Interview with Self: Part 2 – Editor’s message

MJ Usetobe, The Art of Crisis

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that due to the recent demise of MJ Usetobe, there will be no “Interview with Self: Part 2”. Although completed drafts were at the final edit stage the author, in extremis, made the surprising decision to halt final publication before obtaining permission [from a family source] to print certain contentious, and potentially litiginous, statements. Whilst successful in obtaining a full and corroborative response, its arrival was, sadly, dilatory. It was the decision, therefore, of this editor, with the agreement of the author’s executors, that the piece be withheld.

Almost without exception Usetobe’s offerings were visceral and ardent attacks upon those who sought to undermine his “judgement, autonomy and sanity”; he once mockingly described a draft copy to me as “imperfect and rough-hewn offerings, freshly calved from the black ice of my father’s heart”. That there were was a fault line, the demarcation of which deeply and indelibly scored his position relative to the main protagonists featured in many of his posts, that it grew with grinding, tectonic, inevitability to form a final unbridgeable divide, is an incontestable fact. However, despite the bitterness – palpable to the last – his final years in exile from those hostile to him were among the happiest and most peaceful of his life. He ‘fell asleep’ closely attended by his wife and children – always his happiest place.

In accordance with the author’s final wishes John McCrae’s short poem “In Flanders Fields” will close this body of work. A memorial service, attended by close family members and friends, was held in October this year.


In Flanders fields the poppies grow*
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae, 1915
*[original pre-published]


SOTC, Nov. 2013

Qs & As (…and since I’m snowed in)


Q: Are the characters in your blog real?
A: Yes, all of them. However,  I have gone to some lengths to keep their true identities private. Whilst it would be jolly good fun to reveal their names and statuses (relative to me) there would, I am quite sure, be some legal ramifications in dropping them in the soup. I choose to bide my time on that one. There have also been some questions regarding the meanings of some of the epithets used; again I am wary of giving too much away, however I see some scope for more expansive description here. Some are of course self-explanatory: ‘Sorebones’, ‘Fecklessa’ and ‘The Fat Academic’ for example are, I hope, pretty obvious. ‘Sister Dunlop’s’ cognomen is perhaps a little more obscure; here I tried to convey a little of her easy latitudes toward coition and her general degree of amorality – ‘Dunlop’ being synonymous (at least in the UK) with bicycle. To go further and include divisiveness and xenophobia would only lead to an ungainly, though more accurate, description. When all is said and done, as long as ‘they’ know to whom I am referring, I have done my job.

Q. Are the characters members of your family?
A. Some are some aren’t, those that aren’t used to be. All are immediately antecedent, sibling or ‘ex’ in nature. All I will say at this point is that I am a great admirer of Roth’s ‘I married a Communist’ – and in particular Linda Grant’s thesis of the novel (“an angry, bitter, resentful mess by a man who might have taken another course.”)

Q. Why do you persist in denigrating the characters in your posts?
A. I don’t see it as denigration. It’s my therapy. I have tried to portray a group of people [characters] who have effectively cut me and others that are close to me from their lives. I am in exile. I write for my sanity and as a lone voice against those who act in collusion against me. I’ve recently started using Pynchon’s muted trumpet as a symbol for some of my posts. It’s not really an homage to 49 at all but I find the emblem a rather poignant metaphor in symbolising my own chosen method of communicating my feelings.

Q. What is the significance of SitOnTheCat?
A. None worthy of reporting. I was simply looking for an abstract and yet interesting sounding name. I’ve had only positive feedback so far; people have been pretty complimentary in this respect.

Q. Are there hidden messages in your posts?
A. There are and there are not. By that I mean there are some posts like ‘Russian Doll Story’ in which I make use of very specific and clearly described encryption but in other places I use less obvious cryptic forms. I also make extensive use of anagrams (not in character names) to impart some important statements.

Q. What is the W.A.S.T.E acronym and why is it relevant?
A. I refer you to my third answer – it’s that Pynchon thing again. That said, “Long live the Trystero.”

Q. It is quite easy to establish who you are. Why then do you use ‘SitOnTheCat’ as a pseudonym?
A. I don’t really care about shielding my identity. I have two audiences, one very small and specific and the other to whom I now type these answers. The former already know who I am, the latter probably don’t care. Anyhow – it’s nice to sit in the shadow of my cat.

