I suppose a man who earns a living by sticking his head in a bucket is allowed a little leeway when it comes to talking absolute shite in the pub but with his story beyond ridiculous and his ‘street’ accent so grating I’m tempted to slope off to the pool table where the shite tends to chime a more familiar tune. But I can just hear Fat Spatz holding court between shots with another one of his, ‘five guys, big bastards, bouncers by the looks, knocked ’em right out, didn’t I,’ stories so I decide to settle for this mouthy street performer spouting off about a girlfriend he has ‘trained’ by using the behaviourist techniques of; positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and punishment. A bit highbrow for ‘The Stag’s Napper’ perhaps but this genius had, presumably in‐between bucket practice, managed to achieve through academic endeavour the accolade of an ‘O’ level in psychology. Which, in this company, makes him a respected expert. In fact he’s a star turn, his listeners seem captivated, it’s as if they’re being enthralled by some sort of outlandish fairytale, which – in the absence of the usual tedious drone of; betting odds, the telly last night and the ‘fucking ridiculous price of drink’ – they are.
Encouraged, the sage continues with his wisdom… “see, I use money, chocs, flowers, diamonds, okay not diamonds, diamonds are the best, cos they sparkle innit, but pressies are crap, bullshit, money talks an’ bullshit walks innit.”
“So a pile o’ coppers oot the bottom o’ an auld woman’s bag does for her does it, just what kind o’ woman are we talking about here?” I ask.
“’Ats the trick innit me old China plate, y’takes out all the slurry and leaves the nuggets.” He pulls out a bag of pound coins and empties them out on the bar. “See geezer, I’m a miner 69ner, every 69 comes my way, a good sprinkling of this here gold sparkles in that bitch’s purse.”
“A hoor then?”
“No way, no way Jose, this shit don’t have to be carnal man, could be she’s just ironed me a shirt.”
“Wot y’take me for man, could be any shit; no grief when I go out clubbin it up, lettin me watch my shit on t.v. man, any itty bitty thing, as long as it’s safe for me man I part with the coin.”
“‘Safe’, so she’s a psycho?”
“‘Psycho’, no man, safe just means cool, look man she aint no psycho, no skivvy and definitely no ho, you get me, she’s just trained man.”
“Like she’s a dog?”
“Hey she’s no dog, definitely not man, Pavlov, he’s the dog guy, me, I’m more the sex kitten guy.”
“So this sex kitten prowls round ready tae coil intae any desired sexual contortion, always keen tae iron a shirt or two and ignores any selfish bastard conduct just as long as a few squids cross her palm now and again.”
“Yeah man, you got it.”
“What method did y’say?”
“Right, but ah thought you said it was the sparkle that did it, ah mean these ‘nuggets’ aren’t exactly positively dazzling are they? They’re no even worth that much.”
“True Blood but who cares, if they work, they work, that does for this Nigga, you get me?”
“Aye, right, okay, makes sense, sort of, so what’s the other one, negative or somethin?”
“The other side of the coin innit, see what you do Blood is, she fucks up, you don’t give that bitch nothin, she’s not keepin the crib nice and tidy Blood, no nuggets man, simple.”
“Aye it is, and she certainly sounds it, simple and effective eh? Harmless even but what’s the deal with the punishment, that’s when she gets a good old fashioned slap eh? That’s hardly a ground breaking approach, just buy a black stringed vest pal, Spatz was doing a good line in them last week.”
He stretches his neck out towards me, all the sinew and muscles bulging out, it doesn’t appear to belong to a human being at all but his face shines with satisfaction not threat, he looks like a saloon gambler about to throw down his winning hand.
“See that’s where you is wrong Blood, man you couldn’t be more wrong, I’m the Bucket Man innit, you gotta be some kind of crazy to do that shit man, you gotta be some kinda pain junky man, some kinda masochistic brother, you get me?”
“Aye, no arguments there pal.”
“So that’s the script man it’s me that gets the punishment, all she does man is dish it out on this here nigga ass, but she don’t like that shit man like I said she’s a kitten, it’s dope.”
“Dope, so she’s a junkie”
“No way man, dope just means safe man an’ that just means…”
“Cool, aye y’said, so let me get this straight…”
But I’m cut short with the entrance of a sex kitten dressed in black like a circus acrobat who drapes herself round the Bucket Man like a cobra her snake eyes mesmerised by the pile of pounds on the bar and when he slots them into his personal pouch it looks as if she’s about to burst into tears. The pull of the pool table suddenly ratchets up a couple of notches and before she puts him over her knee and reddens his rump with her stilettos I’m dragged over like a lost boy.
“Awright Spatz y’fat bastard, good weekend, get intae any fights?”