Home (a story by Petty)

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Home (a story by Petty) Empty Home (a story by Petty)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:09 am

To save Odo modesty and not in anyway whatsoever to self promote, on no not me, never, heres the opening to the piece I'm currently working on. I should warn it is set in an old folks home and the human body features quite a lot in that environment, might be best for the younger readers only to read with permission of an adult (other than me- I'd say go ahead there's nothing here that is not based in actual events, its just a bit of life most dont like to look at), but some folks might be offened, so you have been warned. Right enough preamble, here goes.

Home.


1.
Olly


7764. I tapped the numbers quickly into the keypad with cold fingers. The wind was swirling around me, sharp and salty from the nearby sea, nipping at the flesh of my legs through the ridiculously thin blue cloth of my trousers, part of the uniform for male care workers at AshLodge Residential Home for the Elderly, 'We care for your loved ones as much as you do' or at least so the grand sign standing frozen in the dawn light behind me at the front gate proclaimed.
The door buzzed and clunked as it unlocked and I pushed it open and entered accompanied by a swoosh of frozen wind.
The front lobby was deserted, there was a large reception desk in a traditional wood finish with a curved sweeping front. But no receptionist. The round face of the clock above the desk proclaimed it was just after ten to seven, too early for the receptionist yet who did not start until a more civilised nine. There was however already a stack of letters awaiting her on the desk and a small forest of yellow post-it notes with various messages scrawled in a variety of handwriting. The phone on the desk began to ring but I ignored it, it was not my problem, whoever was on the desk on Floor 2 would eventually pick it up.
To my right an archway led through to a large front room with huge windows overlooking the gardens, beach and sea. But at the moment the thick burgundy curtains were still drawn and only a thin strip of the growing dawn outside made it inside. The room was instead lit by a large overhead light in a grand glass shade that mimicked a chandelier with flame shaped bulbs replacing candles, white, harsh and artificial. Inoffensive pictures with bland subject matter hung on the walls, all seemed to be in faded pastel colours or thin watercolour washes; boats at sea, a bluebell glade in a forest, a misty mountainside, those sort of generic images, soulless and corporate. Beneath the pictures there were high backed chairs in rows or arranged around the edges of the room, all either brown or tan in colour, their edges sharp and stark in the unforgiving light and their broad surfaces reflective and shiny with wear. In some of them a few residents already sat even at this ungodly hour - the night shift started getting residents up from 6.30 sometimes earlier.
I took in the faces in the room, those that were there, there was one I didn't recognize, but that was common, people died new people took their place, and this wasn't my floor. Their old shrivelled bodies made their clothes seem to big for them, thin scrawny necks poked tortoise like from within starched shirt collars. Dresses hung from narrow shoulders and fell shapelessly to the floor. Cardigans were seemingly mandatory.
There was an attempt to display colour in their attire, at least in the women who had been dressed in bright flower patterned dresses, yellows, blues and reds were all evident in the room. It was a sort of bleak optimism on behalf of those who had dressed them. The few men who were in the room were dressed very much alike, neat and tidy in shirts and slacks, like your grandfather at Christmas complete with inappropriately bright patterned ties. It lent the men an air of forced joviality that just made it all seem even more dispiriting. But the people themselves seemed to lack much spirit, with eyes sunk back in dark hollow sockets and bony fingers either splayed over the arms of the chairs or involuntarily gripped in the permanent throws of arthritis. Flesh was pallid with here and there- the backs of hands, the cheeks of the face- sudden splodges of raw vivid red where broken blood vessels swarmed and clustered near the surface. Blue veins ran everywhere, thin and clear like crazy paving just beneath the papery semitransparent skin. Here and there smudges of small purple bruising, mostly about the wrists and the upper arms. The room was full of the sound of snoring, easily drowning out the gentle morning television, breaths seemed either to be unpleasant and gurgling- full of fluid sounds, or quick and sharp- coming in shallow hisses.
And these were the prize subjects. The Management kept all the dementia patients and those whose physical needs were greatest on the second floor. Where I worked.
At least when this lot did wake up you could have a normal conversation with them, not so upstairs.
The thinking behind the arrangement of residents was a business one, not a health one and in fact it contravened the fire regulations apart from anything else, but the Management, I even think that word with a capital M and a note of disdain, the Management don’t want family and guests walking in the front door and being confronted with a half naked dementia patient or a sudden smell of urine. So they hide them away on the second floor. Which was hard on those of us who worked up there, we got the lot, the crazy and the physically demanding, often in the same person. But it would be harder on the residents if there ever really was a fire as there was almost no hope of getting most of them out. And in fact company policy was not to try to. Apparently we weren't insured for it. They didn't put that on their sign 'We care for your loved ones as much as you do (except in cases of fire where we will leave them to burn to death for insurance purposes).'
I glanced into the front room to see if any of the staff were about, Bernadette was supposed to be in charge down here this morning but there was no sign of her, or anyone. The phone was still ringing unanswered at reception. The TV, a large flat screen attached to the wall which commanded the front room was out of sight as I crossed the lobby into the main hall, but I could hear it. The breakfast news drifted through the air reporting some whimsical story about an owl sanctuary to a trapped audience of sleeping damned who were probably the best suited to receive it.
Suddenly mid peal the phone went silent. Either someone had finally answered it or the caller had given up. I signed the log-in book which sat on the desk, noting that my Senior Lucy was already in and two of the other carers on my shift, Stacy, and Alma who was Filipina. Which just left Andy who was only nineteen and new to the job. I didn't expect he would last very long, not on Floor 2.
I hurried on into the main hall which led to the doors leading to the stairs. A canister on the wall hissed as I passed, automatically dispensing fresh scent into the air to disguise the underlying current of all care homes; human piss.
There was a lift but remarkably staff were not allowed to use it unless accompanying a resident. I had never been able to find out why not? It was one of many seemingly inexplicable rules the new Management had contrived seemingly just to annoy.
At the far end of the corridor the double fire doors swung open, but it was just a cleaner, she was Polish and dragging one of those Henry vacuums, the squat red ones on wheels with its name 'Henry' jauntily emblazoned on its back and a smiley face on the front like a children’s toy with the hose humorously placed as its nose. As if its appearance would somehow elevate the tedium of the job. I glanced at her, but didn’t say anything and she ignored me and went into one of the rooms dragging Henry with her by his ‘nose‘. The cleaners and I did not get on and it was a long and bitter and stupid feud.
The door to the staircase leading to Floor 2 also had a key panel with a different code from the front door and I had to think a moment before the numbers made their way from my brain to my fingers, which were still numb from the coldness outside and the walk to work in the fading dark.
The door buzzed and clicked and as I pushed it open another different buzzing began, persistent and shrill repeated in a loop. It was coming from a panel on the wall near the door, one of several such panels set at lengths along the hall. I glanced at its LCD display, it read 2 (then a large space) 14. Floor 2 Room 14. Miss McDonald. She was demanding and persistent, I snorted as I pushed open the door and headed up the staircase to the door at the top and the third and final pass-code required to enter floor 2.
