Thomas Howarth’s Uni Confessions – My rooftop spat with a vengeful dealer

Hold your breath, pinch your nose and dive head first into the absurd world of Thomas Howarth’s Uni Confessions.


I slammed my purchase down on the table. A multipack of McVitie’s Gold Bars. Behold the Gold Bar, dear reader, a delicious, cuboidular biscuit core enveloped in that rich, gold chocolate casing. I was living the dream. But before I could begin to enjoy the luck of my table/window seat combo, somebody noteworthy boarded the bus and sat down across from me.

It was my cultural rival, Beetle Cole. Our differing theories as to John Hurt’s role in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special had us exchanging blows – and a few punches – during a house party last month. I knocked out one of his teeth, and he sent my right eyebrow into a coma. The fight culminated with a whistling competition, from which I emerged victorious. His reputation was dented, as was his stake in Doctor Who gossip dealing on campus. Mine, as a result, was boosted, and custom rates on my patch multiplied drastically. But as with all dealing disputes, of course, ours had by no means reached a clean conclusion. Cole opened his mouth and launched words at my face.

I knocked out one of his teeth, and he sent my right eyebrow into a coma.

‘I’ve not been able to pay my rent this past fortnight.’
‘Not my problem.’
‘It is your problem,’ he corrected me. ‘Thanks to you, dealing profits are down 90%. I still get Damp Tim asking after Colin Baker rumours from time to time, but that’s it.’
‘Funny,’ I murmured, flicking open a golden Zippo and lighting a cigarette. ‘Mine are up 90%. And I’ve been able to branch out into other areas of gossip, too.’
A vein in his forehead snapped.
‘Which areas?’ he snarled.
‘Sherlock areas.’ I smirked, and lit another cigarette.
The back-up vein in his forehead snapped. He lunged at me across the table and grabbed me by the collar. I was flung sideways through the window, rolling outside in a plume of glass flakes.

Cole emerged from the emptied windowframe, brandishing a toy sonic screwdriver.

The vehicle was passing through the A339’s loop-de-loop at this point, and so I landed safely on the roof. As we paved down onto horizontal road I found my feet, and, reattaching them, stood as best I could atop the speeding bus. Cole emerged from the emptied windowframe, brandishing a toy sonic screwdriver.

‘Ha,’ I spat. ‘That’s a wave one edition.’
Nevertheless, its UV bulb rendered my vision briefly impaired, and I covered my face. I heard Cole stride closer, and I lashed out with one of my cigarettes, melting the glowing tip of the sonic screwdriver. Cole cast the ruined device aside, and grabbed me once again by the collar. Frayed, it tore away from my shirt, and he stumbled backwards to the very front of the bus. I pursued him, scuttling like Randall from Monsters, Inc., and, holding him over the edge with one hand, raised my remaining cigarette with the other.

I pursued him, scuttling like Randall from Monsters, Inc.

‘It’s you or I, Cole,’ I shouted, wind roaring around our bodies.
‘It’s “me,”‘ he said. ‘”Me.”‘
‘Fair enough.’ Easier than I’d expected. I took a drag, blew smoke into his face, and dropped him from the roof. The bus swerved to avoid him, and careered towards the side of the road. It came to rest with a shudder, tilting on the edge of a bridge over a waterfall. I could feel that, inside the bus, my McVitie’s Gold Bars were sliding slowly across the table, shifting the vehicle’s weight. I turned to see Cole approaching, ready to kick the vehicle to its doom. It would probably take several kicks, perhaps up to seven, but the determination in his face was practically edible.

‘You’ve no head for heights,’ he said, moving closer and closer.

‘Hang on a minute, Cole,’ I yelped, lighting a cigarette, the bus beneath my feet rocking steadily back and forth. ‘I’ve got a terrible idea…’


Thomas Howarth

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