January 31, 2007

Send me your submissions!! 

Svg_manners@yahoo.co.uk 

Karen Welsh

Co-Editor Savage Manners

svg_manners@yahoo.co.uk

3am

January 30, 2007

3am

3 AM Magazine brings you the hottest in online literature, entertainment, and music. Visit them online today!!!!. 

New snazzy site! check it out: http://3ammagazine.com/3am/

London: Allan Wingate. Fine+ in Very Good dust jacket; Slightest soil to cream-colored DJ, which has rubbed corners and chip (faint burn?) to lower edge of front. 1958. First Edition; First Impression. Hardcover. A collection of the worst, laughable, nauseating, hideously-bad poetry from 19th century English authors: covers what I would call the golden age of bad poetry. Compiled and edited by Christopher Adams, with his humorous notes appended to many poems. Has no table of contents or index, but poems are grouped by topic: Tender Passion, Perils of the Sea, Demon Drink, War’s Alarms, Corpses of Consequence, etc. Each section begins will a small, relevant line drawing by John R. Matthews. In clean, tight, fine condition and in a VG DJ. ; Drawings; 16mo 6″ – 7″ tall; 128 pages .

6th May 2007 @ Rockers (Glasgow, Scotland):

Annual benefit show for the Chernobyl Children Lifeline. Goes from midday ’til midnight and features a huge line-up of bands (including Bakers Dozen, Splinter, The Happy Spastics, Constant Fear, The Threats, The Gin Goblins plus many more).

http://www.splinter.antifa.net/

http://www.spraci.com/cgi-bin/event.cgi?slovenia&&splinter&79766&84127116941913290M

Slow down!!

January 15, 2007

slow down week

Dear Jammers & Creatives,

Still feeling frazzled from the December whirlwind of holiday shopping, gift giving, and parties? Already burned out by extra hours at the office in the New Year? Tired of spending more time in traffic than you do with your family and friends?

It’s not too late to slow down and renew your intentions for a saner, more mindful way of life in 2007. If you’re ready to experiment with a different, more fulfilling rhythm, join us in celebrating the second annual INTERNATIONAL SLOW DOWN WEEK, January 14-20.

For one week, instead of running to catch the bus or zipping in and out of traffic, try walking to work. Instead of grabbing take-out on the way home, cook a meal with your family. Leave the TV and computer off, and play an old-fashioned board game, or just sit and catch up with family and friends. If possible, take a day off work — and then while it
away with a long walk and an afternoon nap.

For some humorous inspiration, check out our Slow Down Week animation at <www.adbusters.org>. Forward it to family and friends and invite them to join you in a week of leisure.

Shudder ~ Sean McGahey

January 14, 2007

An aristocratic opium smoking novelist sits watching two golden retrievers in the throes of spasmodic fits. “Lucky” the larger of the dogs has already bitten her tongue off with blood spurting from between her teeth splashing across the white tiled floor; “Paisley” has already lost control of her bowels and creates an interesting almost modern art looking feature on the floor with her excrement and blood looking remarkably like John Prescott.

Eventually they both flop to the floor like two bags of fat and bones. 

“What a waste of two beautiful dogs” muttered William as he carefully steps over them avoiding the matted lumps of blonde dog hair.

The novelist closes his note book, lights up a cigarette and slowly gets up from out of his chair.

“Waste? How on earth am I to write about poisoned dogs if I’ve never experienced the real thing?”

William lights up a cigarette and pours himself a drink

“What kind of novel are you writing?”
“A preposterous tale of murder and rape”
“Don’t you mean rape then murder?”
“Don’t be absurd!! Murder then the unholy act of brutally vandalizing the victims’ body…rape”

Looking slightly worried William quickly finishes his drink and asks

“So how are you going to experience this barbaric ritual of murder and…rape?”

“I’m glad you asked!”

The novelist places his note book and pen on the table and from the inside of his smoking jacket pulls out a small revolver.

William takes a step back “What’s with the gun old chap?”

