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Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

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Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby PhilGlass » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:23 pm

I have been working on this for some time... This is part one of my Steptoe and Son Novel titled "The End of An Error". It is set in 1981.

PLEASE feel free to give any comments below, whether positive or negative. All feedback is welcome. I have tried to format this the best I could but it didn't come out as well in the context of a forum.. anyway... enjoy...

The legal stuff: This is based on Characters created by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. This was written by Phil Glass as a piece of fan fiction and provided free of charge and NOT for profit. All copyright of the novel text copyright Phil Glass - not to be used without permission. Any objections to the posting of this will be listened to and all laws of the united kingdom will be abided by.



STEPTOE AND SON
“The End of an Error”

A Novel by PHIL GLASS




CHAPTER ONE

Delilah Steptoe was tired as she trotted into the yard. It was a good thing she knew her way home as her owner was asleep on the cart. This was nothing new – Delilah remembered the good old days, when she was looked after, groomed and could walk around with a sense of pride. Now she was treated like a knackered old bobtail – unwashed; her shoes worn down as far as they could be.

As she stopped the cart jerked forward and her owner woke. He was Harold Albert Kitchener Steptoe, in his mid fifties, his hair getting thinner while his belly was getting bigger. Harold felt more tired than the horse did as he stretched. He was laid on the back of his rag and bone cart, a bunch of second hand knickers as a pillow. He looked around and scowled at the familiar sight. He was home, unfortunately...

Harold had lived in The Mews Cottage on Oil Drum Lane since he was a boy. This was in Shepherd’s Bush, London, which had changed a lot in the time he had lived there. The rag and bone trade was dying out and it wouldn’t be long before the yuppies moved in and they were gone for good, but despite how much Harold hated his situation, he prayed that day would never come – after all, it was all he had.

Yawning, he jumped down off the cart. He was wearing a stained light blue shirt and brown trousers – all second hand of course. He knew they had come off the rounds, he just couldn’t remember when. On his feet were huge black boots, their souls equally worn down on the inside and outside. They hurt his feet. Around him was a heavy brown coat.

He patted Delilah on the head. “Good girl” he told her and unhooked a bucket of water from the back of the cart and Delilah stuck her head in it. When he spoke he had a cockney twang, his working class roots obvious from the start. Right now, he sounded as tired as he looked.

As Delilah gulped down the warm, bug drowning water, Harold looked back at the cart – his load was a small one today, but a profitable one. On the cart was one large hessian sack. He knew it wasn’t his usual line of business but times were hard now and any income helped. After all, he had to feed the both of them: The only thing he had collected was a bag full of ladies underwear and he knew he was going to have trouble shifting them. As he lifted the bag down he looked inside. “Cor blimey” he exclaimed. “The bleedin’ size of them!” he said, safe in the knowledge that he’d have no need to buy a tent if he planned a camping holiday any time soon. He threw them aside onto the cobbled ground.

Harold lived with his Dad. They had lived together all of Harold’s life. His Father was too old now to go ‘out on the rounds’ if he wanted to – not that he ever wanted to. Harold could remember the exact date of the last time his Dad did any work for their business, known locally as ‘Steptoe and Son’. It was back in 1962 when Harold had planned a career change as a television engineer. It was just one of the failed attempts of improving himself that Harold had foolishly suffered through in his fifty something years. Having lied about his age for so long, Harold often had to double check how old he actually was. He had spent the last ten years telling people he was ‘thirty nine’. He could only wish for that! Throughout his life Harold had clutched at any straws he could to escape the oppression he faced – bulk buying business man, pool player, male model, advertising, sailing around the world, writer and even turned his hand at acting, only to find his old man would out do him at everything. But Harold always knew that one day he would find the one thing in life he was better at than his Father. At least, that’s what he’d convinced himself.


