Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sin... 30 days hath...

February is a funny month, don't you think? It has to be awkward.. Has to be different.

"I don't want all those days the other months have. I want to be younger. I want 28. Oh, hold on.... no. I want 29. No, wait..."

Is it the child? A petulant teen that has to go against the grain and not fall into the nice ripple of days. Well, apart from July and August, of course, who have to throw it out of sync. But that's Roman emperors for you. Each wanting to top the other, or at least be equal - just more equal. Oh, no, that's the pigs...

But February. Why be a pain in the posterior? At one time you didn't even exist! Mars, the thunderous god of war kicked of the year with a bang. It wasn't until the second Roman King decided to juggle things about and chucked a couple more months in to line things up with their all important lunar cycle that you were even a twinkle in your daddy's eye.

Ah, lunar. Of course. 28 days - the time it takes a woman to turn into a werewolf. Or something like that.

But even then, you couldn't be first, could you. Relegated into second place by Janus, god of new beginnings and all that. But... I wonder if it's because he has two faces, so he was talking about you behind you back whilst being your best drinking buddy to your face.

July and August have their emperors. April, May and June are in league with January to be named after gods. September through to December sit quietly at the back, knowing that they were just named for when they fell in the year back when Mars was in charge.

Then there's you. When Caesar (Julius, that is) scattered some extra days around the months to copy the Egyptians and bin the old lunar year to honour the sun (I've been to Egypt, and it IS sunny), where were you? Busy with your purification rituals? Nursing the hangover from you night out with your new best friend Janus? Is that why you missed the boat?

And it takes you four years to risk leaping out to grab an extra one for yourself, eh?

So, really, you're not being awkward at all. You're not throwing a tantrum every quarter decade. You’re fighting for survival against gods, emperors and the quiet ones at the back (it's always the quiet ones...).

Well, I blame the Romans. I mean, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sin... Cindy of the Harp...

Don't judge a book by its cover.

That's what they say. What you see is not necessarily what you get. 'Cos he looks like a slob, doesn't mean he's a yob. 'Cos she looks like a tart doesn't preclude her having a heart. Because he acts like a prick doesn't mean he's got a small problem with over-compensation.

But it also doesn't mean that he hasn't, he isn't and she has.

The slob could be spending all his benefits on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs and could wake his son in the morning with a slap and send him to bed at night with a kick. The girl who dresses in skin-tight skirts with an identity crisis over whether or not they're belts and heels that a Sherpa would fear scaling, could quite easily be the estate bike who pays for her slobbish husband's alcohol, cigarette and drug habits by allowing all and sundry to park in her.

And Dr. Connors could, quite easily, be an eminently professional psychiatrist who believes the needs of his patients are paramount.

Well, yes. Indeed.

Jersey, the orderly who's so oily he could be an ecological disaster, is a slimy upstart who thinks all should bow down before him. Or, in the case of the female patients, kneel. Jeremy has kind eyes and a kind heart.

Mucous Mickey is mental - to be blunt but honest. Caroline had the grace of the lead in Swan Lake and the temperament to match.

And Connors likes to use a syringe. Enough said, no?

But, they do say, don't judge the book by the cover. Them's dangerous words.

Cindy, so she told us, liked to play the harp. When young, she wanted to be an angel. When older, a harp was the closest she could come without sitting on a cloud and growing a pair of wings. Given that we weren't allowed musical instruments other than pretending, in some cases, that the floor was the drum and the head was the stick, this was an unproven fact. But Cindy had an air about her that lifted you when you were in her presence. You were almost enlightened around her. If she actually did strum the strings of a harp, the notes would positively float.

As such, people gravitated towards her. She was the sun to the vacuum of the asylum and bodies not so heavenly were drawn to the way they felt when they stood next to or orbited her.

Though some would call it stalking.

It seemed that nothing could faze this ethereal being. She held her poise whilst crowded by the patients who couldn't help but want that drugless lift only she could give. She didn't flinch when Jersey pawed her and tried to have her kneel before his mighty sword. Total calm emanated from Cindy the harpist at all times.

Then Jersey called her 'his chick'.

He needed three stitches to his left eye. To my knowledge, the middle finger of his right hand was never straight again. And Cindy lay in a heap on the floor with blood pooling from her nose and bloodshot eyes staring at the ceiling.

She hated crowds. She hated to be touched. She couldn't bear to be within five feet of any person. She lived alone and had food delivered and left at her front door. She didn't go out in case someone bumped into or touched her. Contaminated her. Tainted her.

Apparently. So the orderlies said to each other when they thought we weren't listening - which was always. They said she was a hermit. A weirdo - fitted right in here.

In here, they didn't say but I knew, she didn't have the luxury of solitude. She only had the contamination she was so afraid of. So she turned inward. She pulled her fear inside and locked it away. Cindy's whole body held its breath, and her aura of tranquility was the result. Her collapse, her death, was nothing to do with me, I know that much. I do believe, however, that it was her escape. Her brain cried out just as she should have done long ago.

