Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wake Me Up When It's Time To Go Home

Shush now! The Ill Man is busy. For the next few days I shall be sticking up revised versions of some short stories. Like it or lump it folks, I have a Gyp report to work on. Look at them as new items, I've taken the rubbish bits out so they should read so much better. This is my first effort minus the interludes.

The wind whipped between my legs as I sat on the slightly damp grass of the little outcrop, giving me the irrational sense of being less secure than I really was. I had scuttled and scrambled onto it like a drunk man making his way from lamp post to lamp post at closing time on a saturday night. Having made it this far I wasn't about to go back just because I didn't have a tartan rug to park my arse on. It was 8AM, the sky was indecently blue and the water shimmered in the sunlight as it was contractually obliged to on these 'perfect' late spring mornings. The lodgings had been a great disappointment and the landlady an indifferent and offhand woman who made no attempt to disguise her discontent towards the world and her boredom at seeing yet another slate faced city dweller alight on her front porch looking for a room late in the day. I wasn't really in a position to complain or even blame her. I had taken her last room, a tiny, slightly damp attic room that looked like it had been converted for human habitation only recently and in rather an ad-hoc manner too if I may say...... I slept fitfully and woke at 6.30. I decided to make a break for it, bodyswerving breakfast and the inevitable and demeaning 'chuck out'. The local cafe was open and I parted with a little loose change in exchange for some ham rolls and a cup of tea. I was still gripped by the compulsion to move though, that old city vice............ An hour later I was as far east as it was possible to get on this particular part of the world and listening to the sound of life, albeit life detatched from everything I knew, getting out of second gear and getting ready to go about it's day. ...........and it reminded me of everything I hated, everything I had run from. It reminded me of people and places I had hoped to erase from my memory forever. A fool, escaping from something that can't be escaped from. I second guessed myself and decided not to have a look over the edge of the cliff. I laid back on the ever drying grass and hoped to catch a lethal dose of sunburn instead.

I wasn't aware that my actions were being watched. I wasn't aware, solipsist that I am, that anyone would be interested in my aimless maneuverings. Principally because I wasn't interested in theirs. It would seem someone had picked me out from the crowd anyway, because my belongings were in front of the B&B when I got back. I don't consider myself to be an awkward customer on the whole, I let more things go than I really ought to but this was all a little much. After a few minutes of ringing the front doorbell, the landlady appeared, about as pleased to see me as she had been the previous day but with the added menace that came with brandishing a wooden broom. She enquired as to exactly what my business was and why I was bothering her in her housekeeping duties. I pointed at the old suitcase and cloth satchel sitting in the street, by the front wall of the guest house. Didn't she know that they could have been rifled by any old vagrant or passer by? She snorted with contempt and offered the opinion that even the tramps wouldn't lower themselves to raking through such disheveled looking items. I caught myself before I called her a dried up grasping old skell and smiled serenely at her before asking why they were on the pavement rather than in my room. Ten minutes later I wished I had just let rip, for all the good my attempt at charm and diplomacy did me. It would seem she wanted my room for someone more important but used my early departure and failure to hand my key in as the perfect excuse to be rid of me. I had been rejected before, naturally, but there was something degrading and soul crushing about being considered unworthy of an attic room in the worst digs in town. It was still early, about 10.30 am and I was a little tired. An hour was spent wandering like a ghost through the town. The high street had a certain charm to it, as did the esplanade. I found myself edging towards the arcades on the seafront. I immediately regretted this as the baseball cap in the booth of the first one I arrived at gave me the eye the moment I stepped in. I went to a fruit machine and stuck some loose change in. I felt a prescence behind me almost immediately and turned to see the guy leaning on a support pillar and staring at me like he wanted to disembowel me. I almost asked if I knew his daughter, but thought better of it for the second time in as many hours. It was definitely a good idea this time. He followed me to the door in silence and was still standing there as I turned off the main drag and headed up the nearest side street. The hunt for new lodgings would begin in earnest later in the day but I wanted away from the seemingly strange inhabitants of this town, for a while at least. A small 'private garden' with it's gate unlocked(therefore only private in the loosest of senses) presented itself to me as I walked aimlessly and with increasing fatigue. A nearby wooden bench beckoned and my weary legs collapsed towards it. I sat and relaxed unmolested for what seemed like the first time in an eternity. I wasn't sure how I had come to be in the police cell. I was alone, much to my relief and still prone to rubbing the rather painfull lump on my head as if I was convinced such an action might make it go away. The cell was a brightly lit and featureless little room with a small bunk on which I sat and a toilet and wash basin in the corner. I had used the basin to take a drink and splash cold water on my face. The water obviously wasn't terribly potable, but I was thirsty and I would have wrung the sweat out of a tramps sock at that moment in time. I gave up trying to sit up straight and swung my legs up onto the little bed and gave my brain a rest from trying to piece together the past hour or so.

