David C Dawson's blog

David C Dawson's blog

Election

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Fri, January 20, 2017 08:48:16

Election

Elsie Simpkins had defrauded the voting slips in the constituency of South Shindle for the last eighteen years. This was to be the fifth general election result she had fixed. From the very start, it had been so easy. As an unmarried school-teacher, chair of the W.I. and more recently, the first woman lay-preacher at St James the Less, she was beyond reproach.

Elsie volunteered to be a polling clerk shortly after her fortieth birthday. Her application to replace the retiring head of the small Church of England school, where she had taught for nineteen years, was rejected by the governors. They chose to appoint a dynamic, younger man called Eric Buttles. As Elsie’s only route to a headship would have been to move to another school in another town, she continued to teach in the infants’ class. She busied herself with minor roles of responsibility in the community. Her application to be a polling clerk was successful, and it was not long before she became the Presiding Officer, in charge of counting the ballot papers for the constituency of South Shindle. The small fees she got for both council and general elections, paid for her annual holiday to Felixstowe.

That was where she met John Markham. He was a young man with brilliant blue eyes, and a missionary zeal to change the world. They had collided trays in the Cosy Teapot one wet afternoon, and he gallantly offered to reserve a seat for her, while she went to the ladies’ to soak the tea stain on her coat. As the rain poured down outside, he talked about his life and his ambitions. He had grown up in Norfolk. When he was eight, his parents told him he was adopted. That his biological mother had abandoned him as a baby. He spoke warmly about his adoptive parents. Liberal thinkers who had been environmentalists long before it was fashionable. He went to study at Downing College Cambridge, where he became politically active in the Labour Party. Now, at the age of twenty-six, he was to be the party’s youngest candidate in the forthcoming General Election, standing for the constituency of South Shindle.

Elsie and John talked long after the rain had stopped. When they came to say goodbye, Elsie wished him well, and John asked to see her again.

Four weeks’ later, his resounding victory was a surprise for the pollsters, South Shindle was a Conservative stronghold. They were no less surprised when he won the following three elections with similar, substantial majorities.

Elsie sat regarding herself in the mirror, thinking about what dress to wear for her fifth General Election. She opened the middle drawer of the dressing table, and pulled out a rosary box. It was the only surviving remnant of her hated Catholic upbringing. At fourteen, she had been raped by a boy from the Jesuit school. She was forbidden an abortion, and when she gave birth to a healthy boy, he was immediately taken into care. She opened the rosary box and took out a hospital nametag. A kindly nurse had kept it for her. The letters were faded, but the name John Simpkins was still clearly visible.



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Internalised

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Wed, January 18, 2017 15:52:57

Internalised

I know it’s an addiction. But it’s not like a real drug. I could give it up, anytime. Easy. But why should I? It’s a buzz, it’s a high. Sets me up for the week.

It’s my escape. From this shitty life. I need it, I deserve it. I work hard. I pay the bills, working that crap job every day. Then all the shit at home. Especially after the boy was born.

I sometimes think, what’s wrong with it anyway? If it makes me feel good, if it’s not hurting anyone. Then I remember what they say, what they’ve always said. The way they look at the rest of them. What they say about them. Papa would kill me. Mama would be heartbroken.

The barman always stops me after a while. Usual six or seven. He knows. He’s watching. I always have this rum cocktail. It’s called a Mojito, fresh mint, lots of ice.

I remember the first time I had one. It was the first time I came here. I was shitting myself. I felt so, out of it. So, dirty. I ordered a beer, and the barman looks at me as if I’d grown two heads. Then I realised, they weren’t drinking beers. They all looked so cool, drinking these cocktails. Faggot drinks.

And the barman makes some kind of joke about my beer, which I didn’t get. Thought he was messing with me. But he told me to chill. Offers me a Mojito - on the house. Can’t refuse that. And hey, it’s pretty good. So I throw it back real quick, and get another.

The barman’s real friendly, wants to talk. But I don’t want to talk. I just want to watch. See what they do.

A lot of them are real disgusting. Like, they’ve got no shame. I just sit there. And watch. And get another drink. They’re kissing, many of them are stripped to the waist, and dancing, and their bodies are everywhere, folding into each other. Some of them are so young, real young guys. They look so - in ecstasy - and it’s disgusting.

And I want it so bad. I get hard, and I wish I didn’t. I know I should just go, get out of here. Papa’s face comes into my head. I feel guilty, and I try to shake him out. Then I look around me again. And it’s just - good. I drink it all in. And I keep it in my head, so when Sitora wants me to fuck her, I close my eyes, and remember this. Then I can stay hard, even though I hate it.

