After three hours sleep last night I jolted awake exactly one minute before my alarm and mechanically threw on my armour. I shuffled and grunted my way to Clapham Junction and fell onto a train with all the other zombies. On the train, finally drinking coffee that I must have autopiloted, I tried to remember why I was on this train in the first place. Essentially I woke up a second time. “Uuuuuh. What am I doing?? Oh yesss I’m recruiting for the army. Yes that’s it, the army. Good. The army. That’s all. I’d forgotten. Wait whatttt? Recruiting for the whaaattt?” *pinch* *pinch* “Definitely awake.” *stares at coffee*

So yeah. I totally just spent the day recruiting for the army. If I’d told that to my fifteen year old self, he’d have punched me. Then he’d have fallen over clutching his hand, apologising and maybe even looking for someone to help him. He wanted toughening up, he did, that lad. He’d have done well listening to his teachers and getting stuck in, rather than sitting up trees reading all that poncy bloody poetry. Should’ve joined the army. Plenty of opportunities in the army. It’s not just about the fighting you know. Look at that James Blunt. He was army and now he’s singing all them songs. And he were in ‘t room next door to me at posh school.

I was in a school with “houses”. My house was the army house. Yep, that’s a thing. I didn’t fit in there. There was a diminutive psychopath no bigger than my thumb who once dragged me out of bed while asleep just to stamp on my head. He was a pathetic example of humanity, but people followed him because in the absence of a quantifiable “cool” level, the one who shouts loudest wins. I suspect that hiding inside the abuser was the abused. There was also a boy made out of oozing crusty liquid and fear who spat in mouths. He was okay. He was just being mean because he was disintegrating. At the time though, you don’t read into the other person. I had three years of mutual incomprehension punctuated by people telling me in serious helpful voices that I had to find my “niche”. I learned honesty and loyalty despite myself under the guidance of a wonderful stern hidebound army Colonel. If someone had told Ross Becket that I would one day be recruiting people for the army, he’d have died on the spot. I would never have picked me to talk about the army and neither would any of my teachers. Principally because they knew I’d have got distracted by things and gone off on wild tangents. But also because I was an angry scruffy undisciplined strange child, not to be relied on. My parents friends used to call me Damien, The Antichrist from The Omen.

So this morning the grown version of that weirdo talked about the army to people the weirdo’s age. He even caught himself occasionally putting on a bluff countenance, downflecting and making questions sound like statements.

It went better than it should done have in theory. I learnt some things about the army. And it felt like some form of closure on that pretty strange patch of my childhood.

I got home to an empty flat with dinner in a bag. I put the oven on. I started to wind down and shake out all of the random of the week. But it wasn’t to be. It’s a friend’s birthday party and she’s Danish and we’re making Beowulf. So I’m writing this on the overground on my way to Canonbury and the guy in the seat next to me just farted. I hope he reads this over my shoulder.

So I’m kind of boozyworking again this evening. My business partner and I are going to throw some ideas at a Beowulf script he’s just completed, and combine it with this birthday party, while talking to Anna about some R&D. I remember commenting in LA about how much business is done over a pint in this town. This is my last night for a month I can do that London boozy working. Or eat meat wheat or dairy. I’m off on a detox. For now I’m in a good old English pub.IMAG0088

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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