Freedom. Free Doom.
After proposing that I ‘hawk myself around schools’ and give talks on not committing crime my grandparents decided my vocation was as a karate instructor. I have, incidentally, never practiced or showed any interest in or aptitude for martial arts. I though that that was the peak of their ill advised career advice until the day my granddad told me he thought it might be good if I went to do something worthwhile in Africa. I had to check my calendar and make sure it wasn’t 1840. Me. Me! Doing charity work in Africa? Everyone knows how easily I attract trouble. My trip to see the Mexican sun ended with me incarcerated in a 3rd world jail with pirates and all manner of crazy characters. So Africa? Within a fortnight in Tanzania I would have pissed off some rebel warlord and be hiding out in the woods avoiding being shot by a guerrilla army. Eating tree bark and desperately trying to get a signal on my satellite phone so I can phone my big, black ex-partner in crime to come help, “Yo, Buki, can you bring some boys from the zones to back me up here? I, er, I think I am somewhere near the Zimbabwe/Zambia border… No, not BMT (black man time/at least an hour late). I need you here NOW!” Africa. Shit. I would actually love to go there one day; to Senegal. At various points in my life I have had close friends from Senegal and they were all lovely, generous people. Some who housed and fed me when I was down and out in the Canary Islands on the run from a trumped up attempted murder charge. Well; Two of them actually. And other friends from that country who I have met in England. I have met some truly beautiful people from Senegal and I would love to go there, but now, with no money, no motivation and only 12 weeks free of my last prison sentence? I think I need to adjust and get things right in my head before I conquer the dark continent and take Christianity and genocide to the welcoming natives.
For now I just need to get some sort of handle on my depression and anxiety – which probably stem from the root of my last prison sentence. 10 years I had been away from crime, got a degree and then for no reason walking home I was attacked in the street by some drunk pricks who had too much bravado and not enough sense. Not being a stranger to extreme violence I retaliated enthusiastically in my self defense against the chap whose flying head butt broke my nose. He didn’t last long and was pretty seriously injured but I was soon overpowered, battered unconscious and stabbed in the face. Of course, whoever saw the melee mid way through and called the police didn’t see what triggered it so when the police got involved I had my honest word against the word of 12 people who had suddenly turned from feral thugs to innocent choir boys; scared and indignant at the crime perpetrated upon their gentle persons. They outnumbered me in the fight and in court; though the judge did issue the minimum sentence saying he suspects I was "acting under great provocation as it is unlikely one man would attack a group of twelve people he had never previously encountered".
Wow, thanks. So why not let me go, Your Honour, instead of giving me 18 months? An amusing (to me) addendum to this tale is that the guy who broke my nose went on to attack more people- it seems to be a habit of his - and ended up on the landing above me in jail. I was nearly out and didn’t need the aggro but a friend of mine ensured he spent some time in the hospital wing. I think he got knocked unconscious three times; twice in one sitting and another one a week later, before begging to be put into isolation for his own safety. That probably sounds sickening to you reading this but to me I think he deserved worse. I had gained a degree in the 10 years I had been uninvolved in crime, I’d had temporary jobs with no background check required (and they are very few), I had a girlfriend and with a decade old criminal record a (small) chance of getting a long term, semi-decent job. After that brawl I am now a fresh out of jail ex-con again, newly released after committing a serious violent offence, so, any chance I had of my past staying behind me got shattered with my nose against his forehead.
Before I went to court over the offence people I used to ‘work’ with who don’t offer without meaning it volunteered to kidnap and torture the istigator of the attack, or just shoot him in his legs, they would have ensured he and his friends dropped the charges and I would have stayed free from incarceration but I was (am) too old for all that gangster shit now. 10 years earlier it would have been a very different story but this time I am staying away from crime, even if it means applying for 700 jobs and not getting one reply and having to ‘scrounge’ benefits because I am, according to the Daily (Hate) Mail too lazy to work. I look for work on a daily basis and so far the only offer has been from a close friend; to come in as partner in a cultivation and distribution of cannabis operation. I declined. All crime, even selling cannabis to peaceful students leads to violence. Other criminals want to rob you, you have to carry a gun. You can’t ever back down or be seen to avoid a confrontation even if you don’t want it, cause that just brings the jackals to come and prey those they see as weak. You can never let anybody see you are vulnerable (or sensible). The most minor thing can escalate in that life. Even a mutually consensual one-on-one fist fight, if it goes to court, it is ABH or GBH. You can’t just address the judge and say, “well, we had a problem and we decided to have a fair fight” he’ll just say “yeah, and that guys busted head makes it GBH. Take him down”. So a 1 or 2 minute problem can end up costing you 18 months or 18 years of your life depending on the judge, your previous offences, the injuries incurred and a whole manner of things. I know 3 or 4 people who have thrown one single punch and the person they hit cracked their head on the kerb and died. Manslaughter. 12 years. That shit is just not worth it. In future, if I get attacked I will just take the beating, keep my mouth shut, and maybe allow someone to send some vengeance down upon them when the heat has cooled off.
