Category Archives: scary

Nigel is only a figment of a madwoman’s imagination …

When Rocco’s mother signed up to Facebook, it became apparent she would need friends. It is, after all, a social network. One needs to be social. And if, as in Rocco’s mother’s case, one isn’t particularly – it comes to pass that necessity must be the mother of invention.

Rocco’s mother’s friendless state wouldn’t have mattered a hoot if she hadn’t, in a fit of boredom and curiosity one random afternoon, started to play one of the online games. She was perfectly happy being insular and posting pithy status updates which nobody ever read or cared about. She could have continued this way ad infinitum – and indeed, should have done so with gay abandon.  After a while, however – or a few whiles, anyway – it also became apparent one needed friends and neighbours in order to progress in the games. And at that point, Rocco’s hapless mother lost the plot completely – which was the moment of madness resulting in Nigel’s birth.

There are probably rules and laws governing Facebook which state members have to be bona fide human beings, using their real names and identities and swearing blind they haven’t airbrushed their profile photograph in order to look like Alan Rickman or the female equivalent. Rocco’s mother normally would not break laws even as petty as these – in fact, she would sooner poke her eye out with a rolled up Food-o-rama junk mail catalogue – but because she was aware other people had signed up pets, favourite toys, deceased ancestors and aspidistras in order to appear popular and, most importantly, to progress in games, she decided an imaginary friend was equally as bona fide as anything or anyone else (except, perhaps, Alan Rickman). Which was the root of the problem, really.

For Nigel, who burst into the world as an alleged archaeology student with a wicked and flirtatious nature, quickly evolved as a life force unto himself. Before Rocco’s mother knew it, he was chatting up women old enough to be his grandmother,  making somewhat lewd and unecessary comments to Rocco’s sisters, and running virtually amok in cyberspace – untamed and untrammeled. Before very long, Rocco’s mother realised with desperation she had no idea how to trammel him –  even telling him he didn’t exist was met with loud har har hars and protestations from others, (who should have known better), that they much preferred Nige to Rocco’s mother anyway, and if anyone was to be banished and exterminated, it had better be she, rather than he. Rocco’s mother realised with horror she was actually carrying out online arguments with Nigel. If the first sign of madness is speaking to oneself, which sign of madness is speaking to someone else who is actually oneself? The line between insanity and idiocy was becoming alarmingly blurred. While Rocco’s mother dug herself deeper into a mire of unreality, Rocco flourished and grew, gaining momentum, friends and admirers by the minute. It seemed he could not put a foot wrong, while Rocco’s mother appeared more bitter and twisted by the day, harassing and taunting Nigel in order to make him disappear up his own fake curriculum vitae.

Maybe the cruelest cut of all was the fact Nigel was far better at the online Facebook games than Rocco’s mother. His cafe was flooded with happy customers even when his shambolic cooking efforts left his counters empty and his stoves dirty. His YoVille houses were quirky and disgustingly filthy and fun to drop in on. Strangers requested Nigel’s friendship and were happy to send him farm animals, scented candles for his spaceship and chicken pot pies for his cafe. Rocco’s mother has warned Nigel he is absolutely NOT permitted to engage in online dalliance of any type whatsoever with random strangers. He has been told he must be completely honest with anyone who asks – and must confess to being merely a figment of a middle-aged woman’s imagination. Rocco’s mother is frightened she might log in one morning and find Nige has spent the night behaving in a most laddish manner, leaving broken hearts and shattered reputations in his wake. It keeps her awake at night, wondering what he’s doing while she’s sleeping.

The moral of this story is that it’s far, far better to have no friends at all. And that evil having been done, cannot easily be undone. And Rocco’s mother is becoming disturbingly aware she might find Nigel is drawn in indelible ink – and that she herself might not exist at all …

.oOo.

Seven stages of procrastination …

On days such as these, Rocco’s mother wonders (no, not lonely as a cloud, which is wanders anyway) why she has to torture herself with Rocco’s room.

Rocco goes away every month for a week at TAFE. It’s a requirement of his apprenticeship, and probably dreamed up by the Department of Education and Training as respite for his parents. Not that they mind him still living at home (his parents, that is, not the Department, who probably couldn’t give a toss) – they don’t, because he’s a lovely lad – but Rocco’s mother worries a LOT. She worries a lot more when she services his room, which now happens only during TAFE week because when Rocco’s at home she doesn’t want to go near it. Or him. And she is well aware what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Rocco’s mother is all for strength.

