Love of the Second Hand

Arabian Night

The book was beautifully bound, in impeccable condition and filled with the love of being read and enjoyed. Modern publishing of the classic ‘Arabian Nights’ I had the audio version, or what you used to call tapes when I had been a child. My brother and I had been passed them on from our cousin and we had played them repeatedly from our flat one speaker cassette player common of the period.

My favourite story had been ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ because my name was Ali and I thought the story was fantastic. Now there are numerous companies who produce personalised storybook for children, but in the eighties, it was something special. Arabian Nights have been reproduced by many different publishers but this copy was really something special.

My fingertips run over the arches of the front cover I can hear the low volume singing of a tune I had never heard before. I was in one of the larger charity shops at the top of Liverpool famed Smithdown Road. All the books are displayed in the window and I can’t seem to walk on by and not have a look inside. I turn to see where the singing was coming from, before me I can see a man, the vision of cool but in personality much more than appearance. However, not bad looking in saying that, ginger hair and a very contemporary matching ‘Tash’. He was shorter than me but very broad in contrast.

As I had turned around he had stopped singing:

‘No don’t stop!’

I insist,

‘Sorry, I didn’t realise I was singing out loud, I was working through the lyrics for the band’s new track.’

‘So you sing in a band then?’

I try not to sound so very impressed.

‘Yes, lead vocals, among other things, engineering work and single parent of two teenagers.’

Pausing for a second, I look at the copy of Steven Gerrard’s biography in his hand:

‘Is that for you?’

‘No its for my son, I am picking up some books for them for now, then I will start getting in some real Christmas presents later in the week.’

He continues to explain that he is trying to encourage his son to read, but always ensures he gets his daughter a book as well as she actually reads more of his books than he does in addition to her own.

I look around to suggest something good for a teenage girl, I spot a hardback called ‘Feminist don’t wear pink’,

‘This is good for teenage girls, it’s actually new out and fresh in Waterstone at to moment, I am surprised it’s second hand already.’

He picks up the book with an accomplished look on his face. As he flicks through he stops and reads aloud;

‘The first time I looked at my Vulva in the mirror………………………………………..I am not sure I am ready for this as a parent yet.’

I take the book off him and take a look inside, after reading a few headings;

‘Yes, it’s a bit too much isn’t it, is this what teenage girls are reading now?’

‘I think I’ll go for this one.’

He answers in haste with a copy of ‘I am Malala’ in his hand.

‘Good, that’s a much better choice, I’ve read that myself and it’s really good, her life in Pakistan and the build-up to her getting shot by the Taliban.’

Again, he looks enthused and smiles back at me:

‘I might read it after her myself.’

I smile back wistfully.

‘I think I best get the pink feminist book and keep in touch with the younger generation are thinking. I might only read it in small section though.’

We pay separately but leave together, stopping by the exit we smile at each other, as he leaves he utters:

‘See you again some time.’

‘Yes..’

As I walk toward Allerton, passing the Sali Army playing Christmas carols, my smile brims ear to ear and I chuckly silently to myself.

Take away Lobster to Liverpool

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‘All the Fun of the Fair’ is the latest installation from Liverpool based artist Alison Little. As part of the Liverpool Independent Biennial, it is being exhibited at 5 Bold Place. She presents a scene based in the American seaside resorts of Maine Country where the lobster is king and sold from the takeaway food stalls which litter the coastal towns.

Alison Little is an Artist and Writer, though her work she looks to combine her creative practice across visual arts and literature. ‘All the Fun of the Fair’ in its first concept is a short story of a young student who is raped during a summer placement in fairground town in the United States. This was written by Alison Little and has been published on her Blog in addition to several zines. This has been developed into a full chapter for the novel she is writing: Casual Nexus. In combination with the creative writing process, Alison produced a giant, man-size Lobster made from a process of creating a polythene shell and filling this with shredded paper. As an artist, she has been developing this technique for several years and often identifies similar subject matters of sexual violence and mental health. The lobster was exhibited for Sound City in the Baltic Triangle in combination with a reading of the original fictional source in May of 2018.

