Category Archives: Julie Wright

Closing Time by Julie Wright

Half-eleven on a Friday night and I’m at the window watching out for him. Twenty-four hour opening hasn’t hit the pubs round here, they’re old men’s pubs mostly, still stop serving at eleven. He’ll have been tossed out of the Duke at about quarter past. Billy reckons that gives folk long enough to drink up; if they can’t drink a pint between last orders and closing time, they should have got a half, and if they can’t drink a half, they should have stopped at home. Time it takes him to stagger to Kebab Korner and back with his supper, he should be coming up the street any minute now.


He’ll be in a right state, he’s been out all day. Leastways, there was no sign of him when I was home at dinner. I ate me pastie what I got from Greggs then picked up after him, put his empties and the crisp packets and that in the bin. After that, I hoovered round then grabbed me PE kit and legged it back to school. He’s a lazy bastard, he never does nowt. That’s why me mam went off with that bloke from Cash Converters.


It looks cold out. Coming up to the May bank holiday and lovely through the day with that global warming they keep moaning about. I think it’s a good thing, me, if it lifts the temperature. Trust the folk who can afford to go somewhere sunny to begrudge the rest of us a few rays. Cold at night, though, especially if there’s no cloud, and it’s clear as anything tonight. Big, fat moon like a spotlight in the sky. I’ll clock him no bother under that.


I check me watch. Here he comes, the old fucker! I can see him turning into the street, doing that pissed bloke walk. Getting round the corner he looks like a pony doing sums, counting the answer out with his hoof. One, two, three, stagger and turn, then he’s on the home straight, looking like a lardy carthorse attempting dressage. He’s in an even worse state than usual. I finger the bruise on my cheek then clench my fists. I hope he’s not in a fighting mood.


I nip down to the kitchen when I hear him fumbling with his key, trying to get it into the keyhole. If Dosser was with him, he’d do his shit joke about how they should put a bit of fur round it, get it in first time every time then, ha bloody ha. The door swings open and he crashes into the house, bounces off the wall, gets his feet in a knot and lands on the floor in a heap, whump, the breath knocked out of him.


I run upstairs. He’s still on the deck, kind of gurgling in his throat when I get back. I shut the front door, don’t want the neighbours to see, then come back and stare down at him. He looks pathetic. Lank hair, stubbly chin, trousers peppered with fag burns, shirt collar frayed and gray. He’s rolled onto his back, his parcel of chips, fried rice and curry sauce just out of reach, but it hasn’t burst, thank Christ. I stand next to him, over him, clutching the pillow with both hands, marvelling at the contrast between the clean white linen and the grubby old man. He breathes noisily, sucking air in through his mouth, spit bubble in the corner ballooning every time he exhales. His teeth are brown and pitted and his breath would shame a camel. He’s a fucking health hazard. I stoop, the pillow moving swiftly toward his face, then I take a handful of his hair and raise his head high enough to slip it underneath. I roll him onto his side so he doesn’t choke on his sick, then, as he starts snoring, chuck a blanket over him. He looks so sad and old, worn out and fucked up. Twat packs a canny punch, mind. But not tonight. I kiss him on the cheek then go on up to bed. Whatever else he is, he’s still me dad.

Julie Wright lives by the seaside in the north east of England and hangs out on Crimespace when she’s supposed to be writing.

Pick a Pig Night by Julie Wright

Ethan Dobson woke up with a start, tried to work out where the fuck he was. His head was banging and his mouth tasted of fags and stale lager. He was in bed, alone, in a strange room. When he tried to stand, the room pirouetted and his stomach lurched dangerously. Fuck it. He lay back down. 

Things started coming back to him. The Blue Bell with Mark and Jimmy, down the road to Kebab Korner, then on to Mirabelle, stuffing their faces with pitas packed full of elephant’s leg meat and chili sauce, trying not to get grease on their clothes as they went. Mirabelle: north east
England’s premier night spot. Back in the 1950s. Maybe. Christ, it was a hole! But that was all part of its attraction. The clientele made it the perfect place for the first Friday after pay day: pick a pig night.

 He’d copped off with a beauty this time. Even with his beer goggles on, this lass had a snout and trotters. Should be a law against birds that plug. Fucking ugly bitch. Speaking of which, where was she? He took it slow this time, managed to get onto his feet. The landing light was on and he moved slowly toward the door. It stood ajar and, as he got close, he could hear her talking quietly. Sounded like she was on the phone to one of her mates. 

 ‘No, man, he’s still here! He’s upstairs.’ She giggled. ‘Aye, we did it, like.’ 

 Bragging about him! If only she knew. Mind, he was probably the best thing to happen to her in a long while. 

 ‘What about yours? Mark, was it?’ 

 Ethan had Mark beat. The bird he’d pulled looked like a bulldog chewing a wasp, but she was pretty compared to the pig he’d just porked. 

 ‘Couldn’t get it up? Typical!’ 

 Ethan was surprised; the lass wasn’t all that bad, not for pick a pig night. Must have been the beer. 

‘Tracey’s one managed it. Jimmy, they call him.’ She paused. ‘I know, he’s not that ugly. Mebbe she just fancied him, eh?’ 

