Fit For heroes

 

 

Chapter Four

 

 

Where are we going? We aren’t going anywhere. I’m off down here. Why? Are you my Dad? No you aren’t! So why do I have to answer to you? I don’t have to answer to anyone. And as there aint a god I don’t have to answer to anything either. No! I refuse to get back into that conversation. Jenny! Jenny! You got a fag on ya? Cheers my dears. Who’s that? Who’s that? You ask although you appear to know the answer. Anne? I don’t know. I’ve always known her as Jenny. How would you know her as anything else? How would you know her at all? You had cause to know her. What does that mean? Oh forget it. If you do or you don’t. Did or didn’t. It matters not to me. You’re a strange individual. That’s all I can say on the matter.

I know quite a lot about her to be honest, But I’ve never known her as Anne. But saying that, those type of girls very rarely use their real name. Type of girls? One minute you seem to know everything and the next you’re obtuse in the extreme. I have no idea what you mean by, you had cause to visit her, but it didn’t happen. You aint Social Security are you? Benefit investigator. The Bastards that chase the poverty around. If you are, you’ve picked the wrong one today. I’m homeless, I have to go and pick up my benefit. As for working; who in the name of all that’s holy, would employ me? Years back, I may have got a bit of cash-in-hand, nowadays there’s no call for it.

Why? You ask why? Where have you been man? Since the Tories got in and brought in the minimum wage BS, cash-in-hand has become a thing of the past. Why? Cause minimum wage is that low, there’s no need to take someone on for cash-in-hand.

New Labour. That was their title. They were Tories in all but name. Have a look around you. Look at the poverty. Look at the conflict. Look at the gulf between rich and poor. That’s Tory policies not Labour. Look at the financial meltdown. That’s Tory results. They can call themselves whatever they like, but they are still Tories. And don’t get me started about the privatisation of the NHS, that’s all good Tory country as far as I am concerned. Yes Minimum wage should be a good way forward. But you have to legislate to make sure it’s high enough and that wages above it don’t come down to meet it. They made sure none of these checks and balances were made. And now, this country is in the toilet. We went to war for nothing but to line the pockets of the rich. As Daffy Duck put it: It’s the same the whole world over. Tis the poor the gets the blame. The rich get all the gravy. Aint that a blooming shame.

Never heard it? Bloody funny cartoon. I always liked Daffy Duck. Didn’t much like Bugs Bunny. I always wanted Elmer Fudd to capture him. I know it’s not popular, but Bug’s could have made one god damn good stew. I do love a bit of rabbit stew. One of those dishes that take you back to your childhood. Never had it? I’m telling you now, it’s good eat. Anyway; let’s get back to Jenny, or Anne as you like. You gave me the impression you knew her, or at least a lot about her. How is this possible? Or is it just a blag? I’ll tell you what I know about her and you can then tell me what you know.

Something just came to my mind. Whilst I was talking to her and scrounging a fag, she looked towards you. But the way she looked was as if she was looking through you. At first I just assumed she had drifted again. She does that quite a lot. I think it’s the drugs she’s on. What drugs? You have to be kidding me. You know she’s using a false name, but you don’t know she’s a junky. What drugs! The girl takes everything and anything. If it takes her away from her reality, she takes em. If it takes her away from anyone’s reality she takes it – uppers, downers, highs, lows, all mixed together with copious amounts of alcohol. The poor girl has demons I wouldn’t want to meet. She’s had shit from the start. The fact that she still has a microcosm of humanity left in her is amazing to me.

I met her over two years ago. She’d just come out of a drug unit after a spell in clink – shoplifting and violence so I understand. She hit a copper. She said it was a stitch up and she hadn’t touched him, he said the opposite, and the rest is history. Cops lie? Of course they do! Sometimes you seem childlike in your naivety.

 

Anyway. It seems she had a poor childhood. I know many people have poor childhoods, but this girl had poorer than most. Her Father left when she was just a child; he got up one day and walked out, they never did find out how, why or to where. To where, as in he pissed off and no one knows where he went to. We only know that he never kept in touch, and probably never would. I fear now, when she needs him the most, it’s most probably when he is least likely to appear. I mean. If she were to become a famous singer or something, you could bet your back teeth he’d be seeking to get in touch with her. Be on the telly crying, blarting like a baby about how he lost contact and tried numerous times to find her. He’d be exposed as a fraud, cause they always do and she’d have yet another yoke to carry into her darkened emotional hide.