It occurred to her this morning there are seven stages to work through – beginning, naturellement, with Shock. There is a massive shock when Rocco’s mother opens the door. She knew it was bad, of course, but it’s worse when she knows she’s going to have to deal with it. Will the vacuum cleaner be able to cope? Will she pass out from unexpected fumes and creeping bacteria? Why had she assumed troglodytes were extinct, when it appears one is dwelling in Stygian delight within the depths of an otherwise normal suburban abode? Shock is followed quickly by Guilt. What did she do to bring up such a pig? Maybe nothing, for surely this catastrophe stems only from his father’s genes?

Fear kicks in quickly. What the hell was THAT, gibbering in the darkness of a corner and scraping its taloned paw across the strings of a dusty guitar? Oh foul creature of the shadows, take your sticky jaws and cobwebbed wings and creep back beneath the pile of soiled clothing … there’s a dear! Rocco’s mother shuts the door and stands in the corridor for a while. Her heart is hammering and her mood is heavy. Depression sets like turgid jelly in the pit of her stomach. For the millionth zillionth time that week – nay, hour – she prays for a nice girl to rescue Rocco from himself. Alright – a nasty girl, even. One with a pulse will do. A trollop with a really vile attitude who has her own flat. One cannot afford to be picky when times are dire.

Being a woman of resilience and optimism, Rocco’s mother embraces Denial with gusto. Surely she had imagined what she’d seen on the other side of that door? It was a figment of her exhausted and overtired imagination. When she opens the door again, Rocco’s room will be all cool, blue walls and freshly tweaked counterpane. His books will be stacked neatly on his desk, his music equipment just so. The air will be redolent with lavender and myrrh. (Myrrh? Okay, that might have been overdoing things.) The air will probably be redolent with lavender and Lynx deodorant. The curtain will waft gently in the warm, summer air. Rocco’s mother braces herself and opens the door.

Anger. Yeah, bring it on! Course she’s bloody angry! What’s not to be angry about? Rocco is nearly 21. He’s damn lucky to have a free roof over his head and a ‘fridge piled lovingly with chocolate milk and chicken schnitzels! He’s lucky to find his bathroom stocked with acne products and a fresh pile of fragrant towels (scented, of course, with myrrh) which appears by magic each day, ready to be brutalised and plundered, then hurled into a corner of his room with soggy abandon. How dare he disrespect the hospitality in such a cavalier fashion? Rocco’s mother tries to remember where she stashed her uzi. Fortunately, her memory is shot.

Rocco’s mother surveys the apocalypse with Acceptance. There can, in the end, be nothing else. She gazes on her best cutlery, cemented into yoghurt pots. She sees mugs of solidified, fur-tinged hot chocolate. She is aware of the detritus of cup noodles, crisp bags and sweet wrappers. Globs of bubblegum on the rug. Filth-encrusted socks and shopping dockets and tab charts and guitar picks and surfing magazines. DVDs without their cases, cases without their DVDs. There is nothing to do but begin. Soonest started, soonest completed.

Rocco’s mother wanders (yes, just like a cloud this time) to the kitchen and makes a large glass of iced coffee. She hooks a bag of Kettle Chips out of the pantry, pops a lamington on a plate and finds her excellent book, of which she still has 50 pages to read. She settles her arse on the couch and doesn’t move for the next four hours. Okay, five hours.

She might be sitting there still …

.oOo.

Mopknocker plays to incontinent audience …

When we were kids, which was a very long time ago, my brother and I were taken to Nightcliff Drive-In on Friday nights in the back of the Holden stationwagon. The back seats were folded down and we had blankets and pillows in case we wanted to sleep – and we’d be treated, over our parents’ shoulders, to such classics as The Magnificent Seven, A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Idiot who forgot to put the speaker back on the pole and drove off with it still attached to the car window. We would have liked horror flicks if they’d had any then – but it seemed to be either westerns or James Bond. Nevertheless, it was great fun altogether and I wish the Hunter Gatherer and I could have taken our own children to a drive-in when they were little. Unlike Dad and the Warrior Queen, we have four children, so the thrills of being hit in the back of the head by soggy chips and errant Maltesers would have been excitingly doubled.

