(Just in case you are in the habit of reading books the wrong way up.)
About two years ago. there was an accident. To be precise, the ministry for roads and transport reported that there were 1,754 that year, but not wishing to come across as selfish, the one which affected me the most, I have to say, was probably the one that I was directly involved in, which happened on a country lane in Kent, just before Christmas, when a child’s dead ghost ran into the road in front of me. Driving this vehicle was me, and knowing me, I was probably well exceeding the speed limit and talking on his/my phone. Then it wasn’t so much me at the time, but the original tenant of the body, who is recording this information in this diary you are currently reading, Brian Hingle. My understanding of what actually happened, is still a little hazy, even though I have had it explained to me by a professional Welshman, and some might say, useless psychic, by the name of Mr. Anthony Starlight Hughes. I don’t believe in them personally, but if you want to speak to a dead relative, it is the only way you can, so basically the choices presented to you, are somewhat limited.
Mr. Hughes’ spirit guide, Barnaby was desperate to pass over to the other side. But you can only do this, if you nominate another soul to take your place. Barnaby had picked Brian, however Brian wasn’t all that keen to leave this body. This would have made no difference, as me, or the spirit of Archie Mulligan, had by then claimed squatter’s rights and took the body for his/my own. This left a body with two spirits inside it, like two people who’d made the mistake of trying on the same pair of trousers at the same time and got stuck in the changing room. Mr. Anthony Starlight Hughes managed to perform a quite successful exorcism. After which, Brian replaced Barnaby as his spirit guide, and Barnaby was able to go to heaven.
How did that leave me? Confused, mainly, not to mention somewhat despondent?
This diary is the second by me. It was written at Spindly Cottage in Hastings, Kent, and edited in Broadmoor, High Security Psychiatric Hospital, Berkshire, England.
Sunday, January 1st
Well, a new year and a new diary. Now how do you start? I’ve forgotten. Hello, diary? Hello, world? No, talking to a page on my laptop is a ludicrous thing to do on a Sunday afternoon after a heavy meal. It’s not like it can answer back. Stupid me!
Perhaps it is best to begin this new literary venture, with an update on what has happened since the last one.
Me and Miss Lynda Broom have settled down following all the furor of that horrible year, or what the more educated among us, like the Queen, or Stephen Fry, might call, an anus horribilis.
It has now been twelve and several more months, and so far there have been no signs of paranormal activity within my person. Neither has there been any nutty teenager, slipping me hallucinogenic tablets masquerading as aspirin, no angry husbands accusing me of having hows-your-father with their wives, no even angrier crime bosses threatening to make me long-distance pen pals with my wedding tackle and no murders. I have however, kept my friendship with one Randy Ronald, the British Rail employee. We actually went out together once, although at the time, I didn’t realise it. It was Lynda who finally filled me in. Now I know that if a man in a leather vest and carrying a small dog around in a bag asks me out for a drink, then he is most probably, gay. You live and learn. He is married now. If you don’t believe me, go back and read the last diary I wrote again. While you are doing that, I shall just add here, that the wedding was lovely, and he and Matthew are very happy in their little cottage in Evesham.
As for me, thinking about New Year's resolutions has been quite hard. Lynda has suggested that I stop embarking on new hobbies, as the past has proved that they only ever lead to sticky situations, or death.
My trains and tracks are in the loft, along with my shell collection and any evidence about the other Brian Hingle, the former owner of this body. He should be in heaven now, or at the other place, getting shouted at by Hitler.
Monday, January 2nd
All morning I have been considering ideas for possible new hobbies. One that everyone appears to be doing these days is running. Since when has running been a hobby? If you are walking down the street and you see someone with a baseball bat behind you, and they are shouting your name with a few expletives thrown in, you wouldn’t consider it a hobby, you might think of it as trying not to be beaten to death with a sports implement. You wouldn’t say to yourself, I’m a bit bored because there is someone behind me with a baseball bat, I think it’s time to engage my new hobby, which at the moment happens to be running along the pavement. Then there is gastronomy, that’s quite nice. You can do that from the comfort of your own home. The only problem is, those telescopes these days, can be really expensive.