And it echoed out through her nose and the bood vessels in her eyes.

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover. You really shouldn't. I thought Cindy was the eye of the storm. I thought she was the calm before the calamity.

I was wrong.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sin... The Swing and the Roundabout Went to Sea...

Swings and roundabouts.

They make me feel sick. Well, they do. Put me on a rollercoaster that drags you up to the stratosphere before letting go so you can drop like a stone back down to earth, just being caught by the loop-de-loop before you can smash into the ground. Swing me this way and that, bouncing like Steve McQueen’s solitary baseball, and I'm fine.

Put me on a roundabout and I'll be fully prepared to vomit. I don't do roundandround. I've come off a rollercoaster and not been able to walk in a straight line due to my body still thinking there's one more turn to fly into. But a roundabout makes my head spin and my stomach follow suit.

And if the roundabout is the jacket to that suit, the swing is the trousers and matching waistcoat.

Back and forth, back and forth. I'm not a pendulum, you know. I'm not a pocket watch to hypnotise the masses. My body is not tested, to my knowledge, to withstand g-force and impact like a hard drive is.

I'm just me.

Look, forget about the strains a rollercoaster puts on your body, ok? I never said I was consistent.

Swings and roundabouts. Back and forth and round and round. I'm almost moving my body to the way of the words as I say them. Catch you on the rebound, as Luck would say, when she's not (well, she is a Lady) off picking Lottery numbers. What you don't gain on the roundabout, you get back on the swing.

Yeah sure.

So, if I have bad luck one day, eventually I'll have good luck another? Oh, really?

See a penny, pick it up and all day long you'll have good luck. See two pence and... you end up in an asylum, haunted by the cries of the people who are dead because of you.

I almost said 'that you'd killed' - but I didn't. I know what I've done, though I don't know how. I'm, at least, pleased we don't have pockets in here. Nowhere for a sly two pence piece to hide.

But, hey-ho-daddy-o, it's off to Purgatory I go.

Swings swing and roundabouts go around. It is what it says on the tin. A bit like me. Name's Sin, remember? Sin-sin-siree, there's no luck for thee, as my dear old dad might have said.

He didn't, but he might have. Substitute 'luck' for 'place' and you're getting hotter.

You might think I'm often on what you could call 'a downer', but I'm not, not really. But if you spend so much time with nothing to contemplate other than your navel, you're bound to feel blue and... fluffy. Usually I'm one of the more upbeat people in here. I keep the peace and the pieces. Fixing the fragments of fragility. Everyone is allowed an off day, but I don't think this is mine.

I'm not down, I'm just chatting. Chewing the cloth. Unfortunately it's wool so it gets to my teeth.

So. Swings and roundabouts - they make me feel sick. But at least the bucket I throw up into would be half full.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Sin... Valentine's Day...

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.

Lovers everywhere will be exchanging gifts of love and card in which they pour forth the words their hearts wish they could speak - except if a heart could speak it'd probably just gush blood, which would get messy, so it's potentially a good thing they actually can't...

Others will be buying cards and gifts for their other halves because they feel they have to, writing:


Me x'

and putting all their effort into doing only that.

The lovers will be feeling bubbles pop like exploding candy on your tongue whilst the 'others' will manage, at most, a perfunctory kiss. The first, in some cases, of the year. Cupid's arrow hit them years before, but the wound has healed now, leaving only scar tissue.

But still, tomorrow is Valentine's Day. The supermarkets and card shops will be resplendent with red as they try to thrust the seasonal gifts down your throat. Not, of course, that's it's entirely commercialised now, oh no... Some people, I know, refuse on principal to buy anything. They still show each other their love and don't need a piece of card or tat to profess such things. So many, though, will. Just because it raises a smile.

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow. Did I mention that? I think I did. Whether 'they' are lovers, 'others' or neither, they still have someone to share or not to share with. Out there they have that luxury.

In here, I have the orderlies. I have Connors. I have Bender, Mucous and more. I have myself.

I did have, almost, Caroline. Slush, grit and gristle put paid to that, if, indeed, there ever was a 'that'. Outside, once upon a time, I had my fiancée. The love of my life. My soulmate and best friend. But, she liked to take the bus.

The Number Five.

Love is... something dangled like a carrot to the donkey. You can stand at the window and see it peeking from beyond the horizon, a distant dot that you want to run up to and embrace, but you know you'll get a prick and electro-shock treatment if you do. For one such as I, who dances with the devil but has two left feet so keeps standing on his toes, love exists only to tantalise and tease. It haunts you in your padded cell, echoing your cries as if there was someone in there with you, sharing your pain.

But there isn't.

There's you.

And there's the pain.

A match made in... well, not heaven, that's for sure.

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow. Just saying...