The residents up here would have a hard time breaking out that was for sure, but then you don’t want them getting outside where real people can see their future in all its glory. Certainly that's what Management seemed to think. The residents of Floor 2 rarely got out save occasional trips in the mini bus, when it was not broken down and a driver could be found. Even a trip downstairs and out into the gardens was a rare treat for most of them, the touch of direct sunshine that did not first pass through the glass of a window almost unknown.
I opened the door to the 2nd floor. There was another buzzer on the wall here and it was also ringing shrilly. I ignored it, I wasn’t on shift yet. There was a large washing trolley next to where I entered half full of wet white towels and next to it three large baskets. One for pyjamas and nightdresses, one for bed coverings and a third for dark towels. The familiar smells of urine, and worse skulking under that, drifted up out of the baskets.
The corridor ran right to left, it was long with numbered rooms off either side all along its length. Each door as well as its number had a name on it in a little slot (so it could be easily changed when its occupant departed the building), save room 12 whose resident had already departed two days ago by means of terminal cancer and whose room had not yet been reoccupied, although it didn't usually take long. An empty room was not making a profit.
At the end of the corridor to my right there was a T-junction of corridors and the main desk was there in a small nook, off it was another corridor of rooms and on the opposite side the main lounge and the dining room.
There were two women at the main desk, one was standing behind it, she was in her late fifties tall and crow like with a stern beaked face, an impression added too by a sharp hooked nose. She was the head of night shift, Megan. Her temper matched her fearsome looks and I didn’t like her, or many of her primitive attitudes.
The other women was Lucy, she was sitting on the desk doing something on her mobile and she had her feet on a chair, she was the Senior on my shift. And to be honest about it I had somewhat of a crush on her. She was not my type personality wise and we shared no interests whatsoever and I knew I was not her type either, she liked the bad boys, so I knew there was no chance of anything ever occurring, but still she had a way of catching the eye. She was in her early thirties so younger than me. She had dark hair and the demeanour that comes with growing up in a harsh environment and coming out on top. There was something tough about her features, as if life had written some hard lessons into her face, but it did not diminish her looks in any way merely added character to them, she was attractive, just also a little scary. She was extensively tattooed, a rose plant writhed upwards from her ankle to disappear beneath the hem of her uniform, Chinese symbols crawled across her back, peeping out at the base of her neck from under her collar, small flowers adorned her hands and a dragon proudly roared from its coiled position around one fore arm which in the short sleeved work uniforms were bare. Her nose and her upper lip were pierced and, so rumour went, her nipples too. Other areas were open to speculation. It wouldn’t have surprised me. She exuded a sort of restless sexual prowling, and the uniforms for the female workers were not entirely unlike the old fashioned nurse uniforms that so titillated cinema audiences in the 1960‘s, dark navy blue, butting up the front and hanging down to just above the knee. And Lucy had good legs and knew it and took ever opportunity when not working to sit on the desk, as she was now, with her feet on a chair showing them off. She also never fastened her top two buttons displaying the curving top of an impressive cleavage. And there was a tendency when working in this place to focus your attention on anything pleasant, I think the very grimness of the surrounds added something to her appeal she might have been lacking otherwise.
The panel on the wall next to me increased in tempo dragging my eyes away from the pleasantness of Lucy's legs and back to the panel on the wall, more rooms were buzzing. A woman went hurrying passed me, another cleaner. The cleaners were a clique to themselves, usually there were more of them on a shift than carers, although it was hard to be certain as faces seemed to come and go with alarming regularity, half of them were Polish and rarely spoke in English and they all lived in a sort of perpetual trembling fear of Mrs McCarthy, the formidable Head Cleaner. Management found it harder to get good cleaners than care workers, partly because they didn't seem to think it mattered as much if the care workers were good or not just that they were there, but a good clean home, that was essential for public relations. So Mrs McCarthy had the ear of Management. When she spoke they came running as I had found out early on.
The locker room was just off to my left, immediately next to the stairs. It was split in two, a larger section for the women and a small cubby hole for the males with nothing in it but a row of lockers and three coat pegs on the wall. I went in and hung up my jacket and put my lunch in my locker. One of the perks of the job in the past had been you got free meals out of the kitchens, but since the move from our old crumbling Victorian Home to this new build one the new management had introduced a charge for meals, which you had to sign up to and money was deducted from your wage for, I opted for a packed lunch. It was cheaper and to be honest, most of the time, a lot more tempting than what we were spoon feeding to the residents every day. In fact after spoon feeding puréed chicken and sweetcorn into a stroke victims sloping mouth for twenty minutes pretty much the last thing you wanted to sit down to eat yourself was a plate of chicken and sweetcorn.
I left the locker room adjusting the stupid name badge we all now had to wear, the stated idea being so the resident would know who they were talking to, of course as most of our residents didn't know any longer who they were it was highly unlikely they were going to know who we were, even if we had our names emblazoned in lights and attached to our foreheads- the real reason from them I reckoned was two-fold, firstly so the various Managers didn't have to worry about remembering the names of mere care workers, and secondly so the families knew who to complain about or at the least blame for things. And woe betide anyone management spotted without a name badge. That would be a warning, the second time an official warning, the third a written warning. Three written warnings and you were out the door. I was currently on one, verging on my second written warning. Although that was about more than just name badges.
I made my way back out onto Floor 2. The buzzers were still ringing. I headed towards the desk for the morning report. Alongside my senior Lucy and the head of night-shift Megan there was Sue, also on the night-shift and yawning dramatically as she pulled a jacket on in preparation for leaving and Stacy who was on my shift, in her mid twenties with a child like bent of character, although they seemed to have little in common she was thick as thieves with Lucy and they found numerous ways to entertain themselves throughout a days shift, usually at others expense. I didn't have much to do with her myself, we got on fine in a working sense but we never connected in any way beyond that.
There was no sign of Chris, the new recruit, maybe he'd had enough already, people starting and then just not reappearing was pretty common, especially on Floor 2. And there was no Alma either, the Filipino girl.
I was almost at the desk and opening my mouth to say a cheery, 'morning' to everyone when there was a squeak of a scream from a room behind me. Everyone looked up and almost immediately there was a huge thud. I couldn't tell which room it had come from. Somewhere about halfway down the hall I judged.
“What was that? “ Lucy asked, there was another thud and I went cold, “It's Olly,” I cried and begun running down the corridor. Behind me I heard Lucy say, “oh shit! Whose in there with him?”
A door ahead of me was flung open, the door to Olly's room. It flew back and the handle cracked into the wall denting it and the door bounced back, only to meet Olly emerging from it. Six foot two, eighteen stone and butt naked with a ball sack which, without a shadow of a lie, swung below his knees. And he was charging, with his pendulous testicles swinging side to side as he came and the floor beneath me shaking as his massive naked feet pounded it.
