Back Alley Kid Three

The two policemen search my flat, room by room. Not really looking, but more of an ‘I can’t be bothered’ glance into each.  Sometimes, it helps to be classed as some kind of scum to them; they don’t really care about anything as long as it doesn’t cause them too much trouble. I wonder if I come under that label too.

I feel my chest tighten as they reach my lounge and then my bedroom. The stairs are next, shielded at the moment by a door  a door that   feels like it is waving  and flagging  them down to say,  look in here.

I hold Colin’s hand, not for his comfort, but for mine; something to do with my hands and a reason not to pull my own hair out with despair as I watch. It’s like slow motion. I hold my breath on instinct, waiting for the bang in the situation; the sound of my life exploding.

My front door opens again and I turn to see from my position in the hallway. My anxiety spikes with the chaotic invasion of so many people all at once. My head feels like it wants to implode; the fragments of my skull crushing my brain and making my thoughts swim.

I fight the urge to follow the police. The nervousness inside threatens to make me shake on the outside, too.  I am stuck between wanting to get the police out and wanting to go to Joanne, my girlfriend, as she enters the flat.

“What’s going on?” she asks and I tell her they are looking for Mark.

“Have you seen him?” I shake my head.

Phil comes in behind Joanne. I don’t notice him at first; not really a friend, but an enemy I keep close and one  that I let use me on occasion when  I can  benefit . A strange friendship with a mutual lack of trust. He isn’t so bad, but I know that if the need came up, he’d bail on his friends and save himself. His girlfriend, Becci, is with him. I nod hello to them and turn myself back to the police, remembering my anxiety.

“What’s up here?” One of them asks as he opens the door to the attic stairs.

“Just junk,” I say with a shrug.

He flicks the light switch; the bulb hums, blinks twice, and comes on.

Colin moves forward as the officer climbs the stairs. He doesn’t go all the way up but just enough to see into the attic.

I let my breath out as the officer comes back down and turns the light off, but my anxious mind wonders why Mark wasn’t seen. In my head, I see the layout of the room; the piles of boxes still unpacked and dumped in complete disarray where they were out of sight.

The police are leaving but before they make their descent of the steps that lead into the alley way, one turns.

He asks me to contact them if I see Mark. I nod my head, take their card and give my fake promise.

Back inside, I lock the door.

It’s a moment before anyone moves. Even the police take what feels like hours to start their engine and drive away, but they take my apprehension with them and I go to the attic myself and make my way up the stairs.

Colin comes with me and we stand side by side scanning the room. I can’t see Mark, either.

A panel in the wall moves and Mark crawls out and dusts himself off. It is like something out of an old English horror film and all that’s missing are the books and candlelight.

“How did you find that?” I ask.

“I pushed it and it moved,” he said, as if it was enough explanation.

“You’ve got to go back to the farm,” I tell him. “I can’t risk you being here.”

I am only a tick away from going down myself, as I walk the tightrope of the law, and.. I don’t want to tip it and fall off. I think about Will, my son. I know the limits I can push.

“I’ll take him,” says Phil, nodding toward Mark.

“I’ve got a job for you,” he tells me, and my mind clicks to wondering why he is offering a good deed. Never would he do something through kindness.

“Sure,” I say.

Mark says goodbye and I feel Colin’s despair; deeper each time Mark leaves.  So young to be left in the world by himself and in those moments, I wish I could make it better for him. I know what it’s like to be alone at his age. He is a child lost in an adult world, too small to matter, too quiet to be heard, and too young for anyone to care.

Will comes home not long after and I tell him and Colin that its bath and bed time. Colin protests, of course. Sometimes, he forgets his age, but he’s in bed and asleep before Phil gets back.

My head is getting tired. I can feel it is too heavy and I really just can’t be bothered. Some days, I wish it was possible for me to close my eyes and not open them again. There isn’t much joy in my world other than my son, and more often than not, I am sure that he would be better without me in his life. Only fear that my father would get his hands on Will, keeps me alive.

My body wants to rest. The artificial energy is going fast, and I just want a few more hours of that feeling. The high is where my life feels good. Just a little while longer. It isn’t much to ask. I can sleep tomorrow when the sun comes up, and face my demons in the light.