The first bullet thuds into Williams’s chest creating an almost perfect black hole the size of a 20 pence piece his brown jumper slowly turns black with blood, William falls backwards and hits the wall, his face turns chalk white and is gasping for air.

The second bullet slams into his stomach, the novelist opens his note book and starts writing in short hand and looking at William as though he were a painting or a statue in a museum.

William slumps down to the floor with a look of complete horror and disbelief with his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish, the novelist kneels down beside him and whispers

“You cannot believe that this is actually happening? Can you? Don’t worry my dear brother it’ll soon be over for you and the start of something for…them”

With a loud thump the third bullet cracks into the side of Williams head, the side of his skull shatters on the floor like an egg being dropped.

“Is he dead?” asks a voice from the back of the room behind a large heavy red curtain.

“Absolutely dead as a door nail”

The curtain is swiftly pulled back and three naked men stroll forward already lubricating themselves.

“Now take your time boys, I don’t want to miss a thing”

~~

Former editor of The-Beat and as quoted on 3am magazine “Scourge of the off-beat generation” Unfortunately he’s from Birmingham…..

     

SVG-MOVEMENT

January 11, 2007

we want you

 The SVG-MOVEMENT is well and truly getting stronger!! let’s keep thing going: send us your work – svg_manners@yahoo.co.uk

Svg #1

January 8, 2007

svg #1

Welcome to #1 of SVG!! We haven’t got a flashy web site or billion dollar sponsorship but what we do have is an issue of superb fiction:

Paul Kavanagh ~ debt

Michael Keenaghan ~ happiness from a gun

Steve Wheeler ~ Open letter to a nephew

& Joel Van Noord ~ an echo of Love 

Paul Kavanagh ~ debt

January 8, 2007

“I’m waiting for the bus,” said Havilland.“Been waiting long?” asked Faireysword.

“I don’t know how long for I posses no watch,” said Havilland.

“A man must always have a watch upon his possession,” said Faireysword.

Faireysword was dressed in a fine pinstripe suit. Havilland was dressed in a more expensive pinstripe suit, but was micturating. Faireysword with his peripheral vision witnessed the opprobrious act. Just below where the zipper ended the fabric lunted in the hot weather.

Faireysword witnessed a spasm within the countenance of Havilland. Faireysword swallowed a cough. He endeavored not to look upon the fuliginous swirl that was emanating from Havilland’s trousers.

“The war’s going good,” said Faireysword.

“Somebody’s making out on it,” said Havilland.

Havilland was taciturn usually.

Faireysword was known to be verbose. A bore.

A taxicab flew passed the busstop. Havilland was oblivious, Faireysword wished he had flagged down the taxicab. It was a blistering day.

“The sun’s out today,” said Faireysword.

“It’s not too bad,” said Havilland.

Faireysword inhaled the reek of piss and thought of food. It had been a busy day at the office. Around the leather shoes of Havilland a warm puddle was forming. Faireysword surreptitiously watched the puddle morph into a little cascade that undulated from the busstop onto the road.

“How was the office?” asked Faireysword.

“Busy,” answered Havilland.

“Really,” emitted Faireysword.

“Singapore lost us a few million,” informed Havilland.

“Not too bad,” said Faireysword.

“Hell no, small fry,” said Havilland.

The piss was a hebetate ecru. It was foamy and the reek was pungent. The looming edifies were futile in their endeavor to block out the peripatetic sun. The two men were baking, perspiring, and clammy. Faireysword did most of the talking, while Havilland micturated.

The cascade had reached the white lines in the middle of the road. Cars sporadically passed through the undulation, splashing the piss all over the road.

“The wife?” inquired Faireysword.

“Just wonderful, we are going to Melbourne next week to see the kids,” said Havilland.

This was incongruous of Havilland. Havilland had begot three children, two had gone off to Oxford, the same as him, and were now making a living in the city, the other, the girl had married an Australian had three kids and moved to Melbourne. So, when Havilland used the word kids he was implying grandchildren.

“How was the dollar?” asked Faireysword.

“The USA?” corrected Havilland.

