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Conlessions of
My
0 r"nas< Drama Queen
Per/eci Life
PlAN~T JAN~T
Dyan Sheldon

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CANDLEWICK PRESS
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THURSDAY 11 Dl<EM8lR
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2011 Talk about self-centered! Me! Me! Me! Me! ME!' That's all
anybody in this house cares.about, I was trying to have
a normal conversation over supper (the way people do in
films, erc.), nOI some Grear Intellectual Discussion (I know
my family's limits. believe me), when I realized thai
no one was listening to me. I slopped dead right in the
middle of explaining about what happened at lunch (which
was v dramatic and emotionally stressful). and no one so
much as glanced my way. Sigmund (my male parent) was
messing around with his electronic organizer. as per usual.
and the Mad Cow (my female parent) was staring at him
with her eyes squinted like she was trying to work out

http://www.archive.org/details/planetjanetOOshel
whether Or nOI he was.going blow us allyup. Also as per
10 suddenly looked up and made his one joke about Planet
usual. my parents' OTHER child was reading some book Janet trying to communicate with Earth. That, of course.
like the rude. antisocial boil thai he is. (Tomato sauce was caught the parents' auennon. Tbe three of them laughed
dripping down his chin in a particularly revohing way. like a pack of demented hyenas.
You'd think at his age he'd al least be houserrained.)
It's TOO MUCH, if you ask me. I'm al a v crucial time
Anyway. I just sal there watching them for a few seconds. in my life when I should be encouraged 10 express myself
They were chomping away like lions round a dead zebra, and explore my feelings and experiences. and what do Iget
oblivious 10 anyone but themselves (for a change. righl?!!). instead? I get, ooh. Planet Janet's trying to contact Barth,
And it suddenly hil me nOI [ust how Spiritually Alone I am. that's what I gel. So I said thaI I didn't see what was so
bUI how easy it would be for me [ust to GIVE UP and bloody funny and the Mad Cow told me to watch my
1 become like them: shallow ... superficial ... more boring language, as per usual. Slgmund's contribution, also as pe, J
than asphalt. I recovered from this DEVASTATING usual, was to quote the only poem he knows-the one
realizanon and asked them very sweetly if they were aware about seeing yourself as others see you. Too right. I said.
of the fact rhar I was trying to have a conversanon. l'd've and I removed myself from the kitchen in a meaningful
gOI more of a personal response if I'd fartcd. SliII slaring at way. I was REALLY irked.I mean, I listen to them all
Sigmund. the Mad Cow asked him did this mean he WaS the time. 1)0t that aoy of them ever has much to say.
going our again tonight and. still staring at his organizer, (Yadda yadda yadda the government ... yadda yadda
Sigmund said he was jusl checking his schedule. and was yadda guess what happened in the supermarket ... yadda
that a crime now or sometlung? I could tell that they were yadda yadda ... yadda yadda yadda ... I mean,
about to start another fight. which is preuy much ihe only BORING or Whal?)
Ihing they do rogerhcr lately. If you ask me. u's just as
well Sigmund's hardly ever home .. or the ft.I would be like So that's why I decided it's definitely lime to Stall til' Dark
war- lorn Beirut or one of those places. So. for rhe sake of Phase. Disha (.~t)' v$esl :Friendin 'he 'llllit't!'U(lnd
Peace. I cleared my 11"0'1 and tried again. "Hello? Hello?" ,'Forn:er) and I have been talking abour it since September.
I shouted. "Is anybody there?" Which WaSwhen [ustin I REALLY don't want to end up having a trivial life like
everyone especully everyone rill related 10. I want to
else, the wnuen word. 1 reckon that way I can gel in touch
LIVE. not just exist. I mean. life isn't about what's on with my DEEPER SELl'. And a1~0it should help my
telly or who len the roller seat up. is il? It's full of chances of finally gelting a story published in the school
ANGST (meaning suffering and deep emotions) and magazine.
PASSION. I want to be in touch with the REAL stuff.
The DEEP pain and joy. Tbe TRUE Essence and RMlg Disha afier the kitchen was finally evacuated by the
Substance. I have a ~"millg, e/{niJtirJolIl.and if I don't peasants. She was suitably shocked by their behavior
gel away from all this mundane crap. it will wither and die though not, of course. surprised (she's known me a long
like a flower in a desert. time and knows what my family's like almost as well as
1do). 0 says she reckons the Mad Cow squints like that
Anyway, I was I)'ing Oil my bed thinking about all of when she's really trying 10 focus 011 something, though I
4 this when I remembered tlus diary. Sappho (aka my aunt can't inlagine WilY she'd want to focus on Sigmund. I
Hannah) gave it 10 me as a winter solstice present. asked 0 where she gelS this stuff from and she said from
(Sappho doesn't give presents for Christmas because it's a books. D's ready for.the Dark Phase too.
Male. Capitalist, Consumer Bloodbath; she gives winter
solstice presenls instead.) It's called Th, Lives of the Gr,at I was gOing to tell you what happened at lunch, but I'm so
Feminists Diary. and it's packed with facts you never wanted emotionally depleted now that lean 't exactly remember
to know about \\'0111en you 've never heard of. For what it was.
instance. Fusae Ichikawa founded the Women's Suffrage
League of ),11"" in 1924! I was REALLY glad to learn
that: At last Illy life has meaning: Anyway. I \V3S going \'0

wait a couple of months and then throw it Out without fRIDAY 11 DECEMBER
the Mad CO\v noticing. which is what I usually do with
presents from Sappho, but now I've changed If)' mind. Last day of school before the ChriS01\iISbreak, so it was
Instead of lrying to converse with people who don't want v Intensely busy. On 101' of everything else, I had to race
.Q listen, J'1I1 going 1(> seek solace and self-cxpresston in to the shop during lunch because' I len all 01)' Christmas
cards at home (the Mad Cow was nagging uie this mainly black clothes and makeup so everyone will know
morning. as per usual, so I tOt.lly forgot about them). bow deeply we experience tliings, etc. I'm v glad I
I gOt fifteen cards (including one from Ms. Staples. my changed my mind about chucking this diary. The Dark
English teacher and. consum source of inspiranon to me), Phase and all its revelations. undersundings. and
and a present from Siranee, who's going up north for the epiphanies MUST be recordedn:
holidays.
The Mad Cow and Sigmund were arguing again at supper,
Went round to Dish.. s .fter scbool to discuss the Dark (If things go 00 like this much longer, I'm going to
Phase. Dish. agrees tI", slncc we both rum seventeen next demand combat pay.) The MC was all wound up because
year (D's Libra and I'm Scorpio), It's an excnlci.lingl)' when Sigmund said he'd take her Christmas shopping
unponam lime for us and If we're ever going 10 tOnight she didn't think he was going 10 bring along half
6 REALLY LIVE and nOI IuS! go through the motions of the single parenls group he runs as well (this, of course, 1
like our parents, we'd beuer Slut preparing for It now. was a GROSSexaggerauon 00 the MC's pan: it was only
Also we're both very Cn'flli,." (lilt! -{niffir. and it's the Mrs. Kennedy). Anyway. when they broke for air, I look
Great Artists and Writers who have .Iways known bow to the opportunity to make my announcement re the Dirk
suffer. If they're not killing themselves Or hacking 01T Phase. It really is the season of miracles. because for once
body parts. then they're full of dDDm ~nd glDDm and (10 my utter amazement) Ihey were all llsrenlng. Sigmund
muttering about how awful everylhing is (Dish. says she said. "Does this mean you're leaving Earth's orbit for
reckons Shakespeare was .Iw.),s iu a Dark Phase). We good?" The Mad Cow said I could forget gelling any
owe it 10 ourselves 10 explore the Dccp End of the Pool money from HER for a new wardrobe (.5 Ifl), and Justin,
of Life. D and I decided the Dark Phase will begin on the keeping to his policy of being as difficult and bloody-
51rDlic Dr midnighl 011 New Ye.rs Eve. Wcre going 10 be minded as possible, said that it wasn't the Grear ArtlSISand
intense, serious, Intoll<clII.II)' and splrilu"lly curious and Writers who understood sulTering: II was the poor sods
adventurous, and spend it 101 of IiU1C nurturing Our nobody'd ever heard of. CAN YOU BELIEVEIT? My brother
lout r. To do this we're going 10 read poetry and greal the philistine Neanderthal. Justin said Ih.1 If I wanted 10
literature. rt'ally gCt into art and serious films. and wear gel in touch with the deepest levels of humat r angst I
should try living on the streets! I didn't even Slay for candle for her birthday, bUI I spent more than I'd meant
, ,y
pudding afier that. I went Slnight 10 my room. Obviously to on lunch. So we went for coffee instead. (Marcus and
1'111 starting the Dark Phase not a moment 100 soon!!! David, being male, don't really like shopping anyway, They
find it V stressful and largely boring- D and I discussed it
later and we agree that it's something to think about,
[ mean, they can play the same com purer games for
~ATURDAY B DEHMBER HOURS ON END, which we find EXCRUCIATINGLY,
TEDIOUS, yel when il comes 10 some!hing thai's actually
Dish. and I did some Iast-minure Chrisnuas shopping quite intellectually demanding and stimulating they either

8
today. (Except for D, I'm giving everyone euhcr v cool
candles or v cool picture frames Ih.1 I gO! in the market.)
We ran into David and Marcus. David wanted us 10 help
him find someihing for Ius sister. This proved a hule
gel pissed off or fall asleep. Dlsha reckons it must be
genetic.)

The Mad Cow dragged the Christmas tree in from the


,
difficult. She doesn't read, she doesn't have allY hobbies, garden this afternoon, complaining the whole time like it
she never writes letters. she has no interest in plants. and \ViIS as big as the one at Buckingham Palace or something.

EVERYBODYalways gels her bath oils, CIt. (I ask (Defying all natural Jaws, it's exactly the same size it was
you-what choice do they have'!!) On the basis Ihal, if last year, which isn't exactly enormous.) Sigmund's meant
nothing else, David's sister must eat, Disha suggested food, 10 do the lights, bill he wasn't home so [ gOI stuck with

but that was also out since. David's sister's always On a diet. the job. Of course, the MC nagged me to check them
I finally cracked it and he gO! her a gift voucher at the before [ put them on, None of them worked, bur [ put
video shop. (David thinks I may be a genius, bUI modesty them on anyway, I don't have HOURS to Waste lesting
Blade me point out thai I ant related to a psychorherapist.) every bloody bulb. Alice Bestler's having a bunch of us
To celebrate. we an went for lunch at this v cool japanese over 10 watch Chrisrmas videos tomgh ..
noodle place. I was going 10 gel another lillie present for
the Mad Cow because Disha remembered Ihat I gave her 3
lAJlR beautiful?" And then she starts complaining about the ride
Over or her arthritis. etc. I said hello to Nan. and then I
Had a v good lime at Alice's (her parents were smashed, said I had (0 deliver my Xmas presents 10 Illy friends and
so we helped ourselves 10 the eggnog). bUI came home 10 gOIOUIof there FAST before Nan started banging on
find the MC still up, Redecorating the Christmas tree, She about God. When I gOI back, Ill)' male David WaS wairing
was even grumpier than usual because she'd had 10 rush for me. The Me was force- feeding him her home-baked
out 10 Woolwonh's 10 gel another SCIof Iighls. I told her biscuns (which are more like pressed sand than what you
the lighls were working fine when I rested them. and she buy) and Nan was going on about Wby We Celebrate
believed me. She's really not that bright. Chnsunas as though he'd never heard the story before.
David was trying 10 smile and act interested and hungry
and all, bUI I could tell thar he was V GLAD (0 see me.
10
"
There was definuely sweat on lus forehead. whicb was
SUNDAY 14 DHIMBIR - (HRISTMAS IVI excrucuungly attractive in a v virile way. I SOrt of go in
and OUI of fancying David. bUI rigbl then I was absolutely
When I was lillie, Chrisunas Eve was (b~t(lgir(ll,I'd wake more in than OUI. In fact, I really wished it were snowing.
up practically lingling with excitement. (One lime I even because then we could have gone for a walk in a winter
threw up .11over the kitchen table, I was so jazzedt) I'd wonderland and had a snowball fight. which I know
lie awake for hours, listening for sleigh bells and singing from films is a t :R<1I11(1nlic Ihing 10 do. (And also v
angels and Sluff like that. Oh. youth: How brief tr is, and Chnsunassv. of course.) BUIsince it wasn't even raining
how deluded! (I know I'm only sixteen, bUI I already gel we went to Illy room.
a biuersweet feeling when I think about my childhood.)
Now Christmas Eve is about as exciting as Groundhog Dol)' David and I had a v imcresung conversation about the
(but with presents}. The same people. The same food, The hypocrisy of adults. Do what I say. bUI not what I do.
same argulllcnts. To show you what I mean, Nail arrived Yadda yadda yadda, God and Peace on Earth and Goodwill
this afternoon just in (hue for lunch (as per usual). The 10 Men, but it's really all about selling as much crap as
(irsl Ihing Nan sa),s ,w'y )'(0' is, "Doesn't the tree look possible, and then rhe prime minister even tells everybody
no' '0 give '''y,lling '0 SIre.' beggars, WIl.,', that
supposed '0 mean? I'm nOl on the God Squad Or anything,
but even I know that jesus was v huo helping beggars and
people like that. I said maybe Nan should go round and (HRISTMAS DAY
read the PM the New Tes... nenr, because he seems to have
missed a couple of crucial chapters. David agreed, David's It was justus today. Sigmund, the Mad Cow, lhelr olher-
preuy intelligent, He says his f.mily behave even worse at less successful-progeny, and Nan. Which was even more
Christmas than they do the rcst of the ye.r too. And they dire than it sounds. Tbe only bright spot was lh., Nan and
never give him wh.t he wants, Isaid Iwas thlllking of me MC ""'cd thetr candles (I guess sbe forgOt what 1 g.ve
p.inting my room, and David said he'd help. (Even if I ber for her birthday-tha,'s gntitude for you!), though
fancied doing the whole thing .11 by myself, I would've this was more than made up for by the f.ct ,h., Sigmund
II accepted-think how swe.ty he'll get p'IOting!!!) Then we and Justin acted like I'd given them someming secondhand, B
exchanged our presents, I bet he go, me somerhmg from 8y lunchtime Nan was well into God mode and me parents
the Body Shop. Eve" though he wrapped 11 himself ,0 were well imo me Xmas booze.
throw me, ),011 can tell from the shape. And. anyway, boys
aren't exactly im.gin'live shoppers, arc ,hey? David There was a major row, Even worse than I.s, year,
guessed [ gave him. photo frame, He said he hoped there Sigmund's under orders no, ,0 argue with Non at
was a picture of me in it. Wh., brtlllant Idea! [ wish I'd Christmas because it's her favorite day next to Easter, but
thought of it beforcI wrapped .11 111)' presents, how long he holds to that depends on how much he's had
to drink. Today he lasted till it was time to say grace, (Nan
onvo)'shas to say grace, even when i, isn't Xmas, Even ..
breakfast. for God's saket) For the first ume since I've
known him. Sigmund volunteered for the job, The Mad
Cow gave him one of her Dead, by Laser Looks, but Nan
was delighted. (You'd think she'd know beuer: he's been
ber son for more than half a cemuryt) Sigmund closed his
eyes and bowed his head. all solemnlike. and then he Here's what I go. for Chrisunas:
... ned Ih.nldng God for the millions of people In Ihe (I) A MOBE! This is lite best present I eyer go. in my
world who sufTcr hunger. poverty. oppression. 10TlUrc. ENTIRE life! EspecioUysince II CAInefrom Sigmund,
mjustlce, ere, "We're all very gralefullhal il isn't us." said Lu. year be gave me 0 gift voucher for Marts & Spencer
Sigmund. "Very. "cry graleful." Iusnn (who hu less of. (how tacky is tha.1 He said I could use it '0 BUY
sense of humor than he has brains if you ask me) .houghl UNDERWEAR- as iP.!!) and this book called FRUd(or
it was hllarlous, but neither Nan nor the Mad Cow SO Bqjilln<tt, which I dumped in the book bank, Sappho said
much as cracked a smile. Nan said tbere was a 10. of evil giving a t eenager a mobile phone was the equivalent of
in the world. and iI had norhtng 10 do with God. and giving her a spear or a bow and arrow in more primitive
Sigmund said how did you get '0 be the Supreme Creator cultures, Everyone laughed like she was making a joke,
and nOI have anything to do with e\'iI1 Nan said nHII had bUI I think she has, point. MUSIdiscuss wuh D.
14 a wrah Jild wichrd side. and Sigmund warned 10 know whose (2) Besides the mobe, I gOI a phone card for fifty quid's 15
fault that was. Sigmund said that if God hod created man. worth of calls! That should las. me EONS.
then He'd made a preuy big mess of ir. hadn'r He1 BUI (3) A well wicked pair of knee-high black leather boots
Nan's nOI one of those meek Christians. She started with the mos. incredible heels th tbe Mad Cow only gOI
snapping and bristling and reminding Sigmund how long me because she said she wouldn '. have any peace if she
she WiLS in labor with him [two weeks. apparendy}. didn't. (I really had 10 (Urn the screws for this, believe me,
Sigmund ,ook hls plare and a boule of wine into his office I even bad '0 GO with her .0 gel litem, because I knew
(or the Bunker, >.S lite Me's staned calling i., becauw he she'd never buy litem for me if I wasn't there '0 goad her
spends so much lime there lately). He stayed there for the On. I had enough trouble just gelling her Into the shopt)
rest of the afiernoon, which dldn't exactly kill the party, AI (4) A Tvshin tha says JESUS LOVES YOUfrom Nan (all four