Phil has come back, but I need to clear my mind. The sadness is building in my chest like an unwelcome visitor; so thick, I can reach inside and touch it.

I tell Joanne, Phil, and Becci that I’m going to get a shower. I won’t be long, I don’t feel good. It isn’t a lie, but I don’t tell them what’s in my pocket.

My envelope of clean needles is stuffed behind the water tank. I light a cigarette and pull them out. Joanne knows they are there but I don’t want Will or Colin getting hold of them.

Mixing my phet is easy enough. I could probably do it with my eyes closed. I finish making my hit and smoking my cigarette at the same time.

The raised bump in the crook of my arm calls out like a hungry bird. I’ve used it so many times that I don’t have to force the vein into place.

The others are chatting away in the lounge. I don’t fit in with them. Their words annoy me. I developed a clever act over time to pretend to be like a normal person, but sometimes, I wonder why I try at all.

I let out a tired sigh as I push the needle in my arm and inject the solution. I close my eyes for a few seconds and when I open them again, I someone else. A whole new person with life inside. A resurrection of who I was meant to be.

I get into the shower and stand, letting the water beat down on my back. The adrenaline from my hit runs up my spine like bubbles with spider legs that carry everything I need to feel great. I breathe fast with it, letting it ride over me and inside as it clears away all the darkness. My mind awakens and every part of my body becomes alive, again.

I wash, dress, clear away my things, and light another cigarette. I am a new person. I scoff at who I was just moments before. Pathetic and broken. A loser.

“Better?” Joanne asks when I enter the lounge.

She’s sat on the floor, with Phil on the sofa and Becci on the floor between his legs. I tell her yes and throw her the foil with what’s left of my phet.

“Excellent,” she grins, and unwraps the foil. She doesn’t take it the same as me. Instead, she wraps it in a cigarette paper and swallows it like a pill.

“That’s the last of it,” I tell her.

“Maybe not,” says Phil. “I’ve got something I need you to do. A thousand pounds,” he says. “We can split it fifty-fifty.”

A thousand pounds. My mind clicks. It’s a huge amount. I have never had that much before. I weigh up how much phet I can buy verses the food I could put in the cupboard. I could feed the boys.

“What do I have to do?” I ask.

“There is a new television,” Phil explains to me. “Two grand, it’s worth.”

My heart sinks at his words.

“I can’t break in somewhere. I can’t risk getting caught.”

“You don’t have to; they’ll give it to you.”

I frown.

“You said no more,” says Becci to Phil, and before she has a chance to say anything else, Phil kicks his foot out and catches her jaw.

“Not here,” he tells her, like a disobedient child.

She doesn’t hide her tears as she clutches her mouth, but neither Joanne nor myself do anything about it. I feel a pang of guilt at the edge of my mind as I do nothing.

“Broke her jaw the last time I did that,” Phil laughs. “Didn’t I love?”

Becci nods but doesn’t say anything. She’s fine and we carry on.

“A television,” he continues. “I’ll give you the paperwork and all you have to do is pretend to be someone else, and play the part. Take it out on credit.”

“That’s it?”

Phil nods.

”Simple, right? They don’t even check this shit. Just go in and ask for a television, and they help you out to the car with it. Easy. My uncle wants it; he’s giving me the paperwork. He’ll give us a grand for it.”

“When?”

“Sunday.”

Five days. Five days with no phet and no food. A lifetime away, but what else do I have?

I tell Phil, yes.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Back Alley Kid Two

Two weeks he’s been with me and I wonder if his mother even cares. She knows where he is, I’ve seen her once before today. I can’t say it was the most pleasant of experiences; the dank alcohol smelling house with her rotting in the stench of her own urine and sweat.

Colin and I brave her house one more time. He needs clothes and I am not financially equipped to provide them for him. She’s laid on the sofa smoking a badly rolled cigarette and cursing each time as it goes out when she tries to take a drag from it. I hand her one of mine, not out of kindness, but out of the sheer need for her to stop talking with her voice grating against my nerves until she reaches the last one.

“What are you doing here?” She asks.

“Getting Colin some clothes,” I tell her.

She starts swearing some more; the obligatory list of insults for her son that are so reminiscent of the ones my own mother used for me. I shut off. The peeling green wallpaper in the corner holds my interest better than anything she has to say. Her cruel words mean nothing to me and I don’t wish to listen to them. I wonder if she and my mother were to have met, what a great conversation they would have had. Of course they can’t, my mother is dead. Colin is not that lucky.

