For those of you who read my first blog, you will remember 'Verruca Almond'. Verruca had been sent to me, like a Fairy Godmother, to help me get through the hard times. A carer, jailer, confidant, personal shopper and teacher of wise and wonderful things. Things I never knew, small tips to get me through each struggling day; a planner of futures.
I was sat at home, feet up, meditating, chanting, expelling bad karma, when there was a beep on the laptop. To my delight, but equally my horror, Verruca was sat at the other end, on a video call. The room she was in, was dark; I could make out a flickering candle in the background, sat on top of one of those old spin dryers. You remember the ones your Mother used to have in the 1970s. The room looked damp, with mould growing up the walls; there was a cracked, darkened window behind her and dangling from the ceiling, live wires! I could make out Verrucas face, from her distinctive neck tattoo and goatee beard, she used to bleach, to try and hide her, hirsute affliction, from the Word. Sadly, in the light from the candle, it was more noticeable than ever.
Verruca was wearing her distinctive, green tabard, blood stained and looking just a little bit tired. She was bedraggled, not her usual self, her sixty a day voice, cracking as she spoke; chain smoking, one cigarette after another and not her usual brand, but roll ups, made with shaking, awkward hands. Little did I realise, the tabard was a clue as to her present condition.
'To be honest Verruca could throw on a bin bag, and still look a like a crisp £20.00 note. Dishevelled and a little worn, she was oozing sexual prowess. There was something different about her. She was a bit Sassy, a little Minx like.'
This was the Verruca I knew, just over a year ago. Despite her job, caring for the down and out's, ill, infirm and victims of Southampton, she still, always did her best to look good. There were occasions, you could smell alcohol on her breath, chip fat in her hair. Chipped nails and ginger roots forcing through her matted hair were commonplace, but as a rule, she was a lass who made the best of what she had!
Something was different this evening. A lot had happened since the last time I saw her face, that was for sure. When I left Southampton, I sadly forgot to tell her where I was going, just an oversight. She was only with me for professional reasons, and I saw no reason to carry on our relationship.....
'How, why, I mean, you found out where I am, but, I don't quite understand why, Verruca?' I asked, confused
'We were, friends. I taught you how to stand tall, in a World, where people like me, are not appreciated. I showed you have to survive in a Biffa bin, lick knives and take from the unfortunate. I thought we understood one another!' she began, lighting another cigarette, taking a sip from a bottle of Captain Morgan's, placed on the floor, at her feet!
Verruca had indeed been there for me at difficult times. She taught me much; I remembered her words.
'This weekend Verruca taught me how to lick knives successfully. She caught me running a blade along my lips on Saturday night. Horrified, she showed me the way to do it safely, with most impact. A moistened knife can be a godsend in many survival scenarios. For everyday kitchen use, a lubed up utensil will always make light work, of even the hardest task. Cutting meat from the bone, is done with ease.'
Verruca was never normal, we got on, conversed and had a relationship of sorts, because of the circumstances at the time. She had a past, not a pretty one and had hurt many people on her journey. Slightly on the psychotic side, she reminded me of an old boss I used to have. Heart of steel; clenched hands, always ready for a fight; grinding teeth; false platitudes but, a little bit Mary Poppins; a cross between Laura Ashley and Attila The Hun! I knew we had to keep a distance between us, especially as she became fixated on me, my life and those in it! I never imagined that this saint in bondage gear, would ever track me down. How wrong could I be!
'You look great, Verruca, positively radiant' I muttered, trying to deflect from her obvious, unkempt appearance.
'Cut the crap lovey. You always did speak a load of old bull. You may be good with words, but the rubbish that comes out your mouth sometimes'. She shouted, rum dribbling down her chin. There was so much rage in her eyes. The anger was welling up inside her, but I had no idea why!
It seems that when I left for Spain, Verruca felt abandoned and alone. She had got a new job, in Oxford, where she had managed to track me down. Able to gain access to sensitive information, she found out where I was living. The trail of destruction she left in her wake is not even printable. What I will say, is HR, will be clearing up the mess for many years to come. When we spoke yesterday, that was her last day, working as a tea lady, under cover, following in the footsteps of Betty Gruffle, the fastest tea lady in Oxford. She had managed to use her charm, wit, good looks and devious ways, to get what she needed. The end result was not the best though, I have to say.
I was a little concerned, about the way she looked. What had happened? What had gone wrong? Why the candle? What the hell was going on and what did she want with me? Well all those questions and many more are for another day. Suddenly the candle blew out and the line went dead. I heard a muffled scream, then darkness, she was gone!
Verruca is a bit of a character it has to be said. Our bond was built on a mutual need; companionship for Verruca and guidance for me. She taught me much about the grittier side of life. How to walk to the shop, without having a panic attack, how to kill with my bare hands, wear dark glasses at all times and mix with the local 'chav boys', Southampton is after all, second to Portsmouth, The Chav capital of the World!
'Verruca is taking me for a walk around town next week. Her tips for such an extensive expedition are things we should all know when we set off to the local shop on the corner. Rehydration is a must. If one falls in a Biffa bin, when hiding from the Police, alcoholic beverage, or otherwise is essential. It will get one through the night and could even save one's life!'
Despite her hard exterior, violent nature and mean swagger, Verruca is as vulnerable as you or I. People like V, come in all shapes and sizes, different walks of life and on the surface look pretty normal. When you get right down to the person inside, then and only then will you know, just who you are dealing with!
I first started writing about Verruca Almond, in my fist blog Bipolarcoaster. Verruca was a parody of my then boss Vera Lynham; the woman responsible for bullying, harassment, homophobia, lies and attacks against myself, my partner and other good members of staff. I created Verruca as a tool to offload my frustration and anger at the time and it worked.