By Chris Madoch
A great effort needed to be made with what she called her Dalek walking frame over rising and uncertain ground; over short orchard grass, like carpet, fitted right up to the French doors; on a shingle driveway; through longer park grass hiding rabbit runs and mole-hills: the expedition amounting to almost a quarter of a mile to the reward of the weathered wooden bench by a wooden floating jetty. See it.
Monet lilies bobbled on a two acre lake- she was always angered with her exhaustion at getting there, most times rewarded by the relief of the seat and the soothing view of forever farmland; Glenda, seventy-she-forgets, wretched with regrets, constantly sought compensations but seldom found them and today, she deduced glumly, did not have the look of a beautiful pattern breaker. The unusual bummer. Feel it.
The normal informality of the sky made her groan with a familiar lightweight boredom.
It took a swift fly-by from her rescue taupe Greyhound bitch to make her smile.
Large common carp rippled the underbellies of the lily pads right in her eye-line where bright turquoise and black brilliantine brooches hovered- raw inspiration to art-nouveau jewellers, things troubling the warmed air. Short lived winged things desperate for sex.
It was then, exactly then, that she saw, as clear as day, she was fast approaching breathing her last. Imagine.
Not panic but joy washed her- death crowned her wish-list in silver ink surrounded by starbursts of gold. How to celebrate the event. It deserved, at the very least, an intemperate bout of introspection and a lengthy talking out loud to herself. She always was the best of audiences for what she had to say.
There was no-one else to hear but Breeze, the lavender grey dog, and a myriad other living things with the ears if not the mind to, who could light the waiting fuse and, doubtless- let the end journey begin with a magnificent bang.
Breeze settled at her small feet. A Celtic knot of washed out purple constancy.
’Fucking cunts. No proper manners.
They see ‘old,’ a someone no stranger to mould, and service immediately turns to dust- never mind who’s calling the tune and paying the piper.
They charge over the odds for starters and then to finish there’s the VAT- tax, no wonder the bloody cats are fat; they milk it for far more than it’s worth and then they cream it like there’s no tomorrow. Balls. Butter balls. Cheesy jumped up thieves the lot of them.
If we were French they’d be dead. Long gone.
If we were French we’d smell of cheese, the potential to revolt- as is. Here it’s shit, that’s as it is.
In every litre of air there are measurable degrees of faecal matter, arguably human and most likely foreign. How cosy are we with our cosmopolitan ways that, we not only ingest shit with every fusion meal- increasingly common in the mixed crucible cities, but we now breathe in the poop soup of our ghetto neighbours. I’m not sure I’m altogether ready for my lungs to be raped by rectal detritus from the colonies. I may have felt differently if I’d been intimate with a black man.
Having sex with someone you might as well breakfast on each other’s bowel movements. We’ve always prioritised pleasure before health.
Whatever happened to my Vietnamese pot-bellied pig? Oh yes.
Thank God for abattoirs and crematoriums still in the hands of the proper British. The Muslims hate pigs. The Muslims hate dogs. The Muslims hate all other non-Muslims. What’s left to love that’s worth loving unless black is your frame of mind, your temper and your cloth of choice. God! I can actually make an argument for pitying them.
God- I have so many issues with the concept of God it’s quite beyond me why I ever mention the cunt. Of course one of my best decisions ever was giving up practice as a Consultant Psychiatrist- a Jungian practiced in sharp practice, I was quite given to self harm. Cutting. Odd God, the cunt, took me to the brink of the unthinkable.
I could do with an injection now.
I could do with being sixteen again, fired up by sexual urgency, spirited and fearless, veins flooding with dreams of giving birth. A hungry puppy. A pig struck by lightning- there’s a thing.
The squealing. It’s always touched my inner Goddess. Gosh! How fucking gushing.’
Glenda quiet, counting heart-beats.
Glenda’s first fuck-n-fumble was on Mykonos with the island in commercial adolescence- the bars and cars were there, cafes, restaurants but with no glut of disgusting jewellers or galleries that lay in wait as they do today for the American green-back or the plastic guts of those vast sky-scraping cruise liners that are disgorged as regularly as time and tide allow.