I had two seconds to think and in the nick of time the saving words came to me, “You want a fag Olly?” I asked him in what was almost a shout and his huge lumbering bulk slowed with all the wariness of a circling animal. His balls swung slowly to a standstill as he eyed me up. Behind me Lucy had come about half the distance from the desk and was watching and waiting, she knew I could handle Olly, most of the time, but there was always the chance it wouldn't work this time, always.
The others had stayed where they were by the desk, they were safely out the way, for them it had fallen into the realms of entertainment. Only the cleaner seemed to not be watching, she opened the door to a room and went in taking her hoover with her.
Olly was eyeballing me carefully. His eyes were the palest blue, easily the gentlest eyes I have ever seen, most of the time, but right now they glinted with a suspicious fire. Olly did not have dementia. If possible his ailment was even more tragic. It was the sin of having being born at the wrong place in the wrong time. Olly was one of the last people in Scotland to be given a traditional lobotomy. The sort where they tap with a hammer once either side of the head and once again in the middle of the forehead. On Olly's face the evidence was still clear, two sunken bowls of collapsed skull either side and one right in the middle. It made him peaceful and docile, but there was an exception. And evidence of that exception was all over his face. Shaving foam. Someone had tried to shave Olly.
All the men got a shave in the morning, except Olly, Olly, gentle Olly, huge, lumbering Olly who would turn into a raging six foot, eighteen stone child in a tantrum if you tried to shave him. Unless he was in the bath. Olly loved baths, with a passion and a fervour and would have one every day, every hour of every day if he were allowed. He looked forward to bath day the same way a child does Christmas morning. And in a bath he would happily sit and be shaved. But try it anywhere else and it was a very different story.
“Are, are, y,y,you a German?” he asked me in his stuttering deep voice. This was a common opening gambit from Olly when he was uncertain of the intentions of the person before him and feeling hostile, “a,are you?” he demanded.
I knew better than to respond to that directly, it would escalate him to his next demand so I tried a different tact, “I thought you might fancy coming for a cup of tea and a fag?” I asked. Behind me I could hear Lucy hissing back in a mock whisper to the desk, “tea” and I glanced back to see Stacy scuttling off to make tea. That was why I liked working with Lucy, besides her looks, she was quick on the uptake and she covered your back.
Olly however was not falling from his indigence at someone trying to shave him without letting him have a bath quite so easily, “A,are you a German? A,are you?”, he began again, “a,are you English? Are you?”
English. And now with more hostility than he had held for the Germans. This was stage two, not good, there was only one more to go and if he wasn't calm by then it could go all sorts of ways. I turned my head back over my shoulder and hissed at Lucy, “I need a fag,” she hurried back down to the desk as Olly rumbled his demanding question at me again, “A,are you? A,are you English?”
“You wanting this fag and a cuppa or not Olly? I ain't got all day, things to do mate?” I tried, but I was just stalling for the cigarettes. But behind me Lucy was rummaging through her handbag to no avail and grabbing for her jacket which as Senior she always kept by the desk. The residents cigarettes were locked away in a safe inside the drug cupboard, itself locked with no less than two locks and a keypad. And I didn't have that sort of time. I hoped to hell Lucy had some cigarettes in her jacket Olly would not wait long.
“Are you a Yank” Olly suddenly menaced stamping a foot and proving my fears aright.
Stage three. Germans- that was an oblivious one. English- well they are traditional to hate. But Yanks always puzzled me. I've always been intrigued to know what on earth the Americans did to so upset him but there it was; stage three, are you a Yank?
If the answer to this wasn’t satisfying Olly could lash out with all his weight and size, not a pleasant thought.
“A,are you a Yank?” he demanded again and this time he took a lumbering step towards me.
“Here,” Lucy called from behind me, I turned round and almost got hit by a packet of cigarettes. I managed to snatch them from the air and turned back to Olly, pulling one from the packet. His eyes watched it emerge like a cat watching a bird.
“So are we going for a smoke or not Olly?” I asked as casually as I could.
He seemed to consider his options, still watching the cigarette. I held it out to him and he took it off me. Now was time for the closing move, a little risky but if successful game over. What was needed was matey humour. I moved towards him and put a friendly arm around his shoulder, I had to stretch to reach. I tilted my head in until it was just touching his, “but how about we get you some pants on first, those things are scaring the cattle,” I whispered nodding downwards with a small smile.
He turned his head to look at me and a big sheepish grin broke out like a new dawn breaking the horizon, “y,yyeah” he rumbled and I gently guided him back towards his room.
Inside the room was a mess, the wardrobe was open and partly tipped to one side, clothes had fallen out of it, the entire bed had been upended and was against one wall and crying quietly behind it was Alma. Lucy came in behind me as I took Olly into the en suite bathroom where there was space, I grabbed some suitable clothes from the stuff lying about and began dressing him, shutting the door over to give him some privacy. I heard Lucy comforting Alma and then the voice of Stacy. The last thing I heard as I got Olly dressed and I talked half joking nonsense with him to keep him occupied was Lucy saying, “Who the hell sent her in to do Olly?” But I reckoned I knew the answer to that, Megan, because Megan had a problem with all the foreign staff, even more so if their skin colour didn't match hers. I was pretty certain this was no accident.
I finished getting Olly dressed and he reminded me about the cigarette, I had managed to get the original one back off him under the pretence of helping him put his vest on. He had not even noticed. Olly had been in one institution or another most of his life. Dressing him was easy, he would stand with his arms above his head awaiting the clothes. I have often wondered if this behaviour of Olly was something that he evolved over a long period in care or whether it was the result of harsher measures, they had lobotomised him after all and you just never knew.
I still had the cigarette packet on me and as I was a smoker I always had a lighter about me somewhere. I took him out of his room, which was still a mess, and took him into the smoking lounge, a small room staff were not allowed to use, it was only for residents who smoked, we had to go and stand outside in the cold and rain. Another rule the Management had imposed I could never see any sense in.
I sat Olly down and gave him the cigarette and he held it between lips with shaking fingers. I rummaged for my lighter and lit it for him and he drew a long breath then hacked an equally long cough, the next draw was smoother and a quiet pleasure exuded from his every pore. He smiled up at me and relaxed back into the chair. Stacy had been in and left him a cup of tea on the table beside the chair, it was steaming gently.
“I'll give you a shout when it's time for breakfast,” I said to him. There was a glass panel next to the smoking room door and as I left I glanced back in at him through it. I had dressed him in beige slacks, with a white shirt and a pale yellow tie, he had a beige cardigan over it. He had brown loafers on his feet. His grey hair was thin but still grew all over and it was smoothed down and neatly combed in a side parting. His legs were crossed, his eyes were their usual calm blue, serene and relaxed and he held his cigarette in a surprisingly delicate fashion. The very picture of a man contented with his lot. A hundred miles away from the naked rage of ten minutes earlier. I was reminded of a line from Macbeth, “Can such moods overtake us without our especial wonder?” On Floor 2 the answer was all the time and they happened every five minutes.