*Information contained in the disclaimer (bottom right on this page) takes precedence over all other blog content.

Your definitive ‘actress’.


I have to take my hat off to the Fat Academic. Reading her latest epic résumé one could be forgiven for missing, amongst the florid obfuscation, the rather glaring omission of seven whole years of her life. It is cleverly done mark you, but if you know what [not] to look for …

The irony of course is that where she wishes to hide her ‘itch’, I choose the opposite. It is a simple extrapolation of times past; she told the lies, I uncovered them. I have long (in mischievous fantasy) pondered ways of exposing this discontinuity in her timeline and her subsequent dubious rise to professional mediocrity (Herzog moment). Perhaps an oblique euphemism regarding some of her ‘cover-ups’, a mention of indiscretions aligned with the title of this post, or else, a bit of professional name dropping. But no, my shilly-shallying on this subject has been for naught; my work has been done for me.

In one of the best put-downs I have seen in a long time, I note with delight, a recent academic article which cited not only her mistakes and flawed hypotheses, but also supplanted her titled immaculateness with, “Caster’s student”, not “Prof. Ringworm, nor even “Dr. Ringworm”, simply and devastatingly, just “Caster’s student”. Such an epithet, in print, for all her peers to ponder – and penned by one so eminent in the field – will burn deep into her psyche, far deeper and more searingly than any angst I could throw her way regarding her dubitable fidelity and honesty. I know you see, that her Achilles heel is not failure per se; failure can be covered up, blurred at the edges and craftily explained; her greatest fear is of being found out.

So if I tip my hat to Dr. Ringworm I must surely have Gieves & Hawkes send a life-time supply of Bowlers to Prof. JH. Here’s to exposing a few more of those modal instabilities.

SOTC is not mute on the subject of W.A.S.T.E

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven (*and dreams of Moon’s delight)

For all our fragile selves:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B.Yeats, 1899 *M

Russian Doll story

What follows is a short but unusual piece. Please keep an open mind whilst reading; it is not meant to be a great (or even good) piece of prose. As indicated by the title, there is a hidden message; hidden not once, not twice but three times within the lines supplied below. In order to find my message you will need to write down the first letter of every word (in order) and in so doing form a new paragraph; the punctuation of which I hope will be straight forward to apply. By repeating this process two more times you may find yourself in a position from which to help me. Please let me know.


Hate and revenge: bitterness offered under righteous indignation – nothing gives, everything grates. Revenge engenders guilt; insidious obfuscation undermines sanctity. Each needless manoeuvre indicates treachery. “Yes, yes,” ever tyrannical, ever vehement, ever rhetorical – diverted in paroxysm.

Laura offered me a treat in candour. “Leon, every other night – a blazing argument. The endless diatribes, unerring sarcasm. It’s not good.” Reality and reason eventually arrived, pinching Leon. Outrage momentarily blinded practical emotion. Real happiness and peace – scarce ideals. Overturned values, entrenched rights, rarely engender any change that ends dispute.

Uncertain negative undercurrents started up at Leon. Laura yielded sympathetically.

“Is love ever not troublesome? Look at us …raging another year.”

Every attempted reconciliation nullified each day’s minute, occasional, rarefied enactment of pleasure. Each nefarious, malicious outrage, made every night tearfully sad. Errant and chastised, he nodded in grudging homage to this heroine. Expressive and nervous glances exchanged rapidly, ruefully.

“I feel empty, I’m numb.” Leon exclaimed.

“Oh, now you importune empathy?” Laura’s dramatic edict did enough. Volatile emotions reigned; yet now, infiltrating gently, her thoughts ran afar. “God; everything and nothing.”

“Does God understand it?” Leon trilled. “Everything?”

Nerves demolished, emotions divided, demoralised. Eventually Laura interjected callously: “A timely end Leon?”



© SitOnTheCat 2012

Interview with Self: An extract

MJ Usetobe, The Art of Crisis
Interviewed by MJ Usetobe

The interview took place over three days. Beginning with some exploratory discussions during late December 2011, the final sessions were completed by the middle of January 2012. All conversations, save for the last (the only one transcribed here), were conducted at the same location – a dark and rather frightening (at least to this interviewer) recess deep inside Dr. Usetobe’s temporal lobe. The concluding meeting, an altogether more tangible affair, at which Usetobe extensively cut, revised and re-drafted much of the transcripts, took place at The Little Owl, on the corner of Bedford and Grove, NYC.