least we gOI to finish eating in ;PelIC,.. Sappho C.l111C round of us got the same thing), n's a slighl improvement on last
.1fier we'd CatCH because she's a vegan as well as J pagan year when we all gOI pocket Bibles, bill mine was in
and she won 'c sh in the same room as a lurkey 1I111\:h~H'S Korean.
alive and extremely well. (5) A book on )'oga from [ustin. I'm not exactly paralyzed
with joy by thls one. Either Sigmund put him up to u, or ALWAYS championing women and blathering on about
justin lhinks it's funny lO torture and lomle~t me ltke this, what a feminist he Is because sometimes he .washes the
Wh" I re~Iy wanted was money for a class. Ms. Staples dishes and stuff llke that, he isn't v interested in female
goes to one at the yoga center, which she says is v cool, things. (1 once asked him to get me some pads while h. was
I even bought thIS v wicked neon-purple leotard and in the chemist's and be practicaUy went into cardiac arresu)
matclling leggings in case there were an)' deeply spiritual And I get no symp~lhy for lhat son of thing from the Me
but eXCTlldatlngly attractive blokes about, but Sigmund elther. Not only is she related to Sappho (who has hair
refused to pay for the course, He said my piano, under her ARMS!!!). bUIshe's SOfar beyond being a
swimming, computer, and pottery lessons cost him sexual object that she's prcny much into the chimp look
THO'VSANDS, and all he has ro show for II is a piano herself
nobody ever plays, an antique computer no one USCS,and a
16 bowl with a round bottom that he keeps his paper clips in. Oh, yes. and I also gOI (7) thts excruciatingly cool top 11
(6) Two lots of bath stufT from the Body Shop. (One from from Disha (It's black with the outline of a bat in purple
Marcus and one from David. They must have asked Dish. gliner-V DARK!).
what "Om. I like because they"re both Raspberry Ripple.
This could be problem, because Raspberry Ripple doesn't
exactly fit with the Dark Phase. White Musk would be
beuer.] TU(SDAT 16 DHIMIIR - lOlli' DAT
What I didn't gCt was an elecmc razor. God knows I Disha had to go to her aunt's for dinner and her father
dropped enough hints. And I pracucally BLEED TO made her leave her mobe at home. (0 says getting a
DEATH every time I shave my legs. B\I! I suppose I mob. isn't exactly the modern equivalent of getting your
should've known I had as much chance of getting an electric own spear because nobody was going 10 lake your spear
razor as I had of gettillg a car. Even tbough Sigmulld throws away from YOll because you used it '00 much, were
a MEGA wobbly every time I borrow his r.170r, ,m" Is they?) Anyway, since I'm stuck all alone in the ltDusr Df
HOlTor I reckon this Is a good time to 1M you in the Was younger, bill now that I'm more mature and about to
picrure re ME! embark upon my Dark Phase tiley' re bLutt Af1!l ,.,.,tt.
Favorite Foods:
VITAL INFORMATION ABOUT ME: (I) Hamburgers with lots of S!\lfT on them.
Name: Janel Foley Bandry. (2) Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
Age: Sixteen years and almost I\VO months. (3) Chips (esp. with gravy).
What I'm Like: I'm outgoing. but I can be quiet and (4) Fried chicken.
v thoughtful-e-I don', consider mysclf superficial at all. (5) Smoked salmon with cream cheese. I've only had
I like to think about life and all the BIG quesuons 101. this once. at Disha's, because it's tOOexcruciatingly
Everybody uys I 1I1"ea wicked sense of humor. (1 believe sophisticated for my funily (who think ~ shred of paper
laughter is v important. I mean, what do you hav if )'ou towel is 0 serviette). but I really loved il (proving yet again
18 don't have lallght.r? You have iears.) I'm Interested on that 1 was meant for greater things!).
EVERYTHING . xceptthings th.t are BORING. Favorile SUbjects in School: English and art.
I'm preuy sur. I'm heterosexual. even though there's Fuorile Things in Ihe UDivene:
lesbianism in the f.mily and Sigmund's cousin Br)'an IS (I) Jlty/lJesf :Fri~nd,Dish. Paski,
married to a bloke named Ethan. But I'm not [us; a thinker. (2) Books.
I'm an action person tOOand I .111 pl.nlling life that IS (3) Films.
full of AOIII(IIIrt' and ,(rI",/IIlIn. (4) Music.
Parents: Jocelyn Bandry. k.l Ihe M.ld Cow. forty-five if (5) Hanging OUi with my mates.
she's a day. teacher (ns lust like they S,I)': those who C.IIt (6) Exploring other dimensions and stuff like th.t.
do anything. leach); and Robert II.ndry .. ,kJ Sigmulld. (7) LIFE!!!
fifiy-fivc. some sort of' psychorhcraplsr. (8) Cats. It's no mystery why tile Egyptians worshiped
Siblings: lusun B.ndry. eighleen. dwecble and g('lIer,,1 them. is it? They're 1I0t soppy and weak like dogs, but
cosmic fungus, strong and v independent. qualities I definitely admire.
Pavorite Colors: They used 10 he red .IOCIhlne when I (Other things ( really like are rainy nighlS, the moon, plain
Bounty bar s, tortilla chips. triple chocolate mousse. really the other hand. maybe I'll travel and find myself in India
big jumpers. silk. cold sheets. watching tclIYIn the dark. or Australia Or someplace like that instead. which is
pigs. eic.) something both artists and writers oflen do.
Most H>I~dThingsin th~Univus~: Some Things That I!.ea.llyAnnoy Me:
(I) PE and the Anti-Barbie (Mrs. "Don't Get Your Knickers (I) My family.
in a Twist" Wist, Illy PE reacher). (2) Women with pusbchatrs (you can't move withour
(2) Science. tripping over one).
(3) Maths. (3) Pop music.
(4) Anylhing boring. (4) People who pick Ihelr noses on the bus. etc,
(5) Catriona Hendley. (5) People who talk to themselves out loud in public.
(6) Cruehy Mid injustice. (6) People who never ltsten 10 what other people Me saying
lO Life Ambition: I'm nOI sure yet. I reckon I Coli' work th.. (esp. if the people not being listened to are in their teens). 11
out once I'm 01 universily-if I go. I may go 10 arl school (7) Carriona Hendley.
Instead, even though Justin goes to art school, which is
hardly a recommendation. (Personally I think calling what That's not absolutely eve')'1bing. and I do change my mind
Justin does .,1 is pushing u, I mean. anybodj' can t>ke (which is. of course. a sign of personal growth as well as a
photo. We've gOI ALBUMS full of the bloody Ihings. 10 Crratice~\''afJUr).but it gives you a rougb idea.
prove my point. People don't queue for hours to see the
Mono Llso because d. Vinci had good earnera. do Ihey1)
BUIl, of course. do nOI merely take phOIOS;I'm palmer,
so art's sull v definite possibiluy. On the other hand. WlDIISDAI 11 DHlMBlR
lucrarure is also a possibilhy. (I lean more towards
Hrerature because there are quite a few Great women Two whole days of family fesuvtues Is about all I can bear
wmcrs but .111the Great Artists are 111cn. I don't sec I1HICh without applying for citizenship in another country. so
point ill enrcnng a field with such limited poicnual.) 011 since Disha was dragged 10 Kent to sec some old gene
.,
sharer, I sought refuge at Sara Dancers. Sara Dancer lives at van Gogh-be was always doing flcwers.] Wound up
with her dad because she had this GINORMOUS fight baving a v intense conversation, D says it's no wonder that
with her mother in the summer, and her mother said dllt Sara can't stop thinlting about SEX since it's always being
if she hated II so much Ihing with her she should go and pushed in your face. Songs about sa, ads using sex, films
live wilh her fathu. Sara sal's her fathers nOl eucdy about sex. It just goes on and on , .. Disha says she
COOL (he's an accountant] but it'S a lot less stressful reckons if everybody had good sa (or even bad sex) on a
living with him than with her mother because he doesn't regular basis they wouldn't need to talk about it all the
give a toss if there are dishes in the sink, etc. Sara says the time. I asked D ifshe thinks It's man's nature to deceive
difference between living with a male parent and a female himself, and sbe says Shakespeare's always banging on
parent Is like the difference between buying your groceries about that, 0 says I'm definitely going to be a natural at
in a superstore and in the corner shop. Sara Dancer says the Dark Phase,
n she thinks she may DO IT soon. She says she can't stop n
thinking about sex. so \\Ih)' not? I said because she never I think I must have what Sigmund calls" a low libido"
has "lore than two dales with the sante boy. and she (apparently another thlng I can thank the Mad Cow for),
agrees tim this is her MAJOR stumbling block. And also because I'm not sex mad at all. What I think about a lot
she reckons tllat though it would be easy to do it with more than sa is :Falling in .lort'. I want it to be like
the Johnny Depp of Slapy HDII.. v, and maybe with Russell Romeo and Juliet Or Jane Eyre and Mr, Rochester, I want
Crowe, she's not So sure about .tnyone she .Jctuillly knows. to be swept away by ;Pa...,ion, a hopeless fool for .lort':!
Which is probably just as well since Sara's mother would (Not like Sappho's friend Samantha, who seems to get
kill her if Sara did it and she found out, swept away every time some bloke buys her dinner.) Dish.
agrees with me about love and passion, of course, but she
Talked to 0 on my mobe after she gOt horne from her says she's afraid we may have a long wait before we find
mission of mercy, which was (surprise, surprise) incredibly men who inspire those fee.lings. She says look at the boys
boring. (0 says she doesn't know how ANYONE could at school-most of them couldn't inspire a drop of water
live anywhere but London but i poinred out th... true from a rain cloud. ( said not even David or Marcus? Dlsha
(;rr.",;,,(, J,Jiril,r can draw inspiration [rom anywhere. Look says she likes them both ..s people, and she does see that
each in his way is more attractive 'han most of 'hem. but
, S,opped at the bookshop 011 the way home. I reckoned
she once saw Marcus run a piece of dental Aoss from one this would be a good lime '0 read one of the. books Ms.
nostril to 'he other. which prell)' much deleted passion Staples is always tilling about, Deep, meaningful. angst-filled
from 'h;1t menu. And she's no' TOTALLY sure about modern classics are her spedalilY. I gO! Tilt Ouuida hy Albert
David, but .. leas, he doesn't wear trainers. which IS so lfi:s Camus because Ms. Staples says he was into the absunliry
passe. (I mean, really. 'he parents both own a pair!) of life, and because Idefinitely identify with the title
(the dPirilual(rancl(;f't'(/li~IyC{/i{'(lare always on the
outside, aren't 'hey?). And also because it was about three
thousand pages shorter than UI)'SltS(another of Ms. Staples's
THURSDAY 18 DHlMBlR favorites).

14 Weill '0 get the paint for my room today, Dish. couldn't 15
come because her mother was pissed ofT about something
and made her SlaY in '0 help her with 'he housework. fRIDAY l' DHlMBfR
(At leas, ,hat's one ,hing the Me wouldn't even coosld,,!
She learned her lesson 'he ume she made me do 'he I'm absolutely exhausted! Marcus and David came round to
vacuuming and 'he Hoover caught fire.) There was uus help me and Disha paint my room ,od.y. I could only find
V OBNOXI01.lS man on 'he bus who 'old me ofT two rollers, so Disha and Idid the woodwork with
because Iwas talking to Disha on my mobe. I couldn't brushes. lt looks well wicked! We did the walls purple and
believe it! He said I should ge, a life instead of spendtug the woodwork black. It's v sophisticated. but powerful and
my parents' hard-earned money telling my friends I W,\5 on moody a, the same time. You can imagine someone situng
a bus. I told him I already had a LIFE. and it Included in it, writing poetry and listening to jazz. (Which. of
being part of the age of communication. ,\11(1thai he was course, is what I plan to dol)
the one who should get a life instead of bUlling in 011
someouc's private conversation. People arc TOO MUCI ..o(! My family has the aesthetics of wtldcbeesrs-e-which
Reali)" It's no wonder the sensuive sufTer. probably isn't v fair '0 wlldebeesu. Not one of them
appreciates
. . ..
the new decor of my room. The Mad Cow said
it reminded her of a whorehouse. ( asked her if she was
a v alarming way. They think a car chase is tmellecruallj,
challenging. Disha agrees. She says il sometimes strikes her
saying Ihis from previous experience. or if she was jllSI as Absolutely Amazing that all of the Great Thinkers are
basing it on her wide knowledge of whorehouses in men. II doesn't really seem possible.
general. and she told me ( wasn't half as funny as (
Ihoughl ( was (how original is thal?!!). Nan said that she So since Disha's parents wem OUIlasi night, 0 and I spent
would never have been allowed 10 gel away with painung a quiet New Year's Eve .1 hers. In~anlicipalion of thls
her room like lhal When She Was a Girl. I said I was momentous upcoming year. we both WOre black jeans and
surprised she could remember Ihal far back. tops, and black llpstlck .and eye shadow. The effect was
excrucialingly Oil. There was a boule of while \\10e in the
Started TheOurslder. The narrator's mot her dies on page one. fridge, and Disha said we could lake il because her parents
26 which seems promising. ( fell asleep though before I could had bad so much 10 drink over the Ias: week they wouldn't
gel any fun her. Thank God I didn't gel Vir""'. or I'd be notice. I'd nicked a couple of fags from Sigmund's LAST
reading il for the rest of my life!!! pack (this lime he says he really is giving up for good). We
don't smoke, of COurse(never mind the heart disease. ere.
have you SEEN what nicotine does 10 your TEETH?),
bUI we reckoned it was a special occasion so we should
MONDAY I JANUARY Iry it the once. (And also MASSES of Great Arusts and
wruers have been addicted 10 tobacco as well as alcohol.
A NEW YEAR BEGINS! so we reckoned il was fill.ing.for the beginning of the Dark
WE EMBRACE LIFE ANEW! Phase.) Disha managed a whole one. bUI I was-coughing
100 much 10 exactly enjoy it. and it made me feel sick
D and J were invited to a Bruce Lee Festival at Marcus's 10 my stomach. But the wine was greal. (If I have 10 b.
for New Year's Eve but we dedi ned. hen though I find addicred 10 something because of my 6'~/{;'ie<Jj)iri{,I
boys can be prcuy interesting 011 their ()\\'11, when )'OU get would definitely prefer while wine 10 something that could
a few of them togeLher (heir maruriry level collapses in give you cancer and ruin your smile. Plus Sappho says
white wine's NOT FATTENING. and every.hing else (Sigmund's CapitalGold and the MC's classicaltapes) and
~
I like is!!!We lu a bunch of candles and some incense, the depraved (the 'noise Justin listens to). And also I'm
found a jazz program on the radio. and sat On the.floor of going on a diet. It's not like I'm OBESE or anything, but
Disha's room. We talked for HOURS. Mainly about life. artists. writers. and intellectualsin a Dark Phase tend to be
II was all v deep and intense. and v intellectual.Disha said lean. (Disha said that's because they're usually tOOpoor to
it was too bad the wine wasn'r one of those bottles in a eat, but I pointed out that the artist who sold her bed to
straw basket. since that was much more Dark Phase than the Saatch]Galleryisn't poor, and Disha said (hat just
chardonnay. but I said wine was the drink of intellectuals because someone put your bed in a gallerydidn't make
no mailer what it was in. 0 puked in her waste bin in the you Rembrandt, who anyway WaSFAT, I hope she's not
middle of the night. but the wine musr've knocked me OUI going to spend the Dark Phase being argumemauve.)
because I didn't hear her. Neither of us even had a
18 headache today. But Disha told her mum she thought she When I got back to the IbIwt ~r1I011'Or, the MCand
had a touch of lIu. so she didn't even have to clean om the Sigmund bad had another MAJOR ROW. I knew as
waste bin herself. soon as I got into the flat because the MCWaSmuuenng
darldy on the phone to Sappho. Sigmund only emerged
I don't believe in making New Year's resolutions. I believe from the.Bunker for supper. and they didn't say a word
in constant and continuous personal growth. My parents. to each other for the whole meal. PersonallyI prefer it
being tces mundane. make resolutions every year-and when they're not speaking since at least it's quiet,
usually break them by noon on January first. So. this isn't
a resolution, but one thing I am going to do this year
is listen to more jazz. Dish. and I re-illyenjoyed the
program on the radio last night. even though a 10' TUESDAY llANUARY
of the time there wasn 't any tune: }'OU could actually
recognize. But that's because jazz is the music of the Lifereally is v ironic. isn't it? (Tltis is something I've been
intellectual. so u's meant to be like that. In Our house noticing more and more lately.) Everymorning during
all thats usually played is the music of the bourgeois 'em, I drag myself 0111 of bed and listen to the news
hoping rh small fires closed ID)' school for a. leas. one you were practically sl.rving 10 denh. II made me lhink
day, bu. when u's the holidays I'm BORED OUT OF about the power of lolly and stuff' like L1,.1.Their reality's
MY MIND!!! Disha, of course, feels exactly the same, 100allydistorted. You should've heard them ba.nging on
She says she's finding the holiday stultifying (mealllng II', about tactics like they were crack SAS uoops and not
!IIrning her brain into 0.1Ime11).Iasked her where she go. teenage boys who can't gel across London without an A-Z.
lila! word from, and she said lhat jus. shows how bad iI is, My feet were hurting a bil from my new boots and my
doesn't iii She's started reading the dictionary for fun. stomach was starting 10 growl (011 I'd had all day was
Thank God Marcus rang up and said everybody was ONE slice of DRY loa" and IWOv small apples) and D
hanging out 3'David's thts afiernoon if we'd like 10 come looked like she miglu fall asleep, so we decided 10 leave.
310ng. Do birds like 10 fly? Not only were we DYINO '0 Fonunately I've had new boors before, so I'd thought 10
gel 0111of the house, but this was our Dark Phase debur, so bring a pair of shoes with me. I changed as soon as we gOI
JO to speak, (Dish. gOI a red leather jacket for Xmas, which out of the house and was able to walk home without JI
is unfonunare since even thougb it's cooler than ice iI doing my feet any permanent damage, even thougb I
RUINS the cffeet, Thank God my boots are black.) didn't look as cool. Iwas RAVENOUS by tile time IgO!
The Mad Cow wanted 10 know if I was going '0 funeral home, of course. I stood al .he counter and ale half a
(is rh.. funny, or wh,,?!!), and Sigmund said no, u was packet of water biscuits, which I reckon is OK since they
juS! the way creatures 011Illy plant! dress (surely I must 've don't have any fat in them, NOl so sure about the cheese.
been adopredl). II look me and D so long '0 gel 'Olally
ready IIIal b), rhe lime we go. '0 David's, Marcus had
already gone home! After inviung us and c\ery.hing, It's
100 much, really, WlDKUDAY J JANUARY

Except for Davld (who said we looked" ilWl'liri,1 lldd,III1S). I think the Mad Cow's really slarting 10 lose lt (she is
none of the others even noticed our new look! The)' were pushing tifly). If she's no. picking fighls wlth Sigmund,
100 bus)' SlufTingtheir faces and playing the Pl.ySt,lli(>II she's picking them wuh me! I Sa' down 10 have a cup
game DaVIdgo. for Xmas. which was V BORING. e<p If of lea wnh her this afrernoon while she was cooking
something, and she went BERSERK because r sniffed the was a right stubborn cow, Disha says r can always use,
y
milk, I just wanted to make sure it hadn't gone off Is that them as presents for other people, as long ~s I don't give
a crime? I swear that I am DOtgoing to become grumpy her aile.
and senile when I get old, I'm going to have a ~\i'l/lg
{f(.(!(lrt(lIld~foll/,even when I'm sixty, And maybe plastic The Mad Cow was sluing in the kitchen, sniffing into
surgery, a Cup of tea, when Disha and r gOt back, r couldn't tell
whether or not she'd been crying, but she looked Ukeshe
D says it sounds to her like the MC must be was gelling into One'of her i&DiIs. We made ourselves
M.ENOPAUSAL!!! She says she's heard of caseswhere scarce, Dishasays the MC seems V TENSE lately, but r
the woman either won't come OUIof her room for months explained that it's just her hormones. She's up and down
Or does weird things like paiming the entire flat bright like a staircase,You never know what mood she's going to
n orange (sometimes on the OUTSIDE!I!). When her nan be in, D says she bopes that if we ever get th.atold they'll
Wentthrough 'he menopause she thought that ghosts were have invented some drugs to combat it.
after her and kept climbing into the washing machine
because she thouglu she'd be safe there (it was a tOP
loader).
fRIDAY S JANUARY
Andrew "the Missing Link"jeffers, Justin's best mate for
THURSDAY 4 JANUARY reasons that will become obvious, accosted me in the
kitchen while I was making myself a cup of tea. He wanted
Went with Disha to exchange Ill)' tWOgift SCtSof me to know that he thinks my friend Disha is v fit. r said
Raspberry Ripple for two sets of White Musk, but the that's because she works om and has a black belt in karate,
sales assistant wouldn't exchange them because I didn't and he said that wasn't what he meant, (Reallyl Um,
have the receipts. I asked her where else she thought they duh. , . ! I didn't know thau) He said to tell her she has
came from, since they say Body Shop 011 them, but she great tits, I told him to tell her himself
excrucialingly BORING, I was tempted 10 tell her Ihal
jusun rakes pictures of her and Sigmuud sle,epiug as well,
but I decided 10 use the tnformsuon to blackmail him
SATURDAY 6 JANUARY instead. I need the money.

