Mark Etchells:
Three Stories

Just Working

Way busy in work putting in railway sleepers on the upright to hold a bank up after we cut a track thru a field. A hundred and thirty so far and a shit loada concrete. Young fella owns the propert, 26 years of age. Grandad left 25 mill to him. He gets up, smokes a rolly, has a coffee, plans his games room, clears the ice off his range rover by remote from his back door, and goes back in. o yeah, then the dog comes out for a shit next to my pick up. He stayed in for a year when he first got it and smoked weed. Brains gone a bit now I reckon, nice enough lad, but fuck me. Been cold here. Fingers like digits of a monkey at the mo. Smell naught but creosote from sleepers. Chainsaw has made me deaf and blind from the shit in them. Just moanin bra, just moanin.

13 Eyes

Still here. Been back to the boy millions place - nay more chainsaws and shite so much this time. The sleepers we put in still holdin fast the cut thru the hill. Didn't like to see the concrete so much I gather, gotta cover that up with somethin. Been doin a wall for what seems like an age, reconstructing something that was put 150 years ago but has kinda fell down and had same age trees growin thru it. Pull it out and put it back. found a farthing. Labour was cheap then and they built with any shite they dug up on the property. Puttin it back difficult on a time and money scale. Still. Put it back with better quarry stone mixed in to make my life and back easier. Cant build a wall out of medicine ball mishapen heads in 2008. Not on a price. That was the bank been put back, and on to the wall. Used to build walls and tall walls down here using naught but shite and lime mortar. Anyhow, the things been fucked and the stone blown with wet and frost and snakes and ivy, took 4ft off the top as it was at a mathematical angle full of un original matter and Not Safe for our £boys stoned perambulations with his dog. Lime mortar, a curious thing. Delving into the black arts. Ive spoken to experts, theres talk of damp hessian, mixes worthy of fuck knows who, hydraulic, quick, and hydrated.

Burns all the skin off your hands in 2 days.no finger prints. Time for the perfect crime. Cept youd get stuck to a coppers shirt on day 3 with the barbs and shite on ure hands for a week then. Nay escape. Burns eyes too tho thats no good for crimes.

He bought a new jag the other day, an F plate fucked v12 convertible for 6 grand. Does minus on the mpg. Happy. Collects his mail in it from the top of the drive. Must be a quarter mile. Tis a distance eh?

Back tomorrow for more wall. Only 50 metres and 17 hands worth of skin to go. and 13 eyes.

Victory V 

Had a few of those jobs, not the kind when you can voluntarily say yay give it a go for a full 32 mins. Couple come to mind, one poss the worst on a stone crusher. Stood on this fuckin huge 40 tonne machine on a footplate while a 16 tonner swung shit and concrete in front of my face, no cage, and dumped its old oily load of bust up town of brown field site into the rollin vibrating killer jaws of satan hiself, yeah, my job mind, was to grab steel and shite from the jaws of said beelzebub, and any other foreign matter too. foreign matter. crushed old stuff for foundations of new stuff. old steel fucked the machine tho, that was the job. 10 hour shift in fear of your fucking life every time you grabbed a 9 foot piece of reo and the fucker bit it already, yeah, snag you, pulled in, lost a coat once. was wearing it, but it was me or him. hope it went  in the foundation to build somewhere nice.Used to pick Brody up 6am in the van. Smell of victory v's gave it up then, yeah brode was a great plant man, fix ought, but fuck , whisky before the work. Not a tot neither. hafe bottle. Early doors hometime he was a two handed pint man for the first half gallon. steady as a rock then, nay tremours. purple drain from his face to red and then start talkin and laughin with us all. I'd be away then. Id reckon he'd swamp another gallon and then back to the favourite homeside. a drop for the mornin and a victory v.

Just Working, 13 Eyes, Victory V first appeared in Tim Etchells' Notebook.

Mark Etchells works outside and lives in Devon.

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