Callum

So, I had a successful night in Belfast’s Empire on Tuesday. Afterwards was the standard journey to the 24 hour kiosk, for supplies, before I sloped off back to Matty’s. I needed cigarettes and Diet Coke. While queueing I got talking to the homeless guy who was sitting left of the kiosk. Normal sober Rob would never get involved in these conversations, but I find when you’re drunk, you become more magnanimous, both with your money AND your time. At first, it was just a question of throwing him a few coins. But in my drunken confidence, I felt the need to ask him about himself.
He couldn’t have been older than 24 / 25, and my heart died a little for him. There but for the grace of God etc. I asked him if he needed anything from the shop, and all he asked for was a banana shake. I don’t even know what a banana shake is (thankfully the shopkeeper did). But he wasn’t a drinker, or a junkie (not that either of those is a crime). I don’t know what led to his current situation, maybe family strife? It happens. I asked if he was a smoker, and he laughed. He told me no one had ever asked him that before. But to be honest I was just imagining myself in his shoes, as a smoker / addict ,myself. So I got him a banana shake and ten smokes (yes, you can still buy smokes in tens in the UK, because they’re somewhat civilised there. The ‘20 smokes’ rule here always irked me. It just inconveniences the poor, it doesn’t ‘stop kids from smoking’. But a blog for another day)
I gave him the stuff, and went on my way, but apologised I could do nothing more. I felt useless. But how does a struggling comedian solve the homeless crisis? He told me his name was Callum. Which again throws you, because it’s such a modern name, you don’t expect to meet a homeless ‘Callum’. A Paddy, a Mick or a John, maybe, but not someone whose parents obviously had a level of imagination at one stage in their lives. I don’t write this in a ‘oh look at me, helping out’ kinda way. I just wish there was a way to solve these things. I found myself looking out for him the next day. I hope wherever he ends up tonight, he’s ok. He was a nice, pleasant lad. And maybe tonight another drunk guy will be able to sort him out for an hour’s comfort.

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Fluffy

This is the story of my first dog. We got him when I was only seven. The friendliest dog you could imagine. A mad happy black and white thing. He was largely housebound, and one day, when I was about ten, he got out. He didn’t really know how to behave with other dogs. This was back in the seventies, you understand. Everyone, in those days, just let their dogs roam the street. He got out, tongue lopping happily away, and got savaged by about ten other dogs on the street. They just tore into him. He was the ultimate victim, I suppose. He was close to death. He lay at the back of our driveway, bleeding. My dad had suggested getting him put down. He was in great pain. But I was ten. I didn’t understand. I lay there with him, stroking his head, all day. I begged for them not to kill him. I’d no idea how much pain he was in. My parents eventually conceded, probably out of concern for me, and we let him live. He would go on to recover, and lead a full life. In fact, it wasn’t until I moved out for the first time, at twenty, that he eventually died. He went up to the back of our garden, to die alone. He knew his time was up. He crawled under our pigeon loft, to be alone, and then he was gone.

We’ve had MANY dogs since. Probably constantly. Largely through the wishes of the rest of my family. But I’ve never had the heart to own one, or take responsibility for one, again. Like kids, I suppose. You have to be willing to put the full time work in. I probably never will, until I have command of my own house / garden. Which seems a million miles away, right now. You HAVE to be careful with them.

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An Old Man Ponders

He sat, hunched, on a stone bench on Dalry Road. His aged hand gripped the almost empty beer can, as he held it aloft, intently staring almost THROUGH it. I wondered what was going through his head. Not ‘Mmm. Fine vintage’. Probably more that it was now 11.30 at night, and he was making peace with the fact that this was his final drink of the day. But there was a deeper sadness to him. I think he was trying to justify a decision he’d made decades previously. Probably involving a choice, between a woman, and drink.

He had been maybe forty at the time. There had been SO many ups and downs with his ex. She loved him, but he didn’t feel deserved of her affections (because we’re born to self-hate). Many nights of drunken madness, but balanced with such tenderness, during the ‘relaxed’ times. It’s when women see the real ‘us’. But no matter the true love offered by anyone, it would NEVER fill the hole in the way the emotional anesthaesia of booze could. He COULD have spent his life sober, with her, but he always ‘knew’ it would end this way. He HAD to choose. Her or drink.

He chose drink.

In a dimly lit hallway, at a weird hour of the night, he said his goodbyes and left.

And now he had to spend the rest of his life justifying this decision to himself. He HAD to make drink feel worth it. ‘Til one lonely night he’s sitting on a stone bench in Edinburgh, 30 years older, staring at a near empty can, and thinking ‘You stupid bastard.’

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The Sleeper Must Awaken

Robbie Bonham's Website

I wrote a blog a while back, “All I Have To Do…” (just scroll down, I can’t be dealing with inserting links. It’s 5.30 in the morning as I write this) in which I discussed my fascination with dreams and their meaning, that they’re a good way of sorting out your worries and conscience while you sleep. In it I promised to mention another dream I had a while back that I still haven’t figured out. It was a particularly heavy one, emotionally, because of how real it felt.

Before I tell you the details, I should point out first that I have NO kids.

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notallhumans

Robbie

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One Day At The Monolith

2 new ‘toons…

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escalated

Robbie

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The Internet.

theinternet

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