Colin stepped out of the gate at Wandsworth prison. Although he was in his mid thirties, he looked older. Maybe it was the tattoos that covered his face, hands, neck and other parts of his body, that made him seem older. And as the prison gate slammed shut he stood there a moment feeling slightly bewildered, with his shoulders slightly hunched and his clothes looking dishevelled on his tall skinny frame. He took out a roll up from his tobacco pouch, lit it, and took a deep pull into his lungs. He then slowly started walking along the road.
After walking for about half an hour in an area he didn’t know, he walked into a café on Garratt Lane, a busy shopping road in Earlsfield. A few people looked up from their meals to stare at Colin as he sat down. Emma the part time waitress, who was an attractive, slim, 19 year old dance student, then approached him and stared at him coldly, instantly judging him because of the tattoos on his face.
“What would you like? Emma asked holding out a small note pad.
“Could I ‘ave egg, chips and beans?
Emma scribbled the order onto her pad, then turn on her heel to walk away.
Colin called after her, “A cup of coffee as well please love.”
Emma seemed to visibly freeze, then scribbled on her note pad again.
A couple of minutes later, Emma put Colin’s coffee onto the table.
“Thanks,” Colin said smiling.
A few minutes later Emma put Colin’s meal on the table and Colin said, “Thanks love.”
Emma appeared to freeze again, then she walked away.
“Could I ‘ave two pieces of bread and butter as well please,” Colin called after her.
“That will be an extra fifty pence,” Emma replied coldly.
“Thass alright,” Colin replied still smiling.
When Emma walked back behind the counter, she said to Ollie, the middle aged, fat, balding café owner, “Do ya see that mans face? Ow could you get tattoos all over yer face.”
“Its obviously what ‘e likes,” said Ollie.
“’E looks like a right weirdo,” continued Emma.
“Yeah, well. As long as ‘e pays for e’s food,” said Ollie, “E’s welcome.”
Emma scowled and said, “If this was my café, I wouldn’t serve ‘Im.”
Ollie said softly, “Yeah, well, e’s still a human being. Mans gotta eat, even if ‘e does look a bit odd.”

After walking aimlessly for about another twenty-five minutes, and not knowing where he was going, Colin was pleased to find Wimbledon Park. He walked around the edge of the large lake there, then went and sat on a bench overlooking the children’s play park. About fifty feet away, two mothers, Jane and Victoria were pushing their daughters Kate and Abbey, when Jane said quietly to Victoria, “That man on the bench is making me feel uncomfortable.”
“There’s bloody weirdo’s everywhere,” said Victoria.
Both the woman stared at Colin, then Jane said, “I think we should leave. You read about strangers and perverts in the paper everyday”.
After she’d spoken, Jane stopped the swing with her daughter Kate on, and Victoria said, “There’s no such thing as a safe place anymore.”
Kate, Janes’s daughter suddenly whined, “Mummy, why have you stopped pushing me?”
“We’re going honey,” Jane replied.
Kate then whined again, “But we haven’t been here long”.
“I’m sorry darling,” Jane replied, “But there’s a strange man over there.”
Victoria stopped pushing her daughter Abbey as well, and Abbey asked, “Are we going as well mummy?”
“Yes love,” Victoria replied.
Abbey then whined again, “Ol’ mummy, why do we have to go?”
“There’s a strange man over there,” Victoria replied, “And me and Jane don’t think its safe for us to be here.”
“Is the man a murderer?” Abbey asked excitedly.
“I don’t know love,” Victoria said, “But we’re going. We can play in Jane’s garden.”
The two women started lifting their daughters off the swings and Abbey moaned, “But mummy…There’s no swings in Jane’s garden.”
“Yes,” Victoria said sounding flustered, “But at least you’ll be safe there.”

Two police officers, Alan and Trevor approached Colin, who was laying on the bench in the park.
“Excuse me sir,” said Alan.
Colin opened his eyes and sat up, and Trevor the second policeman said, “This is a play park, not a place for dossing.”
“I was juss laying down for a while an’ gettin’ some fresh air,” Colin said.
“Well,” said Trevor, “We’ve had a complaint from one of the parents, saying you were staring at children.”
“What…Are you ‘aving a laugh,” Colin said, flushing red and slightly angry, “I ain’t staring at anyone. I juss got out of jail this morning. I’ve bin banged up in a little cell for three months an’ now I wanted to get some fresh air in a wide open space.”
Alan asked, “What were you in jail for?”
“Shop lifting,” said Colin, still slightly red, “I was homeless an’ starvin’, so I nicked a sandwich from a supermarket, but got caught.”
“Where do you live now?” Asked Trevor, the second policeman.
“Nowhere,” Colin repied, “I’m homeless again.”
Alan, who seemed the softer of the two officers, asked, “Didn’t they sort out somewhere for you to live whilst you were in there?”
“Nah,” Colin replied, “They tried to find me a hostel to be released to, but none of them would ‘ave me as I got into a fight and broke someone’s nose in a hostel five years ago, so none of the hostels would take me, cos I’ve got violence on my record.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Alan, slightly softening, “But you can’t stay here. This is a public park. People bring their kids here.”
“Yeah, well, like you said,” said Colin, “This is a public park, an’ I’m one of the public. I’m not a fuckin’ paedophile.”
“I’m not saying you are,” replied Alan, “But your appearance is frightening people.”
“What do you mean frightening people,” Colin said hurt and angry, “Ain’t people ever seen tattoos before.”
Alan sighed, then said, “This is a posh, wealthy area mate. I suggest you move on somewhere else.”

After looking for somewhere to sleep, Colin found an alleyway that lead to the back yard of a supermarket. There were some large wheely bins there and Colin took out several large cardboard boxes and flattened them to make a ground sheet and he laid down on them. After about thirty minutes he started dosing into a light sleep. He sat up startled though when the supermarket security guard shined a torch in his face.
“You better sling yer ‘ook mate,” said the security guard, “Your on private property.”
Colin rubbed his eyes and said, “I’m not disturbin’ anyone.”
“Your disturbin’ me,” the guard said arrogantly, “Now like I said…Sling yer ‘ook before I call the police.”
Colin slowly stood up and picked up the flattened boxes.
“And you can leave those boxes behind as well,” the guard said.
“I got them out of the bin,” Colin said slightly exasperated at the security guards attitude.
“Yeah, well,” continued the guard, “They’re private property. You got no right taking them out of the bin. Them bins belong to the supermarket.”
“But they’re rubbish.”
“Like I say,” said the guard, “You either leave ‘em behind or I call the police and get you nicked for theft.”

