just not gay enough to be a gay person but I am so they all have to tolerate
Whats that God awful noise? I shouted.
Its the new alarm clock. My partner shouted back to me.
Its seven-o-clock, are you getting up this morning?
Have you any appointments this morning?
I felt confused again, I hate that feeling, confusion, I much prefer being
I cant think, can you give me 10 minutes
I heard the sound of the bedroom door sliding over the carpet. I went
straight back to sleep. I hate being asked questions at the best of
times but first thing in the morning, I just want to say with an air
of confidence and authority DONT QUESTION ME. But I never do,
its so rude you see. And we mustnt be rude of course, because
that will never do.
I knew then that it was going to be one of those days. You know the
type when everything goes wrong and most things annoy you for no reason,
even the things that you've always liked and loved, treasured, shown
off, had admired by friends and relatives, received an award for even.
But some days, everything and I mean everything, is just plain and simple
old crap. Nothing more, nothing less, just crappy old crappy crap.
I wondered into the kitchen, gormless, emotionless, and limping. I've
got a bad back you know, but it doesnt notice, only in the mornings,
Im sure. I knew my hair had gone westward, Vivian Westward. I
heard much laughter, I turned and wondered towards the bathroom.
The bathroom. The room with the nasty mirror. The mirror that everybody
liked, the beautiful mirror from India, the spiritual mirror, the posh
mirror, the super extraordinary mirror, the mirror that everybody wanted.
Oh what a pretty mirror, oh where did you buy it, oh how fucking marvellous!
It was probably worshipped somewhere, some little island that only had
moving mirrors on the edge of its beaches, and where they only used
sand for walking on. But I, I hated that smug ageless little wooden'ish
framed git of an object. Little shitty inanimate thing of no buggering
value to me.
Its true I resented the thing for always making me see what it looks
like to be looked at by me. What a face! How can I be so serious with
people! Ouch the thoughts hurt. The pain, the pain in my brain. Think
Playstation, think Playstation, think Playstation, Gran Turismo, rallying,
power-sliding Ahhh, life is sweet, Ahhhh dear Sony, all is well again.
Mummy said your tea is getting cold.
After flattening my rebellious hair without the aid of the mirror, I
joined the breakfast table and tried to look like I was completely aware,
just like any other normal person.
Whats your favourite colour?
Do you like any other colours?
Do you like pink?
I hate pink.
It blinds me and everything else then becomes pink, its a secret
You wait in a few years it will be all over the TV, The Pink War the
historians will call it!
Whats an historian?
Somebody that only eats old toast. Did you want jam or marmite?
Why do they eat old toast?
Because its more interesting than modern toast.
What are you having?
Is that true?
Oh yes, I met a historian once.
Were they very old?
No, only his jacket was old, but he was very interesting and clever.
Wow, marmite please.
Youll never get bored if you ever have a conversation with a historian.
Ask your history teacher at school.
I only have one teacher, Mrs Lenny, silly.
Oh! Well you better ask her then. Wheres the jam gone? Wheres
I want marmite!
Childrens TV in the mornings is such a bore, but we all stare
at it, munching on toast. Come to think of it, childrens TV always
bores me, it did when I was a child. My mum would shout Blue Peters
on and I would get so bored and there was never any empty washing up
bottles in the house. And what did happen to Lesley Judd? Where the
fuck did she go? Is there a little room at the BBC that keeps all the
old childrens presenters locked up, to protect todays working
adults from a regression, recession? Theres a lot to be said for
influence you know. Trust me I know what Im talking about. Sticky
tape its all just sticky tape, not cellotape but sticky tape because
cellotape will never do.
Have you got your little lunch box?
Its a big box. Im nearly six you know?
I thought your arms were looking older, give your mad Auntie Helen a
Bye, chicken head.
Bye, beautiful. Have a good day and remember to remember things.
I do, and dont bend.
I wont, love you.
I shut the front door, only it wouldnt shut because the mat was
in the way. I tried to pull it back from the door with my heel, but
I wasnt wearing any shoes. So I bent down and lifted the stupid
thing out the way and decided just like every other morning that I would
buy a new posh, proper mat.
