To The End of Rotten Love

There's been a murder, a young girl, and now I can't sleep.

 It happened a little over four hours ago. I woke up to a symphony of banging and screaming coming from the upstairs apartment. In the dark, I lay on my bed, listening to the ruckus. It was a wrestling match. Two bodies tumbling around, kneecaps and elbows making blunt thuds overhead, then someone scrambling to their feet and bounding heavy-footed across the floor, screaming. I lit a cigarette and blew the smoke out like the bored.

From within the melee above I could make out two voices. One was that of a young girl and the other a man. The girl was hysterical, sometimes shouting insults and at other times shrieking as if desperate to to be let loose. The man made mostly angry sounds, like something driven mad. His only comprehensible words were: “WHORE! SLUT! WHORE!” Both voices were ruined with alcohol, a hateful rasp that writhed through their insults.

Woken for good, my eyes adjusted to the dark. On my back I concentrated on the fight, following it back and forth across the ceiling while trying to work out which part of whose body had hit what. At times the thumping and screaming became so bad that I was unsure of just where the fight was coming from. It was as if my neighbours to the left, right, behind and above were all going at it, like the entire apartment block had gone insane and all the occupants were participating in some surreal, early morning, communal bust-up. My bedsit quaked. From the far wall a painting worked loose from its fixing and fell like a dead-weight. It hit the floor standing and stayed there. In a rage I hurled a shoe at the wall. That fell and stayed there too.

 The light is on and I am up, sat on the edge of my bed in front of my laptop. A text screen is open. As I listen to the domestic above I try to type it up live. I cannot. When I try it comes out like this:
Two in corner, struggling. girl screams. Man enraged. Heavy thudding. Sounds like they're jumping off fucking bed. running, across room.. away. Voices not clear.. shouting. The man is shouting. Girl responds. an insult. Banging; footsteps??? Door slams shut. Someone (man) kicking door. Girls voice. Quiet.
I give up my live reporting. It's impossible to write and at the same time try to figure out what the noises are. It's equally impossible to decipher any words – not that I really care. Really I just want the dispute to end so I can get back to sleep. The fight starts up again. I light another cigarette and sit crouched over smoking and listening. Sad lonely shouts and screams accompany me and the night. I think fuck it and cook up a hit. With domestic violence on repeat in the background I slide a blunt, Sunday night needle into the back of my calf, pinning a newly surfaced vein which forks up from around my Achilles heel. After the shot the girl upstairs sounds like she's in the bathroom. Maybe she even is.

 It was about then that things started breaking. I could hear them hit the wall and shatter as I sat trying to align a flame to my cigarette. In between the bombardment the man was bawling: “I loved you!!!!” I loved you!!!!” For his declarations of spent love he received an ashtray, or a plant pot, or some vicious reminder of the inadequate size of his penis. And so it went on... My apartment being battered by the fight above; my paintings all worked crooked from the vibrations. I sat on a chair near the wall, tranquillized. Like a change of light, a sudden melancholy came over me. The sounds of the upstairs domestic were then all too familiar – something I'd lived before. They romanced tears, though not totally sad ones. I closed my eyes and nodded forward. History filtered down through the walls and filled the room, and for a moment, I drifted away... … …

 The room smells of spilled Martini, mint chewing gum, and the bottom of my mother's handbag. The noise of the fight sounds like it's coming out of an old radio. In the dark, behind my closed eyes, I can make out shapes; they scare me. I am back in time, alone, eight years old, standing downstairs in the cold, dark back room where the slugs live. My fingers are in my ears and I am humming and dancing to block out the sounds. Up above, mum and dad are going at it. When enough time seems to have passed I uncover my ears and hope to hear silence. Instead I can still hear the fight, my mother hitting off the wall and crashing down into her perfume cabinet, the bottles bouncing around and clacking together like beach stones. I re-plug my ears. The next time I uncover them I hear my father tramping down the stairs. I pray that it's over, that mum will keep her mouth shut and let him disappear to bed. But before I've even time to harbour any real hope there's a flurry of insults from my mother and then dad is bounding back up the stairs only to have the door slammed flat against his even flatter nose. Dad charges the door. He bursts in to furious squirts of  Chanel 'bootleg' No.5, mum rushing at him, blinding him with perfume while screeching out my name. I replug my ears and dance and hum some more. I don't want to hear my name. My name means I must go and hit dad over the back with a cricket bat and I don't want to. The thought of hurting dad hurts me. It hurts so bad I could cry. It's not love because I'm only eight and don't know what love is. More it's that tomorrow Dad's promised to buy me new shoes. How can I hit a man with a cricket bat when tomorrow he'll buy me new shoes? Buy me something more than what I need with money more than what we have? I can't. I block out the sound and dance some more. Even at this young age I know the morning always comes and we must face up to what we've done in the dark. Filtering down from up above were those same sounds again tonight: the same chase; the same screams; the same foul, acerbic drunken insults – a lifetime of rotten love, piercing the night and floating off over the city. Real-life drama. Something to listen to and try to work out – that was all. So I sat there in the early hours, alone, listening to the past and the present and feeling kinda sad.

