* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Beggaring Belief

8 April 2002
If you've simply given up, James knows who to call.

***Local Girl Disappears, Feared Abducted***

Police are searching for clues related to the disappearance of Jenny Wilcroft, 16, of Lower Crompford, Herts. She went missing last Thursday on her way home from St. Terence's High School, and has not been seen since. Police are very concerned about the apparent lack of eye-witnesses, as the girl's route home from school was largely along busy main roads. Charles and Hermione Crompford, the girl's parents have appealed to anyone to come forward with any message they may have. The mother sent out a personal appeal on local radio, "Jen, if you can here this, please come home, or contact us somehow. We're so worried." Police will be staging a reconstruction of the schoolgirl's route home to be broadcast on this month's Crimewatch UK programme, in the hope that this will jog the memory of any witnesses.

These stories always get to me - they're always the same. Some poor girl has gone missing, hasn't been heard from for several days. Police appeals, sniffer dogs, teams walking through bushes and fields, divers dredging ponds. It's all so sad. The worst part is the tearful parents, with their personal appeals to their lost loved one. "If you're listening..." - it's the doomed hope that bring the tears welling up. Because these stories are always the same. They never come running home. They get found in a ditch or under a patio.

***Jenny Still Missing***

Hertfordshire police still have no solid leads in the search for missing schoolgirl Jenny Wilcroft, 16. Charles Wilcroft, the girl's father, has appeared on television to appeal for witnesses to come forward. He read part of a letter written by the missing girl's younger brother, Billy. "Please come home, Jen. I really really miss you. Mum is very sad and cries a lot. If you come back, I promise to be nice and make you tea, and tidy up your room." The father broke down in front of the cameras. Police now suspect that Jenny went voluntarily with someone she knew, and are examining messages the girl wrote in internet chat rooms. If you have any information relating to the disappearance of Jenny Wilcroft, please phone Duty Officer Paul Bailey at Dunston Police Station.

By the last round of witness appeals, after the Crimewatch leads have dried up, you begin to see the physical manifestations of a total loss of hope. It's mostly just a blank stare in the mother's eyes. Too tired to cry any more. Just lost. The total inability to resolve the huge trauma leaves the family in a state of purgatory. With no more hope, they just wait to find the body, to find out what happened. With no more hope, it's like they'll never be truly happy again.

Dear Mum, Dad, and Billy,

I don't know how to explain why I left - I know it must have been hell for you. If I'd been able to, I would have contacted you sooner. If I had been brave enough, I would have told you before I left, to give some sort of warning, to even slightly prepare you, but I couldn't. I guess that was part of the problem. I know this is not the best way to go about all this, so I will stop trying to explain it right now. Just please believe that it was something I simply had to do.

The reason why I'm writing now is to tell that I'm ok, and please don't worry about me too much. I'm safe and happy. I just felt distant at home, and I had to get away. I don't know if that explains it. But please be happy in the fact that I am very safe and well and the happiest I've ever been. I will always love you, xxx.

When Mum reads that, there is total relief. While there are suddenly many more questions, the main thing is that the big one has been answered - she's OK. The effect is remarkable, the family gets its life back together again. That's what the key difference is: the hope is back, so the life is back. We're in the business of returning life to those who have lost all hope.

The way it works is this: We hear about a case of "disappearance". We know how long it usually takes for the hope to start waning. This is when we approach the Dad. By this stage he will be at a loss as to how to keep the Mum's hope alive somehow, as that is the only way he can see of keeping her sane while the search is still on. He will receive a simple envelope containing a brief description of what we do, our prices, and how he contacts us. Admittedly, we are a young business, but so far every Dad we've contacted has hired us.

