John's cigarette rationing has dropped from ten per day to none. At least none that I will physically get up and give to him myself. But,if he can manage to rise out his wheelchair and reach to the top of the bookshelf, then he can have as many as his black little lungs can handle. So far, though, the nicotine carrot has yet to coax a walking miracle out of John. All it has done is destabilize him – even further.

“You sick, nazi, sadistic, slippery piece of shit!” John screamed, as he came zipping into the living room. I lowered my Barbara Cartland novel, just enough to show him two wicked eyes, and then carried on reading. “Oh, how powerful you are! First the top lock on the main door, then refusing help with my toilet issues, and now the fucking cigarettes. Fuck, Christ! D'you even realise what you're becoming? A torturer... an abusive fucking torturer!”

I dog-eared Hungry for Love on page 22 and laid it to one side. “By those kind words I take it to mean you're busting for a cigarette? Well, you know what to do: get up out the fucking Dodgem car and take one. I'm not your slave, John... I'm not your anything. When you turned your arse away from me, choose to fart against the wall, you gave up more than just a lover!”

“What d'you mean take one myself? I can't fucking walk! Now get me a cigarette. I want a cigarette!”

“NO! You want one: get it. Simple maths. Same as if you want Brian, open the door and take him. I'm not stopping you from doing anything, just not helping.”

“Not stopping me?! What, the cigs got up there all by themselves? Fuck Christ did they. It'as you, your evil that put them there. And you're even pathetic enough to sit keeping guard all fucking day. Sad Tristy, even for you, very fucking sad!”

“Oh, strain another shit.. that one's gone all stale and crusty! When you need to get out of bed alone you can, and since I've stopped with the potty help, all of a sudden you've no problems getting in and out of your chair. And your legs... well, at night they work perfectly OK – your cock too! Paralyzed my arse. It stops here! You, Mr McManus, will learn to walk... the hard way.”

John didn't reply. I think he saw that this time I was deadly serious, that a switch had clicked inside. Instead, he just sat with his sulky head on, staring up at the corner of the cigarette packet which I had purposely left overhanging from the very top of the bookshelf. After a moments cursing he powered over to the shelves and started looking around the side, up the back, pointing to things and making mental calculations as if trying to figure something out. For a moment I was scared he was going to do something intelligent, but no, he reverted back to Battleship and began launching surface-to-air missiles:

The Castle of Love
The Cross of Love
Love is Triumphant
Love Becomes Theirs
Love Drives In
Love in the East
In Search of Love
They Sought Love
Love Is The Reason For Living
The Heart of Love
An Unexpected Love
The Importance of Love

My prized Barbara Cartland Pink Collection, one by one, twirling through the air in an attempt to knock the cigarettes down. When To Heaven With Love skewed past its intended target and clattered into Jaw's bowl I could take no more. “Ok, ok, OK! Enough. I give in. You win: again! You can have one cigarette, ONE, and no more!”

John paused in the midst of his latest backswing. He lowered his arm, looked at the book he was about to chuck, grimaced, then threw it anyway. It smacked into the bookshelf and fell on the floor: ssǝuıddɐH ɟo ǝsnoH ǝɥ⊥

As I clambered over and around John to reach the cigarettes, I made sure that I caught him a good one in the face with my elbow. Oh it felt good! Really good. Almost as good as coming. “Here,” I said, bouncing a B&H off his head “and don't dare ask for any more.”

John hastily gathered up the cigarette, shoved it in his gob, lit it and inhaled deeply. For a second, maybe two, everything stopped. Then he exhaled and turned to me. “Cocksucker!” was all he said.


  1. 'For a moment I was scared he was going to do something intelligent'

    This is the greatest fear I have about those who work with or are related to me.

    Babs Cartland is the most underrated writer of her generation (Our dear Queen Mother being the last of that hardy gang - I remember watching the pair of them whooping it up on gin and rum screeching 'Still above ground gal!' and chinking glasses).

    In centuries BC will be re-appraised by French literary theorists and have avant-garde films made based on her books, of which she has sold over a billion. She and I used to joke that we could build a church with them. And I sort of have...

  2. @ Lena: I'm glad my shitty life makes yours a little better... that's a little consolation, I suppose. X

    @ Abigail: It must be the changing season or something, but for the second time in a week I find myself in absolute agreement with you.

    700+ novels (and good one's at that!), now that's impressive. Apparently The Dame wrote a book every 14 days!!! And between sentences she also helped Gypsies, flew planes an as you mentioned, fell over quite a bit. If there were ever two women who should never have wore high-heeled shoes it was her and The Queen Mum. No wonder Britain had a shortage of replacement hips when those two were around.

    Centures BC... you mean like 70 BC, etc? Hmmm, that could get a little confusing. X

  3. Well from my 26 years on this planet, I know hell has a funny side *wink*

  4. 'Centuries BC... you mean like 70 BC, etc? Hmmm, that could get a little confusing'

    Let me translate:

    'In centuries BC will be re-appraised' =

    In centuries to come Barbara Cartland will be re-appraised...'

    The English education system has gone down the drain since my day.

    Of course now The Nerds are feeding '70 BC' into their algorithms.


    No number you ever use can have been used randomly.

    I of course upped the ante by informing them what all good Biblical scholars know: that 70 AD not BC , was the date of The Siege of Jerusalem.

    Now I worry that I have gone too far.

    They are linking you with all sorts of weird ideas.

    Like they used to do with me.

    I even heard whispered the word


    This Will Not Stand.

  5. @ Lena: I'd *wink* back, but it'd probably only be mistaken for a nervous twitch! I know what you mean, don't worry... X

    @ A Winthrope: Messiah. Well, we all have our selling points to put on the CV. Mne just happens to be that. That's why I'm unemployable I suppose. Come to think of it, how do I live, pay rent, attend trolley dashes and pay council fines willy nilly??? I can see a night of revisionism coming on... X


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