He carried the large bag into the house and placed it at the bottom of the stairs. The house was old but he didn’t know how old. Georgian or Gothic were the best guesses. Or that’s when it last had any money spent on it, he thought. For two people the house was quite large – the front door led into the hallway. The kitchen was to the right and the living room straight ahead. To the left was the staircase which twisted to the right to take you to the two rather ample bedrooms upstairs. But still there was no inside bathroom. Harold had fitted a shower once, but the sight of his old Dad in there along with the washing up had put him off using it and now he stored junk in there – just like every other free space in the house.

“Dad?” he shouted, kicking the door shut with his foot. He winced as he walked into the living room – his feet were hurting. Seven hours of none stop totting, sorry – salvage material collecting as he preferred to call it in a vague attempt to give himself a bit of class – was too much for him now. He threw himself down into his torn old leather office chair by the big oak desk which was older than he was.

The room was furnished solely from the junk they had collected off the rounds over the last hundred years. After all, he wasn’t the first totter – the Steptoe’s had been rag and bone men since anyone could remember. By the door was a skeleton and the back wall was piled high with junk. The only value to any of this chattel was sentimental –three generations of totting and not a penny in the bank. There was a small window to the side where the giant stuffed bear lived. In the front of the room was a large window and an old fireplace – it didn’t work of course, so he would often refer to it as ‘The old Albert’, after his Dad, as he had never worked either. Something had gotten trapped up there in the early forties and they hadn’t been able to use it ever since. As a child his Dad told him it was Father Christmas, and that’s why he never received any presents. To the left of the room, where the door was, was Harold’s desk. He would sit there and his old man would usually sit at the table in the middle of the room. There was no carpet on the floor, just an old rug. Harold sighed and took off his boots.

“Where the bleedin’ hell is that miserable old git?” he asked himself, sure that he knew the answer already. “He’s probably down the pub.” He smiled – something had just occurred to him: “Maybe the loony asylum have finally taken him away! Knowing my luck they’d only bring him back.” he scowled. “ ‘Ang on a minute, that’s means there’s no bleedin’ tea ready!”.

His father’s only role in the firm now was to have Harold’s meal ready when he came in. He often described his Father’s cooking as ‘memorable’ – who would ever forget having to pick the skin off a simple plate of beans on toast. But after a hard day’s work it was good food.

As the regular disappointment sank in with the knowledge that his dream of coming home to find his Dad had prepared a lavish feast had been once again scuppered, Harold knew what the daily argument was going to be about. It seemed that the only way they could communicate anymore was by arguing. More often than not, Harold meant what he said. He often wondered whether his Dad was happy with the situation. He knew that the only time he would be free from it all would be the day his Dad died. He hated himself for thinking that, yet he longed for it at the same time. He loved him, he loathed him. Apart from the ‘orse and the goldfish, his Dad was his only friend.

As he glanced at the small mock-antique clock on his desk, which informed him it was just after five o’clock, he stretched out his arms and gave a massive yawn. “Ah well,” he said. “At least I don’t have to get up again for the rest of the evening!”.

There was a knock at the door.

Just his luck, thought Harold. “Hang on.” he shouted as he used up all of his remaining energy to push himself to his feet. “If he’s forgotten his key again I’m gonna shove his head right down the bog” Harold mumbled with conviction as he walked into the hallway, his socks damp from sweat squelching as his moved. When he got to the door he stopped. He whipped off his coat and threw it down onto the stairs. “I’m gonna wind him right up” he said to himself and laughed. There was another knock, this time it was louder.

Harold walked up the first three steps – before the staircase turned there was a small landing. On the landing was an old blue pram. “I really should flog this” Harold said, clutching the handle. The pram was older than he was, but it had lived on the stairs for the last five decades and was still in pretty good nick. He reached inside and pulled out an old novelty policeman’s helmet. Laughing, he put it on.

