The girl next door

Maxie Forster is a binman who carries out ashes from the coal fires of North Shields the holes in his leather soled boots are letting in water from the rain and he cannot afford to go and take the boots to the cobbler shop in Billy Mill. He tries repairing them with some old lino and cuts the shape out with a stanley knife and glues them with some evo stick then places cardboard in the insides. Looking over the road on his round he spots a family being evicted by the bailiffs - the wagon is loaded with furniture and the woman and her five children stand in the rain as the barrow with everything she owns is pushed down the street.


24. 24

If Albert could get them for ten pound a box he’d be lucky.’

“Twenty boxes of cod from the Sunfish, who will start me at eight pound?’

Alright then five pound, five, who will give me six, a hand went up, six pounds who will give me seven, Albert tipped his hat; we have seven who’s got eight, Irving nodded, now we are cooking on gas who’s got nine, Albert tipped his hat again.


“Come on lad’s prime cod here, who’ will give me ten pounds per box?’

Irving bid against him again and Albert wanted the fish.’ “Ten fifty shouted Albert.’

“Eleven said Irving.’

“Come on Richard give me a break here.’

“Eleven it is gentlemen.’

“Eleven fifty said Albert.’

“Twelve said Richard.’

“Your taking the piss now mate.’

“Albert shook his head.’

 Then next lot, forty boxes of haddock from the “Jenny B who will start me at five.’

Albert out bid Irving and Fernandez got them for nine pounds a box.

“Right; fifty boxes of cod start me at ten and stop pissing about.’

Harry Fernandez nodded at the auctioneer

Albert was determined to get these ones and bid against both Harry and Richard he got them for thirteen pounds a box which would push his prices up but what could he do, he needed the fish.’

“When he got back with the fish Chris Lorrimer was ready and they quickly unloaded the fish from the popper and set about filleting. The radio was blasting out a tune by Marc Bolan and both men joined in the chorus of “Ride a White Swan” as the slashed away with their knives. The wagon arrived to take the other fish away and Albert watched them as they loaded up.’

When he was finished he made the driver sign the delivery slip before he was allowed to leave.’

Bobby Brunton came past in his van; he wound the window down and called “Albert the Hat” over.

Albert walked over and asked what he wanted.’

“I’ve got fifty boxes of prawns in the back if you want them “hundred quid and they’re yours.’

Albert walked to the back of the van and opened the boxes of Langoustines’ then smelled them.’

Albert walked back to the front he shook his head then said to Bobby “I will give you eighty quid take it or leave it.’

“Come on Al’ you steal my bloody eyes you would.’

“You have my offer mate.’

“Bobby knew that he was still making a good profit as he’d only paid twenty for them himself from a mate in Gilberg’s fish store where they had a little scam going.

“Go on then Al’ you should change your name to Robin you know’” Robin’ bastard.’

“Nice doing business said Albert as bobby unloaded the prawns and placed them in the store. Albert gave him eighty quid and he jumped into the van and was gone.

Albert knew someone who would collect those prawns for a hundred and sixty quid minimum making him eighty pounds profit. He rang the number then waited for an answer “That you Cookie said Albert to the owner of the “Peeking Duck” on Waterloo Street in town. ‘

“Listen I have fifty boxes of fresh prawns do you want them?’

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