IT’S TUESDAY, SO OF course Billy fucking Brannigan’s here. Sitting there with his dopey head all caved in. He goes on and on and on at me, like we’re the best of mates or something. Idiot. He’s one of those people that if a thought comes into his head it comes straight out his mouth, so I get this stream of consciousness crap from him for hour after hour. Poor bastard doesn’t even know he’s dead.

Red morning light spills into my room and across my bed, getting into my eyes so I can’t get back to sleep. Not that I could with Billy rambling on again anyway. Looks like the day’s started, then. Just got to wait it out as usual.

The TV flicks on automatically at nine – some shitty game show or something. Billy laps it up. I can’t tell which is more annoying: Billy snorting and braying with laughter or the stupid show itself. Still, at least it stops him telling me the donkey story again. I’ve lost count of how many times he’s told me that damn story. And it wasn’t even funny the first time.

Ten o’clock and the nurse comes, checks my bedpan, gets me in my chair and wheels me off to the day room. Bitch. She’s just as bad as Billy, prattling on about nothing the entire time. I’d kill her if I could.

Passing the bathrooms and the guy in the tan trenchcoat is there again. Pacing up and down, dripping water everywhere from his sodden clothes. He stops pacing and glares at me as I roll by, giving me his usual hate-filled stare. Never says a word, that one. Just paces and glowers with his cold, lifeless eyes. Looks like a mean bastard, though. Truth be told, I don’t remember him at all. I suppose he must have drowned or something. Any time there’s water around he’s there. Probably deserved it, the fucker.

The day room is another circle of hell. More decrepit, worn-out wrecks arranged around little tables all facing the television set in the corner. Stinks of piss and the heating is cranked up so high it’s like being in a sauna. Don’t get old. Just don’t. They say it creeps up on you slowly – like hell it does. Didn’t with me anyway. Hit me like a ton of bricks. Yeah, your bones start to ache a bit and you get tired quick, but that’s all stuff you can fight against. And I was always a fighter.

No, one morning you just wake up and something goes pop in your head, and suddenly your body isn’t yours anymore. Like a puppet with its strings cut. A stroke they call it. That’s a laugh – a stroke. More like a fucking hand grenade in the skull. Boom – bye bye body. Bye bye life.

Christ. Some idiot’s put the football on. And, sure enough, now the kid’s here again. Standing in the corner like a naughty little boy. He’s the only one I really feel bad about. He doesn’t look too bad from here – you can barely see the slit in his suit from where the knife went in. Just looks a bit pale. And the stain could be wine or ketchup or something. Poor little bastard.

That’s when they started arriving. After the stroke, I mean. After there was nothing I could do about it. I’ve lived a life, you see. You won’t find many like me in this world, that’s for damn sure. Anything I wanted I took, and anything that was in my way… Well, let’s just say that obstacles never stood in my way for long. People had a habit of disappearing around me if I couldn’t find a use for them.

Never expected the fuckers to come back, though. They follow me round like lost little ducklings now. You want to hear the torrents of abuse I get from some of them! The wife’s the worst. The second one, I mean. It’s late at night she comes, after everyone else is asleep and I start feeling a bit amorous-like. Back when we shared the same bed I used to wake her up at times like these to have my wicked way with her, but now she just sits and screams and bawls at me, her cleanly-cut throat gibbering like a second mouth.

So this is my life now, all the life I have left to me. Tormented by all these schmucks when there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. Life sure has a keen sense of humor. Unlike Billy fucking Brannigan. Two o’clock in the afternoon and the nurse wheels me back to my room and points me at the window. Billy acts like I’m his long lost brother he hasn’t seen for years, and before long he’s off on the damn donkey story again.


Download The Complete Claverhouse Emails Volume 1