 

The girl’s got more baggage than Heathrow Airport. See. When daddy left home, mom was forced to try and survive alone. She was a young woman. Her family had disowned her because of her choice of man. Yes. Because he wasn’t a white lad. To tell them he was a complete git would have supported their ideology and she couldn’t allow her pride to be that beaten. So. As is usually the case with such girls, she tried to go it alone. Oh yes, she claimed benefits but, to be perfectly honest, you aint getting far on them. It’s a life of penury and of that there is no doubt. They’re supposed to be a safety net, but, in reality, they are more like a keepnet. Once you’re into them, you can wriggle and wriggle and squirm and scream, yet all that happens is you end up getting tangled and eventually drown. The country is full of poor people trapped into the cyclical hold of benefits and low pay. It’s a terrible wickedness.

Anyway!

Mom soon found herself another useless man; girls in that situation usually end up with a line of no-hopers and users. As her child was of mixed race, her choice of partners was limited to other black men or Dole-shite white men. I don’t know why that’s the case. Who I am I to explain men and their motivations? I suppose men find it difficult to raise another mans child, and when that child is of a different hue it becomes too much for them to take. But I don’t really know, it just seems to be the way of things. Violence became the norm, as did many nights alone and many days cold and hungry. You may say the nights would be hungry too and you are right. Yet, at least sleep gives you the hope of dreams and a slight alleviation from the screaming stomach.

The screaming gets worse you Know? No you didn’t? Sorry it wasn’t a question, I was making a statement. And you can trust me on this; the screaming gets worse and worse the more a man walks on this Earth. As for our Jenny/Anne, her screams echo through me day-by-day. You thought she seemed OK? Today she is okay, but today is a good medicine day. No! Not pharmacological form of medicine, but the medicine of the lost and hopeless. Animals take them, but they seem to fair better for it and not increase to a state of abuse. May be, just may be, that’s because they don’t have the same psychology as we do; but more than likely because they don’t have to pay for theirs, and therefore, don’t suffer from the same ideological withdrawal from the stuff. Trust me she screams; the life she had led, the life she has been forced to lead, makes her scream down deep inside her.

Anyway, back to what I was talking about. Soon, our Jenny, began to grow into a young girl. Her mom was by this time, drug and alcohol dependent; she was being beaten more although her relationship, with this particular lowlife, was the longest termed one she had ever had. I can’t recall his name, although Jenny did tell it me on numerous occasions; it changed depending on where Jenny’s head was at that point, bearing in mind that although he was the most permanent male she had had in her life, his period lasted barely three years. There were break-ups within that time scale too, and Jenny’s mom was never averse to a little company from any man if it were to come around. But, it was he that began what was later to become a manifestation of what Jenny thought she deserved.

From what I have gleaned from her. It started quite innocently at first; a touch here, an overly affectionate kiss there, a slimy remark in the quiet of the moment. She swears he never sexually assaulted her, but admits to inappropriate touching by both of them. I know what you’re about to say. I couldn’t agree more. She was the victim, and the fact she was groomed into doing things she neither desired or understood negates the fact that, they touched inappropriately. I will say only this. In her mind she was part of the activity. I know she was coerced, groomed, whatever you want to call it, but I feel that she loved him as a Father, he was the most permanent male in her life. So to that degree she wanted to please him, and now, so many years later, she has resolved to see that episode as her first reflection of love for a male figure. Not a sexual, significant male, but an emotionally connected male. I understand that she is confused and in denial as to how she was abused, but if I were to explain the grim facts, I fear it may be far too much for her psyche to take. I don’t want to be responsible for opening up those wounds and leaving them to fester in this rank, infected air.

Not the air we breath!

Gosh you can be dumb sometimes. I’m not saying that the air is healthy by any stretch of the imagination, but I was trying to use a metaphor to give my statement gravity. Gravity: seriousness, importance…What’s the point?