One quite popular with youth culture is clowning, something I never thought would ever happen. Apparently they put on lots of make-up and go out in the street at night and try to make you laugh spontaneously.
I could try that tonight. There’s a clown costume in the cupboard from when my ex wife Kirstie was going through a phase.
Tuesday, January 3rd
I’ve just spent all morning in a cell at the police station. It would appear that the new so-called ‘street clowning’ is now a crime, even if you have a tiny car and the little rubber horn that makes a squeaky noise. I haven’t been charged, just had a blooming hard talking to from the boys in blue.
As my redundancy money isn’t going to last forever, I have got myself a job at the local St. Kylie’s comprehensive, where I have now precured work as the new Head.
I start tomorrow, where my first duty will be to take responsibility for a consignment of new brooms, afterwhich I will be litter-picking on the playground.
Wednesday, January 4th
What a day this has been, and what a muddled one at that. Firstly, they don’t call them ‘headmasters’ anymore, they call them ‘head caretakers’. I am afraid this world of ours is changing too fast for me. Not only that, my office is not in the upper layers of the school, where I can keep an eye on the place, but in the basement. I put this down to the fall of the value of the pound following brexit.
I didn’t fight the initiation ceremony. It would appear that it is a custom at St. Kylie’s for the year eights to welcome their new leader, by placing his or her head down the lavatory bowl and depressing the flush mechanism several times, a baptism of sorts I am guessing. How wonderful it is that even in this day and age, some traditions remain with us. I just wish they hadn’t all urinated in it beforehand.
Lynda is off on a course in Slough. It is to do with her new job in customer relations. It will teach her how to talk to other people without upsetting them. Our tiny offspring, Fiona, is stopping with her sister, her sister’s husband, Norris Rottweiler, Schwarzenegger the gerbil, and the kids. She said it was for the best.
Thursday, January 5th
It has now occurred to me that there has always been something missing in my life, a pet, something to show affection to, something to love that will love you back. They say that every home should have a dog, but I don’t like dogs all that much. They are alright to look at, I don’t like touching them. If you smell your hand afterwards, it’s worse than things that have been in the laundry basket for a year.
The chap over the road is selling his Burmese Python, Magoo. There is an advert in the Post Office window. He is moving into new accommodation and the his new landlord doesn’t allow pets in the rooms. I shall have to give that some thought, not much though, he’s expecting to be off in a couple of days.
Friday, January 6th
I’m beginning to get it now with these street clowns, although my understanding of why is still unclear. There has been a lot on telly about it. It is dominating the news. They are deluded. They still haven’t realised they are doing all wrong. People aren’t laughing, they a screaming. There have been some arrests. Some bloke calling himself Psyclown, Terrortooth the 3rd and another called Chucklemortis. I do hope these people aren’t doing children’s parties during the day. The little mites would end up traumatised. There is a man who lives next door but one to us who does that for a living, although, his name is Nigel.
It does lead me to thinking, crime is on the increase and there just aren’t enough policemen (and/or women) about, or if we are talking about the clowns, a ringmaster with a sturdy whip.
Saturday, January 7th
It would appear that lady luck is not much of a fan of yours truly, then I suppose it would appear how you look at it. It was en route to the post office to get the number of the snake man out of the window, (before remembering he only lives over the road).
I was walking down the high street in what could be described as an enthusiastic manner, when my foot stupid foot (right, I think) failed to notice a discarded banana skin and I went head first into a sign outside a shop. On the plus side, it was one of those ones that say, have you had an accident? If so, come on in and we’ll handle your case for you, no win no fee. So I went in and told them. They told me to bugger off. They also said that slipping on a banana skin is a myth, and it was virtually impossible. So I Googled it when I got home, and they were quite correct. I’d somehow managed it though.