Colin ended up sleeping in an ally way beside a school and he woke up about 8 Am, then he walked round for a while then went into a chemist and bought toothpaste, a tooth brush, a wash bag, shampoo and soap. He then found a public toilet around the corner from Earlsfield train station and he locked himself in the disabled cubicle and washed in the sink.
About nine ‘o’clock he walked into the café that he’d been in yesterday. As he walked in, Emma the nineteen year old waitress looked at him and whispered to the café owner Ollie, “Face aches back”.
Ollie scratched his balding head and replied, “Yeah, well. You juss treat him the same as anyone else.”
“We’ll ‘e aint the same is ‘e? Look at ‘e’s face. Never seen anythin’ like it.”
Emma went to take Colin’s order. “What would you like?”
“Egg chips and beans please love.”
Emma scribbled on her pad and walked away, then Colin called after her, “Cup of coffee as well please love.”
Emma seemed to freeze, then scribbled onto pad. She then went behind the counter and said quietly to Ollie, “E’s quite polite though really ain’t ‘e?
“Juss cos ‘e’s got tattoos all over ‘e’s face, don’t mean that ‘e can’t ‘ave manners.”
“Well you know what I mean,” continued Emma, “Cos ‘e looks ‘orrible, you expect him to be ‘orrible.”
“For all you know, ‘e might be the nicest bloke you ever met.”
Emma scowled, “I wouldn’t go as far to say that.”
“You never know. ‘E might be a saint for all you know.”
“Ugliest flippin’ saint I’ve ever seen.”
Ollie smiled, “They say that beauties in the eye of the beholder.”

Colin was walking around late at night, exploring the area and making mental notes of possible places to sleep. As he approached the corner of a street, two policemen stopped him.
The policeman called Eddy said, “Excuse me sir, do’ya mind tellin’ me where you juss come from?”
“I’ve juss bin walkin’ round the streets.”
The second policeman George asked, “What in this area?”
Eddy then asked, “Know anythin’ about a lady ‘avin’ ‘er hand bag snatched?”
The second policeman George seemed the most suspicious of the two then asked, “Do’ya mind if we search you?”
“What for?”
Eddy then said, “A lady’s juss had ‘er hand bag snatched a few streets away. She ‘ad twenny-five in cash stolen an’ a mobile phone…You got any cash on ya?”
“yeah, about eighty quid. I got released from jail yesterday with ‘undred an’ ten quid. Two weeks dole money.”
“You juss got outta jail?” Eddy asked.
“What was you in for?” George asked, seeming to become more hostile.
“Shop liftin’. I stole a sandwich cos I was starvin’.”
“What about snatchin’ hand bags,” George continued, “Funny ‘ow a hand bag was snatched juss two minutes up the road, an’ you got out of jail yesterday.”
“Leave it out. I ain’t a hand bag snatcher. That’s not my style.”
George was starting to seem agitated, “Oh yeah. What is your style then?”
“Look man. I’ve still got eighty quid on me from my discharge payment. Why would I snatch a hand bag?”
“You tell me,” George continued, “Got a drug ‘abit at all?”
Colin sighed then said, “Listen man. I ain’t a junkie…I have a bit of puff sometimes, an’ like a drink. But its not the kind of thing you go snatchin’ hand bags over.”
“I half believe you,” said Eddy, “If I ‘ad tattoos all over my face, I don’t think I’d snatch a hand bag. Ain’t as if you wouldn’t be recognised is it?”
“Exactly,” said Colin, “I’m not that stupid.”
George still seemed hostile though and said, “The lady said she didn’t see the attackers face. He run up behind her, snatched the bag and carried on running.”
“Ah leave it out man. You don’t think its me do ya?”
“Listen,” said Eddy, “What we’re gonna do is drive the victim past in a police car and see if she can identify you. If she says it weren’t you, you can go. Are you alright with that?”
“Sure…I ain’t got nothin’ to hide.”
George said into his radio, “Alpha, two, zero. This is Charlie, one, nine. Are you still with the victim?
A policeman called Paul answered by radio, “Yeah, Roger.”
George continued, “We’ve got a suspect on the corner of Regis Street. Can you do a quick drive past with the victim and see if she can identify him?
“Sure,” said Paul, “Be there in a minute.”
Eddy the kinder policeman said to Colin, “The ladies gonna be driven past in a short while, an’ if you’re not identified you’ll be on you’re way.”
Colin nodded looking nervous, and moments later the police car rounded the corner and slowly drove past them, with victim staring at Colin. A minute later a radio message came through to George, “Charlie, One, Nine, the lady said that she can’t be certain as she didn’t see the robbers face, but he was about the same build and wearing similar clothes.”
“Thank you Alpha, Two, Zero,” George said into his radio, “Looks like we’ll ‘ave to bring ‘im in for questionin’. Send a van mate.”
The two policeman look at Colin, and Eddy said with a hint of sympathy, “Looks like we’ll ‘ave to bring you in for an interview.”
Colin seemed really pissed off, “I can’t believe this.”
“Ain’t you’re lucky day is it?” George replied slightly smug.

Colin was in a cell at the police station when the two police officers Eddy and George came in to search him.
“ We are goin’ to have to strip search you Colin,” said Eddy, “We’ve checked yer record an’ seen you’ve got previous for drugs.”
“Leave it out,” Colin protested, “I’ve only bin nicked for ‘arf ounce of puff before.”
“look, we’ve gotta strip search you,” said George slightly smug, I ‘ope you ain’t gonna give us any aggro or we’ll ‘ave to call for more back up an’ strip search you by force.”
Colin sighed, “Search me then. But it’s a waste of time. I ain’t got anythin’ on me.”
“Take your clothes off Colin,” Eddy said softly, “An’ when yer naked, squat.”

Colin was laying on the cell bed when the two police officers came back in. Eddy smiled and said, “Looks like its yer lucky day Colin.”
“Why, whats ‘appened?”
“There was another muggin’ quarter of a mile away, same description,” said Eddy, “A lady ‘ad her hand bag snatched shortly after we arrested you. We believe it was the same robber workin’ the area…We’re gonna let you go mate.”
“What, juss like that. Do I get an apology?”
“We don’t give apologees,” said George, “We pulled you in as part of our job. Yer lucky we’re lettin’ you go.”
“This is a fuckin’ liberty man. You’ve stripped searched me an’ banged me up for nothin’.
“What do your expect with tattoos all over yer face,” said George, “You’ve got jail bird written all over you.”
“So your judgin’ me cos I’ve got tattoos?”
“Look Colin,” said Eddy, the kinder of the two officers, “We’re juss doin’ our job. If you want to get outta here, I suggest you stop arguin’. We’ll take you to reception, give you back yer belongin’s an get you outta here.”
“Yeah, well. Its still a fuckin’ liberty if you ask me.”
“Well we ain’t askin’ you,” said George, “So juss shut it.”
Colin scowled, but didn’t reply.

