Christmas is always a special time, hearing from friends and family you haven't heard from in a while, spending a few days with loved ones and reflecting on the past year. It was 3am this morning when my mobile phone rang; bleary eyed, I picked it up; Verruca Almond was on the end of the line. I knew I shouldn't have put me new phone number on facebook, but it was too late; Verruca had done her homework and tracked me down! For those of you who don't know who Verruca is, she was a carer, who taught me the ways of the World; looking after myself, surviving in the most difficult of circumstances, how to lick knives, without cutting ones tongue, totally deranged, sociopathic and now working for the biggest charity in the land 'OXSCAM,' after infiltrating the HR department at OXSCAM House. She has had her tough times, but was finally on the up, always keeping in touch when she could!
Verruca has this habit of phoning at the most inopportune moments; ridiculous times in the morning, whilst you were away on holiday or in an important meeting; in fact anytime she knew it would annoy you the most. In true form, she was unapologetic and immediately started to squawk loudly, on what I can only describe as an inaudible phone line. Verruca has no family to speak of, so tends to spend Christmas on her own. She has always pretended to be married, buying underwear and vests, for her imaginary husband, from the very charity shops she manages, however this partnership isn't quite as it seems. Verruca has created a fictional World, something none of us who knew her, ever spoke about, although were fully aware of. She had no husband, no family life and was a spinster living her life in a dream. For her, Christmas is the most productive time of the year. She can sit alone in front of a PC, trolling through social networking sites; drunken status updates, compromising photographs and pretend illnesses, on Boxing Day; getting as much information on people she knows, as she can. Verruca is a game player and spends most of her life, trying to destroy others; it's what she was born to do. She used to say to me, how proud of herself she was; dragged up as a child, fending for herself and now more powerful than others could ever imagine. At the time, I never understood her words, believing she was just deluded and egotistical, today, things are very different; I understand her vision completely!
Verruca's charity work is without question, winning awards for misappropriation of funds and redirecting money for good causes towards buying property in the Cayman Islands, year on year. Oh she is good, financially astute and always one step ahead of the accounts department at OXSCAM House. I remember when a rather large amount of money went missing from her department, she was quick to deny any foul play, as shocked as everyone else about the disappearance. She had left no paper trail in her wake, but planted plenty of evidence and false documents in the drawer of her boss, who she loathed since he fired her many years previously, moving her to another area. She was proud of her accomplishment; not only had she gained thousands of pounds in her back pocket, but she had also framed her superior, killing two birds with one stone.
Every Christmas Day Verruca would spent time at the local soup kitchen and shelter, where the homeless were given a Christmas meal. Verruca always said. why should she pay for a Christmas dinner, when she can get a free plate, eating with the most vulnerable in society, helping them towards a better path in life. Verruca went to the shelter every year, a bit like those old women that sit in the back of churches knitting away through every service. She has no right to be there, but no one says a thing, turning a blind eye. Back in the day, I used to be amazed by Verruca's charitable nature, believing her to be a good Christian fearing woman. In fact today, I know she is nothing but. She may well spend time with those in greatest need, but only because she can manipulate them more than most; they were ideal fodder; they fed her most basic needs and desires.
The phone line was crackling; I could hear a whirling sound and the rush of water in the background...
'Are you alright Verruca? you sound like your in a washing machine!' I enquired.
'I'm great, feeling energised, full of beans, having a wonderful time!' she screamed!
'...but where are you? It's three O'Clock in the morning! Are you sure you are OK?' I asked again, shouting louder over the increasing noise at the other end of the phone.
'I'm in the forest, kayacking lovey!' she explained, barely audible under, what sounded like a waterfall!
Verruca had told me once before that she used to kayak, whenever she could. To be honest at the time, I just assumed it was another made up part of her life, how wrong was I. Actually this was one aspect of her, that I soon realised was true. I have to admit, when I was ill at work, she gave me her home address details, in order for me to send my 'sick notes' to. I took a sneaky peak at her house on 'google maps,' and bugger me backwards, there was a bloody Kayak parked outside.
'It's 3am Verruca; you are in a kayak in the middle of the New Forest, on a phone. What the hell for?' I shouted at the top of my voice.
'There's no time to explain that, I needed to ask you a question!'
'A question, NOW, about what?' I cried exasperated down the phone!
I thought she had phoned to tell me about her Christmas and ask me about mine. It may well be the early hours of the morning, but I assumed she had been drinking, as she often did. I would frequently find empty bottles of gin, all over her company car, when she used to give me a lift to meetings or during those long chats in private, that she said were for my own good. I never spoke about the bottles, preferring to concentrate on getting out of the car as quickly as possible. Questioning her, would have only made her angry and prolonged the experience of being trapped in her Ford Focus, that stunk of cigarettes, lighter fluid and cheese and onion crisps; it was unthinkable. Luckily I always had an exit strategy. planned down to the last second, before I closed the passenger door. If things got heavy, I could faint at the drop of a hat, even in a vehicle. Not only that, I always carried pepper spray and had a 'safe' friend phone me after an hour in her company, with a made up emergency; bad situation avoided!
'Have you finished, the end of month paperwork yet, I have to get it to head office ASAP?' she yelled, her voice cracking, followed by an ear-splitting shrill of excitement; she must have gone around the bend, in mind and on the bloody river, a bit fast. She loved her action and adventure, did Verruca, but this was insane!
'Verruca, you really have been drinking; I haven't worked for you in over two years.' I replied, barely discernible under the commotion on the other end of the phone. There was silence, seconds later, a rather pained shriek and finally silence again.
'Verruca, are you alright? I have no idea what you are talking about! Verruca? Verruca?' I bellowed....!
That was the last I heard from her this morning. I have no idea why she phoned or what she was saying. I can only assume she has lost the plot, thinking I am still working at OXSCAM, living in the UK. It looks like I'm going to be spending the rest of the day, trying to get to the bottom of this mystery. Phones have a habit of going dead on her and judging by previous experience, I am highly unlikely to hear from her for a few months. She will of course deny the phone call ever happened and tell me I am going mad, when the opposite is true. Still it's good to know she is still alive, despite rafting down a river at stupid O'Clock in the morning, the day after Christmas. I'll keep you updated!
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.