According 10 Th. lires or Ih. GrN' fmlinillS,Virginia Woolf is Talked 10 Dtsha for EONS last nighl. II's so civilized,
famous for uylng uw every woman should have a room being able 10 lie on my bed in privacy and have a
of her own. You em tell righl 01TIhal she didn't live with conversanon ,,;thOUI everybody eavesdropping on my
my f.mily. I woke up rhts morning 10 find the child my business or consundy tmerrupung 10 tell me the lime or
parents should NEVER I.. ve had sl.nding over my bed thai they're wailing for a call. I'm going 10 need another
laking picrures of me! (I wouldn't sleep in the nude In this phone card soon.
14 house in a heat wave.) II's all the Mad Cow's fault for
gelling him th .. new camera for Christmas. (She's always
spoiled himl] Now he's suned laking pictures of US .galn.
of course, the Me's on his side, as per usual. She says SUI DAY 1 JAIOARY
[ustin doesn't mean any harm: he's jusl obsessed.
Possessed, more like. Then she went 01TOn one of her Disha and I bung OUIwith the others al David's again Ihls
langems. )'"mncring on about how talented [ustin is and afiemoon. and this lime Marcus managed 10 slay for more
how proud she is of him. (For pushing a buucn') The Me than IWOseconds. Marcus suggested We go for a walk and
says that Justin wants 10 expcrtmcm more with sryle, now then David said he'd come 100. Marcus gOl us laughing so
11m he's made ,1 bu of. name for himself, I said ,\I1dwhat much I had 10 go Into pub 10 lise Ihe 100. I pretended I
would that name be? Sluthcad! She Ihouglll J was joking, was looking for my mother, Aner Marcus and David went
Personally I think she's delusional, (J can onlv assume Ihal home, Disha and I went back 10 mine. jusun and Andrew
my father Ihe shrink hasn'. noticed this because he's not were in the kuchen. I went 10 the 100 and [ustln went 0(1'
home or they're fighllng or he's In the llunker I"'clending 10 gel something and can YOII believe il? The Missing Link
10 be working 1)111 "e"l1y sno"king (,'g<.) II W,1<<0000 DID IT! He actually DID IT! He told Dish. she had greal
cics! And chen he cried co TOUCH THEM! 1 lIed about here-she couldn't shop auymoret!'). Step aside,
Dish. being. black bch, but she did take a self.defense Columbus. You'd think SHE discovered A!"erlc., ibe w.y
course from the police lasi summer because her parents she went On. It was TOTALLY revolting. No. all W<1.S
are refugees, She flipped Andrew over and he crashed uuo ,_ W -. however, Disha, Siranee, Alice, and I all
the fndge. D.sh. and I didn't StOPlaughing for HOURS. noticed rn.l Catriona had put on few pounds eating
I goc l'elled .t by ihe MC for knocking 1ll0S1of the in all chose amazing restaurants, Her chest bones aren't
magnets off che fridge, of course. Like it was MY f,uh, protruding as much as usual. Unfortunately chis also means
rigl,,? And chen she made ME pick them up, nOI /u;cin! ch.t I'U NEVER be able 10 go 10 New York unless I lose
Talk about INEQUALITY between rhe sexes! I should at least a stone beforehand. And so far 1 apparently haven't
ask Sappho who 1 should complain co. lost a gram. I'm going 10 have co stop my diet until the
MC buys a decent sec of scales (t.e., ones chat work).
J6 What's the point of starvlng If every lime 1weigh myself
I'm heavier chan I was the ume before?
MONDAY B JANUARY
Wore my DeW boots to school for the first time today.
What ." excruciating relief 10 gel back 10 the real world EVERYONE admired them, Even Catriona Hendley said
.fter .11 that lime imprisoned in the \!Dust ~11IDmr!And they were tris cool and asked where I got them. Wiping
also, of course, 1was glad 10 see my lllany friends and Ms. tear from m)' eye, I sadly had .0 cell her they were the
suplcs (my English and FAVORITE teacher). There was last pair in the shop. Which is why they're little tight
a lot 10 c.tch up on! Catriona Hendley spellI most of the (though I dtdn'r tell her that, of course). I was st.lrling
day boring everyone with rales of her ..<crucialingly co limp by the end of the day, but J don'. chink anyone
wonderful holiday in NEW YORK (of course! Where noticed.
else would she go: they're not selling tickets to Mars l'c,.
arc they?). and "II the famous people she "'CI. ,1I.d,.11Ihe
a111<17.ing restaurants she are in. and all the astounding
chings she did (like 'hopping cill-cue hysterical lau~hcc,
TUHDAY 9 JANUARY WfDNHDAY 10 JANUARY
[asked Mr. Belakis, my art teacher, why there aren't any There really isn't any justice in this world, is. there? The
Great Women Artists, and he said what about Frida Kahle. school magazine met this afternoon, and the next issue's
to name but one. Theil he told me to read Some book by going to have TWO poems by Catnona "God Died and
Germaine Greer. Found Germaine in my diary. Apparently Left Me in Charge" Hendley that she wrote about New
there are HORDES of Grear Women Artists, but no one York, One's called "Skyline" (how Iris original!) and the
ever tells you about them. Then [ found Frida in my diary. other's entitled "lnvistble People" (about the poor-like
Apparently she had one eyebrow, a mustache, and slept she's ever met any). They're both really stupid poems if
with TONS of people of BOTH sexes. you ask Ole. Esp. the oue about the invisible poor. All J
can say is New York must be v different to London. Here
J8 Had to soak my feet when I gOt home because of the poor people are right in your face. And you can't move J9
blisters. Despite the pain J was in, the Mad Cow threw a down the street without tripping over their blankets and
MAJOR wobbly because I used the stew POt (it was the dogs. etc.
largest thing I could find). She said why didn't [ usc the
mop bucket? I didn't know we had a mop bucket, but Meanwhile, NOBODY liked the SIOry J submiuedbefore
even if I had I wouldn't have PUt my feet in it. (After she's Christmas. They found it confusing. But isn't life
used jt to wash the floors?) Disha says I call probably confusing? I talked to Ms. Staples about it in private. She
stretch them (the boots. not my feci). had some v constructive things to say (good imogay!niceUSl of
[onguog'!grippingid,o!), but she says I need to work a bit
I mentioned Frida Kahle to Sappho, so she "II Know I'm harder on my plots. I told her I thought plots belonged in
finally using something she gave me, Sappho said Frida's gardens, and that to conform to rigid rules about stuff like
husband (who was also a famous artist) had a mustache that stifled my Crr({live4pilil, Ms. Staples laughed and said
and slept with TONS of people too, so what was the that she hoped I didn't take tllal line when it came to my
big deal? GCSEsbecause the education authority likes plots.
I could never be a teacher. II mU$1suck the <-fblll righl our he thought I was lugging around all these schoolbooks 10
of you (e.g.. Jocelyn Bandry, though il is pbssible tha; she gel a free ride! I mean, really, if there was.evera man in
never had a soul io the first place). I feel bad for poor Ms. DESPERATE need of a life, this was tbe man,
Staples,who. unlike my female parent, does have a
(j>{I.rSi(JII(III!./tJIII and a quesring, intelligent mind despite When I finally gOI10school, Disha turned up wearing
the personal lack of talent that musr've driven her into almost the exact same shin I was wearing, so we went
leaching. How depressing il must be to work for people back to hers sc she could change. We were really only
who don't understand literature Or art or the true nature of seconds late, bUIStalin (aka Mr. Wilkins, our tutor)
life' I told her I'd do my best. She gave me a graleful wouldn't listen 10our perfectly reasonableexplanation and
smile. It's a BIG responsibility, having 10keep Ms. gave us detention, [Power,corrupts, and absolute power
Staples'slevel of hope up, but I feel I'm old enough now corrupts absolutely. I can't remember where I beard that,
40 10handle it. Afterall, that's part of what life's about. isn't ill but u's uue.) Then it turned OUItbal besides forgelting 10 41
iron my skirt, the Mad Cow forgot 10remind me 10lake
my PEkir again. I told Mrs. WiSl rhar I had cramps so bad
I thought I was gi~ingbirth, and she let me go 10 the
THURSDAY II JANUARY library instead of running around the field having my shins
clubbed. The bad news was that the sighl of me reminded
Wha; a day! I don 'I think any more could go wrong if the librarian, Mrs, Higgle. that I still had two books
I tried! The Mad Cow forgot 10tron the gray skin I was outstanding. I tried 10explain that I though. I'd brought
going 10wear, so I had 10find something else that fil my them back. but she said Ibal was what I said last lime. It'll
mood. It took EONS. I missed my usual bus, of course, be a note home nexr, and then Sigmund will gel on my
and then I couldn't find my pass. I look mrylhinyOUIof my case, yadda yadda yadda. The man can talk you into
bag, but il wasn't anywllm.You should've heard the driver unconsciousness.I hope the Mad Cow Can find the books.
moan about how much Sluff I carr)' around with Inc.
(Whar's it 10him' He's no. my mother!) 1 asked him if
lATER cover is sitting cross-leggedand smiling. There arc dozens
of quotes on the back from ordinary people who say that
OH, TRAGEDY! OH, DARK DAY OF HORROR yoga changed their lives. It looks preuy easy, I can smile,
AND GLOOM! I CAN'T FIND MY MOBE! And and I can sit cross-legged,so what could be so hard?
I thought nothing more could go WRONG today! How Maybe I'll give il a 11')'. J can see yoga fining in v well with
ironic is Ihal? Wh)' does ever)'lhing happen 10 ME? the Dark Phase.Ms. Staples does yoga and she says it's
I rnusr've dropped it on the bus this mcrning. which D~JPiriIllO',as well as heahhy. I wonder if you can lose
is understandable considertng all the trauma I was put weight doing yoga (since dlettng obviously doesn't work).
through! The last time I remember having it was when
I rang Sara Dancer at the bus SLOp. The parents will
dehydrate me if they find OUI.
41 SATURDAY IJJANUARY 4J
Had a v good time al Disha's, as per usual. Her parents
fRIDAY n JANUARY aren or as obtrusive as some. We were going to .have
an hploring IJlllrr:BillltllsiDns lIighl,but I left the book on
I'm meant to be lid)'ing my room. ("If you Want 10 go to wirchcraf at home and Disha couldn't find the tarot cards
Disha's lonighl, you'd beuer lid)' that room!" I don't know I gave bel' for Christmas (you've got to be given them:
why she doesn't PUIit on a tape loop and save herself the you can't buy them for yourself), so we decided to have
trouble of sa)'ing the same tlling OVER AND OVER.) an lnrellectualNight inslead. We were going 10 get 0111
The good news is II,at I thought I heard her coming 10 this brilliant Iapancscfilm Ms. Staples told us about. bill
check on me (she was definitely <1prison guard in one of Blockbuster didn't have it. We were going to listen 10
her previous lives). so I dived under my bed in c!.:aning intelligent music and read poetry instead, bUIwe couldn't
mode, and guess what I found! The yOg<1 book I gOtfor find the [azz station. Allwas FRUSTRATION AND
Chnsunas: rd forgoucn all about it. The woman ()11 I he DOOM until Disha remembered thai Mrs. FOSlernext
door (who is civilized and has cable) lent her. copy of about. Then Disha said could I imagine either of our
, - if.
Cluelesslast year that we never watched. Ms. Staples says mothers straddling a chair in black lace suspenders with
Cluelessis based on a Jane Austen novel, so we reckoned rassles banging from her nipples and her tongue Olll like
that was just ..s good as something in Japanese. We finally that, and we practically died laughing.
found it under some stuff on the floor of Disha's
wardrobe. But then frustration and doom turned to When I gOt back to l!It~HOUlt this afternoon, the Mad
AMAZEMENT AND SHOCK! Someone who was Cow was lying in wail (and not in suspenders and tassles,
probably Mr: Foster taped over Cluelesswith an ADULT believe me. She might be into S&M though. I have no
MOVIE. WC'te. not naive-s-wc've seen (he magazines trouble picturing her with a whip). I barely gOt the door
on the tOp shelf in the news agent's and stuff like that, of shut before she started in. "What did I tell you .. , ? Whal
course- bur both Disha and I come from homes where did you promise, .. ? I thought you were going to clean
44 pornography is frowned upon, Even Sigmund and the Me, up that pigsly before you went Out last nigbt!" Same old 45
who are major believers in free speech. say it's demeaning same old. Tlien she literally dragged me over to the sink so
to women. Sappho said if she ever found Justin with porn I could see all the plates and stuff she'd found under my
she'd make him eat it, and not even Justin would think bed. AND she actually made me count them: six glasses,
that was an idle threat. As for the Paskis. they were both seven mugs, two plates, nine spoons, three bowls, and
arrested for disorderly conduct when someone tried (0 Great-Grandmother Rose's WILLOW PLATE!!! (Was I
open a sex shop in their old neighborhood. (Mrs. P INSANE? How could I treat a family heirloom like that?)
whacked the store owner over the head with a sign thar I rold her to chill OUI."A woman your age shouldn't get so
said CHILDRENUVEHERE.)We didn't watch much (you don't excited," I told her. "You'll give yourself a Stroke," For a
have to watch much to get the idea, and after Ulat it's SOrt minute there I thought she was going to forget about her
of boring). Dish. says now she'll never be able to see the commitment to nonviolent parenting and gtve me a stroke.
Fosters (esp. Mr. Foster) without feeling embarrassed. We but instead she asked me 10 let her know when my planet
talked a bit about the boys we know and whether or nOI was ready to receive transmissions from Earth so she wasn't
they're into porn, which is a bit weird and creepy 10 think [ust wasting her breath all the time. And then she told me
10 GO AND TIDY my room, and not 10 come down (Si)rttrtSs iliad;) when the door to my room was Rung open
."
till it was done. I may spend the rest of my life up here, and there was Justin and his bloody camera, (we at 73A
(AI least I would if I had a phonet) Wooster Crescent live in a virtually lockless world). He got
me pUlling on eyeliner. J really think it's time they had
him put down, You can't bite into a crisp in this house
without being photographed. It's like living with the
SUNDAY 14 JANUARY paparazzi (bur without the champagne and stuff]. Poor
Princess Di! I really feel for what she went through. Death
Disha wanted to know if I managed to stretch Ill)' new must've been a kind of release, (When J told that to Disha,
boots. I groaned out loud! Disha'd said J should wet them she said maybe it's not just the (;rt!t1I;"" who suffer-the
before I stuffed them full of newspaper so rhey'd be more famous do too. J never thougln of it like that. J mean,
46 flexible when J stretched them, so on Wednesday I filled you can be MEGA FAMOUS and have the i1folll 41
the mop bucket with water and left them in it in the of a cow pat, can't YOIl? BlII 0 says one has to make
garden shed, J TOTALLY forgot about them! Dlsha said a dtsnncuon between physical suffering and spinrual
when she laid me. 10 soak them. she meant for an hour or suffering. Spiritual suffering is what the creauve do,
so, not nearly a WEEK. Wha; a DISASTER!!! I mustve I don't think it's premature to say that the Dark Phase is
been cursed at birth or something. They look all funny, v successful so fart)
and the heel came off the right boot. Disha said I could
lake it 10 a cobbler, bUI I was 100 depressed to ask her
what a cobbler is.
MONDAY IS JANUARY
I hate 01)' brother more than anyone has ever hated
ANYONE or ANTIHING in the history of the world. Sara Dancer says her mother's boyfriend is into porn,
As if lt wasn't enough that my new boots Me TOTALLY which Sara says is pretty understandable, since her mother
RUINED. I was just trying out some new makeup isn't exactly Madonna (she looks like a dinner lady). Sara
even found magu.Jnes with names like S<x Slal'C!and Sht's I bought for it. I can still hear its dlstlncrive call (some
GOlia Hal" II under the mg in the bathroom.'She won't lake Beatles song). I reach OUIfor It and It lsn't [here. M)'
baths anymore. Sara's mother doesn't know h. but S... 's fingers touch the air and I wonder why. Why? Why bas
liule brother watches porn aU the lime on cable. And also this happened 10 me? (J reckon I must be learning an
on the Internet. Sara watched il there once. Out of important life lesson in toss=-you know, thai NOTHING
tntellecunl curloslty. and it was preuy gross. She says she's lasts forever-e-bur I s[iII wish I could've lost something
searched her dad's 8al for signs of Solitarv Sexual ACli"ily else. Uke Justin. for tnsunce.) 0 says maybe I should've
bUI .11she turned up was a packet of condoms. which she checked 10SIproperty. but everybody knows thai anything
look as a good sign even though she doesn't ihiuk he has a good tb.1 gels 10SIgels nicked, so why bother? Now I have

