Love Letter Part 2
A mayde schuld be seen, but not herd, again.
This is PART TWO - you can read PART ONE HERE.
And so it started even better than yesterday, since Jane left me sixty quid for my services and I made the extraordinarily ostentatious decision to get a taxi to Abbey Wood to score, I rised up this morning and smiled with the rising sun, three little bags, pitched in my works box, singing sweet songs, of medicine pure(ish) and true, saying ‘This is my message to you-ou-ou’.
Anticipating Jane and her spawn being lumbered on my life for any significant amount of time turned out to be nothing but unnecessary and familiar creature fear, whatever that is. She gouched-out in the chair for a couple of hours, chilling-out(somnia) with Morpheus, and only untimely ripped from her chemical slumber when Fredrick arrived full of sound and fury, signifying it was time to pay.
Fredrick spent half his life watching documentaries about the likes of Charles Bronson (convict Bronson, not actor, masculinity epitomized, and face/body of Japanese cologne ‘Mandom’ Bronson) and Paul Sykes (another convict, spent most of his adult life locked-up, and who claims to have swam across the Straits of Johor, between Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. No one else has ever swam across the Straits of Johor, according to Paul, because of the sharks. But Paul knows how to deal with them: ‘You punch them right in the fucking ear-hole and they swim off.’ The other half of Fredrick’s life mainly consists of impersonating said villains.
Interestingly, when Jane was deep down in the land of nod, the girls from her did they prise and started investigating my habitat, and I couldn’t help but think it was they who might protect her, rather than the other way round. I surveyed my castle for something to keep them busy, rather than have them climbing under and on and through and around things that might hurt them, like the 3ml spike one was holding. “Whoops, I’ll take that!” I said as I dived across the room and I swiped it from her grasp, my guts taking a metaphysical kick as she mimicked injecting in the top of her leg, like she’d seen Mum do a thousand times before.
But as if fairies themselves had known this situation upon me would be cast, I spotted a ‘Paint with Water’ book of unicorns laying on top of a pile of old magazines and unpaid bills. Lord knows where or why it came here, but I had them as a child and wonderfully magical they were. You paint inside the black outlines with tap water and a brush, and it brings the unicorns to life in a cacophony of liquid spills, drips, and other unintentional abstract expressionisms, turning a once clearly defined form into the art-child of Kandinsky and Pollock on LSD. Nothing wrong with that. And although I didn’t have any brushes, they made do with cotton wool cellotaped to the end of a biro, and I was, for some thirty minutes or so, an adult, caring for children who seemed to be much enjoying themselves. Ten points to me.
Jane gave Fredrick one-hundred-pounds for services rendered. Little was said about what had actually gone down apart from the reassuring words ‘He won’t bother you again’, uttered slightly embarrassed by Fredrick, a frown weighing down his face as he looked at the floor, no doubt contemplating who he actually was for a split-second. She dished out my sixty quid, picked up her kids, my unicorn ‘Paint with Water’ book, and left, Fredrick leaving at the same time. Once they were outside, I watched Jane turn left and Fredrick turn right, and pondered what dysfunction and dramas they’d both encounter next, before realising I had my own to deal with, so made a cup of tea and had a hit to prepare for whatever it would certainly be.
And be it did. For only thirty or so minutes (it could have been hours) into my own somnambulist tryst with Morpheus, all manner of horrors came knocking. For at my door stood Matt. Matt, of ‘Love love love’ letter fame. Matt, who had both hands in bandages - and one arm in a sling - bandages around his head, one eye bruised shut, and the other surrounded in stitches. Matt, who had stitches from one side of his mouth, up past his eye to his forehead. Matt, who was the product of Fredrick’s work.
“Can I come in?” he managed to squeeze out through the few millimeters of working mouth between his two swollen and bloodied lips. His voice, and slow, saliva affected breathing reminded me of John Hurt’s Academy Award nominated performance of John Merrick in the 1980 movie ‘The Elephant Man’. I have a rule at my door: Police and Vampires don’t get invited in. But paedophiles? As far as I knew at least, this was a first, and for reasons I don’t know, curiosity perhaps, I stepped back from the door and let him in.
Clearly in pain, he slowly limped across my room, sitting in the same faux Chesterfield armchair that Jane and her girls yesterday did. He had some trouble going from standing to sitting, trying to use his one free arm to help cushion himself, but failed, letting out quite the wet groan as he landed heavily on his arse. Fredrick had certainly earned his money.
“Have you seen The Elephant Man?” I asked, not really knowing what to say to him. [The only other paedophile I’d knowingly spoken to being a magician when I was eleven who showed me some sleight of hand with his cock.] He didn’t answer. He was clearly in quite the situation and trying to get his breath back. He wiped saliva from his lips onto the already greying bandage on his hand, and as he slowly lay back in the chair he rested his head, looking up and at my ceiling and exhaling; slow, long, and spittled.
