A juicy black hand passed the yellow ticket under the plastic divide. "Phaw, you took your time," Nathan mumbled, as the little pack of party goers filed into the November night. "You racist git. You treated him like that because he was black," barked Willy, having lost any trace of his father's white South African accent. Golders Green was empty. Nathan placed his eyes up the streets which echoed his dark thought passages. The small band of pleasure seekers, Cooky, The Man, Willy, Werewolf, and Nadia marched with Nathan.
Noise from The Man's stilettos prodded Nathan out of complete despondency. He imagined the house they were seeking. People inside would be sprawled about with thin bits of paper on their knees, biblical, and broken cigarettes with brown lumps sprinkled everywhere with that dumb look and insane giggle. In a few of the bedrooms people would be having sex, perhaps more than a few people in one room. His stomach churned.
The night moved on, and their footsteps reached one preliminary destination. Why are we here, Nathan muttered automatically, while the others looked towards themselves with mock reassurance and contempt. Gabby came out of her house, wearing a long green velvet coat, with a minute skirt and a concealed plastic bag. The Man and the new arrival embraced heavily. The group rolled on. A pointed heel of The Man slid on the rotting leaves but, heroically, Willy caught her before she clumped to the floor. On turning the corner, in green lights, the house of fun rose up out of the street with that old Cadillac grin.
Leaving the pack to become settled, Nathan padded up the stairs to find Marcus in the position he had imagined. Sprawled on the guests' coats, he held the centre of attention by the movement of his fingers on thin paper, the crinkling and the slithering making his audience's throat become moist then dry. Control in the anticipation. "Hi, Nathan, my man, fancy a smoke ?" croaked the voice with a manic chuckle below the blood eyes.
Out of the shadows a flame arose burning the twisted end of the joint until it had settled. The servants waited for their turn. Nathan realised that with the number of people in the room there was no chance of him enjoying a moment of peace. The fire would too soon be ashes. As Marcus passed his creation to his left, he picked up a metal 'S', having completed the moulding of his name in large iron.
Fumbling back to the kitchen, he met Werewolf, Willy and The Man, each with a can and a leg up back on a cabinet. Nathan moved closer to The Man. "I've got to get out of here," he blurted into her ear. Thinking he desired her, she suggested they go into the front room and disappear under a table with the other couples. She moved towards him. He moved towards the back door, scrambling for the key.
Exit to the garden was denied him. A desperate need for fresh air and escape became intolerable. They journeyed into the misty lounge, eyeing the shadows embracing under the tables. Attempting to say something about the way he felt, he managed, "Look I can't stand it." Ego pulling all perception to self, she believed he meant her and with distress, owlishly turned away. Feeling her touch him, he instantly knocked her hands away. "What's up. On a downer, Nay ?" she chimed with derision. Finally he had had enough. "You fucking stupid slag," he mumbled and went to wait upstairs, while the I.R.A. planted his brain.
Sitting three foot away from him, Cooky stared at the wall, shook his head and grimaced. Sirens wailed. Running down stairs and into the hall way, police whirled Nathan around as they pushed and shoved, forcing their way into every room. People twisted around in one movement, clockwork young folk unwinding with mechanical fear.
The men in blue left and Nathan returned to his position upstairs. Through the top windows he could view The Man with a man, holding his shoulders, squeaking and jumping. Furniture and light were absent. Speech remained hushed and a small glow communicated. Distance was the sole feeling.
Sharon ran into the room, "Having fun are we, who wants to go? We're leaving this second !" Crawling for his coat, Nathan was aware that the animosity he felt for all people would burst out from restraint if he remained. Outside he found the Fiesta and threw himself in between Werewolf and Sharon. He did not know the driver, but sensed the boy was in a hurry, and the girl next to him gazed in her mirror and puffed away.
Patches of people decorated the front garden, and he spotted The Man and Willy. Too late. The long blonde hair of the driver flicked, he dumped his foot on the accelerator, the tyres yelled and the green structure was left grinning. Attempts at talk left Nathan pronouncing yes and no with some effort. His mind left him the ability to conjure up a million possibilities from one utterance but each failed to pass his lips.
Objects in the wealthy suburb of a suburb darted silver through the orange street lights. A Rolls Royce and GTi stood, crutches of superior attitudes, outside the red grand house they arrived at. In the front downstairs window gawped a tiny white Scotty dog with a sleek Doberman. Once inside, the group blanked at a box that presented flickering pictures of musicians uttering violent noise. Nathan needed a knife.
