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> Home Made Tales, The journey
peter.howden
post 7th Jul 2021, 07:12pm
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Forlorn.

Once a city residence for some upper-middleclass family of better than the run of the mill heritage, the building was a grand old age, but neglected down to the ground. At one stage, had been converted into separate flats, being the pride of homemaking for good honest hard-working families. The actual front door lay on its hinges, condemned slum structure should have been flattened, not tattered up to its last legs. An absentee landlord squeezed every penny he could, with no humane feeling worth a drip from a cast-iron heart. Camouflaged skulduggery within…as lost souls paid for the privilege of a meagre existence in treacherous accommodation.

A clatty hallway gave a horrible clue of apprehensiveness followed everyone who may have knocked the grubby door on purpose, or by accident, before entering aerial pungent squalor. Inside the walls of what can only be described as a midden, sat a frump, who had a name during spells in her shaky day of neglect, even she may have forgotten. Her first name was Kate or Cathy to some. Everything touched in her single room was tacky, plus suffocated odour prevailed of wet rotten mushrooms. No sign of cooking, a couple of empty MacDonald’s take ways, lay on couch…one perched up in a corner like a motionless pet. The permanent staleness of substance smoking… caustic on the eyes.

Kate must have had a recognizable female form, hidden by years in dowdiness mistreatment. Her children flown the nest long ago. No mention of her man except in times of real delirium, scripted as “F---ing bastard”, over and over again. In moments of sanity her mind was frantic with half-baked ideas or languished in memories she alone knew. Her childhood memories of her bony mother when times get hard, she was force go to the fruit market, pick up bashed fruit and vegetables from the gutter or rake through the closed market stalls. “You’ll never go wrang with a bowl of soup”, her mother’s words rang in Kate’s fuzzed mind more often than she cared to remember. She now was too proud to demean herself .

One thing was true, she never stooped to prostitution for she was not a gal like that…she had kept her looks but only in her mind… not in the mirror. Kate slept with strangers she encountered at the local country club, but only just for an extra swally. Even the clattiest bloke demanded her to wash before he would deem entertaining a fumble…never mind sex. She had no conception of time, only being awake with sweat and aches while searching the abode for a drop of something alcoholic. Blacked out periods, she had no idea they existed. Religion was devoid of meaning, apart from the occasional hand out, though less appreciation and annoyance for having to mumble three verses of “Jesus saves”

This hole was ranked as a furnished flat, a knackered bed, a wardrobe and drawers of some description and a thread bared rug in the bog. For this, the social paid blood money to the cockroach of a landlord. The authorities were forced to open the dingy den, as complaints of nasty odours, rats lose in the crumpled building. Kate’s open door revealed an over-profusion of reeks and whiffy dark corners. She lay slumped…oblivious in death as she was in life.

A lone anxious voice says this should not happen again as the mawkit door is closed over. No one came to the funeral.

Within a heartbeat …some other poor lost sod paid for accommodation in Kate’s old dodgy flat
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peter.howden
post 19th Jul 2021, 10:54am
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Sincere affection

Young love between a man and woman, boy and girl, is such a strange pinning state of mind, creating wide eyed pulsating desires of mysterious limits, yet at the same time throbbing in pits of agony and self-doubt. Passionate embracing each time meeting, but then, yearning with doubt while apart. Young lovers boast of wanting to share their desires by telling the whole wide world, yet jealously keep it close to both bosoms, cutting off anyone who would dare take a physical step closer. The proclaimed hope to all who will listen… it will last as long as creation survives in the same wonderful magic theme as it is here and there… and then some.

Whither accidentally or on purpose, the merest touch, sends you into a convulsion of ecstasy beyond any imagination, then falls into bittersweet agony of misgiving, exposing loneliness never felt before. The absence of your lover for a single day, seems like eternity, craving for the need being greater as if a dreaded drug. A sigh echoed, a whiff of perfume in the air brings you running, only to glare into the darkness of your heart, aching way above any suffering gone before.

Love for your offspring can bringing comfort at all stages yet fearful, for when they take a departing path away from the bonds of the family. Children are a lucky dip, whether cosiness or despairing for you may not like them but you love regardless and unconditionally. At the drop of a hat, your breast burst with pride for all and sundry to receive the message. A small glance from your child can banish all misgivings

An unforeseen loss is the death of a child, and a child they are no matter what age they accomplish, or position in society they achieve. This is the worse grief beyond unthinkable endurance. There is a portrait in the head kept with an unknown obsession which never changes, giving a sad reassurance… you beg will go away. Guilt prevents anything interfering with the picture.