Post Jail and Jail Mail
So now in my leisure time I spend my days listening to and reading the poetry produced by people who move me, who make me feel something; potent, powerful speakers like Gil Scott-Heron, Tupac Shakur, and among many others I always read a lot of Maya Angelou and Byron. I find solace in people who can make you think, make you cry, make you regret and look forward; but most of all just let you know that other people have and do feel the way you do. Music and literature, art can’t stitch you up or pick up your broken pieces and fix them back together again but they sure can be a balm to soothe or relieive the pain that I feel having to wake up every morning.
Today I got a letter from a ‘Muslim’ friend, and ex pad mate, who remains in jail for now. I put Muslim in inverted commas as I have never met someone upon whom the term could be hung so loosely. He won’t eat pork, I grant him that, but I think that is his one vague nod to the tenets of Islam. This point was driven home to me when we were in our cell after bang up watching the documentary Married to the Moonies about the Unification Church of Sun Yung Moon and the mass weddings they hold. As soon as he heard that you could turn up to these mass blessings alone and be given a wife he immediately committed apostasy and pledged his allegiance to the Moonies. This was around 9 minutes into the programme; before the first set of adverts even. As far as I know his commitment still stands and upon his release from prison he is heading straight out there to get himself a Mrs Moon. So when I hear people talk about the dangers of Islam and the Islamification of the West I am not too worried. There might be an extreme minority out there but I am sure they are going to repeat that documentary on BBC3 at some point and if you big screen it outside the Mosques frequented by followers of the Abu’s Hamza and Qatada I think a huge threat can be neutralised in less than a quarter of an hour. They should create a new religion that gives away football season tickets and a pack of 20 cigarettes for every convert. Make a documentary about that and those EDL and BNP clowns will be preaching to their undoubtedly white deity in no time. Pious and peaceful as you like.
So, as you may have gathered I have lived a life marred by considerable violence and saturated with drugs and crime; I’m not sure if I can ever come back completely from that. I am going to try, I think I am a nice person and others seem to also, but soldiers come back from wars after 2 or 3 years, shell shocked with PTSD. I lived that for 10 years; since I left school at 14 to sell drugs. I knew nothing except violence and drugs and crime and criminals. I saw beatings, stabbings, shootings. I saw police brutality. I have seen all the things that middle class people are terrified of when all they have to do is see them in black and white in the paper. But that killer you saw in the paper; I know him. That crack dealer; he lived on my street. That dead prostitute; I went to school with her. That unsolved gangland killing; I know who did that. I have not had the luxury of distance like so many people do and even they are scared and scarred. I don’t know whether the proximity to the dirt and filth in the gutter I grew up in will make me a stronger or weaker person or if it will just leave me desensitised to things other people would run from. But I am pretty certain that I can’t just walk out of my past and act like it hasn’t shaped who I am. Because it has. It may possibly have ruined me completely.
Mexican Wave Goodbye!
It must be the prolonged exposure that does the damage as I once spent time in jail in the land of sombreros and small yappy dogs. That could have scared a man to death if it was one incident that made you crack. This certainly would anyway. You know (or maybe you don’t) how there is always a brief nanosecond before you really wake up somewhere you shouldn’t be when your subconscious calls you and idiot and you’re not sure why but you have a funny feeling that things didn’t really go your way last night. I had one particularly memorable morning of that sort. Waking I arched my back and cracked it; it was stiff from laying on the cold concrete in my boxer shorts, my neck ached from using a pillow that wasn’t fit for purpose; unsurprising as it was merely the rest of my clothes bundled up. My right thigh itched in a way that I recognised. Tattoo. I haven’t been here before but I have been here before. I sat up, my Chelsea boots were by my feet, assured of that I surveyed the comparatively large 20’x 12’ cell and tried to figure out what, where, why, when and how. Only moonlight shining through a small window lit the cell and so I could barely make out other figures in various states of slumber and repose. A brown faced teenager smiled and laughed, “Que Paso, Americano?”
