The girl with the pierced everything queerly shunned any blood line tattoo kith and kin. A monogamist she was in that regard! Whether her judgement in respect of the aforementioned was one of beautification or mutilation, a fetish perhaps or maybe that she just subscribed to the cult of aesthetics she had thus far never said. Whatever she was sunny enough picking at her crust free hardboiled egg with a pinch of black pepper lunchtime sandwich permitting the gentlest of incoming waves the privilege of planting ‘don’t linger too long’ kisses upon her bare toes and all the time thinking of Mad Harry. For reasons she could not identify she had a soft spot for Mad Harry.
Trading the beach for a ‘Do like to be besides the seaside’ home for the terminally bewildered she reports back for duty cursing the gull that stole her last bite. Still, back to more bum wiping, counting out pills and potions, changing soiled bed linen and serving sweet, milky tea as and when…oh, save for Wednesday afternoon at 3pm when she would sing unaccompanied Vera Lynn songs to the assembled unhinged geriatrics. Mad Harry who, as ever, had completely forgotten she existed remembered her once more at these times…indeed liked it best when she sang ‘We’ll Meet Again’. Even that old harridan boss lady had admitted the girl had quite the sweetest voice.
Mad Harry had long since pulled the pin from the grenade inside his head. These days all he could manage was the occasional shuffle about the place as well as getting stuck into blank screen ‘Season Infinite’ on TV…plus his occasional little accidents of course. She had heard tell he hadn’t spoken a word this last decade at least. From the framed postcard size photo they let him keep aside his bed she could see he had once upon a time been the most handsome man, also a beautiful woman wearing a Venetian masquerade mask at his side! Already the girl had whiled away many an hour making up story after story in her head based upon that snap, some farfetched others of romance and things more risqué.
On this day she found herself chewing gum and cutting Mad Harry’s toenails with scissors (rumour had it that a night time wandering inmate had apparently purloined the regular clippers) in the virtual isolation of his little room overlooking an obstinate wall.
Then a tired crackly out of the blue rattle “Are all those pins holding you together luv?”
“Crikey Harry”…she was much too polite to call him ‘Mad’ Harry to his face… “I thought you didn’t speak to anyone? And yes they are all there to stop me falling apart.”
“Thought as much…my missus had a thousand masks you know…that way she could be anyone she wanted to be.”
The girl with the piercings thinks hard, even lays down the scissors, kneels in front of the old boy so her eyes are tenderly in line with his, one hand on each mummified cheek, squeezing just enough to make it feel right and ever so careful not to graze him with her barbells, “Harry I’d be grateful if we keep the reason for my piercings as our little secret…please don’t tell a living soul.” With that she plonked an indulgent kiss upon Harry’s forehead. As was his want and spontaneously Mad Harry fell into one of his private dreams. Come morn he had forgotten she ever existed…roll on 3pm Wednesday. No harm done.