Branwell To The Rescue – Manglebrain Is Back In The Sideboard

 

Branwell has saved me – AGAIN. He nicked some Holy Water from Papa Brontë’s drinking jug, brought it down to my house where he found me hovering over the kitchen table (not flying – floating!) singing Kylie’s ‘I Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’, got my trusty trepanning kit out of the drawer it lives in, dipped the end of the drill in the Holy Water and TREPANNED MANGLEBRAIN OUT OF MY HEAD AND BACK UPSTAIRS TO THE LOFT.

I love Branwell. People can say what they like about him, he’s my BEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WORLD. Fuck little Emily, she’s a flaky, flighty bint, more concerned with her stupid WRITING than with saving her so-called friend (me!) from being possessed by a DEMON – when it comes to the crunch Branwell always rides in at the crucial crux to save me. He’s like a knight on a white charger except he’s not a knight and he doesn’t like riding old Bessie because he can’t stay upright on her back for long, and Bessie isn’t white, she’s dark brown with light brown patches and a dull creamy-coloured streak on her head. He’s reliable, trustworthy and honest, and he’s NEVER stingy with the laudanum or the opium or his special brew of Absinthe that he makes himself in an abandoned shepherd’s hut up on the moor.

I’m going to make him some Cumberlaudanum sausage sandwiches and a cake.

 

 

 

The Morning After Ex-Simon’s Birthday Party And I Think I’ve Killed Branwell

 

He isn’t breathing. His face is white and he hasn’t got a pulse. We played Dare last night and I won. 

WAKE UP BRANWELL!!

I can’t do the hammer-on-the-knees reflex test because he’s lying on the kitchen floor with his legs in the cupboard under the sink and he’s knocked over all the cleaning products – his pant legs are soaked in Fairy Liquid (Lemon flavour, I don’t like the others, they stink).

I’ll try banging my ladle on the arse end of my big stew pot, next to his ear.

Earplugs.

BANGBANGBANGBANG

fucking hell, these earplugs are shite.

 

WAKE UP BRANWELL, YOUR DINNER’S READY. It isn’t really but he loves his food.

BRANWELL!!

Nope, nothing.

 

I’ll put an onion in his eye! Hang on while I slice a bit off.

He’s got crusty bits of sleep on his eyelashes –

– I’ll open the lids with my teabag squeezer—

eeeeeeewwwwww! His eyeball looks like a DEAD FISH EYE!

 

Bollocks. What am I going to tell little Emily?

‘Sorry, little Emily, I’ve accidentally killed your brother.’

Uh-uh, I don’t think so.

 

I know, I’ll sing him a song.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight?

A-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

A-WEEE, A-WEEE

A-WIMOWEH

Fucking neighbours. STOP BANGING. FUCK OFF.

 

A hymn – that should annoy him. 

I only know one hymn and I’ve sung it before on my blog.

Ah, fuck it, everyone does reblogs of their own stuff, don’t they?

KUM-BAH-YA M’Lord, KUM-BAH-YA

KUM-BAH-YA M’Lord, KUM-BAH-YA

KUM-BAH-YA M’Lord, KUM-BAH-YA

WOOOAAAHH LOOORRD KUM-BAH-YA

 

Aha! That did it, he’s shuddering!

BRANWELL, YOUR DAD’S HERE!

HA HA HA HA HA HA

 

 

***************

 

 

He’s gone home now and he’s not dead – well, he IS dead but you know what I mean. He’s got a VERY BAD HANGOVER, which I don’t have because I don’t drink alcohol as I’ve already said many times before – I stuck to drinking Absinthe but Branwell also necked the rum and the gin he keeps in his hipflasks.

We had a fine old time of it last night, it’s the best party I’ve been to for years (it’s the only one, but so what, it’s still the best). I might do it again for MY birthday which is in a couple of weeks or so – just to let you know, I’m accepting all cards and presents from NOW.

Oh, before I go – I spoke to Branwell about little Emily. He’s going to bring her to see me this afternoon. He said nothing about why she’s stayed away for such a long time so I dont’ know if she’s in a neck-wringer of a mood with me or what’s up with her, but I suppose I’ll find out soon enough. One thing he said has been puzzling me though – he said ‘Do you truly wish to see her again? Truly, Dotty?’

Why did he ask me that?

 

 

Dead Husband Ex-Simon – Happy Birthday To You, Happy Birthday To You, Happy Birthday Dead Ex-Simon, Happy Birthday To You – Part 4

 

I spent yesterday afternoon in a bit of a tizz, wondering why I was SO bothered about the state of my house that I felt the need to advertise for a cleaner. I don’t usually notice how manky it is – it’s a good couple of months since I was last aware of it. And then I remembered – today would have been my dead husband ex-Simon’s birthday and I was missing his marvellous house-cleaning skills! If there was one thing he was good at, it was cleaning. I’m not buying him a card though, he’s dead, it’d be a waste of money and anyway I don’t think they make cards that say ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE ONE I LOVED UNTIL HE TURNED INTO A TWAT AND I HAD TO KILL HIM,‘ do they? Actually, they probably do, they make cards for everything nowadays.

