I used to write scripts for Tommy (Fatboy) Devine. Tommy Devine is ugly. You want to know how ugly he is? I’ll tell you.

When he’s born (series one, episode two) the midwife, a twenty-eight year old gay word puzzle enthusiast from Ohio, threatens to assassinate his mother. When he sees the kid he just falls apart; it’s like he takes it personally, you know? Like little Tommy has rained on his parade and it’s the mother’s fault.

“How could you do this?” he pleads. “I mean, how?” He tosses his face mask and surgical gloves to the floor with a theatrical flourish. “I mean, at some point during the last nine months… well, you must have had some idea. Surely you couldn’t have carried that around and not known, suspected even…? Couldn’t you have done the decent thing?”

The mother, a giant hover-fly, passes out. Her wings collapse, creating a huge draught, which blows the anaesthetist off his feet and scatters instruments, swabs, wipes, anything that isn’t tied down, all over the room.

“Ho hum,” sighs the midwife. “You chase a horse and you catch a dog. Story of my life.”

Tommy plays all the parts, it’s Fatboy world: every character in every show looks like some version of Tommy.

That first script earns Jonny Hilltown — a.k.a. my good self — a personal assistant called Dragona Hartley. Dragona believes in absolutes and, like Tommy, she likes to generalize.

Did you know that gangsters use the word “f**k” more than any other, with the possible exceptions of “money” and “no”? That gangsters in the main don’t have what you might call a good command of the English language (the same can be said of comedians)?

“You know why?” asks Fatboy. “I’ll tell you why,” breathing cigar smoke and garlic all over my new wool suit. “It’s because they’re all spiritual Italians and Greeks. Ok, some of them really are Italians and Greeks. But the ones that ain’t, actually are, in that spiritual sense. You get me? It’s that cultural thing about body language that the spiritual Italians and the spiritual Greeks share with the Italians from Italy and the Greeks from Greece: the hand gestures and stuff. It’s the same with accountants: spiritually they’re all Jewish.”

Then his eyes narrow, his head tilts to one side and he looks me square in the face:

“You want to know something about writers? I’ll tell you about writers. All writers drink in the afternoon. Did you know that? All writers are spiritual drunks – even the ones that don’t drink.”

Waiting too long for somebody in a crap bar is an absolute pain in the arse. I’ve been doing it all my life.

“I don’t believe in absolutes,” she says. She has the makings of a movie hitman’s mustache. I decide to call her Mustache Petronella, but not to her face.

“Don’t killers believe in absolutes?” I ask.

“You think death is an absolute?” She flicks her cigarette so the ash just misses the ashtray. I can’t help thinking this is a deliberate act.

“If the act of causing it is a deliberate move, with intent, with extreme prejudice, then I think it is, absolutely,” I tell her. Then I go to the washroom, where an accomplice has previously hidden an unregistered lap-top behind a cistern.

I come out typing.

But she is gone; in her place sits Nico, with the lithe body and the smooth-skin-high-cheek-boned-oriental look. He’s a static boy from the other side of Snake River who loves his knives and his brothers. He talks lingwo, spits out words and phrases like bursts from a MAC10.

I get straight to the point: “What about the kid?”

“Yeah, always knew him. We grew up knowing each other. Went to school together. All that thing.” His eyes never meet mine while he talks; only in the pauses.

“Then why did he die?”

“Because his name come up! It’s easy to get blowed. Word is he got mixed up in this Muslim Boy thing, did something that doubled back on his people. Maybe it was meant, maybe it wasn’t, maybe didn’t even know what he done. I don’t know. Anyway it doesn’t matter, it’s happened… he’s gone and that’s it and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. They killed him, shot him in his mouth and throat. Tomorrow it could be me or you.”

I don’t write scripts for Tommy Devine any more.

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