Lucy’s brother had been a science project. He was a phenomenon. At the age of
thirty three he had metamorphosed from an ascetic to a junky. The downward trajectory
had been amazing. From the zenith to the nadir in a fulguration. Nobody could
understand why. He had a successful window cleaning round. It paid well. Every year
was a good fiscal year. But why at thirty three, the age Christ was crucified upon the
cross, he should take up crack nobody could give an answer. Harold watched him in
wonder as his nacreous integument slipped from his lymphatic skeletal frame. Lucy’s
brother was as light as a feather and could withstand one hell of a beating. A razor had
lacerated his mug, and a size twelve had dislodged eight of his once perfect pegs. For
removing lead off the roofs of churches he was a wonder. He monkeyed up the drainpipes
with amazing dexterity and rapidity. Lucy tried every excuse she could for her brother,
but she was futile. The drug dealers said they would cut off the fingers of his left hand.
They removed the fingers of his right hand. They apologized most sincerely to Lucy. He
proclaimed that he would go to the police. Don’t be silly said Lucy, they’ll remove your
tongue next time. He was taking the piss. He sold them loot that he had nicked from
them. That was taking the piss. Lucy was always good for a bob or two. She could never
say no. She never told Harold of her philanthropy. He would have killed her. How he
ended up in paradise bewildered all. After stealing two pairs of Ladies underwear he
legged it onto the main busy street of the city. He weaved in and out of the late shoppers.
It was two days before Christmas. Snow was falling softly. Now and again a gust of wind
disturbed the shoppers. Shop windows illuminated the shoppers. Christmas music filled
the night sky. A bus entered the street. The driver was from Pakistan. He had three
children: two sons and a daughter. He was an affable man. The bus was a doubledecker.
The bus was chokerblocked. Christmas shopping. Two days before the birth of Christ.
Lucy’s brother was running to a paroxysm. He did not want to go to prison. Two shop
detectives were in pursuit. They knew Lucy’s brother extremely well. If he had had
money he would have been their best customer. That is a fact. For a waste of space he
possessed a fine pair of legs. They carried him with great alacrity. If it were not for the
Christmas shoppers he would have got away. An achievement he had accomplished a
hundred times. Fatuously they had allowed him into shop; normally they with acumen
would have locked the doors upon his entrance. Lucy was going to get a nice new pair of
underwear. A red bra and a black silk pair of drawers. Lucy had not ordered the
underwear, but it was Christmas. The shop detectives retched, cussed and rudely
expectorated. If they got him, they would slap his mug a few times, pull his hair, and
poke his ribs. Lucy’s brother was all hot and sweaty. He laughed, cried, begged for
mercy. The shop detectives were not about to give up. The bus drew level with Lucy’s
brother. Saved. He would leap onto the bus and the bus would carry him to safety. Lucy’s
brother could not believe his luck. The shop detectives could not believe his luck. Lucy’s
brother was one lucky bugger! Lucy’s brother would be back tomorrow. One more day to
Christmas. The detectives would nab him then. They would. What happened next Lucy’s
brother could not say; the shop detectives, the bus driver, the Christmas shoppers were all
extremely perplexed. But it happened. It happened with alacrity. A gust of wind picked
up. The snow obfuscated. A little girl stumbled on a shoelace. The bus wheels crushed
her to death. Blood oozed from under the bus. Her coffin was no bigger than a suitcase.
Her face was on every newspaper. So was Lucy’s brother. Her mother and father
divorced. The bus driver fainted. Lucy’s brother should have carried on running, but he
stopped. Fifteen years and a whole nation promising to string him up. O how could he do
it? The monster! The sexpot! The junky! The thief! The waster! Cut off his testes! Hang
the nonce! E wing! They should have strangled him at birth! If I get me hands upon him!
The cons will sort him out! Razor blade! The screws will beat the crap out of him!
Lucy wept for two whole weeks.
Once a month Lucy visited her brother. On the verge of being proclaimed non compos
mentis he bewildered her. She was the supposed crazy one. The goal was a Victorian
redbrick agora on the outskirts of Liverpool. It housed the dregs of society, killers,
thieves and sexpots. Lacking modern commodities Lucy’s brother was expected to
micturate and defecate into a bucket. The rule of the cell was that the bucket would only
be employed to hold piss. The odor of piss being more tolerable than the odor of shit. In
the morning Lucy’s brother was coerced to empty the bucket and rinse it thoroughly.
Lucy’s brother settled into prison life.
He enjoyed prison life. He read Proust and picked up knitting. Lucy was going to
receive a jumper for Christmas. Lucy’s brother was locked up twentytwo hours
of the twentyfour. At night Lucy’s brother smoked crack from a chocolate wrapper.
During the day he smoked pot and slept. Lucy’s brother grew his hair long. Lucy’s
brother did not shave. Once a month Lucy visited her brother. On the verge of being
proclaimed non compos mentis he bewildered her. She was the supposed crazy one.
She sent him papers. She sent him money. On the visit she brought him chocolates,
cigarettes, and dirty magazines. She had to leave the dirty magazines with one of the
guards. The guard would sieve the magazines omitting all errata he came upon. Lucy did
not like buying the dirty magazines. She was less than five foot three and found reaching
for the dirty magazines onerous. She could not ask Langden to buy the magazine. He was
not cognizant of the visits and philanthropy. Intermittently, Lucy’s brother was cracked
upon the skull. Nothing serious. A bloody pate that’s all. He had not fiddled with the girl.
He had only pushed her under the bus. That’s all. The killers let it beknown that if he had
fiddled with the girl he would be dead. The killers had children. They were daddies. Lucy
was relieved. She didn’t want her brother to be killed. She loved him. She forgave him.
He was the only brother she had. It was a tragedy. Filled with pathos. At the age of
thirtythree he had metamorphosed from an ascetic to a junky. Nobody could understand
why. He had a successful window cleaning round. It paid well. Every year was a good
paul kavanagh was born in 1971 this accounts for his perplexity with money. a
normad is he, forever peripatetic, a quixotic exile. H. Langden says:" paul kavanagh
cannot sit still, he drinks too much tea, he succumbs to Pascal's melancholy for he
is unable to remain quietly in a room." he is happy. his wife is happy.
© 2005 Underground Voices