The old man tipped his head back and necked a couple of codeine tablets, sixty milligrams in all. He couldn’t kick the habit. Now and again, he thought. Just a couple now and again. Can’t do me any harm.
So who was the real Mr Evans? He presented himself as a charming, well dressed, well spoken individual, always available to help and advise. Beneath this façade of respectability there lurked a depraved monster driven by compulsions he could not control.
Rowing as fast as they could, the crew members gradually drew away from the doomed ship. The fog began to clear as Captain Picklewink watched the stern upended and then slowly slide beneath the waves, passengers silhouetted by the silvery moon as they lept into the cold water. Their screams continued for several minutes then all was silent, just the gentle lapping of the waves against the side of the lifeboat and the murmurings of the passengers that had survived.
I saw a Mod get pushed through a shop window. He emerged from the glass dazed and smothered in blood. It was a horrible sight, really nasty. A policeman helped him. He actually looked quite shocked, very emotional. I heard him shouting out: “For Christ sake, stop this.”
Fifteen minutes go by and there are no further customers. I take a Gibson J45 acoustic from the wall and begin to strum it. Suddenly I hit on an idea and say: “Do you fancy some acid?” Bill is slightly hesitant. “I’ve got one conical LSD tablet called a pyramid,” I tell him. “We could cut it down the middle and take half each. That way we won’t hallucinate and we’ll enjoy the experience.”
Suddenly two plainclothes detectives with a constable appeared on the quayside. They climbed aboard. We stopped working. “Were you trying to sell money?”
“Sell money?” I had almost forgotten about the incident on the way back from the pub. It meant nothing to me. We explained that it was just a joke but the detectives frisked us, then searched the huts and decks of the pontoon.
“You will have to accompany us to the station,” one of the detectives said, reciting our rights and telling us we were being arrested on suspicion of selling counterfeit money.
A disconcerting feature of this little pink crater, this fairy ring of offal, is the way it spontaneously ejects gases. It’s unimaginably badly behaved, always blowing its trumpet exactly when you don’t want it to. It’s an errant, mischief-maker, and its loud to boot. A deep tuber-like rumble guaranteed to hit a flatulent note exactly when you don’t want it to: in the middle of an important meeting, or perhaps when you are out with friends and enjoying a meal in a restaurant. I have learned to make fun of it.
Summer turned to autumn and with the cold weather approaching we started to make provisions for him to be warm and comfortable, so we made up a bed in the shed — a box stuffed with old blankets. The shed door was left permanently open, so that he could wander in and out. We plugged in an electric oil-filled radiator and kept it on throughout the night. It took the chill off the shed and kept him nice and warm.
Stephanie is lying on the floor alongside the settee, covered in blankets. I wonder why she’s not snuggled up on the settee. It’s only a two seater but she could lay on it propped up on pillows. Maybe she’s more comfortable where she is? At least she’s able to stretch out.
There’s a malevolent atmosphere in the room. It feels like a morgue. I have a sense of foreboding, as if I am in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I explain that I’m working on an art project, which aims to ‘challenge people’s perceptions of disability’. I need some willing participants to model for me. The idea is to pose provocatively dressed able-bodied men and women alongside wheelchair users of the opposite sex, adoringly hugging and kissing them. I’d take several photographs and then produce a series of paintings. The idea behind the project is to show the world that disabled people have their own sexuality and that they are just as desirable as anybody else. “I want to destroy the perception that disabled people are impotent and undesirable,” I add.