Monday, 22 November 2010

My Fourth Published Story - Little Otis

This is the fourth story I had published.  This one made it into 'Radgepacket Four' giving me a story in each of the Radgepacket collections to date - something of which I am still very proud.

Here we go . . .

Little Otis 

Otis spits sideways, wipes his mouth, and starts chasin after me with an empty can of Fosters in his hand. Little bleeder's only seven but he's mad as they fuckin come. 

Whole family's fuckin mental. Take the old man - Psycho Sol. The Old Bill did. Five years back. Give him a seven stretch for settin fire to the neighbour's dog. Kept shittin on his lawn, he says, so one day, when the little fucker's doin' it's business, Sol creeps up behind it with his lighter  and . . . WOOF.

Tried lightin up the Old Bill when they come an all, standin there flashin his lighter like it's some sort of fuckin flamethrower. The Old Bill's just pissin emselves. They wait for the gas in the lighter to run out, then jumped the cunt.  Bye bye, Sol.

Sols' got five kids, all with his old girl - Shirelle. She used to be Doreen, but Sol made her change her name. Mad on music, Sol.  All that Atlantic Soul stuff from the sixties. Good stuff, but, you know, like I says, Sol was proper mental on it.  It's how Otis got his name - Otis Redding.  Named all his kids after em.  Otis, now that ain't a bad name.  He got lucky. Very lucky.

Aretha, poor bastard, he had a right fuckin time of it.

Ended up at some fancy art college down in Brighton just to get away. Saw him when I was down there with the lads last year. He was doin a drag act on the pier with a little dog called Puff and he was all dressed in some pink leotard bollocks. If Sol hadn't been banged up at the time,  he'd have jumped up on that stage and ripped the fucker's arms right off. 

Mind you, in Sol's hypothetical defence, Aretha couldn't hold a tune to save his fuckin life.
The other three of Sol's boys, the twins Percy Sledge and Booker T, and Rufus Thomas, they're still at home, like Otis. Percy and Booker, they're ten, and Rufus has nearly left school, so he's gotta be fifteen or something.

Always hangin about outside my house, Rufus.  Sittin on the front wall, suckin on a spliff.

He's all right.  He's a good kid, really.  Best of a bad lot.  Just the puff's got him all paranoid, you know. I've only gotta open the front door and he's runnin down the street like he's got a tribe of fuckin Zulus on his arse. When he's too fucked to run, like when he's been up there a while, he jumps off the wall and hides down behind it.  But  he always goes the wrong side, you know, in the garden.  I walk down the path pretendin I don't see him, then I'm off down the street, shakin me head wonderin what the fuckin country's comin to. 

So I got Otis, he's chasin me with this beer can in his hand. I'm nearly forty and I ain't as fit as I used to be. Otis  puts a spurt on. I can see Shirelle back behind him, shakin her fist at me.

'Fuckin get him, Otis,' she's shoutin. 'Fuckin have the thievin cunt!'

Nice family, like I says.

I'm near the end of the street, and I just gotta turn the corner. Get out of sight of the little bastard and I'll be all right. He won't bother chasin me outta sight of his mum.  

But I'm strugglin. Slowin down.  I can't go on.  I'd do anything to neck the can of Fosters I nicked off him, but I ain't got no time. He's catchin up and me legs are fucked.

I stop, hands on me knees, then slide down the passenger door of a parked-up light blue Cortina.

And here he is. Otis Redding.  Seven years old.  Starin at me with them evil little eyes of his.  His face is all red, like it's filled with blood.  Mental case.

He chucks the empty beer can at me head, digs in his pocket. 

And pulls out a lighter.



  1. I remember reading this one in Radgepacket - lovely stuff, I really like it. The characters are fantastic, I just love the names, especially poor Aretha! Ha! And Radge is a great mag - well done you for being in them all. That's definitely something to be proud of!

  2. Cheers, Jools. Glad you enjoyed this little one. Actually began life as a competition entry on an American writing site where they give you the first line - in theis case the spitting sideways one - and you've got to carry it on. I didn't get anyway. Don't think 'Otis' was what they might have been expecting :)

  3. Totally mental stuff Ian!!
    Brilliant. Great story ..