“Wha.. Oh, Er no. English. Hablo poco espanol. Hola”
“Si, hola amigo”.
He just smiled and nodded. Understanding that the gringo was but a harmless fool. As happens flashes of what might have happened start flitting back and forth like a faulty TV screen. The previous night I remember being separated from the Mexican inmates, probably for fear I would be attacked, or drunk as I was, get myself rightfully beaten up. To quote a line from the film ‘Boyz in Da Hood’ “those SA’s was cool tho’”. We made what conversation we could through the bars and then at some point I was thrown in with them, I stripped down and went to sleep. I have spent enough time in prison cells, holding cells, and prison waiting rooms to be able to grasp in an instant if anything might kick off. It was safe here. I stayed in there 3 days before we were given any water or food. One kid got a sandwich passed to him by an inmate passing by with a mop. He broke it in half and gave it to me with a nod and a grin that made him look like the Joker from Batman. I accepted and thanked him, first in English then in Spanish. I returned the favour later when the British consul gave me a pack of biscuits and a drink of water. Me and him got along well. Food in there had to be eaten with your nose held as the ‘toilet’ was just a hole in the floor. Nobody used it due to the inch deep seepage that surrounded it for a good half yard. It’s actually a strange phenomenon I have found to be true in many prisoners (because we talk about this stuff). When you first get locked up or arrive at a new jail you don’t need to defecate for 3 or 4 days. You're not avoiding it you just don't need to go, it must be something about the stress of a new prison that blocks you up. Maybe someone could do a thesis on it one day.
Eventually I was taken out of the holding cells to, I hoped, freedom. In actuality it was to prison. Or at least the remand/non-sentenced part of the jail. Thinking back I don’t know why I wasn’t the least bit nervous. I have done my fair share of time but this was my first time in a foreign jail with real pirates and very few people that I could communicate with and I didn't know the rules, but I was actually pretty calm. This section of the prison itself was attached to a larger, and apparently much more dangerous part of the prison for people who had been sentenced in court. People were beheaded in that part by the Los Zetas gang; read the news about Mexico. It’s not even an oddity anymore. Thankfully this section wasn’t as bad.
The compound was about the size of two garage forecourts. Right at the back was just one enormous structure. A hollowed out, concrete rectangle. Basically just a giant pen with regulation prison gates to lock us up at night. The rest of the space was the exercise yard where you could walk around and sit in red plastic Coca-Cola chairs that were squidgy from the heat. And to prove what they say about mad dogs and Englishmen I was the only one to go out and bask in the midday sun. It was by no means a well kept yard. By that I mean it wasn’t manufactured. It was just rubble and grit and boulders, and surprisingly a barbecue stand outside the main building. Cool. The armed screw (guard) opened the gate and introduced me to the most stereotypical Mexican gangsters Hollywood could ever dream up. I swear one was in a poncho and the other had a Zapata moustache. They were both thickset, thicker round the middle than anywhere else, and straight from the pages of a casting directors ‘Book of Actors Fit to Play Mexican Tough guys’. “This is Juan and Paulo” the screw informed me, “They run this place”.