It was Colin’s third day of freedom when he walked into the café for breakfast. Emma the teenage waitress faintly smiled as she saw him and quickly walked to Colin’s table. Colin smiled and said, “The usual love.”
“Egg, chips and beans?”
Emma scribbled on her pad and turned and walked away, then turned back to Colin again and said smiling, “Oh yeah. A cup of coffee as well.”
“yeah please,” smiled Colin.
Emma gave Colin’s order to the café owner Ollie, who seemed slightly surprised as he said, “You’ve changed yer tune a bit.”
“Whad’ya mean?” Emma asked.
“You seem to ‘ave suddenly taken a shine to him.”
“Whad’ya mean?
Ollie smiled and said, “Yesterday you were callin’ him face ache, an’ today you looked like you couldn’t wait to serve him.”
Emma scowled and then lightened, “Well ‘e ain’t really as bad as ‘e looks. ‘E seems like quite an nice geezer really.”
“Like I said. Don’t judge a book by the cover.”
Emma brings Colin’s meal and he starts eating it. After he’d finished Colin took a local paper from the next table and as he flicked through it he came across a properties to rent page. He’s eyes lit up and he called Emma and said, “Can I borrow a pen love?”
“Course you can,” Emma said smiling and gave him a spare biro from her apron pocket.
Colin studied an advert and wrote the phone number on the back of his hand.

Colin entered a phone box and dialled the number he’d written. After a few rings a female called Janet picked it up and Colin said, “Allo.”
“Allo,” Janet replied.
“I’m phonin’ about the rooms for rent,” said Colin.
“Oh yeah.”
“Your advert says you take DSS without a deposit…Is that right?”
Janet laughed slightly, “Yeah, I’m not fussy.”
“Can I come and look at a room then?”
“Sure…What time?”
“About eleven.”
“There’s one thing,” Colin said slightly awkward.
“I’ve got tattoos all over my face…But I’m not a trouble maker.”
Janet laughed softly, “Thass alright. My ex husband was a tattooist. He left me this house in his will. I’m covered in tattoos as well. I used to be a hells angel.”
“Yeah. So I’m not worried about what you look like. I love tattoos,” Janet giggled and added, “I’m sure you look beautiful.”
Colin laughed slightly now relieved, “I’ll see at eleven then.”
“Alright babe.”
Colin was just about to put the phone down and then realised he didn’t have Janet address. “Whats yer address?”
Janet giggled again, “Oh yeah, its 57 Replingham road. Its just near Southfields tube station.
Colin left the phone box smiling like he was on cloud nine.
An hour and a half later Colin came out of Southfields tube station and he stood a moment at the railings lining the kerb. He then asked a man passing by if he knew where Replingham Road was.
“Sorry mate,” said the man, “I’m not from this area.”
Colin then asked a teenage girl the same question.
The girl smiled and said, “Its just across the road. See the road sign,” she added pointing to the sign with Replingham Road on it.
“Oh yeah,” smiled Colin, “Thanks.”
Colin crossed the street and walked down the hill past the parade of shops and rang the doorbell of 57, which was a nice looking house in a terraced row. And the door was opened moments later by Janet, a middle aged, slim, blond woman, in tight jeans and a low cut tee-shirt that revealed lots of tattoos on her arms and a swallow bird above her right breast.
Janet smiled as she looked at Colin and said, “Wow, you really ‘ave got a lot of tattoos.”
Colin smiled and replied, “So ‘ave you.”
“Perks of being married to a tattooist,” Janet answered.
Janet then ushered Colin into her stylish and tastefully decorated house and they settled in the kitchen. She asked Colin if he wanted tea or coffee, and Colin replied, “coffee please.”
While the kettle was boiling Janet showed Colin the two bedrooms she was renting out. The third bedroom was hers. Colin said he’d love to have the biggest of the two spare rooms.
“Ok. Its yours,” Janet said smiling, and she told him he was the first to view it, and said she had three other appointments so far for later that day.
Whilst they were drinking coffee, Janet asked, “I don’t suppose you know any landscape gardeners? I wanna get my back garden done.”
Colin seemed startled a moment, then blurted, “I’m a landscape gardener.”
“Yeah…Well, sort of.”
“Whad’ya mean sort of?”
“Well, I’ve got a qualification in landscape gardening and horticulture.”
“Really?” Janet asked, “What college did you go to?”
Colin looked slightly sheepish and replied, “I did a twelve month course when I was in an open prison four years ago.”
Janet raised her eyebrows interested and said, “My husband was in prison. ‘E got five years for robbery when ‘e was a teenager. ‘E became an artist when he was in prison, an’ when ‘e got out he studied fine art an’ got a degree. An’ when ‘e was twenny-four ‘e got a grant from the Princes Trust, an’ ‘e bought some tattoo guns an’ ink etc, an’ ‘e started a business doin’ tattoos. First ‘e used to do it in peoples houses, then ‘e opened up a tattoo shop an’ ‘e expanded a couple of times, till ‘e had another two tatooists an’ a receptionist workin’ for him.”
Colin listened interested and asked, “Where is yer husband now?”
Janet felt a lump in her throat and tears sting her eyes, “’E died two years ago. ‘E got hit by a speed boat when ‘e was swimmin’ in the sea when we were on ‘oliday in Jamaica.”
“I’m really sorry,” Colin said genuinely.
“’E was only forty-two,” Janet continued, “I miss him so much.”
Neither of them spoke for a moment, then Janet quickly cheered up and said, “If my husband could turn ‘e’s life around after prison, so can you. You could start yer own business as a landscape gardener.”
“Yeah,” said Colin, “I’ve thought about that for years, but I ain’t really ‘ad the chance. I’ve bin in an’ out of jail fer silly things, an’ each time I’ve bin released I’ve bin homeless.”
Janet smiled, “Well yer not homeless anymore, so you’ve got no excuses. Juss take things one day at a time,” They both pause a moment without speaking, then Janet said, “I’ve got a feelin’ that me an’ your are gonna get on really well.”
Colin just smiled and then Janet continued, “I’ve gotta do a bit of shoppin’. The supermarket is juss round the corner from the dole office. I could drop you there is you want an’ you could pick up a housin’ benefit form.”
“Thanks,” said Colin, “Thass really kind of you.”
“No problem,” Janet said smiling, and for the first time in ages both of them felt extremely warm and happy.


