Sucking through last straws, sitting behind locked doors, is it the sucking or what we suck up that gives us such, pause,
This story begins with sitting in a job centre behind sliding doors, there is sucking and there is pause …
The claimant was sat in a chair. The claimant; the claimant was sat in a chair, in a state, feeling stateless, with a past, now backdateless, feeling fat and looking weightless; but not being weightless, no, she wasn’t sat in a chair; not ‘in’ a chair, like you couldn’t see that she was there, this is not a story meant to disturb, unnerve or scare, to boggyfie those on Benefits, no there, in front of the desk in the centre of the jobcentre, she sits and shits herself, Naked, to the invisible eye; that can see right through her, the Job seeking adviser, you and I. The invisible eye? No? Ok. There she sits and shits herself, visible to the naked eye, that belongs to the job seeking adviser, you and I. ‘Now, hold on,hold on’ you maybe thinking, ‘what about those other tax paying naked eyes that are blinking, for an opportunity for some scrutiny of the jobless jobseekers seeking to carry out their duty’. Duty? Now there is a beauty.
Well, there is the open office plan job centre designs, with their most accommodating windows without blinds, so this and other such scenes can be seen from the street. Whilst taking a leisurely lunch time stroll to sandwich shop for eat. “Mm …so much choice from and so little time, erm!, singed avocado, please, with burnt garroted goats cheese, and some of that shredded Chinese peasant’s eye lid, just a drizzle of Bangladeshi textile worker’s saliva … on Israeli Apartheid Soda Stream bread.”
And if your local council have done what this government said, they should do, with that central grant, there should be benches by those windows for you,
to sit and view,
while sipping your strictly ballroom lata, smooth turn take away?’
Now, before we go through these sliding doors on this venture into the job centre. Please, when we are there, try not to be wound up when you see, there is the odd privacy, screen, everything can be seen, they can easily be got round and they don’t conceal a sound.
One last thing, before setting off on such an expedition, you would be advised, to make something of an exhibition, of your employment situation, your work status. An ID badge or dress, in professional haughty sartorialness, just to assist the security guards in making their decision, who to pepper spray and to escort from the premises, or not; if by any chance, once you’ve had your lot, you fall into a news paper printed rage and a claimant you engage, a claimant in physical or verbal abuse, while waving around a copy of the daily noose.
But, rest assured, it’s for the staff and public’s safety, the services of those guards have been secured.
So, here we are close to the centre of the job centre, lets find a seat, and for the sake of this tale please try to be discrete.
Sat in a chair, in front of the desk in the centre of the job centre; the claimants words were sticking to the back of her throat. Now, please don’t let this get your goat. This is not a deliberate lack of cooperation. Please, put that scalpel down, she does not need an operation.
“A mime …” ‘Ah! the ‘ace of wands’oh .. mm .. you will be entering a period of abundance, realise that chance is just a state of mind, risk will be abolished and you will have the midas touch.’
These weren’t the words sticking to the back of the claimant’s throat, by the way. No, they were still circling for some where to land inside her head. The shape of those words, were the shape of the tread, on the wheels turning in her head.
Sitting in a chair, behind the desk in the centre of the job centre, the Job Seeking Adviser, Ms Gleason, addressed the claimant with five enquiring yes’; is that how many its going to take to loosen these words from the back of the claimant’s throat? The resemblance these yes’ had to the sound that a dog might make when locked in a car parked in direct sun light, increased with each utterance.
I won’t do the the yes’; because apparently I don’t do very good animal impersonations. I will of course if you insist Ok. By the way dogs can’t cope with heat, because they’ve only have sweat glands on their little noses and on the pads of their feat.
Looking at these women sat at this desk, in the centre of the job centre, you wouldn’t think looking at her; ‘now, there is a women with a strong will to live’. No, well, its not necessary, it’s not required. She is finding each day waiting for her, there, standing over her as she wakes in the morning, accompanying her, observing her, as it passes; and then standing side by side with the next day, and both of them standing over her as she undresses her eyes to sleep she can feel them both there waiting to begin and to end, to end and begin to begin and to end, to end and to begin, to begin and to end, to end and to begin, to begin and to end, to end and to begin, to begin and to end, to end and to begin.