 It's 3am. The fight above has been going on for over 90 minutes. I am back, perched on the edge of my bed, staring at the disjointed text I had written earlier. The main light is off and my standing lamp lights up the bottom half of half the room. The couple upstairs are taking a break from knocking each other's teeth out and for the moment are content with screaming at each other. But not only insults, there's some kind of dialogue going on, even if it's not what can be called conversation. Eager to know what has kept two lovers fighting for so long and what has woken my night I take to standing with my ear against the wall. From what I could figure it seemed that the couple had spent the night out drinking. At some time during the evening the man had begun seeing The Great Whore of Babylon wriggling through his girl – a temptress, her hand feeling out the contours of bulging erections through tight trousers as she swept past strange men; cocks crawling across the floor towards her; his sweet girl – dick-charming – her head thrown back in laughter, showing off a long sexual throat, a serpent for a tongue, her eye catching his and humiliating him further as he watched through the distorted lens of drunkenness: a 360° haze of people laughing and jeering, him stood in the centre, impotent, self-loathing, swaying while watching: his girl, drunk and loose and arousing cock after cock after cock. It all came out; an insane jealousy. Weeks, months, maybe years or torment and imagined happenings. The girl swore off his nonsense. That only enraged him further and brought him about her once more, this time with an ungodly screech like you'd maybe give while finally exorcising your nemesis. Heavy footsteps shook my apartment once more before the fight tailed off into some nearby room, culminating in an almighty crash against something. From the struggle worrying noises surfaced, the girl gagging and flapping as if being throttled while the man shrieked like something gone wild. The throttling sounds didn't last long. By the time I had placed them the girl was free and scampering across the floor, the man warning, “No, no, NO!!!!” In the room directly above I heard the window banging and rattling, and for a moment the girl's anguish was free and real, cutting the back of the city in two. The word “whore” was the last one to taste the night before the girl's scream was dragged back in by the ankles, the window pulled shut, and the fight privatized once more – now with kicking and full-combat violence. Stood below, my heart thumping, I seriously contemplated calling  the French emergency services. I verified the number, thinking: “I should call the police.” Then I thought: “I certainly SHOULDN'T call the police”, that “someone else will surely do it.” But it's 2012, we've heard it all before. It's entertainment for those without cable TV. I don't have cable TV. No-one made the call.

 At 03h37 the girl was on the floor and I think she was being kicked. I could hear her whimpering over in the corner and making scratchy sounds like she was curling herself up. It made me think of a hamster I used to have. Standing beneath the spot where I assumed she was I banged on the ceiling with a mop. Immediately the fight stopped and the man hissed something at the girl. I heard no reply. Her silence was answered by what sounded like her being stomped... one, two, three times. Listening to such stuff made my belly empty and nervous. My legs felt weak. I banged again. For a moment all was calm, and then there was movement and the girl pulled herself up. I thought of my mother, and it all started again.

 During some moments the dispute would quieten down. Like when fighting dogs rest still, locked onto one another, froth and blood on their coats, catching breath before tugging and ripping at each other some more. It was like that. Only now, as the fight wore on, it was increasingly the man's rage I could hear. The young girl seemed done for, and soon she even stopped resisting, just succumbed, and like me was surely hoping for an end.

 Listening to the racket of the fight was no longer fun. It hadn't been fun anyway, but at first it was something to do to after it had so rudely woke me up. Now I hung below, genuinely worried, a pained expression on my face, concentrating on the disturbing one-way violence from upstairs. I took my phone in hand and typed in the emergency number '17'. I stared at the number. SE-VEN-TEEN. It didn't seem as serious as calling '999'. I thought hard, paced the room and then closed the phone.