He stepped back down and quickly opened the door, without taking in who was standing there. “Right, you dirty old git, anything you say will be taken down! With the exception of trousers or underpants. Now kindly step this way so I can beat a confession out of –“ He stopped. He slowly removed the hat and smiled nervously. “I’m sorry Officer” he said to the tall man standing in the yard. “Just my little joke!”.

He threw the hat across the hall, hoping the police officer hadn’t noticed it. The Constable was a tall man with a thick brown moustache. He stood boldly, his hands clasped together behind his back. From his expression, Harold could see his joke had not been appreciated.

“It’s outside.” Harold said, pointing out of the door and to his left. He thought that if he was helpful, the officer might forget the incident. Not that it was embarrassing, but the last thing Harold wanted was the Old Bill sniffing around. He also knew that several things in the house would certainly be ‘items of interest’ to an enthusiastic young Constable looking for promotion. He had never knowingly bought anything he knew to be stolen, but he was aware that certain things had been obtained ‘creatively’ by the people who sold them to him and receipts weren’t something Harold, or his traders were interested in.

“I beg your pardon?” The Policeman asked in a strong booming voice.

“It’s just round there.” Harold said, still pointing and smiling. Harold was using his ‘posh’ voice – he would often talk like that in the belief that he sounded above his station. He didn’t, he just sounded silly, but nobody had ever told him that. He could see the officer was confused by it all. “The facilities you require my good man...” The policeman stared at him. “The outlet?... The water closet?...” Harold’s smile fell. “The bog” he said in his usual working-class tone.

“Oh I see,” replied the Constable. “No no, sir, I feel you’re under a misapprehension.”

Harold leaned against the door frame to take some of the weight off his feet. “We haven’t got an inside one yet”, he moaned. “They’re not cheap you know. I mean, we can find the porcelains off the rounds but then there’s the plumbing...”

“Yes sir, are...”

“And this new bird we’ve got running the country now, she’s not going to help out a couple of poor little sods like us is she now?”.

The constable wasn’t interested. “Are you Mr. Harold Steptoe?”, the officer said loud and firm.

Harold’s posh voice came back. “Thee is he”.

“I beg your pardon?”, asked the copper for the second time.

“I am the person of which you enquire.”

“Are you alright sir?” the moustached man asked with genuine conviction. Once again Harold dropped the voice. He knew it wasn’t going to work.

“Yeah that’s me” he said. “Look, the place was shutting down, some old geezer stopped me asked me if I wanted to buy some...” He stopped when the policeman held up his hand.

“I think we have something that belongs to you, sir” the Policeman said as he turned toward the gates. They watched as two other Constables led in a scruffy old man, wearing stained pants, an old black hat, a ripped cardigan and a shirt that bookmakers could take bets on what colour it had originally been. He was an old man quickly approaching eighty, short and skinny and looking like a tramp. Albert Steptoe had come home!

“Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuule Brittania” the old man wailed in song as the officers lifted him by his arms. “Marmalade and jam... Five Chinese crackers up your..”

“Dad!” Harold shouted.

“Ah, up your pipe!” Albert scowled back giving him the two fingered ‘Shepherd’s Bush salute’. Harold was overcome with embarrassment and stepped out of the way as the officers dragged Albert into the living room.

“Is he Elephant’s again? I knew it!” Harold scowled, clenching a fist.

“Elephants, sir?” asked the Officer, not up with the old slang of the neighbourhood.

“Elephant’s trunk. Hand over fist,” Harold explained. “Pis-“

“Yes!” the officer firmly interrupted as Harold glanced round into the living room. The two other constables were sitting Albert at the table. One was a woman, petite, mid twenties, the other was a large African man. Harold knew there was going to be trouble. “This is the third time this week, Mr. Steptoe, that someone has had to escort your Father home. If you could keep an eye on him in future.”

Harold nodded. All of a sudden the female officer screamed and ran out of the living room and through the hall clutching her chest, her blouse ripped open. She pushed past the other officer as he ran out of the yard. The African officer followed behind her. “Oh Gawd” Harold screamed.

