Swimming in a Bubblewrap Sea

I
dived into
a sea of bubblewrap
bollock naked
(except for my socks)
and
swam freestyle
for miles
and miles
and miles
of
popping smiles

After
what seemed
like hours
and hours
and hours
I was joined
by my wife
(in a fetching
two piece affair)
she had a
floral bow
in her hair

But
she
dived into
the deep end
and
barely
able to swim
bobbed
and
popped
and
popped
and
bobbed
I threw her
a life belt
which she caught
but dropped
when it
popped
with a
BANG!!!

I swam around
in ever
decreasing circles
popping
twenty foot waves,
wary of the
circling sharks
and narks
and aardvarks
and Vermicious Knids
(who escaped
from Willy Wonka)
until,
eventually,
I found her
clinging to
an old
Ikea wardrobe.

And the moral of
this popping tale?
Well…..

Swimming
in bubblewrap
is sooper dooper fun.

Pop until you drop
but don’t jump in
if you cannot swim!

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Breakfast in Bogota

A lot of Twitter friends of mine are aspiring writers.

But as aspiring writers they seem to be consumed with word counts without nary a sniff about content. They are obsessed with writing tens of thousands of words each and every day. Bonkers obsessed some of the poor dears.

And competitive! This is obviously a cut throat business and behind the glib congratulatory tweets and messages of support there is a distinct underbelly nay undercurrent of sinister innuendo.

(Allegations of doping can’t be too far away.)

It is tempting though. Tempting to shackle my fingers to a keyboard, flesh out a plot, subsist on jelly donuts and strong coffee, howl at the moon like a loon and churn out endless heaps of carefully crafted prose. And then publish it to the inter web, retire on the accolades to somewhere cheap and dangerous like Bogota, rent a bungalow in the suburbs and snort cocaine for breakfast.

But I’m too fickle and flighty to write a novel. Perhaps I could stretch to a novella? Or a Nov? I am being, of course, rather flippant and a teeny bit condescending. Why should I lampoon these wonderful writing creatures as they sweat their imaginations and wring the last ounce of creative sweat from their minds?

In truth, I am a jealous non-writer.

Someday. When I’m old and grey and extremely morose (and quite probably thoroughly wine addled) I’ll write a novel too. A game changing piece, a history making epoch, a grand work.

Or I might not.

#amnotwriting

A Low Spectrum Aspie called Billy

Once, when I was a young and svelte undergrad, with a negative BMI, mostly due to strong drink and a diet of puked up pie (not eaten after being puked but pie that left my system shortly after pie imbibing) I studied Aspies (low spectrum. very low). I was an Aspie expert. Autistic or Asperger kids to you and I or, as some of my older (psychiatrist) colleagues described them as …‘childhood schizophrenics’

I, however, am not a psychiatrist. I am a psychologist (amongst other things.)

Some of my friends on twitter are ‘Aspie herders’ or ‘Aspie’ writers and it shows. But not in a bad way. Sometimes the tales they regale me with are hysterically funny. A typical functioning Aspie is a strangely funny party piece. The things that you and I would LOVE to say or do, they will say and do with gay abandon and at a level of extraordinariness that will leave your mind flapping for breath. Higher functioning Aspies are completely aware, in my opinion, of the seeds of malice, discontent, bravado, outrageously poignant humour and downright fuddledum that they interject into their little worlds. Methinks that masters of chaos they are. And they are. At least, I believe, many are. And they know it well. And they know how to use their powers of fuddledum.

But all Aspies are vulnerable. At each end of the scale.

The type of Aspie that I met as an adonis-like undergrad was a concoction of psychotic events mixed with a mute characteristic and an institutionalised set of clicks and shakes and nods and body movements that wouldn’t be out of place in a pentecostal church in the bible belt of the USA. These wretched children were placed in live-in hospitals and tended to by mental nurses (some of whom were as nutty as the patients) and panels of psychiatrists and psychologists who fed them pills (the shrinks) and modified their every behaviour (the psychobobs, of which I was one) until they no longer pulled off their own ears or jumped up and down in the hospital pool just to dangle a huge willy to comedic effect. (And to the delight of the nurses.)

This brings me to the story of one teenage lad who I’ll call Billy. Billy was a problem. He was 16 when I went to the hospital for my three month sojourn. He should have been transferred to an adult hospital because this particular hospital was for children and Billy wasn’t a child, but an adult. The problem was that no one wanted Billy.

