind of twat who had bits of broken engines from cars and boats spread all over the front garden. The few visible blades of grass that constituted a lawn were always an oily shade of black.
As for his mum, nothing was more important to the slob than going to the bingo every night to chase that elusive full house. There were times when Johnny’s dad was away from home for long periods when we were younger and the neighbours were always told he was away working offshore ‘earning a fucking fortune’. We all knew he was in the jail.
When his dad was ‘away on the rigs’, sometimes his mum used to leave Johnny in the house by himself, just so she could get her fix down the bingo hall. This is when he was just about five or something, poor bastard. I suppose he never stood a chance!
Anyway, we lived in the same street and when we were at school he was always in my class, so I knew the cunt for a long time, too fucking long! I never actually wanted to be his friend, he was always just there, in your face, getting right on your fucking tits.
I remember when it was the last day of term, we must have only been about ten or something. We were all looking forward to a wee party in the afternoon that the teacher had promised us if we all behaved well.
Things were going well up until about lunchtime. Me and Johnny were sat at the same table putting our books away getting ready to go for lunch. There was a real buzz and an innocent sense of excitement; we knew that when we came back in the afternoon we’d be having a party. Music, balloons, party poppers...the fucking lot! Happy days...I naively thought.
When the lunch bell rang, we all walked out heading down the corridor to the gym that doubled up as the lunch hall. He comes over and says ‘Have you seen that Beverly Hills Cop movie, the one when Eddie Murphy puts a banana up the exhaust of that fucking car? It’s funny as fuck’. He stops me, looks in my eyes and says, ‘we should do that’.
Slowly but surely, I could feel my heart sinking. I knew this was the start of something bad.
I was horrified, I mean I was ten and he was swearing like a trooper. He wasn’t even scared if anyone overheard him, dropping swear words into every sentence was normal to Johnny. He’d often boast about how he wasn’t bothered if anyone heard him. ‘Fuck the teachers’, he’d always say.
But he was a clever...or sneaky cunt, he never let the actual teachers hear him swear but I didn’t notice this at the time. He would swear in ear-shot of the janitor, receptionist and dinner ladies, but never the fucking teachers.
Anyway, I hadn’t even seen Beverly Hills Cop, it was rated 15, so how the fuck had he watched it I thought to myself. ‘Nah I’ve not seen it’ I said hoping that would be enough to shut the conversation down. I just wanted to get to the counter and order my pie and chips before they ran out, I didn’t fancy the fishcakes again.
‘Well it’s funny as fuck and we should do that’ he said again. I was feeling intimidated and didn’t have the social skills or self-confidence to get out of what he was plotting. I just said ‘well we haven’t got a banana so we might as well just go and get lunch’.
I swear to god he looked at me like I was calling his mother a fucking whore or something. His facial expression portrayed a combination of hatred, contempt and disgust. After a five second or so silence he says ‘fuck lunch you bellend, we’ll use a potato instead’.
I never thought at the time, but in hindsight, I mean what kind of ten year old kid brings a fucking potato to school? He must have planned all this shite inbetween eating his weetabix and slapping on his brylcream before he left the house in the morning.
After discreetly checking over his shoulders, he showed me this massive King fucking Edward that he’d whipped out of his inside pocket. ‘We’ll use this instead’ he whispered in my ear.
I’ll be honest, I was fucking baffled by the whole thing. I just wanted to get my pie before they ran out, get myself back to the class and have a wee party before finishing up for a few weeks. We were due to go to the caravan if the weather held out and I couldn’t wait.
But Johnny had other plans and he practically frogmarched me past the lunch hall and into the playground to carry out some reconnaissance. He knelt down and scanned the carpark as he pretended to tie his shoelace and said ’see that blue Volvo in the corner, its Mr Carters, we might as get that cunt’.
I listened and just looked at him and I didn’t say a word. He wasn’t asking a question after all so there was no need for a response. Although I did clock the word ‘we’, which admittedly induced a bit of anxiety.
‘Ho, cunt, are you fucking deaf’ he barked at me. ‘What’ I replied with a confused look on my face. ‘I’m saying you might as well get that blue Volvo, it’s hidden away in the far corner so no one will see you do it’.
Again, my ears pricked up at the word ‘you’ and I instantly knew the cunt had just manipulated me, but I was just a wee quiet boy who kept himself to himself, I wasn’t into this kind of shit.