“ ‘Ere ‘Arold”, the Old man shouted from within the house, the gravel in his voice accentuated by the effects of the alcohol he had been pouring down his throat. “Check out the Bristols on that one! Cor Blimey!”

“Dad, how could you?” Harold shouted back.

“And the other one’s a Wog!”.
Harold had never been so embarrassed. He smiled at the officer, eyes wide, hoping he wasn’t about to get arrested.

“Good day to you!” Harold exclaimed to the Officer and slammed the door in his face . He clenched both fists. “I’m gonna kill you!” He shouted!


When Harold stormed into the living room, Albert was sat at the table clutching his head.

“Oh ‘Arold” he said gently. “Me head’s killin’ me”.

“Him and me both!” Harold shouted back. “Blimey, Dad, what do you think you’re doin’, feeling up the Old Bill?”

“I was just ‘avin a look” Albert replied shamelessly. “Nice little round ones she had! Like two satsumas!”. He grinned lustfully.

“You dirty old man!” the son shouted back with genuine disgust. “She’s not even a quarter your age!”

“Yeah”, replied Albert with a lecherous giggle.

“You’re disgusting” Harold scowled. Albert got up and walked over to the sideboard by the window. “They could have had you down the station for that!” Harold continued, “That’s sexual assault that is.”

“Cobblers!” Albert said as he poured himself a gin from the bottle of dregs which stood amongst the many hundreds of collected bottles from the rounds.

“You don’t stop do you?” asked Harold. “You’re a drunk.”

Albert slammed the glass down. “I’m no alcoholic!” He shouted.

“I never called you an alcoholic mate,” Harold said sitting down. “I called you a Drunk, that’s much worse. A regular old soak!”.

Albert opened a drawer in the sideboard and took out some soluble aspirin. Harold watched with disdain as Albert dropped two of them into the glass of gin and took it back to the table, taking his usual seat. Harold turned away.

“Sometimes I can’t even look at you, Dad” he said softly. “I work my fingers to the bone for this business and you go and waste it all down the Skinner’s Arms.”

“It weren’t wasted mate!” Albert replied, downing the gin-aspirin mix. “Old Maude Greenway was there. Copped a right feel I did. You remember old Maude? The one with the chest that looks like she’s keeping two Kojak’s warm.”

“You should have stayed there! Being dragged home by the old bill. What will the neighbours think?”

“Think what they like”, Albert said. “They’re all too busy opening their takeaways! I was stood in the post office earlier, looked around and thought I was seeing in sepia!”

“It’s attitudes like that which have sent this country to the dogs” Harold said back. He’d had a lifetime of this. He knew that a lot of the time Albert said it to wind him up – if Harold said their name was Steptoe, Albert would say it was Smith
just to get on his bristols. The trouble is, Harold always took the bait. “You and that party of yours”.

“Don’t you go bringing politics into it” Albert said, pointing his finger at his Son while holding his head.

“Bleedin’ tories. I mean, electing a bird. Gawd, stone me! Who wants a Judy in charge.”

Albert stood. “You leave Mrs. Thatcher alone.”

“I intend to mate!” Harold said, the very thought of the Iron Lady in anything intimate making him feel nauseous. “Cor blimey, Dad, I’m not desperate!”. The matter of the fact was, he was desperate, but even Harold Steptoe had standards!
“That’s just typical of your lot. At least if we were going to elect a bird we’d pick a tasty one!”

Albert smiled. “Yeah,” he said, “A great big fat one!” He smiled approvingly. “The kind of girl you can fondle all night and never touch the same place twice! That’s how I like ‘em!” He squealed with laughter.

“You get worse in your old age, I’m telling you.”

“I like a bird with plenty of seed. A big ‘eart and a big ar...”

Harold interrupted before Albert could make the conversation worse. “Dad!”