“Y y y y y y y y yes yes yes yes,” stuttered Faireysword.

The reek of piss was like glass upon his tongue.

“Low,” stated Havilland.

“That’s not good for the Americans,” said Faireysword.

Need more wars,” said Havilland.

The cascade of piss had now reached the other end of the road. Havilland lifted his right leg slightly off the ground and gave it a firm shake. The piss still flowed. The reek still invaded the nostrils of Faireysword.

A groan, a long, guttural groan.

May Vaughan rushed into the study. For some unknown reason she always thought the worst. The sound of a cup hitting the floor meant a heart attack, death even. She haltered, panting heavily and surveyed the room. Her husband was sat before his desk; in his hand was a pen. He groaned again.

It’s no good

He almost broke the pen

Why don’t you try to write a children’s story

Hector Vaughan bolted up so quickly he nearly toppled from his chair. He turned towards his wife and smiled as though she had just presented him with an expensive gift.

Say that again

Why don’t you write a children’s story

I thought you had just said that

To help him relax and dull the ennui Hector Vaughan had taken up writing. Each night after tea he sat down in the study and wrote endlessly. He had once been a manager at the Royal Mail. He had been in change of the Deliveries. Twentyfive years he had been there, fourthirty every morning, Monday to Saturday, hardly missed a day. Now and again he went back and worked during the Christmas madness, some of the postmen laughed at him, thought he was sad case, but for Hector Vaughan it was fun, he didn’t do it for the money, he did it because it stated that he was still worth something.

May Vaughan was once a solicitor.

The Treasury estimated the cost of Black Wednesday at £3.3 billion for the Vaughans it meant a little more, but they gleaned much.

The study was in a nondescript house. The Vaughans’ garden was precise, two lawns surrounded by flowers and a path that cut through. In the back garden was an apple tree. During the summer months kids from the Council estate climbed the wall and stole apples. At first he would dash out and yell, but over the years he lost interest, if it weren’t for the grandchildren he would have cut the apple tree down. The grandchildren would walk through the front door, say their hellos and then run out into the back garden and pick apples from the tree. They never took them off the ground, unlike the Council estate kids, because their Grandfather had warned them of the maggots.

The Vaughans had three children, two worked for the Royal Mail and the other the girl had married a Dublin man. All had children, though not all were married.

On Sundays the whole family got together and they had roast chicken, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, carrots and gravy. Hector wins Scrabble with fez. There was a challenge. But fez is in the dictionary. The men walk to the local pub and play darts; women and grandchildren clean up and watch a movie.

A children’s story

It will be fun

It could be

Think of your grandchildren

Yes

A good children’s story must start with Once upon a time, it has to start this way. A children’s story must not be too long nor must it be too short, there should be no obfuscation, the sentences should be concise, concrete, with no more than two clauses. The story should follow the Aristotelian beginning, middle and end rule. There should be no digressions, no large words, no complicated syntax; the semi-colon should never been used. Adverbs are good, they roll off the child’s tongue, gives cadence to a sentence. There should be a good person and a bad person. The mirror image, the antithesis of each other. The fight between good and evil, black verses white. A moral, even. Hector’s mind was racing. He could hardly sit still. There has to be an innocent little boy or girl, there’s got to be a big bad wolf, an evil witch, a heinous step-mother. He couldn’t write; his imagination was blazing. A strange world, magical, animals that talk, chairs and tables that dance, but most of all the story has to have a happy ending.

May Vaughan put the children to bed; she would read to them, pray and tuck them in. Hector would be at work doing overtime and if not at work he would already be in bed. May Vaughan’s office became Hector’s study after she retired. When the children left May used one of the rooms to do her crafts in. The girl’s room was never used, their daughter forbid them to clear it out. It was till her room, there were still posters of T-Rex, Bowie and Gary Glitter on the wall.

Hector Vaughn ripped the sheets that he had written on from the notebook; he folded them neatly and placed them into the waste basket. A clean sheet lay before him. He gripped the pen and wrote in a ornate style

Once upon a time

May Vaughan seeing her husband settled, not on the precipice of a heart attack, smiled, she bent down and picked up a feather that had escaped from one of the pillows her husband used.