The one thing I was certain of was that I had fallen asleep on a park bench and had a strange yet not unpleasant dream. In the dream, which I still vividly recall, I had made my way back to the guest house I had left that morning. By this time it was getting dark and a streetlights were coming on. On ringing the bell, I was faced not with the embittered old swine that had kicked me out that morning, but the young woman that had served me in the bakery soon after. Her face had struck me a little dumb at the time. Very fresh, smooth pale skin, she was what you might call plain in certain company, but I considered her to be quite entrancing. She also had the most astonishing pair of pale blue eyes. She looked me over from the doorway with a quizical smile and asked if she could help me. I told her I required a room for the night. She informed me the house was full but said she would organise something. I foresaw myself returning to the attic room. Instead she led me into a small, tidy, well furnished room on the first floor. It being a dream I failed to question the logic of me sleeping in what was quite obviously the land lady's quarters and promptly got ready for bed. I was in the bed when she appeared in the doorway wearing absolutely nothing. She clambered in and as is usual with any pornographic dreams I have, I couldn't contain my excitement. She made the first move by undoing my pyjamas and I responded in a fashion usually reserved for predatory animals and desperate schoolboys having their first sexual encounter. It was at about this point I felt the crack of something hard on my head. The room and the woman disappeared to be replaced by a tarmac path and a lovely view of a pair of shiny black boots. I also felt something trickling down the side of my face. I concluded that it was something that would be resolved in time and I probably shouldn't worry about it. I passed out again but failed to dream. The sound of the cell door awoke me from my shallow slumber with a start. I stared incomprehensibly at the large figure in the doorway, trying to regain my bearings and remember where I was and what I was doing there. "Ok pal, yer free to go" said the figure in the doorway. He had come some way into the cell and I could now identify him as the police officer who had manhandled me into the police station. I could prove nothing, but I felt sure it was he who had administered the blow to the side of my head too. "I couldn't have a cup of tea could I?" I rasped, my tongue still stuck to the roof of my mouth. "That will be bloody right son, you think this is the fuckin' Hilton or somethin'?" He looked at me like I was vermin. I suppose I was in a way. I had certainly looked better in my time, though not much. "I only asked..........." "Lucky not to be up in front of the magistrate mate" he continued warming to his theme somewhat. "I had you in here on an act of public indecency. Playin' with yerself on a park bench........" "I was asleep, I had no idea....." I butted in, not liking where this was going. "Yeah, heard it", he snapped. "Thing is, I don't make the decisions around here. You can go now." He looked wistfully at the light fitting, a little smile coming to his lips for a moment, probably imagining for a few seconds a world in which the cracking of strangers over the head with his truncheon was the kind of thing that got you promoted. "You said I could go?" I ventured. The officer snapped out of his little bloodsoaked reverie and directed me to the door and down the hallway to the desk sergeant to collect my belongings. The desk sargeant was a glum looking and rather stout man in what I took to be his mid fifties. He glanced up at me then back down at whatever it was that had been consuming his attention prior to my rather rude interruption. I cleared my throat, trying not to sound too theatrical but also wishing to gain the portly chaps attention. He sighed and put his pen down, his weary eyes taking in my crumpled appearance with disdain. "You'll be the pervert on the park bench then?" I opened my mouth to correct him, then I thought better of it and nodded like a scolded child. "It's a wonder nobody saw you. If PC Grainger hadn't taken that route, then lord knows who would have been subjected to your lewd behaviour..........." The thought of outraging some brainless inbred cur in this benighted little hovel suddenly appealed to me greatly and I basked a little in the knowledge that my very prescence in this seaside slum was causing some consternation. After eyeing me up one more time, the desk sargeant passed me the few things that belonged to me and asked that he never see my face again. I had never been one for taking orders from anyone, much to my detriment I might add but on this occassion I was more than happy to oblige. I slipped out of the grubby little station building into the late afternoon sun and headed for the nearest bus stop. Chances were that the next town along would be just as miserable but I wasn't in a position to be fussy, my whole life had been based on the premise of "Whoever will have me" and I reasoned that the law of averages would dictate that I be given a fair crack of the whip eventually.

7 comments:

alan said...

a nice wee story ....

ill man said...

Why thankyou Alan. I'll stick another up tomorrow.

Kav said...

Good stuff ill man, not at all what I was expecting. Perhaps you should caption it at the beginning of the post:

Based on true events

ill man said...

Oh heavens no Kav. I posted it up in installments last year. I just whacked it up because I'm working on something else right now. Laziness really.....

Bock the Robber said...

Fuckin holidays. Always a bastard.

The Editor said...

Excellent story.

ill man said...

Bock - Any time away is welcome.

The Editor - Thankyou sir. Fine blog you have....