“Well you leave Mrs. Thatcher alone! Mrs. Thatcher is a lady.” Albert clutched his waistcoat with both hands, standing proud and patriotic, only the will of the world stopping his drunken body from flopping to the floor.

“She don’t care about people like us mate” Harold said. Albert frowned. Deep down he wanted to agree.

“I bet she’s a right go-er though!” Albert continued, “No wonder that hubby of hers looks shagged out all the live long day.”

Both men laughed. Although they argued, they cared for each other immensely. Laughter had been a scarce commodity in the Steptoe household lately and they would fall out about enough things without having the almost compulsory political argument.

“How’s your brown bread?” Harold asked, referring to Albert’s head. His tone was a soft one, genuine concern bleeding out from underneath the voice.

Albert rubbed his forehead and said: “It’s banging harder than a Priest during choir practice”.

“Well you’ll get no sympathy from me, some of us were working all day!” Harold replied, a familiar phrase in the Steptoe household. But as soon as they words left his lips, he wished they hadn’t.

“Yeah, what did you bring home today?”

Harold stood up and walked over to the drinks cabinet. He poured himself a large brandy and downed it in one. He had been wrong before - This is what the compulsory argument was going to be about, he thought.

“Well,” Harold squirmed, “a bag of ladies particulars from some old bint round the corner and...”

“And what?” Albert scowled. “You haven’t brought anything good home for ages. Even the arsonists aren’t interested
in the rubbish we have here mate.”

Harold poured himself another drink and took it back to his desk. He wished his Father hadn’t bought those hospital specimen glasses, they looked so undignified. But he was used to it – all his worldly goods were things that other people had finished with. It used to bother him but now he had come to terms with it.

“Your job is to do the selling, Paeter”, he said. He often called his father that – he felt it was much more sophisticated and, of course, biblical than the usual ‘Father’. Not that Harold was a religious man – he had mixed feelings over it. The great rag and bone man in the sky certainly hadn’t been kind to him. But what little faith he did have came from the belief that his Mother was up there taking care of him. Hardly a day would go by when he didn’t think of her, Emily Steptoe, who passed away when Harold was just five years old. He often felt ashamed when he thought about her – would she have been proud of him? After all, this was his Father’s family’s business, not hers, and even something so organically simple as collecting junk had been too much of a challenge for him. All those years collecting and not one item of sincere beauty. Most of the junk they recovered would sit in the yard for a year or so, before Harold destroyed it. Oh, they had the occasional customer, but that was usually a dealer trying to pull a fast one. Harold longed to open an antiques shop, he figured it would be much more fruitful than selling old gas cookers and torn clothes.

Standing by his chair, he took a small tub of fish food from the desk drawer and tapped a few drops into the clear spherical bowl that took pride of place. Charlie Steptoe, the world’s oldest goldfish, swam to the top of the bowl and swallowed as much food as he could. The other fish simply swam round and round and waited. Harold felt as trapped as they did.

Albert was feeling a lot better now, he had found a chance to wind up his son and that always made him feel good. “Well?” he shouted over to Harold, “What else?”

“Look, Dad,” Harold said, knowing an excuse would come to him as he spoke, as Albert popped his lips and tutted. Harold protested: “I can’t force them to sell me anything can I? Anyway you ought to be glad, I’ve spent less money. Maybe if you pulled your finger out once in a while and sold something – “ he raised his eyebrows, “On second thoughts, maybe it’s best you don’t. Gawd knows where you’ve been putting ‘em mate!”

“Cobblers!” Albert shouted back, standing up defiantly.

“It’s not cobblers!”

“It is!”

“It isn’t! I’ve been making money son, don’t you worry!” Albert shouted uncontrollably. He froze. Had he really just let the cat out of the bag?

