The Melancholy Monologue of Mr Jones

A tale of how the mumbling thoughts of an old man who has recently passed have a strange affect upon a young girl and how this slowly changes her outlook on the world she lives in.

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3. The Disturbance

“You reading them papers again?” It was Damien trying once again to intimidate me into handing him my grandfather’s life. I would never give it to him, I could not because you see there is a reason that Damien was not mentioned in the will and it is something that I would rather not dwell on. “Can I have a look?” He attempted to grab the very top sheet and in all the confusion I attacked. Right on the bridge of his nose, I punched him hard and fast. The irony was that he had taught me how to fight, he had wanted a partner to fight equally, but there was nothing equal about us. The difference was that I did not want to hit him however he enjoyed searching out a fight, sniffing like a dog for a brawl outside a pub. After throwing my left hook I instantly felt shaken and fell into my chair. You could tell by the fury in his eyes he was desperate to pounce, but, as luck would have it he could never hit me. I know something he would very much like to keep a secret. “I’ll come for you, some day” He leaped out of my window and with great speed and power he ran until all I could see was the outline of his neon green t-shirt.  I was not fazed by his behaviour, for I had other things on my mind.

 

Then I saw it. A big fluffy lump; like a sunken cloud. I could see red and so at risk of being blamed for the obvious happenings I ran back to the farm to call out the farmer. I could not look when he collected the sheep, for it seemed to me to be the most depressing image to see. I didn’t think the image would ever escape my mind until I got back to the farm. I saw the farmer’s wife; she was nurturing the lambs, who inevitably would no longer have a mother.  She would eventually make a wonderful mother but she was no mother of mine. I had to move on.

I could not carry on. I had an exam the next morning so I could not risk reading through the night. I tucked the crate under my bed and lay anxiously trying to empty my mind, ready for sleep.  I think my body grew tired before my mind did for I felt my head sink right into my cushion. However it was for the best, I needed a rest. When I woke up that morning I felt rejuvenated and had almost forgotten about my mysterious crate. I rushed down stairs early to boil the kettle for my mother. I made her breakfast in bed; toast and tea, and then prepared for the irksome day I had ahead of me. I packed my bag and left, waiting outside the door of course was Damien. He was slouched on our fence with his two friends who I recognised to be from the local college. I was unaware of his motive until I saw his mother in the car to the left of him. He was doing his mother’s dirty work and he had brought help. “Where’s your mother” he snarled amd tapped his pocket, there was a lump in it that to the untrained eye looked like a small gun but, I knew Damien he was far too protective of himself to bring out a concealed weapon. It was most likely a potato or water gun that he had snatched of an unfortunate neighbour whilst walking up to our house. Today I could think of no answer for him today so I just brushed past him attempting to knock the ‘weapon’ out of his pocket as I passed him. He got up as if to run after me but gaveup when his mother ushered him into the car.

Arriving at school it was rather disconcerting. Time seemed to fly by, unlike yesterday but with my foreseeable future in my hands and in the hands of my teachers it would have been better if it had dragged on like it did yesterday. Nevertheless I pulled through, in fact I found most of my examinations easy. Whether that was because I was getting all the questions wrong I do not know but that will have to wait. I have other things on my mind today.

So I continued my long walk through Ireland. I took refuge in friendly pubs or if I came across an unfriendly pub I would find home in a park bench under a tree. It sounds like a sob story to build up a tv show but as a child it was more of an adventure than anything. I could decide what view I wold like to fall asleep to. Sometimes I would sleep listening to the sound of the rain under the shelter of a large oak tree. I actually rather enjoyed, it was great for people watching. I don’t think I would have ever been able to settle in someone else’s house, not unless I had earned it anyways.

By the time I had reached adolescence however I grew tired of how unpradictable my life was and so decided to find a place to settle. I came across a place in Dublin, a pub, the landlord offered me lodgings as long I worked the bar each night. It seemed like a fair deal at first. The pub was quaint and old; it looked like it had the exact same furniture in it as it did when it was first built. It was full of elderly men, usually complaining about how nagging their wives were. It was a rather cold and dull atmosphere, sometimes the conversation would suddenly drop as if someone had said something terribly outrageousand you could almost hear the sound of the soft wind outside, whistling through the trees. It was almost impossible to sleep at night, with all the action going on downstairs. The landlord used to try and kick the drunks out before the police come knocking at the door. They used to moan and mumble so load that you could hear walking all the way home.

A month into my bar-work he upgraded my job. I would now, instead of waiting for the chaos to settle, stay up later and kick the drunks out myself. It was parenting at its best, I would see the men at breaking point and then watch them hit rock bottom. It was worse than I had expected. There was one man, James, who no-one ever actually saw drink. He would just bring dozens and dozens of empty pint glasses as if he had just inhaled them. He would never appear in any way drunk either, until closing time arrived. Some believe that he had no home and to escape from reality, he would come here, and drown away his sorrows. Others believe that in fact he would never touch the alcohol and only used the pub for the warmth and to be inside. I believe that no matter whether he was dunk or not, James was lost. Society had dropped him like an old rag. I wanted to try and befriend him but at the same time I was utterly terrified of him.