 The problem was that by calling the police I'd risk being arrested myself. My apartment was chock full of used needles, heroin, old wraps, filters and black market methadone bottles carrying weird names that just weren't on my passport. And even if there are many police who'd wave that aside in lieu of a real serious crime, there are just as many others who'd arrest me, and maybe even suspect me of having something to do with the dispute I was reporting. So I thought about calling the police and then I quickly thought against it. I toyed with the idea of tidying away all incriminating evidence and then phoning, but that would have taken a good hour as I'd also need to scrub the blood off the doors and walls. Also, when you've been using smack for so many years and are accustomed to being around needles and spoons and wrappers and blood, you stop being able to see these things, and so tidying up and hiding it becomes impossible because you can no longer see what you're supposed to hide. So I left it. Everybody left it.

 I suppose we all thought someone else would call the cops, or they'd just arrive. They always arrive when it's you. So the fight went on, and though it didn't escalate or seem to get any worse it never stopped, lingering on like a dying fire, occasionally flaring up before settling down again. And it was on that flame that tragedy blew in and gave this night to history.

 * * *
First there was a thud, then the ceiling shuddered; and then there was silence. Mid-fight the dispute suddenly stopped and I was left sitting on my bed with my head cocked listening for any sound at all. There wasn't a tinkle. Not a footstep; not things being picked up; not exhausted voices calling a truce, not the bed rattling as the two lovers made up – nothing. I sat there in the strange silence, trying to figure out what had happened. I eyed my unaligned paintings as proof that I hadn't imagined it all. Death or injury never entered my mind, more I imagined that the lovers had burned themselves out, or that the alcohol had worn off and they were sitting across from each other huffing and bleeding and all punched out. But it was weird, like a film that just ends with no music or closing credits. It's over and you wonder if it's a mistake or artistic choice while waiting for some kind of confirmation either way. For some time I sat on pause too, and when nothing happened I hit the light and climbed into bed.

 It was a good twenty minutes later when I sensed that the world outside was astir. It was nothing distinct, nothing audible, an intuitive understanding that sat in the air, like when a door is left open or someone is staring at you on a packed train. It just didn't feel lonely enough for it to be 4am in a french ghetto. I got up and made my way to the double set of front doors which lock me in. The outer door leading to the street is on rails, and when closed there's an inch gap on either side which is perfect for spying from. In the dark I stood peering out. Fifty yards down, outside the entrance to the main building, were two police cars. Past the police cars and falling out of shot there was a loose crowd with more arriving. As I watched a twirling blue light lit up the night scene and an ambulance drove into view. From the apartment blocks way down lights were on; whole families up against their windows or out on their balconies staring across. For a moment my view blacked over as my neighbour came out in his bed-clothes, barefooted, and stood there smoking. A man, a stranger, joined him. He asked what had happened. My neighbour mentioned the earlier fight then threw his hands up as if not sure if the two incidents were related. I wanted to go out and take a look at the action, gauge if this was worth staying up for or the anti-climax to what had seemed a pretty decent if terribly sad bust-up. I thought again of the drugs and paraphernalia lodging with me and stayed put. In the pitch dark I lit a cigarette and hung there silently like some guilty spectre watching the mayhem it had caused. Not being here was about the best thing I could be tonight. Up above there were noises afresh; not fighting, footsteps, some other activity going on in the apartment.

 For some time nothing happened and then two cars came slowly up the forecourt. They stopped a little distance off. Three plain clothes officers wearing orange police armbands got out and made their way down towards the crowd. Almost immediately there was some out-of-sight commotion. An armed, black-booted, uniformed Policeman briefly appeared, made some kind of a gesture and then went running off back into the building. The three plain clothes went running after him. I decided it was time to get dressed and get outside. I rushed into my bedsit, pulled on some clothes , wrapped up my gram of smack, and pushed all the drug paraphernalia into a bin bag. I gave my hob a quick wipe down for traces of blood, carbon, and cooked heroin, and then went outside to join the crowd and act as innocent as everybody else.

 Outside I greeted my neighbour who was now standing a good way down from his door right on the outside edge of this side of the small crowd. He was visibly excited with wide night eyes. Over in the entrance of the building there was a lot of commotion and activity – police and a number of residents. My neighbour told me that the police had just taken a boy away, and that some time before that the paramedics had entered with a stretcher. I asked some questions but they didn't register. My neighbour was too preoccupied with what was happening inside the building. His worried and dramatic behaviour infected me. I stood peering anxiously over towards the entrance, which was now unofficially a no-go zone.

