Bark For Freedom

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Shirley Poodles had been called by her surname ever since her mother had the errant effrontery to plant the said appellation on to her small, somewhat irregularly placed daughter’s shoulders.

To add further insult to the proverbial  injury incurred, Shirley Re: Poodles had an ever curly, effervescent, buoyancy of massive protruding, tinged with bright springs of crude, rude, ginger hair that perfectly complimented her canine allure.

Unfortunately this was combined with Shirley’s galloping gait, which merely reinforced the application of that once so fond juggling of proper nouns.

Its usage eventually became practiced by the wider and less biologically primed to love community. Therefore, having extended from the nucleus of her cosy, family hub, the pet name, pardon the pun, stuck fast and Shirley’s fate became irredeemably sealed and shut tight.

“What’s in a name after all?” said Shirley, shrugging uneven poodley shoulders, whilst raising her corkscrew eyebrows somewhat quizzically to quote by rote “a rose by any other name” in a misguided attempt to convince herself of the belief she clearly didn’t have.

People would courteously nod in marked and too agreeable haste with an affable cordiality, so eager to please THE POOR UNFORTUNATE WERE THEY!

Deep down however, in her privately secret self Shirley was not, nor could be pleased. Ever!

Shirley nursed a malign and fervently fermenting resentment towards people, poodles, hair, shoulders, ginger tinges and any discernable length of stride a person may in any event exhibit. In short, Shirley was in the unremitting firing line of her own attack with no defence.

Nasty, spite ridden, plotting, planning, unexpectedly waylaying and abducting self hatred barred her any and every attempt to interact in the wide and can be so wicked world at large.

In fact, it could be said, the unavoidable collateral damage we all collect through our embarkation into the thrusts, throes and busy throngs of living existence pale to an insignificant hue, when compared to the self-mediated damage inflicted by the red raging bull of Shirley’s habitually activated self-hatred.

Members of the anonymous conglomerate of public persons, looming largely unaware of Shirley’s own inflicted afflictions, would assume on initial encounter that Shirley was an empowered woman of positively radiant and assertive confidence. Over weaned on self regarding appreciation and fully enamoured of her own er?… charms, despite her  poodley  behaviour and appearance.

But no, Alas! Shirley’s utter self-loathing had thoroughly fenced her off with remarkable effectiveness from all other possibilities to reappraise her status.  She could not alter the fated course of her destined and defeating tendencies, nor possibly procure any path through life’s vicissitudes and some may say character building challenges.

Character building my arse” retorted Shirley to the life coach she once enlisted to conjure a miraculous release from the imprisonment of her punitive mental confinements.

Opportunity to Grow “Fuck my tits and suck your own nob off you spindly louse” was her parting repartee to the wiry therapist, steeped in bookish lore and recent theory based on empirical evidence.

Shirley clearly was an individual who needed no enemy to take down in envy the mast of her little life’s ship. An accomplished mistress in the dark art of self sabotage, she was busy sinking her own boat and refusing to swim before anybody could even get a chance to shipwreck the character she so dearly deplored.

Every career plotted after every career attempted came ignominiously tumbling down. Each early promise of relationship or social network inevitably tensed, frayed to shreds and collapsed to oblivion.  Dreams hopes and wishes shattered repeatedly to land flat at her despairing feet.

Shirley finally could tolerate the situation no longer and intensely scrutinizing her hated features in a mirror opted for the plastic route to liberation.

She would cash in all her investments, harvest as many loans as possible and hocking all her goodly chattels seek a surgeon to re-mould her appearance.

Oh Yes! Off would toss the ginger curls. On with the transplants, implants, pump ups and outs, nips in and tucks to stitch her into acceptable cutedom.

A bit more here and a lot less there would do and better do the trick at all costs.

Costs it did.

The surgeon was extremely happy with the result for his heaving bank balance became extra hefty with Shirley’s hazardous and varied schedule of treatments. Even the private and personally assigned, expensively paid nurse was rather impressed with the unexpected, but magnificent outcome!

For when the last surgery had been committed and the coiling bandage unwound, people exclaimed in awe at the tremendous, stupendous beauty that sat before them.

The mirror was duly handed to Shirley to inspect the results with all breaths bated.

Shirley peeked hesitant and nervous at the reflection, then full face beaming on she lit up like a Christmas tree streaming with fluorescents.

Heartfelt tears of gratitude scrolled rapidly down her cheeks, as she was greeted with the unbelievably stunning image in the mirror.

Years of unalleviated self hatred simply evaporated. The tight, loathsome and so tormented grip from the deepness of her once unreachable and very personal innards had loosened and simply left, as she appraised her new features with unadulterated pleasure.

Shirley felt light and bright and happy for Shirley was free. Shirley was beautiful and could love herself.  Shirley had recast her fate along with the surgical plaster that painfully had encased her limbs.

As she leapt off the vetinary couch Shirley gave a woof of delight, shook her bobbing doggy mane and trotted into her canine and happily drooling future.

Who’s Been Sleeping in my Bed?

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Who’s been sleeping in my bed?

