Image by Christine Renney
Talking the same script
They wear it like a mask
A deadpan ‘I won’t be affected’ fit
Image by Christine Renney
Talking the same script
They wear it like a mask
A deadpan ‘I won’t be affected’ fit
men can gather bed notches and
this elevates them socially
whilst women of the same history
are sluts plain and simple
I am a whore
not because you tell me so
or for any notches or black books
but for the raspy feather in my chest
when it tickles
I gather up my fancy
and I imagine
all the rides I’ve taken
which is as far as I go today
given my propensity for not coming back
but there was a time
I let four boys into my room
not all at once or even
in the same afternoon
they were as different as
the rules for men and women
one I found ugly and angular
his penis was a sharp hungry thing
that burned the desire out of me
another was vain and glorious
a cheshire cat apt to lap his own cream
his was large and unwieldly and
whatever they say about size isn’t really true
it’s about what you can do with what you got
the third had a penchant for drugs
and redheads and he had the best music collection
and the prettiest member
but I will when I die
think on the fourth most of all
short and a little fat with a tiny prick
that boy knew the secrets to loving
and we climbed all night
on divine ladders to heaven
where I briefly told him I loved him
and he bruised my womb
with his insistence I was his alone
which sadly I never was
by then my counterfiet heart
had been scattered like confetti
I was no more able to trust
than a painted lady selling her wares
It was the cheapened version of me
I let hook herself out on a line and dangle
you do that sometimes not for attention
but the disgust you have for yourself
and all the smut that got you to that point
and all the grubby fingers that wouldn’t quit
invading your right to peace
by then I had no feelings other than
roll another one, turn the record up
come here and let me suck
that pain away
it seemed the perfect solution aside
knowing the world would brand me a slag
concubine at best
but there is it
like the condom filled trash
stinking and real
though if you get stoned enough nothing
lasts long enough to peturb
including grateful boys who give their all
and in that five minutes of bliss
you learn a thing or two about transactions
how they salve the pain you never reveal
how being abused can make you turn around
and do the very same thing
though they’d never understand why
molested girls will open their legs to strangers
it’s one of those sad dichotomies
that’s also got a gender inequality label
for don’t you know it’s not always
piss and vinegar
makes a young man rut and rut?
we’re all carriers of some brand of pain
and those damaged souls
recognize each other
The betrayal is deep. Maybe made more so by the stupidity of trust I possessed. It was as if he severed that last remaining piece of trust I had after all the other stuff had happened in my childhood and without that last piece I became a maelstrom.
So you are a maelstrom because you are me. Right now. Sitting in your bedroom listening to Aria with the windows flung open and the scent of jasmine in the air – you are a wild untamed fool who is a maelstrom.
You wanted to be special to someone. It was that simple.
You knew you didn’t have much chance of that because the girls who grew taller than you and had darker skin and more fawn like gait, were far more likely to be the objects of love than you. You were ordinary. You hated that about yourself and when anyone told you otherwise you hated them for lying.
Nevertheless even ordinary girls have dreams. When he told you about his girlfriend and how much he felt for her, you listened to his words and you inserted yourself in her place. But she wasn’t you. She was and still is, a beautiful, tall, glowing golden girl who brought her cello to school every day in a big leather case and walked with the wide stride of a confident and yet demure girl-woman. She had lips like the film you’d just seen and skin that seemed to drench itself in sunlight and you were a flake of dried skin in comparison.
But golden girl didn’t like him overmuch. In fact if memory serves, golden girl soon got together with son of an important man and they were a couple for eons. Golden girl was slumming it with boy with the nice eyes and she knew it and cut it short before anything irretrievable was done. But you didn’t ‘get’ that then, you didn’t really understand much. I wonder at that, because if nothing else you were smart, so how couldn’t you see the writing on the wall? Still you didn’t, you only used those malformed equations to equal your own chance with him, lapping up her left-overs like the fool you were.
He didn’t have an interest in you at all but you remembered something your father had said many times. That since you didn’t have the looks or the pretty little ballerina shoulders with the tawny skin, that you’d have to hook em with your winsome personality. And that was something you could do. You could crack jokes like a sailor, you climbed trees better than any other boy, and knew all the rules of soccer. Hell you’d even bet you could kiss well based on all the films you watched and that unreal world you inhabited when the vagaries of this world disappointed. Armed with those tools you set to world, the one and only time you set out to possess someone.