“NOT ANYMORE MOTHERFUCKERS I SCREAMED AT THEM”. Not really. We shook hands and they used a Brazilian named Leo to translate and told me “Right, if you give nobody trouble then nobody will trouble you. If you have a bit of money we all chip in and the guards go to the market and bring us beer and ice, better food, you know, for barbecues and stuff”. It was late by now and so before long everyone found their spot on the floor – or hammock for the bosses – and we settled in for the night. I was given my bedding and a spot on the tarpaulin on the floor and I settled in as best I could. Right, well, I thought: Mexican Jail. This is new.To keep the cold night air out we had an enormous canvas billboard that we pulled across the gates. It helped but they were some of the worst night’s sleeps I have had in my life. Just a wafer thin bedroll and a scraggy brown blanket that had probably last been washed around the time Joseph was courting Mary. In fact I think it was on the donkey’s back when they carried the pregnant Mary to the manger. Time in there passed OK. I had a few beers, smoked some hash, which I don’t usually do, but it seemed like a time for out of the ordinary experiences; which they definitely were when I sat watching TV so stoned that I couldn’t tell whether it was Spanish or English dialogue! After a day or so the only other white man in the place introduced himself; Dave and American ex-marine. Although considering the amount of ex-US Navy Marine commandoes and ex-Royal Navy Marine commandoes I have met in jail I wouldn’t bet my favourite piece of chewing gum on that claim being true. He was handy to have around though. He got me a newspaper at one point. I couldn’t read it but on the second page was a large photo of my old food share buddy from the holding cells. A photo of him brandishing two dangerous looking semi-automatic handguns, and it apparently read that the authorities had finaly captured El Payaso, the Clown as he was known on the streets. He was apparently already in the main jail as he was implicated in a number of drug related killings. Still, he shared his sandwich with an unknown stranger so there must be a little good in everyone. Me and Dave passed the time of day, could understand each other perfectly and he managed to score me a few English Novels to read too; a western, something Sci-Fi, The DaVinci Code. Not my cup of tea but I was glad as could be to have something to read. I got engrossed in those books, in my sweaty, squishy, melting red chair and caught quite a nice tan doing it. I was in my element. Well, most of the time... “Hey gringo, Taco baby. You want some of me? You like this?” I heard as I was reading about the evil Injuns trying to stop the cowboys from claming their rightful land. Ripples of laughter, guffaws and chuckles reverberated around the yard and I looked up to see the drunk tank, opposite us, separated (thankfully) by some wire fencing. A transsexual prostitute with 3 day stubble and gigantic bags of toxic gel beneath the skin of her pectorals was hanging out the window giving me a display. She obviously liked the bookish types. “Come get some Honey. Come on white boy” she screeched as she jiggled and juggled her wares at me. I just cracked up like everyone else. Just as a scene, a memory. That bearded, breasted Desperate Dan look-a-like, offering me a freebie as I sat in a Mexican jail with a faux-ex-marine and a genuine, actual pirate (he was so well connected he bought the old guard tower and had it converted into a penthouse for himself. He’d come down daily and conduct business at a table in the yard with ledger books and 4 mobile phones). It just struck me as probably the oddest situation I have ever been in. It was like a weird scene that you would never predict happening. “Gracia Bonita, but this book is really hotting up. Maybe next time OK?” she feigned disappointment and that brightened the day up no end. Mostly that is all it was sitting round waiting to get my bail paid and get out. There was one hairy moment. We had our own kitchen, complete with meat cleavers and butchers knives which obviously constitute a serious risk in a jail full of violent criminals. Me and Leo, the Brazilian didn’t get along.From day 1 we rubbed each other up the wrong way. He had been in a long time so he was friends with all the main players. We just clashed over minor things and it was bound to come to something. One day, as I sat stoned from cheap Mexican hash he started giving me some crap over an imagined slight. I ignored him and told him to leave me alone and stop being a dick while I was stoned. As I have said, you can’t show weakness and he took my stoned indifference as just that. I wasn’t scared of him, but fighting in a Mexican jail stoned half to a coma; that doesn’t rank high on my list of good ideas. “So what? You want to fight? That what you want?” he challenged. It took less than a second to reply calmly and stand up "Yeah, you fucking pussy, Let’s bang”
“Ah, me? Or everyone?" He said, which showed immediately that he didn’t really want to fight. It was bravado and he was hoping I would back down at the idea of everyone backing him up. Unfortunately for him I think others had also got sick of his constant Kanye-West-next-best-thing-to-Jesus routine. “Just you Leo, let’s go” He swung a punch that he advertised so early I would have known it was coming from reading my horoscope. I just parried it, headbutted him and jabbed him in his jaw. Then a group of other inamtes jumped up and separated us. Nothing rough, just pulled us apart. I think considering we were in a jail with barbecues, beer and weed nobody wanted any serious trouble. We were in a relatively comfy boat that didn’t need rocking. I sat back and down and Leo, who was taller than me and took the headbutt to the mouth spat blood into a rag, looking annoyed. That night was a tense one for me. As I said, I didn't know the rules. As we bedding down I grabbed a sharp knife with a 6” blade and slept with it by my side, convinced I was going to teamed up on in the night. I was prepred to die in a Mexican jail but not without someone getting taken down with me. Fortunately nothing happened though, so I had to sneak it back again so as not to look like I was carrying a blade round the place. Eventually bail got paid through numerous routes and I was free. I said bye to those I had made friends with, gave Dave a man hug and even shook Leo’s hand. I was going back to Blighty (after a night in immigration).