As a prerequisite to the interview Usetobe insisted that he was not interested in responding to questions relating directly to his political and religious beliefs. Whilst acknowledging the importance of such aspects to his life he expressed a very specific desire to use this rare interview as an analytical tool to try and dissect some of his noted personal characteristics, as he put it; “I want to address aspects of my soul and sanity and say some things about my relationship with myself that should have been articulated a long time ago.” Furthermore, he flatly refused to comment on what he considered to be either trivial or pointless enquiry, or on personal style or habit. His demeanour, more often than not was brooding, however he was always enthusiastic to begin each session. He speaks in gentle tones, with fluency and contemplation in equal measure. Usetobe listened carefully and was deliberate in developing his answers in a clear and serious manner. Sometimes however, he was prone to dark humour and irony in concluding an answer, playfully supplanting his original reply with deliberately ambiguous appendicies. He would often pause to make brief notes in a small red moleskin notebook; he drank strong black Colombian coffee throughout, dressed casually, and wore, off and on, wire-framed spectacles suspended around his neck by a fine red cord.



It has been a hard process in securing this interview, indeed it has been said that you have been bordering on the reclusive. Could you start by explaining your apparent reluctance to speak?


Well … I would like to know who said that I am reclusive. I think there is a big difference between being reclusive and being say, solitary. Certainly I am solitary, but only in the way that I like to think optimally or that I like to solve problems by calling on something from within; I have an existential outlook, or ‘in-look,’ [laughs] that I have always relied upon. But I have never sought a reclusive life – I enjoy the company of others too much. Of course I have certain characteristic traits, mostly bequeathed or imposed, but I do not consider reclusivity to be one of them. I would love to be more frivolous, outgoing, light hearted, more outrageous even, but I am who I am – I am hamstrung by a combination of my own expectations and limitations, both of which were brought about as a direct consequence of the way I was brought up, the people I have met and the life I have led. [Pauses and sips coffee] …now if you you’d asked me about ‘estrangement,’ that’d be a whole new ballgame. I’ve taken estrangement to a new level.


Could you expand a little upon what you mean by “characteristic traits, bequeathed or imposed” and “expectations and limitations?” Are you referring to something from your childhood?


Certainly, the two things are related of course. I don’t want to get distracted however by the obvious ‘I blame my parents for everything’ scenario, but there is no getting away from the fact that we are all endowed with a set of values and characteristics that may or may not sit comfortably with us as time passes. From my own perspective, I was aware from a relatively early age, maybe ten or eleven, that I was ill at ease with the what I understood to be the guidelines my mother and father set out for me. My parents married at a ridiculously early age, they were both children themselves – both teenagers; both learning how to deal with their mistake [me]. One result was that I was an anxious child; always lacking in self confidence and never having a source of direction or guidance. It’s like asking a blind man for directions, you might get sent anywhere.

As for expectations and limitations. This is a more complicated. Again it goes back, back to a time where I was not made aware of the importance of education or of pushing myself to excel – at anything. At that time, when I was approaching teenage, my father worked long hours and drank a lot when he got home. My mother was left to bring me up as best she knew, largely on her own. I think my ‘limitations’ were imposed at this point; I can remember thinking that I wasn’t going to amount to much. I think that’s rather sad – not even having the desire to escape that way of thinking. Yes, my worldview was capped at around that time I think. Probably later, when I went to university, was when I started to play ‘catchup’. But it took a huge effort to extract that earlier mindset – it had deep roots. Since that time I have been imposing ever increasing expectations on myself in an overly compensatory manner that has now become an obsession. I don’t have balance in that respect.


Would you like to go back and expand on your comment relating to estrangement?


No. Not specifically.


I’m not sure what you mean by that.


I mean that I don’t want to jump right in and specify the nitty gritty of what a lot people already know about that aspect of my personal life. Maybe it’ll creep out …slowly.


Is it painful for you to discuss?


Not anymore – not painful, but I guess it sits a little uncomfortably with me. Let’s move on.


Do you have any siblings?


No, I am an only child [laughs], another stereotype. I had imaginary friends though.


You have been outspoken about aspects of your depression; could you tell me about this and perhaps expand upon how this has affected your work and personal life?