‘All the Fun of the fair’ the installation suspends the giant lobster form in the windows of Bold place. The inner side of the works contains statements related to the violation which can be read when looked at the mirrors located on the lower level. Sand runs across the bottom of the installation, covered by an arrangement of broken beach toys and discarded low-cost trinkets. These elements suggest American, Maine County, in particular, beach holiday debris. We present a New England seaside town where the lobster is prominent on the takeaway food stalls which line the Seafront.

In the initial short story, the rapist is transformed into a giant lobster, the girl unable to move throughout the act. To the underside of the shelled creature, we have a collection of statements relating to sexual predication. ‘Invade’, ‘Assailant’ and ‘Molestation’ are all prominent terms amongst the others present. The broken mirror is positioned to the lower side of the giant sea creature, this allows the viewer to position themselves to read the terms from different angles.

The ground space of the installation is cover with sand to suggest the golden beaches of the North American seaside towns. However, the beach area is covered in litter to suggest adverse lifestyles. The discarded freezer blocks and pick nick cups, in addition to food stall waste, set the scene for an unpleasant beach holiday. The prominently positioned coffee cup displays a label from Maine County, combined with a Portland Take away lobster box indicate the New England North Atlantic Coast. The end of games and childhood fun are presented through the broken and lost assemblage of outdoor toys. The burst and deflating paddling pool suggest an end to the innocence of infancy. An indication of celebration but also destruction are introduced by the exploded firework and the burst balloon. Could this be a fourth of July party gone wrong? Cheap State side Larger is forefront in the window display, Budweiser cans convey a seafront drinking party where the cans have been swigged down at pace. The presence of rough sleepers, or more commonly terms vagrants is given through the squashed, toxically coloured cider bottle. The American term these individuals ‘Bums’, they are present in these towns during the summer months, they travel to the resorts when the population swells to solicit the tourists. On a darker note, we are presented with narcotics, the indication of a luminously coloured crack pipe, surrounded by packets of Rizzla, cigarette papers used to inhale cannabis. Do we have a scene of destruction where intoxication of controlled substances is a factor? Ultimately, we have a final item of sexual debris, a Durex wrapper, the Transatlantic term being ‘Sheaf’. Has there been a sex act gone wrong, a liaison which has ended in devastation?

On first inspection we see a Transatlantic beach holiday representation, on deeper investigation we see a holiday gone wrong. We see destruction and devastation, we see negativity and hostility.

Dates: 3 August – 3 September, 2018
Location: 5 Bold Place, Liverpool, L1 9DN

See Map

Times: 07:30 to 23:00 daily (viewing from street)


Art In Windows is a small organisation that works with landlords and artists to commission and curate temporary and permanent art works for display in empty windows in and around Liverpool.
Art in Windows

The Liverpool Biennal Independents runs from the 18th of July until the 28th of October.
Independents Biennial

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BBQ Weather?

BBQ IMage

BBQ Weather?

It most certainly is…….to make the occasion I thought I would share an extract from the novel being written: Casual Nexus. The events, characters and occurences are strictly fictitious.

 


Today had headed towards the same remote area of the National Park, finding a desolate parking area his odds had looked good, however it was still before midday and there may be more day trippers later in the afternoon. His first move was to go for a walk around, realistically he couldn’t carry the corpse for three or four hundred meters. He finds a spot surrounded by tree’s and shrubs, this is his spot he declares low in volume but out loud. He collects the shovel, grid and coals from the back seat of the car. He begins to dig a large pit, going down almost four feet, scattering much of the soil amongst the scrubs so as it appeared less had been dug. Starting a fire in the grid he puts the grid in place.