Funny, but ever since that incident this morning, my head has been feeling funny. I fancy something really different for tea. Perhaps I’ll have ice cream and chips.
Sunday, January 8th
I don’t know what it is, but I’ve had another odd dream. I was flying through the air in a big golden cape and feathered mask, a superhero called The Owl of Justice. Below me, in the dusky city there came a scream to my ear holes… A woman in distress. So I followed the sound to its source to an alleyway where a lady in pin-striped business clothes was being harassed by three clowns. They were tweaking her dumplings and making honking noises, and they were laughing loudly.
I landed behind them. ‘Leave her alone, you twit-twoo!’ I bellowed. This was my superhero catchphrase.
But they didn’t desist at all, in fact they carried on laughing. Then they moved away from the woman and encircled me. It all went higgledy piggledy after that. Because I was part owl, my head had a 360 degree advantage, but was doing this very fast. The criminals kept moving around and it was hard to keep track of them. My head was spinning so fast it flew away from my body. I could see them laughing and pointing at me yelling ‘Hey, look at that stupid flying owl bloke without a head!’
It might be worth mentioning, such was my owl eyesight, that I could also see the sun going down over the gasworks twelve miles away. How lovely it all appeared bathed in gold light, and our house. I’d noticed I’d left the hedge trimmers on the lawn, and was worried they might get stolen.
It was advantageous for the woman, as in all the confusion she was able to run for it.
When I awoke this morning, I began my analysis of what went on. Of course it all makes sense now. Superheros come from a psychological trauma of a sort, something horrible that had happened in their past that eats them away from inside, until that day when they harness that pain and use, and adorning the image of that pain, use it to fight the forces of evil.
Well, if you don’t count the road accident a while back which ended in my body being possessed by someone called Archie and a warped, psychopathic version of myself, about a month ago, me and Lynda took little Fiona to London Zoo. We were walking around the bird house, and this owl came out of nowhere and flew into the cage as I walked past. It frightened the bejeebers out of me, but it has stayed with me, and probably will always be there, eating away at me, until I can find a way to use it to fight the forces of evil. I wonder what my brain is trying to tell me?
Monday, January 9th
Hurray! Lynda is coming home tomorrow, she is collecting Fiona en route. I have spoken to the chap about the snake. I’m picking it up this morning. What a lovely surprise it would be, to have an animal of the exotic variety around the house. Something to keep the little one entertained, me thinks.
Tuesday, January 10th
I’ve just found out why the snake is called McGoo. It is not as I’d thought probably an exotic Burmese word, for tree serpent, or perhaps the Burmese for Martin, but named after the short man in the cartoons who is always getting into scrapes, the one with advanced myopia. This McGoo also has advanced myopia, and has the apparent inability to guess what is food and what is everything else.
The cat has mysteriously disappeared. Just as well, with a short-sighted seven foot python in the house. Cats aren’t clever enough to know that he is not one of the venomous kind.
I wonder what the other two will think of him. Can’t wait to see their faces.
Wednesday, January 11th
I am very disappointed, my plans to make my family happy have been thwarted. It’s very nice to have them back, however I didn’t get the hugs and kisses I anticipated. In fact, Lynda hit the roof when she set her eyes on McGoo, especially when she saw him with half the vacuum cleaner down his throat. Needless to say, the snake’s days at Spindly Cottage are completely over after just a day.
Getting rid of it wasn’t easy. Its original owner was nowhere to be found. The car outside his house was gone and so were the curtains.
All of this is now academic, as when I got back the lid to his tank was half off and he was gone. When Lynda saw that she was happy.
‘You gave him back then,’ she said.
My head wanted to say, ‘Sorry dearest, he hasn’t been returned to his original owner, and Fiona has let him out and I can’t see him anywhere. However, it just came out ‘yes dear!’