Billy’s mum was a psychiatrist. She used to take him home for weekends. She was single. It was in Billy’s case notes that Billy’s mum thought that the best home therapy for Billy was to utilise the huge willy that Billy had in some sort of ‘shock treatment’ mother and son scenario. That was the suspicion. It was in his notes. All of the professionals debated this ‘assertion’ on many occasions behind closed doors, in a cramped portacabin in the hospital grounds, which served as our ‘offices’. Myself and a social worker student were privy to these discussions but we remained silent. I was struck silent by the business like discussions which were led by a certain pioneering, much published, lady psychiatrist, who was convinced that autism was in fact schizophrenia.

I spent each afternoon for three months, in a small classroom with Billy, teaching him Mekaton, a new type of sign language at that time. In three months I taught him how to sign; doctor, drink and sit down. it was incredibly boring. In that time, I developed an eating programme for ‘Miriam’ a severely disturbed but truly savantic pianist, who, given half a chance, would bolt her own lunch and then everyone else’s. Afterwards, she would gravitate to the upright piano and play whatever tune you cared to hum as if sitting on the stage at the Carnegie Hall. I also had the pleasure of knowing ‘Justin’ another severely disturbed Aspie with epilepsy and end stage cystic fibrosis as well. (Just to make shit interesting) Everywhere we went, we dragged oxygen bottles just in case. One day, he had a grand mall seizure, his second or third of the day, and things got the better of him and he died. I was glad for him. His was a shit life.

Billy was completely mute aside from a few grunts and institutional clicks. I still don’t know if he had ‘friends’. He had ‘reactionaries’. He would click less and grunt less when I arrived at 9ish each morning (hangover and bus dependent) and get more institutionally grunty and clicky when the (bastard) psychiatrists made their rounds. But he positively came alive on Wednesdays when it was time for swimming!

It took a nurse (who I was quite fond of and she of me, but that’s another story) to get Billy into his swim shorts and then into the pool. It was a great pool!

(You have to bear in mind that these kids were very ill and the occasional shit and piss was to be expected.)

Billy was tall. He must have been well over 6 feet and he jumped in and waded through the water like he was born to it. He was pretty muscular too. I slid in carefully and bounced off the bottom, it was perhaps 4 feet deep throughout, and I watched tactfully from the sidelines.

Billy and the other kids splashed and snorted and pirouetted through the water as if this was Disney World. I could see Billy was building up to his party piece. He started to bounce in the water and with each bounce he was propelled more out of the water until swim shorts akimbo and raging phallus sprung he entertained the nurses huddled at the pool’s edge. He was giddily teenage in his phallic protestations!

I left that hospital a long time ago. I got my degree, then my masters but never qualified professionally. I got into bands and editing silly magazines and smoking blow in the park and throwing frisbees. Billy didn’t seem important then. But I wonder where he is now? He’ll be in his 40’s if he’s still alive. He was never going to get miraculously better. He was never going to play football or run for parliament or clone a sheep. He was destined to sway and grunt and nod and click.

I just hope he’s found a swimming pool somewhere where he can still swing his dick.

I don’t put pictures in my blogs. If they are indeed blogs.

I don’t put pictures on my blogs, if indeed they are blogs, because I don’t. Lot’s of other people put pictures on their blogs and that’s their choice. I don’t. I don’t really know why I don’t, but I don’t. Not doing it has already given me the opportunity to use the word don’t seven times and that doesn’t include the title which also has don’t in it. At least there’s that.

Should I put pictures in my blogs? If indeed they are blogs. I honestly don’t know. I think that my serious stuff has sufficient gravitas to get by on it’s own merit without the inclusion of drawings or photographs or pictures of any sort.

I do like the idea, I think,  of James having a face and it would be cool to see what Sir Topping, the fat cat, looks like. But I’m crap at drawing so unless someone out there in blog reader land wants to imagine what they look like and send them to me: James and Sir Topping, the fat cat, will remain faceless.

Ketchup. We refilled the Heinz ketchup bottle with discount store ketchup. No one noticed. Thought I should share that tip.

My mind is buzzing with pictures. I suppose it’s all of this suggestive chat about pictures that’s created this mental buzz about pictures. I can tell that this might, just might, develop into a full blown psychosis about inserting pictures into my blogs (if they are indeed blogs) which is something that, for the moment at least, I don’t.