While collecting the burgers and the chicken he opts to grab the suitcase as well. On returning to the fire pit he places the meats on the grid, the perfect cover. The flames have died down and the coals are white, but the pit is too deep for the meats to cook. It doesn’t matter he thinks to himself, he can eat when he gets home, just as he was debating opening the suitcase a dog suddenly joins him. The spaniel begins to sniff around the meat, he shouts get away and goes to kick him hard. The owner appears, shouting the dog, as comes over to put him on his leash he looks into the pit:

‘Looks like you dug that a little too deep.’ he addresses the man.

‘I prefer it that way, the meat gets cooked over a longer period, I call it slow cooking out in the wilderness.’ he responds ‘What business is it of yours anyway?’

‘I was just expressing an opinion!’ retorts the dog walker, as he strides off he murmurs ‘That will never cook to himself.’

When the canine and owner are out of sight he decided to wait a while before the next step of his carnage plans in case they return. He had lost reception on his cell but the timer display way still accurate. After around ten minutes he had a quick scout around, as there was no-one to be seen he moves the grid and empties the contents of the of the suitcase into the pit. After adding some lighter fuel the flames rise high engulfing the bedding from the motel and the clothes he had been wearing the previous evening. Although it is summer it is an unusually cold day, he warms himself from the heat of the fire. As the fabric are reduced the cinders he replaces the grid and the illusion of the barb-e-queue re-enacted.

Becoming a waiting game he begins to work through time sequences in his mind as he waits for dusk. Twenty-four hours since he arrived at the motel, twenty-four hours since he entered the restaurant, twenty-four hours since he first met Bara. As the night falls he heads towards the parking lot,

‘Such a silly girl’ he thinks to himself, ‘If she had of been quiet I wouldn’t have needed to kill her.’

His car is the only one remaining and there is no sign of anyone in the vicinity. He carries the body in the duvet, again trying to make it look like a sports bag just in case someone is lurking about.

He had kept the fire going, into the pit goes what is left of the Czech girl, head first then legs bent around. Again lighter fuel intensifies the flames, corpse becomes engulfed in flames. First, the burning of the skin didn’t seem that different to the earlier smalls from the charcoal, the muscle scented like beef in a frying pan, the fat similar to pork on a grill. The iron-rich blood still present giving off a coppery aroma combined with a type of musky sweet perfume created by the bodily fluids. As he resists the urge to vomit he looks towards the bite marks on his wrists, ‘Such a silly girl,’ he retorts to himself.

After around thirty minutes and a good prod around with a stick, the remains look to have been reduced to ash as much as possible. He then begins to fill the pit with soil he had removed earlier. Now, only two feet deep he starts a new fire in the pit, as the flames flash up he picks up the grid, discarding the meat into the bushes and puts it back into place. As the flames diminish he decided to make a move, it will simply look like a BBQ pit tomorrow if anyone walks through the natural enclosure. The last twenty-four hour ago, marker clicks into his mind as he drives in the direction of home, twenty-four hours since she made me throttle her, such a silly girl.

Kissed by Satan

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Kissed by Satan is a central chapter to the novel: Casual Nexus being written by Alison Little. This chapter looks at what happens to the central character Sal meets with a college friend to confide in what had occured early in the summer. The extract looks at when the two charcters meet up from there summer jobs in the United States:

The sun beams down, Sal had not been waiting for long by the clock tower when Devi arrived. After greetings Devi told Sal now tanned she looked, Sal hadn’t realised but in view of the fact she had been wearing nothing but shorts and T-Shirts for the past four weeks she must have browned out a bit. Sal looked at Devi, she was wearing the same well-worn clothes she had always wore, combined with spotty skin and greasy hair she could not think of anything which was complimentary but genuine to say about her appearance. When Devi had first come to Uni the girls in her Halls of Residence had tried their best through lending her clothes and hairstyling tips. This was to no avail she simply resorted to the same shabbily dressed girl with hair and skin in desperate need of attention. Sal decided to compliment on over her summer job instead:

‘Looks like things are going well for you in your job, use of a car and everything.’

