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Asking for Trouble

A collection of stories about landing in the shit.

Celebrate another shitty week spent getting shouted at by your parents, your boss, your landlord, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your best friend for sleeping with his girlfriend, strangers, dogs and the radio by reading this collection of stories about people getting in shit.

Illustrations by Sam Taylor. Follow him on Twitter @sptsam or visit his website at samtaylorillustrator.com.

IT'S A KNOCKOUT

So I'm out with a few friends in Holloway. We're all pretty drunk at this point, and we spot a guy who used to live round our flats who, we'd recently discovered, had once hit a girl friend of ours. It all kicked off instantly. We all run over and this guy's mates appear out of nowhere. Instantly fists are flying. Next thing I know, one of their guys is laid out on the floor and everyone has run off.

I think he's been knocked out, so I pick him up with the plan of dropping him off outside his house. It's only when I get halfway down the road with him that he's able to talk, and he tells me he's not just been beaten up, he's been fucking stabbed. I put him down onto a car bonnet for a sec and suddenly realise that I'm covered in his blood. I call an ambulance and explain that they need to come quick, because he's hurt pretty bad. The police turn up within minutes, to find me standing over him, covered in his blood. I'm arrested and released on bail while he recovers in ICU. He comes to weeks later and drops all charges, which is incredibly nice of him.

I toast my relief by going out and getting drunk in Holloway. On the way home, some asshole beats the shit out of me. C'est la vie.

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MRS BUSH'S BUSH

We're on some school trip to something totally tedious, let's just say the theatre, because – if I'm honest – we're going back too many years here for me to remember for sure. I'm so bored that I decide to take the in-coach entertainment into my own hands, and pretty soon everybody's feverishly scrawling notes to each other about the teachers who are chaperoning us on the bus. One of the teachers' names is Mrs Bush.

It does not take long for Mrs Bush to become the subject of a barrage of vile notes, each laden with clumsy, childish attempts at sexual innuendo, like "Mrs Bush has a Bush!!!" and "Mrs Bush is shaved!!!!", which swiftly escalates to "Mrs Bush gives blowjobs to Mr Fisher" and "Mrs Bush wants sex all the time, in her bush" – pretty shocking stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Some goody two-shoes daughter of a celebrity (I'm not giving you a name) is so repulsed by these screeds that she decides to rat us out. My comrades and I try to dispose of the evidence, ripping up the lot and shoving them into ashtrays. But she tells on us anyway, and Mr Fisher takes the notes out of the ashtrays, sticks them back together and hands them to the head, who calls me into the office the next day and tells me that, if I am going to make jokes about these things, she would prefer if I knew what they meant and, could I explain what I meant by "Mrs Bush has a bush" and "sex" and "blowjobs", please?

Mrs Bush is there in the same room as us the whole time. Looking back now, I imagine she found it hilarious, but it was my first memory of being mortified. When asked for the explanation, I think I started: "Well, when a man and a woman love each other..." And I've been completely obsessed with sex ever since.

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DOWN THE PAN

You know how sometimes you can hear the tube train coming, and you get a really strong urge just to hurl yourself in front of it on to the tracks? Or when you're sitting with your legs dangling over the edge on the top floor of a five-storey car park, and you feel like the only right and just thing to do is to push off with your palms and topple over the side? Well, a similar thing happened to me back in primary school, when I possessed a tiny brain much smaller than an adult's, and thus lacked the faculty to quell these anti-Darwinian urges. My teacher was taking aaaagggggeeeessss to mark my work, I got pissed off with waiting, freaked out and slammed the book up towards her face so that the corner of it got her right in the eye.

She cried, which was a massive downer, but I refused to say sorry, so I got taken to the head's office and they left a message on my parents' answer phone. I knew my parents would be at work for a few hours, so I ran home after school and deleted the message. This made no difference, because obviously adults talk to each other much more than children realise, and I got in massive, massive shit, especially seeing as I had also recently been in bother for flushing a girl's PE kit down the toilet. As punishment, my mum made me take my Pokemon Yellow, which I'd just got, back to the shop. Funnily enough, when I first moved to university, the first thing I spent my loan money on was a Pokemon Yellow. That showed the fuckers #NoRegrets

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SUPERMARKET SWEEP

I was once reprimanded by my local Sainsbury's when, due to a lack of £££, I was forced to commit the theft of 12 lemons. You can imagine the security guard's face as I opened up my bag and he reached inside and pulled out lemon, after lemon, after lemon. Neither of us could keep a straight face. Anyway, when that happened I was written a heartbreaking letter by the king of Sainsbury's (He wrote it personally, I imagine? Maybe with his tears?) telling me that my "invitation to shop" there had been "withdrawn". It was the bitterest pill they could have forced me to swallow, save for, I dunno, the juice of 12 lemons?

Fast forward two years, and I'm totally not giving a fuck about the withdrawal order. I'm back in Sainsbury’s.

Fast forward another half an hour, and I’m in the security room again, this time with my boyfriend for the grand heist of not one, not two, but THREE toffee yum yums. I should make clear at this point that I'm not a compulsive thief; it's just a coincidence that my only two acts of criminality (*honest*) both occurred in the same Sainsbury's and that both times I was caught. I'm a shit, stupid criminal, I guess, which I imagine is a succinct and accurate synopsis of what my mother was thinking a few hours later.

Throughout my life, the authority figure I have feared the most has always been my mum. She's the type of lady people habitually refer to at family functions as "quite a woman"; mega uptight and super-respectful. After receiving brief moral counsel from the security guard ("So you think stealing is OK, do you? Look at me: I don't steal" – Mr Sainsbury's, 2011) we were free to go, which was lucky, because I had a date to keep with mother that afternoon. We'd agreed to meet at Indo, a pub in Whitechapel, but I got a call from her maybe a quarter of an hour earlier telling me that she wanted me to meet her in THE EXACT SAINSBURY'S I JUST GOT BUSTED IN because she wanted my opinion on something.

I had a complete brain fart and couldn't think of any excuses. I tried telling her I couldn't go because it was "too cold", and because "it smelt bad", but obviously neither of these make sense, so in the end I just came clean. There was silence, then "Stay there." My stomach dropped, I felt sick, I felt like I was at the guillotine. She stormed out of Indo looking like my worst fucking nightmare and screamed like a howler at me in front of EVERYONE in the pub – so loudly that someone actually came over to ask me if I was OK. I was not OK. I was fucking humiliated, and now when I’m at my parents’ house they won’t let me go to the supermarket with them in case I “embarrass” them. Part of me's just sad that my brother and I can never play trolley wars in the supermarket again. 

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IN THE CROSSHAIRS

Oh man, so I'm at Jewish summer camp when I'm around 13, and one of the camp leaders is this super-cute, curly-haired Jewish girl. She must be 17 or 18, I was crushing on her so hard. We're sitting around doing something with crafts, I'm cutting up lovehearts for her or something soppy and she's facing the other way, so – obviously – I grab a handful of her hair and cut it off with a pair of scissors (still can't really explain that one). She looks around at me like she's just seen me pulling my dick out of a cat.

My heart breaks that instant and I'm lectured by the camp leader on sexism, bullying, violence, fucking everything. The hardest punishment is that they move me out of her group and I barely see her for the rest of the week. I try to apologise at lunch but she shuns me. I still love you, Maya.

Illustrations by Sam Taylor. Follow him on Twitter @sptsam or visit his website at samtaylorillustrator.com.

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If You Don't Mug Yourself, Someone Else Will

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When Shit Happens - Stories About People Crapping Themselves and Stuff