Shit, why am I like this? What did I do that was so bad? God is punishing me for something. He must hate me so much, to make me feel this way. I want to give it up, I really do, but I can’t.

I tell the barman to get me another drink, and he says, maybe it’s time to call it a night. Fuck him.

I think he knows I’ve got a wife and kid back home. Or at least he suspects, even if I’ve taken the ring off. He says he’ll get me a cab.

It’s not like I’m one of them. I’ll go home, leave them, but I’ll come back.

Written after the murders at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on 12th June 2016



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Archibald

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Sat, January 14, 2017 11:27:38

Archibald

He’s battered and frayed, he’s lost an eye and some of his stuffing is beginning to leak out.

I’ve put him on the shelf by the TV, where I can always see him when I sit here. His one button eye, squinting at me.

John said he was the first toy he ever had when he was a baby, but I can’t believe that. I mean, who would give a teddy bear with button eyes that are wired in, to a baby? It’s not safe.

It doesn’t matter. John gave him to me, that first Christmas when we moved in here, five years ago. “A bear for a bear,” he said. His most treasured possession, and he gave him to me. John said his sister had called him Archibald Bear, so that’s always been his name.

Marion, John’s sister, is the only one from his family who’s ever kept in touch. She came to visit us soon after we moved to LA. John’s mum and dad never did. They didn’t want to meet me. He used to go visit them once a year, alone, usually just before Thanksgiving. They live up in Oregon.

Marion was here, the night John was shot. There was a knock at the door. I was in the bathroom and John was out, so Marion answered it.

I heard men’s voices. Then I heard her kind of moan, like an almost animal cry. When I came into the living room, there were two cops there. They’d just told her about the shooting. Marion was all hunched up on the couch, just hugging herself and rocking.

When we got to the hospital, the medics said they were doing everything they could. But he died. John died at 8:23pm on Thursday the 10th June.

The hospital said it wasn’t possible for me to see his body, as I wasn’t related. I said I’d been his boyfriend for nearly six years. But they said that didn’t count. They needed the permission of his parents.

His mom and dad arrived the next day. Marion went to meet them at LA X, and they took a cab straight to the hospital. They didn’t let me see his body.

Marion rang me to say his mom was coming to the apartment to collect all John’s things and take them back home. I said we shared everything; we were practically married for chrissake.

John’s mom didn’t fight about it. She said she just wanted some pictures, a few of his clothes and John’s old baseball stuff, from college days. I hid Archibald, so I got to keep him.

They wouldn’t let me go to the funeral. Jeez, they wouldn’t even tell me when it was. Marion called to say it was happening, but she said it was probably best I didn’t go. John’s dad was looking to cut up real rough and was talking about getting a court order to exclude me. John used to tell me his dad is devout Presbyterian and uses words like abomination and crap like that.

Marion had a big row with them about the funeral. She’s moved out to Seattle now and won’t talk to any of her family. When you think about it, she’s not only lost her kid brother, but the whole lot of them. She’s coming down to stay in a few weeks. I think I’ll give her Archibald.



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Thoughts of my Mother

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 21:27:23

Thoughts of my mother

Remember the time, remember the place?

Remember the moment, remember the face?

Was it then, are you sure, did he really say that?

Did he always possess such a ridiculous hat?

We sit on the sofa and talk of the past.

I forget many things, but your memory is vast!

It holds every detail; it’s sharp as a knife.

It vividly paints the real pictures of life.

Our history, we’re told, is momentous and fine:

The war, the Depression, those significant times.

But you’ve made it so clear how our family is key,

They’re the people to think of; they should matter to me.

The dates of their birthdays, all the things that they’ve done,

The people they’ve met, or the battles they’ve won.

No detail’s too small, no moment too minor,

No crisis is trivial, no triumph is finer.

For most of my life, work has stolen its share

Of my time, an excuse for not being there,

Or turning up late, always failing to see

That the person who’s missed out on real life is me.

Your values are constant, they are family and friends.

Love unconditional, old wounds always mends.

I’ve been so slow to learn it, but I hope that you see,

That I love you for teaching this lesson to me.





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Real Life

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 21:22:17

REAL LIFE

Andy adjusted the corset and regarded himself in the mirror. He wondered idly if he could turn the medical necessity into a fashion statement. Not with his scrawny body, he concluded, as he pulled a black polo neck over his head and tucked it into the waistband of his trousers. Already, the corset chafed the underside of his scraggy male breasts. Andy pictured the end of this day, when he could release himself from the torturous device.