48
steady girlfriend. Sara says there's no way she'd 1'''1 up
with a room without ;'l lock in her mother's house-not
even when she's [usi rhere for a visit. She says u's like
living with wild lions. You never know when tlleir
notlung 10 do when )'111 w.iling for buses Or walking
down the street on my own. II'S SO BORING! And also
it's torture.
.,
primitive nature is going 10 lake over and Ihey auack, I Since 1can't just lie on my bed and talk 10 Disha, 1 was
said Y"11don't ibtnk your mum's boyfriend would DO going 10 watch some Ielly 10 relax before I started my
SOMETHING. do YOII.and she said no. of course homework, bUI Nan turned up. 1 was just about 10 open
nOI. bUI YOIIcan't be 100 careful. can you? Look 01 all rhe the living-room door when 1 bear d her say. "Ask yourself
articles ill the papers about people molesting minors. what jesus would do in this suuauon, jocelyn." God knows
Maybe newspapers aren't as BORING as I've always what they're on about now. bUI I sbould think it would be
thouglu. (And also readillg papers might be good for hard even for [esus 10 be in the place of a menopausal
slimulating the llrplTssiOlland Srnsr of Suffrringof rbe DP. AI madwoman. J beat a h.slY retreat.
least they're faster to read than mOSIof Ms. Staples's books')

1 don't sec how I can go another day wuhout a phone,


It's like having a limb amputated. I can sull feel il pressed
aga,"st my check. I can Millsee the speoal purple c.,r
TUHDAY 16 JANUARY WEDIHDAY 11 IAIOARY
THIS IS TOO MUCH!!! You want 10 know how Sigmund was banging on about work, as per usual,
TOTALLY INSANE the Mad Cow's gelling? Now she's while the rest of us were lrying 10 Cal Our supper. I wasn't
going Ihrough the rubbish. REALLY!!! I asked her if really llsrenlng (I mean, who docs?),bur l heard him say
she's planning 10 become a bag lady when she fill.,lly something about rnatrophobla. I hare 10 ask Sigmund
retires from making my life hell, and she said she W.IS questions (because he always gives such v long answers
aClually Ihinklng of joining MIS. She said she was looking thar by tbe time be's finished you don't have a clue what
50 for evidence of Sigmund still being a closet ntcoune addlci. you actually asked in the first place), but the Dark Phase II
You'd think she'd remember from last lime Ihal he always is one of intellectual curiosity, SO I risked u. Sigmund said
sneaks the rubbish from the Bunker into someone else's matrophobia is when you're .frold of turning into your
bin SO we Can'I accldenully find his butts. AII)'way, she own mother. Justin spoke one of his firsl full sentences
wen! Ihrough the rubbish and she found the boots, She of the new year then, He asked Sigmund what it would
went BALLISTIC! 1 mean. they're only BOOTS. They be called if he was afraid of Sigmundluming into Nan.
can be replaced, If you ask me, she's way 100 matenallstlc. Everybody laughed except me. 1was praclicaLly turned
She should Iry nurturing her spiritual side a bit more. 10 Slone, It never even occurred 10 me before that such
a thing could happen. 1 know 1worry about becoming
as SJ..uJoIll
and poinlltssas the res; of my family, but il
never occurred 10 me Ih.ll [ could aClually turn into MY
MOTHER. [ asked Sigmund if Ihal sort of thing was very
common, and he said u \V '5 ItHICh more C01111110n to tum
I

