I feel sick.
I also feel down. It is the annual global shitty season, the period a few weeks into a new year when people have become accustomed to being back at work, people who've got fatter, more inward-thinking, and are now very cold, at least in this hemisphere. And I've been obliterating my oft-regurgitated resolutions to not smoke and to weigh less, by smoking more and exerting a heavier than normal gravitational force on the UK, so that's been fun.
Last night, I got to help Large Northern Flatmate attempt to extract our sodding mouse from our shitty rented living room at midnight. I had been standing alone in a towel and a vague fug of bemusement when I looked down at the floor and saw the fucker staring back up at me (The mouse, not Large Northern Flatmate). We managed to trap it under the sofa when it made a break for it and ran over my foot, under the closed door of the kitchen, and behind the washing machine where it stubbornly refuses to leave, like a bent politician in office.
I then decided to phone my lovely ex-American girlfriend to say Hey! We've seen a mouse, on her answerphone, because I'm desperate. In the 24 hours that has passed, she hasn't replied. Something tells me she never, ever will.
So that's the end of that; finally meeting an attractive, intelligent, and decent girl who freely admitted that she loved me worryingly early into our crapulous long distance relationship, thereby scaring me off like the shallow, fragile, pathetic one-dimensional male arse that I am, forcing me to call the whole thing off before I really hurt her, only to hurt her anyway as I hid in blissful peace 4,000 miles away while she went through the rejection, the pain, and the self-loathing until she finally achieved acceptance and rebirth only for me to re-enter her life during the now normal (for most women) Me-hatred stage.
And that's just rubbish. At least I'm trying to desperately and pointlessly
But that is not the point of this post, not by a loooooooong stretch. Mouse and Ex have no bearing on what was revealed to me tonight, and are mere incidentals. What I discovered was truly the stuff of movies, folklore, and moral fucking minefields.
As I commit this to the World Wide Web, I realise that this will leave the realm of 'Gobsmacking Family Incident' and become a tenuous friend-of-a-friend story. But I digress. This will remain a very real cliff-hanger, a What-Really-Happened?
Either way, I could vomit.
Today is my Mother's birthday, my sprightly 67-year-old, wheelchair-bound, bottle blonde old dear who shat me out into this world like a chicken laying a fat brick, 33 godforsaken years ago. I had travelled up to her bungalow in Just-North-Of-London London to pay her a surprise visit and furnish her with a digital frame I've spent the better half of a week filling full of old pictures and - oddly - an Aerosmith MP3 that she really, really likes.
She loved it. Feelgood points: 10 billion.
Later into this evening, my Mum's old friend turned up, freelance agent to the stars. Vacations in Florida. Thinks everyone's gay. And during our discussion, she talked about Nothing To Declare, a Living TV show she's rather fond of. She described to me this airport reality show, the stories, the tales of nervous, twitchy people being sniffed at by dogs and ultimately being arrested for massive drug possession.
So I swore her to secrecy (fairly large mistake), and revealed my vaguely related story of buying Class A drugs amid hordes of policemen in broad daylight.
'Well you know about that, don't you?', she replied, pointing up at the ceiling.
'What?' I looked up.
Still a ceiling.
'Oh my god, you don't know!'
'No. What are you talking about?'
'Well your mother obviously hasn't told you for a reason.'
'Told me What??'
'About 18 months ago,' she began, 'about a year or so after they'd moved in here, they had a guy in to look at the light fittings.'
This makes sense. Mum is in a wheelchair and my 70-year-old stepdad is a stranger to light fittings.
And not walking like a penguin.
And not being deaf.
'Well, this guy is up a ladder,' she continues, 'when he sees this package hidden at the top of the cupboard.'
'So he brings it down and shows it to my Mum and Stepdad. "Is this yours?" he says. No-one knows what it is, so they open it.'
I grimace in precognitive shock. I know what's coming, mainly due to the fact that we'd been talking about drugs for the last half hour. And before anyone has any other ideas - it ain't mine. This package was news to me.
'So they open it up.'
'White powder. Solid white powder. Cocaine.'
I frown. 'What?'
Where I stood was not the place of my childhood, but my folks' new home. My Mum moved out of their old house and into this bungalow only a couple of years ago.
I begin to feel giddy. 'How big was it?' I whimper.
My Mum's friend makes a 30cm gap with her hands. 'About so big, all wrapped up in cellophane.'
For a full year, while I helped my Mum move in - Jesus, even when I had crashed there for 3 months while I was between houses - a kilo of cocaine had been stashed in my mother's kitchen by the previous dodgy owners. Street value, I surmised, was about £50,000. Call it €67.000 if you will. Or if you prefer, $100,000. In fact, if I may, it was AUS $112,000, 708,000 South African Rand, and a very pleasant sounding 3 million Thai Baht.
That, I yelled on hearing the story, was a down payment on a house.
And a really good party.
I could have sold it. All.
Nay, I would have sold it. Most.
Call me a bastard if you will, but as God As My Witness, I would have sold that fucking cocaine - the majority of it - at a reduced rate to some scumbags I know, and kept a happily sizable chunk for myself and some close personal friends.
But my Stepdad is more Daily Mail than I.
'I'm not having that in my house,' he said panicking, and flushed the lot - all 20th of a million pounds - down the toilet and into the drainage system of the home counties. And so scared were my folks of the whole un-be-fucking-lievable incident that they told no-one and allowed a full year and a half to elapse before I got wind of this.
I spoke to my Mum who confirmed everything, then pissed on my 'I could've sold it for you' fire by declaring that lives would be ruined if I did.
Damn that woman's morals.
So, Happy Birthday, Mum.
My mouth remains open wide with shock as I type. I have grilled my Mum in earnest to discuss exactly what she saw. It was a large, tightly wrapped, well sealed package containing nought but a huge brick of solid white powder, vast and hidden from view, the words of - admittedly - a near-pensionable Jewish woman from North West London whose only point of reference is Lethal Weapon and Hill Street Blues, leading me to surmise that this could well have been a very large parcel of gak hidden in her kitchen.
It sounds utterly fucking ridiculous but this hidden package, the threatening people who visited my parents during their first year in their new home looking for the previous owners... I don't know. I really don't know. Is anyone that stupid to leave a kilo of class A's behind and not even come back for it? That, to me, is the only mystery. But it's no secret that the previous owners were a cagey, middle aged, secretive and eager to leave couple who told my folks they were emigrating 'somewhere' and left no forwarding address.
Even I am in two minds as I commit this to Blog. But I veer towards this final assumption... it was probably, not possibly, but probably a kilo of pure uncut cocaine stashed three feet above my close family's heads for about a year.
I'd've nicked that.