life sucks


What had I done to come here? Be born for one. Not that nothing had happened since that curiously indistinct memory of my life. I could visualize the painfully short movie that could be made:
SCENE I: Birth
SCENE II: (20 years later) Death
As the gun came up to my forehead, I remembered how it had all started…


My name is Stuart Piddlewinks. Owing to the unfortunate co-incidence of the first 3 letters of each of my names, not to mention the number of disrespectful references that could be made from my last name; it was destined that any nickname would not be too flattering.

Life had dealt me 2 cruel blows and apparently those were barely warm-ups. Not too much schooling and a street life from the onset meant that I had to start disproving my nick as soon as possible. For an eight year old, that’s not easy. Especially when you consider the neighbourhood.

Well, I went down the obvious path: cigarettes, alcohol and a gutter life going down the drain anyhow. That had taken up most of the past twenty years. And then I had met Stan.


I smiled when I remembered Stan.

The gun stopped in its movement against gravity.
‘Whadda ya smiling about, punk? Canna you recognize a gun when you see one, stupid?’
‘Actually, one does like to reminisce about the past when the future looks bleak. And a bit improbable.’
‘Yeah, whatever. Wanna few minutes to lookit back on yer pitiful life, stupid?’

The worst part was that he was right. It wouldn’t take more than a few minutes.


Stan was my saviour. Not morally, but materially. Who cares for morals anyway; in this screwed-up world?

Stan showed me how to be cool. The change was not overnight; like in the books, but over a fortnight. I went from being the chap who was slapped around to do work, to the guy who was slapped and paid for doing work. That is what I like to call punishment at a prize.

Any man in our business will tell you that if you are paid, then you definitely have some confidence reposed in you.

And that’s why I am going to die at twenty.


A shot woke me out of my reverie.  A figure collapsed next to me.


Oh well, shit happens.


Confidence is such a two-sided thing. When told something in confidence in my business, you have two choices: either you do the job for someone and get one percent of the cut or you take the job and one hundred percent of the cut.

Being StuPid I did what you would expect me to do…

I hijacked the truck as planned and went down the eastern expressway. And my gang members were waiting on the western expressway.

And then sirens started blaring. Out of nowhere.
Then I understood why I had been told to go down the opposite highway.

Again I had two choices: Give up and lose it all. Probably get a record. Or to make them work for it.

My choice was probably brave…bit also foolhardy. Not to mention foolish.

Away we went down the expressway. They could not overtake me coz, well, I occupied both lanes. Besides, in a pushing contest, they would probably have been pushed back to Baltimore; so to speak.

The chase went on through the night. After all, it was a long expressway…


‘Well kid…yer real nice to look at an’ all, but I havta deliver this here to my boss. So avooiyer as them dutch say.’
‘Actually it’s au revoir pronounced auvoour. And the French deserve credit for their national language.’
‘What was that you said, smart aleck?’
‘I didn’t think you’re as deficient in hearing as you are in brains; but anyway, it’s…’

The gun started on its upward trajectory again.


You guessed it again. I missed the exit where the contact was. With his men.
And then the gas gave out.

They pulled over in front of the truck and got out. Typical policemen, with uniforms, guns and all the paraphernalia. One was munching on a sandwich. Looked like I had caught them leaving a deli.
‘Up against the truck. Hands over yer head. And doncha dare move.’
It wasn’t The Matrix and I could never move as fast as their bullets. So I agreed and did as he said. One went round and checked the back. With that dratted consignment.
‘Thanks a lot, kiddo. Our warehouse is just round the corner.’
Warehouse? Police warehouses aren’t generally…

Then I noticed the stickers on the cars peeling. And that the flasher was a lamp with a red filter.
One of the ‘policemen’ grinned and pressed a button on the instrument in his hand. I’d thought that was a portable walkie-talkie.
A loud siren was heard.
Great. A tape recorder.

‘And kid, this is our stuff. Yours was the one nexta this here one. I think it’s coming this way now.’

And then I finally noticed that the name on ‘my’ truck was BrueStall instead of Blue Stark. God had finished peeing on me and was now doing more unspeakable things with the remains.


The gun was level with my head.


It is at this point I should probably leave off my story. After all, I had actually helped the gang out. Right? They got their consignment delivered quickly to them, at zero risk to any of them.

Sounds like the point at which I should switch gangs right?

So I did.

Just in time for my contact to arrive to see what I was upto. Didn’t take long for him to get me back from my “new gang”. Remember that ‘confidence’ thing I talked about? Turns out there is a downside to it.

If someone thinks you double-crossed them, you die.

Yes, I said think.

I knew that recap wouldn’t take long. Guess my few minutes are up, too. That gun barrel is looking awfully large from where I stand. He doesn’t look like the kinda guy to miss a shot either. Or forget to put bullets in or something.

Where was I?

Oh yeah:

SCENE I: Birth
SCENE II: (20 years later) Death…?

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