A short story
By Paul Warwick

Cindy Rella walked up the four flights of stairs to the top floor flat on one of the many blocks on Peabody Estate, Clapham Junction. The five bags of shopping she was carrying weighed her down, and even though she was 17, was slim and fit, she felt tired. One of her neighbours passed her on the stairs and he smiled at her and she felt slightly lifted. Cindy was used to men smiling at her. She was mixed race and beautiful.
When Cindy got in the flat, her aunt Cynthia, an overweight, black Jamaican woman, said coldly, “What took you so long. You’ve been forty minutes.”
“Sorry,” said Cindy looking at the floor, “It was quite crowded in there and there were long queues at the tills.”
Here aunt just looked at her sternly, then said, “Make me a cup of decaf coffee, and make sure you only put half a spoon of sugar in it.”

Cindy had been adopted by her aunt Cynthia, when Cindy’s mother had died of cancer several years before. And Cindy’s aunt also had two ugly daughters, who like Cynthia were wicked and mean, and Cindy had to do all of the house work, all of the shopping and all of the cooking. Cindy was treated more like a slave than a member of the family.
Cindy was doing the washing up when the two sisters came into the kitchen and told Cindy to make sure she ironed they’re clothes for tonight.
“Where are you going?” Cindy asked them smiling.
“We’re going to a dance audition in a nightclub,” said Dion, “M.C Ghetto Star is gonna be there judging. The dancers that get picked will be in his new music video and will go on an eighteen month world tour as his stage backing dancers.”
“Cool,” said Cindy dreamily, then she asked, “Can I come?”
Dion scowled, and Charmaine made a snorting noise like a pig, then said, “You can’t dance. And anyway, you gotta be on the guest list. Its invites only. We got on the guest list by applying to the audition over a month ago.”
“Oh,” Cindy said deflated, “Good luck anyway.”
That night the two ugly sisters left for the audition, wearing mini skirts, high heeled shoes and low cut tops with spilling out cleavage.
Cindy’s aunt Cynthia also told Cindy to iron a dress for her and Cynthia told her that she was going to a West End theatre show, then for a meal with her friend and said she’d be back by half past midnight.
When Cindy was left alone in the flat, she made a cup of tea and said to herself sadly, “Why can’t I ever have a night out or go to an audition? I’m a brilliant dancer.”
Just then a fairy appeared in the kitchen and said, “I’m the fairy queen of bling.”
The fairy was dressed in satin hot pants, a tight low cut top, high heels, lots of jewellery and she had two small wings and a tiara in her hair.
The fairy continued, “Cindy Rella. You shall go to the dance audition.”
“But Dion and Charmaine will see me there.”
“Don’t worry,” said the fairy, “I’ll change your appearance.”
The fairy waved her wand and Cindy’s long afro hair suddenly turned into blond plats and Cindy was also wearing a cat mask over her eyes. She was also now wearing tight leggings, trainer boots that were encrusted with jewels and a tight fitting silk blouse.
“Cool,” Cindy said in awe when she looked in the mirror, then she asked, “How am I gonna get to the audition? And how am I gonna get in if I’m not registered?”
“Look out of the window. That limousine is for you, and your name is on the V.I.P guest list.”
The fairy continued, “You must make sure you leave the club by 12 Pm though, or your limousine will turn back into a pumpkin, and you must be back here before your aunt returns at 12.30.”
“Ok,” Cindy answered smiling.
Cindy arrived at the club in the limo. People who were queuing up asked, “Who’s that?” As Cindy exited the vehicle after the chauffer opened the door for her. And instead of joining the long queue to get into the main club entrance, Cindy walked to the side door that had V.I.P written on it, and the bouncer outside it smiled and asked, “What’s your name luv?”
“Cindy. Cindy Rella.”
The bouncer checked the list, “Ok luv…Go in,”
When Cindy entered the club, a woman approached her and asked, “Are you auditioning to dance, or are you a spectator?”
The woman then gave her an armband with the number 79 on it, and asked Cindy what track she wanted to dance to, and Cindy replied, “Waiting all night, by Rudimental.”
Then woman then told Cindy that they’d play two minutes of each track the contestants wanted to dance to, and she added, “You’ve got two minutes to dance your arse off.”
Cindy smiled and the woman asked, “Do you know what the prize is?”
“Yeah. The winners get to dance in M.C Ghetto Star’s next music video and travel with him on his world tour.”
The woman smiled and said, “Good luck.”
Each dancer did they’re two minute dance on stage, in front of which sat M.C Ghetto Star and two other judges. Behind the judges were about three hundred seated spectators. For some of the dancers the audience cheered, and for some they booed. Some people just couldn’t dance, as simple as that.
The ugly sisters Dion and Charmaine were number 48 and 49. And Cindy felt slightly bad for being happy when the crowd booed them.
About 11.15 Pm, it was Cindy’s time to dance and the crowd loved her. The two ugly sisters watched in envy and Dion said, “There’s something familiar about that dancer,” but they didn’t know it was Cindy.
By 11.30 the last dancer had performed, then ten minutes later MC Ghetto Star said into the microphone, “Could number 9, 23, 42 and 79 come back to the stage.”
When Cindy and the three other called dancers came to the stage, they were stunned to be told that they had won the audition. M.C Ghetto star then invited them to come to the V.I.P bar, and whilst there Cindy spoke to M.C with the other three dancers and they were all drinking Champaign that M.C had ordered.
“Why don’t you take off your eye mask now,” M.C said to smiling to Cindy.
“I can’t…There’s people here that I don’t want to recognise me.”
“Come on,” M.C teased, “I just wanna see all of your beautiful face.”
“I can’t…Not yet,” Cindy replied looking around nervously.
M.C continued, “Where do you live?”
“Peabody Estate, Clapham Junction.”
“I know that Estate. One of my school friends used to live there.”
Cindy stayed silent a moment and she could see that the other three dancers looked a bit jealous that she was getting all of M.C’s attention. Suddenly she looked at her watch and saw that it was three minutes till midnight and she remembered what the bling fairy had said to her.
“I gotta go,” Cindy said standing up abruptly and she started walking quickly to the exit.
“Wait a minute,” M.C said standing up to follow her, “What’s the rush?”
But Cindy was starting to panic and ran out of the club and as she got to the kerb her limousine pulled up. She quickly got in and the car whisked away.
M.C stood looking after the disappearing limo sadly. As Cindy had got into the car she’d dropped her small handbag accidently and M.C picked it up and took our her Oyster card and he smiled to himself as he looked at Cindy’s photo on it and he said softly, “Beautiful.”
M.C Ghetto Star suddenly remembered that Cindy had told him she lived on Peabody Estate and he felt the happiness that came with hope.
In the morning M.C arrived at Peabody Estate and he suddenly felt daunted. The Estate seemed bigger than he remembered it, “Where do I start?” He asked himself.
He decided to start with the ground floor of A Block and knocked on several doors, asking people if they knew Cindy Rella and what block she lived in, and the third person to answer, a teenager white girl smiled and said, “She lives in 15 Q Block.”
M.C was elated and the girl continued, “Are you M.C Ghetto Star?”
“Can you just wait a moment?” the girl asked excitedly, “I just wanna get my sister to take a photo of us together if you don’t mind.”
M.C smiled, “No problem.”
After a couple of photos for the two sisters and signing autographs for them, M.C knocked on the door of 15 Q. Dion one of the ugly sisters opened the door then stood there a moment looking shocked, then she said, “Oh my days. Its you,” then Dion shrieked hysterically, “Charmaine. M.C Ghetto star is here.”
Charmaine came to the door thinking it was a joke, but when she saw him she almost fainted. She then smiled showing her uneven buck teeth, and for a moment M.C thought that this ugly black girl looked a bit like a horse. Charmaine then said excitedly, “You’ve changed your mind about our dancing. We’re gonna be in your next music video and come on your world tour.”
“I’m sorry ladies but it ain’t you I’ve come to see.”
The ugly sisters looked confused, then Dion asked, “So what you doing here then?”
M.C held up Cindy’s Oyster card and said, “I’m looking for Cindy.
Just at that moment, Cindy who’d heard all the commotion, came to the front door smiling and when M.C saw her, he took a large envelope out of his bag and said, “Cindy…Here’s the contract for appearing in my next music video and for joining me on my world tour.”
The ugly sisters looked stunned for a moment, then they looked at Cindy with pure evil jealousy, but it didn’t deflate Cindy’s joy one bit. It finally sank in that Cindy had been chosen and it felt like the best day of her life.