Devi smiles:

‘Yes, it’s been great getting around on four wheels.’

A Letter to Fat Fiasol’ Mother

Fat Fiasol env copy

A Letter to Fat Fiasol’ Mother is a flash fiction piece from Alison Little. She created the prose as an exercise while writing her novel, Casual Nexus. The piece adopts the point of view of the main character of the narrative: Sal and is directed towards the Mother of an undercover Police Officer who failed her through his role as a detective. The Mother is shown to be deluded in regards to the warped characteristics of her only son and unashamed of his conduct. All characters and events are fictional and not based on actual occurrences.

Explicit Content Warning

Fat Fiasol

A Letter to his Mother

Why your Son was not good enough for me!

So who was Fat Fiasol? He was an undercover copper sent to me to see what he could decipher, to find out, to gain knowledge of and to obtain answers. A rat, a serpent, a man with no boundaries, a man who was not good enough for me. A man who seeks to manipulate women, to lie, to misguide, and to get them to play along to his warped agenda. While all along his real goals are for the respect of men: touching their balls, laughing at their jokes too much and playing the suck up. Overweight, unfit, poorly presented, egotistic, over talked, over domineering and a man who was not good enough for me! A man who regretfully I engaged in a brief relationship with, a minor interlude, a brief fling, a bit on the side, a non-committal affair. Something which I deeply regret to this day, as he was not good enough for me!

So, back to Fat Fiasol’ Mother

Reasons why he was not good enough for me!

  1. He talks to much and he refuses to listen to reason. When we were together for a brief period, a very brief period, he was told by one of the other girls in the year above us at Uni that I had slept with one of his former House Mates Goth. As in the case of all student houses everyone is boxed in like caged hens, one goes and another one comes in. And the chickens collude with who is there and then who comes along after, there is no long-term commitment, no promises are made and the monogamy of adulthood is yet to take shape after your University days. However, in this case, I had not slept with his former room dweller, it has been one of the other girls, Kate, the mistake in being that she also had red hair. When I tried to explain this to your son, he would not listen, take it in, or recognise that a mistake had been made. His head stuck in his idea of what had happened, no notice of my words was taken. Only when Goth had come to visit I had asked him to explain did he actually listen to what he was being told. Finally, I had got through to his thick head.
  1. He is over domineering and he aims to control women. Again, on one occasion there was no reasoning with him and he went over the top using some of the most degrading language any woman should have to endure. In this I walked out in tears, found by my friend Kaz, she then suggested we go shopping together to cheer me up. I agreeing we walked to town, she didn’t ask what has happened but it was obvious, managing to stop crying we went in to look around River Island. As we went around looking at the clothes my phone began to ring, which I ignored, then a second time which I ignored again, then on the third time I answered the phoned and told your son:‘Just Fuck Off, al-right’

    This was to the delight of all the women in the store as it was really obvious what had been going on. Kaz then had a great idea, as Anne Summers was next door, she suggested we go and look at the vibrators, my response being

    ‘Yes lets’

    As we discussed which one to go for all the women that had been shopping in River Island gradually came into Anne Summers as looking at the vibrators also seemed like a good idea. So somewhere between retail therapy and the discussion of dildo’s I forgot any feelings I had for your son.

  2. His warped interested in internet porn. In hanging out around his share house my self and one of my friends Gay Tigger had been getting stoned together, I was starting to think there might be something going on between your son and Gay Tigger so I pretended I had passed out and let them get on with whatever was happening. I heard then start up Fiasol’ PC and worked out they were looking at what he had ‘Stored’ on his hard drive. I realised that this was porn and held back, I heard Fiasol say,‘Wait for it, it’s about to come out’

    In this I was imagining some sort of gay porn where the man was about the ejaculate, I sat up very slowly to look at what was going on without them becoming aware of my presence. What I actually saw was worse than I had imaged, it was a woman shitting slowing, he had been waiting for the shit to start coming out, it had been turning him on and I had been with him…. I felt sick and left. I found some sanctuary when I bumped into the girl he had gone out with after myself and she also felt sick about ever having been in a sexual relationship with the man.