Thinking back, I should have had our horoscopes done when I met him, to suss out our levels of compatability. Two Cancerians? Nah, no chance, it was DOOMED in the stars – CRAB FIGHT ALERT, CRAB FIGHT ALERT – written there for all to see and all I had to do was LOOK – but I didn’t. Idiot. He was a sulky git (have I told you that in Parts 1, 2 or 3a? I might have, I don’t know). He could sulk for days if he had a mind to – he was sulking on the day I shot him because I didn’t like the present he gave me (a reminder of what it was in case you can’t be bothered to go back and read the other posts – a fucking HOOVER for my Valentine’s Day present). It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s STILL sulking about that day – GET OVER IT, EX-SIMON, WE ALL HAVE TO DIE SOME TIME, IN SOME WAY.

Whatever age he would have been today – and I’m not telling you so don’t ask me – his mind would have been around 98 going on 150. Talk about OLD BEFORE HIS TIME – think of a cross between Edward Norton (looks), a young Robert De Niro (looks) and Victor Meldrew, Patrick the Astronomy bloke whose surname I can’t remember, and EVERY OTHER WHINGEING OLD MOANING BASTARD YOU’VE EVER KNOWN (personality) and that was ex-Simon. I did him a favour – fuck knows what he’d have been like if I’d let him live to 35.

So anyway, I’m having a little birthday party for him tonight. My guests will be ME and BRANWELL, who called round this morning for his breakfast. I don’t know where the fuck little Emily is, she’s probably eloped with the stinking pygmy dog-man, but I’ll get it out of Branwell tonight when he’s pissed and in a fugue. He thinks he’s being clever and cagey when he avoids my questions about her but I’m not STUPID, I once did a MENSA test and got all the questions RIGHT (except maths) and it only took me 3 months to complete so my IQ is fucking SKY HIGH, it’s out of the ATMOSPHERE, it’s zooming towards PLUTO (the planet, not the dog).

I did have a fleeting feeling that it might be WRONG of me to have a birthday party for ex-Simon, but Branwell said No, birthday parties are NEVER wrong, so that put my mind at rest and I’ve started cooking already. Here’s what’s on the party grub list –

 

Cumberlaudanum Sausage sandwiches (a HUGE pile of them)

An opium birthday cake

Another opium cake with chocolate chips

Laudanum fairy cakes with buttercream (Branwell’s favourite)

Absinthe

More Absinthe

Opium

Laudanum

A strawberry jelly (with laudanum)

A packet of Texas BBQ Pringles (left over from Christmas)

A home-made opium, laudanum, absinthe, Hellman’s Extra Light Mayonnaise DIP for us to dip the Pringles in

 

And I have no fear that this party will end up like the other one (that was a BAD party) because Branwell is nice and kind and won’t laugh at me when I do the AGADOO-DOO-DOO dance because I TAUGHT HIM IT and he LOVES IT.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EX-SIMON, where ever you are.

 

A Dotty Day Out – Adventures With Branwell (Part 1)

 

Yesterday morning I was in a strange double mood, good because the weather was Spring-like, bad because I wanted to go to my MEMORIAL BENCH. I posted a post asking if someone would please lend me their TELEPORTER and I was so grateful and surprised by all the positive replies that I found my little going-out rucksack and filled it with the things I need for going out – Cumberland sausages, 5 bottles of laudanum, 4 packs of beta-blockers, bottle of Diet Coke, bottle of water, hairbrush, purse, Nokia Hard Bastard, and the little present that Scotty bought me. Then I opened the back door and sat down on the lino, as close to the outside as I could get, and I waited. I waited for a long, long time. A long, long, long, long time.

Nobody came.

 

 

I don’t know what time it was when I heard footsteps coming round the side of the house. I jumped up and nearly fell back down again – my right leg gave way, it must have gone to sleep because of how I’d been sitting (cross-legged like a Yogi). It was only Branwell though, happy for a change, so happy the smile almost skipped off his face.

“Dotty, sweet Dotty! What brings you such sadness on this glorious day of splendiferous sunshine?”

I burst into tears and told him.

“No, no, no, come along. Weep not, my chickling, for here am I, Branwell the Magnificent, come to your rescue, sans white charger but with love and friendship uncurbed. Off we go, off we go.”

And he took my keys out of the door, grabbed my hand and pulled me OUTSIDE before I realised what was happening, then he locked the door, took my hand again, and away we went.

 

 

The street was heaving with PEOPLE, shouting bickering squabbling laughing braying PEOPLE, a polarised muddle of the wealthy middle classes posturing and preening their way round the shops, and the dirty, thin and stinking poor. I couldn’t take it all in, there was too much bustle and noise – beggars called out for pennies; women argued with stall-holders, trying for a bargain that wouldn’t happen; scrappy, raggy children ran to and fro, ducking and dodging; a wool-worker coughed and hawked up a great glob of blackness from his lungs and spat it out right in front of me; barrows and carts clattered on the cobbles; horses whinnied and snorted; dogs barked; a handbell clanged and clanged – and Branwell whisked me through it all in seconds, the stench of sewage and sickness and cooked meat and rotten fruit and unwashed bodies so strong I could taste it.