The wind would spin the sails of the windmills then.
Just European voices threaded through them.
To get there required trouble and resolve- there was no airport.
Glenda’s parents had the money and the grit to overcome most obstacles; modern or careless, a mix of both, they often left her to fend for herself so, frequently, there was no obstacle to her pursuing her flowering lusts while they followed theirs- an overbearing obsession with the arts, photography and trim nudism.
Occupying a four acre olive grove a mile off-road, the two substantial villas shared a pool and the 24hr services of the only neighbours- the cook, cleaner; her husband the gardener and handyman; Alex, their fourteen year old son, who was profoundly deaf. There was also a cloud of white hens bothered by an unreliable rooster.
The other villa had found favour with a family from Hampshire- an eleven year old girl and her eighteen year old brother never to be seen without his wheelchair.
‘I had actually rid myself of my virginity with the help of a medium sized yellow zucchini. Well buttered. It was never a malignant issue- I was always prepared to be the cat killed by curiosity.
Already a lapsed Catholic I had, very young, moved into anti-theism. The mentally ill believers had always made sexual activity the Pink Elephant in every room.
I was never one to embrace such poisonous claustrophobia dressed up as piety and obeyance. I read absolutely everything I could about sex and erotica. That is how I knew then that some wit had once referred to a cunt as a cat with its throat cut.
Anaiis Ninn. De Sade. Lawrence. You should see my library. The higher shelves a dust trap now. London was on boil with endless eager queues of people wishing to purchase the Chatterley volume. Dirty macs, as they call them now, were all the fashion then. All the delighted customers had their books popped into the requisite brown paper bag. The useless discretion of it made me laugh. I already had an early copy bought pre-trial. I used to sit on the London Tube with it, reading it in plain view. If you have no truck with deceit that is what you do and fuck the consequences.
As I remember, the contrast between the outside light and the inside dark of the double height barn could not have been more extreme and the small slit in the nearly closed doors was made doubly inviting. Of course I saw it as a gate between two worlds.
There were smells of nature and nurture in there mushrooming upwards at my every step.
Alex put his very private self inside me clumsily and rocked, and the handsome young man in the wheelchair watched, but it was his breathing that my passionate mind had properly connected to. We rapidly synchronised gasps.
On ‘planet Alex’ and ruled entirely by the thrumming in his frenum the boy had no idea that my orgasm had nothing whatsoever to do with him. He was just a tool- a mere fleshed out aspect of a complex spell, something part pagan part Catholic patriarchal I had actually dreamed of and now had brought to pass.
Losing my virginity like that, to a human sausage as opposed to a vegetable, I felt empowered with feminine guile and cruelly dismissed the lucky youth I’d used. He was still dripping as he zipped himself up just before he shot out of the barn like a freaked kitten.
Edmund in his wheelchair had not moved.
Going to him was the least I could do. I took his trembling hand and pressed it high between my thighs where his fingers could dabble in the mess of the still warm recent sex. Strange. He appeared to enjoy grooming my wet pubic hairs.
I went to explore his not unbuttoned shorts. He caught me swiftly with a look of profound loss- at least, I imagine I thought that’s what it was. In any event it stopped me prying. He immediately withdrew his hand and lavished it upon his lips and nose. His tongue slavered at it. I had no idea whether to feel disgust or not. I just adjusted my clothing and walked away head high. I did look back- you always look back, it is unavoidable. I feel certain he was crying, softly sobbing; yes definitely crying.
I kept myself to myself for the rest of the stay. What was done was done. I’d grown suddenly bored with all of them. A trait of my mother’s. There was nothing to say. I guess it might have been part of a coping mechanism- coping with the growing fear of a pregnancy.
A particular joy on the laborious journey home was the sudden need I had to borrow a sanitary towel from my very sanitary mother. She was all smiles and unforced empathy “Darling” she said to me, “From now on we shall be just the best of friends, confidantes.” My mother was finding it difficult to keep herself afloat in a whole lake full of slurry like that. I didn’t believe her for a minute. She had always deliberately gone out of her way to ensure that sentimental love could never flourish.’
