This is a new blog which has been set up to showcase the writing of people involved in the Bethlem Gallery be they artists, volunteers, past or current patients. We currently have a writing group open to people who have been part of SLaM services at some point in their lives which takes place on the 1st Wednesday afternoon of the month in the gallery studio. This blog is an extension of the group and a space to showcase the work from the participants. So please read on and any comments or feedback is welcome.
Please note that the contents of the blog are the views of the writer alone and not of the gallery.
Knock, knock at the door, kettle’s just boiled, roll up’s just bin rolled, needle’s just connected with vinyl.
“if that’s those jehovah’s witnesses I swear I can’t be held responsible”
Cut to door opening, dodgy council type in suit, dodgy money grabber in suit, dodgy right wing type in suit, dodgy rich kid who went to Cambridge on mummy and daddy’s money in suit, you know the type.
“Umm sorry to bother you sir,”
yeah course you are mate..
“But it seems from our records that certain payments seem to have lapsed umm”
he seems to be fumbling at everyday conversation, he seems to be fumbling at straight forward extortion, he seems to be hesitating at legalized mugging, he seems to be failing at blatant intrusion
“In fact if our records are correct, which is normally the case, you seem to owe somewhere in the region of….”
He pulls out some glasses, screws his face up in a somewhat terrifying manner, and gives his clipboard a study, he smells faintly of old spice, cheap detergent, wh smiths and charity shops.
He focuses through his glasses,
“£21.75p sir, would you care to settle the amount now sir? Its a relatively small amount, and we would appreciate swift payment to keep our accounts clear”. He smiles a smile which wouldn’t look out of place on Heinrich Himmler. I start the conversation with the everyday ease of someone who has lived his entire life just the wrong side of the poverty line, poncing money for rizla, occasionally picking up a scuffed 10p from the pavement, relieving newsagents of a copy of the sun when their eye’s are elsewhere. You know the type.
His smile still sits quietly confident on his face. It dawns on me he genuinely expects me to hand over a good half weeks money to a man I’ve never met before. His smile eventually wavers.
“Which organization do you represent my young friend” I enquire.
“Oh ever so sorry sir, my organization is the clean up of rich affluent environments funded by poor one’s, its all legal and above board”
His eyebrows rise in an almost comical manner. I wonder how Groucho Marx would handle this scenario, I wonder how rocky marciano would deal with this situation, I wonder what approach mahatma Gandhi would employ right now. Suddenly a light goes on in my head. If I’m honest it should have gone off a while ago, but sometimes I can be a bit slow off the mark.
“Would you like to come in for a quick tea?”
That haunting, creepy smile spread across his face like a shadow on a lung.
“No thank you sir, I have my rounds to make sir”
I hear the tell tale scratching at my bedroom door. A powerful hoover type nose placed to the small gap of air at the bottom of the door. He either doesn’t hear it or doesn’t care. My eyes do a quick take outside, no one watching, no witnesses. My hand rises to his charity shop tie and yanks him in.
He shrieks in panic.
“What are you doing sir?”. He’s still calling me sir!
“Accosting you in a violent manner sir, don’t worry it’ll all be over soon sir”. I manhandle him to the bedroom, pulling him along by his tie, he screams and resists. I fling my bedroom door open, as he says the huge lumbering, dribbling wolf, he freezes in terror and the insides of his trousers turn dark.
My pet wolf called quite unoriginally “howl” licks his lips in eager anticipation. I fling in the poor man and close the door. The screams don’t last for long, after an hour or so I’d forgotten all about it. It’ll be dark soon, time to give howl his daily walk.