You see, I visualise the world in words. I actually see words. BIG words. little tiny words. Faaaaaat words. Scary words…RARRR! Words are the pictures. And, I suppose, that’s why I don’t use pictures in my blogs, if indeed they are blogs which I’m not, by the way, convinced that they are.

I’d still like to see what James and Sir Topping, the fat cat, look like. And if that makes me a little hypocritical or confused then so be it.

By the way, gluing cornflakes to the tyres of your car will give your neighbours the impression that you have a really expensive gravel drive.

This whimsical bullshit has been brought to you by the letter T and the number 27.

 

The Continued Further Adventures of James

Part Two. A Land of Liquorice

So far….This morning is James’ 13th birthday. It’s 7.15am and James is fast asleep. Meanwhile, Grigori, The Teen Lord, is speeding towards James’ house in his trusty orange PT Cruiser…..

Sir Topping, the fat cat, snored and farted and scratched and pawed imaginary mice. James, the new teen, was buried deep beneath a crumple of duvet. He too was fast asleep. He was dreaming about a beautiful and deserted island where all the trees were made of liquorice.

“James?” It was his mum.

“JAMES!!” It was his mum again. Only louder this time.

James snuggled deeper into the sandy duvet. He was in that place at the end of a dream. That vivid place where everything seems so real. So real that it should be written down and turned into a best seller. ‘A Land of Liquorice’ by award winning author James. Then. As his brain tuned into wakefulness, his dream fled leaving him with a faint memory of something exciting and lost to him forever.

“James!! Up and at them teenager!”

It was his mum again. Now she was standing at the foot of his bed. She startled to tickle him through the duvet.

“MUM!! STOP IT!!”

“Get up, NOW! That’s an order young man. Come on. Rise and shine! You’ve a big day ahead of you.”

James reluctantly slid sideways across his bed and poked an exploratory toe, then a foot, closely followed by a leg into the world outside his duvet fort. Then with a practised move, he rolled onto the floor with a THUMP!!

Sir Topping, the fat cat, woken up by the noise, jumped out of his girly basket (with the cream bow) arched his back, stretched on his tummy and purred sleepily.

Meanwhile…….

Grigori arrived at No 34, Giggetty Lane and parked his trusty orange PT Cruiser behind the ‘LaLaLoopsy Super Silly Party’ van.

‘Plenty of time before the show’ thought Grigori. ‘Plenty of time to reread his file’

Grigori opened a grubby, tattered holdall, took out his laptop, switched it on, and waited. And waited. And waited. ‘Must upgrade from Vista Home Premium’ he thought. Finally he was in and he pulled up James’ profile.

Name: James

Parents: Two, Check

Sex: Not yet

Pets: Sir Topping, the fat cat

Likes: Liquorice

Dislikes: Girls

Teen rating: Newbie

‘Interesting’ thought Grigori. ‘A blank canvas. This is going to be sooper dooper fun!’

He poured himself a large Jamaican rum, put his feet on the dash (still attached to his legs) and watched the party people furtively carrying bits and bobs into the back garden.

“Hurry up James! We’ll miss the bus!”

“Where are we going?” said James.

“To the shops”

“Why?”

“To shop silly!”

The real reason, of course, was to spirit James away so that the LaLaLoopsy Super Silly Party crew could set up all the Super Silly party stuff in the garden.

“Ready!” said James. He went towards the back door.

“Let’s use the front door James” said mum.

“But we never use the front door!”

“Let’s go mad!” said mum.

James thought this was a little strange but then again his mum was prone to outbursts of madness, unpredictability, lunacy and mumliness.

Blissfully unaware of the mass activity going on in the garden, James and his mum left by the front door.

As they walked towards the bus stop, James had a weird tingly feeling and the hairs on his neck stood up. He felt as if he was being watched.

‘There’s something strange going on’ thought James.

Grigori watched them leave. ‘Diversion tactics’ he thought ‘Clever’

He poured another large rum and switched on the radio. Adele was playing. He switched it off. He had to stay focused. Everything had to go to plan.

In the backseat was a clown outfit and a well thumbed copy of Marcel Proust’s ‘À la recherche du temps perdu’ the book had nothing to do with the plan. It was a homage to Python.

Next time……….

………You’ll have to wait for the next exciting instalment of The Further Adventures of James to find out!!!