To make up for the fact we didn’t have Freddy Krueger in those days, Dad happily obliged when we got home, staging his very own version of Creepshow for our entertainment and edification.

There were three favourites you might reasonably expect to encounter. Mopknocker, Underbed Fred, or the silent and deadly Curtain Zombie. There was no clue as to what you’d be getting, so complacency was not an option. Lying in bed minding your own business, you’d have just about forgotten there was any imminent danger. Then you’d hear it. A faint tap, tap, tap on the window and there, etched on the other side of the flyscreen, would be a gruesome and frightful visage, leering from beneath its tattered grey, crypt-cobwebbed hair.  Okay, I’m well aware mopheads can’t leer. But you would have had to have been there.

After you’d practically crapped yourself with fear and the Warrior Queen had confiscated the mop from our hilarious and evil pater and told him he was going to bed without any gruel, you could finally go to sleep in the happy knowledge the postman never knocked twice.

Naturally, we’d always be on the alert to Dad’s whereabouts when we returned home from the drive-in – but he got the better of us every time. And just as you were dozing, thinking maybe this time he’d forgotten, there’d be the hideous creak of bedsprings and you’d feel something horrible pushing the mattress up underneath you. Underbed Fred. Or the heavy curtains covering the built-in wardrobe would start to ripple and bulge. The Curtain Zombie was behind them … and ready to emerge and hurl you into the depths of the River Styx.

Years later, the Hunter Gatherer and I were visiting Dad and the WQ. The WQ and I were chatting happily in the kitchen, stuffing ourselves indiscriminately with one sort of foodstuff or another, when we suddenly became aware of faint music. Dad had a large organ (of the Wurlitzer variety), but he and the HG were safely in the living room and there was nobody else in the house but us chickens. An organ was definitely being played, so the WQ and I crept down the darkened hallway to the accompanying strains of a Bach fugue. From the organ’s lair, a pale, ghostly light leaked under the door over the hall carpet.

It was the WQ who pushed open the door. And there it was. Its grey, tattered, crypt-cobwebbed hair fell over its leering face, the arms of its putrid shroud were draped artistically on the keyboard. Undoubtedly, it was readying itself to turn its head and stultify us with its evil, shiteating grin. Mopknocker, in all his glory, was playing Bach.

The WQ says she didn’t pee herself, and I’m not admitting anything myself at this stage. The reason Dad thought it would be funny to drape the mop in his dressing gown and set the Wurlitzer to autoplay was never explained. There was actually not much chance of him giving an explanation, because some of us are still not speaking to him. But the incident has left its legacy. To this day, I can’t walk past the mop section of Food-o-rama without hearing a Bach fugue faintly in the back of my mind and overriding the Barry Manilow musak track. And we don’t have mops in our house. They were banned long ago.

Any relative of Mopknocker is not a friend of mine …

.oOo.

Please let me come with you next time, Nigel …

            This is really a thank you to Jonathan Boakes – a writer of computer games which are so brilliant and so frightening you get the feeling  it’s never going to be safe to sit your arse in front of a computer again. The latest of these is a ghosthunting adventure, in which your new bestie, Nigel, is going to have to solve some spooky derring-do which is going down in a charming Cornish fishing village.

            Nigel is just lovely. He has suitably shambolic clothing, with the hems of his jeans  authentically scuffed – and he wears glasses. I like a man who wears glasses. (Will he make more passes?)  I especially like Nigel because he has no intention of listening to me when I beg him not to go somewhere. He has steel and determination. I like that in a man, too.

            When Nigel arrives in the aforementioned village and finds the only available accommodation (surprise!) is a derelict waterfront cottage, anybody with less steel and determination would have gone home. Especially as villagers were making cryptic comments such as; ‘ooh, the fens, lad!’ and suggesting Nigel’s new place of residence might be a bit suss altogether. Because Nigel didn’t seem fazed by any of this, I attempted walking him back through the fens t’railway … but the bugger wouldn’t go. He informed me he had ‘things to do in the village’.  He also kept shrugging and saying, ‘Nothing ventured …’ Well, Nigel – if you really must.