Looking at this women sat there, if by any chance, you had seen this women before, when she was otherwise engaged, busy not knowing she was born; you might look at her sat there and think, ‘well, she knows now’. She’d received a letter about 9, 10 months ago. Not telling her she had been born. No, that would be a peculiar letter to receive from the Department of Work and Pensions. No, this letter informed her, you have been found capable of work. Found, capable, and in working order. This discovery was made by a business that goes by the name of Atos, whose services this, your, her majesty’s government had engaged in an attempt to curb the excesses of those scurrilous, self serving, speculators, GP’s? and in her case a CPN, a Community Psychiatric Nurse, too.
She arrived far to early to the sports centre that day, that’s where the Atos assessments were taking place by the way, She couldn’t really afford a taxi, but she couldn’t afford to be late, she couldn’t afford to get her self in to an agitated state, she could afford to leave it in the hands of fate. If by any chance previous medical opinions turn out to be awry, so what, so be it, she wasn’t work shy; Work! Work! Work!, she had almost made the ultimate sacrifice for this, your her, majesty’s governments nation; she answered the Atos examiner’s questions with out a drop of hesitation, like a full and frank declaration, doing not a bad impersonation, of her CPN.
I won’t do an impersonation of her doing an impersonation of her CPN, because, apparently, I don’t do very good impersonations of people with PTSD doing impersonations of CPN’s. I will of course if you insist OK.
‘It is only through the corners of a past encrusted eyes that she can see the present’.
The expression on the Atos examiners face turned a tad unpleasant, at this most informative, pretense; darkened still further by her insistence, that her star sign being Cancer was not just a coincidence. ‘Between 60 and 65 percent of her time, when indoors, is spent sitting or standing with her back nestled against walls; and when mobilising it is necessary, to avoid anxiety, that she sidle along walls through rooms and corridors.’
The Atos examiner refused to accept this had any connection between her being born at noon, between the 21st of June and the 22nd of July. She rained in her thoughts she let out a sigh.
So, she was punctual and very well presented, but awarded two points with a click of the mouse when trying to fasten the harness attached to the hoist, she relented. The hoist? The hydraulic hoist by the side of the swimming pool. She was maintaining her dignity but was on the edge of loosing her cool. As you can imagine, its very frustrating trying to fasten fiddly little clasps and buckles with a claw. She’d sacrificed this touch in what we euphemistically called a war. In the line of duty, drawn by her majesty’s governments experiments in alchemy, heat devoured her touch, a heat that gave teeth to light, an ingesting light, that devoured what was there before the stars and the planets and a touch and a touch and a touch.
Hoisted up and over the deep end, once the harness was secured; given the comforting words, ‘Don’t worry we are insured’. She was lowered into the water with the drone of the hydraulic hoist ringing in her ears, she was having problems holding on to tears,
that were pricking at the back of her eyes; Chlorine? No, not necessary, not required.
Instructed to, ‘unfasten the harness please’. She did, she could, and the previous two points were taken a way with a clickful ease.
With beaded bubbles dreaming from her nose and mouth she sank slowly to the bottom of the pool. So, she was fit for work! Two Atos attendance got her out of the water with a well drilled extrication, one had to apply mouth to mouth resuscitation, whilst her college sat and watched with morbid fascination. Now, you maybe wondering, if mouth to mouth resuscitation was required, what does it take for the imagination to be fired, into following, that it was because of the inhaling and swallowing of water that she sank, but such a conclusion would not have another body in money’s bank, to be with drawn or not, at money’s will, supply and demand, a slight of hand, a trick of the human traffic light spill? Human trafficking is a crime? But, not all the time.
Well, the Atos examiners report made no mention of mouth to mouth resuscitation occurring at all; and her recollection of receiving the ‘kiss of life’, manifested itself in feeling of gratitude deep. Slicing off the top of her dignity, creating a draft, a tiresome fatiguing draft. She didn’t have it in writing yet, but she had been found.