 “Did the fight upstairs wake you too?” my neighbour suddenly asked.
“Yes;” I said, “I thought my ceiling was gonna come down!”
“Do you know why they were fighting? Over what?”
“God knows,” I said, “I think they were drunk.” He gave a bored, tragic look, like alcohol and domestic violence was a given, even in France. When I mentioned just how long the fightc had raged on for he seemed surprised. Like me he had heard the fighting but unlike me had drowned it out with a set of headphones, only to wake hours later with his R&B then replaced by police radios and oscillating lights. I stood with him for a moment and then worked my way around the crowd to where I had a proper view into the foyer of the building.

 Inside the building the police were talking to two girls. One girl, maybe nineteen with distressed mousy hair, was squatted down under a payphone on the wall, crying, with a blanket pulled around her shoulders. The second girl, around the same age, was also visibly upset. She stood over the first girl and every now and again would wipe away her tears with the backs of her thumbs. Around the foyer of the building there were similar scenes with other neighbours, but they seemed more shocked than upset and even while being questioned kept looking over at the two girls and the policemen near the phonebooth. From what I could pick up the two girls had been in the room next door to the fighting couple and had called the police. I think they had also entered the room where the fight had been, but that wasn't entirely clear. After taking in all there was to see in the lobby I made my way back around and reported it to my neighbour. He in turn told me that he'd spoken to a friend up on the second floor and apparently the girl who'd been involved in the domestic was quite badly beaten and shocked but it didn't seem any more serious than that. He spoke of the amount of time the paramedics had been upstairs, and said if it was serious they'd have been out and gone a long time ago. So as not to complicate things I agreed. I hung around for another quarter of an hour, and with nothing moving, and the cold starting to bite, I called time and returned indoors.

 Inside, out of the cold, I lit a cigarette and hung around in the dark once more spying out the gap in the door. For some time nothing happened and then the police were pushing what was left of the crowd back and making space for something. My neighbour, still outside, was now speaking on his phone, relating to someone what was happening. A paramedic left the building and backed the ambulance right up to the doorway of the building. With the view blocked, I left my apartment once more and joined the hardcore gore seekers hoping for a nightmare or two.

I could tell by the attitudes of the police towards us that no good news was going to go into the back of the ambulance which we were rallied around. They treated us with a kind of contempt, like we were criminals, trespassing in on something that should be given space and some kind of private dignity. I suppose most of us were there only for the drama, I was, but equally, many of those with guns and badges had only taken the job for the promise of such excitement, and more: to be the good side of the police line... even closer to the gory, bloody details. Neither of us had to be there, and even if we did, we didn't have to look. I eyed one of the policemen, a tall, athletic thing in black with a little paper-boat cap on his head. He looked like some militant Mcdonalds' employee. He stood there with all the indifference of duty in his posture. Now that WAS cold; my heart was racing.

 To the back of the foyer the lift door opened. We all jerked to get a look but it was only a single paramedic and nothing more. He rushed over towards a door leading to the stairwell. The door opened and he helped manoeuvre a stretcher through the narrow space and into the lobby. On the stretcher was a body. The night hushed and drama became a mighty sad vision on four wheels, the sound of squeaking metal and solemn paramedics going about their work.

I couldn't see too well as the police were doing their best to block the view, and anyone idiot enough to try and force through was liable to be arrested. But I saw enough: a small body, supine, covered neatly with a white sheet, the sad and unnerving contours of the body beneath letting me know how slight the young girl was and bringing home to me that I had stood below and done nothing as she'd been systematically beaten lifeless. Death was in those elegant, covered shapes... something much more horrific than blood and guts, as it showed not the horror but only the consequence. There was no time to notice anything else. As quickly as the stretcher had appeared it was just as quickly gone, and then one paramedic rushed around to the drivers side of the ambulance as the other two remained in the back. The ambulance moved away and soon all there was to see were the other people on the other side of the crowd, all silently trying to process what they'd seen. The night suddenly seemed weird, like it really was the middle of the night. I left the crowd for the final time and walked the fifty yards back to my door. On the way I passed my neighbour. I looked at him. He looked at me. Without saying a word we both lowered our eyes to the ground, and then I was home.

- - -
 The crowd is gone now but the police are still here and more have arrived since. I suppose that there will be a lot of work for some people through this and the dark nights to come, and I know a family will be woken up to tragic news and one young boy will not see freedom for a very long time. It's hard to take in and make sense of such an event when it happens, and although by tomorrow the world outside will carry on as usual, in here, something has changed and I'm sure this place can never be the same again.