“My dad was a brilliant man but I’m sure that he’s not that interesting.”My mother, she always knows the best time to pop up with a cup of tea. “Cup of splosh anyone?” Tea made by your mother is by far the best tea of all. I spend a lot longer drinking my mother’s tea then I do any other, it’s my thinking time and the tea is my thinking juice. “Penny for your thoughts?”  she said with her comforting, warm smile. “Ah, just trying to sift through these stories to see if I can find anything good?” I replied feeling already guilty, not telling her what I had found. “I’m sure you’re making your grandad very happy”

I finally plucked up the courage to talk to James on a cold Monday night. He swung open the doors and the wind swept him inside causing him to stumble and fall to his knees. In his exhaustion he curled up and it looked like he was never going to get up. I decided that this was my chance. I helped him up, he clutched my arm as I guided him to his usual table. He would always sit in the far corner of the pub. He hoped that this placement would mean that perhaps the landlord wouldn’t notice he was there when closing time came. He thanked me when I sat him down, and then I realised I had never heard him speak before. He had a rustly tone and choked with every sentence, he didn’t speak he spat his sentences out. He seemed very jumpy so I decided to start with the basics. I sat in the seat oppposite him and tried to shine some light on this mysterious man. “So where’s home?” He hesitated before answering “Home’s very far away but at the same time it is incredibly close, it is unclear where home is at the moment.” “Do you have a family?” He began tapping his finger on the glass of his pint,the condensation dripped down his finger and into the pit of his knuckles, which were now tensed. “I have none.” Our conversation reached an unspoken close.

I had done it again. The kettle was boiling, my phone was vibrating so much it nearly fell of my desk. This time however there was something different, the atmosphere was different. I went downstairs and my mother was waiting there, silent. She signalled for me to sit down and handed me a cup of tea. She sat down took a deep breath and said this. “Your aunt has accused me of assault. She says that I forcibly charged into her house and hit her in an attempt to steal her portraits. She seems convinced that she has enough evidence to charge” She was stressed, her eyes were red raw and she looked like she had been tearing her hair out. Looking around it appeared that the police had already been to speak to her; they were three empty cups in the kitchen. “She has a number of bruises on her face and arms. I want you to know, in case I am charged. That I did not put those bruises on her but… I think I know who did” What my mother explained in her subsequent sentences horrified me. It made me even more anxious to go to school than I already felt. I rushed my way through school, I went to the library in between classes to try and avoid everyone, I was far to confused and upset to talk today, so I spent the entire school day studying. When I arrived home I was unsure whether my mother would be on the other side of the front door to greet me. I found my answer when I saw her note left on the kitchen worktop. It read like this:

I have been taken in to police custody, the investigation is still on going and I think I have a good case to make in my defence. Do not worry about me. There is enough food in the fridge and the chinese takeout number is in the phonebook. See you soon.

I tried to put our current problem out of my mind, it would be better for the both of us if I tried to continue as normal. That way when she eventually comes home it will be relatively settled; there will be no more problems for her to untangle. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, washed the car and gave the living room a fresh lick of paint. It’s funny how a clean house seems to lighten the mood. I finally felt relaxed so I continued to read.

For the next few days I had my eye on that curious man. Nothing changed, he had the same staggered gate as he walked into the pub each night. He would get through the same amount of pints as usual, which still surprised me as he seemed to be in a worse, ever more comatose state. I was worried for him but unsure as to how to approach him. However it seems as though I had worried with no good reason for he came to speak to me himself. He began inquiring about my life; where I had been and where I planned on going. We joked about the struggles we had and he told me that his situation was very much similar to mine. He would not explain to me in what way, he didn’t really describe any part of his own life but he appeared to be trying to hint it to me in some way, as if he could not bring himself to say it straight. We talked nearly everyday after that. We were forming quite a friendship. As well as that he seemed to be reducing his drinking the more we spoke. He would forget about his empty glass once we were in mid-conversation and so he consumed less. I felt that I was helping him, in some way. I felt as though I was being quite egotistic but I felt as though I deserved some kind of reward. I was an incredibly cocky child and so once I had decided my reward I went to claim it. I wanted some clear information from that man and I was certain that I would get it.

I was interrupted by a knock on the door. I recognised it and so in delight rushed to the door.  “Expecting someone? Are you disappointed” I was. It was Damien. I don’t think I have ever been pleased to see him, especially not now; I was sure that he had some spiteful comment to say about my mother, but there was something about his demeanour that didn’t match his normal arrogant air. “I know I’ve been a little unkind to you lately but…” Hold on. Was he about to be nice to me?  Was he suddenly seeing the error of his ways. No. “… I need you to hide me, Umm, it will be no more than an hour and I promise that I’ll make it up to you but I just need you to do this one thing for me” I could see the desperation in his eyes I could not deny this man my home. As much as he is my enemy, he is family and family deserves some amount of selfless love. I allowed him in. Almost immediately after there was yet another knock on the door. This one I did not recognise. I had a feeling, however, that I would become very familiar with the person on the other side very soon.

“Good evening darling” it was a police officer; he was local and I recognised him after looking closely. He addressed me as if we had been friends or as if he had known me for a long time but I don’t recall us ever talking. “I am here to inquire about your cousin…” With that balance was restored to the Earth, Damien was still as bad as he always was. I released a sigh of relief and he continued “I need him to come in for questioning… I’ll be needing you as well”. I took a sharp intake of breath. I think the shock must have been painted clearly on my face as the police seemed to try to comfort me as I directed him to where I thought that Damien was hiding.                          

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