into your own mother than to be afraid of it. 1couldn't


believe il! Me, turn into the Mad Cowl!! I'd have 10 kill
myself I mean, really, what other option would ( have? and he went BERSERK!!! You'd never believe Sigmund
Now I'm feeling lltcpiJ) llcprrsscd, Allthe yefrs they make makes his living being reasonable in this dead calm way if
you go to school to memorize a bunch of crap that you you'a seen him waving the roll of film about. He would've
immediately forget, bUInobody ever tells you anything had the camera 100, but the Mad Cow snatched it away jusl
REALLY IMPORTANT, lr doesn't seem fair, Are we in time. I think she rhought il was flmny, because she left
mushrooms that have to be kept in the darkI the room v quickly after that. ( thought it was hilarious.
Sigmund gOIso worked up thai he gOIone of his
D agrees that no one ever tells you anythi.ngREALLY migraines and had 10 go 10 bed.
IMPORTANT or even worth knowing, She says the
more she finds 0111 in the Op, the more she realizesthai it's Thursday nighls I usually mind Mrs. Kennedy's twins,
practicallya miracle that EVERYBODY isn't depressed. Shane and Shaun, while she goes to her compuler class and
TOO TRUE! lr almost makes you admire people like my then out for a drink with her mates, bUItonight she rang
parents. who manage to exist on such a superficiallevel to say she had a cold and wasn't going out after all. Mrs.
that the slings and arrows of Outrageous Fortune miss Kennedyis in several of Sigmund's groups (including the
them entirely. But can you truly experience REAL joy wives of men in prison support group and the low self-
or meaning by floating on the surface of the Lakeof Ufe esteem group), and now, under the guidance ofa man
and never diving down to the depths? Oisha and ( don't who can never find his car keys, she's gelling her life
think so. together. At four quid an hour, she can get everyone's tife
together for all I care. Not that the twins are easy. But God
knows I could use the money (getting money out of
Sigmund or the Mad Cow is harder than putting your eye
THURSDAY 18 JANUARY makeup on in the.dark); ( could also really use the break
from them, though, Children definitely don't fit into the
There is a God! There really is! And He's ON MY OP. From what r Cart tell, most of the Great Writers and
SIDE!!! Sigmund caught Justin gelling ready to take a Artistsdidn't have that milch to do with children-if
picture of him while he was pceillg (Sigmund, not Justin) anything. Not even tbe women. 0 agrees, She says
Shakespeare bad the twins and all, but she doesn't think he Pursuit and David was incredible! Even Disha was
,.,
took them every other weekend or anylhing like that. On impressed, and you already know how much she readst)
the other hand, the MC doesn't like Mrs. Kennedy, so me But he did start a food figbt at Wa jenkins's Halloween
going over there usually winds her up (one has to snatch party, which was v juvenile, even though be did get
bits of happiness where. one can in this life!). The MC says Carriona Hendley smack in the face with a handful of jclly,
she doesn't like Mrs. Kennedy because she shows right- which was preuy hilarious and ruined her hair! Somenmes
wing racist tendencies (she votes Tory and once asked the I think that if I could put David and Marcus together I'd
MC what her ethnic background is), but 1 reckon it's really have the perfect man. After all, if you do end up having
because Mrs. Kennedy's v attractive in an EClStEnJ,,,
SOrt of sex with someone, you get to be on pretty intimate terms
way, and the MC (being about as attractive as bog roll) with his penis, don't you? 1don't think I'd be able to be
resents her, It's a pretty common syndrome. on intimate terms with Ole penis of someone less than
S4 dose to perfect. And also 1 do worry- that there's no real
:FriSlon, as the French (who seem to know a lot about
fPos.,ion and Ji..()lI1ana) would say. There's no real
fRIDAY" JANUARY chemistry, no explosion of ~lIlt. On the other hand, a
little practice mighr not burt. Maybe passion's something
Dish. and 1 had another long talk about MEN AND you have to work up to, As Disha says, you don't jump
LOVE this afiernoon. Should 1go after David? Should I go into the deep end of the pool the firs! time you try to
after Marcus? It's a big decision to make. Marcus is a v swim, do you.?
good artist, which gives us a ""IJiri(JlfJ/ Co'IJIl'rliQII, but
he's gOt a v square face and only one eyebrow and isu '( as
goodlooking as David. David's v sexy (D and I agree It's
his eycs-his lashes arc longer than mine when rill SATURDAY 10 JANUARY
wearing lash-leugthenlng mascara), and though he isn't a
painter. he is v literary. (One- rime when we were all at his GOD LOVES ME! He really does. Or maybe my
and cxcruciaungly bored, we played his parents' Trivial karma's beuer than I thought, because wait till you hear
what happened lonighl. Ml' whole family evacuated the SUNDAY 11 JAIUARY
premises afier slipper. Together: I think ILt~ywere going 10
some exlubluon at justin's college. The parcms were preuy Disha just rang. We had a v interesting conversation.
presentable looking. bUI Iustin is NEVER presentable o wanted to know if I remembered her brother's friend
looking: he alw~ys looks like he lives on the streets. The Elvin. (Dish"s brother. Calum, is younger than justin-
Mad Cow asked me if I was coming and I sighed and told he's in the sixth fonn >t OUI school-s-but he's about IWO
her I had 100 much homework this weekend (which is mIllion years on in evolutionary terms. For one thing, he
preuy much true). HaVing the Aat to myself Is about as can speak.) Dlsha SolySI've seen Elvin a couple of limes,
rare as seeing a Aock of pigs Aylng over north london. so I He's the one Calum melon the special film course he's
decided to take advantage of this unexpected opponunay laking. I said, "Blond?" Disha said no. be's the one with
and as soon as Ihey left I had a look for the Mad Cow's the longisb black hair who wears cowboy beou, I said,
56 mobe, (Sigmund did all his Christmas shopping in one "Oh, ruM!" Anyway, Disha was alone in the kitchen
shop this year-he even gOI a mobile for NUL Ihal has with El,'in just now, and he'd been asking about ME!
large numbers so she can see them and Ih.1 plays Elvin's a naff name, bUI Dish. and I agreed thai he's preuy
..Amazing Grac. ") I finally found it in her desk. looking good-looking. ALSO he wears black turtlenecks and his
palhelically unrouched. She never lISCS It. so she'll also hair is just long enough 10 make him look like a Beal poer,
never know it's gone. (We discovered the Beat poets when one of them died and
Ms. Staples told us how Ihey were an trnelleciual
Read another page of The OUlsider (to be honesr. u's 1I0t movement and everything. Ms. Staples says Ihey were
exactly what I thouglu II would be from the 11110).TWO pissed ofT with the system and the middle-class IIfeslyle
poems by Ihis French guy Ms. Suplcs recommended. and long before the punks-True Artists always are.)
the lmroducrion 10 Illy yog., book lonighl. The Dark Phase
is going REALLY well. 1,,1111051 can't remember what it's Dish, says Elvln's ,I film school and he's already won.
like 10 be a child anymore. prize for some film he made about cats (al leasl Dish. Ihlnks
it', about cal'; she isn't TOTALLY certain), A filmmaker
is v cool-sort
..
of a combination berwcen an artist and a says she's never done il without her clotheS on or lying
writer. I reckon I didn't really notice EMn before because down-unless you count the back SUI of her boyfriend's
he's older. I know lots of girls like older men. (One of the father's car. which none of us do. Sara says il doesn't
maths le.chers lefl over Christmas 10 fulfil her biologiCAl sound mueb like in films, And I said il was just what 1 was
destiny and has been replaced by Mr. PI'gel, who looks always saying, wasn't ill Where's the Romancr? Where's
)'oung cnough 10 be sixth-former except GORGEOUS. tbe {Pas,ion? Where's the overwhelming desire 10 merge
and you wouldn't believe how many girls who can't add your &>111 (and a couple of body pans) with another?
up without a calculator are lalking about doing A.level
mathsl!'] I, however. don't see the anracuon. Older men
make me sort of nervous. l think YOllhave 10 SUSpCCI Iheir
motives. (I mean, why can 'I Ihey gel a woman thelr own MONDAY n UNUARY
58 age? [S there something wrong with them? Are Ihey afratd 59
of being with an equal? Do they dunk a younger girl Mentioned 10 David al lunch lltal I'm reading 11u OUlSid<r.
would be cosier 10 push aroundt) Elvin's difTerem Ihough He was impressed. He said be admires Camus's clarity of
(he's nOllh.1 old-in facl he's probably the same age as Intellect, philosophical optimism, and hopeful love of life.
Justin, bUI MUCH more marure). Disha and I agree Ihal This doesn't sound mueb like the book I'm reading. bUI
dus Is v exciling. I said I did 100. I reckon the opumtsm and hope must
come afler page three.
On a more mundane note. Sara Dancer s I.. \~ng second
uloughlS about DOING IT, She was lalking 10 some girl The yoga isn'r as easy as n looks on the cover, I'm sure
who sraned having sex the day before she turned fifteen. some of the posiuons are only possible if your bones are
and Ihi~ girl reckons Sara should hold out for a bed ,15 well made of Plasucine or you're double-johued or something.
as . rcaI boyfriend, The first lime thls girl did il W,\S ill a I was trying 10 do the Chakrasana (Ihe Wheel, 10 the
garden ,hed (she had a rake handle in her back Ihe whole layperson) because it says In the book Ihat il strengthens
1iI11(:, but it was over pretty fasl so it \\',l!Ort', coo OJd). She your thigh and stomach muscles (I reckon il beats going
on another dier). I got Into It OK. but then I got SOrt of (4) Doe day last summer we were all hanging OUIin the
stuck. It was either call for help or crash. I made the wrong park and Catriona was lelling some incredibly boring story.
choice. I screamed and Justin raced In. bUI of course he I was lying on the ground. walching the clouds, and I m
wasn't alone. He had his stupid camera with him. He up 10 ask Dish. something, and Catriona told me 10 lie
snapped me jusl as I fell. He'd beuer hide Ibal bloody bad down and ear another BAG OF CRISPS! Uk. I'd
thing. because if I gel my hands on it I'm throwing it already eaten one! In from of everybody! (Dish. said thaI
into the 100. was 001 what Catriona said, but I think Dlsha was jusl
trying to make me feel beuer. DW,.'s v loy.tl.)
(5) CATRIONA HENDLEY'S AFTER ELVIN
WHATEVER-HIS-NAME-IS!!! I can hardly
WlDlHDAY 14 IAIUARY believe it myself. I mean, I mow the world's. global
60 village now. but it's still 001 THAT small. How does she 61
IT HAS TO BE TOLD! even knaI. him? He doesn't go to our school, she doesn't
Five Reasons Why I Hale Catrtona Hendley: have an older brother, and she'snot big mates with Disha,
(I) She's ALWAYS had. big head because her mother BUIthe Eyes Don't Lie, There I was, minding my OWn
writes for the Guardidn and her father is some excnlciatillgly business and waiting for Sara afrer school (Disha had 10 go
ginormous big deal at Channel Four. to the dentist's), when who should come riding through
(2) When we were in primary school. Catrlona Hendley the gates on his bicycle but Elvin! Now Ihal I know he's
always made up dumb games for us 10 play. and I was interested in ME, his face has been burned Into Illy brain
always the dog. and I recognized him immediately. He looked even cooler
(3) When we gOI 10 secondary school. Catriona Hendley than I remembered. I reckoned he was meeting Calum, and
asked me in from of everyone if I was a Taurus, bUI I I was just getting ready to go over and say hello in a hey-
didn't know anYlhing aboru astrology theu and l tbouglu don't-l-know-you sort of way when Catrlona Hendley
she said tourls: and I said no. I was born In London. It came Rying down the steps behind me like a bat 0111of
took EONS to live it down. hell (nearly knocking me over) and pracucally uckled him
..
as he go, 01This bike! If Camona Hendley was buill like. for armed robbery. Shane sald thelr dad was coming borne
real woman (like SOme of us) and not a wood sprue, she soon, and I reminded him Ibal soon was nearly. year
would have floored him. Then she dropped her books, ON .way. Children have no real sense of lime. I had 10 keep
PURPOSE! (This is the rwenry-first century. Can you interrupting my conversanon with Disha 10 tell them to
believe ill) Wh., could he do? He bad to help her pid chill out. and it was a v important one. (Dish. managed
them up. And. aJ'~'W'y. she W<IS practically standing on his 10 gel the Information thAi C.ttiona Hendley used to live
fee, so he dtdn't have much choice. This really isn't f.lr! across the road from Elvin, so that's bow they know each
He saw me firstt If she'd balled her eyelashes any more. other-I'm nOI sure if I think this is good news or bad
she'd've given him a RASH. news.) I had to tell the twins 10 be quiet so many limes
that in the end Disha said she'd rather have" bath than
Rang Dlsba on the way home 10 tell her what happened. listen to me screaming at Shane and Shaun. so we JUSt
61 She's going 10 sec wha, she can lind out. ( hope Nan's hung up. 6)
righ, and there is a hell. because il would really make m)'
life 10 know lilat C.. rtona Hendley will be going 'here. Rang Sara Dancer. Now she 's having third thoughts. She
Then we'd see how cool Ms. "So Trendy You Could Break says she's going 10 have 10 have sex sometime, so why DOt
Your Teeth on Her" really is. now? And ilia she says it's like putting ofT a haircut. I
don't think so, There's nothing even remOlely romantic
about ha'ing your hair CUt.Sara says maybe she'll meet
somebody Saturday night. She's going to a pmy.
THURSDAY H JANUARY
The MC was polishing 01Ta boule of wine when I gOt
II took ,'ges '0 gel Mrs. Kennedy's twins '0 bed ,onigln, home. (On top of EVERYTHING, now she's Slatted
The)' musr have visited (heir dad at the weekend. because drinking as welll I don't know why, but il irritates me
,hey were all wound up about him. Dad this. , . Dad when she gets really inebrtated.) Firsl she told me what
that . D.ld , , Dad ... D,ld ... BOring Or what? ( "link lime il was and thai these late "Ights had better not affect
they're conru~jng hint wuh someone who isn't cI(')III& IIIlIC my schoolwork. Then she wanted 10 know where Mrs.
,
Kennedy went tonighl. Doesn't she know Lhe)'have pubs Tomorrow Disha's going with me to the yqga center to
and cinemas in London and she doesn't have 10 go to buy a mat so I don't slip over again. I have to pay for it
Bristol for a drink afier her computer class] I felt like myself of course. Sigmund wouldn't give me the money
telling her to get herself on Prozac IMMEDIATELY. because he says it'll JUSI wind up with a bunch of plants
II's bad enough she's .Iw.ys on at me, but extending her on top of it like the piano. The Mad Cow can usually be
attacksto the neighbors can't be good sign. worn down eventually. but she wouldn't rough up either
this time. She says she p.ud for the leotard and the
leggings, and that was enough, Whit dId I think she
was-MADE OF MONEY? I'm beginning 10 think
FRIDAY 16 JANUARY she's made of toxic waste. I wonder if I should suggesl
hormone replacement therapy.
64 I had a nightmare last night that Johnn)' Depp was my
brother and Catriona Hendley was going out with him.
Everytime I turned comer, there they were fr.mtic.illy
exchanging saliva and Au germs. It was so scary, it woke SITURDIYllJAIUIRY
me up. On the other side of love, the Mad Cow and
Sigmund were shrieking at Nell other In the kitchen. You'd OH MY GOD!!! YOU ARE NOT GOING TO
think the)' were tTylngto wake the dead the way they were BELIEVE THIS! I! Disha and I were coming out of the
c.rrying 011. I wish they'd go back 10 just ignoring each yoga center with my new mat (lilac because Ihey didn't
other like they uSllallydo. it was IWO In the morning. for have black) and a Tibetan meditation CD (to help me gel
God's sake! I mean, REALLY! One minute she's angr)' in the right mood, which is v important) when, as if
with poor Mrs, Kennedy for mylng out afier her class and drawn by the invisible forces of the universe, we happened
milling Ill)' sleep, and lhe nex: she's srarrcd World War III to glance through the window of the veggie cafe next
praclicallynext door 10Ill)' room! And also they're aiw.l),s door. Sitting right in the middle of the room was Blvln,
lelling me I never rhink abour '"l'one else: I gOI IIll' I was struck anew by how excruclaungly attractive he is.
Discman and plllgged myself in so I could get some sleep, (I'm amazed h never really hit me before.) I swear, my
heart LITERALLY skipped a beat (a sure' sign of the lirst
the Mad Cow rushed olT shouting .. each other. Isn't life
stirrings of ,j>'t.f4ioll). And then my heart hit my kneecaps ironic? If I'd known I was going to have the Hat to myself,
when ( saw who was sitting with hint. You could have
l'd've 51ayed borne and enjoyed lite luxury of all the peace
knocked me over with a crisp wrapper. OH YES!!! None
and quiet, but I'd already planned to go OVM to Disha's,
other than Dtnon. Hendley. She's like a genn the w.y she So, to tole some ad,'ant.gc of this Ctfifrom ,,,~(}ods,
I
geLSeverywhere, Elvin and the Hendley were eating salads helped myself to some of the politicaUy correct bath oil
and having a v intense conversation. At least she was, She Sappho gave the Mad Cow for the winter solstice (which is
was leaning over so much she was practically io his lap! tested on nothing except chemists and is more expensive
(It's just as well she doesn't have boobs or she would've
than plastic surgery) and had a long soak before I went.
suffocated hlm.) And then it hit me! Elvin and the Hendley (Can you believe how childish my mother is? She hid the
have something ill common besides being ex-neighbors! bath oil behind the unned vegetables because she thought
66 Everybody at school knows Cairtona Hendley is the biggest I'd never lind it therel) The bath was bliss! Oh, bow liang
vegetarian since the CO\\' because she's always banging on to live on my own! When I can't sleep and I don't feel like
about it (you'd think she'd invented it, the way she goes :/lomanLiciFanIQS); Iplan my entire Hat. Ichoose the
Oil). 8\11 I'd no idea about Elvin. I could see it all clearly, furniture and the kitchen units, everything. Ieven plan
Catriona was trying to worm her way il110 Elvin's life dinner panies.
through lettuce and herbal teas. I asked Disha wh)' she
hadn't told me about Elvin being a VEGETARIAN
Serious Filmmaker, and she said that since she didn't hang
around trying to see Elvin eat, she couldn't possibly know SURDAY lIIA.UARY
a thing like that, could she' She said she didn't think il was
important 311YW,'y,(I'd like 10 know what she thlnks IS Desperate limes call for desperate measures, and if starting
imponantl] to .'Fall ill .co/)(' with someone who Is being stalked by
Camona Hendley isn't desperate times I don't know what
Nobody else al home lonight.. Justin sloped olT as ,0011 as is. So even though the book says that constructive spells (like
he'd stuffed his f,ICC,and then a while later Sigillund ,1I1d making someone have a hormone rush every time be sees
..
you) should be made during a full moon. I called an mother had stopped snoring! Dlsha has a more pessimistic
[t,!Dring Ollirr llimrnsions1ll4hl last night. It was new moon. nature than I do. She immediately decided that this meant
so I decided to think laterally the way Sigmund is always ber mother was gelling OUtof bed 10 come and checlt on
telling me to. I reckoned we could trick the Other us. 1said not necessarily (If 1 dldn'l have such on ,.,{nulir
Dimensions Into Ihinking there was moonlight. We JtHJJ, I migbt consider being a sollcitor, since I also have a
rounded up every candle we could lind (including a Frosty very logical mind). I said maybe Mr. Poski rolled ber OUIof
the Snowman one left from Christmas. a pack of birthday bed to shut her up. That's what the Mad Cow used to do
candles. and Calum's skull candle. which he wouldn't be to Sigmund (tbough lalely she ju.st makes him sleep on the
needing since he wasn't home). Then we wailed till couch. which is preny bloody inconvenient if you want to
Disha's parents went 10 bed so we didn't have 10 worry sit up late watching a film).
about being hucrruptcd. That gOI us 10 one In the
68 morning. Oishi, mother is a phenomenal snorer (MUCH Anyway. Disha started blowing out the candles in a frantic
worse than Sigmund). Her snores are to ordinary snores
what a nuclear bomb is 10 a slingshot. We left the transoin
SOrt of way. We JUStgot them .U Out when a sound even
more horrific than Mrs. PaskJ's snoring shattered the "
over Dlsha's door open. and as SOOnas we could hear the peaceful silence of the night. Dish. clutched my hand. Her
earth-shaking snorts and wheezes that meant Mrs. Pas"l had palms were already sweating. "Ob my God!" she
passed OUI.Disha started lighling the candles while I started whispered. "We're being burgled." I told her thaI it
lighting the incense. The candles were going 0111 as fast as delinittly wasn't the house alum. I'm an authority on
she was lighting them, so we shut the window (Disha's bouse alarms. Ours was always going 01Ttill Sigmund
father believes In AIR the way my father believes in ripped it OUIin a fit of temper, so I know what Ihey sound
Freud). Her room looked well Wicked when we were like. This was more like an air raid siren. It wasn't easy
done. Holding hands. we sat in the middle of the floor getting to the lighl switch because of all the candles, Every
with our eyes closed. I started the incantatlon. "Pray 10 Ihe time we look a step we knocked another one oyer. We
moon when she Is rouud=-" BUII didn't gel ony further. were still groping around In the dark when Mr. Paskl
because Dish. told me 10 be quiet and listen. J didn't hear started running Ihrough the hallway shouting. "Fire! Fire!
an)'thing. Dish. said rhat was e"actly what she meant Her Everybody get Out of tile house!" We didn't need to be
told twice. J once PUI the iron on Illy band (I was Ihinking fire engine was there in minutes. Apparently. in all the
of somrlhlng and wasn't looking), and Disha once SCIher confusion, neither of the parent Paskls thought of actually
shirt on fire with a candle, so we both knew the agony of ringing the fire departmenull By then half the road was out
burning flesh. We trampled over the candles and hurled on the street. Disha and I were jusl about to go next door
ourselves Ihrough the door. Mrs. Paski had a blanket over for a cup of tea when fireman came out of the Paskis'
her shoulders and a pill of high heels on her feel, bUI Mr. with Frosty in one hand and the skull in the other.
Paski was lUStw earing pajama bottoms, a rallY old Pink Apparently the smoke from .11 the candles sci off the alarm
Floyd T-shtn. and one sock (God knows what he'd been in the hall. Mrs. Paski mumbled something, and then she
up 10!). We all rail iruo the road to wait for the fire started laughing. Mr. Paskl didn't laugh. (He didn't laugh
engine. Every lime we heard a siren, Mr. Paskl shall led , later either, though Dish. and 1 did.) Mrs. Paski told him
"There they are!" Bill they weren't, Dish. wanted 10 go to look on the brlghl side. If Calum had been borne, he
10 back Inside 10 save her new leather jackel. bill her mor her would have been filming the whole thing. 11
wouldn't lei her. There was a bit of all argumenl about
Ihal, bUI then Mr. Paski started raming and everyone finally The MC and Sigmund weren't laughing either when I got
shm up. home. Nobody told me, of course, bUI Nan broke her
elbow falling off. bus ytSterday. Apparotlly that's where
Afier while Mrs. Paski said she didn't see any smoke. Mr. they went rushing ofT to last nighl-the hospital. They had
Paski told her that was the most dangerous kind of fire. the to put a pin in her elbow to hold it togelher. I didn't quite
kind wlthoru smoke. Mrs. Paski pulled her blanket lighler get the whole story. Sigmund and the Mad Cow were busy
and sniffed. She didn't smell smoke either. Mr. Paski sald moving their sruff out of rhelr bedroom so Nan could sleep
he smelled smoke. He asked me and Dish. if we smelled in there, so all I gOt was a garbled account from Nan. She
smoke, and we sald \\'C guessed so since agreeing was ,\ 101 kept laughing and s.ying J should've seen the other guy
easier than disagreeing. Mr. Paski suned 5l,lndin& on one (I presume she meant the pavement). They musi've given
fool. I wondered if he'd ever done yoga. )\fier another her some heavy drugs for the operation. The major pari of
while. one of the neighbors poked his head out of an the story is that Nan has moved in with us until her
upstairs wmdow. Mr. Paski explained about the fire The elbow's healed enough for her 10 be on her own (which
_' my eyes and REALLYconcentrated, At litst I had to keep
could lake MONTHS considering how old she is), Her
arm's all wrapped up In plasuc like. hunk of meat. It checking 10 make sure I was saying it right, bUI after a
looks really GROSS, Sigmund's wigged OUtcompletely. while I started 10 gel into n, I swear I could feci the S,1ril
"Is this what Jesus would do if He broke His elbow?" IIIht fttUlt 61111dtis6lling my room, I started rocklng gently
he kept asking, "Move in with His son?" I hope he back and fonh and chanting, "Queen of the Moon, , ,
remembers Ihis when he's old and feeble and "'<I.IltSto Queen of the Sun ... Queen of the Heavens . , , Queen of
move in with me! the Stars . , ." (I dido'I plan 10 do this, It just happened! It
was well wicked!!!) I forgot about who I was, and where
I was, [ was an Aztec maiden or an andem druid, I was
drifting in the cosmos like a panicle of Ught, unfeuered by
MONDAY 19 JANUARY the chains of the material world. AI least I was until Nan
n screamed, "Praise be 10 Jesus! It's the devtl's spawn!" I n
Sara Dancer's father twisted his ankle on Saturday night so came back 10 Earth pretty sharply al thaI, My first real spell
Sara stayed home to look after him instead of going to the and I bad a manifestation! The devil's spawn! How brilliant
party, I think this may be an excuse, It's on I)' an ankle, for can you gel? [ opened my eyes, shouung. "Where?
God's sake, Where's the devil's spawn?" Turns out there wasn't any
manifestation - Nan was actually lalklng about me: Can
Back in the land of the sexless, there was so much trauma you believe il? Her Own lIesh and blood! I was wen
at home last night because of N,ln (Sigmund and the Mad disappointed. It took EONS 10 calm her down (It's a
Cow are both sleeping on the couch now, which Is not good Ihing I wasn't naked), The Mad Cow pur a sign on
exactly an optimum situation) tlw I forgot all about doing the bathroom door that says BATlIROOM in case Nan gels
my spell again until I was gellillg read), for bed. It was confused again, I demanded that the lock on my door Is
raining, so I reckoned it didn't maucr If the mOOIl W,\S full fixed, but Sigmund isn't having II. He gave me twenty
or not. [ mean, who's going 10 sec il tlUY\V.1Y! J lit SOUle excructannglv boring minutes on why he doesn't believe
candles and sat cross-legged on m)' bed In my underwear in locks (he doesn't know how 10 fix them himself and
so I'd be more ill touch wid, my primitive self I closed be's tOOcheap to pay someone else to do it Is why),
able '0 e-mail anywhere in 'he world in a second, but
Disha said it had something to do with those riots they
have every spring, So she isn't sure enher. But whatever it
lUUDAY )0 JANUARY is, Elvin was nearly arrested cutside McDonald's at the riots
last year. No wonder C.,riona Hendley's afier him. She's
Late again for school. Mr. Wilkins gave me another always protesting about something, She's practically
detention. (According to the papers, teachers ate leaving London's answer to loan of Arc, Besides all lhat, Elvin's
the profession IN DROVES, but not Mr. Wilkins, of taking some sort of Eastern martial arts course (for the
course, Probably he knows he'd. never get another job.) philosophy, not the ability to break a brick wall with one
hand, of course), but Disha couldn't remember which One.
Disha discreetly pumped Calum for more information on And also his star sign's leo. I don't know anything about
14 Elvin. (There's not a doubt in my mind that Dish. is my leo. I'll have to ask Sappho.
cosmic sister. I know in my Jillli it's no coincidence that
we were born in the same year. in the same borough of The police were round at ours when [ finally gOt home
the same city, and go to the same school.) Anp"ay, besides this afternoon! At first I thought t.hey must be looking
being a veggie, Elvin (according to Calum) 15 "el)' for [ustin, but they were there to talk to Nan. Apparently
concerned about the state of the planet, He feels filmmakers she didn'r fall ofT the bus: she Jumped .fter some guy
have a responsibility to show the world as it really ISand who'd grabbed her b.g. She downed him, but be gOt away
to help protect it (so at least there's no danger that If I do (S4lIS said bag). The police were v impressed with her
fllll ;)(""f)'iIlLOf(, with him he'll go running off to quickness of mind and body. NOli said it was the way she
Hollywood), mvin's ami-hum. anu-vivisccuon. and anil- was trained ill the war. She's obviously still suffering from
intcrnauonal giobaiisill (he's anti so much that even the drugs.
Sappho would approve), I asked Disha what internatiollal
globalism was. since it's one of those terms that everybody GET THIS!!! Geek Boy overheard me telling Disha about
uses bUI no one ever explains. I thought i1 1111gl1 11.1\'(' the police and everything . nd he said Nail REALLY
S0l11ctluug to do with the ;,\ge of conunu IHC.ll ion and 1)(,lng WAS in the War. [ said right, ill .. I air raid shelter (which
..
o Ihoughl was v funny), but [ustin said no, not in an .ir il washed, gel off your bum and wash it yourself]" Justin
raid shelter, in France! He said she was some son of spy, shuffied in righl then, asking about breakfasl (one of the
Disha and I near ly choked, we were laughing so much, few verbal communlcallons he can be relied on 10 make),
bUI laler I asked Sigmund and he backed Iusun's slory, He and she rounded 00 him for a change. She told him he
said nOI only did tlley give her a medal for bravery, bUI could do his own laundry from now on 100, (How unhir
I'd seen it at Itasl a million times because u's up 011her is thai! He only changes once every couple nf weeks,
mantelpiece. next 10 Grandad's ashes, So then I asked whereas I ch.mge at least twice a day!) Afler thaI I didn'r
the Me, because ahhough she Ius a 101of faults. winding feel much like eating, so I made my escape, I was HOURS
me up tsn'r one of them. Plus she doesn't have a sense of early, of course, It would've served the Me righl if I'd
humor, The Me said if I visaed Earth more oflen , been raped by some drug-crazed psychopath on his way
I mighl have some idea of what was going on around me, home from a nlghl of carnage. Thai's what Iwas thinking
Which I look 10 be confirmauon of [ustin's siory, My as I turned into the road the school's on, I was itnagining n
gnndmolher the spy, I REALLY can 'I believe It. The Me my mother weeping on televiston, begging the nation 10
said that's because I think Nan was born OLD, which she tell the police if they knew anything Ih.1 could lead to the
wasn't. I said did she mean unlike her, and she said she arrest of the heartless klller of her only daughter. I was
look il back; I should Stay on my own planet or she mighl practically crying myself, And what happened next? All of a
have 10 kill me, Didn't I say she has no sense of humor! sudden I beard a mobe go off behind me. It was playing
the Star Wall theme song, The .$lorWOIl theme song is
definilely not something you'd expect a normal person 10
have on their rnobe. It really look me by surprise, but I
WlDNHDAY H JANUARY managed 10 calm myself down, (Psychopaths are like dogs
-e-they can smell fear.) Besides, I was fairly certain a drug-
The Mad CO\v was ill J prize bitch 11100d this 1110I'uil1&. crazed psychopath wouldn't remember 10 take his mobe
If she gal pml by the mO,IIl, she'd be a millionaire. /\11 with him, I mean, who would he c.1II Psychopaths dOIl'1
I did was ask where Illy black trouser ..sklrt was and she have friends. And even if he did, whar would he say? "Hi.
went mad, "I'm not your skivvy, young I.d),! If you W,lIIl J'm on the street and I'm jusl about 10 auack this auracnve
young woman with bum like Jennifer Lopez's who's" Justin's going 10 bUTSIin 10 lake more photos. h destroys
walking 011her OWII," [ looked round, It wasn't a mobe, h my concentration.
was a high-Ih bicycle bell. And on the bicycle (which
was also high-Ih) was ELVIN!!! Elecrricil)' shor Ihrough Disha asked Calurn if be mel up with Elvin this morning,
me as if [ were a meral pole (the metal pole of lort'!), [ and Calurn didn't know what she was on about, So
couldn't believe it! Whal was he doing here? Whal if I Detecuves Bandry and Pasld now know that meeting
hadn't left early? Whal if I'd been LATE? [ half expected Calurn was just a feeble excuse, Elvin was there 10 see
Catriona Hendley 10 drop OUiof a tree and ruin II all, ME! I actually TINGLE when [ think of u.