Kitchen drawers faced him in the distance. Through an open arch the lounge with stinking dog chairs led on to a spacious formally designed eating and cooking area. It would take one minute to rifle through a draw, seize and use a weapon, but he felt lost in the soft arm chair. Suffocated. The enormous, velvet skinned, canine pressed its head down firm on his knee until it was caressed. As soon as this ceased, it growled subduedly, meaningful but demanding.
The driver with blonde hair was ignored and left. Images and pounding continued. Sharon presented herself in the room, wearing a blue swimming costume and high heels. "You whore. I'd like to kill the lot of you wealthy bitches," Nathan cursed, having remained silent but aping a disgusted face for some time. "How dare you, what about that tart The Man, eh ? What's she ?" An object concealed in the distance sucked Nathan's psyche. "You deserve to be chopped to pieces, and I'd love to do it," he sneered.
"Right, you two, get out now. Now!" Outside Werewolf, with a comical face, proposed, "lets just go back to mine. We've got the smoke. There was no need to be like that back there, but who cares, you were right, she's a complete tart." They marched up the road together, defiant in their victory. They possessed the answer.
A smaller mansion, with its two white pillars and BMW, sat at the end of the road next to a farm. Werewolf's parent's, younger brother and sister were asleep, so they lightly plodded up to his room to face his screen. On this screen, coloured men holding sticks rushed backwards and forwards, manipulated by triggers in their observers hands'. Both their brains swam in the Pink Floyd around them, and with the door locked and window open, the paper began to crackle the same tune as before.
"I feel like really hurting someone," choked Nathan. "Just take some more of this 'ere spliff and get relaxed. I've got to crash out." Werewolf climbed into the bed parallel to the spare. The music changed to ethereal electronic. Nathan sat watching messages from the waving trees, while the men continued charging up and down the pitch. Sleeping now, the host licked his lips and sucked the top part of his mouth making a sickly sticking noise. The room started to become warm. Nathan slid into his bed and focused on the ceiling. As he shut his eyes he knew he had to die. On the floor, two foot from the end of his bed lay an ideal old knife, as if it had been put there on purpose. Thoughts turned to nothing but the knife. The bed was comfortable but he lay rigid, unable to tackle the future, aware of a deep pain in his left wrist. His right hand clenched the end of the knife and forced it vertically into flesh. Removing the pressure, there was no fissure and he knew he had to get up. The large cupboard on the opposite side of the room was donning a magazine picture of a piece of coal on the end of a fork. "Let them eat coal," it proclaimed enigmatically. Towards the left of this was one of those friendly animal posters. "I've had a think and I think I'm stuck," hooted an owl from a small tree hollow. Nathan saw the pictures but did not read them. Unlocking the door of the room, with the minimum of sound, was he hoping someone would wake up ? Had he not told Werewolf how he felt ? Ferocious light on the landing caused him to be momentarily paralysed, and he stopped after each small step to assess whether any creature knew of his movement. Young children slept in the rooms he first passed. A metal gate at the top of the stairs prevented the brown beast from mounting the second floor and kept the young people from misfortune. He had reached the end of the corridor. To his right, she who had bore Werewolf snored on. Turning left into the long bathroom, securing the door behind him, he faced the smooth toothpaste splattered sink. "What if someone wanted to get in," he pondered, "sod it, this is my last night. What are consequences now." Entrance into this murky womb had a purpose. A sharp cutting edge was hunted for. Even though the wolf's dad had a beard, he knew there had to be razors somewhere. A dream spoken word from next door disturbed his search. Looking more thoroughly, from a bag in a low cabinet four black inch and a half razor heads appeared. "These will do nicely," he whispered, balancing on tip-toe, wearing only his pants. Carpeted and shut off, the room was very cosy, and he could have just curled up on the floor with a towel and had some shut eye.
Using his left hand to hold the coated blade, one swift swipe fell on his right wrist, causing a thin line of red to arise. With precise incisions, more lines appeared on both wrists, until they were criss crossed, covered horizontally vertically and diagonally with cuts. Blood trickled towards his elbows, the ends of the bones resting in the basin. Lightly, he turned the tap on. He thought about his friend's parents finding him there in the morning. "We might have guessed," their predicted remark mocked. Blood, which he believed was red, became yellow and like water. "At this rate I'll be here for weeks," he lamented and made one more flurried attempt. Sliced skin flicked over the incisions, silhouettes of the waving trees startled him, beckoning. Cleaning the sink and chucking the blunt blades into the bin, Nathan headed for the door. Switching off the light, his hand felt for door handle. Pulling, he then paused. Outside he could here soft talking. Without breathing he moved back onto the landing. Opening the gate at the top of the stairs, he picked his way down on the edge off each step to avoid the creeks. Then he remembered the boxer dog.
