kung fu jack

‘Ya would’na think to look at me now but ah used to be a kung fu master’
‘Wow! That’s amazing!’
‘I were a lot younger then, mind. Fit as a sand flea. I hitchhiked everywhere. I’d put ma thumb out an’ jes’ see where it took me. One time it was Norway, man. Norway!’
‘I’d love to go to Norway.’
‘Yeah? Well ya should. It’s still there, far as I know.’
I finish taking the blood and writing up the notes. Jack folds his arms and watches me, one thin leg hooked over the other, the foot tapping gently up and down, the laces of the boot gently trailing in the air.
‘Ah’m not kiddin’ ya. A kung fu master. One thing we had to do, to qualify, like. We had to run down this dark tunnel, wi’ no light at all except what was comin’ in the end. An’ you had to run like stink towards it, and the only thing stoppin’ yah was everyone inside, punching and kicking the livin’ crap out of you. Now look at me. If you laughed too loud ah’d fall over.’
‘So where are you from originally? Are you a Geordie?’
‘A Geordie? Well there’s no need for that. I tell you wha’. It’s a good job for you ah’ve lost ma kung fu skills. Ah’m from Sunderland, man! A Mackem! Geordie. Ah’m thinking you must be one o’ them things from the south.’
‘I am. And d’you know what? I have to admit – to my shame – I’ve never been further north than the Lake District.’
‘What? Ya dowun nah what yah missing, man! We’ve got everything yah could want. Beautiful beaches, and … and … pubs carved out of the rock.’
‘Sounds amazing.’
‘It is amazing. The most unbelievable place on earth. An’ ah’ll tell you what. I’d go back there in a second if ah could jes’ snap me fingers an’ fly.’