The Milky Bar Kid
The evolution of a monster
You lie in the blacked-out bedroom of your North Downs mansion overlooking the busy traffic on the M25. A view you can no longer see bathed in light your skin can no longer endure. Two generations since you left Wormwood’s cursed walls. Your mysterious rule of life and death over the South London scene nears its end. Few died by your hand, so many at your bidding. Sweet chocolate paid well.
You knew you were different by the time you were four, but didn’t know why. Mum tried to love you, but she found it hard. As you grew, you noticed other kids’ mothers didn’t have a permanent frown when they spoke to their children. Sometimes, Mum clasped your pure white hands in her scratchy brown ones and stared at you with tears tracing shiny lines down her dark face. Dad never looked you in the eye.
Working shifts driving trains for British Railways, Dad was never around. When you were seven you overheard Mum and Dad arguing about his lack of help around the house. Dad’s words sank into your memory. Occasionally they bobbed to the surface. Usually during waking minutes when you questioned your existence.
‘Don’t keep on Gwen, you know the reason I want shift-work is so I don’t need to be around that abomination.’
In the infants kids treated you normally, playing their silly giggly games with you. They never questioned why you wore tinted National Health glasses and had to wear a hat when you played out. They moved away from you when their Mummies came to pick them up.
In the juniors they called you, “The Milky Bar Kid.” Some boys pick fights or just hit you for no reason. Teachers were very protective. Scolding and even punishing the bullies, but that made it worse. Voluntary solitude carried you through early life.
By the time you were twelve you stopped staring at yourself in the mirror when nobody was around. You knew it was your white hair, pink-flushed ivory skin and strange eyes that made you unalike. Then you noticed your hair grew in tight curls, your nose was wide and your lips very full. Living had just got harder.
Puberty’s hormone typhoons raged through your metabolism bringing muscle wrenching growth spurts to your body and resentment to your mind. When you were eighteen, a rare moment came when you crossed paths with your father in the hallway preparing to leave for work. Grabbing his head, you forced his avoiding eyes to confront the angry blood-red pools of his six-foot-seven son and said, ‘Why don’t you go to hell?’
Tearing himself from your grip, he ran out with bloody scratches on his cheeks to drive his train. Instead he jumped in front of one. Mum told you it was an accident, but a month later she threw you out. Her hand wringing meeting with a wet-behind-the-ears housing officer scored you a thirteenth-floor bed-sit in SE16.
The first you knew about it was when Mum came home wearing a nervous smile and gave you papers to sign. Justification came in phases like, “you need your independence, you’re a man now,” . . . and . . . “it’ll be good for your self-confidence,” . . . and . . . “the social workers will help you adjust.”
At first you settled well into your nest with it’s second-hand council furniture and thick curtains to keep the sunlight out. Then the tower-block-rats found you.
Teenage wannabe villains, apprentice thugs who infest every concrete maze in every city rattled the door. Pissed through the letter box. Posted gifts of dog turds and used condoms. On rare excursions to buy food they surrounded you in taunting circles just keeping out of reach like Vultures at Lions’ kills.
On a Tuesday in February one of your tormentors came too close. You watched the others run off screaming. You looked down and saw his crushed neck in your hand and blood gushing from the hole in the back of his dead head. The judge believed the polite young men in new suits who told him it was an unprovoked attack. Even the defence lawyer assigned to you told the court he felt intimidated in your presence. Twelve years. Out in five if you were good they said.
Inside could have been worse than Hell, but fate dictated it the perfect environment. Prison rules stopped you using dark glasses. The arrival of a giant albino afro-Caribbean with bright-red eyes on the gantry caused quite a rumble. They paired you with Donny Dax, an opportunist lag who swiftly realised he’d gain prison esteem by spreading rumours about his cell mate. Feigning comradeship, he used your naivety to quiz you about your life and the reason for your incarceration.
Soon rumours circled the Scrubbs about a “ginormous white Negro” who beat a boy to pulp and ripped his head off his shoulders. His eyes never stopped moving (the doctor said it was Nystagmus) and he could kill with one look. When you heard the stories you confronted Donny.
‘’Course I did, din’t I? S’for our own good innit? We’ll do alright if yer stick wiv me.’
But you didn’t. You got angry. Donny shat himself and demanded to be moved to another cell. He told everybody you’d threatened to kill him. A week later he died from heart failure due to undiagnosed cardiovascular disease. You became a legend.
It didn’t take long to figure out you scared grown men shitless and that prison was the perfect place to take full advantage. Thanks to Donny’s well-oiled mouth everybody knew you as The Milky Bar Kid, but nobody dared to say it to your face.
Donny Dax would’ve been proud of his protégé. When you turned those restless crimson eyes on the hardest of hearts, primeval fear withered them. Your size backed-up the menace. Tattooed arse-raping beasts moved aside and you received nods of respect from the main man’s henchmen. They all came around — wierdos, nonces, grasses, margas. Some you helped, others left in tears. CHOCOLATE was the new word for protection.
In July, Harry Grimes sent a couple of his boys with a message. He needed a favour. You refused. This normally brought violent response. You knew that wouldn’t happen. You even turned down his polite a request to visit his luxurious cell, but one quiet night in August you did. By the end of September, 1966 the prison was yours.