Friday, August 12, 2005

Guilt Trip: A Scary Catharsis Special

Guilt Trip: A Scary Catharsis Special

I'm going for the sympathy vote here. You're supposed to be feeling sorry for me while I'm lying here with my groin stuck in a vice. Ideal time, then, to get a confession off my chest.

I sat astride my bicycle – a second-hand Raleigh Jeep – at the top of my road. A colossus of the cycling art – invincible. Pushing off, I shot down the hill as fast as I could, ripping along no-handed like a superstar stunt rider. Taking the bend at the bottom, I pedalled along the bottom part of the road like a dervish, heading for the dead-end where I would slam on the rear brake and screech to a halt in a well-practiced circle of rubber.

Not quite.

There was a horrible crunching, screeching grinding noise, that sounded exactly like a Triumph Dolomite driving over a certain formerly invincible youth riding a Raleigh Jeep bicycle. Congratulating myself on my outstanding powers of perception, I disappeared under the front wheels of a Triumph Dolomite driven by the mad bastard who lived at number 38.

The Sinclairs were one of those families. You know the type: mental. Not nasty mental. Nice mental. Completely ignorant of the world around them mental. Selfishly mental, even. They had no net curtains, and the entire neighbourhood could see how their living room was decorated – essentially a rather large mural featuring many, many naked people with peculiarly large and hairy genitalia. Their daughter, Teresa - in the same year as me at school, but thankfully in a different class - was a spiteful, spoiled bitch who hated us all.

Peeling myself from around his front offside wheel, I managed to stagger home, the rear wheel of my bike bent at a mad angle and worn as a charming hat.

“What happened?” said my mum as I collapsed on the kitchen floor.

“Sinclair run me over.”

“Oh. What did you want to do that for?”


“You know he’s always running people over. Death on wheels, that’s what they call him…”

I got better. It was only a flesh wound.

The following week, Madman Sinclair had done it again, his beloved Dolomite flying up an embankment at lunatic speed, ending upside down in a field.

Teresa’s best (and only friend) laid into me the following day at school to say IT WAS ALL MY FAULT. It was, indeed, ALL MY FAULT that Madman Sinclair had run me over by driving his car up my arse, it was ALL MY FAULT that his lack of driving skills had somehow damaged the brakes on his car. It was also ALL MY FAULT that the lovely Teresa had (and I quote) “fallen asleep and her seatbelt had come undone”, and it was ALL MY FAULT that the arse had wrecked his car trying to find a station on the car radio.

“That’s crap”, I protested, knowing full well that she was talking crap.

But then, I was taken aside by grown-ups, including spiteful Teresa’s spiteful teacher and told, yes, it was indeed ALL MY FAULT that this tragedy had unfolded, and I should count my lucky stars that the police weren’t going to get involved and send me to borstal for vandalising the car with the rear wheel of my bicycle.

It must have been true, then.

It obviously didn’t help my cause when spiteful Teresa was paraded in front of school assembly, wrapped head-to-foot in crisp, white bandages. I laughed like a bastard, and everybody stared at me for being an insensitive prick. Still standing outside the Head’s office for three hours isn’t as bad as some people make out.

I lived for about twenty years with this guilt – an entire family hospitalised by my own uncaring ignorance.

Then, one glorious day, there was a blinding flash of light and I experienced a heart-rending "Hang on..." moment.

“Hang on… his brakes were fucked BEFORE he ran me over…”

Mad Bastard Sinclair is now officially filed in my memory as a prize cunt, and yes, one of my happiest memories was seeing his bitch of a daughter head-to-toe in crisp white bandages. She’s still out there. She’s on Friends Reunited and everything. Bitches Crying and Wanking Alone, more like.

Does this make me a bad person? Answer: yes. Yes, it does.

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