The greyhound’s snout rubbed against the folds in her dropped left stocking. Chill thoughts had begun to hang around the edges of the view. They were not loafing so much as biding their time. You could sense their anticipation like an approaching shower of summer rain- they will have licked their lips, have greasy hair surrounded by flies, smell adolescent.
Even Death must have his apprentices, all much like plumber’s mates eager to have the thread screwed the right way; at the finish of all that training the rewards were high. Ending a life is no easy task, it is highly skilled- anyone might be inclined to have it raised to an art. Not just anyone, that is very plain.
At the lake edge there were tall water grasses, their seeds packed tightly into cigar shaped packages. They wavered slightly just like the constant flow of lies from the White House.
Yes- why would arguably the most powerful man in the world put something he would much rather smoke inside the slippery vulva of a monstrously stupid intern? Did he crave some arcane mix of labial saliva and nicotine? If it was a Cuban cigar maybe he was sending a message to Castro. Maybe the cigar was bigger than his erect dick. Clinton was so showered with earthly gifts there had to be some witty setback he perceived of as a disability. That owl at the fucking Grove had all the answers to how the corruption in Presidents flourished without interruption. Bill dick-head. Genius IQ.
Glenda knew the glue that stuck women to such men.
GLENDA SPEAKING: Glenda speaking of her best.
‘Oh Breeze, you never lose the taste or the aroma of your best. And you’d know better than me. He’s with me every day. Yes. The best lovers can make a proper dog of you. See, my nose is twitching now. I can summon him up, just like that, in all his glorious incongruous beauty.
No- not classical.
Just sex on fatted calves and consummately creative.
Let’s watch him swim to that jetty and haul his naked beastliness out. I wonder that the carp don’t nibble between his thrashing legs. I would. In a flash I would. I have.
Dead now of course.
Long time- well you have to be mind blind or thoroughly stupid to expect life to be kind. Some say they’ve had it all- the liars. Well- what’s the odds. We are neither gods or demi-gods; none of us managed to summon up the rain in times of drought.
Doubt. Yes, that is all there has ever been.
You can scream for certainty all you damn well like- the basis of all your mischievous prayer is no better than wishing over a rotting bowl of tripe. I had a psychic friend once- lost to alcohol; live on old enough and they all go before you: she never bothered with crystal balls and ceremonials. She used to read puddings, English Trifles- how very apt I always thought.
His rugby team-mates always called him Bill.
I made him feel special by using William in general and ‘beast’ when we were between the sheets, even when no sheets were involved whatsoever. He called his cock Jack- Jack, sack and crack. Sometimes I’d say let me watch- oh please beast let me see you jack Jack off.
I was far too addicted to his seminal outpourings to let it happen that often. But he was always quite the showman about it and afterwards he always ravaged me with his sticky fingers. They were such epileptic orgasms he needed to fill my mouth with his fist for my own safety.
The first day William changed into my beast I strolled into the guest-room quite expecting him to be there. I was wearing just a fine silk dressing gown, black background smothered with rust chrysanthemums- rather Chinese or Japanese. Either way I felt uneasy in its vulgar obsessiveness and could not wait to have it ripped off me by large hands.
Nothing beats the sheer elegance of nudity- both sexes, all races, every age, if your brains have not been beaten to a pulp by any prevailing yardstick of beauty: nothing could be more ludicrous than some contorted concoction of beauty. We are not robots.
Anyhow Breeze, who the fuck are these makers and shakers encouraging us constantly to deviate from the natural differences we should be glorying in and forcing some fashionable gravitation towards a sameness, a plain and plastic commonality? It has all the thrill of Lego.
Maybe that’s what it means- fashion, to fit.
Besides- it fails miserably. Constantly fails. Vogue seems not to have noticed. The idiots.
It grieves me when women self-harm with such mediocrity- becoming sheeple is one thing, but to become mentally challenged sheeple is quite something else. I cannot abide it. It or the damp fuse of feminism. The rise and fall of feminazism. I’ve read their rise and the fall. Are any of them shamefaced? Not at all. Well- they are like large glass preserving jars with one uncracked walnut rattling around in it. Shit at most things because they have spread themselves far too thin and piss poor love-makers because they have taken Hollywood and particularly Hollywood porn as their template.
