The man was pissed when he came to meet the housing officer. They went up the stair to look at the flat.
– You just live round the corner the now? said the housing officer.
– Aye, said the man, staggering up the stairs. But they’re all fucking bams round there. I’ve got to get away from there. I’ve got a pal over the road from here, and he said it’s okay here, it’s quiet like. But they’re all fucking bams round where I stay. Driving me fucking nuts.
– Aye well, said the housing officer
He got out his keys and opened up the big metal protective door. Then he used another key to open the front door. The hallway walls were covered in graffiti and the paint was flaking.
– Jesus, said the man, and hiccupped. Some fucking state.
– Aye, said the housing officer.
They went into the main room. The man went up to the smashed windows.
– Can you replace these for me, these fucking smashed windows?
– Sorry pal, said the housing officer. Not our job. You’ll have to get someone in to do that. Not a council job.
– Fuck’s sake, said the man, shaking his head. He looked at the walls. Lumps of plaster were missing and there was debris on the bare floorboards.
– What about this? he said. Can you fix these fucking walls up for me? Bit of plaster?
– Sorry again pal, said the housing officer. You’ll have to get someone in for that as well.
– Dinnae tell me that’s not a fucking council job either? said the man.
– Not a council job, said the housing officer. Afraid we cannae help you there.
– You cannae do a whole fucking lot for me, can you? said the man, shaking his head.
– I don’t make the rules, pal, said the housing officer.
– Fuck’s sake, said the man, looking at the walls and burping quietly.
– Who fucking lived here anyway? he said. It’s like fucking Beirut.
– Housing benefit address, said the housing officer. Looks like they ripped out the central heating when they got rumbled, took it with them.
– Fuck’s sake, said the man. Can you do anything about that for me, then, give me new fucking central heating?
– Aye, we can do that for you, said the housing officer. We can get new central heating installed for you.
– Fucking hallelujah, said the man.
He went back to the window and kicked some of the broken glass around the floor.
– Jesus, he said, and walked back towards the centre of the room.
– Well, said the housing officer. Do you want it?
The man pursed his lips and looked around him.
– Ah, fuck aye, he said.