A yeti walks into my gaff. I do a double take. It's my man, my ear on the street. he is dressed in a full length fur coat. He looks like Chewbacca.
"Whaddya think?" he says doing a twirl and smoothing down the synthetic fur with a swoop of his hands.
He really doesn't want to know what I think. It's awful. It's cheap and nasty and has no pockets. I demand to know why it has no pockets. This flusters him a bit and he throws in arguments that it's all about style not function and I should not be so judgemental when it comes to fashion there are higher things to consider. This coming from my man who does more drugs than anyone I know. "Get this for a hit" he says later on in our conversation "the girls came round pretty flush with gear, she loads up this pipe with marijuana and heroin then on top a lump of crack, she says light that bastard up. So I give it some flame and BOOOM."
"I thought you said you'd given up drugs."
"It was free."
"Oh that's OK then. But that's a rare old combination of drugs."
"Gotta be done. But what a hit BOOOOM just like that. I'm still a bit wankered now to be honest."
"So these girls. What's their story?"
"Oh they're professionals."
"No, good God no. Shop lifters."
"That's their job?"
"Yes. That's how they earn a living. They're very good at it. Get you anything. They usually leave on the price tag and you pay half the tag price. You name it they'll get it for you."
"Not exactly moral is it? I mean it's plain stealing."
"No they only lift from the big stores like John Lewis and they can afford it."
"So that makes it right then?"
"Well yeah they don't lift from small independent stores that would be wrong."
"Hmmmm interesting set of values you've got there."
"Well I don't steal anything."
"But do you buy from them?"
"Bits an bobs. But they've already stolen it. So I can't do anything about that. It's done."
"That's like meat eaters who say it's OK to eat meat because the animal is already dead. What if they had to kill and butcher the animal themselves? Not so keen then."
"What are you talking about?"
"You. You're happy to have stolen goods as long as you don't have to know where it's come from."
"Well I haven't stolen it, if I don't have it someone else will."
"And pedophiles who think it's OK to look at child pornography because they're not harming anyone. Of course they are. If they didn't subscribe there would be no market and so no harm."
"So I'm a pedo now am I?"
"No it's just an analogy of cause and effect."
"I think you need to step into the real world. See what's it's really like down here at street level. Struggling to survive. You have to do what you can. Do what's necessary. It's OK for you wiv your job an money an all. But what about us? We've been friends for longer than I remember but you don't really know do you? You can't know. Unless you've walked in my shoes you'll never know."
"I try and understand."
"But you don't. You see but you don't feel. It's like those fucking politicians up there, looking down on us. They pass laws, they make decisions, they haven't a fucking clue. Their idea of poverty is only having three holidays a year instead of four. This is not a compassionate society. They keep squeezing and then wonder why shit happens. Why there's more drugs, why there's more robberies, why there's more violence. So they squeeze harder and it just gets worse. The harder they squeeze us the more we fight back. It's your cause and effect."
"Have I upset you?"
"Have you fuck, we're mates. You can say what you like."
"It's a shit fur coat."
"Now you're stepping over the line. I'm going to the offy you want anything?"
"No I'm good thanks."