So, instead of growing a pair of balls and telling him to fuck right off, I said something like ‘Ok, so I’m defo using a potato aye? You’ve not got a banana in your bag or in your pocket, because if that’s what Eddie Murphy used, we should use the same, otherwise what’s the point’.
Again he looked at me in disgust. ‘Shut up ya fanny and just use this’. He dropped the potato into my cupped hands and with one hand on my back, he pushed me towards the car park.
I mean this shit was getting serious now and within just a few minutes of hearing of this fucked up plan, I was now just seconds away from carrying it out. I mean how the fuck did this happen. He was such an annoying twat.
I walked towards the car holding a potato not really knowing what I was supposed to do with it. I stopped and walked back to double check the plan and said, ‘so I just stick it on the exhaust aye and that's it?.
‘Exactly’ he said, adding ‘hurry up will ya, it’s a piece of piss that any idiot could fucking do, just make sure you give it a good twist so it doesn’t fall off’.
I wasn’t too sure what the point of all this was but I just went up to the car and did it to bring an end to the whole fucking thing. ‘Right that’s it’ I told him. ‘All done, let’s go and get some of that pie’.
We went to the lunch hall and thanks to that cunt, I ended up with the fucking fishcakes again didn’t I!. Anyway, Johnny starts chatting away and proudly boasts, ‘once that cunt starts the engine, the car shouldn’t blow up until a good five minutes later or so, so the cunt will be miles away before it all kicks off’.
‘What?’ I said trying to act all calm but secretly wanting to shit myself. ‘Don’t worry mate, they’ll never trace it back to you, the car will be fucking mangled, the pigs will find it hard enough to salvage any fingers let alone finger prints’. I just nervously smiled and shovelled a spoonful of beans into my dry mouth.
A few minutes later I told him I was going to the toilet but I went straight back to the carpark to take the fucking potato back out. I didn’t want to fucking kill anyone, I just wanted a wee party for fucks sake.
I twisted the thing off and dropped it on the floor as if it had simply fallen off by itself. As I turned round who the fuck was there stood there? Nah, not Johnny, it was only Mr Orson – the head fucking teacher.
‘So what do we have here’ he said with his hands clasped behind his back leaning over me. ‘I was just picking up this potato sir to put in the bin’.
He grabbed it off me and inspected it, the way you do when you buy the things from the fucking supermarket. He looked at the potato then looked at me and said, ‘It’s got a big ring mark around it as if you’ve been trying to stick it on the exhaust of this car – is that what you were doing boy?’.
‘No sir, I was...’, ‘SHUT THE FUCK UP BOY’ he interrupted, ‘firstly you shouldn’t be playing in the car park, and secondly I suspect you were trying to stick this thing up the back end of this car with the intention of killing someone, is that about right?’.
Instantly, I broke down in tears and just sobbed, all I could say was sorry over and over again. By the time he’d took me to his office I’d managed to stop crying but he’d called my mum to tell her what had happened. That wasn’t a big deal though, when I got home my mum just laughed, she knew it would have been Johnny’s fault.
After a serious talking to, Mr Ellison told me to get out and go finish my lunch, but before he did, he said this to me, and this is no word of a lie. He said ‘I think you’ve been watching too much Beverly Hills Cop young boy and that concerns me, firstly it’s a 15 certificate so you’re far too young to be watching that kind of muck. But secondly, and most importantly, Eddie Murphy used a banana, A BANANA YOU SILLY CUNT, NOT A FUCKING POTATO.
Can you believe that, a head teacher speaking to a child like that. I never spoke to him ever again after that, not because he hurt my feelings or anything, just because I didn’t like his tone and I didn’t think it was the best example to set to a child.
Anyway, I went back to the lunch hall and sat next to Johnny. First thing he said was ‘you fucking shit yourself or something, you’ve been ages?’. I told him after I’d had a piss I’d went back to the car to make sure the potato was on good and proper to make sure it didn’t fall off.
‘You got caught didn’t you?’ he swiftly responded, ‘Aye, how do you know’ I said. ‘Because your eyes are all red like you’ve been fucking crying, I can tell, you have haven’t you?’.
I told him that Mr Ellison had caught me red handed and I only cried because he’d fucking slapped me in the face before kneeing me in the balls. ‘You better not of grassed you silly cunt or I’ll slap you ten times harder and cut your balls off’.