And he fell for it because he was 15 and he wanted to get his rocks off. It didn’t matter that you weren’t her, when you kissed in the park in the rain and your dark hair dye ran down your faces and turned you both grey, it didn’t matter when he rooted around in your bra and found little of interest, it didn’t matter when you weren’t her and you didn’t have her pillow lips or the sunlight in your huge brown eyes. He’d have taken anything and you convinced yourself that the little lies boys will tell girls was the truth.
Of course it wasn’t. He didn’t think those things about you. He was still talking about her. When he touched your hair and muttered how soft it was, he was reminiscing, when he traced your clavicle it wasn’t you he shared the sofa with, it was her, she was there all along. But you denied that, as you denied that you had gotten him by default, on a plastic rebound from a young goddess to the flats of his disappointment, only ameliorated by your willingness.
And you were willing. Less so than most teenage girls with low-self-esteem perhaps, but only because you didn’t really like his string-bean legs and his concave chest nor the length of his fingers nor the hard knot in his neck. You probably already wanted her, though you didn’t know it, you only knew it didn’t feel good being unwanted and you’d do anything to grasp for yourself a morsel of attention. But his attention wandered almost the moment you began, his eyes always lifting over your head and into the distance. For a time you tried not to notice that but as the false promises and the cheap silver ring on your finger attested, you couldn’t pretend forever.
One night, not hungry for you but hungry for the act, he pushed you down onto the narrow bed in his unmade room and filled himself with your giving. He took without notice, he wasn’t even there, it was the rise and fall of a moment, branded in your psyche eternally. To this day you can see him, giving less of a damn than if he’d been asked to act like he didn’t, a fine performance, a knock-out example of two people and one emotion, dividing them like a snake.
He didn’t like your breasts, he didn’t like the color of your skin or the breadth of your shoulders, he didn’t like the color of your hair, the size of your lips, the way you felt inside, there was nothing, literally nothing, that did it for him that you possessed. If it had been the most important thing in the world to claim him for your own, you would have failed, you did fail, you were a humiliation to yourself and you hadn’t even seen it yet.
So when he told you things they weren’t true and he knew it and anyone with a brain would have too but you had given up on truth, you’d decided you were going to buy it, hook line and sinker and I’m sure that only made him despise you a little more. Because he did you now, despise you, in the way that young boys do, when they don’t get their fantasy and they have to make do with the girl next door. You tried every art in your collection and they all fell flat, but just the calves of a dark-skinned girl with curls down her back could have driven him to his knees and you didn’t own a thing he wanted, not then and not ever.
Giving up that precious space within you for the insertion of trust and another’s soul, is no easy feat, and when you let him inside, he fouled the future with his lies and your acceptance of them. What was worse? That you’d been such a fool or that he’d felt it was acceptable to let you act the part? It was obvious he got less than he wanted but more than he’d get with himself and his hand. You could have been a hole in the wall. You could have been a blancmange or a hooker, maybe you were, maybe you were worse, a happy hooker who falls for her client. What a little idiot you were.
The self-hate only grew like a mask behind you as you strived without success to garner some interest. He found it hard to climax with you, he said it was from drinking but you knew, there was nothing about you that excited him, he may as well have been dry humping the sofa for all the investment he had, you were a living, breathing creature who wanted to be loved, to be special to one person in this world, you’d lived with that need all of your life, you didn’t see why you’d be denied it and then he showed you the horror of how it really was, that no matter how much you may want something, sometimes the absolute underbelly of life will show you the reverse.
Alcohol can loosen the tongue and it did that night he told the truth. It was a strange witching hour, you wanted the truth more than anything and you couldnt’ stand the truth, you couldn’t stand to hear what he really thought even though it made so much sense. He spilt it gladly, relieved presumably from hiding it so long, all those nights he fucked you he’d probably have preferred his own hand or the hand of a stranger. You were less than that, less than anything he could want, he’d only stayed out of pity, or apathy, he couldn’t be bothered to do anything to change circumstance, he knew he was young and time would shift everything without him even trying.
