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Full to the brim

15 January 2001
Jamie could do with a bigger house.

As I was rounding off my weekly ablutions in the bath today, I reached for the pumice stone to scrub my soles. It wasn't long before I realised I had mistakenly grasped a small, deceased grey rodent, whose beneficial effects on my verrucas were disappointing to say the least. As I rubbed harder, it began to fragment, suggesting it had met with mortality considerably longer than a few hours previously. Perhaps it was time to change the water.

I like to think of myself as economical with energy. And cleaning products. Why waste hours each week removing a harmless layer of dust that will reappear in minutes? Why this continual obsession with rearranging one's living quarters, packing away garments so they are hidden from view rather than leaving them open for daily selection (not that I tend to vary my daily attire, but I like to keep my options open)? It's all fuss generated by the exploitative types at Unilever, Procter & Gamble et al. I prefer my freedom.

Of course, some people are a tad surprised by my lifestyle. But you get used to it, after a while. Get into the groove, as it were. It's just a bit of a shock to the system the first time you step over the threshold, they say. I do warn them I'm a bit of a hoarder - don't really like to throw things away, you never know when they could come in useful, see - but I still see that moment of hesitation in their eyes, a narrowing of the nostrils before they set foot inside my home. I know they're going to feel like that, so I make sure the main vestibule is as uncluttered as possible. Thankfully I have quite a large home, so I still have plenty of room for all the stuff I accumulate. 'All your gubbins', Molly used to call it, in that gently mocking tone of hers. There wasn't nearly so much back then though, just a few bits and bobs I was hanging on to, or looking after for friends. Now, some rooms are getting full to the brim. Overflowing, almost.

It doesn't help that so many of my guests appear quite incapable of clearing up after themselves. When Molly wasn't well, I could understand her not helping about the house, but at least she'd do her best to finish her meals, and the cups of tea and coffee I made. Always polite like that, taking care not to offend me. But when someone like Gerry just sits around all day, not lifting a finger, that gets me - well, I was going to say angry, but that's a bit extreme. It's just frustrating that someone can take advantage of one's hospitality to such an extent, he's been under my roof for five weeks now and not a word of thanks. Where was he when I took him in? Living on the street, pissing in alleyways, as good as dead to the world. I did him a favour bringing him here with the others, but you wouldn't know it from his attitude. Sullen, I suppose, is the word I'd use. Just that same expression on his face the whole time, like a spoilt teenager, never looking one in the eyes. Evasive; shifty. Not to be trusted.

I forget how many of them there are now. Probably about ten or so that have come here over the past year or so, and Molly of course. It breaks my heart to see her the way she is now. She doesn't touch her food, or her drinks. Dishes and mugs stacked around her, still loaded with goodness. I keep telling her she's not to leave a morsel, not to leave a drop, she's got to eat or she'll never get better. But she hardly even seems to look at it now. Occasionally I'll see one of the plates has been touched, the cutlery moved, some of the food gone, and maybe her spirits are back. But it's usually just one of the cats that have decided to move in, picking at scraps; I tell them it's all Molly's and they're not to touch it, but they're just dumb animals following their instincts. Can't blame them for wanting to stay alive.

After my bath I have a shave, but the razor's pretty blunt so I throw it into the loo. It nestles on top of the pile of paper that's built up in there, caked rock hard like those papier maché hot air balloons we used to make in art. I remember the look on Donna's face when she saw my bathroom. She was only seventeen, jumped at the chance of a roof over her head. Wasn't quite so happy when she saw the state of the place, the lemonade bottles I'd had to piss in when the toilet became unusable. Looked at me like I was some kind of monster. She hasn't left, though, even when I told her about her parents crying on the news. I think she likes the company. Not that she'd admit it, but she's got quite attached to the place.

I manage to dig out another razor and finish the job. I get dry, and put on my best tie before I make the breakfast. I thought I'd make an effort for Molly today. It's our anniversary, you see. Twenty-three years ago we got married. Takes a lot to break up a relationship like that.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

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