Elvill said, "HI. h's Jail, iS1I'1i11" I adrniued 10 beillg jan,


He gOI ofT and walked the rest of the way with me, He
18 was meeling Calum 10 give him something before school. THURSDAY I HBRUARY
I mentioned Ih,lI Dish. and I saw him in the cafe on
Salllrday, and he said we should have come in and said I made my announcement about turning veggle at supper
hello, so [ explained tbal we were just going 10 our ),oga ronigb; (last night we had sausages, which is one of the
class and didn't have lime. He said he'd always been few things the MC can actually cook properly, so 1
Imeresred in yoga, [ said it had changed m)' life, [ told him reckoned [ might as well have one lasl meal as a meal
we went lnto rhe c.re a lOt (whicb is a slighl exaggeranon. eater). As per usual, I had 10 wall for Sigmund and his
bUI we do pass it quite oflen 00 Our way to the "ideo wife 10 finish their argument, but as SOOnas they took a
shop), I said we wen I there afier our ),og. class for herbal break [ pushed my plate away and wen I for tt. "[ can't eat
lea and sruff like Ihal because there aren't that many places this," i said. The Mad Cow turned her venomous gaze on
II"" cater for veggies, He said be didn't know I was a me and wanted 10 know why not. Iustin said he'd have u.
vegetarian 100. I .1111now. Sigmund didn't say anylhlng, because he'd already stormed
off 10 go 10 one of his groups (Sigmuod's gOI more groups
nOllglu a lock for Ill)' bedroom 011the w,,)' home. If 1'111 than Columbia Records). [ explained tim I had become a
going 10 ,call)' gel into m)' ),og., J can 'I live III fear ,h.1 vegetarian and would only be ealing fish, chicken. and
~
soya burgers from now On. "And you'll be cooking them for a liule singed hair she wasn't even hurt) , Now she's
yourself 100," mooed the Mad Cow. "I'm DOLmaking cnanged her mind about me cooking my OWII food. Didn't
special meals for you." I pointed OUIthar her sister, Sappho, 1 say she's menopausal? What more proof do you need,
was a VEGAN and she didn't have 10 cook her Own I ask you? She's up one minute and down the neltt like
meals when she Came round. The Mad Cow said I could an oU pump,
go and live with her. And they talk about teenagers having
auirudet I'think I'm starvmg In the clinical sense. The incident with
the Me and the oven miu distracted me so much that the
I was going 10 mention 10 Mrs. Kennedy lhat the twins burger gOI burned and all I had for supper was vegetables.
have been a little overacuve lately, BUI I [lever gOI the II's like living on water. But I'm nOI giving up. The
chalice. As per usual, she was flapping all over the place Hendley has enough advantages wuh Elvin. I can't let her
80 gelling ready and banging on about what a greal person have that one 100, And aU I had last night was a cheese 81
Sigmund is and bow lucky I am 10 have him as my sandwich. I bad to SLOpal McDOnald's on the way 10
father, I always agree. I see no reason 10 burst her bubble. school this morning, I was feeling so faint, 1ale IWOboxes
of those chicken things (I couldn't eat duck-you know,
because ducks are so cute-but chickens aren't very
attractive so I reckon they're all righl). BUIcoming home
fRIDAY 1 HBRUARY on the bus tonight was this depressed-looking giam
chicken (wearing Reeboks). and 1wondered if it was some
Cinderella Bandry (Ihal's ME) was fixing herself a "eggie son of sign and started feeling guilty.
burger for supper toniglu when the oven mill caugbt on
fire. I reacted immediately. (I was v imprcsscdt) Without Disha says she was Once given a bag of baby carrots by a
a second's hesitation. [ S\VlUlg around and hurled the nun giant rabbit On Parkway, She says he was really grubby and
into the sink. This was obviously the most imclUgcnl Ihing there was even a Slain on one of his ears. She threw the
to do. but of course (he Mad Cow \V.lS in Ill)' way and the carrots a\vay.
mill hit her instead. You'd think I'd shot her (and excepl
definnely understand il. Whal must 'I be like, gelling up
every morning and puuing on this bright yellow chicken
suit, blowing tomorrow you're going to get up and do the
SATURDAY J HBRUARY same thing. and the next day, and the day after llw . , ,
maybe for your whole life? (And I bet he's paid chicken
Sigmund thinks my decision 10 show respect for other feed!) I will never lake a job as a giant chicken, no mailer
animals and turn veggie is the sign he's been '''iling for how desperate I am for cash.
Ihal I'm not [ust gelling older; I'm growing up as well.
He's delighted 10 see me Ihlnklng for myself and accepting Sappho carne over mis afiernoon with her new girlfriend,
responsibiliryfor my own life. (I don 'I understand why he Mags (she SCWlS nice), and Congratulationson Becoming
sounded so surprised.) Then he said th.. at least I was a Vegetarianpresenl for me. I was braced for some mort
81 doing better than the "bloody governmem." I bel the feminist propaganda (never mind the winter solstice, for II
bloody governmelll isn't '$ hungry as I am though. I my birthday she gave me this huge book on the hislory of
finished ofTthe shepherd's pic Mrs. Kennedyleft for the me suffragettes-she couldn't expect me to read iI, SO I
twins' supper on Thursday before I remembered about reckoned I was meant to use it as a weapon), but what it
being a vegetarian, I reckon it's .11nglu though, because was IV,. this excruciatinglycool pair of purple combat
she used mince and that doesn't really (OUIll as meal trousers. Sappho said that every woman should own a pair,
either. since they're in combat most of their lives, I would've
liked them a teeny bit darker, but last time I commented
Dish. said the giant chicken wasn't a cosmic Sign.She sald on something Sappbo gave me, she look It back, so I kept
he stands in front of th.lI new chicken restaurant. h'lIlding quiet. I mink Magsmust be a mellowing Influenceon
Out flyers. I said I didn't think he rcally was ,I chicken (he Sappbo.
was ,,,caring rraiucrst): l jusl thought maybe the universe
\\,.1SIr}ling 10 make Inc feel bad by pUlling him on III)' bus, Nan and Sappho are usually kept preuy much apart,
Disha said he was ill'! going to work, Which 1$probably because Nan thinks lesbians are really un-Christian, and she
why he looked depressed, , Ih()nght .,houl th.I, and I can made sure Sappbo knew how she felt right from the first
~
lime they mel. which was al the parents' wedding. On nOIsomething that's happened very often in our house. If
Ihal firs!. htsiodc occasion. Sappho gOImelodramatic and ever. The only sounds I've ever heard (rom the parents at
SLOPped the band in midsong by loudly dernandlng 10 night are either arguments or Sigmund's snores.) I wasn't
know why II was all righl (or Jesus to b"'g om wuh alone, The Mad Cow spat the biscuit she was chewing right
whores but nor with gay people. On this occasion. acrossthe table. I thought she was going to choke to death.
however. Nan gOIa lot of sympathy from Mags (or Magsasked if anybody wanted more teo,
her broken arm, which kept her happy. And even Sappho
was impressed with Nan's story (HORRIBLY
EXAGGERATED, of course) of how she nearly caughl
the perpetrator because of her traming in the war. Sappho SUIDAY 4 HBRUARY
said Na.nwas a closer fcmintst, and even Nail laughed.
84 Disha and I went to Camden Market this afternoon, I gOt 85
So anyway, we gOIthrough giving me my present and my nose pierced! I've been thinking about it (or EONS
showtng Magsthe flal withour too much trauma. BUIas and today I JUStwent for it. Never mind the pain or
soon as we sal down (or lea Sappho started banging 011 possible disfigurement. (EvenCatriona Hendley doesn't
about female sexuality (not thai anybody asked). It was SO have her nose piercedl) Disha iso't sure how she feels
iris boring. Especiallyif you'\'e heard it all about six million about self-munlation. SO she just gOttwo more holes put
limes before. I was practtcallyasleep when Nan suddenly in each ear. We spent hours wandering around the marker,
shot to her feet. shouting, "I never bad one of those It was well cool (aside from all Ihe wicked clothes, we saw
Ihings. and it didn't do me any harm!" II was preuy someone throwing up outside a pub, and someone else
dramatic. with the sling and .11.I had no idea what being dragged off by the police). I bought this Chinese
"thtngs" she \V,1$ lalking about. but she defintrelyhad my skirt and these really cheap wind chimes (they're meant
aucuuon. Sappho pUI 011 her best professorof women's 10 be very calming. and whh Nan in the Ral I need all
studies voice and said, "Mrs. Bandry.arc YOII s,'YlIIgyou've the calm I can get, so I bought three). Dlsha left me on
never had an orgasm!" This is not il word I've ever heard my own while she went to gel some fried noodles since
spoken aloud In our kitchen before. (In facI, I reckon II'S I'm back on my diet lod.y. Eventhough I don't eat
f
ANYTHING now tim I'm a vegcurtan I seem to have about how their son would be affected by the 1>vings of
gained two pounds! (0 says If crisps were made of pork a militant feminist during his formative years.
I'd be all righl.) Anywa)'. I was looking at the bowls on
one of the stalls when the bloke said 10 me, "So what do
you like?" I said I thoughl the blue fish bowl was nice. and
he said thai wasn't what he meant. 1 don't know why I 10lDIT S HIRDIRT
always smile when someone sal'S something I don't
understand, but th .. 's what I do. He smiled back, "WclJ?" ( couldn't believe it! I came out of art with Marcus
he said. "Eees ... weed. , . ? Maybe a hip girl like you and there was Elvin! As soon as Isponed him, I started
wants something. hule more exouc ... 1" I couldn't believe laughing, even though Mucus wasn't saying mything
it! II must be the nose ring. No aduh has ever tried to sclJ funny. It was brilliant! Elvin looked well surprised. He'd
86 me drugs before. Dish. was furious Ih.1 she missed it! come to see Mr. Belakts. (I can't believe Dish.l didn't find 11
out WI Elvin used to go to our school! She said I could
The only member of my f.mlly who noticed m)' nose ring have asked him that myself when I was t.llklng to him the
was Nan. She thought I'd joined. p.gan cull. She said other day. Always an excuser) Marcus wanted me to go to
she'd always known something like this would happen. the high street with him, but I said I had things to do after
Sigmund told her to put a sock in It: It was only a ring. school.
And then .11of a sudden Justin decided 10 join In. He
wanted 10 know If I realized th,ll the nose ring was a Later, I came OUtof the library jusr as Elvin walked past on
symbol of slavery and servitude, For cows and pigs. I said. his way 0111. I said f thouglu he'd be 01\ his bike, and he
Justin said for women tOO,Traditionally, If a woman wears said he wished that he was. He said it was the only way to
a nose ring it means she's owned by J man. I satd it was travel In london, and I said 100 right. So when he asked
no such thing: it was .. f.'shlon suremcm. He said I'd be me if 1 had a bike I automarically said yes (not. rotaI lIe-
haVing myself circumcised next. (Sec what I mean by I used 10 have one: 1 just haven't had one for a while),
stupid? It's boys who gel circumcised! Evcrybod)' knows And GUESS WHAT? He asked me if I wanted to go
lhat!) If you ask 111e, Ins parents should have ihouglu riding on the heath with him sometime! Do leaves grow
,
on trees? I don't remember much afier that, ahhough I'm mood swings. After she calmed down she gAveme thirty
sure e\'erything he said was v intelJigelll and winy. Iknow quid to buy myself some vegelulan food. I said I didn't
it sounds weird, but I almost wtshed he hadn't got on my know why she couldn't just pick up stulT for me wben
bus. I re.lly wanted to ring 0 and tell her .11 about it and she's doing the carnivores' sbopplng and she said she bas
everything be said, etc. But then he sald he was dropping enough to do without trying to guess what I Want to eat,
by Carricna's on his way home, and straightaw.y I wished ls that LAZY or what?
he wouldn't get ofT.
Disha went shopping with me afler school. Neither of
You're not going to believe this, but Sappho says women us bas been in a supermarket for EONS. It was pretty

88
can be circumcised! 1 said but we don't have a penis, and
she said, "You really do live on your own planet, don't
you?" (Ha-ha-ha, right? You can see why no one's ever
accused feminists of 11O\1nga great sense of hurnor.)
horrifying. Not only is it as big as an airport termlnal. bUI
it was ABSOLUTELY PACKED with shoppers! Disha
said you'd think the)' were giving the food away, We
couldn't work out where oJI these people came from, Don't
.,
Isaid well, we don't have penises, and she said maybe they have jobs? Don't they have lives? There's practically
it would do me some good to pa)' some attention when .. whole aisle for crisps, a whole aisle for sweets, another
people are talking to me now and then. Phoned Dish. and aisle for biscuits, and yet another Usle for breakf ast cereals.
she didn't know women could be circumcised either, No wonder the Mad Cow spends hours getting the
groceries. Dish. satd if she had to do the food shopping
she'd probably spend the resr of her life trying 10 decide
which packet of rice 10 buy. It took us an hour jusl to find
TUESDAY 6 HBRUARY where they hide the vegetarian stuff. After that it was easy
since they hardly have anything, They've gOt more varieties
Because I made 01lC:Lillie COBUJlCnl about the nut curlers of pizza than vegetari .n meals. Then we had to queue
she fcd me last night (and they really did taste like for another eon. And what thanks do I get for wastlng
cardboard), the Mad Cow Weill into one of her MEGA precious hours of my life doing the Mad Cow's job for
,
her? NONE!!! She was all pissed ofT because I didn't said the first thing Ih.1 came into my head. Which was that
bring back .ny change: I reill)' should have a word with I wanted to give him a foor massage, And he said, "Why
Sigmund aboiu geuing her ou hormone replacemem don't you come back 10 mine and give it to me there?" in
therapy, TI,,,
or Prozac, I don't see how I can be expected a v suggestive way. I hope his mother can get the blood
10 live with her lack of rational thought. out of his khakls.

Revolting glop is oozing frolll the hole In my nose. I don't


think this can be right. IJUSthope Id01l'1 have 10 be
WlDNISDAY 1 HBRUARY rushed 10 emergency In the middle of the night.

I think Marcus thinks I like him (well. I do like him. bUI at


'0 the moment I'm no' sure how much). Marcus, David, Sara.
Lila. Nick, Disha. and me all went down 10 MCDonald's THURSDAY I UBRUARY
afier school (I bad the fish thing. of course). We were
siuing by the window when who did I see coming OUl of TOTAL HUMlUATION! And it's all Mrs. Wisl'S fauh.
ihe 'ideo shop across the road? Calum and ELVIN! I h was pissing down, so we gOt '0 SlaYin and play
wasn't sure what EMu was doing outside McDon.ld's las, volleyball. Whal treat ! 1told the old b.g 1 was feeling
spring rh.. nearly go, him busted. bUI I was prcuy sure he crompy and wanted to go and get a pad, just in case, bUI
wasn't queuing. And .11of. sudden it lUI me th.1 I she wouldn't let me leave the class. "1 Ihoughl you had
probably dldn'; want him 10 see me in MeDoll"ld's. even if terminal cramps last week, Janet. How can you be gelting
I wasn't c,lling hamburger. So 1 ducked under the table, your period again?"She was well sarky. Catriona Hendley
Marcus (who was siuing next 10 me) looked down and laughed louder than anybody else, (Dish. says I should've
asked Inc what I was doing. What I was doing ,11 thai \fer)' said that 1 was afraid of geldng hit on the nose by the ball,
moment was kneeling in some ketchup trying to unhook Which would have been true. It already hurts like bell)
n,y 110$C ring fronl his trousers without unhooking In)' Anyway, I said that last week's cramps were a false alarm.
nose 3\ well. I dldn't \\'.).111 10 explain about E.IVII1. so) jU\l but she wasn't having any of u, Mrs. Wist forced
.-
me 10 play, and of course I sraned bleeding like I'd been (3) Disha laid, Elvin thar the reason I ran off like Iba.
srabbed-e-rtglu in the middle of rue ganle. II was so gross! yesterday was because I suddenly remembered it was
Blood was dripping down my leg. Everybody starred the afiernocn I worked in rue local Oxfam shop, lr was
shrieking. You'd think that with PE being 'he last class of a pretty bnlliant lie. She said he was suitably impressed,
'he day, Mrs, Wisl would have leI me go home after Ihao, being rue serious sort. I [ust hope he never asks me where
10 avoid the rush, but OH NO, she lei me go and ge, a the shop I work in is. since I haven't a clue, Bxceptfor
pad and dean up and all, but then she made me Slay righl when rue Me used 10 lake me 10 charilY shops when I was
10 rue gruesome end, I didn't want to go on rue bus liule and dtdn't know any better. I've never been 10 one in
because I was feeling really stressed by thcu, so I went 10 my life. They smell. And also Siranee's stster's friend gO!
Disha's '0
call 'he Mad Cow 10 come and ge, me. And who bugs from a .secondhand jumper once.
do you think was siuing in the kitchen, eating a cheese
sandwich? Elvin! Who else? Of all the billions and billions tJ
of people in the world-many of whom I wouldn't mind
seeing me traumatized and smelling like sornethlng fRIDAY' HBROARY
slauglucred-e-u had 10 be him. I would've swooned, but
I was on auromauc panic, This was my big chance! My I think I may start keeping a list of Most Unromantic
chance to sit dO\"H and have: a cheese sandwich with one Sexual Encounters. Porget the garden shed and the back of
of the mOSIdesirable men in london while we discussed a car, Boris Becker knocked up some model ina broom
'he merus of being vegetarian. Only I Couldn't Take II cupboard, I couldn't believe il euher, but it was OD the
because I fell so gross, J didn'r even say bello. I jus. turned radio so il must be true, He was in some well posh
siraighl round and collided with Disha. I nearly trampled Japanese restaurant. and between courses or something he
her geuing out of the room. What a day!'! followed this model into the cupboard, and nine months
later he's. dad. Boris Becker! He's always dressed in while,
Three Reasons Why Dish. Paski's "~(,,{JCI'I
-7'';I'/''/'' so you sort of think of him as good guy, I'm beginning
(I) She's ;,ue)ligeJ1I and loyal, 10 think Ibal if you're going 10 have a role model you