  3. The bazaar sex life we shared in which he was overly dominant. The main activity seemed to be turning me around cuddling up behind me, placing his minuscule only ever semi-erect penis between my bum cheeks, but never fully inside. His kind of moving it to and throw for a very short space of time followed by some sort of mini ejaculation like a toddler sneezing producing very little substance. This was then followed by a Police report about how I enjoyed anal sex because he wanted to boast to everybody at the Police station. 

     

  4. The ultimate reason why your son was not good enough for me; his interpretation of an attempted rape case. Through his only real desire to listen to his own voice, he decided to forget the reason the Police had sent him to form a relationship with myself was to find out what had happened between myself and a serial rapist and didn’t bother to ask in regards to the incident. When asked at the Police Station what had happened he made up his own version of events, leading the Police to believe I was unreliable as I had changed my story about what had happened. He was not remotely interested in doing anything about a rapist then managed to turn the angle of the investigation into how badly treated by myself he had been as this gave him the opportunity to whine on and on. Your son, the ultimate example of Police incompetence.

So Fat Fiasol’ Mother, the reasons why your son was not good enough for me! He talks too much and he won’t listen to any of the girls. He seeks to manipulate, he works to warped agenda’s, he loses sight of right and wrong. He his sick fetish tastes in porn, bazaar sexual desires, he is sexually inadequate, he is unable to get a proper erection. He was incompetent as a Police Officer in every way and most of all he was more interested in the sound of his own voice and getting his little end away than he was in doing anything about a Rapist. So Fat Fiasol’ Mother those are the reasons why your son was not good enough for me, his next girlfriend or any any other women. So instead of sitting there in defence of your offspring, I suggest you hang your head in shame.

A-Z of Amazing Women

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A-Z of Amazing Women is the new range of prints from Alison Little. The main print takes us through a range of iconic women alphabetically, these are combined with a range of prints of individual women with short statements. She Talks us through why she selected the women for the new range:

Anne Frank                                 The young girl whose diary gave us a real insight into the                                                      Holocaust.

Mary Berry                                  A national treasure, the cooking show host who                                                                      frequents our TV screens.

Cruella Devil                              The 101 Dalmatians leading lady that really kicked ass.

Diana, Princess                         She stole the heart of the nation, her legacy will live                                                               on for eternity.

Emmeline Pankhurst                Led the Suffrage Movement into women gaining the vote.

Florence Nightingale               The nurse who became a Victorian icon and through                                                             making her rounds became known as ‘The lady with the                                                       Lamp’

Ariana Grande                         The singing superstar who helped survivors after a suicide                                                     bomber detonated an explosion at the Manchester                                                               Arena during her performance.

Barbara Hepworth                   The sculptor who led the way for women to work with                                                             heavy materials such as bronze.

Laura Ingalls                              The pigtail parading young lady who inspired young girls                                                       during her appearances in ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Joan of Arc                               The 15th Century female warrior who led the French to                                                           victory, when finally capture she was executed.

Kelly Holmes                              Double Olympic Gold winning runner who was awarded                                                       a Dame hood.

Sarah Lucas                              Leading feminist artist who represented Britain in the                                                               Venice Biennial in 2015.

My Mum                                   The ladies which raise, support and cherish us throughout                                                      our lives.

The Nolan’s                               The seventies all Irish sisters who sung there way into the                                                        limelight in the seventies.

Oprah Winfrey                         The all loving talk show host who became America’s first                                                        multi-billionaire Black person.

Pocahontas                             The native American who stared in the folk tale by saving                                                      the life of an English man held captive when her own                                                            father tried to execute him.

The Queen                               Simply, the Monarch.

