Here’s another open letter I wrote a long time ago, back when I lived in a village where dozens of teenagers would hang around outside the one supermarket for miles around.

Dear Kids Outside My Local Supermarket,

Apologies first of all for contacting you by letter rather than in a more direct, face to face manner, but as you outnumber me thirty to one and appear to have no social or moral conscience whatsoever, I feel more comfortable saying what I have to say in writing.

You see, Kids Outside My Local Supermarket, though you may not really pay much attention to me on those semi-regular occasions I stop by to pick up some food or a newspaper or what have you, I – along with everyone else who uses the supermarket – have no option but to notice you every time I enter or leave the building. This is due to the fact that despite the thousands of acres of wide open spaces in the area, you elect to stand directly in front of the only door in and out of the only supermarket in our village. Why you choose to do this remains a mystery. Perhaps you can explain? You do know there’s an area just ten or fifteen feet away with benches and things, right? I can’t help but feel you’d be more comfortable there, and were you to relocate to this area perhaps fewer potential shoppers would have cause to fear for their lives when entering or exiting the shop. Everyone wins!

I do fully appreciate that moving the short distance to the bench area may reduce the number of times you are able to stop customers entering the shop and ask them to buy you cigarettes, but as your success rate seems woefully low already, I suspect that the asking is now more a tradition than an actual attempt to secure tobacco products. If you are genuinely struggling to get your hands on cigarettes, though, might I suggest you ask whoever it is who provides you with all the heroin? I assume this is the drug responsible for all the girls in your group looking the way they do, right?

Speaking of which, this one’s specifically addressed to the girls – is it too much to ask for you to at least try to fight the urge to gob up great mouthfuls of phlegm and saliva on the area immediately surrounding the supermarket? Really, it’s unpleasant enough when men spit, but there’s something about seeing a spotty-faced fourteen year old girl spit that goes beyond “unpleasant” and into a realm of visual horror previously reserved for video footage of orphaned African babies dying of starvation. I’m unsure if you’re all suffering from some kind of over-productive saliva gland, or if you’ve elected as one to model yourselves on Bob Carolgees’ hilarious puppet sidekick, Spit the Dog, from the 1980s, but whatever the reason I’m sure help of some kind is almost certainly available on the NHS.

I frown upon spitting at the best of times, but to do it while one of the male members of your group vigorously and enthusiastically rubs his hand up and down inside the front of your tracksuit bottoms and sucks noisily on your neck is just doubly wrong. When I encountered this scene at 4:30 last Sunday afternoon I was rendered too shocked to speak, so I’d like to take a moment now to apologise to the girl for my impoliteness, and to answer your question: No, I won’t buy you 20 Regal King Size.

I feel it worth pointing out to whichever among you is the graffiti artist that the letter “z” is actually rarely used in British English. The letter I suspect you’re looking for is “s”, which as you can see is sort of like a backwards “z” only less pointy. Despite this mistake, I can’t help but like you better than the other members of your group. Your consistent lack of vowels makes every visit to the supermarket feel like some kind of impromptu game of Wheel of Fortune, albeit without the wheel. Or, indeed, the fortune.

Though I may not always agree with your opinions, I respect your firm, unwavering stances on everything from shagging (for) to “the fucking pigz” (against), and the sixty or more images of misshapen cannabis leaves you have painted around the supermarket building combine to form an imaginative work of breathtaking ambition and scale. Whether adorning the steel delivery door shutters with giant penises, or proclaiming in foot high letters that “Celtic is a poof”, your works are never anything less than challenging, and I firmly applaud your artistic endeavours. May I recommend another medium for your work, though? I call it “paper”, and you’ll find it’s available from most good art supply shops.

And, on a side note, I strongly suggest that whoever it was who posed for your controversial “nakd girl” piece seeks immediate and professional medical attention, as it appears her vagina is on upside-down.

I appreciate, Kids, why you feel victimised by the blanket ban in place which prevents any of you entering the supermarket itself. I also fully understand your indignation at being accused of shoplifting, although these accusations shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise, what with all your open and blatant shoplifting. Still, it’s understandable that you hold some form of grudge against the supermarket, but one of these nights you’re going to be electrocuted if you keep urinating on that cash machine. In all honesty I doubt the staff and managers of the shop are too concerned by you golden showering their ATM anyway, so it’s hardly worth risking your lives over, and I for one would be grateful to have my wallet no longer reeking of piss.

Thanks for taking the time out to have your social workers read you this letter, as I appreciate there’s drinking to be done and still that half a box of fireworks left over from November practically begging to be thrown at an unsuspecting pensioner.

Warmest Regards,

Barry

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