 It's now almost 5am. The morning is still dark and no hint of light will reach here until seven. I turn my light out and retire to my bed. It's dark outside, but not as dark as it should be. It's quiet outside, but not as quiet as it should be. Once again the world has been broken and I go to sleep to faded screams. Through the gap in my door I can see the blue light of a police car. It's hypnotic and sad, and soon in this grim night I shall find my peace.

Thanks for bearing with me Everyone...  Shane. X


Unknown said...

thank you for your story has the ability to move me

bugerlugs63 said...

I forgot to breath . . . Almost.
Brilliant as always x

Stacy said...

because i don't have your way with words, i sometimes find it hard to tell you how beautifully talented i think you are without sounding redundant. never-the-less, your writing continues to amaze me...XXX

Anonymous said...

Oh Shane, what a tale. It amazes me that you were able to write that elegantly and with your standard finesse. Breathtaking. I felt as though I were standing with the crowd of gawkers in the French night, living through the whole sad and sorry scene.

Wildernesschic said...

I first read this yesterday .. and as I was personally not in a great place, found it hard to comment.. Just read it again .. and its just breathtakingly fucking brilliant.. still not at my most eloquent sorry..

As always you manage to bring beauty out of a very dark place..
love Ruth xx

Anonymous said...

Great reporting of such a tragic morning better than any newspaper . Even more so as I skipped the first line and didn't know if she was murdered until the end . Anthony

The Pseudo-Impostor said...

I have never seen a tragedy like this reported with such existential feeling and metaphysical perspective. In short: fucking top. RIP French girl

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Rod and Welcome! X

Thanks equally for reading... my words are always a reaction to that. Shane. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Salut Bugerlugs.... I've had people fall asleep to my words, but as far as I know, they've yet to cause a single death.... though there's still time yet!

J'espere que tu va bien... pas mal ici, sauf pour les français... ils sont partout. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

hey Stacy, long term readers and supporters like yourself have well earned the right to no longer have to comment, or say much. I know what you think, and though it never bores me to hear it, there's only so many ways you can say you like and enjoy something. So never worry about the words.... any you give are valued. That someone returns month after month and reads pages of text I write, in a way says more than words ever can.


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Chef.... That one was served up for you! I promised you it some time ago, and halfway through the writing of it wandered off track a little and it was then very difficult to get back into the feel of the piece and the night. More than any other Memoires post, this one was a real hassle to write and no joke, I must have restructured and rewrote it at least six different times. I'm still not totally happy with it, but the final three paragraphs kinda convinced me to post it.

The title is also a strange one. Usually I have a title from the off, and if not one will come from a nice line within the text. But this post I NEVER, not at any stage, had a title for. After finishing, I spent almost two hours trying to conjure of a title, and something more to the point, but I couldn't. My preferred title was Adieu, My Rotten Love, but as soon as I came up with that title I also had an idea for another post using those words and so banked it for another day. Still, after not having posted for so long I was eager not to delay any more and so posted with what was intended as a makeshift title.. though I think I'll leave it as is now.

Hope you're well, Chef.... All Great here, Love and Thoughts, Shane. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Ruth.... hope you're doing a little better, and if not, remember it's ONLY life and come the end, what we thought were dark days will suddenly seem like magic...XXX

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Anthony, I know your comment wasn't any kind of a criticism but I use the comment section to explain things about my writing and your comment kinda touched upon an importnat point.

When writing for an online audience, especially for new or passing readers, writers don't have the luxury of having pages of time to settle and capture the reader: we have to do it immediately. So it doesn't really work leading the readers into an ending, as many will never get there if you don't catch them almost immediately. So the structure of my writing here is adapted to online readers and that means kinda briefing them on what to expect and then giving them it, though securing them with poetry and not drama.

That's one reason i don't follow conventional rules (which are adapted to printed text, and text we've maybe paid to have and so will often persevere just because of that). The second reason I why I try to steer away from building up to an unknown climax is because what I am relating is real life and we always know the outcome before we know the story. I think it's more non-fictional to give the climax first and then detail the sex which brought it about. Dry fucking is sore in life and it's equally just as sore for a writer to attempt. Of course, it all depends on the piece, but in general I prefer to give the game away in the first few paragraphs.

Anyway, thanks for your time and comment.... All My Thoughts, Shane. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey heftman... yeah that post had a metaphysical feel about it, really, a natural consequence of the night in question and how it unfolded.Below, listening to the struggle and trying to somehow make sense of it, it was kinda the same as staring up at the stars and trying desperately to understand the eternity, the universe and yourself within it. , These events all begin to feel like indexes, clues to a riddle that has never been set.

JoeM said...