I have also mentioned to Lynda about my dream about my being an crime-fighting super-owl with a detachable head. I was wondering if it was my yearning to make something good out of all the badness in the world. She said it means that it is the manifestation of her yearning for me to visit a psychoanalyst.
Thursday, January 12th
Lynda has come up with the idea that we should come up with something called a ‘bucket list’. It has something to do with all of the horrible stuff which happened last year. She said it was a real eye opener, and that people often die with regrets.
Friday, January 13th
Made my bucket list, although it is quite short. Nevertheless, it does contain some marvellous buckets.
Saturday, January 14th
Next door’s cat, Millie has mysteriously vanished. Mrs. Caldicott was calling it for ages this morning. It is my belief that some twisted individual is stealing them and making them fight in illegal fights, where I hear they are forced into hand-to-hand combat with squirrels, for the sake of making money for sick gambling cartels. The garden gnome thief is also back at large.
On a totally unrelated note, still no sign of Magoo.
Sunday, January 15th
Something really unfortunate happened to me today. I was in town, looking for a pair of socks to go with a pair of sandals I’d ordered from the internet, when my right foot landed on a discarded chip and I fell and banged my head on the pavement outside one of the shops on Churchill Street. Being one reasonably genned up about the ways of the law, (or rather that I do own a book entitled ‘The ways of the law’), I knew instantly that the law entitles me to make a claim, as the shop is lawfully bound to pay me monetary compensation. As luck would have it, it was one of those shops where if you’ve had an accident, you could go in and make a claim. They told me to bugger off. They thought it was a wind up.
Since then, I have been feeling quite odd. On exiting the shop, I collapsed and was out for several hours. I awoke in a hospital bed with two blurry, yet vaguely familiar faces, both welcome, and both belonging to my Lynda.
Monday, January 16th
Well, it has been nice to have some time off work, even if I have been vomiting for half the day. I have had a CAT scan and awaiting results.
I instructed Lynda to phone in sick, before realising that it is Saturday and there will be nobody there. That school will probably go to pieces without me. Not much writing for me today. Getting vomit out from between the keys of a laptop is no easy task, and these nurses have enough to do, without having to worry about having to remove pieces of hospital cod from my equipment.
Tuesday, January 17th
I had the dream again last night, that was when my head allowed me to sleep. It was the one about the crime-fighting super-owl with the rotating head. This time, I had been booked in for an eye examination. The optician asked me to read out the letters on the display. I couldn’t because my head was spinning around. Because I was struggling, he kept laughing. Then he stopped laughing and started throwing chips at me.
When I woke up this morning to give me breakfast, they gave me a menu to look at. I gave it back, it’s mainly chips with everything today. I’ve gone off chips. Being in hospital is extremely dull. I’m keeping myself occupied by telling the nurses all of the interesting facts I can remember. The doctor has told me that I could be here for a few more days. At least it means that the nurses will have the benefit of more of my marvelous knowledge.
Wednesday, January 18th
They’ve let me come home early, marvellous!
Thursday, January 19th
Funny, my sleeping habits have altered. So annoying. I was awake all night, just sitting there glancing about the room in the dark. I was sure at one point I could smell mice. I’ve put down some traps just in case. Mice have never bothered me all that much before, perhaps it was because I’d been in hospital. Still, aren’t small mammals fascinating?
Friday, January 20th
Back at work today, well I can’t be sitting around the house while there is a girlfriend and chicks to feed. How the school has managed without me at the helm, heaven knows. But they seem to have just got on with it. The time off has done me good. I am watchful of those kids, so watchful!
Saturday, January 21st
Lynda has told me off, for trying to regurgitate my food after lunch. What on earth is happening to me?
Sunday, January 22nd
Lynda has been behaving odd. I’ve noticed that in the evenings, when Fiona is asleep, and we’re all cuddled up on the sofa, she’s been saying things. I don’t usually complain. Lynda has a nice, soothing voice. It’s just that lately, she’s been freaking me out by spouting out peculiar sentences, like ‘We’ve been together now for over a year.’ and ‘Do you think my left hand might benefit from another ring?’ and ‘What do you think of the churches in this area?’ and ‘Do you think Lynda Hingle would suit me?’ I’ve found that there is only one thing you can do with women, and that’s to humour them.