             I generally like to have the lights off when I play creepy stuff on the computer. Mistake. If you don’t mind crapping yourself, be my guest – but I’m ashamed to say I had to do a dash through the house flicking on every available light and making sure the doors were double-locked. Even kicked the fridge a few times to make it hum.  When I got back to the computer, wouldn’t you know it, Nige was patiently standing there waiting for me. He suggested we might like to do a recce of the museum at night. Excuse me? Could we not just go to bed? I tried double-clicking him onto his bed, but no cigar. Nige insisted he couldn’t possibly sleep until he’d stuck his nose into some more awful stuff which really wasn’t any of his business. Oh, okay then. Let’s break into the museum, virtually crap ourselves, and THEN can we go home to bed? Oh no we don’t. After the museum thing, Nige decided we really ought to take our sorry arses to the cemetery. As you do. *sigh* Nothing ventured …

            All this was pretty horrifying and heart-hammeringly ghastly – but there was far worse to come. I finally managed to double-click Nige to sleep (he had the most gorgeous eyelashes) – and was rather hoping that would be the end of it and we’d somehow get through until morning without further unpleasantness. Ah … no. I don’t think Nige got much sleep before he was awakened by a terrible thumping coming from downstairs. I clicked like mad, trying to make him stay put and just ignore it. But my man of steel and determination (with glasses) was having none of that, either. We had to creep down the darkened stairs, into the darkened passage, where the bathroom door (which had previously been open), was now closed. This is where the thumping was coming from – and naturally, my man couldn’t stay away! He informed me he was going to look through the keyhole. THAT was when I crapped myself. And having seen something ghastly pass across the room on the other side, naturally Nige then had to go in. With moi, of course. I can’t begin to describe how horrible it was. That would be telling.

            A nice part of the game (it’s always about the food) was that Nigel’s landlady felt pretty crap about making him stay in a horrible, haunted cottage with an unusable kitchen – and had organised with a local cafe for him to eat there whenever he pleased. Naturally (because it IS all about the food), I made Nige go in and out of the cafe as often as possible just so’s I could click in his inventory to see what he’d scored. Sometimes there was excellent booty, such as big wodges of chicken and mushroom pie. Or nice iced cakes. Or vegetarian samosas, even! After a while (or a few whiles, anyway), Nige only managed to score a stale lump of bread. (That’s when I realised I was seriously pissing him off, and I’d better let him get back to the ghostbusting.)

            So, PLEASE, Mr Boakes, can Nige go on another incredible adventure soonest? And can I come too? That game was the most fun I’ve ever had on a computer without a credit card and the Gluttons-R-Us website open in front of me. I can hardly wait for the next time!

            What was that, Nigel? Yeah, I know. Nothing ventured …

.oOo.

Midnight train to an underwear emporium …

I had this nightmare the other night, and I’ve had to make a very strong cup of coffee indeed.

            It basically boiled down to being on a crowded train (pretty ordinary at the best of times), wearing a nightie. This could have been an acceptable scenario, given today’s dress code, had the nightie been of the satin variety, or even the starched and spotless genre – but naturally it was not. It was the one I’d gone to bed in, which happened to have birdpoo on it, as well as cruddy dried blobs of Patented Babybird Handfeeding Porridge. In addition, I had no shoes, knickers, handbag – and worst of all, my hair was not brushed.

            The cruelty of nightmares is mindboggling. The only thing I did have (apart from the parrot-crap encrusted nightie which was supposed to be hidden under the privacy of my own bedsheets), was a peculiar red woolly scarf thing around my neck. I’d never seen it before in my life and hadn’t the faintest clue what it had to do with anything. I spent a few kilometres wondering whether I could fashion it into a sort of loincloth, but it seemed a bit of an exhibitionist thing to stand up and do.

            Anyway, it was the messy hair bit which was really upsetting. You don’t feel right if you’re not well groomed. With nice hair, you can sit there confidently in your nightie on any old train, even the city commuter – and snub your nose at the world, basically. People will look at you and think you have nice hair. If you haven’t, you leave yourself wide open for them to notice all the other anomalies, which in this case were legion.

            After a couple of hours sitting on the train, with various subplots (too complicated to be bothered going into) unfolding around me, I eventually realised (because in nightmares these things take a bit longer), I had better get off at the next station and attempt to return to whence I’d started – which was not going to be a doddle without money, or identification even.

            The last thing I remember was standing in front of the ticket office trying to explain I needed to go back the way I’d come. The ticket man in the nightmare was just like ticket men everywhere, which was reassuring. He stared at me blankly because he evidently had no command of English and kept saying ‘Bosnia’. At that point, I woke up.