Eleanor Rathbone                   The Liverpool member of the Suffrage movement who                                                          helped get women the vote.

Sylvia Plath                               The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet acclaimed for her                                                                    collections.

Tracey Emin                              Turner prize-winning artist famed for ‘My Bed’, the                                                                     installation which caused controversy.

Eunice Huthart                         The contestant that beat the Gladiators then went to                                                            Hollywood to become a stunt double.

Vera Lynn                                 ‘The Forces Sweetheart’ who entertained the troops during                                                    World War Two.

Amy Winehouse                       Legendary for hit such as ‘Back to Black’ and ‘Rehab’ her                                                       music will live on forever.

Beatrix Potter                            The writer and illustrator who brought us books such as                                                           Peter Rabbit.

Malala Yousafzai                     The once school girl who survived being shot by the                                                              Taliban for going to school.

Renee Zellweger                     The Texas-born artist who became Bridget Jones.

All prints are A4 in size and available from Arts Hub.

Arts Hub

 

 

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I am the Superlambanana

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I am the Superlambanana

I sit on the mantle-piece, brought in a drunken surge from the local bottle shop. Originally cast in China, a miniature of Liverpool finest public artworks. I stand on my plinth and I look around this room, I see the early morning starts, breakfasts followed by the waking of the dog and then the cleaning of the front room. Observing my raised peak tail I see it lacks the rub and polish it received at the factory in China, again when unpacked at the wholesalers, then an extra special rub over when placed by the spirits at the Off Licence. At the factory I was one in a million, on the cargo ship one in a thousand then finally a simple sidekick to the bells whiskey which too many drunks chose to ignore when they stagger into the shop. Here I am an individual, I am the Superlambanana not one of many. I should be kept shinier and more glam to twinkle in the sunlight, but I stand proud as an almighty One-off. Watching everything going on I am central to the house, the head of the main room. I am the focal point, I am the master, I am the controller. Watching them argue, listening to them make-up, seeing their tears and hearing their laughter. I understand their desires and their disdain and I watch when they collide. The pet dog gets a free rein of downstairs, but he is nothing on me, I am glossy and smooth, shapely, standing tall and proud. He is rough coated, shreds his fur and bounces in excitement. He scratches and brings home flea’s, I gleam clean, I am the supreme.

I am the Superlambana.

‘I am the Superlambanana’ is a work of Flash Fiction written by Alison Little in February of 2018, she has lived in Liverpool for fifteen years and witnessed the Superlambanana become a symbol of the city.

Consequential

Copy me blog

Consequential is the final chapter of Casual Nexus, the novel being written by Alison Little, this is an extract from the chapter. The characters and events are not based on real people or occurrences.

Bea Richards has also heard about the exhibition which Sal had got work into earlier in the week. Like Kate, she had also remained in the area. Not amongst the student though, as minor aristocracy her Father had decided that she should remain in the parental home throughout her University years and his long-term vision was she should continue to live there even after she married someone suitable. After all his parents who had been first cousins had not got married to ensure that the finances stayed within the family for his daughter to go and reside in some student hovel!

Bea thought over the degree show, she had done well from sales, much better than everyone including Sal. After a year everything seemed to have dribbled off, she needed new designs and without the help of the Art Lecturers, she didn’t know what to make. She was owed money from several small handmade shops but was too scared to phone up and inquire about cheques being processed. She thought about how Sal wouldn’t have these problems, she would probably go to her exhibition opening, talk to everyone, sell her work and all the galleries would want her and her artwork. Remembering Sal’s confidence, her ability to talk to everyone and anyone of all ages and all different backgrounds. Her Father, as a Senior Officer had used the Police’s computer system to look to look into Sal’s family background and concluded that she was, in fact, working class and related to many undesirables and even one prostitute. Bea knew the reality of their year at Uni, everyone had looked at Sal as the classy number and despite being aristocracy she had come off as some kind of number two. Sal was the one everyone had wanted to be friends with, she was at the centre of all the student parties while Bea made polite conversation over dinner with extended family members who seemed to be related to both her Parents on an equal footing. Reminiscing over how streetwise Sal was, how she had known about Bea’s boyfriend had been sleeping with prostitutes all along when she had no idea about what was going on.