“Can you believe that mum has left us on our own for two weeks?” Asked 16 year old Josh.
Ben, Josh’s 17 year old brother laughed and said, “No I can’t. And I can’t believe that she’s gone to Italy with a man she’s only known for three weeks.”
Josh also laughed and said, “That’s the crazy kind of shit you do when your in love. She’s like a teenager again. When dad left us three years ago, she was so depressed I thought she was going to kill herself. Now she’s met this bloke on the internet, its like she’s come alive again.”
Ben smiled, “I’m just glad she’s happy again.”
“So am I,” Josh replied.
Ben opened the fridge and swigged some milk from the bottle, whilst Josh walked around the large kitchen of their spacious suburban house. Josh suddenly stopped in front of his mums spice and herb rack. He pulled out a bottle of Basil herbs and laughed, “This shit looks like weed.”
“show me,” Said Ben.
Josh handed him the small bottle and Ben opened the lid and sprinkled some into his hand and said, “Yeah man, it does don’t it. Maybe we could put some in stamp bags and sell them as ten pound draws.”
Josh laughs, “You think people would fall for it and think its real weed?”
Ben replied, “I don’t know. Maybe we could sell it in school.”
“I don’t know,” Said Josh, “I don’t think we could really pass it off as real weed.”
They both pause for a while, then Ben said, “ I think we could. And besides…Most of the kids in our school ain’t got much experience of real drugs. But they like to think they have. They are just like us. Middle class neeks, who listen to Snoop Dog and Dre, and want to fantasize that we’re cool ghetto gangsters.”
Josh laughed and said, “You should be a psychologist.”
“yeah,” Replied Ben, “Maybe I will be one day…But right now I feel its time for us to be drug dealers. Well not real ones, but only me and you know that.”
“Josh laughed, “I’m with you brother. Maybe we can make some money.”

Josh and Ben approach a group of 15 year old students outside the school dinning hall.
“Yo dudes,” said Ben to them, “Any of you smoke weed?”
“I’ve smoked weed before, at a couple of parties,” Answered Malcolm, a short fat boy with spots on his face.
“What about the rest of you?” Asked Ben.
“I’ve smoked it once at my cousins house in Battersea,” Said Carlos, a tall Italian.
“What about you?” Ben asked looking at Peter, a skinny, gelled hair teen.
Peter flushed red and sheepishly admitted, “I’ve never tried it.”
“Well listen to this dudes,” Said Ben, “Me and my brother here are selling some standard weed. My cousin just brought it back from Jamaica. He smuggled a kilo of it through customs, and his given me and Josh some to sell.”
The group looked stunned, and spotty face Malcolm was clearly impressed and said, “Cool man. That’s sick.”
“Yeah,” Agreed Ben, “This is the best weed in Jamaica.”
“How much is it?” Asked Carlos the Italian, excited.
“We’re selling it in ten pound bags,” Said Josh, speaking for the first time, then he added, “Any of you got a tenner on you?”
“I’ve got a fiver,” Says spotty face Malcolm.
“And I’ve got a fiver,” Said Italian Carlos.
Malcolm and Carlos agree to put in a fiver each and share the ten pound bag, and Peter with the gelled hair said, “I’ll bring a tenner to school tomorrow and buy a bag of your weed.”
“Great,” Said Ben smiling, and he added, “And spread the word guys. This is probably the best shit you’ll ever smoke.”

And spread the word they did. Within three days half the school was talking about the weed that Ben and Josh were selling, and students between the age of 13 to 16 and 17 year old sixth formers, were approaching Ben and Josh, phoning and texting them, and even knocking on their front door to buy their weed.
Ben and Josh had gone to the supermarket and had bought ten small bottles of Basil at a pound each, and each bottle had made five, ten pound bags.
Ben and Josh thought it was absolutely hilarious. Teenagers were coming up to them and saying things like, “That weed is sick man. I was buzzing out of my head on it.”
Some of the teenagers actually felt like they were getting stoned on it because they thought it was real cannabis. And other teenagers who didn’t feel stoned at all, pretended that they did feel stoned, because they wanted to look cool, and not feel stupid or feel like the odd one out.
Everything was going smoothly for Ben and Josh, until Psycho Sam entered the equation.

Ben and Josh were playing on they’re play station when there was a knock at the door. Ben went to answer it and standing on his door step was a man in his late twenties. The man was tall and skinny, covered in tattoos, including a swastika tattoo on his forehead. He also had piercings on his eyebrows, nose, tongue and lip.
“Are you Ben?” The man asked.
“Yeah,” Ben replied tense.
“Do you know who I am?” The man asked.
Ben swallowed nervously, “Yeah…You’re Psycho Sam.”
Sam smiled, revealing a gap of several missing teeth. He’d had some teeth knocked out during some of the many fights he’d had. Everyone in the area knew or had heard of Psycho Sam. A couple of years ago he’d got a two year prison sentence for biting a pub bouncers ear off, during a drunken brawl. And Sam’s vicious looking face, complete with psychopathic stare, had been plastered on the front page of the local paper.
Sam had served the full two years of his sentence, as he’d lost all his good behaviour remission as he’d had so many fights with other inmates and prison officers.
“I hear yer sellin’ some shit hot weed,” Sam said.
“How do you know?” Ben asked nervously.
“I know everything,” Replied Sam, tapping his finger into his temple, then he added, “I’ve decided that I wanna to be yer business partner.”
“Eh?” Ben replied shocked.
“People ‘ave told me the weed yer been selling is pukka.”
Ben felt like his head was going to explode with panic. Finally he said, “Its not that good.” He was trying to put Sam off.
Sam looked irritated, “Thass not what I’ve ‘eard. People have told me that yer weed is wicked an’ people ‘ave been gettin’ wrecked on it.”
Ben just stared at Sam, lost for words. After a pause Sam continued. “I ‘ear yer sellin’ it in ten pound bags…So ‘ears the deal. I’ll buy it in bulk from you. I wanna smoke some an’ sell some. I will give you two ‘undred quid fer thirty ten pound bags, an’ that way we both make a bit of profit.”
Ben just stared at Sam a moment in panic, then Ben said in a nervous voice, “Ok.”

