Beer And Meat

This is a true story.

There are a lot of stories I could tell about Ben. I could talk about the night he moved in, when he got lost on the way to the house and ended up in a graveyard at 5 in the morning. I could talk about the time he smashed a neighbour’s car window with a paving stone and then tried to convince our other housemate, Scott, that I had done it. I could tell you about the time he managed to kick the fireplace loose from the wall, or the beer bottle incident (we were still finding bits of broken glass behind the sofa two months after he moved out), or the night I got home from work and found him attempting to feed one of Scott’s cats to my pet snake. I could tell you in detail about all those incidents and more, and maybe one day I will, but none of that relates to this weeks photograph, so today I’m going to tell you about the all night beer and meat session.

This was back when I was still living in Leeds and working as a croupier in a casino. Ben had started at the same time as me, so we had been in the same training group. For the first six months that I knew him he was merely the slightly weird guy at work. It wasn’t until after he got kicked out of his flat, and I offered him the spare room in our house, that I began to realise just how crazy he was.

The beer and meat session took place around two weeks into Ben’s four week stay in the house, before most of the really bad stuff happened. Ben had been to the indoor market in Leeds city centre just before closing, and bought a bag of random pieces of meat for a fiver. When he got home we started drinking (there was always plenty of beer in the house) and every couple of hours Ben would suggest cooking another piece of meat, which would be quickly grilled and then served in a sandwich, with plenty of ketchup.

By this point I was already beginning to suspect that Ben was more than a little deranged, so the last thing I wanted to do was leave him alone in the house after several beers. This meant I had to stay up as late as he did, which turned out to be until around six in the morning.

So we sat there in the kitchen all night, drinking beer after beer, making another round of meat sandwiches every hour or two. A couple of times he picked up a kitchen knife and started waving it around like he was crazy. If it had been anyone else I’d know they were joking, but with Ben I wasn’t entirely convinced that he wasn’t about to stab me in the chest.

Two weeks later, after all the really fucked up stuff had happened, I kicked Ben out. I was no longer working at the casino by then so when he left it was the last time I saw him. It wasn’t the last I heard of him, though. A few months later I ran into another casino employee, who told me Ben had been fired. But that’s another story entirely. And it’s just one of many.

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