Still sat in a chair, in front of the desk in the centre of the job centre, the claimant paused there, she became aware, of a warmth stil there, in the partly upholstered chair, where, the previous claimant; who was just about to walk through the sliding doors out of the building, had sat and signed a piece of paper there, on the desk, a pledge, on the desk in the centre of the job centre; that would allow him to use 256 kilowatts of gas, 108 kilowatts of electricity, the use and disposal of 203 gallons of water. To clean and feed himself for the next two weeks. Well, not really, not properly. He also, had credit card payments to meet, and considerable arrears with the water company. He may have been off school on that day that lesson was taught on how to spot a boy or girl who was likely to develop a dependency on alcohol and should not and could not be trust with water, Water? Or money? And he was putting aside £3 a week, every week, toward getting a pair of shoes that didn’t leek, well, when you haven’t kissed or caressed, in over 18 months, there can be hope in not making a squeak.
Now please don’t look so concerned, that claimant leaving the building, hadn’t just signed that piece of paper, its ok, he’d been given permission, everything is under control, ok?. He’d shown Ms Gleason evidence of job application they had made, interviews they had attended, proof of phone calls and e mails requesting further job applications. As far as she was concerned he had fulfilled his job seekers agreement for the previous 2 weeks; ok? Ok?
‘Hahahahahahah, Yes …’
The claimant reached into her coat pocket and took out a piece of paper and unfolded it on her lap. She began to gag in a juddering rhythm, loosening the words, all except five, from the back of her throat. The words fell on to the paper. Now, during this attempt by the claimant to loosen the words from the back of her throat, the resemblance the movement of the claimant’s tongue had, to a dogs tail wagging, that had just been let out of a car parked in direct sunlight, increased with each word. She put the piece of paper on the desk, and in the middle of this paper on the desk in the centre of the job centre were the words; ‘I have lost my entire fortnights job seekers allowance on a horse in the 3-45 at Kempton, and I need the money replacing, please’.
Ms Gleason didn’t respond immediately, appearing not to understand this note, giving the appearance of not understanding, she gestured to the claimant with a nod, that they peruse this ‘document’ together. The claimant leaned over the desk and she gripped the claimant’s neck, holding her there she leaned in, the warmth of her breath touched the claimant’s ear as she opened her mouth to speak. But, there was nothing to say, it had already been said, this claimant had been sacrificed, escape goat spit filled her head.
Now there is a difficult substance for wheel to turn in, no matter what the tread.
This grip had loosened the last five words from the back of the claimant’s throat and they were now trying to get out of her mouth. The grip released, the claimant slumped back into the chair. ‘I haven’t eaten for three days’, scuttled out between the claimants lips. ‘I-haven’t-eaten-for-three-days’, oh, that’s six words. By the way the claimant hadn’t just given her that bit of information about her diet, no, the claimant had presented it to her in a manner that might provoke feelings of pity. The claimant didn’t intend it to come out that way, the claimant didn’t intend to share that bit of information with her at all.
Still sat in a chair, behind the desk in the centre of the job centre, the possible consequences of what she had just done to the claimant was sinking into the lining of her stomach, her mouth dried. She pushed the button under the desk?
Arjan, who was standing by the sliding doors, got a message in his ear piece. With extendable baton and pepper spray concealed, he set off at a purposeful stroll along the carpeted aisles towards desk five. Was this going to come down to her word against hers?
As Arjan rounded the ‘privacy screen’, she gestured for him to wait. Appearing to be in some kind of state, of denial, she was engaging the claimant – she could see the bruises forming on the claimant’s neck – engaging the claimant in familiar conversation. “Oh?, So, what was the name of this horse?”. The claimant, despite Arjan’s presence, leaned over the desk; the warmth of the claimant’s breath touch her ear as the claimant opened her mouth to speak, “Too big to fail” the claimant replied. “Too big to fail”. It fell at the fifth or was it the sixth. Tears were pricking at the back of her eyes. Pepper spray? No. not necessary, not required. She recognised this; feeling, and if she wasn’t mistaken, all she’d have to do was … she wasn’t going to have to do anything, she was just going to get up off the chair and leave the building. She stood up, pushed the chair back, sidled along the edges of the carpeted aisles, out through the sliding doors and into the streets.
Arjan, looked over at the claimant sat in a chair in front of the desk in the centre of the job centre. The claimant lifted the collar of her coat, to conceal the marks on her neck, where Ms Gleason’s claw had gripped her. She stood up, pushed the chair back walked along the carpeted aisles and followed Ms Gleason through the sliding doors. The Spark of love and revolution can occur in the strangest of moments.