It’s like this. If she isn’t allowed her own delusions and reality is permitted to prevail, then there is a greater chance that she will sink deeper and deeper into the abyss of despair. I fear a fathom deeper and she may never see the sunlight again. Some say she is lost forever, they may well be right. I live with the hope that at least some of us can make it out of this pit and once more, or, more likely, for the first time stand on the mountain and survey the beauty that life has to offer.

Me? I fear my time in the sunshine has long passed me by. My life is the here-and-now, and I’m privileged to see any day. What I have seen, and what I have been leaves me little right to ask for anything from this life. Not now. These are things I may tell you of when I’m sure I know you. For now I wish to tell you more on Jenny.

May be it was good fortune, or more likely bad, if such a thing is possible for a groomed child. By the time she was eleven and still a virgin of sorts, he was incarcerated for rape. More to the point, he was put on remand for the rape of a teenage girl. I can’t recall what her age was, but she was what they call, those of a deviant nature, jail bait. He was in for three months. When he was released, they dropped the charges on a technicality. She hadn’t wanted to press the charges, and she was nearing sixteen by this time; the offence was some time previously, there was little evidence other than her word and, to be honest, I think the cops saw her as a bit of a tart, and thought it better to let it all drop. Well, Jenny’s mom, had got into a load of debt and some scuffle with a few of her neighbours, so whilst he was in prison, she upped and left. I think Jenny despised her mom for that. In her mind I think she believed she had lost what chance of a Father she was ever going to have; she holds a torch for him even now, in her mind, his abuse was a precursor to him expressing true fatherly love. In what manifestation she expected this to appear, I haven’t yet understood. She, most assuredly, doesn’t see it as leading to sexual encounters, and, therefore sexual abuse.

I’m not too sure what happened to him. I’ve never thought to ask. Frankly I don’t care. All I know is that when he was released, she and her Mother had moved to Birmingham. Telford originally. Mom carried on with the same old life: Men, booze, drugs, beatings, men, beatings, drugs, booze, debt, move. In between this cycle, Jenny was being seduced, traduced and somehow not raped. That little sweetener would come later. Ironically where it shouldn’t have been allowed to happen.

Time pushes on, and schooling kept being missed. They could move every couple of months, sometimes many times within a month. It wasn’t until she was fourteen before she again found some stability in her home life. With stability through being stationary comes greater dangers; the welfare system comes a visiting. Jenny was forced to go a local comprehensive, a place she was ill-suited for. Her schooling had been sporadic to say the least. Now her lack of formal education would be exposed and she couldn’t risk looking stupid. So, like many in her situation, she played the wag. You are kidding me? Play the wag! To miss school without a valid reason. To truant. By this time Social Services were on her case. Wagging. Sorry truancy, soon led to shoplifting and alcohol abuse. They’re not mutually exclusive, but do like to come as a group when it’s teenagers. Now for the irony. It was felt that her Mother was unable to control her child and for Jenny’s sake and safety she was placed within the care system. An oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one. Look it up yourself! Anyway. She was placed in a unit for vulnerable girls where, within three months she was sexually abused, firstly by one of the girls she was being cared with and then by a male carer. Now you get the oxymoron bit. I’m glad to see you’ve caught up.

At the first opportunity, she made a run for it. As is always the case with such matters, she was caught and taken back for another dose of abuse. Then she ran again, and got returned and then ran again and learned. If you didn’t want to go back to where they ‘cared’ for you, because it was unsafe, then you had better be put into a place where they really didn’t care for you. The answer was young offenders and the best way to get there was to commit more crimes. To a degree that is all she has done for the past six years.

Now? Yes she is safe from the care system. She’s been safe from them since she was sixteen. Some think it’s eighteen, but very few get assistance after they are sixteen. Why crime and drugs now? Because she is stuck in the rut that poverty of life and mind gouges out for you. At present? She’s in some kind of hostel. They do that when they release them. The plan is, at some point in the distant future, to afford them the opportunity to live independently. There are a lot of variables before this can become a reality. Not least, the chance of finding them appropriate rental properties, bearing in mind that we don’t build social housing in this country, and what there was has been sold off. I don’t know why they don’t. I suppose mortgages keep the workers working. You know? If you rent and go on strike you end up in rent arrears; if you buy and go and strike you end up homeless. Banks and Building Societies don’t like to give leeway to non-payers, especially striking non-payers. It’s not good business. Can’t have their own workforce thinking they too can go on strike for better working wages and conditions. Have to show them that keeping one’s head down is more preferable. I would imagine.