2.
The Final Hours of John Stibbons

John Stibbons was dying. The Doctor was just leaving and he had declared it so. A day at best, a few hours more likely. But those of us who had been in the job for a few years, we had known it was time two days before. Because two days ago was when Death had entered the room.
In a care home Death can be anywhere. In a forgotten soiled nappy left discarded only then to be found, handled, by an unknowing resident who would later sit down to eat. Death could be in forgetting to discard the gloves you used when applying ointment to an infected area. Death lurked in the bins. It came in on hands. It spluttered its way in, in colds and coughs, brought by guests or workers, and being nothing more than mild annoyances thought no more of by the bearers, but let loose in the confines of a Home they gather pace, and eventually they can gather in Death itself. Yes, Death was around every corner, waiting on every surface hiding in the smallest things. And sooner or later, usually sooner Death came calling.
Having done the job as long as I had Death had been a frequent visitor, after all the job description was to look after the residents until they died. The only one thing certain about a resident is that one day they will be a dead resident. Everyone in a Home dies eventually. And slowly but surely you start to spot the signs.
It was always in the patients room the first hint of Death appears, because death smells. It is a subtle smell, slightly sweet, not on the surface an unpleasant smell almost a bouquet that could be mistaken for a spring breeze blowing through the open window or some scented agent used by the cleaners, but just beneath it the sweetness turns sour. And as the minutes and the hours and the days proceed and the last sands through the hour glass flow the sour overpowers the sweet. A Doctor once told me it was the internal organs beginning to break down, that the body died not all at once but bit by bit, as if it were an old car breaking down. Falling apart. And that was the smell of Death, the dying rotting interior seeping out through every pore and released into the air of the room by every gasping breath, and John Stibbons room was now full of it. Sweet two days ago and overpoweringly sour now.
I had a wooden tray balanced on my right hand with a cup of weak diluting orange juice on it, a tub of thickener with a small plastic ladle and there was also a napkin under which I had hidden a small piece of fruit cake, it was this mornings accompaniment to the 11 o'clock teas but John was not allowed it. The way I saw it was the man was dying the least we could do was let him have some cake, John loved fruit cake but there was a risk he might choke on it whilst eating it, but there came a time I felt when the rules no longer applied, the worst that could happen was already happening. His life now was measured in hours maybe even minutes. But it was yet another of those things that if Management caught me doing it it would result in yet another trip to the office. Yet another warning, and that would be two strikes out of three. “Screw them” I thought, “let 'em eat cake.”
I raised my left hand to knock on the door before entering and my eye caught the little wooden name slot. 'John Stibbons' it said, written in a thin hand with a black marker on a white piece of card by someone unused to writing with a pen. It was a strange thought but within 24 hours, 48 at best that slot would be blank. ' ' And so it would stay for a few days and then a new name would appear there. And for a period of time the staff, in what passes for reverence in a Home, would still refer to it as 'John's old room'. This went on for varying times depending on how long the resident had lived here, how long the staff had known them and whether they were a pain in the arse whilst alive or not (although being an exceptional arse could work just as well, sometimes notoriety lasted the longest). But sooner or later even the most favoured or notorious resident would be forgotten. The room would take on the name of its new occupant and poor John Stibbons would just be a name in our records and another in a long line of fading faces in our memories. And as time wore on and people left the job and new ones appeared there would be fewer and fewer who remembered old John who loved air planes and had been a mechanic in the RAF in WWII. John, who had married and had three affairs (that I knew of) and an inevitable divorce and who lived a million moments in-between. And eventually there would be no-one left at all in the Home who would know his name. The future for John Stibbons was one of fading into nothingness.
It was best not to get overly attached, or if you did not to stay attached once their time had come, the job would be impossible otherwise so you didn't just simply forget people over time, you strived to forget even if you didn’t know you were doing it.
All these thoughts seemed to coalesce and flash through my mind in the time it took me to raise my hand and knock. I shook them off and pushed open the door, smile at the ready, chirpy tone in place.
“Hey ho John, brought you a drink mate.” I bustled in and put the tray down on the small table beside him. There was already a jug of blackcurrant juice and a yellow plastic tumbler with a straw in it sitting on there. Alma was sitting by the bedside, she had pulled the armchair out from the corner of the room, today’s Sun newspaper was on the table before her open at the gossip page. I was pretty certain she was not reading it to John, I sympathised, there was only so long you keep trying to make conversation without response. And only so long you could face the thoughts that crowded in when you sat waiting for Deaths arrival. Time passed slowly on Death Watch. That was what we called it, this duty or chore. Most deaths in homes came unlooked for, often at night in the residents sleep, but in cases like Johns it was long and slow and when the end was near everyone knew. And the solemn Doctor would give you the nod meaning any time soon. In those cases if the resident had no relatives, no one to comfort or be with them the task fell to us. Two hours a turn, sitting by the bed side so that they would not die alone.
Alma held John's left hand in her right on top of the bed sheets. She got up gracefully, all her movements were graceful like a dancer. She let John's hand go and brushed a strand of her long black hair back from her face and smiled a weak but thankful smile at me. Her teeth were perfect and white, she had one of those smiles which immediately made you feel better and I smiled back but awkwardly, feeling suddenly aware of my own yellowed smokers teeth.
“My turn,” I said hastily. She lent over John and kissed his forehead, “God will look after you,” she whispered. It wasn't a sentiment I agreed with, I could see no evidence of a God in the scene in this room, in the slow year long decline of John's body, and strictly speaking we were not allowed to mention religion to residents but somehow when it was Alma saying it I lost the heart to argue. Besides it was pointless with Alma. Her Filipino upbringing had been in a strict Catholic faith. She believed in a way which frightened me because it simply admitted no doubt or argument, you could not engage her on the subject for as far as she was concerned God existed and there the discussion ended. I imagined this was how people believed in the Middle Ages when the Church was supreme in Europe, in a total and absolute way that seemed to aggressively ignore any argument to the contrary through self denial. She simply refused to even begin to contemplate the notion the Church could be in anyway wrong.
She swept past me in a wave of tantalizing perfume that temporarily blotted out the underlying current of Death and flashed me another dazzling white smile and I forgave her for her religion all over again, then she was gone. I turned to look down at John, he was lying on his back, his head propped up on two large pillows which looked firm as opposed to comfy. His cheeks were paper thin a crazy patchwork of veins covered them, his eyes had sunk further and further into their sockets and his ears seemed too large. His thin grey hair was lank and plastered to his skull.
And it did not take much when looking at John to imagine that skull, to see his not to distant future peeping out from under the thinly stretched skin. Grinning in anticipation.
“Well John sorry I ain’t quite as pleasant on the eye as your last sitter, not even in a good light but you'll have to make do,” I said with an effort.
I sat down in the chair beside the bed putting the tray carefully down on the small table, “but on the bright side I promise not to kiss you on the forehead.”
I examined his face to see if any of this nonsense was making it through but he was staring straight ahead and his breathing was shallow, too quick and with a nasty gurgle in it, fluid building in his lungs. He was giving up already and I doubted my weak patter was helping any. The electric light was shining on his skin, he was covered in a thin layer of sweat but I knew he would be cold and clammy to the touch, this late on they always are.