“Why are you here?” I asked, although I sort of knew, but sort of didn’t too. Yet while I knew however things were about to go, they weren’t going to go well, I didn’t want it to be me who brought up the Elephant Man in the room, so to speak. In some pain, he pulled his neck forward, and looked at me. “I’m looking for Jane, she scores from you sometimes, I know that.” I put my box of works on my coffee table and set about making a hit. I bit the tiny knot from a bag and poured the fine brown powder into the spoon.
“I’m ex-military, parachute regiment, 4 Para” He adjusted his posture, and for the first time since he arrived he had a bit of pride about him. Not a lot, but more than before, more than sour F.A. “I was based in Leeds but came down South looking for work after leaving the forces”, “I guess that explains you sitting about all day playing Call of Duty?”
Through the bruises and the stitches, behind the swelling and the welts, I saw a man confused; followed by a man who offered a short chuckle. That was it really. Whatever bad decisions, assumptions, and other potentially misinformed dalliances with truth and lies I may or may not have been involved in over the last two days, I could. Only. Think. Four. Words: ‘Bottle’, ‘Resourcefulness’, ‘Sheer-Determination’.
“Jane stole four grand from me, well, from us both. I work doors at various nightclubs, that’s where I met her. I’d been saving to send her to rehab. We had it all set up and ready to go. We had a place booked for her in North London, a good place apparently with a good reputation, and she was meant to go yesterday. But when I woke up she was gone, with the girls, and all the money.”
My hands started shaking. I use a 27 gauge spike on a 3ml syringe, but the syringes come with a 24 gauge spike already attached, which, being about the width of a javelin, is no good to me. I was struggling to hook my fingernails under the base of the spike to remove it, and when I finally managed, I followed through with force and knocked the spoon and the junk over. I pressed my finger on the powder and slowly got most of it back in the spoon, no doubt with a few unwanted elements from my coffee table too.
“I phoned her Mother, we’ve got to know each other quite well since I never have the girls on my own, and if Jane’s…you know….busy…her mother comes over. My father left home when I was a kid and I saw so many men come and go I didn’t want them to bond with me like that until me and Jane were sure it was…for real…you know, like love? Watching all those men come and go when I was a kid…each time another one left, they seemed to take a bit of me, and Mum, with them.” But you can’t be sure about things like love when one of you is a…junky…er…no disrespect…”
I put a pinch of citric acid in the spoon and squirted water in too, from the syringe. I picked up my lighter, picked up the spoon, and slowly started heating it from below; resting both elbows on the table to help with the shaking. Bottle. Resourcefulness. Sheer-determination.
“So, yesterday she was meant to go to rehab, it was her chance, our chance I ‘spose. We’d even found one with crèche facilities; it’s a place for single mothers. It’s been booked for weeks. I told her ‘you get clean and stay clean, and we’ll give it a proper go’. She didn’t have to work, I earn enough for the four of us, not a lot, but enough. So, like I said, everything seemed to be going well until yesterday. I woke up and nothing. No her, no girls, no money, no nothing. Then about an hour later I answered the door and some lump kicked the absolute shit out of me. I don’t know a lot about the junky life, but I’m guessing it’s connected.”
I went to my kitchen, unzipped and pulled down my trousers, before pressing the spike into the purple scar tissue of the reluctant dermis above my femoral vein. You should never skip lunch.
“Can I use your toilet?”, “Yes, follow your nose.” I heard the plastic of the faux Chesterfield squeak and tear as Matt eased himself up and into the standing position. As the junk hit me I heard the toilet door close and the lock turn. I looked at the white fat in the frying pan, gently pressing my fingertip into it in several places and leaving fingerprints. I pulled up my trousers, zipped up my fly, and walked the two small steps back into the front room.
Thankfully I couldn’t quite think about anything. My mind wasn’t racing, it hadn’t done that for decades. It was just numb, seized-up. And then Jane walked in. The kids behind her legs. She wore brand new clothes, her hair had been dyed and styled too. Not a care in the world. Well, one. Always one: “Can you do me a couple of bags?” I heard the lock on the toilet door turn. “Matthew!” said the twins in unison, smiles as wide as their faces as they ran over to grab his legs. “What happened to your face, Matthew?” Asked one, as they both looked up at his battered features. Just the sound of spit on Matt’s lip as he breathed….
“Awkwamundo or what!” said Jane, flicking her head back to get her new salon bangs out of her eyes. “Anyway, what about those bags?”
Bottle. Resourcefulness. Sheer-Determination.
I really appreciate you reading these. A LIKE is extra special, a COMMENT is the nuts, and a share, well - what can I say?
Press the button above or scan the QR code to make a one-off donation - if you want?
Thanks for reading Dangerfield's Exaggerations.! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.