Cocaine is never a solution.
Unless of course, you dissolve it in water.
There were many solutions to the problems of social exclusion, apathy and cultural restraint shown by those who resided in The Swamp, Ruraltown’s notorious housing estate near the Metro City Road.
These solutions could be found typed on small white cards, posted in the windows of the Job Centre on Ruraltown High Street. The balkanization of Ruralshire effectively meant that the County was filled with people who were prepared to work. When the Poles went home, the vacancy cards almost covered the glass.
Back then, there were no takers.
We drove past on the way to raid a crack house on The Swamp one Tuesday morning. There were three Job Centre employees standing in the entrance hall, all clipboards and smiles, waiting to greet visitors who would never arrive. Couples pushed their double buggies down the road, chain-smoking and shouting into slim-line iPhones, dressed in Kappa and looking pale, with bad skin and teeth.
Despite a totally state dependent lifestyle, they didn’t even glance at the window cards. There was no interest. Why should there be? The key to free housing lies in her belly and the pain in his back funds the rest.
We arrived on The Swamp, knocked down a door and found the usual loosely associated group of wayward females, multi-fathered kids and thin, pale skinned man-boys, asleep in baseball caps with cigarette ash, dog shit and rotten chips strewn around the floor. They couldn’t even be arsed to shout abuse as they rubbed the sleep out of their eyes and stared about.
The drugs were under the sink, along with some CS gas bought in France, a hunting knife, some scales and an extendable baton. There was £300 in a sock. And cowering under a table was a puppy, huge ears, sad eyes, shaking with fear. Grubby and unloved as Chuck later described him.
One thing lead to another and after the intervention of the RSPCA and the general apathy of the previous owners, the little dog came to stay with the Gadgets, and has never looked back. This is Kibble Chops, my constant reminder that at least something can be saved from The Swamp.
Out of all of the rescued pets we keep, he is the one waiting for me at the foot of the stairs when I get home in the early hours. He is the only one in the house who really knows where I have been. The dog who unwittingly helped me find my humanity again. The inside story of the dog who saved my life.