Cup of tea

That would be lovely

Biscuits

No dear

There was a knock at the door

Hector Vaughan heard his wife turn off the kettle, leave the kitchen and open the front door.

Love there’s a man at the door for you

Just a minute

Hector Vaughan put down his pen and went to the front door. At the door was a man that Hector had no recollection of. The man did not smile at seeing Hector, his was marble. He didn’t look like a salesman; he didn’t possess that sycophantic smile, that feigned affability that vexes. The man was nonchalantly leaning against the door frame; he was almost inside the house. He was tall, well built with a heavy moustache.

Can I help you

Mr. Vaughan

Yes

Good

Now he smiled. His teeth were grey and yellow. Hector did not invite him into the house. He took out his hands from his pockets. His hands were big and were covered with rings of gold.

May Vaughan seeing the man smile at her husband went back into the kitchen and turned on the kettle.

Good

Yes, good

Hector’s perplexity was ostensibly intangible for the man presented himself unabashedly without an introduction.

You owe me Mr. Vaughan

Owe you

The man’s impassivity exacerbated Hector’s confusion. The man’s behavior was indeed uncouth. It was unconjecturable.

Are you all right dear

Tell her you’re going on an errand

What

You heard me

The man removed himself from the door frame. Hector took a few steps back. The light barely illuminated the man. Hector thought about shutting the door in the man’s face and calling the police. The man was threatening, the way he looked at Hector, the way he stood, the tone of his voice.

Does your friend want a cup of tea

No

I might

You can’t

You owe me

What

The man didn’t look crazy, but he was acting crazy. Hector didn’t appreciate the man’s domineering manner. He was a con man, that’s what he was, Hector had him figured out, he was on the scam.

Listen there’s nothing here for you be off before I call the police

Don’t make me laugh

You won’t get any money out of us

I don’t want your money

What do you want

I want you to come with me

Come where

On a little trip

Hector started noticing little things about the man, his nose had been broken numerous times, there was a scar under his left eye, a few teeth were missing and he was dressed in all black, black slacks and black leather jacket. A few grey hairs were spouting out of the moustache.

Listen mate we don’t want to involve your old lady

Hector acquiesced. Not for himself, but for his wife. The last thing he wanted was to have a stranger upsetting her. He tried to close the door but the man’s foot stopped it.

I need to get my coat

Leave the door open

Hector turned and picked up his coat.

Dear I’m going on an errand

Don’t be long

I won’t dear

Hector closed the door behind him, locked it and followed the man down the garden path. The man kicked open the garden gate and led the way to a jaguar that was packed.

Get in the car

Hector did as he was told. The car was big and clean. It smelt of woman’s perfume. Hector’s eyes smarted. The perfume was too much. He felt as though he was asphyxiating. The man started the engine. Slowly, the car rolled into the road. Hector turned and watched his home fade into the night and become another flickering light.

Don’t forget your seatbelt we don’t want the Bill stopping us

As the car speeds up Hector watches the night pass him by, his thoughts come and go but do not register, he finds himself comfortable, dislodged from the reality. The man smokes, stubs out the cigarette, smokes again. The radio is turned on the man groans and switches the radio off.

Crap

Excuse me

The radio

The man whistles. Nods his head, smiles, offers a cigarette, Hector declines with a shake of his head. Red light. The man taps the wheels, the gold coruscates. The engine roars. First gear, second gear, the car careens, veers, sways in and out and passes slow cars. The man turns on the radio again groans again and again turns off the radio.

Bollocks

A car pulls in front, cuts of the jaguar.

What the

The man puts his foot down, turns the wheel and draws along the car.

I’ll have you

The man is pointing at the lady in the other car.