“Hang on, where are we going?” I asked when we’d slowed to a trot and the sounds of the street weren’t so loud.

“Refreshments!”

“Eh?”

“A jar of cheering sweetness, my dear. Your face resembles the sad arse of a sow due for the slaughterhouse. O wretched maid of long torment, your smile would set my heart content. But woe is you and woe is me, diddly dum and fiddly fee. Ha ha ha ha ha.”

“Shut up, div. Tell me where we’re going.”

“There!”

And he pointed to the inn a few steps ahead of us.

“I’m not going in.” My heart was thumping.

“Yes, you are!”

And he pulled me to the door, kicked it open and dragged me inside.

It was so dull and smokey in there I had to blink loads of times before I could see. The room was small and dingy; brown walls, thick sawdust on the floor. A man with massive, black mutton chop whiskers stood behind the bar. Just two other people were there, an old man sitting in one corner of the bench seat that ran across the back wall and down one side of the room, and a boy collecting glasses from the tables.

“Dawson! Two jars!” Branwell shouted, though we couldn’t have been six feet away from the bar. He led me to a table next to the only window in the room but the panes of  glass were so thick I couldn’t see out.

“Sit, sit!” Branwell gestured at the bench with a grand sweep of his arm. He sat down next to me, took his little box of snuff from his coat pocket, opened it and offered it to me.

I shook my head, “Eeew, no thanks.”

He took a big pinch and sniffed it up one nostril then the other. Quick as you like, he whipped out his hanky and started sneezing into it. “That’s better,” he said, his eyes gleaming.

“That’s fucking disgusting.”

He laughed. “No worse than many things.”

The boy brought the drinks to us on a tray, two great tankards of beer. It tasted so strong I had to sip it. Branwell downed half of his in one go.

“What are we doing here, Branwell?”

“Being merry! Sup your porter and cheer up. Have you eaten yet? I am ravenous, starved, I could eat a scabby dog. Dawson!”

“Aye, sir?”

“What’s cooking?”

“Mutton, sir. Broth.”

“Two plates, then. And bread, but only if it is warm. I want none of your mould at my table.”

“Aye, sir.”

The broth was lovely, full of big chunks of fresh meat and veg. The bread was even lovelier, soft and springy and warm. I sneaked a handful of Cumberland sausages out of my rucksack and passed a couple to Branwell. I put mine in a slice of bread and had the best Cumberland sausage sandwiches I’ve ever tasted.

“How’s little Emily today?” I asked when we’d finished eating.

“Still weak. Although your medicine appears to have done the trick. She was up and about this morning, at her desk rummaging through papers. Charlotte scolded her.” He rolled his eyes, sucked in his cheeks, jumped out of his seat and stood in front of the table, his hands clasped together in front of him – “Sister, sister, what ARE you thinking? Shoo, shoo, back to bed!”

I couldn’t stop laughing. He sounded just like her. “She’s not that bad, is she?”

He sat down. “At times she is a terrible harridan, Dotty. Terrible. There are certain particulars that should be kept within the family but quite honestly, I am at my wits end with her antics.”

“Why, what has she done?”

“She burnt many of my writings. Onto the fire, cast into the flames as though they were words infernal, penned by the Devil himself.”

What could I say to that? I knew she’d done some burning – after little Emily died she burnt loads of her poems and edited loads of others (little Emily told me), but I didn’t know she’d burnt Branwell’s stuff too. Before I could think what to say he said,

“They take me for a fool. The Great Published Brotherhood of Whispering Bells. They think I am blind to their secret.”

“What secret?”

He picked up his tankard but he’d emptied it. He banged it down on the table. “Published! They are published and yet they lie to me that they are not, and they continue in their lies day after day. I am not to be told their news for fear it will send me far into a mad wretchedness of mental agonies from which I shall not return.”

I stayed silent. So did he, after he’d shouted for the boy to bring him a refill. I took my Nokia Hard Bastard out to see what time it was but it wouldn’t turn on properly, no signal.

After a while he let out a big sigh. He sat up straight and turned to me.

“Accept my heartfelt apologies, Dotty, my friend. I am a ranting dolt, an angered berk who should know better. I promise I shall not allow our day to be further marred by talk or thoughts of my own grievances when my intentions are to bring a smidge of light and happiness to us both. We, the soul-sick, mired in woe…”

“Shut up, you rhyming twat.” I gave him a punch on the arm.

“Are you ready to move on to the next stage of our adventure?” he asked.

“What is it?”

He smiled, a great big beamy smile, and then he tapped me on the nose with his finger. “Wait and see. Wait and see.”

 

 

(TO BE CONTINUED)

 

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