 Ethan didn’t understand that one. He scratched his balls while he tried to puzzle it out. 

 ‘Well, it was a toss up between my one and your one, but if yours couldn’t manage it…. You know the rules!’ 

 Ethan took pride in the fact that he could always manage it, no matter how pissed he was or ugly a bird was. Christ, he’d boned some hounds, but you didn’t look at the fireplace while you were poking the fire. 

She laughed. ‘That’s one to me, then. About time an’ all. It’s ages since I won a pick a pig night!’ 

How the hell did she know? 

‘Ta-ra, Shaz. See you later.’ 

She came back upstairs. Fuck was her name? Ethan racked his brains but came up empty. 

 ‘Oh, you’re up!’ 

 Christ, she was rough looking! But still, a shag was a shag. 

 ‘Aye,’ Ethan told her. ‘Every time for you, pet.’ He reached out towards her and she ducked away. 

 ‘Cup of tea? I’ll go and put the kettle on.’ 

He ferreted about on the floor for his skiddies and his t-shirt. Must want a cup of tea first. Oh, well, he could wait. Cup of tea wouldn’t hurt. He padded down to the kitchen and heard her mobile ring. 

‘Oh, hiya, Tracey. Aye, I’m just making him a cup of tea.’ She laughed. ‘Oh, he’s keen, like, but once is more than enough with a lad like him.’ 

 Ethan preened. 

 ‘And I won pick a pig! See you later.’ 

Ethan lounged in the doorway. ‘How did you know?’ he asked. 

 ‘Know what?’ 

 ‘Pick a pig….’ 

She shook her head, picked up a mug. ‘Milk and sugar?’ 

 ‘Aye, thanks, pet.’ He sat down at the table and drank his tea. One of his mates must have coughed to one of her mates. How else would she know about pick a pig night?


Bio: Julie Wright lives by the seaside in the north east of England and hangs out on Crimespace when she’s supposed to be working.

Fight Night by Julie Wright

It was after midnight and me and Pesky was creeping up behind this big old building, keeping right down low and tucked into the wall on account of the full moon. It was like that big searchlight on the helicopter the coppers chased us with when they caught us twocking cars. Fucking close shave that night. Behind us, Jase and Cappy was laughing and carrying on.

‘Shut the fuck up!’ Pesky hissed at them. Pesky was the boss, the leader of the gang. He taught us all what we knew. He showed us how to get into cars and how to get into houses. Cars, be careful and clever. Houses, be bold. Bust a window. Crowbar the door. Nobody takes any notice of one noise, a crash or a bang or glass breaking. Just the one and they think it was an accident or summat. It’s when you’re pratting about trying to be quiet that you make a racket and get caught. That’s what Pesky says.

‘And don’t try kicking the door in or opening the lock with a credit card,’ he telt us. ‘That only works on the telly.’

We got to the corner, and I looked at him and shrugged. ‘What now?’ it meant.

He grinned, tapped his watch then made that okay sign that the divers use. That meant be cool, not long to wait. Thursday was fight night; somebody was about to get a pasting. Jase and Cappy was right behind us now. Cappy took his baseball cap off and scratched his head. That was how he got his name, see, on account of the baseball cap. Course he can’t stop wearing it now can he? Can’t be called Cappy if you don’t wear a cap.

I heard voices and I saw Pesky tense. This was it, then. He stuck his beak round the corner, his arm out keeping us back. The building throbbed to a bass beat, it was a club of some sort, but not one I’d ever heard about. There was more talking and laughing then three big lasses come round the corner and Pesky sprang to life.

‘Fucking get them!’ he yelled, and he lamped the first lass, bust her nose all over her face. She screamed and her mates tried to run. They had no chance, not in them shoes, heels must have been six inches. Fucking porn shoes. You can’t run in porn shoes.

Now, I did what Pesky said, but I wasn’t happy about it. You see, one of the things he drummed into us was that you never hit a lass, no matter how much she winds you up. Walk away, that’s what he says. And now here we are belting fuck out of these three big lasses for no good reason at all that I could see. I tried to be gentle when I punched the one I was on.

‘Pesky, man! Fuck’s going on?’ Jase was as puzzled as me. Then Cappy walloped this big bitch and knocked her right off her feet. She landed on her arse, legs out like Bambi, dress round her waist. I just stared. I couldn’t fucking believe me eyes.

‘Now do you get it?’ Pesky yelled as we gawped. She only had her fucking cock taped to her leg. I mean he did. No wonder their hands was so fucking big. Pesky backhanded blood off his nose and grinned. ‘Tranny bashing!’ he roared, as he leapt on top of the one on the deck. ‘All the fun of hitting a woman with none of the fucking guilt!’

The lads gave out a battle cry and we laid into them proper now we knew we was hitting blokes. Fuckers cried like girls, mind. They was a right frigging state when we let them go, limped off down the street clutching their handbags and their porn shoes and their bust noses.

We was buzzing. We had cuts and bruises and that, but them big lasses was fucked. We’d have to leave it a couple of weeks, let things die down a bit, but we’d be having some more of that. Fucking brilliant!