And it did, the night he went to a party without you and a girl with a long neck turned toward him and he felt that absence he’d been searching for all those months, a longing, a quickening for her. They had made love in the garden, he had whispered things to her that he meant and he had been disgusted at himself for wasting that time on you, on your pallid complexion and your wan face and your unimpressive body. He probably found his own sister more attractive than you, he hadn’t thought of the rules that guide us subconsciously and cause us to direct our gaze toward opposites, incase we should get bored with those who resemble ourselves and our beige unsatisfying childhood.
The long-necked girl, she laughed at the desperation in your eyes. She never had such emotions, she could control a boy with the switch of her eyes, the tilt of her body, the smallness of her hands. She was an Audrey Hepburn in a sea of milk, she beckoned him with her tiny wrists and he came, suppliant and hungry with gold in his eyes. And you? You didn’t hear about it for a day or so, and then the whole ugly story came spilling out, a bag of steaming, foul guts, polluting your nice little fantasy that was ludicrous and childish and absurd and shameful, branding you with a ‘I told you so’ a hundred times over.
I told you so. I told you the specter of her father said, if a father thinks a daughter is ugly, that’s like a test of the rest of the world. What were you thinking? Why did you think you could be loved? Cherished? Adored? What dared you believe this was a destiny you could penetrate? You were only ever going to be a neighborhood shag for the bored boys who hung desperately like weeds on the road side and took anything that happened to be passing.
The first night you slept alone you saw it clearest of all and after that you began your lies again, the delusions you told yourself, the ability to forgive the unforgivable and soon you were going back on every promise you had made yourself, you were standing there crying, beseeching him, a part of you screaming at yourself for the sickness of being the one to do that, and the other part urging him not to leave. But he had never been so he couldn’t leave, he just wasn’t there in the first place, he was a face, a glance, a dismissal, that stung to the very marrow of your being.
And years later as you sit in your chair and watch the lustful gaze of men traverse your body and take in your face, you still feel that sting. You still remember with a lurching sickness the way he dismissed you. It would never be enough that nobody since had done that, it would never be enough that all you ever heard now was the opposite. You could be the most beautiful woman in the world or the least, and it just wouldn’t matter because it was no longer about such superficiality as it had been at 15, it wasn’t even then but you didn’t know it.
It was about being special. And you hadn’t been then. And it was the very end of a slow road of rejections and reminders, beginning with your earliest memories and ending with him, his flat eyes and his uninterested hands, pushing you out the door, a garbage bag of your belongings in one hand, and you were walking down the street unable to see for the tears that spilled out of you, tears for yourself, tears of hate, tears of permanency because ever since you had been that girl, the one who unimpressed, the one who didn’t matter, the girl who was overlooked and chosen last if at all.
You could climb a hundred mountains, be made love to and told everything you’d ever desired, and it would sit like a lie in your stomach. Poisoning any chance you had to change. You were wired this way now, wedded to the idea of your inadequacy, an altered picture, a dysmorphic version of yourself that was more real to you than anything echoed by anyone else. When they said wonderful you saw awful, when they said gorgeous you saw hideous, when they laughed at your jokes, you believed it pity. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing was ever believable again.
Except the truth of that first time. The honesty and brokenness of the moment when he infested you and you let him, with a life long supply of inadequacy and shame. When you closed your eyes you could see the look in his eyes when he took in your body and tried hard to orgasm. Failing. Failing. Failing. And that truth was the only truth, nothing that came afterward had the same degree of hideous accuracy and no matter how often you were told you delighted, you were still, underneath all the sham, the pretense, the bolster, the fraud, you were the same 15-year-old girl killed by apathy. No longer believing yourself capable of being special to a single soul in this world.
She needs to grow a thick skin and not give a damn about what others think and when she is old enough it won’t matter at all, none of it will, she will no longer be that fated creature who denies herself the pleasure of living because of one boy so very long ago. I hope you read this. I really hope you do. As you stare at yourself in your darkened mirror and wonder why nobody looks that way at you. I hope you realize, as good as it is to try for what we want, there are some things we should never want and one of them is to be the bed fellow of a disinterested boy who without even knowing, robs us of any potential to be something more. If he read this, he wouldn’t even know who I was referring to, I am absolutely sure he has forgotten you, and forgotten me, he is probably married to someone who made his eyes glitter and you, you will never even see the possibility of such things, because you are still there, 15 years old, feeling his uncaring imprint on your flesh, wanting to wash until you dissolve with the water.