I have good days and bad days – I cry a lot; I can be completely fine one day, one minute even, then ‘bam’ I’m in the depths. There’s not much more to be said really. The manifestation of clinical depression is well documented – you don’t need me to attempt a description. For me, it is the search for that moment, that event or series of events, that cast this whole damn veil upon my life. For the most part I just live with it – I try to kid myself into believing it is related to this, related to that. My wife has helped me through a lot – but … there are brick walls, blind alleys; places only I can go. I have such clearly defined ‘no go’ areas in my head, there are big warning signs and flashing lights in the road-map of my mind, but the hell of this thing is that I keeps on being drawn back to the bad places. It’s seems such a simplistic thing to explain, but the subtleties are boggling – to me at least.

It has certainly affected some of my choices relating to my work and I’ve certainly under performed in certain areas; mostly on a personal level I think. It can get in the way on so many levels but I think I’ve become fairly good at keeping an even keel, so to speak. But I guess you’d have to ask others for some true perspective. My personal life has been a mess, a shambles. Ok, so now we touch on the estrangement – you got me! [Usetobe feigns a grimace and shifts his posture – backward] I’ve managed to hang on to my kids and my wife but I’ve lost everything else, everyone else. My father thinks I’m crazy or some kind of opportunist sniper – probably both, and my mother – well she just blows in the wind, she just follows in the wake of my father’s rages. I inherited all of their inadequacies; my lifelong battle has been to bottle them all up and not pass anything along. It’s a poison that eats at me from the inside. There is a Twain quote; “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured,” and it’s true but there remain significant dangers if it spills, dangers to those that I love most. My job is to keep the stopper in place, to manage and limit the danger that I bequeath or let loose by some form of osmosis. At least if I am cognisant of the dangers – I can take measures to mitigate the effects of my disease.


You’re upset. We could stop. [Usetobe, clearly distressed, takes a moment and gestures to ‘keep rolling’]. Ok, I don’t want to push you on this but one thing you said puzzled me; you said your father thinks that you are an ‘opportunist sniper’?


My father operates in a monochrome reality. He doesn’t have a facility for anything other than a very narrow bandwidth of black and white, hence his faculties of sympathy and understanding are limited somewhat. In the past, when we communicated, he couldn’t unravel the signals I was sending; if I elevated my ‘Mayday’ from anything other than a plaintive form, which fell outside his bandwidth, he reacted with his default state – anger. Consequently there would be an exponential escalation … Whenever I have subsequently tried to allude to this cycle of events he accuses me of ‘never letting go of the past’ or of ‘sniping about the past’ – it’s a no win situation for me.


End of Part 1.
Usetobe and Usetobe would like to extend their grateful thanks to the staff and patrons of The Little Owl, for being so accommodating and helpful throughout the transcribing of this interview.

‘F&S’ share price slumps on continuing feud with ex-employee

Stock plummets to 12-year low as worries grow

February 24, 2012 by F. Spearjig, SitOnTheCat News

Shares in S&F Holdings plunged to their lowest level in more than a decade on investor concerns that more problems loom for the crippled family run concern. To compound matters, a leaked memo’, apparently from the incumbent chairman, detailing “exit strategies” for senior board members in the event of company administration, has been “doing the rounds” among market traders. Shares closed down £6.12, or 62 percent, at £3.75, after touching an intraday low of £3.03, a value not seen since October 1999. S&F was by far the day’s most-active stock on the SOTC Stock Exchange, now seen by many as a short-seller’s dream.

S&F warned in a Securities and Exchange filing, released after markets closed on Thursday, that it could be forced to admit liability in an ongoing court case between its chairman Sir John Sorebones and former company employee, M.J.Usetobe, who claims to have been unfairly dismissed following what a source close to the board has described as “demonstrably trumped up” and  “grossly unfair” allegations of insider trading made by Sir John in January 2011. A guilty verdict would be seen as disastrous for the beleaguered company and would almost certainly result in significant credit cuts by already faltering backers.

Sir John and his wife Fecklessa have kept a low profile ever since the now notorious “Enmity Emails”, sent by Sir John to M.J.Usetobe in February 2011, were forwarded to senior members of the board in an attempt by Usetobe to clear his name. Later, transcripts of the emails, largely comprised of threats and personal insults, were leaked to the tabloid press. The much-publicised boardroom revolt that ensued culminated in a vote of no confidence in the chairman and a three-month enforced ‘furlow’. Described by some as a “loose cannon”, Sir John has nonetheless been tipped to take over the day-to-day running of S&F’s sister company, Dark Angel Holdings – the Newcastle-based manufacturer of equine waste containment, famous for its gritty catchphrase ‘We’re full of Horse Shit’.

