Hi (Woman’s Name), I wouldn’t worry about drinking so much at your age unless you are drinking over a bottle of wine a day. If so book yourself into the nearest Betty Ford clinic,


Thanks for the latest story. I know I’ve said it before but I love how you write it how it is. I don’t think I’ve ever read a woman write so well about how a woman really feels; and I’ve read lots. I love It how you sound mean, but you know I don’t really mean mean (can I really say that, grammatically? I guess I just did) but I mean (4x in a . . ) says it like a woman without fear. It sounds cold and clinical but I can hear the desire for unequivocal love in the voice. It is a modern stance. I asked you before if you wrote to help young women but you said no. I think that young women and men would benefit from reading how a young woman, raised old-fashioned, sees today’s complex modernised world. I don’t think I told you about a new young carer working for me that told me of how she was able to see on an app on her phone that the man she was seeing was lying about where he was (men lie so much it’s a language – Chris Rock). Men are fucked up these day’s and they only have their mother’s to blame. I can’t imagine the feelings that you must have had growing up over the years but bravo to you for sharing this girl! You are the modern woman unplugged

I will send you my latest unpublished story. I’m sorry if you think I write about my predicament too much but it feels like I’m the last yellow card in a game of Uno; I mean only one card left with nowhere left to go. That’s why I think of suicide so much, it just seems like the only way out of all this. Justice is all I want… and peace but peace is only awarded to those that pray and even those that pray don’t get it sometimes

– by the way it was after 6 beers for this prologue

(the bit about silence is an allusion to my father’s silent treatment of my mother my sister and me as a child)

I no longer drink like I used to but I have had what an alcoholic would call a “moment of clarity”. For a man with a bad memory I am impressed to say that it happened three days ago. I have written to an MP who I was told would have empathy for a man in my situation. My lawyer credited me with having the “gift of the gab” and told me to write so I wrote a letter as a person and not as a number in a file and then my lawyer added in all of the legislation bits and pieces to make it proper (that was said in Cockney). That was over a month ago and I have not heard back. I have sent the same letter three times but I am being ignored. I once had a neighbour who was a psychologist that told me not to expect people to be have been raised with the same manners that I have. I accept that but to not have even acknowledged receiving the email raised my ire. It would feel better being told, get fucked, than silence. I have waited and waited and then a friend helped me to find another MP’s address so I wrote another email as a disabled person stuck within a system where I will never find justice. Once again I have been ignored completely. Am I that good a writer? Have I written with too much emotion and not enough legislation? I have agonised over this since. How come I am not being properly compensated for becoming injured while working for somebody else on a dangerous building site? I have been drinking a lot to make me forget. That helps.

It started to happen when I spoke to my lawyer and asked him if he had heard anything? He said no and the first cold rush of almost-reality shot through my chest and spine. A month and a half knows no time. I called him a week later and then the first part of my break-through happened when I asked my lawyer if I was wasting my time. Yes hurts worse than your curse. The more I talk to people who have had accidents at work they have been able to recover from the more alienated I feel from normal society. I have lost so many of my rights and nights of sleep thinking about the cruelty I have and will continue to face. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for me. I wrote in one of my silly short stories “too sick to live properly but not sick enough to die properly”. Now that was only written for effect but most good fiction is somehow based in fact. The first time I felt it I almost cried. There will never be any justice.

Feeling something is not the same as being told it. The most beautiful woman I have ever met told me that I had better stop fighting it or I would pop an eyeball or have a stroke or something. I laughed when she said it and then was quiet as I thought about it. I knew she wasn’t joking but it sounded funny. Then another beautiful woman said something similar. Shit is that all I talk about? Being trapped in a system flawed by bureaucracy? I hope that I can still make people laugh but what I laugh at other people can’t. The system should be called icareless. Nobody cares that I will never be free. I met and was talking to a British SAS veteran from Hereford about this (shit is my damaged brain really stuck on this?) and he asked me if I was talking about morals or ethics? I told him, both! The shit that’s happening to me feels unholy. He raised his eyebrows and was keen to talk with me and I heard all about his time in the army and all about his trip in Australia. I told him I had lived for a while in Hereford. Did you serve, he asked? No, I said, I worked on a farm. I’m doing my time now.

The moment of clarity came to me suddenly. Two women that I trust have told me seriously this week that I was wasting my time. The second one said you can try and change the system but it will not change for you. She said, you are going to give yourself an aneurism if you continue fighting the way you are. I hadn’t even thought about it ‘til she said that. If I whinged and moaned enough to change things the system will not be retrospectively changed from over ten years ago. The only time legislation is changed retrospectively it is to suit the government and not the working class. Nobody cares, least of all the people that were supposed to look after me. My friends have been right. Life is difficult for everybody, but there are extremes of suffering so I will now have to shut up and take my suffering in silence, like a monk. Life is not fair for almost everyone so there is no point of reference. There are only a limited number of times you can bang your head against the wall before you will see blood. I can now see the blood and I have only just realised the blood I see is my own and nobody else gives a damn. The best analogy to describe the scheme I am stuck within is it’s like one of the children has stolen dad’s car keys and is driving all over town without a licence. The child does not know the road-rules or how to drive but is having fun being in control