You know something I knew this copper, he’d drive around, doing his job, a car would cut him off, he’d follow the car, radio in the plate, find out who owned the car, if it was a man he’d pull the car over and give whoever a ticket, now if it was a lady, he’d allow the lady to drive on, get on with her day, the copper would knock off work, but first he’d have the info of the lady in his notebook and he’d go home and phone the lady up and he’d sexually abuse her, a mean sick stuff, real crazy, the ladies, he did it thousands of times, anyway, some of the ladies went crazy, had to lock them up, he eventually was locked up, get into it a wee bit too much, started phoning from the station.

The moon rules the night and the night allows the sun

You’re in debt

Debt

Debt, you owe me

Hector nearly choked the enigma was lodged in his windpipe. It was all too much, the depth too much to fathom, the opacity too thick to scratch through, like a children’s story here was a puzzle, and Hector felt he was bogged down somewhere in the middle, there would be a dénouement, there had to be.

Stop the car I want to get out

You’re going nowhere

Stop the damn car

He laughed at Hector’s tenuous attempt at pugnacity. The laughing manifested the futility of rebellion. Hector wiped the sweat that had congregated upon his brow, sat back and watched the road. It would be otiose to fight.

You’re a dirty man

You’re got the wrong man

Bollocks, I saw you, you owe me

Hector thought about biting off his tongue. If he bit off his tongue and his mouth filled with blood and he spat out the blood then the man would have to stop the car. Hector was being fatuous.

Listen I saw it all. I saw what you did to little Jane. You dirty bastard. I was shocked and believe me it takes a lot to shock me. I’ve seen a lot. But you made me wince

What are you talking about

They drove deep into the city. The darkness of back streets enveloped the car. What pusillanimity Hector experienced dissipated. He was too perplexed. He just drifted into the center of himself and allowed this journey to unfold like a nightmare. Hector did not have the will to shake himself from this fictitious deep sleep. He passively watched the prostitutes, the pimps, the johns, the junkies, the thieves flittering pass the window in a prismatic electric blur.

Now what she did to you I’ve no problem with. But what you did to her was out of order. Understand? It was out of order. So I need you to do something for me

The man was speaking euphemistically. Hector was being black mailed.

How’s your cock old boy

The car pulled up to a nondescript house. The man turned off the engine.

Does it hurt? It must do. Right knock on the door. I’ll wait here. Don’t let her close the door on you

Hector walked up a garden path. The garden was a jungle, parts of toys, beer cans, cigarette packets, sodden cardboard boxes lay scattered about the overgrown weeds and bushes. A stale odor filled Hector’s nose, the odor was emanating from the council house. Hector knocked loudly on the door. A young, emaciated girl answered. She looked puzzled. It was as thought Hector was staring at his own confused physiognomy. Suddenly with alacrity the perplexity was superseded with a horror. She tried to slam the door in Hector’s face but the man had his huge foot in the doorway. Knowing that she couldn’t close the door she ran into the hallway screaming. It was a sepulchral scream, Hector shuddered. The man pushed Hector out of the way and chased the girl into the house. Before she could escape through the back door he dragged her to the floor by her hair.

I’ve got kids upstairs

I don’t give a flying fuck

She was weeping hysterically, but it was pointless, all this weeping stirred him not. The man dragged her by the hair into the front room. It was an untidy room. There were dirty plates and such things everywhere. Hector closed the front door behind him and followed them. The reek of the house disturbed his senses. The man was standing over the girl. He had his foot placed upon her breasts. She could not move.

See this man here he likes whores to shove tubes down his japs eye

What

He can’t get off with a leg over. He needs something else. Just like you. He needs a tube inserted down his piss pipe and you need junk. You’re a match made in heaven

Bloody fucking hell

She was now looking directly Hector. She cut through him and elucidated his balding head, the glasses, the rosy sagging cheeks, the ramification of many pandial orgies. Hector was that bank manager, he was that solicitor, he was that judge. He could feel her venom. The cadaverous bitch was judging him.