I have watched ‘Housewives of Beverly Hills’ and ‘Housewives of Orange County’ just for the fun of it. Ever curious, with voracious for the cheap and the spurious, we are still in the 18th century, visiting the local madhouse, for a spot of light relief, after church and Sunday lunch.
Well yes, I am rambling. Dear dear me, gambling with the few minutes I have left.
Haute Couture. Cordon Bleu. Ways with stuff with knob polishing and bells and whistles on to boot lucre from our bank into theirs. The jumped up thieves.
That Armani death said a lot- a scandalous way to jump ship, something I rather relished; then the Catholic family immediately at war behind locked rococo doors, preying on the spoils; the subsequent design decline into skinny and luminous glitzy ‘gipsy’ chic. The bog standard stupid rich still suckered into buying it.
I have always bucked the insidious trend of it and always somehow managed to have been labelled eccentric. Lobster and lime, more beads than they have in the Vatican City, ethnic and all possible twists on ethnic, healthy open crotch knickers.
Eccentric- the only tag, incidentally, that I can abide. Fashion and fashioning- the sheer, very near see-through utter cheek of it. It used to make my mood quite dark, noir, negrito, black shot of coffee, until I realised that it was only the wealthy who ever really set their clocks by it, put out and kept the whole charade afloat.
Fuck them, the unnecessary ones- just love watching them getting stung and having the blood and the piss extracted from them. Chumps Breeze, that’s what they are, malefic chumps.
I’d sat myself on the edge of his double bed, my weight sculpting the fat eiderdown- its polished cotton cover the colour of dull copper, crisscrossed by ivy and white trailing columbines, bindweed in flower, all intertwined. Far too busy. I could watch him sniff the air.
He was perfectly aware that I was there and, I presumed, elected to be not in the least coy. Raising himself out of the bath-water I saw his biceps pump to labouring plump. This man had worked and he had work within him. Dripping wet but towelling his head, eyes properly hidden, he was there full square on to me, a thing I might examine from a distance with immense delight. I could read his glistening body, complete with all its special imperfections, like the blind do books.
I asked if I could dry him, take off every last bead of errant water from everywhere, and he thought about it then finally agreed. This would be an exciting and energetic prelude to my first Braille session with his unique skin. He’d been using vintage sandalwood soap. As I attended to between his toes I let my eyes get drunk on the breathtaking closeness of him, then knocked back shots of his auburn pubic hairs, his relaxed scrotal sac, his freckling, his ruffled foreskin. All these things moist and begging for my close attention.
He went to towel his own arse-crack but I stopped him. A deal was a deal I said- I would happily deal with that. And rubbing him there, where I could smell truffles, lit the smouldering fuse no blaze of tongues of flame could ever resist. He lifted me clean out of my gown- rag-doll limp at the sight of his sudden stiffness, threw me onto sacred space, the cotton cool, and splayed my legs. His face dipped well below my eye-line. I lost count of time. How long his beard and tongue fed upon my way-south lips I couldn’t say.
Eventually I screamed it- FUCK ME: it was both an open invitation and a very prescient exclamation.
And being the gentleman that he was he did fuck me- every which way, though not anal, not that first time. That came later, following a private screening of Passolini’s Salo. Yes- I used Black Sambuca as a form of anesthetic. He got shit on his freckled dick and would not let me lick it. That night was both painful and pathetic. It was the first night and the first night past our zenith.
You know these things.
It was that peculiar night that kept coming back to me, a cup of tea in my trembling hand, uniformed policeman in the sitting room, me being helped to understand the reality that William had died in a car accident. A shitty dick.
Crash- I kept correcting them, didn’t they at least know that nothing was ever an accident.
They wanted me to identify the body. I said no. I said no, it wouldn’t be him at all, not with any signs of life in it. They were quite insistent but I absolutely refused. I gave them the name of his dentist. Let them go to work at whatever it is policemen do- policework, detecting. At that time, in any event, regardless of the reality of the circumstances, he was still very much alive in my heart.
Indeed so Breeze, and much the same today, way too many lonely years on.’
