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.
She even fellates him as they drive through the Forest of Dean. John can barely steer a straight line as her moving mouth slides up and down his penis. Turns out she loves the taste of semen, says it tingles on the tip of her tongue. “It’s like it fizzes,” she tells him. “It’s like it fizzes.” Johnny has never experienced anything like it. “Carol …” He keeps whispering her name. “Carol …” Stopping the van in a wooded parking bay, John climbs into the back, picks up his guitar and begins to sing: “Oh Carol, don’t you let him steal your heart away … I’m going to learn to love you if it takes me all night and day.”
Now I’ve got a hideous cyst growing on my spinal-cord at level C5. Already it has caused considerable paralysis. The cyst is creeping upwards, paralysing more of my body as it grows. My wrists are weakening. I can no longer cock my left hand back, and I can’t twist my wrists or move my hand from side to side. My tricep muscles are practically useless. I can’t feel or use my hands or legs. My stomach and chest muscles are also paralysed. Coughing is impossible.
But Geraldine quietly reflect on the conspiracies that supposedly dominate our lives. She conducts her psychotherapy sessions with no mention to her clients of her unconventional thoughts, the flat earth theory and the fact that the Illuminati are masterminding global events, planting agents in governments and corporations in order to gain political power, influence, and establish a New World Order.
A couple of Francis Street thugs jeered at him, and with much contemptuous laughter shouted out: “That’ll make your eyes blacker.” I told them to shut the funk up. With incredulous looks on their faces, they asked me to repeat what I had said. I replied angrily: “Why don’t you shut the fuck up?” They moved quickly and menacingly towards me …