Not only does he like being fucked with a tube he likes to beat girls up. He likes to hit them, punch them, kick them, fuck them and sodomize them. He’s a sick fucking puppy he is

The girl started to shout, the shouting turned to pleading, begging and collapsed into a pitiful weeping. She tried to escape but she couldn’t move. The man nodded at Hector. What emotion or desire impelled Hector to move he could not fathom. But the next thing he knew he was standing above the girl. It was now his foot that was pressing down upon her ribcage.

Do this and the debt is forgotten

~~

paul kavanagh was born in england 1971. he is happy. his wife is happy. together they are happy.

She flashed past me in the morning rush, lost in the crowds of the tube station. But that sight, seeing Hermione again – it changed everything. Made me realize I could no longer pretend, no longer live without her. 

I continued my journey to work in a daze. But following the throng out of Bank station towards the office I knew I couldn’t face it. Not today. Maybe not any day. I phoned in sick and went for a coffee somewhere. Three, four coffees. Sitting staring out the window, thinking about Hermione. Seeing her sail through the crowds, independent, triumphant, walking out of my life all over again.

Our split had been so unjust, so unnecessary. We could have talked, could have worked things out, but she wouldn’t let me near, refused to even speak to me. I’d spent the last six months in a state of numbness, disbelief; slowly enduring a breakdown that I’d tried my best to deny. But watching the world go By, people rushing about like demented ants, I had a flash of clarity, a sudden brainwave.

It was so simple. I would simply be with her. Simply put myself there. A presence, following, watching. It was the only way. Keeping my distance, discreet, but always there, watching from the wings. After all, Hermione would tolerate nothing else. She was hardly the most level-headed of people, was she? Too sensitive, highly strung. That night we finished for example. I hardly touched her – a push, a slap maybe, it was nothing. I’d had a drink, okay – but God. 

Hermione getting the police involved was ridiculous. I never caused those bruises. It was as if she’d caused them herself, headbutted a wall or something just to get at me. And telling them that I’d raped her – came in throwing my fists about then actually raped her. Was she out of her mind? Hated me that much I suppose. But atleast she dropped the charges.

She moved into her friend’s place in Clapham.The other side of London . And of course there I was, drunk, banging on the door, and her friend answered. Go away, rapist. Tried to slam it in my face. I lunged for her, but held myself back just in time, had to keep control, had caused enough of a mess as it was. God, that’s it, you’re mad, I’m calling the police right now. Don’t bother, I said. I’m going.

Six long months. Mr Nine to Five. No queries, no complaints, nothing. Being hollowed out, eaten alive and nobody even noticing. That’s how much people really knew me.

But now that was all over. I was bringing Hermione back into my life. Making my life complete – atlast. It was the best idea I’d ever had. Why hadn’t I thought of it before? Fear, I suppose. The shackles of convention. The law. Well fuck it. It was time I started thinking about myself for a change, the things that mattered to me. And I’d begin right now. Go to Clapham, research – find out if Hermione still lived there for a start.

I walked all the way. Needed the air, the freedom. For too long I’d been following the herd, denying my needs. No more. I was walking on air. Finally alive. Crossing London Bridge  the sun broke through, drenching the Thames in silver and gold, the world emanating warmth, a glow, an affinity. I hummed a tune, smiled at passers-by. Happiness was there if you wanted it, available for all, but for too long I’d been trapped in a prison of my own doing, hadn’t taken action, done a single thing to help myself. Euphoric, I gazed over the mighty river glistening with all the light and joy of the world and thought of Jesus walking on water, saw my arms aloft in the air, all wrongs ready to be put right, Hermione running towards me, back into my life. Reaching the south side and heading through Borough it was again overcast and grey, low dirty clouds threatening to spoil things, but I could only smile, nothing mattered, nothing could stop me now.

I reached Clapham. Weaved into the backstreets. Big area, lots of identical streets, identical houses – to an outsider like me atleast – but like a radar I found my way. Stood outside the house shivering with excitement. Hermione lived in the basement, her room was at the front; I knew this because I’d seen her peeping out the night her friend had called me a rapist. Behind the windows, new white gates were installed prison-style. Stay out, they said. Stay out of my world. But Hermione, I smiled, I just want to be near you. Have to be near you. No choice. Think of me as a guardian angel. You won’t even know I’m there.