I don’t want to lie to you but I sure wish I could start lying to myself. Tell a different story of me, one that sits less altered in her chair, skewed by the forks laid to eat in tarmac
Truth doesn’t sit well at 2am, when the specter and the sickle crescent with the moon, to chime their heady blend of ‘what if’s’ and disturbance cavorting against imagination
I think of the quiet Christmas eve house, Tom and Jerry fooling about, seems I’ve been living long, if memory can stretch the length of night, without curling back upon itself
you’re there of course, shy and bold and beautiful
and out of the corner of my eye, I see the young me, her nylon night-dress and untrimmed straggly hair
Penguin looks with his sad eyes, Teddy tries not to cry, as knots in the wardrobe come alive, menacing faces, terror in familiar places
he said, sit on my lap child, this won’t take long and after midnight, Cinderella was never the same, she preferred cinders and dark corners
just as you, pulled me out, toward gathering morning and soon light will decide fear and tomorrow will appear slow and steady like a hand on your brow, wiping away the wait
there, there, child, sleep it off, dream the future, where you have inherited the surge and the dragon and you avenge your unseen foe
inch by inch, we reclaim in years, snatched from time, half over us, like sword of Damocles, poised to swallow whole
yes we have much to dread, feel the hook of fear and do it anyway, bury that part saying oh God, no, I can’t as the kids who jump, reaching for rope and burn
to vault into space, grabbing rubber tyre, absailing in space and time, lifted from their feet, by the impossible feat, oh God you can leap
keep on, just keep, on
facing the fear
I think that,
from now on,
whenever I get so sad
that you don’t know what to do
with me you should
of the fact
that in my police mugshot
I have bright green hair
and the specific type of smirk
that may only be worn by those
who are entirely fearless.
of the existence of that mugshot:
the hilarity of the image itself,
the absurdity of the surrounding events,
the possibility of seeing it printed in the newspapers
and the memory of a time when I was free
will always cheer me up
(or at least distract me
for a moment
while you hide all the knives
and pour tranqs into my cup).
With every drink
and every disco dabble
the reckless demolition of
a mind that thrives
on vague ideas of happiness,
promises of something better,
and desperate attempts to
experience whatever it means
to “feel alive” while being
mostly dead inside.
Devastation comes with freedom
and my worst version of myself
isn’t worth my immersion and
participation is what is commonly known
as “having fun.”
Maybe some people
don’t suit fun or don’t deserve it,
but I simply don’t understand it:
my definition of having
a good time is as warped
as my vodka-vortex vision.
I have no hair to let down,
I ripped it all out.
I do not care for my safety —
everyone that I love is a stranger
I smashed the tiles
that I was meant to dance on.
I spend half my life trying
and failing to order more drinks
for people who I don’t know,
with money that I don’t have
long after the bell for last orders
has rattled my rib cage
and leaving after the lights have gone out
and staying after the staff have gone home.
I feel gross and I know I am a mess,
but I pretend that this is fun,
that I don’t have a drink problem
that I don’t have a drug problem
that this is what everyone my age is doing,
that I DON’T HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM ALRIGHT?
and I am an exceptionally good liar
(as all addicts are)
even I believe me.
Do you enjoy it?
Do I enjoy it?
Sparkling powder on dirty cistern
on painted thumbnail
on shattered iPad
on kitchen counter with breadcrumbs
on dusty dashboard
on pirate dvd
on corner of stolen credit card
on someone’s wriggling stomach,
with unsuccessful lottery tickets
with a strip of the Evening Standard
with doctor’s notes
with fluorescent straws
with glass test tubes
with torn-up takeaway menus
with your brass house key,
up it goes,
up a nose that never asked
to be involved.
I don’t enjoy it,
but if you’re offering,
yeah, why not.
It would be rude not to.
I don’t want any of this anymore.
I don’t want to be like this.
I don’t want to fight
this person anymore.
I want to kill the bad half of me,
just strangle her while she’s in bed
with another stranger,
smother her silly
until she enters a sweet forever-sleep.
Oi, leave her,
just let her sleep,
she’s so tired.
She doesn’t want to wake up
to face the morning
Don’t let her wake up
and remember what she’s done.
Don’t let her.
Just let her sleep.
I fill the void with
two litres of cheap wine
and morph into a monster in a mini-dress.
Really though, one sip is all it takes
for the worst version of me to arrive,
uninvited, aggressive, ridiculous.