Dear Mum and Dad,

This is just a quick note to say that I am fine. I will probably not be able to contact you for a while, as I've found myself a conservation job (what I've always wanted to do) on a remote nature reserve, and there's no way for getting messages in or out. But please remember that I'm happy and I've been keeping myself well, so there's no need to worry. I'll be in touch as soon as I'm able. All my love, xxx

Our service can go on for years. As soon as we are contacted and receive the down-payment, the research begins. And soon we have enough to construct the first letter. Our psychology and handwriting experts have never let us down, and Mums have been consistently duped. Every so often we send another, building up a story that matches the profile of the Missing One (MO), but ensuring that the Mum can never try and contact them. The Dads are always on hand to discourage this, with our support, of course. Here at False Hopes Ltd, we are very very thorough.

We always stop when the body turns up.


This is the fucking archive

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:

27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
16 October 2003. James writes: Jakesy's School of Urban Driving
24 September 2003. James writes: Chapter One
4 September 2003. James writes: The Silicon Soul
14 August 2003. James writes: A Room With 100 Seats
24 July 2003. James writes: English For Beginners
3 July 2003. James writes: Coldplay are crap. Discuss.
9 June 2003. James writes: It Takes All Sorts
22 May 2003. James writes: Lesson 2: Buying his Gran for a tenner
1 May 2003. James writes: Rosencrantz and Leytonstone
10 April 2003. James writes: Character Building
20 March 2003. James writes: So This Is It. What Are We Going To Do About It?
27 February 2003. James writes: Street Level Zero
6 February 2003. James writes: Reference: James Noteworthy
16 January 2003. James writes: Kissing George Clooney for just £99!
26 December 2002. James writes: Hongkong In Four Tableaux
5 December 2002. James writes: We Are Your Idea
14 November 2002. James writes: The Knight Of Spring Fervent
24 October 2002. James writes: Go On, Be Honest
7 October 2002. James writes: Cold Comfort
12 September 2002. James writes: Peas In A Pod
22 August 2002. James writes: Seed Investment
1 August 2002. James writes: We Are QPR
11 July 2002. James writes: The Road to Ossuna
20 June 2002. James writes: Pret A Teleporter
27 May 2002. James writes: A Play On Words
2 May 2002. James writes: Labour Saving Device
8 April 2002. James writes: Beggaring Belief
14 March 2002. James writes: Small Things
18 February 2002. James writes: Drop Dead Letters
24 January 2002. James writes: High-Rise Rhapsody
27 December 2001. James writes: My drift's too hip to resist.
6 December 2001. James writes: My Lord Has No Nose
12 November 2001. James writes: A Job For Life
18 October 2001. James writes: Which is the cleverest animal?
24 September 2001. James writes: Interview With An Automatum
30 August 2001. James writes: Each To Their Own
6 August 2001. James writes: An Escape, In Sonata Form
12 July 2001. James writes: Truckloads Of Goodies
18 June 2001. James writes: There's No Such Thing As A Coincidence
24 May 2001. James writes: It's All True - The Paper Says So
30 April 2001. James writes: A Letter From Prisyn
16 April 2001. James writes: I Quit
15 March 2001. James writes: An Essay In Procrastination
15 February 2001. James writes: Confessions Of An English Sand-Eater
22 January 2001. James writes: The Future And The Pasta
28 December 2000. James writes: Never drink with men in red
4 December 2000. James writes: The Underground
9 November 2000. James writes: Right answer. Wrong answer
16 October 2000. James writes: The March of Proudfoot: Part I
21 September 2000. James writes: You haven't got a chance
28 August 2000. James writes: Bad, man. Wicked
24 July 2000. James writes: I play games with street lamps

Let meeeeeee entertain you

We are all Upsideclown: Dan, George, James, Jamie, Matt, Neil, Victor.

Material is (c) respective authors. For everything else, there's

Never come here again

And weeeeeee can entertain you by email too. Get fresh steaming Upsideclown in your inbox Mondays and Thursdays, and you'll never need to visit this website again. To subscribe, send the word subscribe in the body of your mail to (To unsubscribe, send the word unsubscribe instead.)


... On this page: ... Archive ... About ... Subscribe ... ... Upsideclone