Bea thinks back to the meeting she had been asked in for at the Police Station last month. As Sal had moved away her Police file had gone to a new Force and different Officers were investigating the open crimes. They had wanted details on what Sal had been subjected to as a child, she had not realised that Sal had been sexually abused. The Officers asked her further details about where Sal had been in the States and when she had no information they had stated that it was important because it was in regards to a serious rape case. It wasn’t her fault she didn’t know anything. Next, they inquired over the report Bea had written where she had been abrupt with herself, asking if that could have been a reaction to the pressure she was under due to the stalker who was following her around? In response she had said she didn’t know, she was then questioned over why she had not given a more detailed Police report in regards to the stalker coming into the degree show. At that point, Bea started to cry and left the room.

On leaving the room she overheard one of the Officers ask the other:

‘Why didn’t they send in someone more attractive and much classier?’

Bea then began to sob loudly and went on route to find her Father in the office he had frequented for many years. She explained to him what had happened and that she didn’t know anything about the rape case and went through again who Sal was going to copy her after the degree show. Her Father then shot out of his seat so abruptly that he almost fell over,

‘I will speak to them.’

He directed, as he marches off Bea follows him and listens by the door. He began by insisting that his daughter was not expected to know anything about a rape case and that this ‘Sal’ brought trouble on herself. He progressed to ask what would have happened if the stalker had started following Bea around and that his daughter was there to be protected. The subject of Bea being vulnerable was raised and the matter of Sal being abrupt with her an absolute atrocity. Finishing off the discussion with how upset Bea had been after the degree show because Sal was going to copy her work. The two Officers were then subjected to a long rant about how Sal had been so jealous of his daughter. They decided not to answer any of his accusations, it was clearly another Senior Officer unable to acknowledge the failings of his offspring.

Later at the Police Station Bea files a report raising the mater of Sal’s exhibition and suggested that she had probably submitted work similar to her as she had been intending to copy her after the degree show. Tears flow down her face and smudge the ink she has been writing with, she thinks nothing of Sal’s brother who abuse her, nothing of the man who had raped her or the stalker who followed her constant for a year. Bea cries in pity for herself, the tears on the Police report acknowledge the inadequacies of the Policewomen and the failings of the Organisation.

Sleet Feet

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Sleet Feet in an extract from the fictional novel: Casual Nexus, currently being written by Alison Little. No characters or events depicted are based on real life.

 

Sal looks up towards the sky, daylight was only just beginning to make its way through the intensity of the waterlogged clouds. She looks up towards the street lamp, sleet is falling heavily, the cold ice of the snow combined with the raw whipping of the rain. The lamp shines from the centre, enlightening the heavy grey of the skies expanse. The sleet flickers across the illumination lashing towards the ground before it disintegrates and draws its way through the drainage systems. Sal shivers slightly, her feet were cold as her trainers were worn badly, the soles almost coming away from the main body even after being glued back together last week. Her mother had insisted on buying her new trainers for her return to college in September, because of the lack of money Sal had opted for a cheap pair and they were in tatters. She decided she would get a new pair at the weekend after she was paid off her part-time job collecting glasses. She wouldn’t be left with very much but there was a bit extra from the evenings she had covered to avoid Jack. The icy water seeps into her shoes, making its way to her toes as she shakes on the winters morning.