The drugs? She was given them by her first real boyfriend, I use the term loosely. As is always, it’s those that you love most that can hurt you the most. No. He was a pimp. They always look for the runaways. Because they’re the most vulnerable. Plus. And the plus is important. They are least missed. The police do the usual cursory look, they have more important things to do, and they know that eventually the runaway will get into crime and they’ll catch them then. The pimp knows, if he can keep the runaway under his guard, he has labour for as long as the victim is attractive to the punters. Drugs keep the stock pacified and eager. Drug addiction can make a man, or woman, for that matter, do things they would have sworn were beyond their moral pale.

What did he do to make her this way? How do you get a woman to sell her body into the dark and haunted night? It’s not as difficult as you may believe. It is far too simple if your mind is twisted enough, uncaring enough, sufficiently malevolent to want to twist and torture another soul.

At first it just a suggestion. A plea. A question. Do you love me my dear? She will answer yes. She will wag her tail like a loyal dog, little knowing that the walk will be the last in the sunshine.

Would you help me out if I needed you to? Again the eager nod. The doe eyes beseeching him to love her as she loves him.

He sees the plea and smiles. You know I love you my dear. He will say awaiting her next beseech. Will you always love me? She will implore. He will tell her that he loves her like no other. That he would do anything for her. That she means the world to him. They will make love as she has never made love before. He will be tender, but firm, she will be aroused and cossetted at the same time.

The next time will be less tender and he will be more controlling; now he will be firmer and more demanding. She will be submissive and accepting of this new parameter in their relationship. Soon, probably in weeks, drugs will become a part of the interaction. I could call it love making, but he is grooming and not making love to her. She will be possessed by him, in awe of him, eager to please, easily manipulated. Then! And it is a Then! The favour will be asked for.

I have this fellow that I owe some money to. Could be a drug dealer. Could be someone he borrowed money off. There’s a thousand variants, but, in the end, it will be she that has to sleep with the man to help him out of his predicament. It will only be this once, he will promise. He loves her and if there were any other way he would take it. The question is never asked as to whether he could get a job, or borrow off a friend. She is devoted to him, a little blinded by the drugs and alcohol he has sanitised her logic with. She does the deed. She feels bad for it. Dirty and violated by it. He has won. Once a lady goes on the first step of that journey, many hundreds or even thousands more steps will be taken.

She will try to refuse, in the first instance, but, through persuasion and violence she will carry on as directed. Some of it is fear, some of it is a low value system, a feeling of little or no worth. Somewhere in the psyche, she knows, as all know, that they have been conned, seduced, traduced, but the idiocy of love and a desire to be loved will keep her loyal and subservient.

Don’t get me wrong. That particular pimp is probably three or so before. These men can’t help themselves and generally get arrested for something else, or try to build their harem too big and start to lose control.

Loyalty and love with the likes of Jenny don’t last forever. When a girl is sleeping with seven or eight, or even more in a day, they actually expect their men to be loyal. The man is not of that making. He is an abuser, a user, a psychopath without any empathy or desire for such things; he is a man designed for himself and by himself. Girls will eventually learn of this. Too late for their own sanity and worth, and so they will move on, if they haven’t been killed, died or been arrested by this time.

How do I know of such things? I just do. I don’t want to. The streets show you all the beauty of life and you easily learn of the horrors of the darkness. The night? I don’t fear the night. I don’t fear the ghouls and goblins of childish nightmares. I do fear the cold, the biting, wicked cold. For this is my real enemy. I’m homeless and have been for far too long. The weather is my foe, the elements its soldiers. This is the war that I am in. I win the battles day by day, but the war continues, I know I can never win the war. My only hope is warmth and food, I feel and taste very little of either. Yet, I must continue, I cannot die on the streets. I am a soldier. I was trained to die or kill. I am yet to learn how I kill the weather and it allies. A home I need. But a home is where the demons live. Comfort and security remind me of what I do not deserve.

 

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