Pizza, Stripper, Coffee

If
I was
dreadfully alone,
lethargically prone
in a drab hospital bed
tubular steel on wheels
and propped up with white
cotton pillows,
lumpy, standard issue.

Would you hold my hand?

If
right now.
This minute.
This slot in time.
I was medically supine
and
feeling sorry for myself.

Thinking silently
about death.

(Amongst other things
unrelated to life)

Would you reassure me?

If
I was tap-tap typing
cold melancholic
thoughts from my head
while
tied up
and tubed
with
dripping drugs
and
plumbed with
leaky catheters

Would you still love me?

If
I was on my last legs
sucking the last dregs
of life into my lungs
gasping
and
wheezing
while
full of cold tea
and
cardboardy toast

Would you still visit me?

If
I was
waiting for
divine
inspiration
to make me
a better man

(a better man
in a philosophical
sense)

If
I was
waiting for
medical
intervention
to make me
a better man

(a better man
in a physical
sense)

Would you care? At all?

If
I was really ill.
Perhaps,
on reflection,
deservedly so.
Be it bad Karma
or
payback.
Fate
or
a date
with the
Grim Reaper.

Would you scare him away?

If
this wasn’t
just a figment
of my imagination.
A fix out fixation
of what might be.
A careless glance
into the future.

Would you stay or go?

If
life was
predictable.
Certain.
Assured.
We could plan
for an event like this.
Choose the pillows,
brighten up the ward.
Fill the hospital with
garish flowers.
Check the wifi.
Smuggle in pizza,
a stripper, coffee.

But it’s not.

And I,
a selfish wretch,
am terrified of
being alone.

Alone
and old
and dying.

Without you.

The Further Adventures of James

Part One. Apple whittling.

James held his breath. He was giddy with excitement. It was his birthday today.

“You’d better breathe” said Victor (his inner voice) “Breathe”

James took a deep breath. His head was spinning like a top. His thoughts rushed around non stop like hamsters in a wheel. He felt sick.

“Grow a pair” said Victor. “Man up boy!”

‘I’d better man up’ thought James. ‘Whatever that means’

In the corner of his bedroom, in a wicker gasket dressed with a cream bow, Sir Topping the cat slept fitfully, blissfully unaware of the significance of the day ahead. He was catnapping and dreaming. His paws twitched. His whiskers twitched. His bottom itched. So he licked it as cats do.

“Don’t kiss the ass licking cat” said Victor.

It was 5.30am. Outside was as dark as dark can be. Perhaps even darker. And as quiet as quiet can be. The only sound was Sir Topping’s cat snores and the BOOMING of Jame’s heart.

‘I wish it was getting up time’ thought James. Then exhausted with anticipation and excitement he slowly slid back into the languid, smelly, pubescent depths of duvet land.

“The kid’s growing fast” said Victor. “Soon I’ll have to find another one.”

Meanwhile…..

In another part of town, a seedy underbelly part of town, a dark foreboding black and white part of town, Grigori, The Teen Lord, was sharpening his pen knife and salivating over his early morning apple.

‘So many apples. So much time. Strike that. Reverse it.’ He thought.

He sat in his workshop. Today was going to be a busy day. So many new teens to suffuse with teenage traits and wiles and angst. He loved angst best. Angst is the very essence of teen hood.

‘It’s going to be a good day. Now, who’s first on my list?’

He checked the tattered year planner that was tacked to his wall. Scrawled in crayon were all the teen birthdays of every boy and girl in the neighbourhood.

‘James. Mmm….Yes. He’ll do for starters. Juicy and ripe. Just right for teening’

Grigori hummed along to his favourite tune, Teenage Kicks by the Undertones of course, and read through James’ file.’

‘Mmm….cat…Interesting…..An inner voice…..This is going to be fun’

Gregori whittled his apple into the shape of a breakfast bacon sandwich and took a slobbery bite.

‘A whole heap of fun…’

He packed his rucksack with bottles and potions and hacksaws and spirit levels and two packs of sour strawberry laces.

‘That should do for now’ he thought.

Grigori unlatched the fifteen deadlocks and pushed open the steel reinforced door. The morning was as crisp and cold as crisp and cold could be and the sleepy morning sun was just peeping over the rooftops. He got into his trusty orange PT Cruiser and typed ‘J.A.M.E.S. D.O.B. 14.11.2002’ into the teen nav.

Next time……..

……..You’ll have to wait for the next exciting instalment of the Further Adventures of James to find out!!!