It has been a very bitter pill to swallow and I am almost at the end of my tether. I will never receive justice. I will have to become a Buddhist, and no not like Thích Quảng Đức who set himself on fire to protest against the persecution of Buddhist by the South Vietnam government (after all I am already on fire) but like a Buddhist that lets everything wash over them. I will stop trying to fight against the current and I will no longer try and build a dam like the beaver (… mmmm beaver). I will try and be like a smooth rock in the river and let everything wash over me… sheesh, how the fuck am I going to do it? I am going to try and smile as they feed me the pill. The pill tastes like shit but it is the only thing keeping me alive. I will always be at war but I cannot afford the price of their peace. The pill already tastes bitter (this is an understatement, it actually tastes like one hundred dead moths) as none of this is even my fault. I cannot change my circumstance because I have no power. My boss and GIO took the blame but no ethical responsibility for my multiple disabilities. Now the government is keeping me down. Dirty Rat-Fink-Mother-Fuckers all are all standing in a circle licking jerking and sucking each other off behind the bike-sheds. I am at the mercy of senseless bureaucracy. The government now holds my justice and emancipation in a tight grip behind their back, just out of sight. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I/You lose. It is time to utter those three little words that I did not think I would ever say; and no not those three little words, I am still a hopeless romantic and am ready for love. It is not, I love you, the 3 little words are – I give up, officially. Justice only belongs to the lucky… sometimes.


I am a rock,

I am an island off the coast of Normality.

My island will never have autonomy;

I am the ruler of nowhere that matters.

Give up.

Let the water wash over and the tide guide me

Normality is too far to swim too.

Accept it and try to move on sucker




Andrew Andrew Andrew



AS I said I have been in a funk recently and haven’t felt like talking to anyone. Every day is the same in the way that I now have to do things. There has been no spark in my life to keep me going. It has a large amount to do with how a disabled man is seen by the general public. I couldn’t explain it to you because you wouldn’t understand. A hot Chinese girl was staring at me for too long tonight so I smiled at her. The look. The look she gave me was that she just realised I was a human being and not a thing sitting in a chair. She almost laughed at me sitting there smiling at her. I have been completely emasculated in becoming a paraplegic; this must be God’s punishment. How can I expect somebody else to love me when I can’t even love myself?

I shouldn’t be saying any of this but I will because I’ve had a few drinks and nothing really means anything anyway, not quite true as every email is put in a big, big box where a slim dandelion coloured monster sits with a magnifying glass and reads them all very quickly. It’s fourteen eyes aren’t so good these days, emails last for perpetuity and are tangible, but I went out with a woman that I like today. I have liked her for a long time but hadn’t seen her for three years (she told me that). One of my friends has met her and didn’t think she was that hot but she is beautiful beautiful beautiful. She is half my age but when I saw her tonight she looked like she had aged a thousand years. Women are the stronger sex. She was guarded and it didn’t suit her. We had a Thai meal at a place where they know me. It was busy and noisy so I had trouble hearing what Sweetcheeks was saying. I apologized and put my good ear up to her face to hear her. The ingenuity of man produces some amazing luck. I didn’t realise she was having trouble looking me in the eye for her reasons and not because of me.

My memory is bad but I will never be able to forget the way she was presenting herself. The reason I fell in love with her had disappeared. Sitting here writing it, it was like she had completely forgotten who she was. I thought it was because of me but a part inside her has been hurt so badly that it has killed the spark in her. She is too young for me but she is lovely, lovely lovely. I loved her spark but talking to her tonight she was talking back to me like I was a stranger. That is why I have enjoyed being by myself for a while, I mean being single. I haven’t had anybody enter and change my life. I won’t tell you, because it’s cruel, but a man made her life hell. Hearing her story I told her I would punch him if I saw him, I turned to her but it looked like she didn’t believe me. Her eyes are dark but they used to have a fire in them. The more she didn’t have to look into my eyes the more relaxed she became. A woman lives a thousand times the life of a man in her 82.45 years, at the start of the meal she looked like she had lived over half of those but as I sat and listened to her she opened up. I bought a bottle of white wine in China town. I asked for a bottle of New Zealand Sav Blanc but the Chinese man gave me an Australian bottle instead. I sat and heard her travails and how hard it has been for her. She now works in mental health. Eight hours of that a day can’t be good for your soul either.

I fell in love with her because she was one hundred percent. Talking with her felt like we had always known each other and had lived though eternity together. It felt like we had survived flood and pestilence together, she is half my age but she is so cool. I knew what she meant and she knew what I meant. I should have known that another man had stolen a part of her identity. Women are the host. Men are the parasite. She had forgotten me and how nice a man can actually be. I have always operated on one hundred until I landed and cracked my skull open so once I knew why she had changed so much I understood. I just leaned in and listened to her. She could have me if she wanted but she doesn’t want a man like me. My identity has been stolen too but I am slowly becoming more masculine as I remember the spark still lies within me. We talked for about four hours and I felt her opening towards me, like to the sun.

Almost everybody in this world has been damaged by life. If she would only give me the chance I would defend her honour. I would kill a man to see her smile the way she did at the end of our dinner. I reminded her that man is still good, she reached out and touched me lightly with her dainty hands several times. I had also reminded her that she is still good and one hundred percent of her lies behind the character she has had to assume. We all build a fence around our heart out of fear. She does not want me the same way she used to. I sniffed back a tear when I got home because I cannot help her the way she needs to be helped. She has extricated herself from a bad situation but she had left over half of her spark behind with it. As the night went on I got her laughing. I told her that she had changed so much from the start of the night. She knows that I am a good man and genuinely care about her. I hope she gives me a chance to love her, I hope she gives me a chance to defend her honour. I doubt she will though. Tonight she didn’t see the man inside me until the night was nearly over. Yes I am literally half the man I used to be and I may only get one punch in but it will be a good punch. I would defend her with everything I have. She is lovely lovely lovely and I would do anything to see her smile all the time

I should really stop writing and go to sleep, it’s one in the morning. I hope I can sleep in-spite of the spark within me. She is still her coolest when she is herself and not trying,

she is lovely lovely lovely

Andrew Stuart Buchanan