It amazed me how relaxed it was in there, considering Mexico is often considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world I felt safer in that jail than I have in a lot of British ones. The small scuffle me and Leo had, had it happened in HMP Leeds between two Brits would not have been left unfinished. Someone would have been slashed up or had boiling water mixed with sugar (to increase its viscosity) thrown in their faces. Barely a day goes by in a normal sized British prison without at least one person needing stitches and more being bandaged up. In Mexico they knew how to keep people peaceful. One nice thing they had was each Sunday was family day. The prisoner’s families, men, women, old and young were allowed into the compound to see their loved ones and bring them home cooked food (and probably other contraband). Obviously I didn’t have family over there but I was invited to eat, made to feel welcome and made friends with a little 7 year old Mexican boy called Chucho who showed me his toy train,I flirted with a beautiful Mexican girl with slanted eyes,high, native American cheekbones and flawless skin. That lasted until I realised I had no idea who she was associated with and I may well get myself lynched! It was a nice time though, and it kept people settled. Everyone was respectful to each other’s families. Also, allegedly, if you were married (or bribed a guard) you could have a woman visit and have a private cell for a few hours. That is how you stop prison violence Mr Chief Inspector Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of British Prisons.
Having spent time in Mexican prisons and Her Maj's I think having such a thing as family day is one of the reasons why I witnessed (almost) no violence in the former and bouts of almost daily, violence of the most horrific and extreme kinds in the latter. In Britain visits can be a hellish experience. Some visitors can turn up hours earlier than visitation hours start only to be kept waiting for further hours whilst the inmate is brought from the wing or forgotten about by a screw who has left him locked in his cell; because unless it is a decent screw they don’t let you out for your visit. They just shout your surname and “VISIT!!” as though you can unlock your door yourself. For those lucky few that do get the full hour with their family there is no physical contact allowed except a brief hug, and this can cause immense distress and anger to an inmate who has waited a fortnight to see a loved one. Even when they go smoothly they are rarely longer than a couple of hours (in a low security prison) with minimal physical contact allowed and in the worst case separated by a Perspex screen. I don’t believe this system works as it allows no opportunity for a release of tension; a break from the aggressive, testosterone fuelled, 100% male environment that the British inmate lives in. Subsequently a continuous build up of testosterone and frustration manifests itself as an act of violence or wanton destruction. I am not suggesting that British prisons should exactly emulate Mexican ones, it patently wouldn’t work, failing that, fun, humane visits where inmates and visitors alike are treated like humans would be a vast improvement. Mexican family day lasts from around 11am until 5pm. British prison visit last an hour but you usually get 45 minutes maximum.
Incidentally I was in there after a major stitch up. I can admit when I am in the wrong. At 19 I went to jail for an armed robbery and possession of firearms charge and I was entirely culpable and aware of the consequence. This time it was a joke. Some Mexican beggar started harassing me for money late at night, constantly, getting closer, grabbing at my jacket, so eventually I just pushed him away hard and he stumbled, started screaming I was attacking him and a copper came running round the corner and nicked me for robbery and assault. Robbery on a penniless beggar. That’s the dangerous thing over there. To them, if you are a Westerner and especially if you are white, you are rich. So the policeman knew the score. He makes the arrest, I have to pay bail of about £3000 and he gets probably the equivalent of 6 months wages, splitting it with his boss. If you are out at night, or driving a rented a car they are all out to arrest you for drunk driving or something. It’s all money in their pocket. I just wish police over here could be bribed so easily cause at least then I would have probably been guilty for what I was payng my way out of! Not that they can’t still be bribed sadly I don’t have the kind of money that Rupert Murdoch has at his disposal! He should probably have hired me a long time ago come to think of it. Most of his staff were crooks and hacks with little in the way of finesse with prose. I would have been the perfect candidate to work for The Sun. Hell, if Murdoch won’t hire me who will? They say you can leave your past behind and have a fresh start but that’s not true. Not unless you were in a position of power before you fell. If you were already lower than everybody else a job is harder to find than a set of 38DD cups in a Mexican jail and we know that can’t ever happen. Seriously though. the truth is, that people do not allow you to forget where you came from. Once you have messed up, that is with you for LIFE. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you get, how many jobs interviews you have, how many probation courses you do, how long you stay clean for. There will always be certain people and situations where that is dragged back up again to condescend to you and put you on your back foot. They will talk about the worst of you, talk about your wrong doing, your evil, your violence. Even if they have been sat with you for 5 hours happily laughing and joking and loving you out. When the time comes, they will remind you of who you are and what your place is. I can vouch for that. I don’t need money or a job anyway. I’ve got Booksie and a Kindle to keep me tied up for hours!