I want to strangle her
and I think other people do too.
Some guys do, in bed,
but I tell myself that’s different.
“Something’s gotta change.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore.”
“I need to change.”
THIS IS IT.
And so I quit, cold-turkey it, miserable, isolated.
Usually something bad has prompted my decision
so I just hide inside and want to die.
And the change is bad,
and the change is good,
and the change is very good,
and then I go back to my old ways and it starts again.
I hear them mumbling something about leopards,
and spots, and dogs that can do tricks,
and how an addict will always be an addict,
and that I’m going downwards and backwards
and upside-down at an astonishing rate
and they mention spirals and catastrophes
and concerned and worried and disappointed
but I’m not really listening because I don’t want to
I’m gorgeous and I’m laughing
standing at the bar
and knocking back another jar
all eyes on me
the version of me that’s the crowd favourite
everyone gets to see this crazy show again
and I entertain for free –
I don’t mention how much
my party-girl persona costs me
but fuck it
as long as we’re all happy
then that’s good enough for me
The next day I always feel
more panic than shame:
it is dread, utter dread,
and fear at what I have done and said,
and it’s terrifying.
I try to push it out of my mind. “It’s fine,”
I say, “it’s fine.”
I forget that other people’s memories
work far better than mine.
“Oi, Party Girl, why do you care so much about everyone else, but not yourself?”
“That’s just how it is.”
“Well, you should. Start caring for yourself.”
“Nah, I’d rather invest my energy in others.”
“But you deserve to be good to yourself.”
“The damage is done.”
“No it’s not, it’s never too late to change. You can turn your life around.”
“No I can’t.”
“Stop being so fucking pessimistic.”
“It’s like when people continue to put food out for their pet after it’s dead and buried.”
“Like shutting the stable door after the horse has already bolted and run miles away.”
“You’re not an animal.”
“Oh, aren’t I? I know a few guys who would disagree with you on that one.”
“For fuck’s sake. Fine, I give up. Destroy yourself. But I’m not going to play a part in your death.”
“Oh, thanks. It is your round though…”
“No, fuck you.”
“Large chardonnay with a dash of lemonade please, darling.”
“No. Why do you do this to yourself?”
“Because vodka is cheaper than dialectical behaviour therapy.”
“And I get to hang around with you fine people.”
“You’re the most frustrating person I’ve ever met.”
“Why thank you, kind sir.”
“If you were a bloke, I’d probably have hit you by now.”
“You’re so sweet. No ice.”
“In my spritzer. No ice.”
“Agh, okay, but this is your last fucking drink.”
“For fuck’s sake.”
“Thanks, you’re a real pal.”
“We’re all worried about you though.”
“Hey, enough of that. Now hurry up and get me a beverage, there’s too much blood in my alcohol stream!!”
It’s all fun and games until
it’s no longer fun?
it’s no longer a game?
you struggle to remember the last time it was fun?
you begin to think that drinking and drug-taking was never actually ever fun?
It’s all fun and games until you admit that it was never fun,
nor was it a game, but rather 12 years of socially-acceptable self-destruction made excusable because of my youth and troubled childhood.
“The fun stops here, kiddo.”
Something has got to change.
I think that “something” might be me.
Featured image source “You will drink and drink till you die!” from The Windsor Magazine, 1902.
She had taken the day off work but forgot to turn off her usual alarm. All hopes of a lie-in were demolished. She was not ready to turn 29. “Let’s call the whole thing off.”
She wondered if the ravens knew that their continuous cawing is the most consistent, reliable thing in her life.
A murder of crows. An ostentation of peacocks. A parliament of owls. She had no collective. She just was.
She buried her phone under her mattress so she didn’t have to face life just yet. She began to read The Glass Bead Game for the fourth time. And for the fourth time she didn’t make it past page 28. Having said that, she hadn’t expected to make it past year 28, but she’s only bloody gone and done it.
She never opens it in front of her, but she receives a card from her mother every year. If she shakes it hard enough, the hollow words fall out of the envelope like dirty feathers so that by the time she’s gathered the strength to read it, the inside is blank. It’s easier that way, for everyone.
She crossed herself as the bus rumbled past the church, just in case. In case of what, she wasn’t sure. In case hell doesn’t turn out to be as hot as everyone says it is.