We have been fortunate, even though we have experienced all three loves
Would we go through all the tantalizing agony again …even if forewarned…you can bet your boots we would!
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peter.howden
post 21st Jul 2021, 11:29am
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Lawyer 57


Brian had limited understanding of the British law courts meaning of the golden thread, is probably the best possible, but who for? It is the oldest trade union working, leaving Rumpole of the Bailey creeping out. Elvis sang, #the world is a stage#, nowhere more demonstrated or so flamboyantly played inside a so-dubbed justice courtroom. Robes and head-dress, props, and speeches galore performed to the jury…sheer Shakespearian human drama, relentless evidence as one side plays against the other. The immediate future for the person unfortunately in the dock, depends entirely on this gusto performance, with perhaps more than a hint of law. The old saying, if you tell the truth, you have nothing to fear, loses meaning when you step into the courts, wither you are a witness or for jury duty or indeed the detainee.

One place, so we are told, all criminals fear and detest in Scotland is prison, and of all prisons within the Scottish legal system, the top of the heap is Barlinnie. The official line inside their solid walls, is the routine, all inmates abide by the prison régime although if that is the case there must be two perspectives as to what the system is. Inside Barlinnie and all penal establishments a separate culture, a society within a collective structure, to the degree some inmates become institutionalized with a cringing lack of confidence outside when released. Old lags gleefully anticipating Christmas dinner, with five free snouts (In older times) and ‘New Year’. Some such clients or customers break the law just to be sent back into the familiar security routine and safety in cells, .

In the early 60’s one incidence still worries Brian, the injustice so-called Kangaroo court, could take place right underneath the core of a Glasgow’s Law Courts. Many years ago, for nonpayment of a fine, being informed if payment were made, release without question would follow, or another stain on his character. The truth about arriving in this situation was lack of funds…but 12-day visit inside Barlinnie is another story. Brian was taken down under the court, into a packed holding cell with about 25 souls locked in by a turnkey. Within this the cell the recent court procedures discussed openly with most internees, well used to the surroundings, or treat it as a daily event …never admitting to the crime they may have found themselves charged with.

While in the dock the defendant knows he alone must convince the judge and the jury of being innocent with sincerity and self-belief in his pocket. The question seemed raised to everyone who entered the cells, including Brian, “what are you in for?”, as a sense or reassurance within by being let down by everyone bar themselves. His reply triggered sniggers as a trivial few day’s holiday…a couple of wags on the wall clock

A turnkey opened the door, whispered to the first guy, then left. That guy started whispering to several others. Within minutes a rather jittery man enters, slide onto the first wall past the door. Being an uncertain novice himself in this situation, Brian noticed the signs of fraught nerves the new inmate released, which made him feel better. Around a dozen or so inmates collectively muttering to each other. The guy that had been first approached by the turnkey, sauntered up to the latest detainee asking the main question. A silence fell as he stuttered out, he had been drunk and that he lost his way trying to start a fight and then lifted. With this answer the mood suddenly became ugly and tense as the lead man asked again and received the same skittish response. The snarl voice of the inquisitor retorted; this was a lie made up because you interfered with two children. He suddenly raised his fist, struck a crunching blow to the victim’s face, followed by all other persons surrounding laying in with ferocious brutality.

Brian had faced gang fights, clashed with chib merchants but this was dangerously mob hysteria. It was as if each man had not only a right to take part, but also an unwritten code or duty. The fallen man was screaming by this time but no interference from turnkey keepers. This in turn release a frenzy for the rest of the captive audience to take part as they rushed to do so. All the while the terrified man was screaming at the top of his voice… but nothing from the screws.
Staying apprehensively still, Brian did not take part, wished he could say it was down to upholding the traditions of law, a man is innocent until proved guilty…but he could not, for he honestly did not know the reason.

It turned as quickly as it had started, all walked as far away from the body lying on the floor, as possible in cramp conditions. After a further couple of minutes passed the door opened with the now familiar noise of the keys, the turnkey entered asking, “What happened to him?” The answer was, he fell out of bed… the upholder of the law looked at him, shrugged, and left with a thud of the door. Brian had no clue if that man was innocent or guilty, but he should be tried by the ‘Golden thread’ system, imperfect as it stands, before judgment. It must be true that the jailers hear facts of cases and horror-stricken crimes against innocent children, but it does not excuse this barbaric behavior. Is it fear in man himself that let lose such berserkers? The limp body was taken out as the cell fell back into chit chat what to do if a certain judge was on the bench.

There is no shortlist of learned gentlemen within, and all can call on their own experience to a fault. Brian came across this smallish man who was more than willing to spill the beans and cursed a certain policeman whose name was Cann. The inmate had been caught trying to rob a bookie which was daft, as there were only twenty quid in the place. Anyway, he happened to mention the police and his lawyer had pleaded that there were another 57 unproven offences to consider. Brian asked, “Does that make you the great Heinz Mastermind?” This comment floated right over him…. Being deep in strategic thought of how to outfox the court and leaving egg on Cann.
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