He picked up a New York Times from the news stand on the corner, and walked the two blocks to his regular coffee shop. It was only April but the early morning sky was blue and he felt the faint warmth of the sun on his face. Despite the sunshine, he avoided the tables on the sidewalk and found a booth at the back of Carlo’s, where he could avoid the stares of the curious.

As he flicked through the pages of the newspaper, a headline made him pause. “SOLANAS RELEASED” was all it said. Andy laid the paper carefully on the table. He lit another Marlborough. There was no photo. But he could picture her face clearly, as though she was before him right now. Once more he saw her raise the gun. He instinctively covered his face, as he had done three years ago.

“You alright, Mr Warhol?” Carlo was placing a cup of soupy black coffee on the table. “Somethin’ wrong with your eyes?”

Andy lowered his hands and looked up at the coffee shop owner. He shook his head. “I’m fine Carlo. Just not been sleeping so well. The coffee will fix it.”

Carlo picked up the newspaper and looked at the open page. “What the hell’s John Lennon still doing with that Chinese chick? She’s seriously going to screw him up.” He dropped the paper back on the table. “You’re a friend of his, Mr Warhol. Can’t you talk some sense into him?”

Andy took a final drag on his cigarette. “Carlo, she’s good for John. I envy him, having someone like that. I never used to believe in love. I always though that everybody winds up kissing the wrong person goodnight. Maybe John and Yoko are an exception.”

Carlo shrugged and walked away. Andy picked up the paper and read the first few lines of the Solanas story. “Radical feminist Valerie Solanas, who shot pop artist Andy Warhol in June 1968, walked free from gaol yesterday, less than three years after the shooting. Solanas, 35, wrote the SCUM Manifesto, which calls for the elimination of men from society.” The corset dug deeper into his chest, a daily reminder of the injuries that had nearly killed him.

On the corner of East 16th Street, Andy pushed open the heavy metal door of the Factory. As always, he was the first one there. In the distance, the shrill, insistent ring of a telephone cut through the sunlit studio space. He walked over to the small kitchen area. He paused, his hand above the receiver. It was as if he was re-watching the scene from three years ago. Valerie had been standing behind him then, as he had picked up the phone. He looked around, but there was no one here. It was like watching a scene from TV. He only felt half there. The ringing stopped as he put the receiver to his ear.

“Still an early riser, Andy you shit?” The woman’s voice rasped in his ear and he closed his eyes, breathing.

“Saw you’d moved the studio. But I took a punt on you keeping your number. Still painting that consumer crap? Coke bottles, soup cans? Why don’t you do some more, like that lovely mushroom soup your mama made? Still love your mama Andy? Fuck knows why that bitch dumped an asshole like you on the world.” The voice paused and Andy could hear the woman take a long slow drag on a cigarette.

“Listen to me, little man. I’ve got your number. And I’m going to get you. Any day now.”





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Rags to Riches

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 21:16:46

Rags to Riches

So I was sat with Marjorie in front of the TV, as we do, on a Saturday night. She was snoring away. I was waiting for the woman with the balls to come on. Marjorie’s snored since, well whenever. Since we were weekly boarders at the Convent in 1948 and the nuns used to poke her because she kept the other girls awake.

She’s snored since she came to live with me after Herbert died. Drives me mad. I could kill her. Except she’s my sister.

So the woman with the balls comes on, then the man calls out the numbers and I don’t have to write them down because we always have the same numbers. I have my birthday, Herbert’s birthday, mum and dad’s birthday and the Queen’s official birthday. Marjorie has mum and dad’s birthday and the Queen’s birthday just like me. Then she has her birthday and the day she got engaged. She never married.

I just stared. The numbers came up. There was mum’s, dad’s and the Queen’s birthday. Then blow me, Marjorie’s, and the day she got engaged. They all came up. I leaned over and gave her a poke. Seventeen million. Bloody hell Marjorie. Seventeen million. But she didn’t say anything. And the snoring had stopped. So I poked her again.

So I’m standing there with Marjorie dead in the chair and I’m holding her Lottery ticket thinking bloody hell. She’s gone and won and now she’s dead. What do I do? I know she’s left all her money to the cats home. All because of that bloody moggy with the evil eyes and the broken ear. Doted on him even though he used to rip her candlewick to shreds. If the Lottery people give it to her, it will all go to the cats home. That will keep them in Whiskas for a bloody long time.