I cast my thoughts away from both of them, not wishing to pull down the high I feel riding my spine from the amphetamines I took just a couple of hours before. Neither she nor the memory of my mother will bring me down.

Her slurred words are almost incomprehensible aside from the odd vicious word in her ever so polite way to tell Colin and I to get out of her f*****g house and not come back.

I don’t waste any time when I hear Colin bounding down the stairs with some clothes thrown in bags in a haphazard way. I take them from him and tell him we should go. He glances at his mother and I at him. It’s somewhat similar to watching history before my eyes. I feel the tug in my chest as I see him trying not to show me the tears in his eyes. I see the familiar sadness on his face and I know there is nothing I can do to fix it for him.

We walk down the road. “Want to get some food and play pinball?” I ask him.

He grins and nods his head before running off towards one of the local small stores. Of course, I have no money; the last of it is in my pocket wrapped up in tin foil disguised as my next hit.

Colin knows where we shop in this manner. We don’t use the same store all the time. We wouldn’t want to arouse suspicions. We work them all in turn.

Some part of me wants to feel bad for what I am doing, but my drug induced brain congratulates me for my accomplishments. No one can catch me. I can feel that inside. I can do anything.

I’m only feeding Colin, so we don’t need much. I haven’t eaten in two days, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll eat tomorrow when the drugs wear off and my body realises it’s been running awake with no fuel for three days.

We don’t take anything that can really be described as food. I shove a bottle of cola in my jacket and Colin lifts a selection of crisps and sweets before we make our exit and run. We run so fast towards my flat that I feel like I could run forever. If I was by myself, perhaps I would. To where, I have no idea. Anywhere. Away from life itself, if it was possible.

My whole body feels great and warm inside. There is nothing I can’t do. Nothing hurts and my normal bogged down mind feels weightless and free from the usual chaos. I feel like I could fly. It’s almost euphoric.

We get home and Colin plants himself on the lounge floor with his acquired picnic and I hand him the bottle of cola from inside my jacket. He sets up the Nintendo and someone knocks on the door.

I assume it’s either Joanne, my girlfriend, having forgotten her keys again, or my son being dropped off back home. He’s been with his mother for the weekend. His arrival signals the end to my recreational activities.

It isn’t my son though; it’s Mark, Colin’s older brother. He looks over his shoulder and walks into my flat without waiting for an invite.

“You did it again?” I ask him and he nods.

I wonder what the point is in the open detention centre for minors. The Farms, as it’s known, with open doors and no gates. Only the kid’s moral responsibility to their sentence is supposed to be enough to make them stay and come back. What farce of an agency thought that one up?

Colin hears Mark from the lounge and bounds along my hall to the kitchen. He launches himself at his brother and in a moment, looks childlike. The veneer of an adult has slipped from his face as he grins with a flash of his seven year-old smile, complete with missing teeth. Mark lifts his brother up in such an effortless manner. I look away and try not to intrude on their moment.

Another loud rap at the door startles the three of us and I look at Mark. Our words are unspoken as he sees my displeasure at the police at my door.

“The busies,” Mark whispers and I nod.

Mark puts Colin down runs through my house; I hear the door that leads to the attic open. He’s hidden himself before I even have chance to work out in my mind what I’m going to do. They knock on the door again.

I open it and two policemen stand there.

“We’re looking for Mark Richardson,” one says. “Have you seen him?”

I shake my head. “No, I haven’t,” I lie.

“Do you mind if we come in and take a look?”

My head screams no at me. The thought of Mark hiding upstairs feels like a beacon that will call them and then I’ve had it. Another mark against my name and surely this time would see me inside a cell somewhere myself.

My logical mind argues with me. If I don’t let them in, they will know he is here, and they’ll either watch the flat or get a warrant. Either way, I’m trapped.

I step back and let them in. Colin stares at me. I know what he thinks. I’m giving his brother up.

I have no other choice but to let them in and hope they are blind.

To be continued…..

Roller coaster week

What an odd week I have had.

