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Slack lives matter

  Sun 14th June 2020

Two mornings at the hospital, training sessions under suffocating mouth and nose masks which provoke the very face scratching that we are to avoid. We are issued with gaily coloured lanyards; I wonder when they'll turn black. To my relief, we are told that we won't be involved in inserting the needles into the patients' veins. I stand around as it's explained to me, all meaningless. I mean, having a value. I don't care about it.

We are told the job might not be full time. That might be handy, if I can work out how much I could get on Universal Credit. I don't want to work at all, really.

I ring Hayley, but disturb her as she is going to bed, at half past nine in the morning. Later, she dances up to me in the street, shouldering her tits and switching her miniskirted arse. She hands over the the fifty pounds I lent her a fortnight ago. I stop in surprise. Back at hers, the table is dotted with lumps of crack of varying sizes. Wasn't expecting Harry though. Face control to look pleased to see him.

Harry doesn't last long and goes off to deal with some commerce. Hayley starts on a recitation of some injustice in the division of the drug that will form the chronic leitmotiv of the ensuing hours. She's endlessly generous with me though, pipe after pipe of the grey clouds going gratis into my brain.

There's a phone call which snaps Hayley into action. She has been trying to persuade her dealer to come out to the woods for a "bike ride". She washes and half-dries her hair, changes her miniskirt, applies mascara, and puts her long brown boots on.

He's an amusing, voluble Irishman, who possesses that welcome trait in a drug dealer, of not hanging around. "Love you lots! Ring me!" she says, following him out.

"Do you think he fancies me?" We're suddenly at the school disco, but on crack and speed. I hadn't noticed anything, but I tell her that she's very fit and no man's going to turn her down if she showed an interest in him.

She rakes her hair. One splayed frond curves across her cheek and under her chin, the greater mass a corrugated approximation of a bob. She's back-lit against the window. We swap first time masturbation stories. She says that Harry filmed her masturbating from a tiny camera inside the telly. "You're heading for the loony bin you are."

I don't want to go, but I am aware of Cath's yanking leash, like Flo greeting Andy Capp. "I think we're stuck with each other now, don't you?" I say. "For life," she says.

A green light paints the pavement. A tiny cafe, converted tonight to a party venue. Six people were dancing inside, two more outside. "You're the family I never had," she texts, as I'm at the bus stop. A black man comes to the shelter and stands outside it. I'm a bit nervous, wishing he would sit in the shelter with me.

The following day, we're all down the park, and Hayley is one boring stream of complaints against Harry, who is doing his best, fetching Doritos and cider and reduced price sandwiches from Tesco. "He keeps saying he loves me. Means fuck all. You can love your cat."

I wish he could have stood up then, to give her a good verbal bollocking, followed later by an equally good rodding over the settee, instead of using that reasoning voice of a soft-cocked vicar that she finds so irritating.



Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Good morning.
Is your new job making tea for plasma givers whilst wearing PPE?
How old is Hayley? I am curious.

Sun 14th June 2020 @ 22:56 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Good morning Ms Scarlet! (And a very pleasant one it is too).

As I understand it, we’ll be setting up the equipment, labelling the various phials, going through their health questionnaire with them, taking a prick test from their finger, and keeping an eye on them while they’re pumping it out (ugh!). And yes, we have to wear those unbearable suffocation kits.

Hayley’s 42, but looks way younger. A bloke in a club we were in once thought she was 26.

Sun 14th June 2020 @ 23:13 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Yep, true, you can still get away with a lot at 42. At 46 a woman usually becomes aware of the oncoming train, when you begin start paying for all the unhealthy habits.

Ha! No, I can’t watch when I’m having blood taken! Good luck with it all.

Sun 14th June 2020 @ 23:38 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Well, it’ll be quite a volte-face for Hayley to start worrying like that, but you never know. I’ll tell you in four years’ time.

Thanks for the good wishes. I’m still waiting for my interview date with the Ministry of Naughty Boys, a job which might be a bit more interesting.

Sun 14th June 2020 @ 23:43 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I know i’ve said this before but Hayley reminds me of some of the women i used to know, luckily i was never really involved with them but knew them and it was a bit of a sport watching them work men over. “reasoning voice of a soft-cocked vicar…” gorgeous!

And you and i my friend are the poster children or UBI, no it’s not some urinary infection but the universal basic income. It’s been floated in the land of milk and honey and was proposed years ago by my mentors and favorites like Alan Watts and Robert Anton Wilson. Since the corporate elite hoard profits and technology eliminates jobs it would give all us souls a modicum of income on which to live, enough to feed, clothe, shelter ourselves, enough to provide a bit of dignity and for those of us who wanted to write books or sing folk songs or paint a water lily we wouldn’t have to worry about how we were going to eat or where we would sleep. Ah but we can dream.

Tue 16th June 2020 @ 05:23 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yes I’m very interested in the UBI – you’ve reminded me to listen to a Radio 4 programme they did about it recently. I’d love it! Although in honesty, how productive it would make me I’m not sure. (Actually there are several that the BBC has done – here’s the one about the system in Alaska

I shouldn’t pre-empt the next entry but Hayley said yesterday afternoon, “basically, to me, men are business". She is one sussed woman.

Sun 21st June 2020 @ 00:10 Reply to this comment

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M / 60 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

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