(2) We're into all the same Ihillgs, should probably pick someone who's already dead so they
"" a bit. Disha said what we should do is wrue- a D on the
can't disappoint YOIi.Disha says nOI 10 forge I Presidem
Climon when I sian my lis t, She says she knows power's card. and then partly cover it over wlth a sticker so II looks
meant 10 be turn-on, but she doesn't think the Oval like be started 10 sign il and then tried 10 hide it. Then she
Office with armed guards ourstde and all those phones said we should send Oa\.;d one from Catriona 100. Disha
would pur her in the mood. shows a remarkable ulem for subterfuge,

lila's parents are going away for" romantic weekend so Even though my nose still looks a bil red and has a
Lila's decided 10 have valenune p.lrty tomorrow nigb r. tendency 10 leak, I went over 10 Disha' s this aflernoon
despne what happened lasl lime. I wish Sigmund and the because Elvin was going 10 be there. I was "cry cool. ThJs
Mad Cow would go away for a LONG romanuc weekend. lime [ didn't run OUIof the kilcben; Ibis lime I sal down.
but even if they weren't AT WAR and ",Ighl possibly do Elvin and Calum are going 10 make a film logether,
94 such. Ihing. they'd have 10 lake Nan with them, so there's probably in the summer if everything works out righl.
no use hoping. Marcus asked me if I was going 10 Ula's (Apparently there's much more 10 malting a movie than
and I said yes. of course-even though I have pUlting film in the earnera.) They talked a 101about II.
NOTHING 10 we ar. He's going 10 pick me up so we can I think it's sort of. documentary about people. We fixed
walk over 10gClher. I said Ilia! was grear. l rold Dish. to toasted cheese sandwiches. Elvin and I made a great deal of
meet tiS at mine. eye COOlaCI. He even asked me a couple of questions: why
I became a vegetarian. what my favorne subject is. nd if I
Disha's had a BRILLIANT Ide.! She thinks I should send have a brother (because the meal industry is irresponsible
Catriona Hendley. valentine and make her think u's from and motivated only by profit, which is what Sappho always
David. lila. who's .1 v good friend of Catriona's, wid Disha says; art and Englisb. but I wish we had a film course; and.
Ih.ll Camona used 10 have the hots for David. bUI even yes). He said be thought he'd heard of my brother. I told
Ihough he hangs 0111wuh her a 101(because her paTenlS him Ihal was virtually impossible. I'm well chuffed lh..
own a heated pool and a snooker tablet}, he's never asked I had the sense 10 hide in McDonalds. even Ihough I have
her out. Thai should lake C,II";on.5 mind olT Elvin for no ide. how 10 gel ketchup out of my combat trousers.
.,
David rang for a chat. As you know, I usually flirt with wasn't having it either, He said that I still owed him fifty
David, bur I was still thinking about Elvin and didn't have quid from the summer. I pointed out that I'd only
the energy. It's fUJUlY,isn't it? When you have no single borrowed a fiver ihat time. He said it was fifty quid with
object of your desire, you can flin with anyone, bm as interest. (Rest assured, the skies over London will be
soon as your heart begins to yearn to see that one face, choked with pigs before he sees any of that!!!) Anyway,
you lose imerest in the others. At least that's the way it is Disha and I went to the West End. I was so distraught over
for me. And also my nose really hurts. You don't feel like my poverty that I forgot to bring my mobe and Dish's
flirting when your nose really hurts. was at home charging, so she had to use a phone box to
ring her mother and lind Out what it was she was meant to
pick up for her. You couldn 'r even see out of the box,
there were so many cards plastered all over the glass. And
96 SATURDAY 10 HBRUARY they're not like minicab cards (you know, name, phone 91
number, and maybe a drawing of a car). They're full-color
Weill shopping with Disha this afternoon, She wanted to photographs with whips and stuff like that. Disha said she
get something to go with her red skirt for the party tonight doesn't know why they bother putting porn magazines on
(we reckon we can be exempt from the DP just lhis the top shelf of the news agent's when the phone boxes
oncc-e-afier all, even Great Artists and Writers do JTuIl ill are wallpapered with the same sorts of pictures. She said
Lo/lt', even if it's only TRAGICALLY), l. of course, Sappho must never come to the West End, because if sbe
could buy NOTHING. I have to save all my money for a did there wouldn't be a box left standing. I asked Disha i(
bike, and no one else would give me any. (Not even she thought they were ALL prostitutes. or if some of them
JUStuI.He's left the photos of Jocelyn and Robert Bandry really were masseuses and personal trainers. Disha said she
so it's my word against his.) I
sleeping at Andrew's, hoped 1 was joking. It was JUStthat there seemed '0 be SO
offered to do errands for Nan for a nominal charge, and MANY. Dish. said well. there would be, wouldn't there?
she accused me of betng worse than a moneychangcr in a You don't need any qualifications, you make more than
temple. I even med to borrow a renner from [ustin, but he you would working in Woolworth's, and YOIldon', have
"
to pay tax. All you have to worry about is nOIcatching
some fatal disease or being beaten up or murdered. I think
prosmuuon in general bas to go on my Most Unromantic
SexualEncounterslist. It makes the giam chicken job look SUNDAY 11 fEBRUARY
good if you ask me. There's obviously a lot more to sex
than you'd think. Or a lot less. Marcus was late picking us up last night, which was just
as weU since I had to change FIVE times before I found
Walked past a bike shop On the way home. I couldn't something presentable to wear. I tried on the Chinese skirt
believe the prices! I could buy a motorized scooter for lhat! I got in the market, but it rnusr've shrunk or something
Dish. said I should look for. secondhand one in toor. because it was too tight. Dluo my pink Lycra.EvenDisha
said I looked like an overstuffedsausage. I can't possibly
98 When Sigmund saw the hole in my door where I tried '0 be gaining weight, even though I'm not STRICTLY on
pur on the lock, he lost it completely. as per usual. Yadda my diet anymore because I don't really ear anything but
yadda yadda. It's hard to believe he gets paid to LISTEN vegetables.Finall),remembered the Me's black silk skirt
'0 people. I've never heard him keep his mouth shu. for (mercifullyshe was out), which is both casual ani!
more than rwo seconds. He says I've TOTALLY ruined sophisticatedand went PERFECTLY with the bat top.
the door and that now he'll have .0 get a new one-and
God Knows How Much That's Going to Cost. ( said to When Marcusarrived be was wearing a pink bow tie-and
make sure he got one with a lock. carrying a single red rose. (Even Dishasaid he looked
prell)' good.) I acted overwhelmed. "For ME?!! Oh, you
( practicallyrubbed m)' fingers 10 the bone trying '0 get shouldn't have!" He said. "Sweets for the sweet; roses for
the ketchup Out of my new trousers. but you Call still see the thorny." (He can be pretty funny.) Marcussaid that if
it, so ( bough. a boule of black dye to hide the stain. It he'd known he was escorting two devastatinglybeautif'il
looks prelly easy. You jus. dump it all in the washing women to lila's and not [ust one he would've bought
machine. another rose. He reckoned he could've gOta deal on two.
We were JUStabout to leave,when Davidturned up.
,.
(I forgol he also said he warned 10 walk over wlth me.) towards us (towards met). I was p"clic~y Vicooningrrillt
David was wearing a red shin (no lie). but he had. rose :Iloppin_, bur I didn't let II show. Snll acting like I
100 (Ihey must've been giving them away .. the end of hada'r seen Elvin, I stood OS close 10 David as I could
ihe road). I Ihink he Ihoughl Marcus's rose was for Dish. wuhour actually bugging him. (If a bloke's interested,
because he whipped II OUIof my band and thrust II 01 her. he'Il be even more interested if he thinks be's not the
And then he gave me the one he'd brouglu. only one. I'm nOI sure where I read thai, but San Dancer
says it's true.) II son of worked. II was definllely a
II wasn't untll we gOI 10 Lila's that I understood why I'd V AWKWARD .1
moment, Only wasn't Elvin who
been SO PARTICULAR aboui what I was wearing. My storied to bristle like a dog Ihat's IU$Iseen another dog-it
psychic self musr've been picking up messages from the 'vas David. I could feel him gel taller. And then Marcus
Earth Goddess because guess who was already there when came back and latched himself on 10 my otber side. I fell
100 we arrived! Yes! Oh YES YES YES!!! Pate Is wuh me! II like I was wedged between IWORoman columns or 101
was none other than Elvin Whatever-His-Name-Is. MI' heart something. Elvin (being a sensitive Leo) musr've realized
did a double Aip and the rest of the room faded around that D and M were being all male territorlal because I've
him, I was glad the IIghliog was low, because I could fecl been friends with thern for so long. because afier the usual
myself blushing (which is something I usually only do friendly greetings, instead of bringing up the bike ride or
when 1'111 OUiin public with members of my famlll'). ElvlIl anything like thai, be asked me if Marcus was my brother!
was lalking 10 Catrioua. (Of course I She would've known Marcus wanted to know if he looked like my brother. and
he was going 10 be there, wouldn't she? She's nor one 10 Elvin said he wouldn't know since he's never mel my
miss an opporumhyl II doesn't even have 10 knock. She brother. Elvin and I Ihought tim was v funny. As soon as
sees II comlug, opens the door. and hauls il in.) There Elvin went back 10 Ca"iona and her molley crew, Marcus
were a bunch of other people wuh them ,\I rhe back of rhe asked who he was. Then he mumbled something about
room, I pretended not lO sec them and gave Marcus nly Elvin always hanging around, Disha and I watched Catriona
[acket 10 stick in tbe bedroom. David said he'd do ii, ,Iud and David (subtly, of course) 10 see if Ihey made eye
whipped II 0111 of Marcus's hands. Marcus snatched II contact or anything. AND GUESS WHAT? II was all
back and marched ofT. \.vithin seconds. Elvin \\1.1$ conling we could do nOI 10 laugh out loud! David kepi looking

over at hcr so much that be barely kept up with thc Catnona, So maybe it was JUStMucus after ill. 0 said it
conversation, and she cast more than one thoughtful look would serve me right for proclic>lly licking his boots in
his way too, I suppose it was just as well for everybody's McDonald's the other day,
concentrauon that Elvin left early and Camona left the
room (though not the building, sadly). But despite the fact The MoldCow's ILl\~ng dinner with Sappho and Mags,
that Elvin Icft really early and I didn't get. chance to talk Sigmund's grouping (left-handed redheaded dyslexic
to him again, 1 had pretty good time. At Lila's Halloween unwed fathers with one blue eye probably), and Justin's
party the ouly person who danced with me was her cousin gone Out, leaving me grandmother-sitting, AS PER
from Glasgow, whose concept of dancing was to jump USUAL. Fortunately Nan's nodded off In front of the
straight up and down in the air like a Jack Russell. This lelly, so now's my chance to dye my combats without her
time, however, I had two boys to dance with=--usually, as telling me how Jesus would do It,
101 it turned om, together. They're both REALLY good 10J
dancers, 1 found it very exhausting, though, so when
Marcus went into his John Travolta routine, and then David
went into his, 1 slipped away and sat down, It took them IOIDAY 11 fEBRUARY
EONS to notice.
Found the roses Marcus and David brought under the table
Mr. Burl next door was backing his scooter om of his froru In the ball, still in their wrappers but >lready withered and
gardeu as we gOt to my house. I dosed the gatc for him. dead, .lou and lltilll. 1 reckon they're the IWO greatesl
Then Marcus and David came in for a cup of rea. After they themes in an and literature-as well as In life. And il
left 1 told Dlsha how hostile Marcus and David were to made me realize how short life really Is. We are all born
Elvin. Disha thinks they both thought they were going to to die (I don't know if some poet wrote that line before
the party with me, 1 said she was mad, I'd remember if 1 did, but I think u's pretty good). At least the roses had
one of them asked me our. Anyway. wh,ll about D.IVld aud their moments of beauty. (That'S more than my mother
C~\lriona?Their eyes were drawn to each other like ever hadt) 1 took a couple of pculs to press in my diary,
magnets, Dlsha said she'd forgotton about David and and then 1 chucked them in the bin.
,..
Last night I dreamed that I was at this barbecue (like in be giving her BOXES of free cards, DOtpersecuuog her.
Texas or somewhere like that). There were whole cows The Me said it was nice of him to take her side for
rumtng over the coals. And you should've seen the a change. and they neuly got Into another row. (I'm
burgers! They looked like meteors! I was swearing when beginning to think that rowing's \Vh" they do instead of
I woke up. It's weeks since I became. vegeunan, and .11 having sex.) Justin said the MC was really unlucky to get
I've had besides vegetables is fish and chicken (and thac the only conscious security guud in london. Nan said she
lillie bh of mince). And my parents think I don't stick to should sue for defamanon of character (which, let's face it.
.nything! would be REALLY hard to prove). The MC says she can
never go back there again, in case somebody recognizes
There must be somcrhuig wfong with the washing her. I told her not 10 worry about that since nobody
machine, The combats didn't exactly come out the W,,), I remembers what WOmen her age look like. And then sbe
104 thought. The trousers are brilliant, bUI the surchtng dtdn't got angry with ME!!! She says she hopes she's still alive 105
take the dye. so I've gOt these really cool BLACK trousers when I'm her age so at least she can die laughing.
with almost WHITE surching. It is v passe. And not
euctly my Im.ge. D reckons I can cover up the white stitching on tbe
combats with. laundry marker. If you ask me. she should
consider a career in fashion. She has a real ulem.

TUHDAY B HBRUARY
The Mad Cow nearly gOI arrested in the supermarket for YA1UTlirs DAY
nicking a birthday card that somebody left in her trolley
(at le.lst that's h" story!!!). Apparently there wasa MEGA To celebrate this day of 1:0I1t'. the boys who sit at the back
scene with the n",nager. and HUNDREDS of >hoppers in Mrs. Gumpia's maihs class let loose a bunch of inflated
were l't,lIlding around warching. Signlund said con"idcl'ing rainbow-colored condoms while Mrs. G was writing
how much money she spends there each week they should on the board. She thought they were balloons. It was
excruciatingly hilarious. Dish. said )'OU could bel that if eat lunch with us. but I'm Sure II WiS just til divert
we'd had Mr. Plage!. he would've known what Ihey were! suspicion. He was definitely preoccupied. and even though
Marcus bad the rest of us in stitches, David hardly cracked
I GOT MY FIRST VALENTINE! It was wailing for a smile.
me when [ gOI home this afternoon, It's one of those reaUy
nafTones with a red satin heart mmmed with lace. I 10\'e Since JlO one sem her. valenune. the MC bought herself a
il! [ pili it on my bureau SO the Mad Cow will sec it when boule of sparkling chardonnay. It didn't help her mood
she patrols my room and know that someone loves me. any, though. She was all suky because [ was going 10 Mrs,
That should wind her up. Here she is. finishing her life as Kennedy's (is per usualt) and wanted to know if The
a woman, and I'm just aboiu to begin mine. Due [ hope Womm ever myed home. I said what happeaed to Fem.te
that Illy secret valentine Is Elvin? W" that moment when Solicbrity and being supportive of single mothers? The Me
106 he smiled at me in Dish's kitchen the moment when he said maybe r should uk Mrs. Kennedy abom Female 101
thought, Lthink I'm 'Fu/linJrinLort' with J.n? Solidarity. God knows whit she was on abour. She really is
gong througb the CHANGE-from human to witch.

The Me musr've gone round 10 Sappho's for more wine.


