John, a New Man

John’s more compatible than the assailant, obviously, because I can get to sleep while he zaps television mutely, but he may have made an analogous ostensible mistake: the assailant unilaterally decided not to take up a hostel place; John unilaterally decided not to go back to prison with a month or so to go before release. I was faced by the consequences of actions not agreed to, in John’s case by being made a criminal, at harbouring a fugitive, him, and I don’t like being a criminal. I couldn’t help postulate a worse effect on me from John’s decision against than Actual Bodily Harm. The way to get out of it somewhat was to insist he get a room elsewhere, a bolthole.

Because I’d recorded Match of the Day for him, he didn’t have to watch all of it into the early morning but could the remainder the next morning, so I was explaining this and how to switch off when he said he’d exchanged one prison for another. “You want everything your own way?” I asked as he went off to the bathroom and didn’t return. I went after, knocking on the door before entering the dark beyond. He would take more heroin before jumping off Richmond Bridge. I didn’t ask if he wanted a push. He would sleep in the shed. I laughed, “There’s not enough room. The bed’s big enough.” Since it was possible I was hinting he shouldn’t watch television, I’m not saying he was wrong to take umbrage though wrong to take it so far if, that is, he wasn’t deploying emotional blackmail along the adolescent line of spiting me by spiting himself or cutting off his nose to spite his face which I’d care less about than he should. I pointed out even on the run he could have a life and maybe – anonymous – fame and fortune if he wrote the memoir of his life as he’d been asked to. He subsequently put down his emotionalism to mood swings due to the drugs, because, as I remarked, I hadn’t known he was suicidal, thinking him remarkably cheerful. He said I’d been going on about his getting a place from the moment he’d got in, late. I was depressed from analysing and expressed it.

Having already chased the dragon, next day I smoked coke. He asked for an elastic band which I no longer saved. He improvised with sellotape around foil topping the pint glass he also asked for and I did have, obviously. He pricked meticulously with a needle a grate of holes one side the glass and made a hole the other side for me to suck through once he set the coke and requisite tobacco ash on fire. My nose felt chilled and my lips numbed. I couldn’t see the point of drugs which expensively sedate or numb.

He found while out transacting dead-on the nail head, as I think he expressed it, a slightly crooked ex-addict who detoxed people, including an ex-wife who, living with an addict, immediately went back onto drugs. It sounded promising. I didn’t doubt his good faith. Night before all he was waiting for was a call next day that it was okay and he’d be off for as long as it took and come back to me a new man. I’m not counting that chick yet.

There is however considerable pecking: he’s been given the okay, I’ve bought his return ticket and he should be off to detox – after a brief tox to get him there I’m subsidising reluctantly. He thinks it a step for us. It’s a step primarily towards his own good. He didn’t come back as he said to return my keys and for me to see him off. I thought he’d funked it and I’d have to change the lock. I couldn’t do anything much except make sure I knew how to work the phone he’d left to be able to contact me on with a different SIM card. The detox man phoned to find out where he was. Eventually John did turn up but couldn’t get in for neighbours hanging about so I went out twice: to give sandwiches, to give t-shirts and see him off. I was so pleased. He phoned about ten. I’m so unused to mobs I thought the cd player was playing up – it did have two discs in it as I later discovered – but deduced differently and phoned him back.

Watering the plants before washing up, I alerted Yvann who came up and we played pontoon with homosexual cards I unearthed rather than his ganja ones.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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