“Going Country”…..

Margate-train-station.jpg

Her first trip to Margate when she was 13 was not for a visit to the seaside…trust. She was “going country”. Or County Lines as professionals now call it.  She had never gone country before. She was scared. You would never admit that, but she was. She missed her mumsie but knew she had to do this. Mum was not well right now and they had no money. She had told her mum she was going on a youth club trip to the seaside for the weekend. Mum had barely looked away from the window she was looking out of in the living room when she said that. Just picked up another fag, lit it, and said “Be careful”. Mum was not ok. If mum had of been well she would have asked to see a letter at least. But not this time.

She had been to the seaside a couple of times before that with her mum when she was little. Or littler since she was barley 13 right now sitting on this train.She thought about those holidays with mum now. Seemed so long ago. When she was still a kid. She had never been on a “real” holiday, like on a plane or anything. But she had been on a caravan holiday couple of times.

The train pulled into a station, and this snapped the little girl back into reality. It wasn’t Margate, it was a place called “Herne Bay”. Her eyes darted towards the exit/entrance of the station to see if there were any transport police. Nothing. She literally let out a sigh of relief. She caught another glimpse of herself in the reflection of the window and shock her head and kissed her teeth. Two of the older girls, before she had left London, had got her long blond hair, and put it in two bunches either side of her head. To make her look younger. They had made her dress in some bait pink t-shirt and jeans with flowers on to also make her look younger. She had kicked off when they tried to take her trainers as well. One of the older girls had laughed and said, “Just let Blondy keep her trainers, let the crazy kid get caught init”. So here she was, 4 foot nothing, two pony tails, a Naff Naff back pack, pretty pink t-shirt, puffa jacket and jeans…and a pair of brand new Nike Air Jordan’s…Black and white. Now she was so far away from her fam, she knew her trainers looked wrong and she slid her feet under the train seat.

She was tired. It had taken a while to get from SW London to Margate. She was nearly there. She looked again at the piece of paper in her hand. It was torn now, where she had been holding in in her hand earlier and her hand had started sweating. When an older man had asked her if she wanted to sit with him on the train and tapped his knee. She had shouted “F&*k off you nonce” and run to the other end of the train, tears in her eyes. It was dark, about 10 at night now. She could feel the weight of the phone she had to hand over in her coat pocket. She put her hand in her pocket and squeezed it. “Do not lose this phone Blondy, if you do, don’t bother coming back” he had said to her. He could be so badmind sometimes. Most of the time he treated her god, never let her go without, but when he was serious…booooy.

Her backpack was filled with coke. She had no idea how much. Actually, she says filled with coke, she didn’t really know. Down each of her socks they had pushed packages wrapped in cling film and pulled her football socks up high. It had made it had to run when the man tapped his knee.

But the worst part was they had made her put on 2 pairs of knickers and had put a couple of packages down there. When she thought of this her face burned red and angry tears tried to get out. She kicked out at the seat in front in temper.

A few stops had gone, and they slowed. She looked out the window and saw “Margate”. “Right this is it” she said to herself. “Don’t F@?K up”. They had told her exactly what to do over and over.

She got off the train. No ticket inspector. She smiled one biiig smile. She had a ticket, but they could still speak to her. She walked through the exit, through the place you but tickets and out into the fresh air. Her pony tails bouncing away.

As she walked through the exit a strange smell hit her nose, she scrunched up her face. It was a small like…rotting cabbage. Years later she realised it was seaweed…the smell. She looked down at her bit of paper. It had a car reg on it. She scanned the carpark and saw the car. Black one. She started walking over. Her belly dropped. There were 3 big men in the car. She gulped a bit and then…she put on her front.

She walked to the passenger front seat with out a word and jumped in. The driver, a white man aged about 4, had watched her the whole time. She didn’t look at him. “So” he said “Your Blondy are ya”. She didn’t look at him, just nodded once. He laughed “Your ok babe, I don’t like them young and I don’t plan to let anyone mess with ya in that way…your bossman said he would cut my dick off” and all 3 men in the cracked up laughing. The driver reached over to the glove box and took out a box of fags and a bottle of vodka…and a kit kat. “Here babe” He said in his local accent “This is for you”. She looked at him now. He had a shaven head, was fat and had not nice blue eyes. She took the fags and the Kit Kat and said, “I don’t drink you prick”. He threw his head back and laughed so hard he snorted and said, “Boss man said you would say that, said to give you a Kit Kat to shut you up”. And with that the car drove out of the carpark. The little girl looked out the window and saw a beach. Margate beach. And then the car took her somewhere not near the beach……

Funny how life turns out… that little girl gets off at Margate most days to go to work as an adult now. Still has a back pack, but now it’s filled with paperwork, lunch, a couple of her kids toys/socks (yes, a sock) and her headphones.

Oh…and always a Kit Kat…

Out of the Shadows

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