I took the yellow tumbler to the small sink in the corner of the room, the tumbler was a third full still but because the juice had been thickened it was in a gloopy pool stuck to the bottom. I rinsed it out several times to remove the contents and then back to the table and filled it half up with juice. I took the plastic ladle and put in one heaped ladle full of powder and began to mix the combination with a spoon. The liquid quickly became viscous. I put the straw back in the tumbler and then using one hand to gently ease John's thin head up off the pillow I held the tumbler before his mouth with the bent straw touching his lips. He sought it out first with his eyes which took a few seconds to find their focus then with his mouth, but the straw spun to the side and I had to rotate the tumbler to get it back round to his mouth again and this time is pale lips grasped it and with surprising vigour he began to suck. Slowly the thickened juice made its way up the straw and into his mouth. His Adams apple bobbed up and down in his scrawny neck as he gulped. After a few seconds he gasped, let the straw fall from his mouth and I let his head fall back onto the pillow. He took several long breaths, staring blankly up at the ceiling and as he breathed I could hear the liquid and the fluid in his lungs gurgling together through his system like water down a drain.
I suddenly remembered the fruit cake I had smuggled in and pulled it out from under the napkin,”Hey John, I've got you something.”
He was blankly staring upwards. I held the piece of cake out in front of his eyes. Nothing. “Its fruit cake,” I added, “I thought you liked it?”
And suddenly there it was, a glistening in his eyes, the pupils narrowed as he focused on the cake held before him and a little light, the tiniest of gleams came back into his gaze, a dancing twinkle that seemed to swim up to the surface of his eyeballs like sunlight on the ocean, a spark of life still. A tiny thing and yet it made me want to punch the air and to shout out, but of course I didn't. Instead I said, “I'll need to get you sitting up for this.”
There is no way to tell when a resident was like this how much moving them hurts or not. Some seem not to notice and can be moved about with barely a word or grunt, others every little movement seems to pain or disturb. John was not going to weigh anything I reckoned, he was a skeleton now with skin tightly drawn over it, all ribs and sharp shoulder blades, and the fastest way was to lean across the front of him, get both my hands under his armpits, up to my elbows with the my hands, palms flat against his shoulder blades for support, and lift in one clean movement. Lying to sitting in a second.
I released him and he let out a long wheeze of air that finished with a gurgling. But other than that he seemed not to have minded. His eyes were still on the cake.
I sat down in the chair beside him and started crumbling the cake up in to the napkin, “I need to give you it small John. And for God’s sake do your damnedest to give it a good chew mate. Ok? You choke on this you just die. But what about me eh? I'm out of a job. Not to mention all the paperwork it'd involve,” and that got the smallest of smiles out of him and again I got a stab of sweet satisfaction. He was still with me.
There were moments when you could delude yourself, convince yourself that this time you can pull them through, this time you can keep that light burning in their eyes, the light that keeps Death at bay. This was one of those times as I poked small broken up bits of fruit cake between Johns lips, watched him slowly and methodically chew and savour it before I put the straw to his lips once more and he could wash it down. For a long time this went on. Him happily chewing, living in a small moment where all else was forgotten and there was just the pleasure of eating some cake and enjoying it. And me slowly feeding him it, crumb by crumb, slurp of straw by slurp of straw.
And then finally, some fifteen minutes or so later the cake was finished. He took another draw from the proffered straw and sank back on the pillows. Immediately I could see I was losing the fight, the little strength he had galvanised spurred on by the prospect of cake was spent, the light was still in his eyes but it was becoming blanker, losing the sparkle of focus and living. John was sinking slowly away from me, receding from the surface. His breathing, ragged and unpleasant continued on and otherwise the room seemed suddenly quiet.
I talked to him for the next half our or so. He had a collection of books, mostly about air planes and mechanics that were kept on a shelf in his wardrobe. I took two of his favourites down and tried to engage him in conversation about the contents, but the blank stare never changed. I held the books open before him at pages with illustrations and asked him questions. Trying desperately for a time to re-engage his attention, to give him something he thought worthwhile to focus on, to hold onto.
Eventually I fell silent and put the books back and gave him some more juice to drink. He took a few half hearted slurps on the straw and gave up. I got the impression it was his body drinking, an automated response. I mopped his brow and waited. I flicked through the paper, I paced for a bit and I splashed water on my face in the little sink in the corner. And I watched John, who just continued looking blankly upwards. I watched his chest rise and fall, listened to every gurgling breath, jerked to attention at every choke in case it was the final one. And wondered when Death was going to make the final move and if it would be soon.
There comes a time, when the inevitable is close, when the heaving breaths with their fluidity and irregular tempo begins to gnaw. When you just want it to be over, to be going instead for a cup of tea and outside into the biting, moving air to have a cigarette. To be with people who are not dying. To not be cooped up with Death. There is a time sitting by the bedside of those who are dying when what you are thinking is “I wish you'd just die and get on with it. I don't want to be here any more.” And its what I was thinking now. I told myself it was perfectly natural to feel that way but nevertheless the thought came with a heavy payback in guilt. But it would be a lie to not say it was not there. And all across the world, in Care Homes and in Hospitals this scene would be playing out in one fashion or another and for how many, when they reach this moment reach for a pillow and bring it all to a premature halt? Some in mercy and some in selfishness. The thought had crossed my mind in the past but never more than that and the instant waves of guilt it brought on told me I would not bare it well. But that it happens, of that I am certain. For there would be no recovery here, only a drawn out finale, not building to some crescendo but crumbling away into nothing. These were my dark thoughts as the clock beside the bed ticked away the last hour of John Stibbons life.
Forty-five minutes more passed in which I wiped him down, his skin was completely clammy now, his body drenched. A cold sweat. My shift here would be over in under fifteen minutes I decided to give him a clean up before Stacy took over, assuming Lucy could persuad her to do it all of course, she easily got emotional in these circumstances in a manner I always felt was put on.
Without any protest from John I stripped him naked, dried him down with towels and put fresh pyjamas on him. I rolled him onto his sides to accomplish this and lifted his legs up to get the bottoms on and he never did more than grunt and stare.
And then, as I was idly flicking through the newspaper Alma had left he stopped breathing.
I waited, unmoving but watching, especially the thin chest with its protruding ribs which had ceased its previously obvious rising and falling, then John inhaled long and deep, his lungs bubbled with a sound like a pot boiling and then he exhaled in a long rattling breath.
It didn't always happen, the famous death rattle, but more often it did. His body was settling back in the bed now, there was something like the sensation of a balloon deflating, that was the sense I got looking at him. I stood from my chair and felt for the pulse at his neck, nothing, then the wrist, there was a tingling feeling of everything slowing. But there was no pulse.
One eye was closed the other half open as if he had died winking at me. I have seen four people die in similar circumstances and its always the eyes which tell you when its truly over. They dim, a shine that was there yet can only be noticed by its absence is gone forever. As I looked into Johns half open eye I saw that light fade and go out. There was no life left in him. I had the very strong sensation of being alone in the room where before I was not.
I sighed, put my hand on Johns bony shoulder, and although I had said I would not I bent over and kissed his forehead.
“Safe journey John,” I said, “with any luck you are flying free by now.”
I don't know how other care workers feel at this moment but for me it was a privilege, a moment to feel humble and awed. Awed by the ridiculous chances of life, of the outrageous coincidences, happen-stance and events that lead over eighty odd years of life to this. And finally to me.
I pressed the buzzer on the wall next to the headboard. A few moments later Lucy came in. “That him?” she asked looking down at John.
“Yup, that's him,” I affirmed.
“Go get yourself a cup of tea and go for a fag,” she said and I was grateful, it was not my break for another twenty minutes, “if anyone says anything tell them I sent you.”
I nodded, “Cheers Lucy.”
“Yeah don't get too grateful. Alma is hopeless round dead bodies, Stacy was in floods as soon as you buzzed, Susan's out picking up prescriptions and Andy eventually phoned in sick. So that leaves me and you. Back here in ten minutes.”
“Fair enough,” I said and took the opportunity to leave. I didn't look back at John. I'd be seeing him again soon enough.