So I’m standing there hanging on the phone to the man from the Lottery company. “Yes this is Marjorie Cantrip. I think I’ve won the jackpot. What do I do now?” He says yes that all seems present and correct so now they’ll send someone round tomorrow to check the ticket and make sure it’s all kosher. I’m going to have to tidy up the lounge a bit.

I do wish Marjorie had gone on that diet like she kept threatening. Took me ages to haul her into the yard. The bin bags kept slipping off and her head made a hell of a bang when it hit the kitchen step. Good job she can’t feel it. At least the lounge is tidy. Well it will be when I’ve vacuumed. Don’t know what I’m going to do with Marjorie but I’m sure it’ll be a lot easier to sort out when I’ve got seventeen million in the post office.

He’s a very nice man with very shiny shoes. I opted for no publicity. He says they can advise me on how to invest it and they can appoint a fund manager and all sorts. Me, I just want a new bathroom. It’s embarrassing when visitors still have to go out to the privy in the yard. He went out a couple of minutes ago. Said he’d drunk too much tea. I’d better go and check he’s all right. Don’t want him finding things he shouldn’t.



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Green

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 21:09:43

GREEN

“Green! How on earth can you expect me to wear green? It’s so not my colour.”

Stuart was not happy. His partner, Richard, waved the fabric swatches under his nose. Stuart pointedly looked away.

“It’s an important message my love,” said Richard. “We’re making our statement about the environment. Just as we are with the electric car.”

“And that’s another thing,” retorted Stuart. “I’m not arriving in that electric roller skate. It’s so demeaning.”

With an effort Stuart suppressed the anger bubbling inside him. He looked up at his partner with what he hoped were puppy dog eyes.

“Richard. Sweet heart. Ours is going to be the first gay wedding in Britain. Although, only just,” Stuart’s nostrils flared momentarily. “After all, it was so nearly Trevor Ecclestone and his ghastly twink from Portugal”.

Stuart was less upset about the colour green, than Richard’s bid to take over the design of their wedding. After all, he was Stuart LeVain, the twice Olivier award winning theatre designer. As they stood in the dining room of their lovingly restored Art Deco flat in Pimlico, the evidence of Stuart’s skill was all about them. Richard by contrast was the heartthrob presenter of environment programmes on global television.

“My love,” said Richard, in the warm voice-over tone he used for his shows on armchair environmentalism. “The world’s media will be focused on us, in a beautiful village at the heart of one of Britain’s world environment heritage sites. It’s a perfect opportunity to make a statement about how man’s life choices are destroying the world. The publicity will be perfect. Please Stuart. You know that HBO is looking for a front man for its big push into environmental programming. A green gay wedding could do wonderful things for my prospects. It could mean two years in California.”

Richard added this last point enticingly, knowing his partner’s weakness for the West Coast.

“And with one green suit on the front cover of Hello, I destroy my credibility in theatre land,” Stuart took hold of one of the fabric swatches. “If I wear this I’ll look like Shrek. You know I wanted white. Well cream. Dominic had set aside some beautiful cloth he’d found loitering at the back of his storeroom months ago. In fact”, he paused for effect, “he went and sought it out the day after I called him from St Raphael to tell him about your beautiful proposal.”

Throughout this speech Stuart had held his eyelids open. It forced his eyes to water. The timing was perfect. He blinked and turned his head slightly, to let Richard see the glistening tear in the corner of his eye.

His partner fanned out the cloth swatches like a deck of cards. “Stuart dear. Don’t pull that damp eye trick with me. I know what your theatrical friends teach you. Look, I don’t want us to fall out over this my love. Perhaps we could have a horse drawn carriage instead of the electric car…”

“White horses,” added Stuart.

“Yes of course, white horses and a liveried groom to drive the carriage…”

“In tall boots,” added Stuart.

“You design his outfit my love. But please, I’d like us to make a strong, green statement…”

Stuart reached for the little pieces of of fabric, now spread across the Rennie Mackintosh table. An idea had popped into his head. An idea that was brilliant, but devious. A dark cream colour would suit his complexion best. Richard would never know the subterfuge. He was colour-blind.

“Well, I’d really like a colour that’s paler than any of these. It has to be light. Not dark and heavy. Let me ask Dominic to find something from his little goldmine. I’ll bring it for your approval of course.”

Richard leaned forward and kissed Stuart gently on the lips. “I do love you,” he whispered.

Stuart melted, and his devious plan melted away as well. How could he pull such a cheap trick on this adorable man? On his wedding day? He looked lovingly into Richard’s eyes. “What about cream with a green pinstripe?”