So many things have gone on that my head feels like it’s on some odd kind of rollercoaster ride and I can’t quite get off

I lost a friend this week, a friend that acted in a cruel manner and I broke my making it to 1st October with the self-harm issue because I’m not equipped for such conflict. My count is back to zero. It had built up so much inside that I just had to let it out. It even made me ill enough that I got sent home from University. While I feel a lot of guilt that I gave into my own self-destructive behaviour, it was such a relief. It was like being able to breathe.

Of course, it hasn’t fixed the situation, I think it is probably for the best in many ways. I have days of wanting to be silent and days of talking. It’s too much to expect someone who doesn’t understand to handle I wonder if I should blame my parents for stealing my present too or if I should somehow tell myself to just deal with this and make myself get on with life.

I wrote today. It’s a part that has taken me a long time to do. It’s probably one of the hardest parts for me to write. It brings about so many feelings and so much anger that I don’t really know what to do with them. It feels like I can’t scream loud enough or I can’t get my words out. Nothing I will say will take away what I feel inside.

I think some part of me gets mad at the place I got sent; that it even exists at all. We read in the papers or see on the television often about how some person got arrested and had hundreds of indecent pictures of children on their computers. This is how the law cracks down on child pornography.

While I understand this part of the action, I don’t recall ever seeing news that the police closed down such a place where these images are made.

What about the poor children who are in these pictures? What about the adults that are also with them and doing many disturbing things? When will the law crack down on child pornography that way?

My father was a great one for that. He would rant and rave about these kinds of people that had these images. I would stand there and think really? It almost feels like I lived a different life to the morals he seems to spout to the world.

I remember coming back from such a place as this and my father asking me if I had had a good weekend. I was seven. What was I supposed to say to him? Yes? Should I spit out the horrors that I had just endured?

In my mind, I thought he didn’t know where I was or what I had been doing. He never spoke about it. I just got collected and delivered like goods. The things my parents said in normal life were the opposite of their actions on the other side.

I don’t think I know how to put it all together and tell my mind that my parents knew exactly where they had sent me; that it was their choice so, when my father asked, I had no choice but to nod in silence and tell him that I had.

Inside, I had died; even more so when I listened to the tales from my brother about everything that I had missed whilst I was gone. The things he had done with the family. A trip out to the funfair, a drive up to the country, new toys, new games, clothes, sweets, books. Everything that I didn’t have. I could never work out what I was doing wrong.

I wish there was a way I could get this all out in words. That I could take it out and put it here and leave it. But I don’t know how. I don’t know what to say to make it go away.

I guess this is kind of a ramble of things.

On a plus note, I got some replies from volunteering. Perhaps, at least, I can help someone else along the way.

Absence.

They say absence makes the heart grow stronger.

This is true.

Not just for people, but for things and activities; anything that we are absent from makes it sit at the forefront of our minds for every waking minute.

I have this today at sixteen days; sixteen days of abstaining from self-harm.

I made a deal with myself that I would make it to the 1st October. Sort of a deal with my own pain. The 1st October will mark two years since the loss of my daughter. So it was an unspoken promise to her, in a way. I guess it was something that I could aim for and focus on.

As the days go on, I’ve found myself feeling a different way. There was even a couple of days that I could look at myself in the mirror and know who I was. I wrote a little too.

But each day that thing; the self-harm, becomes louder in my mind. It’s screaming and holding my chest and I can’t breathe because I want it so bad. It sneaks through my body to my mind and today, I have asked myself, why I am abstaining?

I can’t think of a reason. Perhaps, because people say it’s wrong or because health professionals and society say it shouldn’t be done.

What is wrong in it?

It’s only like taking medicine and easing pain; a pain that real medicine can’t reach.

I’m not hurting anyone.

I’m just cutting something open and letting the pain come out.

Why is that bad?

20120916-220412.jpg

Back Alley Kid

So many friends and I am alone. 

Cast in the shadows of one hundred people. Unseen. Unneeded. I sit. The sound of silence weaves an empty hole in my ever-pretending soul.

One day to be me. One moment.

I draw deeply on the cigarette; pulling the wondrous poisons inside so I might feel something. I don’t care what it is, it’s better than what I have.

The ache of nothing.

The sun beats down on my back. But I do not relish in it. Its prickly heat disturbs my solitary silence, annoying me. Forcing me back inside the darkness of my residence.

