THE MAGPIE OF STONEBRIDGE PARK

 

1. A lead

I am a crime writer. 

Seemingly unsuccessful – my books cannot even be found in garden centres. 

I need a lead. 

Elderly puffins – Ted and Ruthie – timeshared in the ’80s, reduced to muttering in our local, between weeks in Bulgaria.

An opening. 

They tell of a bronzed villain – carved like amber – who stripped them of coin and sung like a magpie. 

A nightingale?’ 

A scrapyard magpie!’ 

Nightly his victims – aware they ‘share a cubicle in a Tenerife shit-house’ – endured his descanting, counting their diminishing cash. 

Now they have an address. 

A huge breaker washed this legend away from his Deptford manor, into the worst estate in London – north of the river, north of anywhere (except gun crime).

Even the UN have withdrawn their troops, after an incident with a Swedish peacekeeper and an obese mother of sixteen, in a condemned chicken outlet.

The man was deep fried and served on chutty bread. 

His family received a pair of trainers and a flyer for pizza delivery. 

Like a Poundland Buddha, I found Terry Palmer on his balcony, singing for the encircling youths: 

Poppadoms ain’t no good for a fry-up…ghee gets in your eyes…the silver off the streets and a Terry’s chocolate orange sunset…a bunk-up with some black bird…oh Mogadishu’s where me love is…the councillors give planning permission…refugee camps in Victorian gardens…I used a blade…now we got Khan who can’t…too much aftershave at Heathrow…one day these boys will get me bent over a bike rack…a stairwell roistering…we’ll revenge…Olaf the Swede…skin white as Mother’s Pride…that works for a fry-up…oh Kosovo my dinkum…Serbs may carve but I love you…Simon Armitage has my back…he can write about goalies who smoke…northern pies…give me eels and batter…Buckfast for the Sweaties…little girls skipping in the early mist…one village I saw on the Weald…now a lorry-park.’

2. An overrated horror film

None of it usable –

mostly unprintable:

all of it ‘offensive’. 

I remember that cult horror film, 

fire burning, a man in the middle, 

singing for his supper.’ 

 

 

 

 

Paul Sutton


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