When Psycho Sam had left with thirty bags of Basil, Ben and Josh looked at each other in horror.
“Oh my God,” Said Ben, “If he finds out we’ve sold him cooking herbs, he’ll kill us.”

Psycho Sam was walking along the street with the thirty bags of Basil in a bum bag around his waist, when a car with three plain clothes officers in it drove past.
“There’s Psycho Sam,” Said the driver.
“I thought he was in prison”, Said the officer in the back.
“He got out two weeks ago,” Said the driver, then after a pause he added, “Lets stop and search him.”

When Psycho Sam had left their house with the thirty bags of Basil, Ben and Josh could no longer relax, and neither of them got a good sleep that night.
The next afternoon Josh was listening to the local community radio when he heard that Psycho Sam, real name Sam Vice, had been remanded in custody for possession of cannabis with intent to supply. Josh immediately told Ben.
“Shit,” Said Ben, “This is turning into a bloody nightmare. We’ve got to stop dealing now. This ain’t funny anymore.”
“Its too late for that,” Said Josh, “Psycho Sam’s in jail because of us. What are we going to do?”
Ben held his face in his hands for a moment, then said, “We’re in deep shit man.”

Five days after Psycho Sam had been remanded in custody, he was back at his local magistrates court to hear the case. Sam was beneath the court in one of the cells when his solicitor came to talk to Sam through the hatch in the cell door.
“Great news Sam,” His solicitor said beaming.
“What you talkin’ about?” Sam said confused.
“I’ve just had a word with the prosecutor,” His solicitor said still smiling, “He’s going to tell the judge they’ve dropped the case.”
“Eh,” Sam said, still confused.
“You’ve got away with it,” The solicitor said smiling.
“The forensic team have analysed the herbs that you were stopped with, and its not cannabis.”
“What do you mean its not cannabis?” Sam asked looking serious, “What was it then?”
“It was Basil,” His solicitor continued, looking like he was going to laugh.
“What’s Basil?”
“It’s a cooking herb. You can get it in shops and any supermarket. Its not a drug at all…And its not an illegal substance.”
Sam looked confused again, and then it dawned on him, “Those little bastards ripped me off.”
“See it as a positive,” His solicitor replied, still looking like he was about to laugh, “If the people had sold you real cannabis, you’d be expecting a prison sentence. Because it wasn’t real cannabis though, the police can’t do anything about it. Its turned out to be a blessing in disguise for you.”
Sam still looked confused, then as understanding dawned on him, he suddenly gave his missing teeth smile, “So I will be released later?”
His solicitor beamed, “Yes.”

Ben and Josh were playing a driving game on they’re play station, when there was a knock at the door.
“I’ll get it,” Said Ben.
When Ben opened the front door he was shocked to see Psycho Sam. Sam immediately grabbed Ben around the throat, pushed him into the hallway, and put his fist a few inches from Bens face.
“Think you could rip me off did ya?” Asked Sam, with his eyes bulging.
Ben looked at Sam’s scarred knuckles and the word HATE tattooed across the top of his fingers.
“I’m sorry,” Ben said really frightened.
Sam suddenly smiled and let go of Ben, and Ben looked confused.
“That was a wicked skank man,” Said Sam, still smiling, “Selling Basil as cannabis. If you’d have sold me real weed I’d be in prison right now.”
Ben started to feel slightly relieved and Sam continued smiling, “Juss gimme my two-undred quid back an’ I wont break yer legs.”
Ben swallowed nervously and said, “Ok.”

When Psycho Sam had gone, Ben looked at Josh and said, “We’re so bloody lucky man. That nutter could have killed us.”
Josh slowly smiled and then suddenly started laughing.
“Its not funny,” Said Ben.
“It is,” Josh said between moments of laughing.
A moment later Ben also smiled and then said, “Your right…It is funny. I thought he was going to kill me.”
Both brothers then roared with laughter.