The Revolution Will Not Be Published on E-Readers
It’s not all doom and gloom and prison and despair. I have had some beautiful times with some beatific people. Recently I was dating the sister of a well known former Hollywood actress. She has moved back to the UK now and acts in dramas mostly. Her sister grew up in her shadow and it shows, but she is sincere, and clear and I do miss her; Cordelia. She was my first older woman, as I was 25 and she was 46 and she taught me a lot about life and music and culture and I will always think of her when I hear Angie by the Rolling Stones. Together we managed to catch something that I would have regretted missing for the rest of my life. I am atheist. I have no belief or interest in God as long as Science exists. Nevertheless probably the most spiritual I have ever felt, ‘the closest to the the spirits’ in an atheistic way was when I saw Gil Scott Heron live just a year before he died. There was a moment, right at the beginning, when he loped on stage with his ill fitting brown suit hanging off him, his sloppy hat perched on his head and that real goofy grin plastered across his face… And it was, and I know the whole place felt this, it was magnificent. The place went insane. The biggest standing ovation I have ever heard and he hadn’t even reached the mic or spoken a word. All around me, people were looking at Gil, then looking at each other as if for confirmation, all the time clapping and jumping. Pointing and shouting. People were hugging each other. DAMN, it had been 16 years and for half of those he was thought to be dead! A living legend had just appeared before us, himself not long out of jail after suffering from a serious cocaine addiction and all the strife that brings. I know I wasn’t the only one who had tears in my eyes seeing him stood there, so much older than his years though he looked. And I know I am not the only person who still tears up remembering it. That was one of the best moments of my life and probably always will be. Gil Scott Heron. His baritone could have made thunder claps shut up and listen.
Women are one of my favourite things in the world. There was a time when I was a less respectful man, a more of a drug dealing, take what you can man when I would always have 3 or 4 women on the go. Sometimes 'being with' three a day. Now I have matured, and known life without them, I see they are what hold the world together. They are all things, and different things and without them men would be basically fucked (or not, to be crass).
After eventually getting home and spending a day or thereabouts seeing family and assuring them I was fine I decided to go house-sitting. I felt like I needed to be alone for a while and I knew my grandparents were away for at least three weeks. I grabbed less than what I needed and called a taxi to the train station. I am sure that there I met an angel a ghost though I don’t believe in either. A beautiful girl sat next to me and engaged me in conversation; I must look talkative or friendly. She was a writer. A journalist of her own life pen dancing across pages in a ledger. She wrote about her past because she said it was cathartic, but when she wrote about a period when she nearly didn’t make it through she tore it up and threw it away but was still glad she wrote about it still. Her name was Grace, beautiful at 23 years old; a black spiritualist from London. She was sat next to me at the train station and after I had asked her if my train was due she told me it had left, only seconds ago. I laughed and told her I now had to wait two hours for another one in the freezing cold on a Sunday with no money. She told me later that right at that point she marked me for a good person because I burst out laughing when discovering I had run into misfortune. She had two and a half hours to wait for her bus so we started talking. She complained of the cold and I told her it was warmer in the café and she suggested we sit there. We shared two hours of our time during which I made her cry laughing with impressions of Yorkshiremen visiting London and she compared me to David from the bible, but not on account of my impressions. Within the space of 45 minutes we were holding hands and cuddling. She told me the next few years might be hard for me, but not to worry because it would turn out OK, even though I hadn’t mentioned any of the stuff going on that was likely to turn out pretty un-OK. I am yet to find out if she is right or not as I am only just 32. She told me she was going to miss me when I got my train and hinted that I should wait for the next one so as we could spend more time together. I declined; another regret. When I left we hugged for an inordinately long time, both saying we didn’t want to let go. We kissed and I left. What I find strange is that again neither of us made an attempt to find a way to stay in contact; telephone, Email etc. But in an unspoken way, at the time we both knew that was the right