“It’s pretty well accepted in the industry that people are staying away from S&F for now,” said Charlie Sammler, market manager for Stick-it-and-Twist Associates in London. “All the love has gone out of this company – it used to be such a good place to work.”

S&F’s filing was a stark warning to investors that it would fail to be a “going concern” if a further credit cut forces it to pay off its debts to partnerships it is currently involved in. “An early payoff of those debts would render S&F unable to service its revolving credit accounts, starting a downward spiral.” said Sammler. Meanwhile, credit rating agency Hoist & Petard said that it may again cut S&F’s BBB-minus rating, which could trigger those debt payoffs.


Gombrich, my dear trusted friend,

I am sorry but I just cannot face the prospect of returning to Ludeyville and the inevitable confrontations that await. As you are well aware, I have had no contact with Fecklessa for well over one year; the bitterness is manifest and the damage irreparable. Today is of course about remembering and respecting my grandfather (your friend for so long) and I have made that my personal priority, as have we all who are not engaged in sophistry and retribution. With this in mind I have decided to avoid the possibility of ill feeling or of a regrettable atmosphere (or worse) by departing immediately at the conclusion of the service. Sorebones would, I fear, have no compunction in instigating some abominable remonstration, the consequence of which I feel woefully inadequate in contending with at this time. Moreover I have made a solemn promise to my grandmother that no words of contempt or malediction shall leave my lips and that I will play no part in inciting that which might corrupt the sanctity and reverence of the day. Instead, Odette and I will take sanctuary in quiet contemplation and sweet memory.

Please understand dear friend. I wish circumstances were different and that I might be empowered with sufficient fortitude with which to face my enemies – but today is not the day.

Gustav, 24th February 2012

Fringe Benefits – an introspective discovery

Our man is moderate in thought, deed and appearance; to a degree no more or less than – ‘just about right’. He has achieved a level of conformity in both dress and demeanour as to render him all but invisible to the commonalty. Grey suited, grey skinned, amiable and equable, he invites neither comment nor criticism. He has, over time, stepped back into life’s backcloth and taken refuge in the autumnal scenery of his own existence; passively assuming the role of silent witness to the closing melodrama of his own finality. Albeit inured to the subjection of his begetters, he has yet inherited the detritus of their overbearance. Forty years’ placating and mollifying their adjudications and castigations have left him bereft of hope, vitality and spirit; all now distant memories of his youth. In their place, he has become abstinent, considerate, modest and measured; middle-of-the-road, middle-of-life and middle-of-crisis. This aggregate of moderation has become his ‘safe place’, an obtundent shield of indemnity with which to shelter from life’s vitriol – a most costly and protracted insurance however, the transaction of which he only now begins to reconsider…

Our man sits, feet-off-ground, upright, shrouded from the neck down, his hands dovetailed in his lap; contemplative, relaxed, persuant not only of a hair cut but also of the welcome, if transient, exile into nugatory and inconsequential conversation. Always the same salon chair, always Marie and always the second friday of the month; a lifetime ritual of diversion and sublime indulgence; his monthly détente. Other calendaric reference points include the public library, Wilhelm’s Coffee House and Sammler’s – the stationers. But none are so fixed as this. He wears his hair short, to lend what he perceives as ‘credibility’ to his years. As a consequence, morning primping is kept to a minimum; it is an arrangement that appeals to his sense of efficiency. Old enough to remember a pre-decimilized Britain, he uses ‘2/6’ as a mnemonic to needlessly remind Marie of his cut – it is shortest at the sides. As the first grey precipitate begins its journey to the floor and as Marie opens with ‘the weather’, our man switches deflty to autopilot and settles in dualistic contemplation of himself.