I forewent the tea, I had a can of Dr Pepper in my locker which I fetched instead. I passed Alma in the hall and she said, “Is he gone?” I nodded and she added “He is with God now. I am happy for him.” I was in no mood for an argument on religion although it still rankled somewhere with me, instead I just nodded and went to the exit, keyed in the number sequence and headed downstairs and out into the cold air for a cigarette.
As it was, thanks to foregoing making a cup of tea, I managed to get two cigarettes in the ten minutes and the coldness and strength of the wind which was blowing in from the sea revived my spirit and I felt ready for the rest of the task.
Lucy was waiting for me at the desk. She could have started without me but it was understandable she hadn't, it was a task better done with company.
“Ready to start?” she asked as I approached. I glanced into the lounge where Stacy was sitting in a chair crying being comforted by a resident. I shook my head, “She is worse than hopeless in these situations,” I said indicating Stacy, “Did you call it in?”
“Yeah, Docs here somewhere already and the guys will pick up in half an hour.”
“Half an hour that's fast,” I replied, and it was.
“They were out collecting somewhere already,” she said with a shrug of her shoulder, “means we have to get a move on.”
We went back to the room which still bore John's name. Immediately on entering the smell made it clear he had evacuated his bowels in our absence. “Lovely,” Lucy muttered as she went in.
“Better out than in,” I replied and went over to the chest of drawers and pulled open the top drawer. There was a box of latex gloves in there, I threw a pair over to Lucy and took out a pair myself and blew into them to inflate and stretch them a bit, they were awkward to get on. Management sourced them from somewhere in China, presumably because they were cheap, they were also too small, fine for most of the women but my hands went right through them more often than not, it took me five gloves to get a pair on that weren't ripped by the finish.
On the wall was a dispenser, like a towel dispenser with a roll in it, but it was not towels but thin blue plastic aprons it dispensed, I took one out and tore it off and gave it to Lucy and took one myself. Even in a room with a dead guy I chastised myself that I took a surreptitious glance Lucy's way as she pulled the apron in tight around her waist and against her chest and tied it at the back. The aprons were semi transparent and although technically she was now wearing more clothes she still somehow seemed even more alluring than before. Small pleasures in dark times I suppose.
I went to the small sink and put the black rubber plug in and began running water and fetched out some liquid soap and a large orangey sponge from the cabinet above the sink. Lucy went over to the wardrobe and began rummaging through the clothes on hangers in there.
I soaked the sponge and got it nice and soapy with a good lather, and added a bit more liquid soap directly onto it for good measure then went over to the bed and pulled back the sheets covering what had been John.
The body seemed much thinner than in life already. A watery brown fluid was splashed like a Rorschach ink blot from out underneath him and the smell was atrocious freed from the covering of the sheets. I choked and went over to the window and pulled it wide open. The strong wind did its job, “That is nasty,” Lucy remarked covering her nose with her arm and continuing to rummage with her free hand.
I hauled the soiled sheet out from under the body, rolling the sheet up as I went, I noticed there was a little blood, deep red in the evacuated fluids. I stuffed the sheet in a black bag tied it tightly and put the whole lot into the bathroom and shut the door. Then I squirted some of the soap onto the corpse and set to work washing down the body, it quickly lathered up.
I had no sooner begun than there was a knock at the door and the Doctor entered, his nose wrinkled, “Evacuate did he?” he said in a deep voice that matched his wide girth.
“Yeah one last job he's given us,” Lucy said momentarily emerging from the depths of the wardrobe.
“Good man, that's the way” the Doctor said in a meaningless fashion I thought, “were you here when he went?” he said nodding at me.
“Aye, not much to tell, deep breath, long rattle and that was that,” I answered matter of fact. I had found Doctor's weren't generally interested in detail. Simple and straightforward is what they liked.
He went over to the corpse, he didn't touch the body but just looked it up and down, “Lucky I was here. Save the boys some paperwork. Well. Fine. Fine. Continue on the with the good work,” he said and covering his nose left us to finish our task.
I went back to washing down the body, and it was just that now. The thing that had been John Stibbons had left the room with the light in his eyes, what was left was just an empty thing. And it was currently covered in soap from head to foot. A worrying amount, the lather had turned into a froth and John was quickly disappearing beneath the bubbles. I seemed to have put far too much of the liquid soap on the sponge and the body.
Lucy emerged from the wardrobe holding a hanger in each hand, a grey suit was in one and a blue suit in the other, “Which of these do you think?” she asked, then took in the soapy body, in the silence that followed the little hiss and frothing of the lather seemed loud and to fill the room, eventually she said, “I think you might have over done it a bit there.”
“Aye,” I replied slowly, “just a bit. Still, no problem.” I opened the door and went out of the room and a few moments later returned from the room next door, which belonged to Mrs Winters who was in a wheel chair, I had her shower chair with me. Which was a white plastic chair with holes in it, not unlike a garden chair but one with wheels on the bottom.
“You're joking?” Lucy asked.
“Why not? We've not got much time, this is the easiest way,” I said and parked the chair next to the bed and the soapy corpse, “Not like he's going to mind,” I added nodding down at the body, “and besides, he always liked a shower.”
She threw her arms up in mock despair, “Do what you have to,” she conceded.
Then lifting John as I had done to sit him up in bed, with my arms through his I heaved him up and onto the chair where he flopped with his head at an angel. I manoeuvred the chair into the bathroom, closed the door and switched on the shower. Immediately I hit a problem. All the showers were power showers, and more than half of them, this one included were broken from the minute they were shoddily installed, so that you couldn't turn them down to less than half pressure. And even at half pressure John's thin dead body, covered in slippery soap, was no match.
The first blast knocked his head to the side, the second blew him clean out the chair. Horrified I snapped off the shower and dropped it, the head clattered off the tiled floor. I got John from behind with my hands under his slippery armpits and hauled him back up onto the chair just as Lucy stuck her head round the door, “Everything all right?” she asked with a quizzical look.
“Yeah sure,” I replied wiping a damp forelock of hair aside on John head. “Just getting the chair in the right position,” I added airily.
She nodded unconvinced but could see nothing amiss and so went back out. I sighed, “ah well John, you'd have pissed yourself at that” I whispered at the corpse and turned on the shower again. In the end I had to hold the various limbs and bits of body one by one as I hosed each one down. Fortunately there were no more mishaps.
By the time I had finished and dried the body and put some talcum powder on it and emerged Lucy had selected the blue suit and put clean sheets onto the bed. She had also found the napkin on the table which still at some small crumbs of fruit cake on it. "You gave him cake?" she demanded.
I looked her directly in the eyes, "Damn right I did. The last thing he got to eat was something he loves."
She crumbled the napkin up in her hand, "Good for you," she said and handed the napkin to me,"but I didn't see this. Get rid of it."
I nodded and stuffed the napkin deep into my trouser pocket, putting it in the bin in here would risk the cleaners finding it and they would just love to catch me out, I could put it directly into the skips outside by taking a nappy bag down with me as cover went I went out for lunch.
Between the two of us we dressed him, with his head and limbs flopping about as there at had not yet been time for rigor mortis to set in. Eventually we had him sitting in the shower chair fully dressed whilst Lucy fussed over combing his hair. Then with a final heave we lifted him between us and laid him out on the bed. I folded his hands across his chest and made sure his eyes were fully closed, they weren't, his right eyelid had crept half way back up, still winking at me John, I thought. I pulled the lid back down with the tip of my index finger.
In a moment of unannounced unity Lucy and I stood in silence looking down at John. I can't say in truthfulness he looked any better, he looked like what he was, a dead man in a suit. But he at least looked like he had died with some dignity, even if the soap and the shower were perhaps less so.
The moment was broken by a knock on the door and the face of a young man in his twenties with thick blonde hair appeared, I noticed Lucy immediately perked up, “This the one is it?” the face said.
“All yours,” Lucy replied with a smile and indicated John lying on the bed.
The man came in followed by another similarly aged man who was wiping a sniffing nose on his sleeve. “Bag 'em and tag 'em, that's us,” the first man said as the second pulled a trolley in with black body bag on it.
Lucy and I left the room. I turned at the door which I had closed behind us and stopped. Lucy did to and seeing where I was looking and catching its meaning she sighed and stepped forward. Carefully and with some reverence she slid the white card with 'John Stibbons' on it from the slot. ' '.
She put her hand lightly against the door, her fingers were long, shapely and her nails painted a deep crimson, “John's old room” she said. I nodded and we went back down the hall towards the desk.
“When do we go home?” I asked wearily.
“Not for another”, she glanced at her watch, “ooh, just under seven hours of fun.”
“Oh good,” I replied as we reached the desk, she went around it and planked herself down in the seat there. I sat on the edge of it. In the lounge Stacy was giving out cups of juice, her eyes still red from crying, Alma was sitting by old Mary, holding a cup to her lips for her. The TV was on I couldn't focus on what was on it, it was just a noise.
The two men emerged from John's old room pushing a trolley with a now full black body bag on it. They made their way to the elevators, “Till next time,” one of them said with a cheery wave as the doors snapped shut.
And that was the end of John Stibbons.








Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:43 pm; edited 5 times in total

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Post by odo banks Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:09 pm

Excellent stuff, Mr Tyrant - though I suspect you already knew that! Very Happy I might contribute something myself... but later... sadly gotta go to bed, early start... bloomin' work!!! Mad Mad Mad

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:56 pm

I was rather hoping you would put something up Odo (your modesty and respectability at not blowing your own trumpet is safe- and so is your back as blowing ones own trumpet is not good for you). I look forward to reading whatever you deem suitable to post- and anything else anyone wants to post.

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Post by odo banks Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:45 am

Oh I guess I can fight against my natural modesty.... just this once... Embarassed

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Post by Ringdrotten Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:19 pm

Read Petty's story. What an odd mix of priceless, black humour and some very unnerving descriptions and situations. Is this fiction, or is it based on things you have experienced? Anyway, thanks for sharing, Petty, always a pleasure to read an eloquent and well written story such as this one Smile Yours is next, Odo!

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:41 pm

Thanks Ringdrotten. Glad you enjoyed it. Its based on actual events but people and characters have been changed. In the case of the resident in this bit it is based on a real person who is now long dead and had no surving family. All the residents in my story are all based on actual people, or at the least on actual conditions they suffered. As is the way with writting some aspects of one person may be merged with aspects of someone else to create a new character. But the Home itself and the staff are all fictious, although they are based on common 'types' I have encountered in my years doing care work.

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Post by Ringdrotten Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:04 pm

Must be a strange line of work. The guy who was lobotomized, he was based on a real person then? The mere thought of lobotomy makes me sick, can't believe they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to the guy who invented it.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:17 pm

"Must be a strange line of work"-Ringdrotten

One of the problems about writing what actually happen in a care home is that no one believes its true. Rather they tend to think it has been exaggerated or just made up- believe me there is no need to do either! Truth really is stranger than fiction in a care home. This opening piece is actually quiet a mild instant, and nothing to things which come later in the story and are also based on true events.

Lobotomy is a dispicable 'cure' to anything. But yes Olly was a real person, different name, he passed away several years ago and has no surving relatives. I was very fond of him, he features several times in my story which is my way of remebering him and paying his life some tribute. Otherwise he is just another faceless statistic soon to be forgotten entirely.

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Post by Ringdrotten Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:31 pm

Not always too easy to get out of bed to go to work I take it, then Neutral Thank God for buckie! Let it flush the bad times and memories away! drunken

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Post by Tinuviel Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:11 pm

I figured, Petty, that parts of your fantastic account were true, because I was astounded by the amount of detail you put in!!!! Fantastically written!!!!
Therefore, I must ask, have you gotten any of your works published? If not, do try!!!
All of this fantastic writting is inspiring!!! I may post something myself Exclamation

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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:56 pm

PT-

I just read the story you posted months ago and it is really, really good! Excellent, like I said!

The characters all seemed very real. It read effortlessly (I'm easily distracted). I wanted to find out what would happen during the big guy's rampage. And the speaker (you) in the story came as very genuine and likable: a person doing a demanding job with limited resources among colleagues and management that can make things even harder. He/you spoke with frustration about the people being cared for, but still came across as caring.

The subject is a difficult one for me. My mother-in-law is in an institutional setting, and seems happy there, but we always are concerned that her life is okay when we're not around. The same would be true if she were at home on her own, I suppose, although that would be impossible at this point in her life.

My own mother is having a harder and harder time on her own, and is willing to be taken care of, so I hope that works out when it happens. And my 13-year-old daughter has some serious cognitive special needs so she'll probably need to be cared for the rest of her life. My wife and I can't do it on our own. I hope there will be people in her life that will be kind to her and treat her with respect.

But enough about me! My point is, your story is exactly the sort that I would normally not read, and if I did read it (perhaps by mistake), I would not expect to like it. But I found your story truly engaging (and even comforting, in a way). Thanks for the great story. Thanks for being a care-giver, too.

-Paul
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Post by Ally Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:43 pm

The Wobbit A Parody wrote:PT-

I just read the story you posted months ago and it is really, really good! Excellent, like I said!

The characters all seemed very real. It read effortlessly (I'm easily distracted). I wanted to find out what would happen during the big guy's rampage. And the speaker (you) in the story came as very genuine and likable: a person doing a demanding job with limited resources among colleagues and management that can make things even harder. He/you spoke with frustration about the people being cared for, but still came across as caring.

