By Harry Steel
Key Themes: novel, mental health, alcohol, drugs
ALSO AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
WARNING: CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AND CONTENT
About the Author
Harry was born in 1968. His first six years were spent living in Croydon, being brought up by his late grandparents. The next year was spent living in a four-birth caravan, being brought up by his late stepmother to be.
Harry’s memories of today started when his natural father married his late stepmother.
Harry’s late step-mother and natural father took on a children’s home, where Harry lived with the children within the home, being treated exactly the same. Harry made the choice at the age of six to be treated the same as the other children in care.
Harry left home to live in a bedsit at the age of eighteen...returning home after a year of the ‘real world’.
Harry didn’t know what he wanted out of life; the fact that he never felt alone, in fact felt there was always a guardian watching over him, gave him a confidence which completed his inner securities.
The first out of his mind experience was when he was shown how to inhale butane gas. The buzz was incredible. He then went on to booze, then pot... and booze, then LSD..and booze, then LSD, booze and pot, then LSD, booze, pot and amphetamines... then Ecstasy....then cocaine....and then...well, you know the rest. However, by the age of thirty, he had never tried Heroin (the chance just didn’t come along).
In a life of parties, broken hearts, joining the circus, working for Butlins, Pontins, and doing as much travelling as he could, Harry’s illness had never been obvious. He’d done well to cover it up, by passing himself off as a bit of a clown... which of course did him no good whatsoever. Because not many knew the real Harry, or his malfunctioning mind, or his demons.... or the intellectual person he was, he would never be accepted as the person inside, because of his past persona.
It was when he wanted people to see the real Harry... that he slowly, but surely, became unaccepted. That was when they stopped laughing, and started looking at him in a different way. The illness had turned from a positive...to a negative. This in turn induced years of struggle; prescribed drugs, and a future of self-analysis were upon him; Harry had become his own worst enemy.
Harry now embraces his mind in the same way a parent embraces their children, with love and tenderness. In fact Harry wouldn’t be the person he is today without himself... Understanding, accepting, with the ability to love himself again...and enjoy his mild mannered madness without prescriptions...Harry feels he has come through.
Harry wrote this novel with memories of a troubled and over-active mind; these times have now passed, he has released himself by way of his words, almost as if the writing is part of the cure.
The Danube Basin
The sea vixens roared from over a mile away as they faded into the distance, returning to the Ark Royal.
Going over the ridge of the basin, looking into the bowl, the glow of stubble, what’s left of the crop, brightens with a glow of solitude as the wind blows brashly over – nature not giving a second thought.
Not a sound from feet, breath, hardware, nothing. Just the stench of Napalm. The stench of gel mixed with the fuel and JP-5...bad fucking news.
A smouldering mess of unrecognisable pieces. Annihilation. The smell’s unbearable. The Radfan rebels have gone. White compounded mud bricks, other shit which made up the village and the community – black, dormant, burnt, scattered, truly fucking done. The still coma of death surrounds every sense, getting into every pore.
No bodies. The Radfan rebels knew we were coming, looks like they’ve been gone for a long time. Absolute anni-fuckin-hilation. The Yemen boarder, they’ve gone there.
Something’s not right here. Something ... is so not fucking right here.
A smell, not Napalm. What the fuck is it? Where the fuck’s that smell coming from?
All clear, I know it’s all fucking clear you cunt, I just fucking told you that. Fucking hand signals, not fucking smoky arm signals, o-fucking-kay!
Ghost walking up to the top of a brick well, the smell’s getting stronger, something ain't fuuuuckiiiiing riiiiiiight ...
A draw of breath, like he’s just surfaced from deep water, pours into Mack’s mouth. The sheets are soaked. He’s drenched. The electric fuzz ... the echo of his brain coming to its senses, it’s all too much.
Mack sits on the side of his bed, elbows on knees with his head in his hands, crying like a deeply torn soul. The visions of those dead villagers down the well ... children. Mack’s angry. Mack is so angry. He still can’t comprehend why they did that. They could have polluted the wells some other way. The eyeballs in his sockets thrash from side to side as the fury grows. Mack wants to release his anger.
Starting with that fucking chair against the door. The bed goes upside down. The phone wrenched from its socket goes through the window. The wardrobe doors ripped from their hinges, forced into the shower cubicle, smashing the mirror and shower head with a crash to wake. A cabinet, stormed against the wall, disintegrating into three chunky pieces...
Visions of terror in the child’s eye makes him want to scream through his blood-shot tear-soaked eyes. His rampage won’t go outside his mind or body; it’s not allowed to. Restraining his inner matter, bringing his forecast actions to a halt, he looks around at the untouched room knowing that their pain is over.
This somehow gives a relief from the anger, as he knows that peace and tranquillity will also be his ... one day.
Mack gets his shit together and runs a shower. He just hopes no one pisses him off today. Fuck it!!!
I’ve just arrived at this place and looking around at the brightly lit area, I guess it’s about three-by-three square metres, wall shelves jam-packed with products – things to exchange for cash or a cheque, or even plastic.
The suspended ceiling illuminates the room with sunken lights, square, with the dull shadows of dead insects lying on the top of the glass. A quiet din weighs in the room, but people do seem interested in what’s for sale. Slowly browsing, picking up bubble wrapped goods, looking at the price, then putting them back. Cards on a white metal swivel stand always seem to attract the women, especially the older ones. They’re the ones that have a book full of birthday dates, christenings, weddings, hospital appointments, and all those things that need cards. It involves them in the occasion, occasions in other people’s lives. It’s a way to keep themselves busy and unforgotten, I suppose – and of course, they do it because they’re thoughtful.
Not like the working man, who only has time for work, and maybe a pint afterwards. He doesn’t have time to browse card displays, reading the inner words while judging the picture to suss out its suitability for the engagement ahead. No, working men just have to turn up to those engagements when they’re told to do so, by their spouses, relatives or friends. In addition of course they must be on their best behaviour, but all the while not really wanting to be there at all. They’re thinking of their mates having a laugh down the local boozer, or at the footie match, there are no airs and graces there.
I’ve come to the conclusion that this place stinks. However, I don’t have a choice about being here, but if I did have the choice, I wouldn’t be, just like all the other blokes my age who are working or doing more manlike things.
There’s always a collective when I come to this place, but today there’s a different kind. A few of them I recognise from years gone by...and others I would like to have remembered from years gone by. My mind is my companion...my closest companion.
Two girls stand in front of me. They have to be identical twins, they’re both wearing flat black sensible leather-upper shoes, they seem joined at the hip, so close it’s like they’ve never even sneezed without each other being there. Which has made me notice the tilled floor carpet, looking like it’s a million years old. Dried flattened chewing gum sticks to it in grey flat blobs over the worn-out red-and-blue chequered pattern. In front of them, there’s a mix of male, female, old, young, fat, bald, a couple, and another couple with a baby, a single mother, and two fat idiots acting like they own the place as they shove their sweaty glutinous bodies around, making space for their overfed egos.
This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 15 June, 2010.