The phone rang, I thought it sounded nice so I let it ring and I ran
myself a bath. Then I got worried, what if its important? I dialled
1471, it wasnt. I knew the number but couldnt remember whose
it was. I thought they will ring back or I will after my bath. I was
in the bath and the phone rang, it sounded nice so I left it. Ill
do 1471 and phone back once Im dressed I thought. After a quick
splash and long inability to wash my sodding feet, I put the kettle
on and the phone rang. It sounded repetitive and it annoyed me so I
Awright mate, need yer battery charger, yer busy, we can pick it up.
Its all right mate, Ill bring it over about half ten, any good?
Yer, see yer then, then.
They hung up.
That was easy, easier than putting socks on, I thought. I made two cups
of tea and popped some toast under the grill for my partners post
school run munch and slurp. We loved that time in the morning,
munching extra toast and drinking tea before it got cold. We admire
each other from opposite sides of the kitchen table and discuss what
we are both up to that day. If were not busy we often go back to bed
for an hour. We feel guilty being in bed whilst children work hard at
school but it never lasts for longer than about five minutes. We feel
guilty when we get up at eleven knowing that the working world are just
beginning to flag and are gagging for theyre first coffee and
fag. But it never lasts for longer than about five minutes.
I found my battery charger in the garage just where I had left it, which
was surprising. Im not one for moaning if things dont go
the way that you expect. And I think I felt happy because I whistled
all the way to the car, which is on the drive just in front of the garage
door. Not a long way I know, but for somebody who cant whistle
it was rather impressive. I felt quite proud of myself. I got carried
away of course and started to whistle in the car. I had to put the radio
on but I didnt feel deflated in fact I still felt quite happy.
So I drove off with full enthusiasm for the day, then I pulled over
to turn round. Minor mishap.
I made my way to Frankie and Frankies swanky repair shop. Its
a funny Old World the gay world. Its a bit like the hettie world,
odd expectations, rules and traditions and so on. Ive never really
felt comfortable on the gay scene. Im light years away from their
mindset. I hate high-energy music and they never talk about Emmerdale
in clubs or pubs and nobody drinks bitter. Have you ever heard the saying
alone in a crowd, do you know what I mean? I know loads of people, and
I do socialise, but I stay away mostly. Just like to keep yer hand in
do yer ha ha they say. And the music I hate to admit it but Im
sick of Gloria Gaynor and yes I have a Primal Scream CD. Im just
not gay enough to be a gay person but I am so they all have to tolerate
me. After all we cant be seen to discriminate now can we, because
that will never do.
I arrived bang on time, ten thirty exactly. I pulled up around the side
of the workshop by the metal bins and got out the car in my own cripped
out style. Which although I do look like a pratt, it is a kind of art
really, considering I cant bend much or twist. Next time you get in
a car, try doing so without twisting at all or bending much. I think
you will discover just how talented the disabled can be.
Just before I got to the large, battered and very blue sliding door,
which is the only entrance to the workshop, I remembered the battery
charger. So I went back and got it from the boot of my car, why I didnt
put it on the front seat I dont know, its small enough.
I walked into the workshop, it was quiet apart from an odd humming noise
and tinkering of tools. There was a familiar smell of oil, burnt rubber
and engines. In the days when my spine behaved itself I could strip
my bike engine down in an hour, easy. But those days are gone and now
my nails are forever clean.
Frankie was sitting at the far end at her desk, staring at the telly
and polishing something. As I got closer I felt a several eyes on me,
watching me, but I didnt acknowledge them. I heard some muttering
and more clinking. What you watching Frankie? Silent Witness. Oh right,
excellent. I felt an air of respect creep around me. The thing with
Amanda Burton is that she is a sort of underground icon, a lesbian icon.
She plays such a strong and educated character within a male orientated
profession. Highly impressive stuff really but I dont think that
she will ever be a gay icon. The men arent into her you see. If
they were they would all be more serious and take up pathology. Its
a good thing she isnt I suppose, I thought. I started to feel
more comfortable. Frankie finally looked up.
Thought you said half ten mate, been waiting for yer!
Sorry, I went the wrong way,
Oh never mind, Im here now, how are you?
Got the charger then?
Yes mate. Clever little boxes arent they. And theyre so
sweet look! Two little hungry crocodiles. Snap, snap, snap. I had the
little clamps or clips whatever they are, that are attached to the end
of the wires in my hand and was, well playing with them I suppose. Frankie
didnt really get the joke. Never mind, I thought.