It is Wednesday of the week her brother Jack is home on leave from the army, Sal had been up and out before he had even got out of bed. Since his return on Sunday evening, she had managed to avoid any real contact with him. Apart from an obligatory ‘Hello’ she had either been out of the house or been able to make an excuse to go to bed early. This evening was, in fact, the only one where she was not covering a shift in the pub except Sunday, he should be going back on Monday, then she would be safe again. That afternoon Sal had stayed late in six form, there was an informal table tennis contest going on and she joined in, playing well in view of how distracted she felt. When everyone began to drift off she stayed until there were only one or two others then began to make her way slowly towards home. The darkness had returned, bringing the sleet and ice of the rain with it as the sunset. Although a fast walker Sal took her time, wandering from side to side making progress like a ship lost at sea, circling the expanse of the ocean.

Toes begin to blue as the ice from the sleet seep into the over worn trainers, Sal returns to the smell of her Mum cooking dinner. When she inquires about the location of Jack her Mother explains that he had going to stay with friends for the evening. Relief floods into Sal’s mind than through the tense muscles of her body. Later that evening she decides to boil pots for a bath, as she lies back, her small breasts covered by the bubbling foam bath she hears the rain rattling as it cuts intensely through the black of the night.

She thinks about how she will be safe tonight.

 

Riendeer versus Diesel

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The last call of the evening on my busiest evening of the year Christmas Eve, I overheard a comment about how reindeer must be soo much cheaper than diesel. Reindeer cheaper than diesel? You have to feed them and they eat loads. Harnesses have to be bought and you have to pay extra for the re-enforced ones when you have some many of the damn four-legged things. There’s re-hoofing which is bearly affordable then there are the exploitative vet’s bills. You need to provide stalls for them to sleep, a constant supply of hay is required, making sure it doesn’t get wet and there is enough to last over the winter. That’s in addition to the four-acre field which I am still paying off the mortgage on for them to graze and get exercise in the form of running around and playing silly animal chase games. Then you add in the time it takes to find them when they go missing, that Rudolf is a pain, always breaking out I think he’s getting his leg over with some girl reindeer probably thinning her antlers over on the other side of town.

Reindeer cheaper than diesel, as if!

End of the year, a year spent making toys with only the help of a number of miniature Elves. Exclusive, handmade, limited edition creations which utilise traditional manufacturing techniques. Then despite the fact I’ve travelled all around the World, over only one night, the kids aren’t interested in the toys. They want the latest Wii, hoverboard skateboards and pixel purses. It’s the North Pole, how are we supposed to churn out the latest digital technology creations on mass?

Then there the issue of everyone thinking I want to drink milk like I’m some kind of baby. I managed two brandy’s over Paris, one malt whiskey in Glasgow, then things seemed to be looking up on my first call in New York. I thought I’d been left some fancy cocktail, a long island iced tea or something, then when I went to drink it the mother snatched it from me. ‘That’s mine’ was followed by her slapping my hand like I was some kind of Street beggar.

It got worse in the Bronx, one woman was actually unconscious, the apartment stunk of the crack she had been smoking from the glass pipe which had been smashed on the floor. On waking she got me confused with some kind of oversized bat despite the fact I was dressed head to toe in Red. So not only do I have to pay taxes to support her crack habit, I am expected to provide the funds for her child as the father wasn’t there, I also am required to personally deliver presents for her offspring.

Then when I eventually get back there’s unharnessing the reindeer, feeding them, brushing them down and sorting out the stalls for them to sleep and making sure there’s something footed up again Rudolfs so he doesn’t get out. And what does my wife do while I do all this, she cooks dinner with the food I have afforded. I only got away from her whining about being menopausal a few years ago, before that she was always moaning about being pre-menstrual. Once, in the Seventies she even wanted me to pop to the shops and get some sanitary towels when I was still wearing my best Christmas Eve Santa Suit.

Next year I am cancelling Christmas, I am making no toys, there will be no more employment for blasted Elves, the Reindeer are going, the field will be sold and I am getting the latest diesel sleigh. No more milk, no more ungrateful kids and no more being expected to provide for Crack whores offspring.

Next Christmas is officially cancelled!