Colin stood on the edge of the cliff at Beachy Head, the notorious suicide spot. The average life span is 70 years, but at 45 years old, Colin felt as if he’d already had enough of living. As he stood there depressed, the wind blew through his short brown and greying hair, and his tall thin frame was slightly hunched as he looked out to sea.
Colin was startled to hear a woman’s voice suddenly.
“Excuse me,” said Jenny.
Colin looked around and stared at Jenny, who looked about the same age as him, but was much shorter, with long black hair and a slightly plump figure. “Yes,” Colin answered.
“Are you going to commit suicide?” Jenny asked, her face pained.
“Yes, why,” answered Colin, “Your not going to try and talk me out of it are you?”
“No,” Jenny answered, still looking pained, “I’m going to commit suicide myself. I’m just a bit frightened though. Do you think we could jump together?”
Colin looked slightly startled, then said, “I suppose so.”
Jenny went and stood beside Colin and they both stared out to sea without speaking for a while. Jenny then said, “Before we do it…Could you do me a favour?”
“What?” Colin asked.
“Could you take a photo of me with my phone?” Jenny asked, then added, “I’ll then text it to my mum. Not that she cares about me. She’s got schizophrenia and said that she couldn’t cope with me when she was young, so she put me in care.”
“Really?” Colin asked, “ My mum gave me up for adoption when I was three. I tracked her down a year ago…I’d been looking for her for 15 years, but when I found her, she said that she didn’t want anything to do with me. She said that I reminded her of the past that she was trying to forget. She said that I was the result of a one night stand with a musician who later killed himself.”
“I’m so sorry,” said Jenny, “I didn’t know.”
“No need to be sorry,” replied Colin, “Its not your fault…My mum is mentally ill as well.”
“Schizophrenia?” Jenny asked.
“Oh,” said Jenny, “That’s quite similar.”
They are both silent for a few moments, looking out to sea, then Colin asked. “Do you want me to take that photo then?”
“Oh yeah.”
Jenny took her phone out of her pocket, set it to camera and handed it to Colin who stepped back a few more feet from the edge. “Just press the red button on the screen,” Jenny said.
Colin lined up the composition and said, “I know you probably don’t feel like it, but maybe you should try a little smile.”
“Ok,” Jenny said, then smiled weakly.
Colin took the photo and he smiled as he looked at it and said, “It’s a nice photo.”
“I don’t do nice photos,” Jenny replied sullenly.
“What do you mean?” Colin asked confused.
“I’m ugly.”
“No your not,” Colin said, “Your actually very attractive.”
“Are you having a laugh?”
“No,” said Colin, “I’m being serious.”
Jenny then said, “My ex says I’m ugly. He used to tell me that all the time. He used to say that I was lucky to have someone like him, and that I should be grateful as no one else would want me.
“How horrible,” Colin said looking confused, “I can’t believe someone would say that to you.”
“He used to say it all the time.”
“Its not true,” Said Colin, “You look lovely.”
Jenny didn’t reply and just stood there a moment looking morose, then she took the phone back from Colin and said, “I’ll text mum that picture now.”
Jenny tried to text the photo, but moments later her phone beeped and she looked at it and said, “Shit.”
“What…What’s wrong,” asked Colin.
“My phones run out of credit. It says I’ve got insufficient funds to send a text.”
Colin then said, “Do you want to use my phone? I’ll take a photo of you with it and text it to your mum.”
Jenny smiled slightly and said, “Ok…Thanks.”
Colin took his phone out of his pocket, looked at it, frowned and said, “Oh dear.”
“What…What’s the matter?” asked Jenny.
“My phones not on,” said Colin, “The batteries gone flat.”
Jenny sighed and said, “We’re not having much luck are we?”
“Story of my life,” Colin replied looking morose.
Jenny suddenly perked up a bit and said, “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we go into town, I’ll put some credit on my phone, then we could take a picture of each other and we could text them to our mothers.”
Colin seemed surprised and perked up also, then he said, “OK…You know what, this may really seem a bit strange, but I suddenly really feel like a pint of lager.”
“Really, that is strange,” replied Jenny, “Just before you spoke I suddenly tasted Bacardi and Coke on my tongue. I could really do with one now. Why don’t we go into town, I’ll get phone credit, then we could have a couple of drinks for Dutch courage, then we can finally go and kill ourselves.”
“Ok,” replied Colin, “I suppose there’s no need to rush is there?”

Jenny and Colin went into town and Jenny topped up her phone credit at a cash point machine, then they both went into a pub and sat in a quiet booth with they’re drinks. Colin took a swig of lager from his pint glass, then asked Jenny, “So why do you want to kill yourself?”
Jenny sighed, then replied, “For more reasons than I care to say.”
“Well give me some of the reasons,” said Colin.
“Well there’s a first,” Jenny said with a hint of bitterness, “Someone who’s actually interested in what I’ve got to say.”
Jenny took a swig of her Bacardi and Coke, then continued, “I was with my fiancée for seven years. We were engaged for six years and he just kept making excuses not to marry me…Two weeks ago I came home from work early and saw that he was packing his clothes in a suitcase. He’d been planning to leave without even saying goodbye, and there was a letter from him saying he was moving in with his secretary, who was pregnant by him.
“His secretary is fifteen years younger than us. We’d stopped having sex a year ago, and he just kept making excuses, saying things like he was tired all the time…I started to get a real complex, thinking that I was really ugly as he didn’t want to be intimate with me anymore, and he was always abusive, insulting me and putting me down. And now I know that his energy was always spent as he was banging the little tart at work in his office.”
Colin raised his eyebrows in amazement and said, “I don’t believe it.”
Jenny was momentarily confused, “What.”
“I know exactly how you feel,” Colin continued.
“How?” Jenny asked.
“My wife did exactly the same thing,” said Colin, “she’s a university lecturer and she moved out of our flat three weeks ago, to move in with one of her students who’s sixteen years younger than her.”
“Bitch,” spat Jenny, “I know how you feel. Its devastating isn’t it?”
“yes it is,” agreed Colin, before taking a swig of lager.

Colin took his last mouthful of lager from his pint glass, then said, “I can’t believe how quickly time seems to be flying. I’ve drank three pints of lager now and you’ve drank three Bacardi and Cokes. I was starting to forget what we’re in Beachy Head for.”
“So was I,” Jenny replied, “I suppose I’m ready now. I don’t feel so scared now I’ve had a few drinks…What about you?”
“I don’t feel so scared either now,” Colin replied, “The thing is though that I don’t feel so depressed either. I’m really enjoying talking to you.”
Jenny smiled and said, “I’m enjoying talking to you as well. It actually feels a bit sad that we are going to kill ourselves now. You’re a really nice person and I’d like to talk to you longer.”
They both pause a moment in silence, then Colin said, “Well we don’t have to kill ourselves today. There’s a really nice looking B & B I saw earlier on the edge of town. And there’s a little restaurant next to it. Maybe we could have a meal, get some sleep and kill ourselves in the morning.”
Jenny sighed and slumped slightly, “I don’t know. I’m still feeling a bit frightened. Part of me just wants to do it and get it over with.”
“Yeah, I feel similar,” said Colin, slouching. “Maybe we should just go and do it.”
They both pause a moment in silence then Jenny said, “I am quite hungry though. What kind of restaurant was it that you saw?
“I’m not sure,” Colin replied, slightly perking up, “It looks like a traditional English restaurant. When I saw it I immediately wondered if they do steak, chips and onion rings.”
Jenny suddenly perked up also, “Mmm. Steak and chips. My favourite.”
Colin smiled slightly and said, “Really…That’s my favourite as well.”
Jenny also smiled and asked, “Does today seem a bit weird to you?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well earlier we were both depressed and were going to kill ourselves,” said Jenny, “But we’ve both ended up drinking in this pub together, and even though we’re strangers, we’ve got so much in common…I feel like I’ve known you for years.”
Colin Smiled, “I know…Its weird ain’t it? But its also wonderful as well.
Jenny smiled, “Yeah it is.”

Colin and Jenny were seated at a table in the old English restaurant. Colin cut a piece of juicy steak, put in his mouth, chewed and swallowed and said, “This steak is absolutely delicious.”
“I know,” Said Jenny, “Its mouth watering.”
Jenny cut a piece and popped it into her mouth as the waiter appeared and asked, “Would either of you like anything else?”
“Another beer please,” said Colin.
The waiter then looked at Jenny, “And you madam…Would you like anything else to drink?
Jenny smiled, “Another Bacardi and Coke please.”
“No problem,” said the waiter, then he turned on his heel and walked to the bar to fetch their drinks.
Jenny looked at Colin smiling slightly and said, “That will be my fifth drink.”
Colin smiled back, “Mine too. I feel a bit pissed.”
Jenny giggled, “Me too.”

