Somebody is going to have to tell the wife and children.
They just took one night a month for themselves. A pipe dream at the warehouse became the modest reality of a regular night out for the dads. Nothing expensive, cheaper than Saturday football anyway. Nothing to make them worry at home, just some live music at a proper small venue with your mates from work and then catching the last train home. The music was good, beer was drunk but nothing excessive. We are not dealing with excessive people here. As each returning unlit train station ticked them closer to real life again, they would have been hoping to keep that young again feeling as long as possible.
The last wisps of backlit clouds were fading out of the night sky as the group of friends walked from the Smallmarket Station to the Star of India. Of course it’s a cliché but curry is still one of the very good ways to end the night perfectly. Lamb bhuna and bhajis later Trevor is walking home alone through the quiet early hours of the Smallmarket night time economy.
Track back 6 hours and Barry is hanging out with his new best friend Trace. He’s known her for months but he still hasn’t bothered to find out her last name. She is one of those irregular girls who seem to bump into his life whenever he has cheap cider, dope and access to somewhere to crash. There is absolutely no need to ever know her last name. Barry had a council funded flat with a Trish but she kicked him out. They were having a baby, that was the plan then maybe he would sort himself out and get a job. Never happened. He loved her so much he hurt her to prove it. Barry’s Mum sees him when he’s on the scrounge. She has no idea where he lives now. How could she? It changes from couch to couch on a weekly basis.
At some point Barry, Trace and some other random lad who has attached himself to Barry’s random walk through life set off on the mooch round Smallmarket. Maybe the cider ran out and they were moved on or somebody else had somewhere with a better Playstation to chill at or the dope dealer didn’t feel like delivering and they were picking up. We may never know. Perhaps Barry was sensing that Trace isn’t going to put out. Perhaps he is thinking of Trish and the life he can’t be bothered to have. He’s angry. Shouty, abusive, abrasive looking for a chance to make somebody else feel bad so he can feel good again. It never worked with the lovely Trish but Barry isn’t good at learning from experience and has chronically poor impulse control despite “Think First” “Anger Management” “Youth Custody” and all the other undemanding interventions that he has floated through.
And then they meet. Trevor is walking home one way and Planet Barry with his twin moons is coming the other. Words were not exchanged. Trevor has thoughts of home, family, maybe hangover and a fried breakfast. As they pass, Barry punches him once, as hard as he can. Some essential part of Trevor’s brain immediately rips and tears as his head is torqued sideways. As he lies dying, Barry, Trace and random lad gather round him wondering at what Barry’s single punch has done. Trevor dies in the street before the ambulance could possibly arrive.
The police arrive and Barry pulls the “innocent passer by just trying to help this bloke who has fallen down” routine. He keeps that going through a number of carefully written prepared statements handed over by his straight faced solicitor. He keeps it going right until we show him the CCTV of the passing punch.This is followed by another prepared statement whereby apparently Trevor has taken it into his head to finish the night by beating on ASBO boy and Barry was only acting “in self defence” getting his reaction in first.
At Court Barry will cop the earliest possible plea to manslaughter. His barrister will try and put off the evil day so that Barry can have more extra cushy remand time rather than proper prison conditions but a good C.P.S. lawyer heads the defence boy off at the pass. “Barry never meant to do serious harm, just a single punch, how could he know what would happen?” It is clearly always going to be an agreed plea to manslaughter.
In the twisted mirror of criminal justice, Barry’s chaotic life and behaviour will re-emerge as mitigation in a pre-sentence report. This will be feathered by his barrister who will detail all the disappointments that have dinged round Barry’s head to the point where he punched a man to death without ever quite mentioning that, with no provocation, Barry.punched.a.man.to.death.
Somebody is going to have to tell Trevor’s missus that the Judge isn’t going over 4 years on the sentence. Me? No thanks. I think the Judge should tell her and he can explain why because I am damned if I can.
A Street. The Morning