Just put the fucking charger, on the fucking desk will yer! What the
fuck are you on!
Nothing mate, I havent even had a smoke yet, its too early
in the day for me.
Perhaps you could try it, for fucks sake!
Oh no, best not. I've tried smoking a spliff for breakfast and believe
me, its not a good idea! Anyway you wouldnt happen to have
any tinsel or glitter hanging around the place. Ive got to make a wand.
Its for the little ones party, shes going as a fairy or princess
What the fuck are you like!
Everybody seemed a bit agitated and I started to feel uncomfortable
again so I thought I ought to make tracks. There was a clank of a spanner
from the other Frankie I think, and a voice echoed out from under a
bonnet. See Joe. Upstairs mate.
I went upstairs to find John and to be honest, scrounge a cup of tea.
Did I say John, shit I meant Joe. I always fear that I will say ere
John gota new mota! We always used to before the change. Ive not
put my foot in it yet but one day ere John gota new mota
is just going to come right out. I thought I might warn her but then
she might be terribly offended and hurt. Maybe its better to keep
quiet. As it is I always fuck up, straight away and say hi Joh, Joe,
you all right then! When she worked at Vauxhall they always said oh!
Your all right being a bit of a girl just dont get your knackers
chopped off. God gave em too yer! They never did pay much attention
to her sensitive disposition. Anyway she leases the workshop out now
to both Frankies but still lives in the flat above. It is gorgeous
and quite big for a flat, the only thing that I dont like is the
iron staircase. Not that I've got anything against iron, its just
that there is twenty-two steps to sodding climb. And down again.
Hi Joh, Joe, you all right then?
Oh yes darling, what a lovely surprise, how are you?
Oh just dandy, you know, fine, fine.
An alcoholic once told me that it stands for fucked up, insecure, neurotic
Oh, how clever! Sounds about right I suppose, apart from the emotional!
We exchanged a continental kiss, on both cheeks of course, its
so polite and such a warm greeting. Not everybody feels comfortable
with it here in the UK, especially people from the continent. Let's
face it reciprocation is the name of the game and us British are all
a bit, well stiff I suppose, or is that a bad choice of word. Perhaps
anti-social or unfriendly are better.
Have you eaten anything today darling, dont stand sideways or
well lose you ha ha.
Very funny I do weigh over seven stone now you know.
I know darling seven stone of shear power as you keep reminding me.
I just like to intimidate people, I know I can scare people!
Yes my darling, cup of tea?
Oh go on then, Ive got some chocolate in my bag do you fancy a bit.
Thats an evil word!
Chocolate! Its so sinful, but yes, just a square to be polite.
Of course, you must, I do hate to be offended.
We chatted or Joe did really, munched on chocolate, sipped at our tea
and then a very thin lesbian walked in, even thinner than me! She glanced
at me and gave an acknowledging nod, but I didnt know what for,
the fact that we were both lesbians or both thin. I wasnt too
sure. Maybe it was because we were both thin lesbians, yes that must
Fucking ell Joe, you nearly had a casualty down on the fore court but
yer awright I managed to restrain me self! Joe looked concerned for
a moment and stopped pouring more tea. Sit down Leny darling, sit down,
sit down, my darling. The thinner than me lesbian looked so annoyed,
I dont think she could sit down. She plonked a spanner bag on
the sofa and continued to pace about the room. If I had a pound every
time some cunt said you need a big meat and potato pie luv, I would
have about sixty-eight quid by now.
I nodded and tried to look very serious, which is quite easy for me.
Wankers mate, dont bother with em. I said as I opened my chrome
cigarette case and offered her one of my ready-made roll ups.
Bit fucking flash aint it!
Got it for Xmas
Aww, right, I will then. Nice one. Cheers.
Joe got up in a worried but happy to be slightly stressed kind of way.
Sort of mumsyish! And went whooshing into the kitchen with trails
of material, hair and accessory things following behind. She whooshed
back out of the kitchen looking glamorous and so elegant, with a couple
of small hand painted ashtrays. Which incidentally matched exactly the
colour of the mosaic tiled coffee table. She had such fabulous taste
You need a camomile tea my darling, Joe said to Leny, with a quirky
smile and deep inquiring look in her eyes. ERR! Yuk! Plants belong in
pots and tea comes out of a box from the shops, but thanks darrrling.