Glenda retrieved a tin of fishy smelling fish food-pellets from her rope coloured Hessian bag, arced the lot across the lake surface, some bits hitting open water like hail stones, others grabbing a short lived ride on the lily pads; the coots or the most muscular carp would retrieve those.
The sheer effort of it made her clutch at her right breast and sink quickly back upon the bench gasping for air. The carp were there, doing much the same, tormenting the water with a rabid boil of fin and tail- their mouths like the hidden valves inside our body come to light, opening and closing with the stench of sex. Fish to fish.
Glenda, having survived a test run must now rest. She was in transition.
[Yes. He was her best. You meet the one and love consumes your allotted time together like a fire in a log shed. And then they are gone. It makes people lurch across the threshold of a barmy church whose stall is stacked with jam jars filled with balm, a salve for sorrows. None of it works. Vultures of delusion feed greedily on the corpse of your happiness, cheered on by congregations, priests and bishops. Glenda had been shunned by society at large for having batted off these evil birds with blasphemous words, umbrellas and walking sticks, anything that came to hand, her teeth, her fists, the most explicit obscenities.
Fuck the cunting villagers for their slurry of opaque piety.
Glenda never quaked in her bed in the dead of the night fearful of the truth.
She knew they did. And they knew she knew their fear. They kept a careless distance, mumbling she was a witch or at least a communist and coveting her acres.]
Swans had never nested here despite the island. No great loss. They were such irascible hissing things- could break human limbs with their ugly angelic wings. Glenda had had some experience of them.
In Winchester she’d walked the exact same walk that Keats had walked allegedly composing his famous ‘Ode to Autumn;’ the river bank at the back of Winchester Public School, a pre-historic conical hill dividing the distant view. That day the air was thick was omens. She had come across a freshly dead shrew, vastly pregnant, in the middle of the worn grass path. She touched it. It was not yet fully cold.
A half a mile later she saw a dead bird plummet from the sky and pierce the river. It seemed a great way to die- to not know the moment and to be still locked in full flight, already flying in defiance of the gravity of graves. It was not long before she was charged at by a livid swan, a frightful ordeal.
Returning home she passed a river weir. There was a panic of people there, helpless as what to do. Cygnets had been outwitted by the current and were being swept away from their parents. The parents seemed unruffled: preening as they sailed in oblivious elegance, part of an altogether happier painting, the pretty face that would not ever deem to attach itself to catastrophe.
Glenda made a long lasting mental note.
Religions deal with disasters in the most unnatural and self-serving ways- out of their shit God always rises smelling of the sickening rose that symbolises the cunt of Mary the Mother Of Jesus. Like a surprise and not so welcome guest- just like fresh fish, ‘The Almighty He’ goes off after three days.
On the tenth anniversary of William’s passing on, Glenda drove to a bar in Wisborough Green and drank too much.
She had become rigid, immobilised for 11 seconds- too long to ignore. A lame mist of rain was mithering at her face but she was grateful of it.
GLENDA SPEAKING: Glenda speaking of her worst.
‘The day I chose to get drunk because I could not, any longer, hold tight to my not much addressed grief, the rain was light and drifting just like this. Yes.
I’m coming, but I have to get this off my near defunct chest. It lives nowhere else.
No note exists. It needs an airing.
Don’t ever give a child a kite without giving them the wind to fly it. Yes.
We lived in Paris once- an apartment on the fourth floor. My parents bought me a model yacht- totally forgot the pond or a stretch of water safe from drowning, the clowns or paedophiles. Sh! Sh! Never mind all that.
In the local pub they stared at me as if I was a ghost.
Almost- a total stranger, but also so strange being that familiar to them all, a topic of gossip. I was wearing chalk and dust but that’s beside the point, my lipstick was the brightest red I had in my collection. Never used. Had I overdone the rouge? Perhaps. My hair was faux Monroe. Lavender high heels. It must have looked to everyone that I had somewhere to go.
Just. Just, just let me cough. That’s it.
This cold is new, chilly. I am being told. Am I being told? And I am one of those who loathes being told. Wait. Wait will you. Just fucking wait. I absolutely demand it.