And look….they’re still there!

He had been my husband.  I had selected him before he even noticed me.  I had singled him out as a suitable item to acquire for he was obviously a useful tool to have at my disposal.  He was good at DIY, predictable, solid, hardworking trustworthy and stocky built.  Quite handy really, certainly fit for my purpose at the time.

Living frugally until he could buy a property at knock down price before it fell down I had him almost rebuild it from the inside out. I confined ourselves to the small living space of a single downstairs room.  I was exact with my specifications and kept him busy till it was completely finished to an admiral polish.

Then, on cue and according to my schedule the children came. They grew and eventually off they went trotting to university, careers, families and timely children of their own, like well ordered toy soldiers all in a neat row.

My husband.  My children, my house, my plans, efforts ideas and energies had made it all happen.  He was merely instrumental to my purposes, successfully so, till that Goldilocks thing came along.

With her sweeping hair she had gathered him up and whipped him sheepish into a whirlwind romance. Like a hapless spinning top he whirred and purred to her delight.  He was blinded by her so dazzling teeth that caught him dizzy and dazzled to a stop in her bite, giddy to delirium between her lips and legs, till he said I do and to me I don’t.

His eyes now were unusually bright like a seriously stupid, happy puppy dog eager to please.  He laps up her attention, such a hungry, neglected stray.   Doubting his own prowess, his middle aged spread and bald head makes him self conscious against the respective glow of her youth.

I had given him everything.  I had made it all happen. Made him everything he is today.   Without me he would be nothing, revert to a stuttering snot ridden apology of a human being with his out-moded second-hand shoes, clothes too big and trousers secured at the waist with old rope.

Now he had foolishly given all that I made of him over to that. Now ‘that’ lay in my bed, in my house with my husband.  I still wear the ring.  I will never give it up, never release him, nor let my grip on this house and all its contents, including the inhabitants go. Mine all mine.

I will scatter my foul influence over their heads with ready enthusiasm and they will toss and turn, disturbed in their sleep. They already wake bleary eyed and without rest after dreaming of an  indistinct haunting, a vague figure poised at the periphery of their senses, watching, waiting for the ripe moment to strike.

Strike I will, with all my vengeance primed, but now I wait.  Wait, for that apt moment, the ideal opportunity for my hungry vengeance to wreak its havoc on what will be their helpless, lifeless bodies.  I love hating them.  Their hair will fizzle and fry when I burn their remains bit by slow meticulous and popping bit, in the spitting fireplace I had once designed and had him build to my express standards.

I hover over them both and suffuse their sleeping frames in a long slow whiff of fetid breath. Their own breath catches, their rhythms are disturbed, they start then settle back down closer together.  I move closer still, prising myself between them and spread a heavy dream of falling from great heights to a broken, painful dying below. They wake momentarily with a violent shudder.

Oh, only a dream they think!  They turn toward each other in the dark of the room and the warmth of the shared bed, they snuggle closer seeking reassurance.  I allow them to think I am just a dream so they can snuggle and drift, slowly and gently flow back into imperceptible sleep.  I am in no hurry.

I welcome these small opportunities to work my damage piece by minute and deliberate piece.  I can unravel them both with ease, at a pace that suits me…in my time not theirs.

In the light of the new day breaking through the gap in the curtains, they wake to brush the night’s strange sleep from their eyes like unwanted memories. I know however that my quiet, stealthy, constant streaming of foul atmospheres, the pouring discomforts of my malign presence and my always watching will wear them thin.  For now I let them be.  I can wait.

I make ‘almost’ noises in the background, drumming so constantly soft they cannot quite be heard for certain. I can easily grind them to distraction and pare them apart with my hatred.   It simply takes a little time and application. I have much time at my disposal and a plenititude of devious means.

They age already, the pace moves faster in their world.

Now they begin to take each other for granted, get on each others nerves.  Soon they will stop trying to please each other and let their appearances go and bad habits be witnessed.  Too much familiarity will breed the contempt I need. Like water, dripping on to rock I am wearing them both… quite away from each other and their sensible selves.

They are further down the line now of disintegration.  They hate this house, my house.  They are convinced it is haunted.  Oh yes, I agree, it is haunted alright, but they are the intruders, the unwanted ones, the gate crashing guests that will not leave yet.  Well this party is over my friends, time to clear up and chuck out all the unwanted detritus collected over the years and that means you….

The flames of the fire in my own built hearth unexpectedly hiss and jump to lick the air with tongues reaching, seeking further fuel.  Shadows loom large and dance on the walls and ceilings, the lights go out suddenly it is black.  All black, darker than the deepest pitch and we are all together as the rooms close in. My hate is bigger than myself, I cannot hold its reins, its blackness bucks and paws the air and turns to me and my floor comes to meet my roof and we are all contracting, pinching inwards and pressing tight together into an unelected embrace. We merge unwillingly into one tiny wee, infinitely small dot……a mere quantum of no matter, no matter at all in the whole universe.

Dangerous Curves

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Dangerous Curves meets Patsy

 

Her daddy was a banger boy you silly white van man, speeding on these dangerous curves.