Harold stared him in the eyes. Albert tried to look away, but Harold’s gaze was fixed as he walked slowly to Albert, who felt his feet concrete themselves to the floor. Harold stood in front of his old man, whose eyes were wide, and whose mouth had dropped in fear. Harold slowly raised both hands and took hold of Albert’s stained neckerchief, taking each flap between the thumb and forefinger, ready to pull.

“What money?” he asked. His voice may have been calm and quiet, but his meaning was clear. Albert swallowed hard. The pain of his slowly easing headache was nothing compared to what Harold could do to him.

He looked his son in the eye and put on his tried and tested innocent look. “Money? You must have misheard. I don’t have no money...”

Harold very slowly extended his hands away from each other and Albert glanced down. He couldn’t see the knot of the neckerchief, but he could feel it slowly tightening. He usually wore it a little loose, but the knot was now pressing against his neck.

“What money?” Harold asked again, an aggressive smile crossing his face, his lips moving up his face, his discoloured teeth on show.

“I’m sorry, ‘Arold, I was going to tell you”.

Harold let go of the aging drunk and kicked the leg of the nearest chair. Albert felt the urge to shout out, but for once he didn’t want to make things worse. If he worked Harold up too much he would threaten to leave the house and make it on his own. Although in the past every time Harold had tried this he had always ended up back home, Albert knew that one day Harold may leave and never return. Harold stood facing away from him, his hands placed flat over his face. There was no point in shouting – he had spent his life shouting, and what good had it done? Yes, there had been times when Harold had put himself first, but one thing he had never done – nor would ever do – is steal from his own Father. But he knew his Father had money – over the years Harold had found just about every hiding place the old man had thought of. Usually Harold would take the money and hide it for a few days to see if Albert would mention it. More often than not Albert would keep quiet, so Harold would deliberately leave the money somewhere for his Father to find and take back – despite their differences Harold cared for him and knew he would get him back some other way. But it was moments like this when he would ask himself if his Dad really cared for him in the same way: Harold had never wanted much. Even with the secret stash his Dad would accumulate, the Steptoe’s had never been considered rich – they’d had their moments of triumph from a good deal or the occasional windfall, but any excess they did have would usually end up in the pockets of those they owed, or the ever-ringing till of The Skinner’s Arms. There was one saving grace, Harold thought, at least the bleedin’ tax man never got hold of any.

It was actually only a matter of seconds after Harold turned away in disgust that Albert spoke again, but it seemed like an eternity.

“I’m sorry son”, Albert said. “I was going to give you your half, honest I was.”

“I should think so too! Anyway, where did it come from? We don’t have anything in this yard worth selling”

“Well I had this customer you see –“ Albert began, so Harold crossed the room back to his desk and sat down – his Father’s stories usually lingered on and he was getting tired. Albert continued: “It was last Tuesday, I was wandering down The Goldhawk Road on my way to get you something nice for your tea –“

“Stone me,” Harold exclaimed loudly, “that must have been years ago. I haven’t had anything nice off you since the chinky down the road had the health inspectors in and had to close down so you got all that stuff half price. Last time you spent any decent money on feeding me we still had pounds shillings and pence!”.

Albert sat back down and slouched in his chair. “I was going to get you a nice bit of dripping –“

“Urgh!”

“You can’t go wrong with dripping! Anyway, I was going down The Goldhawk Road and I noticed yet another shop closing down. That jewellery store, you know the one –“

“Yeah?” Harold asked, spinning his chair around to face his Dad. Perhaps the old man had finally bought something worthwhile. There was a reason Harold did the buying in the business – Albert had been conned on many occasions.

“Well this tall fella was putting a sign up in the window saying they were closing down, so I went in just off the off chance in case they had any excess stock they wanted to offload...”

“And?”

“He told me to sod off,” Albert said and Harold shook his head. “But the shop next door was shutting down – that’s five of them now all in a row. Anyway, the guy from that shop was in the jewellers and he heard me saying I was in the trade and said he had something for me.”

