Tammy is rattling. I’m not far behind her. She tells me again her feet are wet. I hear the grizzle rising in her voice as we come down on Derby Road in the morning rain. Wax Noyle and his rawboned daughter or his lover or whoever she is, shelter in a shop doorway. He wears a battered straw boater, thinks he looks really something, keeps it low on his brow: reckons the Lord won’t see his rheumy eyes, his swollen nose. But God sees all. Wax wouldn’t know God if he came by and saved him. The scrawny woman carries a blue plastic bag filled with cans and both have the confident, cock of the morning glower of all-night drinkers. No good comes from drinking after 3 a.m. Keep the windows shut and the curtains drawn against piss vampires. I either say this or just think it as we pass.
“Blessings. Blessings,” they say, the voices of corvids. I can’t figure what they mean by this. Possibly something, but they know not what they say or do. I think Jesus would wear a firm felt fedora. An olive fedora, white feather or sprig in the band. The vision forms in my head. I think to share this gospel with Wax in his boater and the thin woman, but the words don’t come easy and my head is aching and the moment passes into the void. I look down again at Tammy’s shoes, she’s saying her feet are wet.
Kenny B tosses the key down from the window and we ascend to his flat. He pushes two sad pit bulls aside and pulls a couple of wraps from the side of his shitty sofa. I give him the notes.
“What’s new, Kenny B?”
“Got myself a boat,” he says. And he begins to tell us all about this boat moored up in Boscombe as Tammy falls to her knees at the low table and prepares the sacrament. It was listed on page number 23 of the auction brochure, he says. This holds heavy significance for Kenny B as he sports a tattoo behind his ear of that very number. A rough backwards swastika also adorns the flesh between his finger and thumb. He’s a fucking pagan or something. Takes young hippy girls to a sweat lodge he’s built up in the woods. Except it ain’t no sweat lodge to my understanding. It’s a bivouac at best: a collection of branches covered in fern and furnished with a spunky mattress. Kenny B swears by an egg cup of his own urine every morning. He only sluices though, doesn’t swallow. Only an egg cup? An egg cup is all you need. Everybody has to believe in something. Jesus never sluiced an egg cup of piss. Not for you, not for me, not for anybody. Heathen piss sluicer.
“It’s almost apocalypse proof,” says Kenny B of his boat.
“We’ll be calling you Noah,” says Tammy.
Kenny B grew up on a dairy farm and wouldn’t know the Ark from his arsehole. But this is where Fat Matt’s name, with some inevitability, crops up. Turns out Fat Matt’s folks run a boozer in Boscombe. Kenny B will thumb a ride down there and Fat Matt and Kenny B will sail the boat back to Weston. But now he just looks at the lines Tammy’s fashioned on the back of Houses of The Holy and says he believes Fat Matt has some knowledge of sailing. We all know this is bollocks and the silence is punctuated only by snorting and the rain fingering the window.
“What do you mean Noah?” says Kenny B.
And now we’re back on the street and the rain is a deluge and I ask Tammy if Noah had a wife and without dropping a stitch she says, yeah, Joan of Ark. And I take this for gospel and she says her feet are wet and we’re laughing.
“Some fuckers don’t deserve redemption,” says Tammy. And now I know we’re really speeding for Jesus.