Wednesday, December 03, 2008


“Strike a man across the knee
and watch him twist in pain!
These are the things that give me joy,
and these are the rules I live by.
If I can't have a poke, give me 70p,
and I'll buy you laughter for free;
but open your pants, and I'll promise you this:
That you won't be a sailor no more, no more,
No you won't be a sailor no more.”

Whenever Betty sang me this tune, I turned my face to the Sun, letting it dry the sweat upon my brow and rejoice in its supremacy. But I wasn't a religious man, so it gave me no pleasure to worship a celestial body, great as it was, and she put her hand in the trifle when I wasn't looking. She licked it off while I wiped myself down, so we were both of us left with the remnants of two very different, but equally sticky, bodily fluids. It endeared her to me immediately. Some labelled our friendship as fake, as being based only on a mutual love of biscuits and toast. I didn't hearken such toss-pottery.

When we were 17, Betty and I fucked each other for the first time. First her, then me. She needed courage, an example to follow; so I gave her the thumbs up and we fell into the world, together. That was a lifetime ago, before she fired rockets at bat caves on a midsummer's night, before she found ecstasy in sculpture and boredom in rice. I couldn't fathom her any longer and made my own fun, and, after a while, I sought a Betty-less world, for all time.

Oh, laugh now, laugh at my stubborn idiocy, then laugh at my madness, my empty, pointless soul, and please, do spit in my face, too, for luck, won't you?
We all do foolish things: boiling chips, eating one's feet, throwing acid at rocks: it's a conundrum and a peculiarity of us humans. But you're letting me stray from the point.

Point is, or was, that in a world without my Betty creature, everything was shit. Shit food, shit feet, shit rocks. I carried that burden of shit for nigh on fifty weeks. Then one day I found her floating face down in the local fish pond, tights around her neck, the stupid bloody fish nibbling her toes. I killed them, took out her body, exhumed it, mummified it, had a grand tomb erected, put her coffin in there, and began my new life, tending her in life forever more, fending off invading rodents, keeping the air nicely cold, cleaning graffiti, crying silently into her overly-elaborate coffin. I was existing, but at what cost? I was no better or worse than a Vestal Virgin who lost her virginity to a girl wielding a cucumber sixty years ago. I had my memories but I didn't have my mind.

I resided there a total of 5 years. My beard and nails grew long, like statues of Hitler. Butterflies and even jesus feared me. My power was growing too. Five power points, eight...ten...I could hardly keep count. No rats came near any more. They knew. Rats always know, don't they? Clever little bastards.

Josie Malinowski

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