            I’ve never been more ecstatic to be in my own bed, I can tell you. I groped around for the red woolly scarf thingie, but it hadn’t crossed the barrier between the phantom train station and the doona.

            I woke the Hunter-Gatherer. I said, ‘How could you abandon me on a train without any knickers?’ He was understandably baffled, and pretty annoyed I’d shamed the family by being seen at a railway station in the birdpoo nightie.

            The thing is, what does it all mean? There is a fair chance it indicates I was running away from something without being properly prepared. The train meant I didn’t have the ability to drive that far, and the incoherent ticket man meant it’s hard to get good help these days.

            What’s scary is, I don’t particularly want to go to sleep tonight in case there’s more to come. I keep wondering if I wear trousers and a jumper to bed, will I be better covered – and will a wallet and hairbrush tucked under the pillow make any difference? How can your subconscious betray you, when you’ve purposely decided not to be a drug addict or alcoholic so you can keep control of all your faculties? What good are your faculties anyway, when you’re not even awake enough to use them?

            Anyway, I’m going to sit up all night, fully dressed. I don’t much like the thought of Episode 2 – Barefoot Escape to Bosnia. It has the potential to be worse than Episode 1 – Knickerless in a Non-Smoking Compartment.

            If I do drop off though, this time I’m hanging on to that red scarf thing. It was cheerful and soft – and rather appealed.

 

.oOo.

 

 

Putrid in prime time …

            Don’t think I watch it, because I don’t. Ever. It just happened to be right there in front of my eyes one evening because someone had walked off and left the gogglebox turned on. I couldn’t believe it anyway. Who could? The World’s Funniest Something-Or-Other. A mind-boggling sortie into the life of the common-or-garden suburban family – though in this case it happened to contain both common AND garden.

            What appeared to be going down was this: some people – who were obviously not the brightest chickens in the henhouse – had taken their video camera outside while they were having a barbeque. Just on the offchance, as you do. And they’d filmed these rooooolly exciting things like a fat kid falling through the middle of a rotting trampoline mat, the family cat igniting as it walked past the birthday cake and Uncle Dumbarse being whacked across the back of the neck by Auntie Doofus – who was on the other end of a cricket bat at the time. Hilarious? Not. The only funny thing involved (peculiar, not ha ha), was how these people had actually had the bright idea (you can hear the ‘ping’ of the little lightbulb coming on above the head), of sending this appalling crap to a TV station – which, even more amazingly, had nothing better to do than air it!

            You can imagine this family sitting around the box on the evening in question, sated with barbeque fare but tucking into beer and Cheezels anyway, laughing their wobbly bits off as they replayed their merry antics – again and again and again. Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk! Then Auntie Doofus would say (insert light bulb special effect here): ‘Hey – we oughta send it in to ‘Straylya’s Funniest Home Oxymoron … we moyt WIN!’

            And win they certainly did! They won another camcorder, which is pretty terrific, as there’s now no holding them back. They’ll be able to re-record the fat kid (which, due to its own padding, miraculously survived its death-defying plummet through the dilapidated canvas); this time hurtling from a minibike into the guinea pig hutch. They’ll record the remains of the guinea pigs. They’ll record Part 2 of the Dumbarse’n’Doofus Show. In which he kills her.

            While the show was in progress, a voice-over man gave a running commentary. Just in case the audience couldn’t get a handle on what was going down. It was both witty and enlightening: ‘… and here comes Auntie Doofus … WHACK! He’s down for the count!’ There followed much canned mirth. ‘Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk!’ The studio audience had obviously been fed a cocktail of amphetamines in red cordial in order to cope with this frivolity. They just couldn’t get enough of it. A blonde hostessy creature came on in between events and made a few witty and enlightening observations re Auntie Doofus in a voice akin to a not-very-eloquent parrot. ‘What a woman, eh? She could bat for ‘Straylya! Hyuk, hyuk!’