Our man is momentarily lost in a reverie, he speaks with recourse only to evanescent and minor incursions into the focus of his introspection and smiles with affable beguilement only when it is necessary to do so. It is by means unknown to him, save for his fanciful suspicions with regard to the properties of the mirror whose aspect he now fully occupies, that he is invested, once a month, with powers of mental abstraction beyond any capacity he has experienced outside of his present location. The process by which he is thus transported is augmented by degree. He begins by comparing and contrasting the deviations and deteriorations manifest between the present embodiment of his 180-degree transposed self with each and every retrospective thirty-day snapshot of the last twenty years; always in painful deference to the past. Then it is that he consoles himself with reasoned ambiguity, of the justifications and rationale for such decline. With an inward smile he reminds himself, “I am not old, I have just lived a long time”. Thus is it that by increment he retraces a well-known path to some inner sanctum of his mind, a place where the perfidious, persistent and egregious baying of his familial antagonists cannot gain entry. They are kept fast in abeyance as he is free to wander those winsome and unadulterated byways of his own profundity that still remain open to his conscious sensibilities. All regret and antagonism fall from him and all that was anchored in moderation becomes as profound and palpable as wild spring blossom. It is as if the mere act of mental assuagement is sufficient to propel him, ‘Alice’ like to some other capricious and ethereal state of mind; a place of childhood wonder and naive love.

Our man is now stirred to his senses by the electric scissor action of the final razor trims. Returning gently, he is aware, just as one is aware when waking from a portentous dream, of the forlorn and fleeting imagery that pours ever and away from our grasping senses, forever washed downstream in the turbulence of lost thought. The tangible becomes at once the intangible, the natural becomes the supernatural and fantasy is transformed once more to stark reality; the grievous brutality of the return supplanting all traces of preceding imaginings. Bare necked, re-thatched and re-fringed; he inspects the latest pictorial instalment and commits it for future scrutiny. There remains however, some pleasant aspect to his wakened countenance that he is struggling to discover. Marie talks to him gently (as if aware of his travails) and in demonstrating the efficacy of her handiwork, by means of a hand-held mirror, he is briefly delivered, in a multiplicity of reflections, of an infinity of himself. The moment is but fleeting and conflation soon restores him of his singularity but in endorsing his approval with a particular word and a particular smile he is halted by a transient but most prominent glimpse into his past.

Perhaps it was something in the cut, or in the turn of his head, or the light – or perhaps the mirror’s trickery of transposition, but for a second our man finds himself sitting opposite his own departed grandfather; face to face with love unconditional and devoted, basking in the reflection of his living, loving smile. A million miles from moderation.

SitOnTheCat (9th February 2012)

“Where was I?”

Don’t ask me why, but today I was drawn to read through the email string that constitutes the last conversation I ever had with Sorebones. It is a long read, comprising twenty-one individual messages to and fro. Completed over a 24-hour period, it documents the final and irrevocable breakdown of contact with F & S; it took place on January 7th 2011. In particular I was looking for a line that Sorebones threw at me in a fury of exaggerated and superfluous punctuation that stuck in my mind not only because of its calculated and fallacious content but also that I failed, at the time, to hold him accountable for his wretched and contemptible trivialization of the hurt he inflicted.

My excerpt ran as follows: “You made me beg, cry and crawl to you once before, I knew you weren’t genuine when you finally capitulated, how could you have been if you can even after all this time sit down and write such a cold and calculating email.”

Sorebones’ reply ran: “What the hell is the begging, crying, crawling and capitulation all about??? Where was I? and when will you stop re-writing history?”

Where were you?: You were at the end of the telephone, but only after weeks of careful encouragement from Fecklessa and a swathe of emails and calls from me; it was October 1999. You finally condescended to hear me out. You listened as I tearfully gave you my endlessly rehearsed contrition. When I ran out of steam you said nothing. When I broke down in desperate ad hoc appeals you said nothing. When I pleaded and offered you childhood memories in an attempt to assuage you, you said nothing. Does that jog your supercilious and selective memory? Did you feel powerful having me squirm and beg for you? In my minds eye I have imagined that your guilt in some way caught up with you and that you blotted out this episode, but your venomous emails belie that notion. You are just a liar Sorebones.

Where were you?: Shutler Road. I was eleven years old and you threw me around the kitchen for not wanting to swallow my medicine. They say actions speak louder that words; do you remember throwing the chair against the door and breaking its leg. Do you remember Fecklessa pleading with you to stop manhandling me, then  thrusting me out into the garden before your rage could take more hold? I bet you don’t.

Where were you?: Take a moment Sorebones, a rare truthful moment. I’m sure it’ll come – I hope it does. I live with it, why shouldn’t you?


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