thing to do. It would have stolen some of the magic of the time we shared, magic that I am not articulate enough to repeat here, because if I tried and I repeated our conversation, It would steal some of the magic of the time we shared. I don’t really know what happened but it was like a spiritual sedative and we both felt it. I sort of regret it now though. She was right when she said we wouldn’t forget each other. When my train did come I spent the money I needed to go sign on at the dole office the next day paying for atrain ticket for a, yet again very tactile, girl from Wales who had lost all her money and was stranded in Yorkshire on her way to visit a friend. She sat beside me on the bus and engaged in conversation about the area she was visiting. I could have taken her back to my grandparents empty house with little effort but recently I have realised that I have stopped indiscriminately hitting on girls. Not too long ago I would have hit each and every one up for some sort of liaison. Now I need more. Anyway, now it was my turn the next day to be stranded indoors because I missed my appointment and had no means of getting bus fare to attend another appointment, should I make one. My friend said I was stupid to buy a stranger a train ticket. I think it was the right thing to do. I have been stranded before and it isn’t nice when it’s cold and dark and nobody is there to give a shit or help you out. I don’t know why so many seemingly sane and usually attractive single women trust me enough to approach me and spend time with me, going as far as hugging and holding hands, when I am a complete stranger. I am not particularly good looking and I am dead broke now selling drugs is off the agenda. I like to think that despite all the chaos and violence (always against equally violent men may I add) something still remains entact that lets people know I am not just a thug or a criminal. That I might even be quite pleasant. I'd like that to be true.
Broke as a Joke and it ain't Funny
Nevertheless, time has passed since then, Maybe a year. Two I think. Again, this is how I find myself here in the present. How I got here from the more distant past is one of those ways in which time seemingly makes loops and twirls and you can’t keep track. Here I sit, after making the same mistakes over and over as I career madly from one crisis to the next without meaning to and without learning from the consequences of my mistakes but always getting into unusual situations and picaresque adventure-problems. At the moment I am at rock bottom. I am not eating well, if at all, I am taking far less care of my appearance than I used to; Before I got locked up again I would choose my outfits carefully everyday, always looked well groomed, now I just pick up whatever is on the floor when I get out bed; usually what I wore the previous day and probably the day before that then I just throw on my ratty overcoat and some broken down shoes, because none of my shoes are new. Sometimes just clothes and a bath robe because I don't intend to leave the house. Jail (UK) was fine. I have friends in there, in fact most of my friends are in there, I read a lot, go to the gym, I always get the best jobs because I have a degree and I know how to work the system but since getting out I feel down and out. I can’t function as I could before. Telephones make me anxious. I don’t know when or why this has occurred as I have never had any beef with a telephone that I couldn't handle. There is no reason. I am anxious all the time, constantly depressed. Inside I feel dishevelled and threadbare like one of Kerouacs Bowery bums. So. How did I get from here to where I came from. As I wrote in my litle biog I was the offspring of a heroin addict father who I never knew (I was in jail with him once but between the choice of going on his wing or seeing my boys, I decided not to meet my father for the for the first time - he never made the effort so I wasn't going to either).
My memories of growing up start pretty late. Aside from a few flashes and images my tape recorder doesn’t really switch on until I hit adolescence. I am guessing that maybe this writing stuff takes more than typing. Introspection and meditation and deep bouts of solipsism are probably needed to sweep up the memory reel long buried under the dust and dirt and corruption from the floor of my skull’s room cutting room floor. I remember being babysat at around 6 years old by my mother's friend's who took me out picking hallucinogenic mushrooms at the local park. I didn't realise until I was older why was sent to pick them but wasn't allowed any of the mushroom soup. I remember finding lumps of brown stuff in tin foil in the kitchen draws and whichever boyfriend was around said it was rabbit poop and I couldn't touch it. It was cannabis, not heroin. That is about it. I don't remember much until I was 13 years old and at high school.
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