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Fixated Threats

We’ve journeyed down to short-sleeved Chertsey

for my sister-in-law’s 60th birthday.

Get there early, 7.30, suitably thirsty,

knowing few of these middle-class, middle-aged bodies,  

I’m wondering how I shall get my jollies,

take a leap of faith, and I’m exchanging volleys

with this bald-headed guy, big scar on his forehead.

We’ve talked of favourite bands and beers,

now we’re recalling past careers –

I was a mental health nurse, he was in the police,

worked for the U.S. Embassy and The Met

and the centre that assesses fixated threats.

FTAC, a unit of which I’ve never heard,

where the police and psychiatry converge

to spot those rare, exotic birds,

your not-so-average Joes and plebs 

who pose danger to dignitaries and celebs,

like the Queen and the Swedish Prime Minister,

Jill Dando and Gary Lineker.

Seemingly normal members of the public,

who fantasise, who harbour grudges,

who imagine that -  but then I interrupted -


Is it like when Benny of Crossroads fame

came in The Dingle Bar one Saturday

and was handing out cockles, mussels, whelks,

telling everybody to help themselves.

His birthday treat, it was a kindly gesture,

but I had to go and play the barroom jester –

Benny, is it true you’ve become a Prawn Star?

Is your woolly hat big enough for Miss Diane’s arse?

I shut my mouth, I wish I’d shut it sooner.

Benny hadn’t got much sense of humour.

He dropped the vinegar over the carpet,

they all stared at me, as if I’d farted.

Benny left in silence, a face like beetroot

and nobody had the stomach for seafood.


That’s not really fixated, nor even a threat,

Benny wasn’t - but I’d not finished yet -


Is it like in the late seventies,

when I went with a mate to a Camden gig.

He played drums in a band called The Doom,

I met him after in “the dressing room”

where they’re all washing off flecks of spit

and I end up next to this American chick

who, bold as brass, removes her top

and uses it to wipe sweat and spittle off..

She says, Kid, could you spare me a cigarette?

I’d never seen a pair of American breasts.

I felt a lump in my throat, another in my pocket,

I’d been meaning for ages to start up smoking,

but I hadn’t got round to it yet, God dammit!

A few weeks later on Top of the Pops,

I spot the girl who’d took her top off.

Her name’s Chrissie Hynd and her band’s The Pretenders.

For 30 consecutive nights I remembered

how I’d seen Chrissie Hynd half-naked,

the shape of her breasts, while I masturbated,

thus breaking what was a personal record

and 30 on the trot has never been bettered.


Well, yes, that’s certainly a fixation,

but -  but I was becoming  impatient -


Is it like when I worked in the Channel Isles

and I’m cleaning windows in a posh hotel

when these long-haired hippy types start heckling,

“You’ve missed a bit, mate” It was Led fuckin’ Zeppelin!

Only mid-morning and they’re already steaming,

taking the piss out of my window cleaning.

Pointing out imaginary streaks and smudges,

so I told them Stairway to Heaven is rubbish.

Bonham stood up and hurled a cocktail sausage,

so I threw back the water that was in my bucket.

Page turned over his wine and spirits, a battle ensued  

for several minutes, I left dazed and confused,

went in through the out door, wiser, sadder,

and picked up the pieces of my broken ladder.


Well, that’s just a communication breakdown,

it isn’t -  I said, no, hold on, stick around -


Is it like when I came up with the theory

that  my worst enemy might be me

and in order to test if the thought was legit,

I compiled my own Worst Enemy list

of all the people that I’d ever hated,

studied their faults and gave them a rating.

Alas, I only finished a distant third:

Clarkson and Johnson dead-heated for first.

So I hated them more because I didn’t win it!

How I’d love to stop Jeremy and Boris grinning.

I waste away my days wondering whether

those clowns will ever grace the stage together

on Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire –

I’d phone a friend and we’d murder the pair.










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Afterlife ►


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Wed 16th Sep 2020 09:09

Thanks both. A cocktail sausage should be hurled hamfistedly, of course.

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John Marks

Tue 15th Sep 2020 13:54

A tour de force! How do you hurl a cocktail sausage? Slowly? Piggily?

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Greg Freeman

Tue 15th Sep 2020 11:07

Epic, Ray! Masterful rhyming as always. Down in Chertsey, eh? Not far from us.

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