Kempy: A love story
The naughties: Ross and Beckah, a beginning
The cracks were already beginning to show. It all begun innocuously enough. She’d lock me out of the house. Or in the house. Little things like that. Hardly noticeable, but to me they were. Noticeable.
One evening we were having dinner at the Ivy. Becks had invited Lord Condom of the Met and his wife as well as a few media friends. She was on top form, chatting, gossiping, hobnobbing. The conversation turned to intellectual affairs and I soon nodded off.
Waking up I thought I should try and liven things with my own experience and asked the table if anyone had seen the new film by Nicolas Cage called Ghost Rider. But they all just kept eating their salad and pretended that they hadn’t heard me. Soon it was time to order the main. To be honest I didn’t have a clue about anything on the menu. It really was a minefield. I was about to plump for the third dish from the bottom when Lord C announced loudly:
“Ross, why don’t you try the steak tartar! Everyone don’t you think he should try the steak?”
The people on the table joined in:
“Yes Ross the steak tartar.”
“Oh you’ll love it.”
“Ross for steak tartar.”
Well I decided to go with it. How could I have known?! When it arrived 30 minutes later I nearly fell of my chair.
Raw mashed up meat!
I just sat there looking at it. But it was too late. I could hardly refuse it now. As I picked up my spoon I could see that the table’s eyes were on me. I took a spoonful. Ugh! It tasted just like shit!
My mind started to spin. I tried again.
Another spoon. Christ. Sweat broke out all over my bald cranius. I tried again but it was too much. It was a raw mashed up cow. I felt horrified by what they were making me do. I was on the verge of tears.
And so I put my fork down. There was an audible gasp around the table. But I couldn’t, I just couldn’t eat any more.
Condom turned away in disgust. His wife shook her head grimly. Clare Balding just walked off. The other diners shuddered and a couple vomited in horror. And Rebekah! O God Rebekah! Her head turned into the very visage of the Ghost Rider- flames pouring out of her face. It was like watching an unholy cartoon.
I’d had enough. I got up and said “excuse me” to the assembled crowd and went to the loo. Inside I sat there and wept! By God I wept. I had brought shame on our holy union. I felt dirty. On the way home I tried to explain myself. I told her that I thought it was a steak and tarter sauce. But it was no good. She just screamed and screamed and screamed. That was when I decided to join the army.
2001: The war on terror
“My name is Lt. Ross Kemp. I am 32-years old. I fight for C-company. My senior is Captain James Kirk. I am an English soldier. That’s all I’ve got to say to you you scum…..Sorry?…..Well what do you want me to say? What? For God’s sake ….please I don’t speak Afghanistany…no, not the face please no….ok, ok stop I’ll talk.”
Me. 20-03. The ‘gan. I was deep under cover. So deep I didn’t even know where I was. Behind enemy lines. MIA. Missing in Afghanistan. But lets go back a bit. Back to the start.
It was the summer of 2001. Gunning down the highway with the top down. Her at the wheel. Me in the back. God the M25 never looked so good. I was sitting there with a coke in one hand, an empty box of Dunkin Donuts in the other, Bravo Two Zero– the bible– lying on the seat next to me. Suddenly my mobile phone went off on one. I answered it.
“Oi Kempy, big news. Planes, they hit the tower. Get your arse down here, we may ‘ave some work for ya.”
“What? The tower? Nooooo, I’ll never go to Blackpool again.”
“What? Just shut it and get your arse down ‘ere.”
I clicked the phone shut and shouted to Beckah “Floor it darling I’ve got a mission.”
“We’re stuck in a fuckin’ traffic jam you oaf,” she replied.
And she was right. Bumper to bumper.
I’d never seen the M25 so busy. Anyway, four hours later we were in London. It took me another three hours to get to Soho after Beckah dropped me off in Kilburn. But get there I did. And what awaited me was something so historic, so momentous that I would never forget it.
Winter 2001: The winter of my discontent
I barely remember a thing from those days. Things moved with such speed that I just couldn’t keep up. What I do know is that sometime in 2001 I was given a mission. A mission I would never forget.
My military training had given me lightning sharp reflexes and a razor sharp mind. I’d practised day after day, working my fingers to the bone on Call of Duty II: The Battle of the Somme. Sure I found it a little difficult to recreate the computer moves in real life– strafing left to right became a challenge, and running with a real 20kg backpack on my back was nigh on impossible. Also adapting to modern weapons after being so used to the blunderbuss and howitzer was a feat I never really mastered. But anyway, there I was. Kempy! Finally I was at Krieg! Seig Heil!
2002: Apocalypse Kemp
I had wanted a mission. And for my sins they gave me one.
It was the summer of 2002. I was assigned as an embedded reporter with C-Company. They’d decked me out in full military camouflage. Covered head-to-toe in bright red paint and wearing a large yellow, glowing helmet and a gold all-in-one bodysuit I blended in perfectly with my surroundings. Hell they had even given me a golden air rifle to take with me, that’s how much they liked me.
Wearing this get up I could easily be located in case I got lost in a bog, or buried in sand. And sure the terrain was rough. One time I got stuck in a bog. Literally. I’d gone for a dump in the wooden outhouse and fell through the toilet into the lads cesspit. The squaddies had sawn the toilet bottom out as a joke and I landed in a pool of dump.
I laughed for the first three hours. But then things started to turn sour as new waste began to flow down into the pit burying me up to my armpits. Finally Ralphy G said I’d be kicked really hard in the head if I didn’t stop my screaming.
Another time I was hiding in a pit—all the other soldiers had run off so I pretended to be dead. It was the dead of night. I was very tired. I heard footsteps— a Taliban soldier approached. God I was scared—I’ll admit it. But I lay there. Just lay there. I let that ratty terrorist poke me with his bayonet. I let him poke me in the back and bottom with his knife. But I lay there, pretending to be dead. Eventually he disappeared and I ran off.
During that black night all I could think of was Rebecca. Where was she, what was she doing? In my mind’s eye an image formed. I saw her by the banks of Canary Wharf, a gentle wind whistling through her ginger hair, happy, happier than ever before.
The next day I got a letter from her—“Dear Turdface. I guess you know how much I hate you. Well its over. X”
Why am I here?
What is my purpose?
What happens when we die?
Do dogs think?
These and other psychological thoughts often ran through my mind in these later years.
You see I was now an officially respected thespian. I’d discharged myself from the army and moved onto gangs. I had a Bafta. No longer did they call me Kempy. Or Kemperton. Or Kempfy. Or Fat face. Now they called me Ross. Or Rossy.
In line with my new life I had become academical. I had already received my honorary degreeship from Kingston, Surrey, University. But I wanted more. And so I read. In my thirst for knowledge I began devouring a book a month. After Bravo Two Zero I moved onto the Bible. Unfortunately it took me quite some time to get my head around the first chapter, (where Eve steals an apple and Adam has his bollocks chopped off) and so I watched the film instead with Mel Gibson (a personal hero of mine).
The film was a revelation. It was to change my life. For after watching that film I found God. I decided to convert to Islam.