I sit alone on the steps. No view but the urine scented, trash-filled alleyway within the dregs of our society.

Another hit is all I wish for, but not today. It’s just a fantasy of my drug deprived mind as it hungers for change. Twenty four hours feels like a lifetime as I try and fight off the natural tiredness left over. Even the raised hole in the crook of my arm laughs at me in cruel delight. Each throb is a reminder and not a penny in my pocket that I can call mine.

The bare scratching of food in my home are all but gone, save for a stale loaf and a can of peas. Nothing to sate the hunger inside.

“Excuse me,” says a voice from the direction of the alleyway and I give an almost silent groan, resisting the urge to tell the owner of the voice to get lost.

“Can I buy a cigarette off you?” He asks and steps into my yard without invitation.

I glance up and for a moment wonder if I really did sleep off the hit from the night before.

“What are you? Like five?” I ask him.

I see he isn’t much bigger than my own son who is four. He mutters some words that I can’t quite grasp save for the odd one that is beyond his years. His clothes are dirty. His hair is a mess and he has enough bad language to fit right in at a working men’s club.

“I’m seven,” he tells me like it’s supposed to make some difference to me. “Can I buy a cigarette?”

“No,” I say.

“I’ve got money.”

He opens his hand and shows me his ten pennies.

“And who did you get that off?”

He’s getting as annoyed with me as I am with him.

“Can I buy a cigarette off you?” He asks me one more time, ignoring my negative answer before.

“No you can’t.”

He mutters a derogatory name under his breath and walks away. I draw one last time on my own cigarette and stub it out on the ground, crushing it under my boot.

I can hear the kid’s voice not so far away. A torrent of words not fit for a mouth so young. His words aren’t directed at me, of course, but his child-like volume carries over. I sigh, get up, and walk into the alleyway.

Two older boys are there. Around my own age. At a guess; eighteen or nineteen. I shake my head knowing that the kids asked the wrong people. They’ve taken his money, but not delivered the goods. Of course, the kid doesn’t have the sense to just leave it. A lesson learned perhaps.

“What’s up mate?” I ask with a nod of my head, as I walk over to the three of them. “You okay?”

“I’m fine,” he says to me.

His small pride is still intact as he stomps off penniless, leaving me between him and them. He invites himself once more into my yard.

The two lads leave, but not before yelling their obscenities in the direction of my unknown new friend. They utter a few to me too. Lucky for them my poor mind is too busy thrashing in the throes of withdrawal to care.

“They stole my money,” the kid says before I even have chance to get into my yard and sit back down. “It’s your fault.”

“Oh, of course it is,” I say. “And you didn’t go begging for a smoke and hand some strangers your money when you should be at home or in school or something.”

I don’t really want to argue. The pain in the side of my head jabs at me as I think about raising my voice to tell the kid of my annoyance. I pull my packet from my back pocket and toss him a cigarette. He isn’t my kid, why should I care if he smokes?

“Got a light?”

“Want me to smoke it for you too?” I ask, as I light my own cigarette and then swap mine for his.

He takes it and draws on it like the small version of a man that’s seen too much and not like a boy of seven who should be home relying on his mother.

“Do you live here? Do you know Mark and Woody? Do you have anything to eat?”

He rapid fires his questions not giving me time to answer them and my tired brain doesn’t get a chance to think about what he asked me first.

“No I don’t have anything to eat.”

It’s not even a lie. I don’t. I don’t have the money. Not until the morning at least when my benefit cheque comes through and half of that is owed out already.

“Can’t you eat at home?”

He shakes his head and smokes his cigarette.

“My mum’s sleeping.”

“Wake her up.”

“She’s drunk,” he tells me.

“Your dad?”

He shrugs his shoulders. “My brother makes my food, but he’s not here.”

I curse under my breath, not that he seems to notice. Every part of me wants to send him on his way, but something inside niggles. I see him; a small child no food and it reminds me of things so long ago. Sending him away wouldn’t be an option, he would perhaps make it to the next block before my conscience kicked in and had me dragging him back. But I have no food to offer him. I don’t have anything other than cigarettes to feed an addiction he shouldn’t even have.

“You any good at keeping an eye out?” I ask him. “In the shop over there?” I point at the local store that’s just a small building with faulty cameras. Handy when in dire need of something I can’t afford.