Monday, January 23rd
I’m really enjoying my walks to work in the mornings. The fresh country air is very good for the soul. You also notice things; the leaves on the trees, the irregular, yet perfect shapes of the clouds, and roadkill. I wonder how many people have ever stopped and looked at roadkill, like the flattened rabbit I saw this morning. I mean really stopped and looked at it, really, really looked. God’s creatures, great and small are somehow even more interesting when they’ve been run over. Got a funny taste in my mouth.
Tuesday, January 24th
My head has started throbbing again. It hasn’t done that since the accident. It’s like it has a drummer living in it, only a drummer in an echoey hall, and he can’t really play the drums, but likes drumming anyway, and he has really large sticks and the drums are made of clanky metal, which are attached to a herd of antelope, who are being chased by a crash of stampeding rhino, running away from an explosion in a drum factory.
Have taken a couple of paracetamol to counteract the effects.
Wednesday, January 25th
Still in the resting after hospital phase, I have found my mind drifting into to world of cinema. Lynda has purchased me some of what she calls, lads films; one or two about boxing, war, car chases, shoot-outs, and one about this chap who jumps around on broken glass on skyscrapers in his bare feet, whilst being shot at by Germans. But what held my attention the most, and it brings me back to the dreams I have been having, are the ones about flying vigilantes, crime-fighters, superheroes. This is an omen, a sign. This is what I have been dreaming about. How does she know this? Well, they do say that if you live with someone long enough, you can develop a certain psychic ability. How uncanny! How marvelous!
No wait, I did tell her about the dreams.
Thursday, January 26th
The more I think about it, the more it seems like a good idea. I mean, just think what little Fiona will think of her dad, patrolling the streets all hours, in the guise of an owl-man hybrid. I imagine she would feel very proud.
Friday, January 27th
My mind has been made up. I have already constructed myself a mask from the BBC Naturewatch download site, and thanks to the lovely new curtains Lynda bought yesterday from the market, a bold red cape. My work will begin this evening, after all, when it comes to fighting crime, there’s no time to lose. The Owl of Justice is born. Nothing will stop me now.
Saturday, January 28th
I had to call it off. It was raining out. The BBC said it would be cool, but dry out. Lynda isn’t happy, the curtains cost her £30.
Note to self: purchase replacement curtains, switch to ITV, you get better weather.
Sunday, January 29th
My head is back. I mean, when I say back, I am not by any stretch of the imagination saying it has been say, off out to do a spot of shopping, or for a cup of tea in some secluded cafe. For a start, I don’t have any extra arms growing out of my ears, or legs so that my head could function independently of the rest of my body. I am merely saying, that all morning I have been experiencing that horrible headache I had a. Couple of days ago. Lynda has made me an appointment with Dr. Rakeshi for a week on Thursday.
Monday, January 30th
Isn’t it blooming typical? As soon as you have made an appointment to see the doctor, you immediately start feeling better. Now that the pain has subsided, I now feel different this time. Last time my head was sore. Now it’s itchy, as if my brain wants me to get a tin opener on my skull cap and give it a good old scratch. Although thinking about the superb instrument in the drawer in the kitchen which would do such a marvellous job. I don’t think I will bother.
Tuesday, January 31st
I’ve begun to act strangely, or so Lynda is telling me. For instance, I did something I would never have normally done, got cross.
The incident which I am about to relate, which I am not proud of, happened this morning over breakfast. Lynda had just gotten out of bed and I was sitting at the table. All she said to me was, ‘Would you like me to pop you some bread in the toaster?’ She was ever so nice and polite with it, but I erupted.
‘I don’t want any blooming toast!’ then I added, ‘Thank you very much dear!’ I am so ashamed.