‘As if’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t do that to my mates’. I tried to finish off my pie but that cunt had poured the entire contents of the salt and pepper cellars on top of it while I’d been away. I swear that kid had a degree in cuntololgy.
What seemed like the longest and most fucked up lunch break ever, eventually came to end when the bell rang out. It obviously hadn’t gone as I’d planned 45 minutes earlier and I was still hungry. But still, there’d be some party food to get stuck into later on...I thought.
We all emptied from the lunch hall and toddled off back to class like the bunch of pre-programmed robots we were. Our teacher, Miss Snowdon was stood at the door with her arms crossed watching us all make our way to our tables. As I passed her she put her arm out and blocked my path. ‘Not you’ she said without even looking at me, ‘I want a word with you outside’.
Once the other kids had sat down, the two of us remained in the corridor and she slowly knelt down to my eye level. She stared at me and said something like ’enjoy your lunch did you? Potatoes was it?
She clearly knew what I’d been up to and I could tell she was disappointed in me. I’ve never liked upsetting people or confrontation or any of that kind of shit, I’ve always just been an easy going decent kind of lad.
‘Sorry Miss’, I said all quietly with a sad face. I could feel my eyes filling up again but I didn’t want to cry in front of another teacher – twice in one day would have been too much to fucking cope with. ‘To say I’m disappointed in you is an understatement’ she said to me whilst handing me an apron.
Even though the door was closed, I could see Johnny watching us, he had his finger to his lips reminding me to keep quiet. He made a clenched fist which suggested I’d be on the receiving end of it if I grassed on him.
He was a fucking bully and you’d think the teachers would have known he had something to do with all this bullshit. But did they fuck, the thick bastards.
I proceeded to put my apron on for a reason still unknown to me and we went back into the class. The teacher gestured towards an upturned bucket in the corner of the room and I sat down on it. ‘Are we still having a party Miss?’ I reluctantly asked her while she ripped open a big white sack. ‘Yes we are’ she said with a sarcastic grin on her face. The emphasis placed on the word ‘we’.
Awe well that's good I thought, but I didn’t quite understand what I was doing sat in the corner wearing an apron. ‘She handed me a peeler and said ‘after you’ve peeled all of those potatoes for tomorrow’s lunch, then you can join us’.
The whole fucking class was laughing and pointing at me, and then the music kicked in. They were all up on their feet dancing and pulling party poppers, people swigging orange juice like there was no tomorrow. The air was full of that smoky smell that party poppers let off, it smelt fucking wonderful, and I was missing out on the fucking lot of it.
The dinner ladies had made a special end of term buffet just for us. The table was full of cocktails sticks with cheese and pickled onions threaded on to them. The sausage rolls and corned beef sandwiches looked divine, but all I could do was merely smell them.
Johnny was shoving as much in his mouth as possible, clearly he wasn’t hungry, just greedy – If it’s free, take it –that kind of mentality. People started dancing around the room as I was peeling spuds. The place went mental when Wake me up before you gogo came on. Some of the lassys started dancing on the tables for fucks sake.
Like the wanker he was, Johnny started grooving like George Michael and edged his way closer to me and says ‘what you peeling spuds for ya prick, tell her to fuck off and come and dance’.
The cheeky bastard I thought, it was his fault I peeling the fucking things in the first place. ‘Not just now mate’, I feebly replied, ‘I’ve just got another couple of hundred to do then I’ll be right there’.
Everyone was having so much fun I couldn’t believe I was missing out – envy and jealousy was eating away at me. After an hour or so I couldn’t take anymore. The teacher had left the room for a bit and everyone was just going boosh, having the time of their lives.
The tipping point came when the theme tune to Beverly Hills cop – Axel F – came on. I lost my fucking mind and I stood up, ripped my apron off and threw the potato peeler at the fucking blackboard. I started break dancing in the middle of the class for fucks sake. The kids were fucking loving it and I started picking up all the leftover sandwiches and the pickled onions that everyone had left and I threw them all over the place. I was proper letting myself go like I’d never done so before, or most importantly, since.
When Axel F stopped playing, we all sat down for a breather and started laughing uncontrollably. It was a moment that we all shared a real sense of camaraderie that is so rare these days.
The teacher then walks in not able to believe her eyes, we all go silent and before she’d even had a chance to ask what the fuck was going on, Johnny fucking Haggerty points at me and says ‘it was him miss, he’s lost his mind’.
The fucking cunt.