Funny, I read the first line - there's been a murder - (very Taggart!) but I was still wondering who or how all the way. Because it was so well written of course.

He stood there with all the indifference of duty in his posture.

Loved that.

My mother and father were always arguing. My mother always started it. And was always the physically aggressive one – we went through so many clocks. My father used to sit and try to repair the clocks that she threw at him. Not great role models...

A man in the UK has just been convicted of gouging out the eyes of his model ex. Blinding her. I don't know why. But who’s going to bet against it being some sense of inadequacy on his part? Which of course always translates into 'Whore! Slut!'

If Heroin and the things the other tenants were trying to hide was legal she might still be alive...

Rose said...

Wow, that's a fantastic story. Actually I didn't realise it was one for a while and I was thinking, god, this person has an exciting life (sort of). I guess it really goes to the heart of what it must feel like to be a bystander.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Rose, and thanks for commenting.. X

Well, we're all bystanders in life... just you reading and commenting here is clear enough proof of that: your own life's so stagnant that you've stopped even watching it, now taken to spying on the other bystanders,and becoming bitter and cynical with it... to such an extent you can no longer control yourself. Anyway, I'm glad my hand-me-down life has brought a little blip of excitement to your flat-lining existence, and I hope the highlight of your day (your comment and checking desperately to see if it's been approved and MAYBE EVEN replied to) has given you the thrill you seem so badly in need of. You must pass so much time watching shitty TV dramas that you've given to thinking everything is fiction and kidding yourself that really the entire world lives a life as dull and uneventful as yours. Well no: it's just YOU.

Rose, you're a sad cunt and it seems you should get out, get a cock and have some life fucked back into your drab days. If you want, leave me your email addy and i'll send you a few pictures of my cock or something? I don't mind... I'd do that for someone as lonely as you. Let me know... Love and Thoughts, Shane.X

darren said...

shane thanks for another great piece of writing. i had almost given up all hope of you posting again when it came thru and what a post it was (tho i did see you had mentioned this one a while back but thought it would be another teaser that never arrived! lol) well to let you know it arrived and was perfect in its construction. like joeM above i never lost interest for a minute and in a way knowing the tragic outcome was more dramatic because i kept reading on for the details (not in a macarbe way) but wanting to understand how it got from domestic fight to murder (or prrobably manslaughter). I agree your closure to the post was spine-tingling and so raw i could all but feel what was left of the night with you. if i come to a tragic end i want you to write it up, then it wouldn't be so bad. Daz

darren said...

ps: don't let the assholes get to you. best to ignore them. D

karl said...

Hey Shane, nice 1.

seroquel said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading this Story..

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Joe,

"very Taggart!" Well that's not getting into my list of blurbs... It's one of those innocent comments that could ruin a man's career!

Mt mother and step-father didn't argue excessively, most of the time it was bad moods and little stabs at each other. They both needed each other: my step-father needed her to look after us as he went out to make money; my mother needed him as he shared a little of his spoils with her for staying in. Mostly the fights all concerned my mother bringing strange men to the house in front of us, which sounds kinda responsible until you know the kind of guys my step-father himself brought back for the night and sometimes put up for weeks on end. But more than any of that it was alcohol. Both would pass the evenings knocking it back and pondering over their hatred for each other. By the time my step-father arrived back home both were just about ready to murder the other. Still, it was rare that it got physical. Mostly it was shouting, slamming doors, things getting broken and maybe a push... there were only a handful of occasions when it came to blows and mum ended up bruised. That's probably one of the reasons their relationship failed.... my mother seemed to like men who'd beat the shit out of her for no reason.

Male inadequacy is a weird thing and something I've never understood... or I can understand it but have never felt it. The places I grew up were full of it and there was also a deep shame of loving someone and showing off that emotion... on the streets or in the bars it translated as a weakness. Of course, that going on over generations also hardened the woman as they had to adapt to that masculine coldness and lack of attention. And that was always weird to me because the people who most craved and needed soft love then found social and peer pressures prevented them from having it. The only valid place people could openly display true warm and loyal love was towards their children... then fathers could be as soppy as they liked, take the baby to the bar and coo over it. But really that love, that which they smother the babies with, isa reflection of the love and tenderness they crave themselves. I had a post written about all of this, it was the second part of 'Love Me Tender in the Ghetto' but I somehow lost it.