In front of the kitchen door, the animal lay sleeping, panting heavily and twitching in somnambulance. Without it flinching, Nathan stepped over the creature, into the murky room. Feeling his way along, he came across the knife drawer, the desired destination when at Sharon's. The drawer drew back smoothly and the contents gave a reassuring rattle when fully open with the slivers of silver and black lay waiting to be held.
Picking up the most devastating implement, he made his way to the back door which was bolted and locked securely. In the frosty night air, there seemed to be an added warmth. Security lights in the back garden focused on the small football net. Behind the back fence, the farmer's fields lay so solid and brown, as if they could never be ploughed. The garden had a horse shoe of fir trees. Nathan went behind the first of these, prancing from one foot to the other. Remembering he had forgotten to shut the back gate and the dog may be roaming, he surveyed the back of the house, trying to spot any movement in the back bedrooms.
His self-mutilation and termination device had two prongs on the end and he first dug these into his left wrist. The pain made him weak and his legs shook. This made him hate what he was doing and himself even more but there was no chance that time would reverse. Jumping to the second tree, he tried the serrated edge. It was no good at all. In frustration, he attacked his stomach with a hard stab.
At tree three, the other side was used. Small metal prongs made this edge less painful for cutting skin and more useful. Hacking away, he hoped the next door neighbours were not watching. The Man lived there, and she may have believed she had some influence in this, but he did not want her to have this inaccurate pleasure.
Sawing back and forth, he wanted to become anaesthetised from the pain, but every stroke made the agony worse. At that moment, he could not write to his aunt in the papers, nor ring a listening ear.
A new sector of the garden was visible and he looked up to see a light on in a back bedroom. "That bloody dog !" There was no point standing there any longer. Some of the strokes he had made had been deep and, with the four legs prowling, he had to get back indoors before someone came downstairs.
Skipping across the wet lawn, he pulled the back door behind him, and replaced the unwashed knife believing he would be dead by the morn.
Tip-toeing back to Werewolf's room, a small girl met him on the landing. With overt warmth, he whispered, "everything is alright, I'll take him, you go back to bed love." As she handed him the dog, she turned back and sleep walked back to her room.
Nathan dragged the unwilling hound to the top of the stairs and pushed it down, locked the gate, and quickly hopped to and opened Werewolf's door. Peeking in, he saw the boy's mouth gaping and saliva slightly dribbling, and slipped back into bed and waited for nothing else. Soon he was gone.
Light pointed through the gaps in the curtains. Werewolf smacked his chops and turned over in his sleep. His eyes opened lazily, easing the day into his consciousness, contemplating whether they should bother constructing some form of life. Across from him lay Nathan.
Through the crack that let in the outside, Werewolf saw with the white sheets a sticky red patch, only a small puddle but enough to cause his vision to unwillingly expand. "What the fuck has happened ?" he shouted to anybody.
A clump of black hair, sitting on a head, began to change position. Nathan sat up. He could not look to his left, only guessing at the incredulity swamping his mate, and watched the pool of blood rise and fall on his stomach.
Before both of them had time to think, the door opened and Mrs. Werewolf appeared. "Oh my God, I'm ringing your mother. I knew something was going on." Werewolf tried to talk, but Nathan could not look at him. "Jim found the razor blades this morning when he went to work and was really upset. He thought one of the children had cut themselves." Nathan mentioned the knife, Mrs. Werewolf came back with some kitchen towel, and they dressed.
The cause of distress moved towards the window and acknowledged the new day. The road was still and he continued to stare. After a separation in time a large white whale of a vehicle with a black roof loomed into their corner of the road. It parked half in and half out of the drive way. Nathan went down, gripping the white towels on his wrists. He forget to say, "Cheers, see y'er, thanks for the hosp'!" and left without looking behind.
Anger armoured his mother's whole being and stopped him from attempting an explanation. "You had no right to do that. That is so awful for them, how could you be so inconsiderate."
"If you had only listened to me before," he whispered. "Yes, Oh yes." The Roman road brought them straight to their home in silence. Fear gripped Nathan by the bowels, strapping him to a rusty medieval torture machine. As they reached 70 mph he contemplated leaving the car. Field flew by on either side, tree chaperoned the verges, but the concrete guided them.
"What has he done now ?" queried Mr. Nathan, asking the mother to question her son. Standing in the corner of the large kitchen with tea and braces, cloaked in disdain, he made Nathan feel like he was worse than shit. Nathan scuttled into the toilet and began to scrub his wrists, opening the night's wounds, forcing the tears back down. "I can't believe why anyone would want to do such a thing, I just can not understand it," bellowed the father over the slurped tea. "It's beyond me."
Return to main page
the parent's story