The subject is a difficult one for me. My mother-in-law is in an institutional setting, and seems happy there, but we always are concerned that her life is okay when we're not around. The same would be true if she were at home on her own, I suppose, although that would be impossible at this point in her life.

My own mother is having a harder and harder time on her own, and is willing to be taken care of, so I hope that works out when it happens. And my 13-year-old daughter has some serious cognitive special needs so she'll probably need to be cared for the rest of her life. My wife and I can't do it on our own. I hope there will be people in her life that will be kind to her and treat her with respect.

But enough about me! My point is, your story is exactly the sort that I would normally not read, and if I did read it (perhaps by mistake), I would not expect to like it. But I found your story truly engaging (and even comforting, in a way). Thanks for the great story. Thanks for being a care-giver, too.

-Paul

Hey Paul! It's great that you found you way here, I used to love reading your extracts of The Wobbit on the old forum, and the discussions you had with GB and co about copyright and such like! I have a confession to make though, I got someone to send me the pdf version of The Wobbit for free! Mad
I would have purchased it through paypal, but sadly I couldn't use paypal at the time as I didn't have a card attached to it! So if there is any future merch or whatever make sure you tell me and I WILL buy it! Very Happy

Love your parody! And Squach's novel, and GB's parody also!

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Post by Eldorion Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:10 pm

The Wobbit A Parody wrote:PT-

I just read the story you posted months ago and it is really, really good! Excellent, like I said!

I have shamefully neglected this thread because I usually don't have the time or patience to read through an entire short story, but I just read Petty's and it was excellent. I'd love to see more from you and I will try to read some more of the work posted in this thread. Smile
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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Ally-

Thanks! It's great to be back. I forgot what a positive group this is.

I appreciate your candor, and am flattered that you wanted to read The Wobbit enough to ask someone for a copy. PLEASE don't pay me for it, but here's what you can do. Go to Amazon.com, search for The Wobbit, and instead of buying it:
1) Mark that you "Like" it
2) Give it Five Stars (or whatever the most stars is)
3) If you have time, write a (preferably good) review

You DO NOT need to buy the book from Amazon.com to be able to post a review or do anything else on the page. Your good review would be worth WAY more to me than the 70% royalties on $3.00 I would get from Kindle Direct Publishing.

Thanks!

-Paul
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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:54 pm

Thanks everyone! I'm honored. I'm also honored to have influenced people (it would seem) into reading some of our fiction. Thanks, Eldo! I'm having a great day!
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:14 pm

"Thanks for the great story. Thanks for being a care-giver, too."- The Wobbot

Thank you for that, especially the last bit. You'd be amazed how little care workers hear that-we're just expected to get on with it so its always nice to know what your going through is appreciated somewhere.
I may well put a more recent extract from the book up at some point.
I'm sorry to hear that some of the peolpe close to you require care and I have no idea what the standards are like your country so the only advice I can gie is be diligent, take an interest. The Simpsons style of dealing with an elderly relative-stick them in a home and forget about them- is the most common model I come across sadly.

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Post by Orwell Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:37 am

Could your story have it's own thread, Petty? I think it deserves it's own. (I will read later. Looking forward to it! Lunch first!)

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Post by Eldorion Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:04 am

I agree with Orwell and I can split Petty's story stuff if he likes. Smile Will give the latest chapter a read when I have time to just sit down quietly for a while.
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Post by odo banks Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:46 am

There is quite a racket going on just now... I must rest now (I mean it this time). I too look forward to reading your continuing story, Mr Tyrant, if only to find the disgusting bits to rail against (you know, realism is very modern and therefore disrespectable....)

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Post by Orwell Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:54 am

Petty, I seem to have Chapter One (?) and Chapter Three. I have downloaded both onto a Word doc (I'm sure you wont mind) - but if there is a Chapter Two I demand to see it. Also, have you rewritten Chapter One? I'd very much like to read it again, but if you have an updated version I demand to see it. Um... because I'm at heart very polite... please. Very Happy

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Post by Orwell Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:39 am

I could wait no longer, Petty, it's been more than an hour and you didn't tell me if you had rewritten Chapter One. You sluggard - probably asleep or somethin'. For all that, I am in a forgiving mood. This stuff you're writing, Petty, is a thing of beauty. These stories - wow, mate. And it's the little observations, small "noticings" that enrapture most. Like that glint in John's eye... was it the same one Odolad saw in his old man's eyes? - though Odolad received a big smile as a further reward for his momentary flash of caring. You are onto something very worthy here. Beautiful writing, clear eyed "noticings" and not a trace of melodrama, nor bullshit... Perving on a good looking girl in a room of Death .... I reckon I'd still be doing that too - indeed, have done it more than once, life goes on. And that fruit cake, mate. I hope you're there when I die. I love fruit cake. Och mun, if I could write like that I'd fear I'd died and gone to heaven - and heaven, by all accounts, is not a bad place at all. (Shame it don't exist, now as I come to think on it! Wink ) Well done, mate. Really moved.

A further thought. Let these stories come out at their own pace according to their own rhyme and reason. No haste, mun, unless the Muse takes hold, then you must be as hasty as the Muse demands. I want much more from you, but I will try to be patient. What you're doing requires patience...

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:25 pm

Thans Orwell, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. And if touched on something in your expercience then thats all too the good, truth in this is important to me. The characters and setting might be fictoious but I want it still to be true.
I'm normally quite a structured writer but for reasons best known to Illuvator this is coming out in bits and pieces. The reason there is no chapter 2 is because I've onyl written half it, the Chapter One I already put up is about half of that chapter, and it too is as of yet unfinshed. And what is coming out seems to be working so I am loath to interfere and am just going with the flow in case it stops!

If you feel it merits its own thread Eldo I have no objections to you splitting it off. No idea what you'd call it though I don't have a title for this yet.

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Post by Orwell Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:50 pm

The story is true to life. It is informed by real things, whether imaginative real things, borrowed real things, juxtaposed and mixed real things, and genuine autobiographic real things (among other "things" from life, of course!) Fiction? Oh how things are blurred in the heart and mind of the writer. The bottom line is, the way you are doing it is working, don't change your method (unless, for some reason you decide to - that should give you room to move! Very Happy). Mate, this is great stuff you're doing. I tell you now, I say what I mean. I read the first chapter again btw, before reading Chapter Three. It was better the second time, and I thought it excellent the first time. I hope you take this the way it's intended, your writing has improved hugely since Circle and Shadow - and they weren't half bad, except by comparison to this story of a fictional Careworker in a fictional Home for the Elderly. Mmmm... Now that I know it's actually "fictional", I will expect at least one sex scene (a clumsy shy embarrassing one, to make it seem real), or else I will be quite disappointed.... No, I'm only joking, Petty! (((((No, I'm not even close to joking, Petty! cyclops )))))

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:09 pm

Funny you should mention a sex scene......but spoilers! Very Happy

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Post by Eldorion Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:12 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:If you feel it merits its own thread Eldo I have no objections to you splitting it off. No idea what you'd call it though I don't have a title for this yet.

I just went ahead and called it "Petty's story", and if you come up with a title I can edit it in for you. Wink
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