“I do it for my brother all the time,” he says.

“Where is your brother?”

“Inside.”

I don’t ask why he’s inside.

The store isn’t that hard to steal from. The cashier I think wouldn’t even notice if I walked out with a full pack of beer. I don’t of course. Im not so much into stealing for needless gain, just what I need at the time.

“Don’t touch anything,” I tell the kid before we go in. “Just stand close to the sweets. He’ll watch you and leave before I do.”

He nods. My inside wars with itself at making such a small child help me. But the growl in my own stomach and the look of hunger on his face as we walk passed the takeaway urges me on.

He does as he is told too. He goes in first and stands where I said and then I follow, but I head towards the back. It’s not so hard to shove a small pack of bread rolls inside my coat and a tin of beans in my jacket pocket. I’ve done it so often there isn’t even the fear from it. What’s the worst they can do? Make me leave the store?

The kid walks out and so do I. I don’t address him as I walk down the street back towards the alleyway to my home. Not that I’m ignoring him, but I know better than to set off someone’s overzealous actions. Just in case.

The meal isn’t grand. Toasted rolls and baked beans with the butter I found in my fridge, but the kid eats it like he hasn’t eaten in weeks. I stare at him wondering what I am supposed to do with this stray creature that landed on my doorstep.

(To be continued)

Pastry

I made pastry the other day. An odd post, I know. Perhaps if you are reading this, you’re wondering why it matters? People make food all the time. It’s an accomplishment. For me; some kind of step.
In the past if I need to make something such as this, I would buy it. Ready rolled too, then I wouldn’t have to do it.
Why does it matter?
Because I suffer from Emetophobia along with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
They make for the most horrific times in my head. My hands are never clean enough. The side to make the pasty on is not hygienic enough. It doesn’t matter how many times I clean them. If I clean the worktop then my hands are dirty. When I’ve cleaned my hands, well, what If I didn’t do the worktop correctly?
I clean the worktop again and I’m back to my hands.
Add intrusive thoughts and any number of things can happen that will always lead to becoming ill and inevitably, vomiting.
It really wasn’t worth the trauma, because at the end of this cycle, I would be broken. I would feel so damn crazy that I wouldn’t be able to cope. I often say, I feel like a sane person in a crazy man’s mind.
And I do. I have a logical side but it gets ignored.
I have such a terrible phobia of vomiting. It fuels my OCD and the many things that could happen to me and I can’t get passed them.
Not so long ago, I refused to eat chicken. Chicken is so easy to ruin. I wouldn’t touch food I was going to eat with my hands.
Have you ever seen someone eat crisps without their fingers?
I developed many cunning ways to get around my fears and thoughts that I adapted myself.
But, I wasn’t making myself better. I was making myself worse. I was telling myself that these protective measures worked. They stopped me from getting ill. They stopped me from making my children ill.
So, putting my hands into something as simple as pastry; making it and putting it onto the work top and then eating it without fear was like …walking over a checkpoint.

20120910-230903.jpg

Look Away.

I have a few mixed emotions today about my book. Today I have heard three times from people, sorry, but they can’t read it because of its content. While part of me understands that. And really I do, sometimes things upset others too much and it’s easier to not read or look, or put yourself through the trauma.

My emotions come from why? Why do people have to tell me? Why say it like a shrug, oh sorry I can’t read that but good luck with it anyway. Am I being harsh that sometimes hearing it upsets me? Sometimes it feels like the child inside that wrote this is being turned away from again.

Sometimes I hate him. Sometimes I feel him and sometimes I am him.

Sometimes it feels like people are turning their backs because they don’t want to look. Looking at a hurt child is too much for them. But they don’t think about the child. I guess in ways that makes me feel upset.

It’s amazing the rollercoaster ride my story being out in the public has taken me on. On the flip side of this, I have gained so many supporters that I feel their heartfelt words. I feel their empathy and care. I thank them.

I’m not saying people have to read. I’m not saying people have to be pleased or whatever. I think where my feelings lie, is that I am a real person, this is my real story. Please don’t tell me you cant look at me. I’m ashamed enough.

I guess I should really say that this isn’t directed at anyone. So please no one take offense. I’m just rambling the random thoughts I have from time to time.