            Give us a break. Please. Does this rate? Do TV executives actually think it’s amusing to encourage the terminally brain-dead to set fire to their pets and hurl their obese offspring head first into garden furniture, just on the offchance they might acquire a camcorder? Or do these people really take video recorders to family barbeques? If so – why? Will anybody want to look back in 20 years at Uncle Dumbarse sucking blissfully on the fat of a greasy chop with half a dozen empty beer bottles lined up beside him and his right testicle escaping from the leghole of his vile old Stubbies? Will they look back fondly at the grubby teatowels flapping behind him on the Hills Hoist and marvel at how the bindies had really gotten a hold of the lawn that year? Memories, eh? Not to mention the chance of spin-off shows – up to date, more pertinent to the times – such as ‘Australia’s Funniest Bungled Home Invasion Attempts’,  or ‘World’s Most Side-Splittingly Hilarious Bag Snatches’, or even ‘Candid Office Dunny’, where lavatories in high rises are bugged and the whole country gets to check out your butt and see who doesn’t wash their hands afterwards.

            Isn’t it great how technology has boosted our intelligence to levels never before imagined? How it’s given us insights into life we didn’t used to have? We’ve come such a long way since Shakespeare, baby!

            If the Bard were alive today he’d probably be firing up the barbie …

.oOo.

 

 

Why Nigel’s stereo runs through Jason’s veins …

 

            The world’s gone totally mad and now’s your chance to get in there and make the most of it.

            No longer do you have to face the horrors of liability or accountability. The new millennium means never having to say you’re sorry. Because let’s face it – you’re not, are you? The nineties’ answer to responsibility is to place the blame elsewhere. And there’s plenty of places to place it – you don’t even have to look very far.

            Ask Boris. He’s a serial killer because his mother didn’t love him. Jason whines he’s a drug addict because his father left home. And poor old Tom’s been unemployed all his life because his teachers were no good. Well, diddums. Strike up the orchestra here, and hopefully it will drown out the noise of nobody having the guts to blame themselves anymore. Nobody wants to say, ‘I’m bad just because I am.’ If you can find someone to blame, you can live your whole life in denial while someone else carries your baggage.

            Back in the dark ages, when kids respected their elders and got a good clip across the ear’ole if they didn’t, people were brought up to know right from wrong. If they transgressed, they were punished. Troublemakers were nipped in the bud in kindergarten when they pulled the first wing off the fly crawling across the inkwell. One visit to the headmaster and that was the last time you chewed Juicy Fruit in maths. The class warm-up man wasn’t given the chance to build an empire. Most people were reasonable human beings. After nicking that Mars Bar, aged 6 and getting spectacularly drunk at 15, most kids settled down into your average reasonable lifestyle. You knew your limits.

            Today, there aren’t any. We have excuses instead. If passing the buck had been flavour of the month in our grandparents’ day, wasn’t every child who lived through a World War entitled to become a serial killer? They should have been given vouchers! All the little ones evacuated away from their families, not knowing whether they’d ever go home again – prime candidates for spectacular careers in Advanced Rape and Pillage, wouldn’t you think? Not. There was that ol’ dinosaur – self control. Hanging on and making the best of things – dealing with what life handed out. It might have been crap – but it was YOUR crap, and you just wiped it off your face and got on with the next item on the agenda.

            Nowadays, we’re stuck with other people’s crap. Because of Jason’s father leaving home, Jason now feels perfectly entitled to break into Nigel’s house and nick his stereo. Why shouldn’t he? After all, Jase has a $300-a-day drug habit and bloody Nigel has a good job because his parents stayed together and his mother cut the crusts off his sandwiches. You bastard, Nigel – how unfair was that? Well Jase – weren’t you in Nigel’s class at high school? Didn’t you fire spitballs at him through a biro shaft while he was sitting down the front trying to figure out algorithms? Didn’t you say, ‘I don’t give a stuff,’ when Mr Jones asked why you hadn’t handed in your assignment? You didn’t give much thought to the income you’d need to support your drug habit back then, hmm? But that’s fine. When you’ve sold Nigel’s stereo, you can have a go at Derek’s back window. The catch is a bit dodgy and Derek happens to have just bought a state-of-the-art plasma screen. His DVD player is only three months old and his wife has a few pieces of heirloom jewelery in her top drawer. It’s got sentimental value only, but it might fetch a dollar or two. If not, you can chuck it in the river. Yeah, Jase – the world owes you a living.

            If the do-gooders get hold of you, they’ll tell you you’re a worthwhile human being and you deserve better than the shoddy deal life has handed you.

            You sure do, Jase. So take Nigel’s. He won’t mind – he’s eaten up with guilt for having worked bloody hard to support his family while you had to make do with the pathetic dole payment the government expects you to exist on.

            Life’s a bastard – then you die. Go figure.

 .oOo.