How about a nice cup of green tea then? I know you like it, and its
so good for you. Joe was holding a little tea bag and waving it about
enticingly. Leny went into a sulk.
I only drink it for you woman.
Oh how disappointing I thought you liked it.
I drank some for yer when Pratt-bloke upset you.
Oh I thought you liked it.
It stopped you from crying, I didnt know what else to do.
Oh! You lied then.
It was a humanitarian act of love, and heroic vomit control.
Oh darling, I know, and I appreciate it. You are all so kind to me,
my darlings. Joe reached over and kissed the thinner than me lesbian
on the cheek. And she rubbed Lenys shoulder like somebody pampering
a favourite pet. I sensed the thinner than me lesbian, Leny, was slightly
uncomfortable. I love yer darrrling, but right now I think I need a
double mugger unless youve got a pint glass handy. My throats
so dry my tonsils have lodged against me voice box.
She cleared her throat to cover her embarrassment over the kiss and
then cleared a space on the sofa and plonked herself down with a huge
confident sigh. She turned and looked at me sternly with a I cant
work you out but I like you kind of look.
You out tonight then?
Last time I went clubbing with your lot I ended up in Belgium! And that
bollock'sy club thing where Lisa got her nipple ring caught in that
so called bisexuals trousers. Im still not sure what really happened?
Shouldnt of been prancing about on that fucking podium should
he, any way hes supposed to like women aint he, Pratt! Leny
was starting to get annoyed again. I rather think thats not the
issue darling, do you fancy a nibble? Joe shook the biscuit tin and
placed it on the table. She sat down and lit a cigarette, then leaned
over and touched my knee.
Hows your back darling?
Same as normal, you know, still a pain in the arse quite literally.
The thinner than me lesbian, Leny, looked at me with that you
dont look like a proper lesbian look in her curious eyes.
Oi, you the college bird then?
Cool, yer, thought so, you look clever like.
Shell be famous one day Joe inhaled, She writes beautiful poetry,
dont you? Joe exhaled. Oh she wrote such a beautiful poem for
me. She started to stare into the mystifying smoke that had surrounded
and started to encapsulate us all. Youre beautiful, I said, so
your poem was beautiful. Shall I open a window?
Oh my Lord! Oh my Lord! Wheres the tissue box. Joe went all peculiar
or emotional, as some people call it. She managed to resume control
of herself with the aid of a few tissues a lot of flapping and waving
her arms and a lot of, there! There! Now's.
You write poems then?
No not really. Just the one for Joe, apart from a few stupid ones in
my head when Im drunk, I dont really understand proper poetry.
It's all a bit to complicated, and I can never work out what the essential
parts in major works mean, but they sound nice.
Oh right mate, yer, know what yer saying.
I hate it when people ask questions about my self, or my life. Every
answer potentially plunges you into an ambiguous dark and scary pit
of gooey sink or swim territory. I dont feel comfortable, I stutter
and I cant lie. My parents phone every Sunday and they always
ask, what have I been doing but they dont really want to know,
so I always sort of dont tell them. I've never been able to master
the art of telling people what Im doing without telling them what
Im doing. Most people can, normal lesbians manage it with style
and amazing irony but me, Im useless. I cant be gay and
raise children surely because then I would be like them. And that will
Are you still doing your synchronised swimming Leny, Joe piped up rather
You taking the piss!
Oh no darling would I ever! She immediately began to laugh, and cough
and cry again.
Dont laugh at me woman, I can't let the team down can I?
Thats what you always say.
They just want me body. What can I say, they love me, Im proud.
And anyway DONT QUESTION ME!
Bollocks, I thought. How does she do that?
There was a sudden violent screeching type of repetitive horn going
off in my ear. Fucking car alarms and mobiles when will I ever get any
bollocking peace, I thought.
Whats that God awful noise? I asked. I felt so confused.
Its the new alarm clock, its 7.30 am.
Heres your tea. You dont have to get up just yet. Did you
get much sleep?
More Fiction in
© Helen J Weston
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