“Next door to the jewellers? You mean Randy Ron’s place?”

“Do I?” Albert asked, feigning innocence yet again.

Harold smiled wryly. “You know it alright, you’re his best bleedin’ customer!” he said with contempt.

Albert perked up. “How do you know?”

Harold panicked and said the first thing that came to his head – he too was familiar with Randy Ron’s store. “I heard the Vicar complaining about it. Disgusting it is!”

“Yeah” said Albert in a low, knowing voice. “Well anyhow,” he said, much brighter, “Some Pakistani’s bought it off of him. Gave him a fair price he did, ‘cause Randy Ron’s misses was caught in bed with some geezer who works down the dog track. So Ron’s kicked her out and he’s selling off what he can before the papers come through so that greedy mare doesn’t get her busy little hands on it. He said if she wants half she can have half – half of nothing!”

“Knowing him he’d still ask for time to pay!”

“I thought you didn’t know him?”

“The Vicar was very thorough with the details.”

“Yeah, I bet. Well,” Albert said as he got up and went over to the window “he had some items of ‘special interest’ left and asked if I wanted to buy them from him.” He picked up a large tatty cardboard box and carried it to the table. A curious Harold rose and met him there, with Albert standing back as Harold opened the box and looked in.

“Blimey!” Harold shouted.

The box contained a collection of dirty magazines – all of which had originally been in new condition, but Albert had strict rules over quality control and had felt obliged to look at them all cover to cover, purely in the name of business s of course.

“Some nice birds they’ve got in there!”, Albert said and reached in and grabbed an A4 size magazine from the top of the pile. “Have a Donald Duck at that! Cor!”

“What do you mean Cor? It’s filth!”

“And who are you all of a sudden? Mary Whitehouse?”

“Mary Whitehouse is a saint! She’s trying to sort out all that’s wrong with this country!”

“Yeah,” Albert scowled, “it’s nothing a good seeing to wouldn’t sort out. Mind you, I wouldn’t like to be the bloke who gets his hands on her. It’d bring your dinner up! Anyway, it’s not filth, it’s harmless. Here, you’re not turning funny are you?”

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well maybe girls don’t do it for you.”

Harold’s jaw dropped. “How dare you?” he said in his lowest register.

“You’re all poofs these days. You’d think it was compulsory!”

Harold’s right fist clenched automatically. He scowled, his lip rising like a growling dog. “All these movie stars and pop stars,” Albert continued, “they’re all a friend of Dorothy!”

“Just be glad those coppers didn’t hear you say that mate!”.

“They’re poofs too”, Albert chirped up instantly. Harold shook his head and walked over to the table and sunk himself in to the seat, burying his head in his hands. “This bleedin’ country has more poofs than the Big Bad Wolf trying to blow those houses down!”

Harold looked up: “What do you think our friend the Vicar would say if he heard you saying these things, Dad?”

“He’s one and all. Why do you think you have to bend down during the Sunday prayers?”

For the first time in however long he could remember, the younger of the men was speechless. He stood there staring at the scruffy old man, still proudly clutching the box. His father’s bigotry had appalled him over the years, but enough was enough. Harold turned and as he could hear his Father moving around, he stared at Charlie, swimming around. There he was, just a few inches long, trapped in a tiny bowl forced to share his space with another of the species because life told him he had to. And as Harold stared the more he concentrated, he could see his distant reflection staring back at him, the distorted features trapped inside the bowl. But Charlie flapped about, full of life, full of grace as his bowl-mate weaved around him. While the little fish in the little bowl felt free, the big man in the big house had never felt more trapped.

Deciding to go straight to bed, Harold stood to find his Dad bent over the television set, flicking back and forth between the three channels repeatedly: “Poof,” he shouted at the screen, “and him, and him... poof.... poof... poof...”.

With his day going the way it was, it was no surprise to the younger of the rag and bone men that as soon as he started up the stairs, there was another knock on the door.