Colin and Jenny walked up the path to the B & B next to the restaurant.
“Are you sure they’ve got vacancies?” asked Jenny.
“Yeah, look,” said Colin, “There’s a sign in the window.”
Jenny looked at the window, “Oh yeah.”
They both walked into the B & B and stopped at the reception counter and the receptionist looked up and asked, “Can I help you?”
“We’d like two single rooms please,” said Colin.
“I’m sorry sir,” the receptionist replied, “But we’ve only got two double rooms left.”
“Oh,” Colin replied slightly stumped, “So you haven’t got two singles?”
“No, just two doubles.”
Colin looked at Jenny and said, “I suppose we’ll just have to try somewhere else.”
The receptionist smiled at them and said, “Can’t you just share a room?”
“Not really,” said Colin, “We’re not married or in a relationship. We’re just friends.”
“I see,” said the receptionist, then after a pause added, “One of the double rooms has two single beds. Would that interest you both?
Colin raised his eyebrows and looked at Jenny and said, “I’d be ok with that…What about you?”
“That’s fine,” Jenny said slightly smiling, “I don’t mind that at all.”
“Great,” said the receptionist, “I’ll show you to your room.”

Colin and Jenny were in separate single beds a few feet apart.
Jenny said, “Can you believe it. Its three’o’clock in the morning. We’ve been talking for hours.”
“Yeah I know,” Colin replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that I’ve got so much in common with.”
Jenny smiled, “Me too.”
They pause for a moment without speaking, then Colin asks painfully, “How do you feel about tomorrow?”
“I feel a bit better about it. I’m not so scared. I just didn’t want to jump on my own. I feel better that I’ve got someone to do it with.”
“Yeah, I feel similar,” said Colin.
Again they pause in thought, then Jenny said, “We’d better get some sleep. We’ve got to vacate the room by 10 Am.”
“yeah,” Said Colin, “I’m starting to feel really tired now as well. I don’t think I’ve ever done so much talking.”
“Me neither.”
“Do you mind if I turn the light off now?” Colin asked.
“No, go ahead.”
“Night night,” said Colin.
Colin switched off the lamp on the bedside locker between them.

Colin and Jenny pulled up in the car park beside the cliffs, and Colin who was driving switched the engine off and looked at Jenny. She looked very depressed and Colin was feeling similar.
“That breakfast was lovely wasn’t it,” said Colin.
“Yeah, lovely,” Jenny replied subdued.
Neither of them spoke for a moment, then Colin said, “I suppose its time to meet our maker.”
“Yeah,” Said Jenny as she unclicked her seat belt.
Colin and Jenny walked along on the grass towards the edge of the cliff about fifty feet away. Neither of them spoke as they continued walking. They then stopped about fifteen feet from the edge, and Colin said, “Shall we not bother with the photos?”
“No,” answered Jenny, “What’s the point.”
They both stared at to sea in silence, then Jenny asked, “Can I hold your hand?”
They held hands and stood there in silence for a moment, then Colin said, “Lets get a bit closer to the edge.”
Jenny felt frightened and spoke quietly, “Ok.”
They took a few steps forward and Colin looked at Jenny and suddenly said, “I can’t do this. I don’t want to die now.”
“Neither do I,” Jenny replied, then she suddenly burst into tears and threw her arms around Colin, who hugged her whilst she sobbed uncontrollably.

Colin and Jenny were seated in a studio of their local radio station, and they were being interviewed by a DJ called Gus Haywood, and the interview was being recorded.
“So let me get this straight,” Said Gus, “Two years ago you met today, on the edge of a cliff at Beachy Head, and both of you had planned to commit suicide by jumping off the edge.”
Colin and Jenny smiled, and Colin said, “Yeah, its true.”
“And now you’ve both been married a year,” Continued Gus, “You’ve wrote a best selling book about your relationship. You’ve been interviewed on numerous TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and now forgive me if I’m not correct, but a top British film producer wants to turn your love story into a feature film. Is that true?”
“Yes its true,” said Colin, still smiling as he held Jenny’s hand.
Gus seemed stunned, “If you hadn’t of met each other, chances are you’d both be dead now. What’s the best thing about your lives now?”
“Well for one, we’ve got each other,” Jenny said smiling, “And I’ve never ever been so much in love with anyone…And two, we’ve been reunited with our mothers. My mother gave me up for adoption when I was young, as she couldn’t cope with me as she had schizophrenia. She’s now on very modern medication, and she’s a lot better now. And when she first saw me and Colin on day time TV, she said she was stunned and amazed by our story, and she said that she wanted to be part of my life again. And now I see her regular. I know she loves me now and I understand how difficult it was for her because of her illness.”
“What about you?” Gus asked Colin, “I hear that you’re now in touch with your mother now as well, and that she’d given you up for adoption when she was young as well.”
“Yes,” said Colin, “That’s true. She was also mentally ill with Bipolar and when I initially tracked her down, she didn’t want anything to do with me.”
“So what changed? Asked Gus.
“Well it was a miracle really. She started going to a church Alpha meetings and one day became a Christian. The next day she switched on the TV and saw me and Jenny telling our story on the program Loose Women. She immediately phoned the TV station to get my contact details, and since then I see her regular.”
“How is she? Asked Gus.
“She’s fine,” said Colin, “She no longer needs medication and she’s studying fine art at college.”
“Wow that’s amazing,” said Gus, “The power of God…Not that I’m religious or anything.”
The three of them pause a moment, then Gus asked, “So tell me…How did your rise to fame start? Ok, your not A-list celebrities or anything, though you might be one day. You’ve certainly been in the limelight with your story. So tell me how the media attention started.”
“Well,” Jenny said smiling, “I’d always wanted to be an actress, but no one ever really encouraged me. Not until I met Colin, anyway. He suggested that I could start by becoming a film extra, and I joined an agency for actors and extras etc, called Star Now.
“Anyway, one day I saw an advert on their site, from a magazine journalist saying that he wanted unusual true life love stories. I then contacted the journalist and he wrote a story about me and Colin, and the story was published as a four page article in a magazine. And then soon after, we started getting calls from TV shows, radio and other media etc. Its absolutely crazy, but true.”
“So what are some of your plans for the future?” Asked Gus.
“Well, as you know,” said Colin, “Our book is a best seller, and we’ve just sold the film rights, so now we’re quite well off. We plan to travel around the world for a bit, and just enjoy married life and each other.”
“Wow,” said Gus, “You both deserve it. Honestly listeners…I don’t think I’ve ever met such a wonderful couple.”