Brian: Mental Book 1by Author / Marcus Freestone
BOOK ONE: BRIAN
A SERIES OF NOVELLAS
ALL MATERIAL © COPYRIGHT MARCUS FREESTONE 2016.
THE T14 SERIES
The Memory Man: T14 Book 1
Random Target: T14 Book 2
Just Murder: T14 Book 3
Two Serial Killers, A Wedding And A Funeral: T14 Book 4
Never Kidnap A Serial Killer: T14 Book 5
THE MENTAL SERIES
Book 2: Gemma
The Least Resistance
Ethelbert's Sunday Morning (short stories)
What To Do If Trapped In A Lift With A Dentist (poetry)
Positive Thinking and The Meaning of Life
101 Ways To Happiness
Tell Depression To #@%! Off
The Psychology Of Happiness: Unravelling Self Help Nonsense By Understanding Your Brain
Donald Trump and Brexit: Misguided Rebellion
101 Completely Made Up Untrue Facts
When I was sixteen I would kick holes in the wall of my school and break furniture. The internal walls were very flimsy and they caved in easily, even to my trainers. Nobody noticed but it made me feel a little bit better. There was a manky old armchair in the corner of the manky old common room where I would habitually sit and block out the world with a book or my headphones. I used a mathematical pair of compasses to gouge open the arm and rip out all the stuffing. It was probably a substitute for self harm – I didn't have the guts to cut open my own arm. Once I left a pile of stuffing on the floor. One of my friend's said “You'll have to clear that up.” “No I won't,” I said, got up and left. The next day it was gone by some method.
One day I destroyed the library. Well, I didn't burn it down or anything, though I thought often about that sort of destruction. I was always at school by eight o'clock, half an hour before even any of the teachers, because I lived ten miles away and had to have a lift from my father on his way to work. I would wander around on my own and nose about in classrooms I didn't usually go in, seeking anything to alleviate my pathological boredom. I would often grab some chalk and write something pointless on the blackboard: “Aardvark's don't bounce”, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of shit”, “Get to Falkirk”. Again, nobody noticed but it made me feel a little bit better.
I was bored on that morning so I decided to turn the library into a modern art sculpture. I put all the chairs onto the tables and arranged hundreds of books onto the floor in random piles. Then I saw how many books I could stack on top of the chairs. I closed the heavy curtains at the windows and over both sets of doors, leaving the room in darkness, and went next door to the common room.
The first kids that turned up assumed there was a teachers meeting going on so nobody went in. By the time a teacher arrived there were two hundred pupils milling around and nobody ever found out who did it. Looking back now I feel bad that somebody would have had to go through all the books and put them back on the right shelves but that never occurred to me at the time. It was the sort of pointless destruction that can only come from teenage existential frustration.
At home I spent all my time in my room listening to music and trying to block out the noises in my head: the self-loathing, the deathly boredom, the feeling that absolutely nothing was worth doing and never would be, the constant desire to go to sleep and never wake up, for the whole world to just fuck off and leave me alone.
Then there was the time I stole the library register. I was nearly eighteen and they were still treating us like little kids. They took a register every period to check that anyone who wasn't in a lesson was in the library studying (they actually used to say “It's not a free lesson, it's a study period” like John Cleese in the film “Clockwise”). You were only allowed in the manky common room once a week. I resented this on a deep level. Others were only mildly annoyed by it but it burned away at me.
One lunchtime I found myself sitting at the desk in the library with a couple of friends and there it was. The A4 green hardback ledger book with all our names in it. After taking the register some teachers would even take it so far as to go into the common room and 'fetch' people. It was draconian and humiliating. It was also legally unenforceable because one teacher told me when I was being 'talked to' for having done something or other that, because we had volunteered to come back to the sixth form, they couldn't give us detention or anything, they could only ask us to cooperate and behave. Once I learned this it took a great weight off my shoulders. I didn't care if I got kicked out of school so I instantly relaxed and just did the bare minimum amount of work and never quite crossed the line of behaviour or vandalism where they would expel me.
Anyway, the little green bastard was there on the desk, taunting me. I don't remember actually making a decision, I just discovered myself in the act of doing something that some part of my brain had apparently decided it was going to do. That happens a lot. I often don't realise I've done something until somebody else points it out to me. Even then I sometimes don't know why I've done it. Things just happen sometimes and I appear to have been the agent of them.
“Fuck this, I'm sick of this,” I found myself saying as I picked up the register and put it in my bag. Two people saw me do it and they displayed expressions of astonishment, as if I'd suddenly set fire to a baby or something.
I hung around in the library after lunch to see what would happen.
“Has anyone seen the register?” asked the teacher.
I was the only one present who knew it was in my bag. Everyone else looked puzzled, some actually looked as if the fact of the little green bastard not being on the desk where it had been for months was something of interest or significance. The teacher found an exercise book and wrote everyone's names down in that.
Later in my English lesson the head of year came in and asked if anyone had seen the library register. She had obviously been around all the classes because this was a matter of such importance that they might have to bring in the United Nations to sort it out. Again, everyone looked around with puzzled expressions and a smattering of muttering. My friend next to me shifted slightly in his seat because he knew it was in my bag under the table.
I really thought she was going to search all our bags, that's how petty they were in my school. I wasn't in the least bit worried because I knew they couldn't do anything to me that would bother me. I began preparing a little speech on how patronising it was of them to treat us like infants. But there was no bag search.
On the way home I took it out of my bag and showed it to a few people. They also seemed surprised that somebody had taken it. Or rather that someone as uncool and invisible as me had taken it.
The following day, when I was once again early, alone and bored out of my mind, I went into the library and stole the replacement register. They replaced it. By the end of the day I had stolen the replacement replacement register.
After that they used a new sheet of paper every day. I took all of them and tore them up or threw them away in the corner of the playing field or flushed them down the toilet.
A week or so later they permanently abandoned the system of the library register. It was a small victory but it made me feel more than a little bit better.
One Saturday afternoon about a year later I took the former library register to the pub, where a friend and I proceeded to scribbled sarcastic comments all over it and put asterisks next to all the girls we wished we had had sex with.
Stealing that register was the unequivocal highlight of my teenage years.
Now, thirty odd years later, I have a job, a house, a wife, two children, but nothing has changed. I still feel like that sixteen year old invisible loser with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I can't feel anything except a lack of feeling, the black hole where my life is supposed to be.