I walked down the steps. The blinds were partly open and I pressed my face to the glass, peered directly in. It was unbelievable – Hermione’s whole existence laid out for me to see. The same duvet on her bed and her familiar black M&S negligee slung over a chair. One of her drawers open, underwear spilling to the floor.

I heard a noise and looked up. At ground level a middle-aged woman was standing by her door staring down at me, must have been wondering what the hell I was doing. Oh, hello there, I said cheerfully, nice day, mounting the steps and walking off. Later, this woman was to tell the police that despite my smart appearance I was drunk, maybe on drugs. I still can’t work that one out. Maybe she’d been standing there for ages and I’d been talking to myself, thinking aloud. I don’t know. Even more bizarre was her allegation that I’d been “lewdly touching myself”. Absurd. The woman must have been mad.

I had hours to kill – Hermione wouldn’t be back till around six – so I decided to explore, get a feel of the place. After all, these streets would be like a second home to me.

But before I go on… I may as well tell you now. My brainwave, my plan, was never to be. Something got in the way –  nature, God, fate, you tell me – whatever it was, it cut my intentions dead.

It happened like this. I was passing a row of shops by a housing estate. A group of youths were loitering by a bench, eyeing me menacingly. One of them spat at my shoes. I ignored them and walked on. Further up, an angry-looking black guy with gold teeth and cane-rode hair stood shouting and swearing into his mobile. I didn’t like this part of town atall. Gentrification one minute, ghetto the next. I pictured Hermione running the gauntlet each night, rapists, muggers, seeping out from the cracks like slime, gutter life that didn’t deserve to breathe her same air. But not any more, though. Never.

I wasn’t afraid of these people. I could handle myself. I’d made it to blue belt in Tae Kwan Do, and in my youth did judo, kickboxing for years. God, up until the split I’d be in the gym two, three times a week, playing regular squash before work. But I’d changed, lost interest in things, evenings spent staring at the walls, drinking myself to sleep. It was shameful. No more. Things were going to change.

But to be honest, these days you needed more than fitness or martial arts. Knives were everywhere. Stabbings a national trend, all you ever fucking heard about. Changes things. I’d have to glow with the flow, carry something myself, something big, a meat knife maybe. Butcher’s knife. Scare the bastards away just from looking at it. Definitely, that’s what I’d do. In fact, I’d find a shop right now, equip myself from day one. Be prepared. I could peddle hate just like the next man. Try me.

So there you go. That was me. All ready to go through with it. Equipped as well. Big Mr Commando with his martial arts skills and combat knife. Nice idea. But as I say. Didn’t happen.

What did happen, happened fast. Rushed by like a dream. But now I see it crystal clear, every moment. The Golf VW pulling up in line with the black guy on the mobile, another guy leaning out, and he’s holding something (a Mac-10 submachine pistol). Then gunfire. Glass shatters as the man tries to escape, moving along the pavement towards me, face locked in a sneer of determination, but the bullets are following him, insistent, demanding their kill, and I watch their impact as they connect, tearing in, spraying everywhere, until I too am caught in the flurry of fire, body shaking in a death-dance as the lead pounds into my skin. The man tumbles into me and together we fall, bullets ricocheting off the pavement around us. Car skids away.

We lay facing each other, speechless, numb. Silence lasting a short eternity. Blood bubbled from his mouth, eyes wideopen, imploring, not wanting to die. I watched them glaze over. Heard the death hiss. The sound of the street reassert itself, sirens, radios, stay back, a voice trying to speak to me, asking my name, stay awake, everything will be okay. But I was slipping over, a new world pulling me in, promising colours and love and life, leave me at peace, let me go, fall into Hermione’s embrace, sleep there forever.