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Darren, thanks for all you say. Concerning the arseholes, no, they deserve a reply and as long as I've something to tell them I will. I know the kind of people who'll post vicious comments and one thing they really detest is to be outsmarted... it turns them into crazy spammers. I've a few like that. I'm working on an essay on how the anonymity of the internet really brings out the worst in people, and attitudes long thought dead or dying are rife. It just shows the real truth, outside of current trends, political correctness, when someone knows they will never be held accountable for what they do or say a very mean, harsh and fascist side of humanity is released. Even taking that down to other behaviours, like regulators of community forums... without exception they've all become dictators, using their privileged 'powers' to expel people who they don't like or whos views they don't agree with. If you go onto any question and answer site and politely pose a controversial question or politely disagree with site politics you will be ejected from then community without question. Can you imagine what these groups would do if they had any real power and were only answerable to themselves and their followers? It's scary, and people wonder why so many of us drug or drink or eat ourselves into an early grave.

JoeM said...

I wondered if you deliberately used that 'There's been a murder' phrase in homage to Taggart, since it's their signature line. As an in-joke maybe since who knows how many people who read this would be familiar with a Scottish TV 'tec show.

My mother and father didn't really argue, my mother just criticized him from dusk to dawn. Loudly. Violently. We dreaded him coming home from his second job at 11p.m, tried to be asleep by then. No alcohol, but she was clinically depressed, on 60s/ 70s Mother's Little Helpers - Mandrax and other stuff that's illegal now. It was like an underclass Absolutely Fabulous. There's definitely books in it, But not yet.

As a non hetero male I've always been glad not to have to be a (to use Mark Simpson's great phrase) Male Impersonator. Glad not to have to conform to all those ridiculous Male Stereotype Rules that no one in real life actually wants to. Most cool heteros bypass all that and cry when they want to, not just when they're 'allowed' - ie when their football team loses. What a load of baloney. I loved when Tom Robinson said 'I'm gay - I can order half a lager if I want'. Oh the freedom!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

hey Joe, no, the Taggart thing was unintentional... I wasn't aware that was their signature line and had I known I probably wouldn't have used it. Not that I've not enjoyed Taggart in my time.

I know what you mean about non hetero males being emotionally more liberal, but I've also seen another side to that where some gay men kinda take it to the limit and they become emotionally pathetic... the first person who came anywhere near to being a boyfriend was like that and it got extremely taxing after a while and wass like dealing with an autistic child. I've seen that in straight men too, but it's not as rife and not as dramatic. If I'm honest I think I've been much more macho in relationships with men than with women. With men I've always felt a kinda power struggle and it was always a very hard love, with a hard touch and nothing which i could enjoy outside of a feeling of being very intimate friends. A friend said I was afraid to let myself go, but that wasn't it... I had nothing to let go, all I could give I did. Then with women I could give much more and feel much more comfortable and emotionally free, but sex would often make me vomit.But in front of a woman I think i am at least emotionally honest and am so far from conscious that I am male that I'm not. I'm much more conscious of my masculinity around men.... though even then, not my emotions more my comportment, body language. It's complicated... and transvestites, let's not even go there because I've seen transvestites fanning tears away with long fake nails because someone was wearing the same heels! I think it's probably just fair to say that human beings are a wreck of emotional problems, and when it comes down to the crunch, straight, bent, crooked or queer, it's very hard to find honest souls in our species, and mostly how elotionally free we are is dictated by how that will help us get more cock, arsehole or pussy: we play to the crowd and give what we must to get what we want. Even your point about only crying when your football team's a part of that, because guys who do that get a certain reputation and it becomes a great boast, something to be proud of and which is told about town. Around their social and sexual group it's not a pathetic behaviour but one of loyalty and strength and so serves to impress and attract the kind of pussy that they're liable to get. Those tears are as fake and as manufactured as most others... they're geared towards getting a certain reputation, being a certain type of male. Maybe I'm just really cynical... I don't know, but most men are fucking creeps.. and I'm no exception! Hahaha X

JoeM said...

The actual 20th anniversary celebration program of Taggart was called There's been a Murder

But it didn't affect your post at all. It was still chilling.

Yes the thing is, gay straight bi or transvestite – we're still male. Or female. Whichever, that's a massive biological difference.

You really can't generalise too much. But! (said he generalising) I think for guys like you who have responded to both genders it's different from a 'straight' gay to gay thing. I had this near affair with a bisexual guy at work but what put me off (and ON in another way) was that he kept trying to underline his maleness in the cliched ways – as if to remind me he wasn't totally beyond the pale or something.

Blah blah. Live and let Live. Or die or whatever...