Harold stood still, hoping that for once his Father might get off his backside and answer it, but the half-hearted rhythmic knocking continued.

As he pulled the door open, there was a woman standing there, in her early seventies, stocky, with grey hair and an overwhelming smell of ‘old lady’. She was leaning against the doorframe, chewing gun, looking very unusual. Maybe he could flog her some of those humongous knickers, Harold thought, and brightened up.

“I’m looking for –“ the “lady” began as soon as the door moved from the hole.

“I don’t suppose you need any knickers, do you love?”

“What do you mean by that?” the old bird asked, offended at the double meaning in Harold’s question.

“Oh sorry no, I didn’t mean...”

“You don’t hang around do you?” she joked, much to Harold’s disgust.

“Now hang on, I didn’t mean –“

“I should hope not,” the old woman asked, before dropping in to an awkward silence.

“Well?” Harold enquired, desperate to end the monotony he called daytime.

“Is Mr. Albert Steptoe there?”, the old bird finally asked. Her accent was not a local one, and the effects of a lifetime of cigarettes was clear for all to observe.

“What’s he done now? You’re not Maude Greenway are you?”

“Maude who?” she shrieked.

Harold looked down to the ground and swung his arms like a schoolboy – he really had no interest in the conversation.
“He’s not here,” he lied, hoping she would go away. “He don’t live here no more”, Harold said, just as the old man piped up from the sitting room...

“They’re all poofs ‘Arold!” Albert yelled.

The old woman smiled, Harold closed his eyes and rested his face in his hands.

“He hasn’t changed”, she said. “But you have”. This prompted Harold to look up. “So he’s not in eh?”.

Harold grinned in a mixture of sarcasm and curiosity about how she knew him. “My mistake” he said dryly.

“You shouldn’t tell lies, Harold,” she continued, and stared him directly in the eyes. She continued slowly, pronouncing each word carefully so he would not miss them, with an attitude of joy and disappointment at the same time: “That’s no way to talk to your Mother now, is it?!”


To be continued....
Last edited by PhilGlass on Tue May 22, 2012 4:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby bob » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:16 pm

Hi Phil

Wow, what a lot of hard work. Did you enjoy writing it ?

Nice clifhanger at the end.

Are you going to publish it ?

Regards

Bob
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby stephen68 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:33 pm

very enjoyable start good read well done, you must watch auf wiedersehen pet also lol
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby PhilGlass » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:55 pm

Thank you for your comments, please keep them coming.

Bob - publication would mean asking Ray and Alan for permission. Where as I am sure they would be accomodating, as they are unbelievably nice blokes, the mere act of asking would imply I could "write Steptoe". I would never insult them by even putting myself on that level.

But yes, I enjoyed writing it and hope some of the references to past episodes were noticed - the rest of the novel is already plotted and will follow. It is posted here as a bit of fun, I do not profess to be a writer, I just have an idea for a story I think is interesting and thought it would be enjoyable to write in this way.

Who was that old lady? Can she really be Harold's mother or is something else behind it? Has Albert been keeping a dark secret from his son or is he the victim? Find out soon....
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby stephen68 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:28 pm

I am looking forward to part 2 any idea when it will be posted?
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby PhilGlass » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:18 am

Very soon :) Thanks everyone
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby Dirty Old Yank » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:16 am

Nice one Phil, enjoyed reading that!
I don't pretend to understand all the colloquialisms, but I'm sure the parishioners will :)
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby Archie » Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:32 pm

Yes looking forward to part 2 :o
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby stephen68 » Fri May 18, 2012 6:28 pm

How is part II coming along?
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Re: Steptoe Novel "The End of An Error".. Chapter One..

Postby PhilGlass » Tue May 22, 2012 2:29 pm

stephen68 wrote:How is part II coming along?


PART TWO has been posted here.... viewtopic.php?f=7&t=884
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