I woke from my coma a week later. I’d made the front-cover of The Evening Standard. CITY WORKER CAUGHT IN FATAL SHOOTOUT. Square Mile Accountant Fights For Life in Intensive Care. And the next day: CITY CROSSFIRE VICTIM WILL BE PARALYSED FOR LIFE. And so forth. A media frenzy, my face cropping up for weeks in reports of thugs on the rampage and gun violence out of control. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – THE SHOOTING MUST STOP. I was all the rage. Always the same photo: my smiling face, suit and tie, model citizen gunned down at the peak of his life, peak of his career. If they hadn’t edited it Hermione would have been there too, right next to me – taken on our Barbadian holiday I think – smiling for the camera, the perfect couple.

But the police thought I wasn’t so innocent at all. They wanted to know what I was really doing in the area. Thought I could have been involved in a drugs deal gone wrong or something. Or worse. Pinning all kinds of things on me. But I stuck to my story of having thrown a sickie to look for a new property to rent south of the river; nothing to do with drugdealers or my-ex girlfriend or anything of the kind – what was I, some kind of criminal?  But they didn’t believe me, not for a minute. Not with Hermione’s little rape fantasies on their books. Not to mention her neighbour’s little masturbation stories (and what fucking business was it of hers anyway?) And oh, of course the wrap of cocaine in my wallet. But, well, nothing I could do about that. 

But what did I care? The press loved me. My story even made the nationals: my face up there in The Sun, part of an anti-crime campaign, Lawless Britain, the whole-country’s-going-to-pot kind of thing. They’d never ruin a good moral story – wouldn’t be interested. I was a hero. Hero of London’s escalating violence, the gun terror sweeping the capital, sweeping the nation. I was spotless. Good job I hadn’t bought the meat knife though. 

The other guy got no attention atall. He was just the criminal in the backdrop. A faceless extra. Scum, basically. His name was Michael Nelson, twenty four, lived on the William Bonney Estate, Clapham. Known crack dealer. Other than that I know nothing. But in a way I feel a strange bond with the man, this stranger whose fate drastically altered my own. I often think about him. Wonder what his life must have been like. If there was any real humanity there. Or if he maybe deserved all he got. I don’t know. It’s confusing. Right and wrong. Love and hate. Sometimes I see silly things. See us laughing and talking, the City finance worker and the street gangsta, touching fists, comparing wounds, sharing a beer, maybe a puff of something stronger, joking about our little escapade together and the wildly different spectrums of our universe. But that’s bullshit because he’s dead and I’m in a wheelchair.

You read the headline. I’m paralysed. One of the bullets hit the nerve of my cervical spine, fucked my nervous system. I’ll never walk again. I have other problems, other complications too, but I won’t go on, I won’t bore you. Fucked is a good enough description. My brain is alright though – that’s one thing, I suppose. But still, sometimes I wish those fucking amateurs had just used a shotgun. Done the job right. Bang.

But no, that’s just self-pity – everyone has their off-days. Ignore it. I do. I’m not bitter. In a way, the perpetrators (whoever they are) have done me a favour, solved alot of my problems. All that real world stuff, for example. That rat race crap. Striving for everything, gaining nothing. I don’t miss it atall. You can keep it. Leave me to my own world.

As for my plan, my brainwave –  it was destined to fail regardless. Never would have worked, not in the real world. I would have been given a restraining order within five minutes. And what then, be belligerent and do jail time? I don’t think so. No – my place in the outside world was destined for failure. I accept that now. 

In my own way I’m closer to Hermione than I ever would be in that world. Things are different now. I see things in the kind of perspective you could never understand. Fantasy is now my reality. A reality more vivid, more meaningful than plain old life ever was. Those bullets opened my mind, they really did. Showed me the way. I live in a new realm. I close my eyes and she’s there – eternally.

I’ve come to terms with my physical afflictions, and I must say, the drugs have been a massive help – no more screaming and shouting for me, no more hate (giving the nurses hell – you should have seen me), that’s history, I’m a new person now. Drugs, yes – great things. In fact, I’m pushing the doctors for more. All the time – more more more. Becoming quite an obstinate little junkie in fact.

But what the hell. I’m in love.

  ~~

  

I live in  London and have other stuff on Scarecrow, the beat and Laura Hird’s site.