Category Archives: blatant theft

For all there is to give I offer: bread, barn and halter.

But what, I ask myself, is halter? Maybe it is this the thing that I feel I have been missing, the unnamed unworking cog that makes me such a mess. Bread I have, barn I have visited, but halter? I added it to my shopping list thoughtfully, between eggs and eiren.

 

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I shall cease weeping after we part only when my heart dries up.

 So I have said, more or less out loud, more or less sincerely, to no fewer than six boys and girls. My greatest shame is my last interaction with a lover I didn’t love that much:

Him: “It’s not working out.”

Me: “I shall cease weeping after we part only when my heart dries up.”

Then I went and had a pie with my good friend Kate. I almost forgot to tell her we had broken up and it was indeed a struggle to frown as if troubled or suffering from stomach ache. It was October at the time and my favourite thing about October is when you’re walking through the Ponderosa and one of the trees is so orange and red it looks like it’s on fire. I want to stand still and stare at the flaming boughs but I feel that would be a Faux Pas so I do my staring on the move, swivelling my head to maximise the looking. That said, though, my least favourite thing about October is when you’re walking through the Ponderosa and you see a tree where the leaves just turn brown and drop off with almost a thump. They don’t even have the good manners to decompose quickly (which would be my priority if I were such a leaf) and you dare not kick through them in triumphant childishness because you think there is probably a dog poo lurking within. I’m usually quite tolerant but I cross the road when I see a tree like that.

 

An Apology for the Life of Trudith Shaw

Trudith Shaw was born; for this she apologises.

She concedes that she was not involved in the decision – nor, indeed, was anyone: her mother has described her as “a happy mistake” – yet she takes full responsibility for her twenty years of life. Unable to pinpoint the exact moment she started “fucking everything up”, to quote a particularly blunt ex-boyfriend, Trudith is compelled to conclude that her entire existence is regrettable. She has taken this moment, having reached, as she believes, a new pinnacle of toxicity, to confess and repent for all the wrong she has done to herself, to others, and to the environment in general.

Miss Shaw has requested that her many indiscretions become a matter of public record, in the hopes that they may serve as a deterrent for others considering adopting such a heinous lifestyle as hers. It should be noted that the following anecdotes are intended to provide a brief sketch of Trudith’s life; by no means should they be considered an exhaustive compilation of her crimes.

In primary school, Trudith single-handedly lowered all her classmates’ quality of life by spilling a carton of milk all over her desk and her own skirt. It can only be assumed that this was done with malice aforethought, given that the carton in question had been specifically designed to resist spillage. Even worse, she then willfully undermined the very fabric of our great culture by crying all over the resultant puddle. Some children were so traumatised that they were later diagnosed with severe PTSD (although it is contested that Trudith is the sole cause of this – the three students in question were diagnosed following two tours of Iraq apiece); and the class teacher, until that moment a staunch leftie, was overheard muttering about how Thatcher might have had a point after all. Trudith, far from being punished, was given a clean skirt from lost and found and a second carton of milk.

As a teenager Trudith was almost chronically angsty, a condition she consciously aggravated by reading Dante’s ‘Inferno’ but shunning his ‘Paradiso’ and even ‘Purgatorio’. Furthermore, despite devouring Pushkin’s ‘Little Tragedies’, Trudith did not deign to make even a cursory search regarding his ‘Big Comedies’. To make matters worse, Trudith avoided contributing to either author’s estate by reading these hellish tales online for free.

It was at this time that Trudith confesses to dabbling with self-harm, a serious issue which she never fully committed to: despite learning through pop-culture the most effective ways to do damage to oneself, Trudith remained resolutely mild in her self-mutilation, never mustering up the courage to cut lengthways along the veins or even to cut where the skin is thinnest. Trudith, still recovering from her shamefully half-hearted addiction to razors, is left with a collection of scars on the side of her wrists that look much more serious than they ever were; and yet Trudith still collects governmental aid for depression, despite never making any serious attempt to do lasting damage to herself.

Miss Shaw has been overheard saying that this was a particularly reprehensible part of her life, and one can well see why: apart from the aforementioned literary deviance and her embarrassing delving into mental illness, she has actually admitted to drinking alcohol before her eighteenth birthday, and (still worse) to dancing in a disturbing manner while intoxicated. She extends her sincerest regret to the many victims of her senseless dancing, many of whom are expected never to fully recover from their trauma.

Trudith has lied; she has stolen from vending machines. She has refused to pay the 20p extra for fairtrade bananas and regularly pretended to have no cash in order to avoid the man selling the Big Issue. She has slept with people for the wrong reasons and consistently acted in her own self-interest, even when doing so was at the expense of others. She has wasted time – not minutes, but whole days down the drain. She tried a cigarette on her first day at university and pretended to like it. She has never put as much attention into sorting her rubbish as she should. She once pretended to know who all the members of the Shadow Cabinet were and then surreptitiously googled them to seem impressive; this failed to impress anyone. She has promised to do things and then not done them – worse, she has promised to do things knowing full well that she never would. In a world divided, we can all agree on one thing: the life of Trudith Shaw has been a mess, from start to finish.

Trudith’s decision to apologise for this litany of crimes is indeed a rare moment of selflessness in a life otherwise composed of hurt, anxiety, and nausea. One can only hope that the public learn from Trudith’s ill-advised life decisions and use this knowledge to be as different from her as they possibly can.

Stepping Stones

And may our corpses serve

As stepping stones to lead you to the throne.

So I thought, not so sincerely as I might have, as a lady pushed past me to fill the last, person sized space in the lift. In a fit of confrontational spirit (fed by the belief I would never see her again) I made extremely judgemental eye contact with her as the lift doors closed.