Patsy is in front on these narrow country roads and he wants to push her up and along.  Any closer he will burp rudely from her mouth.  Keep it closed.  She is in front and in control and her daddy taught her well, no passing Patsy little white van, Patsy may be old, she may be broke, she may be small and unwell, but daddy is in her blood and he is getting a little roused by this guy, nudging his girl, bullishly forcing her up the back.

The Burnham bends are well renowned and she is familiar with every nuance, each little dip and dive, turn and subtle twist of wheel, neither too soon nor too late white van, watch out.

White Van wants to pass…….flashing her to overtake……naughty naughty no no no.

Her daddy was not a banger boy for nothing, No Passing Patsy on these lumpy roads as she bumps along, skims the cracks, thrills the stomach into knots as pot holes add spice.  Patsy need not be nice, though she may be small, fragility is deceptive.

Patsy’s car runs on diesel mixed with a hand down family recipe. A secret brand of filtered cooking oil and ah ha? Because daddy knew a thing or two, oh yes!  Motors was his speciality, long before electrical wirings, turbo power assisted steering’s and anti-locked brake features were in place.  Sturdy nuts and good old fashioned bolts, with throw together welding from dubious should not come apart pieces. Oh yes, rusty metal shafts to kick into working, were all grist to his particular amateur mechanical mill.   Her long suffering mother, always having to wipe her hands of him and his nasty male mess on floral aprons, felt his particular gristy mill was a heavy stone around her neck.  Eyes to heaven with a plea and a sigh she fed Patsy, washed Patsy, rocked Patsy, loved Patsy instead.

Patsy loved her dad however, and his greasy petrol smelling hands, teaching her to spanner twist. Patsy grew fully fledged without intention till she sparked her female plugs all the way to puberty. Once adolescence landed her on her hormonally widened rear bumper,he felt uncomfortable with her under his engines, fiddling with his carburettors.  Poor Patsy unwittingly sensed this emerging distance between her and her adored idol, and felt an inexpressible loss of placement.  Neither adult, nor like mum nor useful to dad her loneliness grew in the pit stop garage of her lock up stomach where she parked her feelings for safety.

So her loneliness grew in its isolation, till Bernard came to the village.  Tanned and toned beefy boned Bernard, not tall but dark and moody mean.  Mr la Croix was a stomach wrench wielding sight to be seen, dealing a fateful, masterful, strong wristed twist to her vital components which undone her completely. He then moved deliberately in to do her back up again, but different, changed, for better or worse but certainly no gold to screw on her finger.   Neither mummy nor daddy guessed till the village gossip made pointy ring finger comments about her unusual weight gain…….oh dear dear, deary me oh my….such goings on indeed.

Patsy herself knew it definitely had gone on, and now she had the growing evidence to prove it, but Bernard did what Bernard does and disappeared, quite quickly with his neighbour’s wife.  Patsy was heartbroken for the second time.  She vowed through gritted teeth and narrowed eyes to never ever, whatever the circumstances love again.  Fretting mother cooed and tried to soothe whilst apron wiping her hands too frequently for their level of usage.  Daddy never spoke to her again. 

When the boy, healthy and chubby cheeked was born her daddy didn’t want to know.  Her mother fussed and preened her grandson, clucking like a mother hen, wiping his bottom and nose on her apron with its strings attached, and ready to tie. Granddaddy absented himself permanently when nannies boy was around, hiding under a motor, or stuck his head in an open bonnet like a stork so he could not hear or see.

The boy grew, and grunted to bad lad hood, not tall but dark and handsome and moody mean, she called him Bernie.

Bernie was not good with a spanner like her or her dad, he didn’t like engines or apron strings, particularly when tied too tight. A bucking young, wayward lad with pastures to sow with wild seed.  He yearned to spread his glorious bounty amongst the strange new worlds that whispered in wet dreams. The towns beyond the confines of village borders called his name, not floral aprons and greasy old, exhaust fumed men.   This wanderlust must have been in his genes and the denim variety too!

Little Patsy who never felt loved, now on the winding roads, skimming hedges, blocking the van, the white van that ducked determined and wouldn’t, couldn’t, didn’t give up.    Silly white van man should eat her dust; instead he gathered speed, with a stowaway passenger unbeknown in the back, amongst a busted spare wheel and a rotting, discarded ham sandwich.  Piccalilli.  The wayfaring Bernie tossed this way and that, hating the smell of piccalilli, woozy with dizzy momentum of the turns and revs.

Patsy  focused and burned rubber with her engine rattling,  that pit stopped emptiness in her stomach filled with riling bile, banger daddy blood rising, faster, faster, gas pedal down, hard and too late……far too late to stop.  A hefty lorry appeared too soon on that bend just ahead with not a good view.  Patsy spun off into a tyre screeching ditch before she knew what was happening and white van man caught the lorry head on.  Smack!

Patsy was trapped but unhurt as a rotten ham sandwich rolled in dirt past her nose. It smelled of piccalilli. 

 Bernie and his driver were no more.