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A Friend of Dorothy's

Some thingsPosted by DavidCDawson Thu, September 08, 2016 20:58:13

A Friend of Dorothy’s

Timothy stood on the crowded underground train, the carriage packed with Friday evening commuters. His fingers clasped tightly around the handles of his carrier bag. It held his impulse buy. A very expensive, impulse buy. What the hell he thought. His contract had just been extended by another four months. It was his reward, he had earned it. Tim was a researcher at Channel 6’s hit day time television show Ey Oop It’s Elaine. He had a regular weekly salary and a flat share just off Brixton High Road in South London. Life could not be better as far as Timothy was concerned. And to crown it all, he had an invitation to the party of the year.

Top talent booker Oz LeStrange, the doyenne of daytime, threw a party at a private room, at the Vauxhall studios of Channel 6 once a year, and Timothy had an invite! It was his passport to making it in TV.
It was all thanks to Dorothy Dimpkins, deputy make-up artist on Wake Up To Weather! He had nearly got off with her that Friday lunchtime at the Channel 6 local; the Red Lion. She was older than Timothy, a lot older. At least five years. She must be nearly thirty but looked amazing for her age.

That lunchtime she had stared deep into his eyes as he told her all about the brilliant booking he had made that morning. Britain’s only conjoined triplets would be live in the studio next Wednesday. It was a coup. No other TV company had got them. It was all thanks to Timothy, Tim the Man!

There were lots of high fives in the office when he announced his success, coupled with envious glowers from his co-researchers on the show. At the end of the morning, executive producer Sandra Crow had called for him. Sandra Crow! The most intimidating woman in TV, known as Scare Crow behind her back. She was delighted with Timothy’s booking and promptly extended his contract.

As he recounted all this to Dorothy he could see the glow of admiration on her face. Timothy felt sure that he was about to score. Then came the killer blow. “Did I tell you I’m going to Dubai this weekend?” she asked innocently. “My ex-boyfriend does something dreadfully high powered in investments or something. Out of the blue he’s said he’s taking me there, and on the Sunday we’re going out into the desert on dune buggy thingies with a whole crowd of his chums and Simon Cowell’s going to be there! Imagine! It’s going to be such fun and I just know he’ll be looking for make-up artists on X Factor USA. It’s so exciting!”

Timothy’s face must have betrayed the depths to which his spirit had just plummeted.

“Oh but darling Tim! You’re the man! Tim the Man! Look, why don’t you take this? I can’t use it because of the Dubai thingy. You must go.” That was when she handed him the invitation to the party. “It’s the party to get noticed at” Dorothy breathed. “Great things will happen Tim, I just know it!”

He had failed to get off with Dorothy Dimpkins, but Tim had an invitation to a party thrown by the great talent booking wizard Oz. You win some, you lose some, he thought.

Standing in his deceptively spacious bedroom in Larkminster Rise, he stared admiringly at his new, expensive purchase. A pair of cherry red Nike high ankle trainers. Sweet. That was the only word that came into his head. His eyes caressed them lovingly, before he turned to the important task of what outfit to wear for the party.

Ten o’clock that evening, Tim was in the ticket check line outside Hospitality B at Channel 6. The red Nikes hugged his feet and ankles, the turn-ups of his blue Beaumarchais trousers grazed the top of them. He self consciously rolled back the cuffs of his fake Gaultier jacket, Dorothy had sneaked it out of wardrobe for him. Tim reached the head of the line and handed over his ticket. He entered the pulsating atmosphere of the great Oz’s party.

He took a luminous blue cocktail from a passing tray, and felt an arm wrap itself around his waist . A voice purred in his ear. “Well hello! Why have I not seen you before? Tell me, are you A Friend of Dorothy’s young man?”

Timothy turned to see that it was none other than Oz LeStrange himself. The great man had singled him out! Perhaps Dorothy had mentioned his name to him, or maybe even Scare Crow had mentioned him!

“Well yes”, said Timothy turning. “I am a friend of Dorothy. And I’m a big admirer of your work”.

The next moment he felt a hand grab his crotch and the arm around his waist tighten. “And I’m a big fan of your works too young man. Relieved to know that you are a fan of Dorothy, like myself. This party was looking far too straight for my liking.”

By 10:30 on Monday morning everyone in the Ey Oop It’s Elaine production office had heard about Tim the Man’s misadventures at the party of Oz. His face remained crimson with embarrassment for much of the morning. Now he knew, that to say you were a “friend of Dorothy” in the gay circles frequented by Oz LeStrange, meant a lot more than being chummy with Dorothy Dimpkins.



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