Oh William you beast, at the very least hold back these busy bargemen’s hands until I have discharged my fortunate disgrace. And, excuse me if you think it disgusting of me to smirk but, I really do believe that the rape was the making of me. All my reasons to employ the elements of femininity I called feyness and frailty just upped and went.
Ha. Every scripture I had ever read had intimated that all acts of violence were heaven sent.
Sh! Just sh!
Can you hear the evening closing in? It’s way too soon I’m telling you.
Too early by maybe two hours.
Why not. It’s not like I have an earthly choice.’
Breeze, suddenly troubled in herself, began to signal it- she repeatedly made a figure of eight in and out of Glenda’s legs, interrupted now and then by a brief visit to an outlying rock nearby where, once atop, she could look keenly through 360 degrees in search of any possible help. There never was any. Dog desperation is almost always slow in coming. When it arrives it eases every agitation and becomes chillingly placid. They know far better than us when the game is up.
Glenda gazed softly down at her canine companion with far more than love, something you would not dare describe. Never in her 86 years had she been without a dog. She’d always embraced their eminence over men without the slightest fear- it had been wholly communicated and brought a rich reward.
But then there were dog-men, near humans tagged by their history of violence; it was not considered right to have them collared and labelled, attached to leads and left tied up outside shops, whilst inside ugly babies shat and pissed their nappies with no regard for hygiene or screamed despite the health and safety laws. Where pregnant women broke their waters in the cereal aisle. Where men of the cloth attached to colostomy bags leaked gross aromas suited to their poisonous calling. No- don’t shoot the dog-men, letting their remains find their way into the pig food-chain where they deserve to be, no, coddle them and screw their screwed victims twice over. Let them breed- their rubbish DNA is sacrosanct. Attach them almost permanently to the many tits of benefits- it works out cheaper than imprisoning them. And it is a part of what it is we believe makes us have a right to lay claim to being civilised. What would Glenda say?
With Breeze away on the rock again, Glenda attempted to hook her walking frame with her foot, to pull it towards her, she succeeded in achieving the opposite effect; the thing that looked like a TV aerial designed to pick up broadcasts from the Moon wilfully slid away from her and made a nest of the reeds at the lake edge where it glared at her like silver litter. Why try escaping when escape is impossible, it seemed to be saying.
‘Well yes. There is no use screaming the rapists said. We will do what we intend to do and then be on our way. And the prick of the blade tip between my shoulder blades underpinned what they had said. Brothers. I knew them. And their Dad, a sifter of stolen goods, set-up as look-out, smoking under the one down light in the pub car-park. My car in the gloom already broken into- the back doors yawning as if bored by all the fuss.
The younger of the two disgusting pups needing blooding in the ways of cunts.
So. That was the stunt. It was his hand across my mouth. The debutante. It was trembling and smelled of warm plastic- probably a mobile phone. He wants to take you from behind. He doesn’t want to have to see your face. Harsh, uncouth use of English, fresh now, as if it were hissed at me yesterday.
It was over almost as soon as it began.
The only good thing that could be said about it was that the dick on legs had worn a condom. I heard him zipper up. That and all the good-bye footsteps on the gravel. I lay there recouping in the all enveloping velvet dark. The bar still bright- brash with light. I knew the local police had joined a lock-in. Sifting through all of my options, doing nothing immediately seemed by far the best thing. The worst sex ever.
Yes. Maybe we have not all been raped. But we could all of us make lists of the worst sex ever.
There. And that I wanted to be pregnant by it was true.
A young fifty two- you never know do you. I remember looking at the cold residue in the unknotted rubber with some resentment. William may have reincarnated as my child. I could have put him to my breast again.
That final cry of alarm or recognition was quite half-hearted, a thing under rehearsed. It was her earthly last. Transition happening.
Breeze, a knot of sadness and dismay, curled at Glenda’s still warm feet, still not quite admitting utter defeat. The dog’s coat quickly lost its sheen and dressed itself in hopelessness. The small rain growing. The bench, a place of endings now, appeared to incorporate the body in a hug.
The clock inside the dog’s body ran for two hours when, as night finally set in, it stopped painlessly.
A new beginning made brief, Breeze was gone in empathy, following her mistress in her guardian sleep.