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

hey again, Joe, yeah you're right about generalizing too much because of course we only know what we see and a lot of the truth we can't see. It's like when people think addicts are all dirty, thin, disheveled things... well, you can't really blame people for thinking that way because that's the impression you get as all obvious junkies are that (that's what makes them obvious), but for every obvious addict there are two who pass by and you wouldn't even know. That's kinda similar to the campy image people have of homosexuals. Of course that seems to be true because we only register a count for what we can see, , but again, for every person who we can imagine is obviously gay there are ten who pass by anonymously.

I think I've mentioned before: I don't believe in sexuality only sexual fantasy. I think we are all sexual creatures distinguishable by our fantasies. If we take two hetero males, one who enjoys straight sex in the missionary position and another who can only get off with a woman shitting on him.... both are clearly defined as hetero, but those two sex acts are as far apart as as conventional gay and straight sex. Still, no-one tries to define those men as two different sexualities, and anyone who dares to say that same partner sex is unnatural, well, then hetero oral, anal and bondage sex is just as unnatural because that view comes straight from the idea "it's unnatural because you cannot conceive in that way".. but you cannot conceive by having your balls grated or laying there covered in shit either. So sex has evolved way passed the science of it and I think our sexual preferences and fetishes are formed in significant early moments... often just glimpses of things that we'd never imagine could affect us so greatly. I like Dennis Cooper's first book for that reason.... kinda showing how one image, a glimpse of something we never wanted to see, can completely dictate our adult sexual needs and desires. I don't think people are born into any sexual orientation; we're born with sexual organs and a brain, and from there it depends where we are put. Like there are certain tribal groups where every male has sexual partners of both sexes. So we see, where it is accepted and is the norm we have a 100% sexual being who see's past male and female and gets off on the touch and attention and beauty of either... (though they don't shit on each other!)

I think I've gone way off course here Joe... so I'll leave it with you... X

JoeM said...

I suppose I'm more on the nature side of the nature V nurture debate, given that I remember very early gay desires - Robin in the 60s Batman TV show for example. When I was about 8 years old. And I distinctly remember being sexually attracted not only to his mouth and bare legs/bulge but his eye mask! Now that was way before I'd even heard of the concept of S&M. So go figure.

But none of this matters unless you've got a religious or political agenda. I'm optimistic that we will evolve beyond those psychotic prejudices.

Anonymous said...

There are no crosses, no nothing to "bear" when it comes to you and your writing, shane. You inspired me to try something different with my life. To accept that I'm addicted to heroin and to be proactive. To NOT be a junkie. I'm a whore, Shane. and I was whoring for the longest just to get a fix, not because I love sex (which I do very much). You were the voice of my conscience when I did not have one and you were the inspiration I had to get help. Though I'm still a heroin addict, I'm finally starting to function. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I hate ass kissing and I mean this in NO WAY as such when I say that you have saved my life. Also, that I owe you a "freebie", but that's just me trying to get into every artist's pants. I guess what I'm trying to say is: I'm really sick of using Tristam Spencer's Facebook to get ahold of you and thank you for inspiring ME to love ME. I forgot my intellect for a while you see. If it were not for you...

I'm done ass kissing. I have an international phone plan if you'd like to hear more. And skype is a great thing to have. God, Like usual...I sound SO creepy. a creeper.

-Anonymous, Tiffani James XXX, Esme Poulin of London (escort) and Cristina Cruz of...a whore from the USA

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Joe, I won't bore you with my thoughts on nature vs nurture, only to say that I think nurture is nature anyway and so it's kind of the same thing and really matters little anyway. Concerning your very early sexual experiences, I was the same... even slightly younger when I first started gathering sexual inclinations... although at the time I didn't know that's what they were. The thing is I can place all my extreme sexual fantasies to very specific events... and they are all very small glimpses of things I saw which you could never imagine would affect you later life so profoundly. And these aren't events I've had to think about to reach, kinda struggling to discover answers to myself, they are events which on becoming a sexual being stood out all by themselves and suddenly made sense and were there without even having to think about them. Even taking that to adults who get off on sex with children... that wasn't something they were born with, it's something that came about through events imposed upon them when they had no control. That the abused often turns abuser, whether it's mental, physical or sexual, is hard to ignore. But all that aside, you're right and it would be great to see everyone as human and normal and to get rid of this obsession with other peoples bedroom practices. One day, Joe... the fight has already achieved so much. And in regards to the camp side of homosexuality which we talked about, I actually see that as a hugely important part of that fight and struggle... forcing people to see and live with (and ultimately accept) different sexual persuasions. X

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