She found herself at a park that she used to go to. As a child she spent hours in the playground, being pushed on the rusty swing by someone else’s parent, playing quietly with snails and stones and empty fag packets.
And as a teenager she used to hang out down by the brook with her fellow delinquents, getting trashed on ketamine and K cider. She couldn’t decide which of these periods was more of a waste of her finite hours.
She went to the playground but was fearful of doing so without a child in tow. It had rained last night and the smell was familiar. The playground floor was still comprised of wood chips and loose pieces of tree bark, like it had been over 20 years ago.
She remembered lifting the larger pieces of wood after rainfall and finding woodlice to play with; giving them names, loving them, and then being devastated when she wasn’t allowed to take them home. She did the same now. She named him Stanley and put him in her blazer pocket. There was nobody around to tell her not to.
She stood beneath the statue to read the card from her mother.
She used to climb the statue as a kid. She thought it was the closest she’d get to seeing the Statue of Liberty. Now there’s a gate around it: health and safety gone mad. The blue woman looked so severe, so powerful, so strong, holding her book and sceptre, a wreath around her head.
She is called The Bringer of Peace. Some kids climbed up her and blowtorched her breasts. She now has a large charred black circle on each tit. It makes her look silly. The Bringer of Empty Birthday Cards.
She realised that she’d spent the last decade fighting the urge to lie down in the street, at the bus stop, in the frozen aisle of the supermarket. She was so, so tired.
She forgot where she’d hidden her phone. She received an email from an old lover, wishing her many happy returns. She will never return to him. Tears pricked her eyes as she recalled his parting words to her:
You are impossible. You are as impossible as trying to roll a cigarette in a tornado, without any rizla. You’re the fucking storm and I’m in desperate need of a smoke.
She checked her pocket to see how Stanley was doing. He was gone. She hit her head against the wall 29 times, hard. One for every year of being a terrible person.
She suddenly remembered someone telling her about how their mother’s pregnancy craving was piccalilli. She couldn’t, for the life of her, remember who said this. Or work out why it was in her mind. Did anyone ever say that? On tv, in a book, in a film? She cried because she’ll never know. She had 10% of a memory but will never regain the rest. She wasn’t even sure what piccalilli actually was so she cried some more. She was so tired.
She always cried on her birthday. Every year without fail.
Why the elevator has carpeted walls, she will never know.
She felt the burn of a thousand champagne bubbles rioting down her throat, each capsule of carbonated misery filled with the vicious irony of celebrating being one day closer to her death. And a day closer to yours, too.
She locked herself in a cubicle and shovelled snow up her snout. She hoped Stanley was safe somewhere. Just thinking about him made her well up. She decided she would never have children. She couldn’t even look after a woodlouse.
She sat on her friend’s lap, smoking a suspicious-looking rollup. The garden was lit up like fairyland. She was grateful for her friends, and as the sky was turning purple she saw his face illuminated in the gaps between the fragmented chunks of cloud. Even nature is broken, she thought aloud.
She made a wish when she blew out the candles on her extravagant multi-layer cheesecake. “Please kill me.”
(But it won’t come true because she told me what she wished for).
She didn’t want to go home because it didn’t feel like home at all. The empty streets felt more like home than her little studio room so off she went.
He knew she’d had enough when he noticed that it took her eight seconds to decide if it was a star or an aeroplane.
He knew she’d had enough but he did it anyway.
He knew she’d had enough and said No No No No I don’t want to Please No Please Please Stop Get off me Please No Get off Please but he did it anyway.
He did it anyway even when her screaming stopped.
He did it anyway even when her breathing stopped
He dumped her all those years ago with a nasty line about her being a storm and him wanting an easy life, saying she was impossible to live with.
He dumped her down by the brook and hid her body under some pieces of wood. They were damp and covered in woodlice. There were hundreds and hundreds of them.
They crawled over his hands, around his wrists and up his shirt sleeves. They got into his shoes and ran up his trouser legs. He shrieked and yelped as they climbed his back, over his neck and into his ears. He jumped around like a madman, trying to shake the bugs off him, but every time he’d cleared some of the woodlice off him, another army had arrived.
The commotion happened to alert two police officers that were doing the rounds of their patch. Since the statue had been vandalised, night crawlers had been drafted in to keep an eye on the park after dark.
He was sentenced to 29 years.