THURSDAY U HBRUARY because she wasn't in the flat when I got home from Mrs.
Kennedy's. Nan was asleep at the kitchen uble. She's nOI
So whar's the FIRST Ihing [ sec when [ gel to school this gelling older; she's rurning into a cal. No mailer where
morning? Nothing less than Catriona and David chming you put her. she nods ofT. Even in the middle of supper
nonchalantly just inside the gale!!! Were they discussing (though not before she's said grace)! Disha says it's beuer
their valentine cards. one wonders! I g~lvCthem both .1 than her grandmother. Her grand mot her docsn'r remember
BIG greeting, and David gOt a distinctly pink tinge 10 hi' .nything unless It happened seventy years ago. She calls
complexion, as Ihongh I'd come across them snogging or Dlsha Paula and is always asking her if she liked the
something. Naturally [ acted like I didn't notice. David did chocolates.
., Everybody else had sp.ghelll Bolognese for .supper tonight,
but all I had was cheese sandwich because Nan threw out
the soya mince. She thought it was dog food and we don't
fRIDAY 16 HBRUARY have. dog. How is it possible th., I'm related to these
people? I hope I'm not ge'ting anemic.
Caught David and the Hendley with their heads together
in the library today!!! Made a point of going over to say Found myself in the kuchen with my parents' other child
hello, Did David look EMBARRASSED or what? He tonight. I was ignoring him as usual when he suddenly
gave me some crap about history homework. Yeah. right. told me I should give the MC a break. I said what? Her
like I \V,lS born yesterday. leg? Her arm? Her neck? He said it's not a joke. Can't I see
the state she's in? I said it would be pretty hard for me '0
108 The Mad Cow had another major IrolUma allMh tonight because miss it, since I'm the one who gelS most of her shir. Thank 109
her whites came out gr.}'. Sigmund and Justin had God, our conversaricn go, cut short by Sigmund barging
vanished. .5 per usual, and Nan was passed out in froru of in. looking for 'he corkscrew (the Me was over a, Sappho's
the ,elly (also as per usual), so she came s,raight for 111e. .gain so he couldn't ask her). Iustln didn't even look .t
She wanted '0 know wh .. I'd been doing in 'he washing him; he jus, mumbled something about it being about
machine. "No'hing:' I said. "Washing clothes." She s'M,ed time ,hat Ijoined 'he human race, and left the room.
waving a finger in from of my face. Hysterically. "Then
what's thls, Jane,' Wha,'s this?" she kepi shrieking, It WaS
black dye. She said if 'his was my clever wa)' of gelling out
of doing my own laundry. I could forget it, She slIgges,ed SATURDAY 11 HBRUARY
I read ALL instructions before I did anYlhing. She ,aid if'1I
EVER happened again. she was going 10 send me to I woke up this morning looking like I'd been bitten by 'he
Inclon{'~la co work in il faclory until I'd earned Cl10uRh It) King Kong of mosquitoes. My whole nose is red now. And
buy i\ new machine. She reckons il would lake nil ,'U1 swollen! The Mad Cow says it's infected and made me lake
Ihirl)'. the ring OUt.Thank God u's half-term or I migh' cod up
going 10 school with b.g over my head like K~II. Iamers comes as a surprise the firsl time you heu: it) when the
did Ihal lime she dyed her hill pink and her father went stereo just Slopped playing. ( wasn't going to go through
INSANE and SHAVED IT ALL OFF! Sappho gave all the bother of finding new fuse and pUlting il in and
me one of her herbal remedies for my nose. Al leasl It all thu. so. since [ustin wasn't home, I went to his room
smells OK. (otherwise known as the Bbck Hole) to borrow his
stereo. which is like going Into. house where someone's
Since looking like somerhmg deformed has made it just died of bubonic plague. His room isn't just unlidy-
impossible for me 10 go out in daylighl. I read another it SMELLS. I couldn't sec his stereo. so, holding my
COliI'le of pages of lh. Outsider and did some yoga. ( WaS nose and trying nOI 10 gag or touch .nything with my
feeling In a pretty reflecuvc mood afier Ihal. so I wrOIC a skin, I started kicking plies of clothes aside. And what do
poem about being Here while everyone else is There. Dlsha you think I found? MY LEOPARD-PRINT BRA!!!
110 said il was v deep. which is what ( thought. So maybe It That's what I found!!! Me you revohedl Mulnply that by III
was important for my nose 10 go septic for me to about a trillion and you'll know how I feIl! I picked il
assimilate what the DP has laughl me so far. up with my sleeve and brought it downstairs 10 show
the Mad Cow. (I don't want to think about what he was
doing with it!) The MC was less than horrified, She said
there's probably nOlhing unhe~thy abou; il (there is for
~UNDAY 18 HBRUARY (Sara Dancer's advice ME!). and thaI Sigmund will "have a word with Justin."
about locked doors proves prophetic!!!) Well. thaI should help. (Sigmund never has less than a
thousand words with anyone, and Justin will stop
Three Reasons Why I Hate My Brother: llstenlng completely after "talk 10 you.") And also she
(I) Hc's ugly and stupid, refuses 10 buy me a new bra. She says rill being
(2) He tore up my hest coloring book when I was four. melodramauc and ( should lusl wash it. She says il
(3) This .lfic",ool1 1 was practicing yoga to my new CD probably JUS! gOt mixed up In the laundry. which is
(the c1ul1Iing docs help. lhough there's a bit when the)' another good reason we should each do our Own. I may
suddenly SlMt blowing trumpets and banging cymbal-, that have 10 burn ir.
There must be more to Sappho's plcklng-wOd-sage-when- bra I Own so I can check whether any go missing In d;e
the-moen-is-full rom inc than Ithoughl. The swelling's future. .
gone down and Illy nose has stopped acbing,
The Mad Cow and Nan were all atwitter when I gOI home
Disha was sulubly AGHAST when I told her what Geek from Disha's this afiemoon. I reckoned there musr've been
Boy did. She sal's it JUStproves th.t you never really know another excruciatingly exciung incident in the supermarker,
anyone, not even the people who are closest to you, There so j wasn't really Jl<lyingauenuon till 1 hurd Nan say
are .uways depths. D says it's son of scary when you realize thai sbe thought il mighl be a good idea if we set up
lbat EVERYBODY has a secret, Inner life. I said not neighborhood watch. Nan said she doesn'i know what the
everybody. As the child of Robert and Jocelyn &ndry I can world's coming to. In her cUy (like she can remember thai
say that with CERTAINTY, And as fat as JUSIingoes. I far back!) people looked OUIfor each other and knew how
III don't know if I consider nicking my bra a DEPTH 10 lake care of themselves. 1 thoughl Sigmund musr've had tlJ
exactly. even if it is true Ihal I wasn't expecting it. It', another car stereo nicked (number five!), but it turned OUI
more like a Ct!SPO~01 Sh~IIDWI1tSS, t1at Mr. Burl next door was robbed. Scmebod y look his
scooter last Saturday night! My mobe was chuging, SO 1
raced to the kitchen phone 10 tell Disha thai we'd actually
wi messed a robbery in progress. Disha said hadn't she
MONDAY" HBRUARY
(Half-term, Can I said Mr. Burl looked like he'd tosr some weighl? 1said no.
use the break? 00 I need to breathe?) (I cenainly don't remember that.) She Ihoughl maybe the
police would Willi 10 question us. The only person who
Sigmund made Justin apologize for nicking Ill)' bra. If YOll wanted to question me was the Mad Cow. She'd been
COUIlI unering one word ("Sorry") from behind a camera Iislening to my whole conversation, of course (I couldn't
an apology. Justin s.lid it was Andrew's idea. (Andrew is have less privacy if I lived in a doorway). The MC was
the fourth reason I hate III)' brorhcr.) According to Justin. HORRIFIED dial I actually so w someone going ofT with
the), just wanted to sec how it worked. What for? Arc they Mr.llurl's bike and didn't say anything. 1 asked her what
planning 10 wear one? I'm going to make a list of ever)' she wanted me to say. Anyway. how was I meant to know
it wasn't Mr. Burl going for a moonlit ride?"!t was dark, He had undercover security guard written .11 over him, The
She said she hoped I realized that at some point in time wt thing Iwanted was 10 follow in the f~leps of
I was going to have to take up residence on Earth, and Jocelyn Bandry and get accused of shoplifting, Especi.illy
advised me .gainst going Into any career that required even with the Hendley about (spreading sensational news stories
an insignific.nt amount of thought. is in ber blood .fter all), Isuppose Icould sinlply have
left, but I didn't lhink of that until later. Instead I was
attacked by genius once .g.in! I went straight to the
manager and told him a pervert was following me around
JUUDAY 10 HBRUARY the store. Nalurally, the manager didn't want to admit that
it was the store detective, so we got into a v intense
Another v illleresting day!!! Well! shopping for general discussion . Perhaps acting is my real calling. because
114 maintenance supplies (shampoo, conditioner, crc.), and I definitely gOt into my role of ViCllmized and Innocent 115
who should I SP)' with my Iiule eye but Catrlona and Young Woman Alone. The man.ger finally offered me a
David: They were coming out of the record shop near the five-pound gift voucher to appease me, which I generously
tube. They weren't holding bands, but tbey were walking accepted, The downside was Ihat by the time 1returned to
V CLOSE!!! I re.illy am a creature of impulse, because I my quarry they were gone. DecIded to save the voucher
suddenly decided to foUow them. They strolled along juSt for NUl'S birthday.
looldng in windows for a bit, and then they went into
woonc's. Agent Bandry right behind them. Woolte's was Came home to find the female parent IN MY ROOM!
crowded and it wasn'r e.>.Sy10 keep them in siglu and slay She was lying on my bed! I was highly indignant, I can tell
Out of sighl .1 the same time. I was Sidling pasl the kuchen you. Not only was this. MNOR breach of my privacy,
stuff when I realized David and Catriona weren't the only but her eyes were all red and she was sniffling like she
ones being followed!!! I \V", being closely observed by a WaS coming down will, somelhing, She'd bcuer nOI be
youngish man in .1 Nike sweatshirt. I dived clown rhe infecting me with her germs. She said she was taking
sweets aisle. and he popped up at the other encl. I knew a break from Nan, but I know her beuer than that. She
inslantl)' that i1 wasn't lust or ,lnydling like that. though knows I got a diary for the winter solsuce. and she
probably wants to read what I say about her (thongb I films and TV programs). And there was this suburban wife
can't il11.lgine why. since even SHE 11111St
realize it isn't and mother in America who it turned out was wanted by
going to be good!). Time for a move! the FBI for being a terrorist in her youth. 1know none of
these seem like.ly for my mother. bur it did make me think.
SignllU)d and Nan had an argUtllent toniglu. For a change! J musr've gOtlost in my thouglus because she suddenly
This one was about war as a method of settling differences. started shrieking, "And what are you looking at?" So 1said I
Sigmund doesn't think it's what Jesus would do. Nan said was [ust wondering if she rcollyhad the potential to murder
the Bible said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. someone. and she said nOI 10 provoke her. I beat a hasry
Sigmund said it also said tum the other cheek. Nan retreat. but I couldn't stop tlJinking about how you never
stomped off muttering that the Word of God is the Word REALty know ANYONE. It's all through Iueramre and
of God. and Sigmnnd shouted after her. "Even when It history. &trayal. Treachery. Deception. It:S even in comic
11& contradicts Itself?" The Mad Cow told him if he didn't StOP books and films. for God's sake! After a while. though. I 111
winding Nan up she was going to kill the two of them. 1 got really lind anddrprrsst1ithinking about all this so I.went
know she was only kidding, but Dlsha's words from the and watched telly with Nan for a while. but her soap was
other day came back to hauru mc. and 1stared at her for a pretty RiFE wnh betrayal and deception too (who knew
few seconds like I'd never seen her before. Maybe D's right the Dark Phase was going 10 be THIS dark?!!), so I rang
and EVERYBODY-e"en !II)' mother-has an inner. Disha, D says Shakespeare was totally obsessed with
secret self. Maybe. deep down in her inner. secret self. treachery. betrayal, and deception. She says it just 'proves
Jocelyn Bandry (primary school teacher and graduale of the we really are probing the DEPTHS of human experience.
St. JolUl Ambulance firsr aid course) really would kill She says now she TOTALLY understands that poem abour
someone. People do, don't they? You see. il on the news all ignorance being bliss. And I said our @fblltr musr be even
Ute lime. The neighbors arc always well shocked. Usually 3)""fH'r 1111(/JltOll' C;"olit:t! than we Ihought. D agreed.
it's a man slatlghlcring his wife and children. but it could Now I feel oddly at :Pl!ON:. I reckon we've reached another
go the other way. couldn't it? And even if the. Me's not <1 spiritual plareau!l!
serial killer w~ililtg 10 happen. lots of housewives go imo
prosuuuion for extra 1l10nC)'[rhis is welt documented in
WlDHlSDAY 11 HBRUARY Carrion. when we had few minutes alone, I suried out
by asking him if he gOt .ny valenunes and he actually
justin has a black eye. He won't say how he gOI it. blushed! Busted!!! (It was reaUy tldifW'1 ond GntiMring.
Probably walking into a lamppost or something. He's Like when )'OUsee some guy built like an American
always hurting himself (lasr time it was. broken ankle). football player with. baby. I don't know why ti,", should
NOI only is he the clumsiest Ihing on IWOfccl. bUI he, seem so S\veet-I see dozens of women with babies every
practically comatose most of the lime. Sigmund said he day and all I think is that's their youth and figure gone,) I
hoped justin wasn't doing anything dangerous. Uke wbat? said I gOl one 100, to encourage him, and he didn'l say
Eating hamburgers? Crossing against the light? (This isn't anything. Then I asked him who he thoughl his was from.
exactly the young Indiana jones we're talking about here. and he smiled (he has one of those v auractlve lopsided
justin hasn't even ridden a bike since he was hit by a smiles) and said he had an idea but he wasn't going to say.
118 police car.) Nan said thank God he wasn't bun worse, and I was about to start wheedling when the others came back. 11'
the Mad Cow muttered something about nothing being Better luck next time.
more important than human life (.Ithough I can think of
several things th.t are more important than Justin's life). Dish. said did I notice that Marcus and David seemed a
bit cool to each other. and I said no, D said REALLY?
[ asked her if she was trying to make some polnr. and she
said no. she was just saying because the DP has got her
THURSDAY 11 HBRUARY into the habit of thinking and noticing things. I reminded
her that we're meant 10 be nOlicing things with profound
Made another aucmpt at l11ystory for rhc school nhl& rhis Significance. nOI mundane details.
morning, bUI writing is A LOT harder than it looks, I WaS
pretty relieved when D,wie(rang U(). He was bored 100. So I've spent. lot of the half-term going through all the
in rbc end I hung 0111wllh MMCII s. David, $II',IIICC.Disha, posslbtlines, and I really thmk my valentine must have
etc . t David's. I look Ihe opponunuy 10 try and gel some been from Elvin, It was 100 soppy for Marcus, And I
Information out of hun about \\that':. h.'ppcning wuh KNOW I'm righl about David being nuercstcd in the
Hendley. Who else is there! This Is the first'time anyone's do that. and they said BECAUSE. Could I ever have
scm me one, and it's the first time I've known Elvin, The been like that? It really doesn't seem possible. Sigmund was
logic seems prelly irrefutable to 111e. So, since he obviously still up when I got back. so J told him how weird they've
is interested in me (having more or less solidso), I've been lately. I reckoned, since he's Mrs. Kennedy's therapist
decided to be one of those new women )'011're "'w.ys and ..II, he'd be interested. and he was. He went into this
reading about in the color supplements and not wait for long yadda yadda yadda about the w.y twins relate. and
him '0 ring me about the bike ride. After .11, maybe be their imaginations. and bow you can't re"'ly believe much
forgot. He is a filmmaker. You wouldn't expect Spielberg they say. especially twins who have been through as much
'0remember he once asked ),OU'0 go on bike ride, as Shane and Shaun and have to pretty much make up
would you! father. And he thinks I talk. lot!!! As per usua], I was v
sorry I'd broughr il up. I said oJ.1 I re"'ly wanted to know
110 I don', ,hink being twins an be huhhy. Either S&S don', was if he t.hougbt they could be on medication. SigmWld 01
speak 10 me a' .U bee.. rse Ihcy live In rhelr Own linle Twin said the only person be suspects of being on mediation is
World, or Ihey won't shut "I' and 1.lk in stereo. Tonight me. You can see what I'm up against. And he expects me
thcy were banging on aboiu their father og.io. Apparently to have serious conversations wlth him!
he's bigger than my father. stronger than my fatber,
cleverer than my father, and even beuer looking than m)'
father. God they're cxhausung: J ask you, who would be
yOWlg? How tedious and infanulc their minds are, I tried FRIDAY H FEBRUARY
to ignore them. After all, J couldn't rcaUy argue with
them-they are mere children-MId, .nywa)'. since I've Since the McDonald's incident. I've been reluctant to hang
never met their dad (because he', been Inside all the time Out wuh the boys anywhere too public, just in case we run
I've known Mrs. Kennedy) they may be right ,ISfJr ,15 I into Elvin (which. with my LUCK, would be bound to
know. (The DJ>is .150 helping me develop an open mind.) happen). because even though It does men good to think
Then Shane said their dad could bear m)' dad up, and that other men are interested in you. I don't '\,iU\I to
Shall" said 100 righl. I asked Ih(~111why he would \\'.)111co overdo it. You know. I don't want It to backfire and
actually DISCOURAGE him. But tooay" broke down il was the only place she could lie down in (flriro<yand
and said I'd go to the bookshop with David, He said if I'd :P~~, 1 said what about Justin's room; he'basn't sold his
finished the Camus, he could recommend sOlllething else, bed, has be? And listen to wl~t she said!!! She sald Justin
h was a tricky situation. If I said I'd finished The Outl.JcrI'd needs SPACE because of his phOtograpby, And what
have to tell him what I thought of it, but if I sard I hadn't about me?!! I'm an artisl, or maybe writer. I said bow
he'd think there was something wrong with me since it's am I ever going 10 fimsh my Story for the school rmgazine
not exactly LONG. BUIthen GENIUS struck: I told him if I don't have any PRIVACY AND PEACE? And then
I'd finished it bUI was going to read it again, so I could YOIl know what she sold? She said J, K, Rowling wrote the
fully appreclare all its subtleties. J said I didn't feel I could first Harry Potter in a cote so she didn't see what I was
discuss il after jusl one reading, He seemed v impressed, making such a fuss about!
No sooner did 1 hang up than Marcus rang. Whal was I
III doing. yadda yadda yadda? I said I was going 10 the 0)
bookshop, so he said he'd come tOO,Then it occurred 10
me that 1 could EASILY bump into Elvin in a bookshop, SATURDAY 14 HIRUARY
so I asked Disha if she wanted 10 come 100. When we gOt
there D"'id was preny quiet. but I reckoned Ihat was Is this injustice or wh.t? Appuently, when JUStin gOt his
because he was in lileruy mode (you should've seen ihe black eye he also lost bis new camera. And is Justin being
book he boughl-h's thick as a brick!). Anyway, Marcus punished for this carelessness] Is he being tre.. ed like a
was in good form so we had some laughs, And we didn't pariah? Is he scorned and grumbled a, and told OVER
meet Elvin. AND OVER how much things COSIand bow no one's
ever going to buy him anl'thlng again? NO. HE ISN'T!
My gooomood evapomcd almost as soon as I gOl III rhe He's been bought another camera! Sappho's right. There is
flat. The MC was in my room AGAIN! This lime she said no equality between men and women, NOI in tlus house at
she had a mlgr,Iinc (which mighr'vc had a shred of trurh le..lst!!!
in n. since she didn't exactly look like a piece of ,Ht) anel
SUNDAY H HBRUARY , .. Catriona Hendley on the high street he'd think she was
Lady Macbeth in a short skirt and knee-higli boots.
Finally gOt around (0 hanging my wind chimes outside m)' "Gadzooks!" he'd cry. "You're back!") Everybody was
bedroom window. They're absolutely bnlliam: I lie on Illy hanging around talking about Catriona's lip before the bell.
bed. looking up at the glow-irHhe-dark stars On the ceiling I told them about facial rings being a sign of slavery and
and listening to my chimes as though I'm camping in 'he oppression. I said I look my nose ring our as soon as
Himalayas, watching the night S~l'and hearing 'he temple t found out. Catriona said she reckoned lips nngs were
bells ringing in the distance. As someday, perhaps, I will!!! differeru. She said she wasn't really sure about kissing with
(Must check Out what the scorpion situation is in the it though, Someone said he'd be bappy to help out if she
Himalayas before I go, though.) wanted to practice, and everybody laughed, Including
David. He's obviously a better actor than you would have
114 tliought! It's good news about the kissing though. That 115
should slow down her moves on Elvin a bit too.
MONDAY 16 HBRUARY
A black star hangs over me' The curse of a whole coven of
witches envelops J11C! You doubt that? WeH. gues.s what's JUHDAY 21 HBRUARY
happened now: l'm the bold. innovatlve trendsetter who
has her nose pierced and gets a dangerous tnfecnon as a Disha had some V DEPRESSING NEWS. Elvin came
result-and Catriona Hendley goes aud gets a ring put by hers last night with Catnona Hendley! How could he
through her lip like she invented body piercing! (YOIl will do ,h.t? I feel as if. someonc's Rollerbladed across my
notice ihar she did it DURING HALF-TERM- heart. He knows Disha's my best friend! Did he think I
probably on 'he nrs' day!!! That way, if it went septic and wouldn't find OUl? That I wouldn't be excruciatingly burr?
her lip swelled up like a zeppelin. no one would ever That the ,;J{ope.r'!/Jlty.tove wouldn't be dashed agains,
know. Talk about drrr~lionand Irrarhrl'Y,I'm sure if Wllllam the craggy rocks of Catriona Hendley's common good
Shakespeare were to come hack to life and run inro looks' Disha says it wasn't like 'hey were holding hands or
anything, He juSt brought her along because they're such (md if that isn't a thought to sober up every wild pany
OLD friends and he wanted to show her his award- in London, [ don't mow what is), I mow (rom waiting
winning documentary on cats, which (apparently) he left "' mporLS, etc., that some of the most unauracnve people
with Calum, 10m not consoled. That's how these things imaginable find pannus (look no further than the parent
start, One day they're joking around like brother and sister, 8mdrys for proof!!!), so I think we have to accept that-
and the next he's sticking his tongue down her throat, thougb grossly improbable-It Is not impossible that a
female migbt be interested in my brother, She's probably
right tan.

WEDNESDAY 18 fEBRUARY
116 I think justin must have a girlfriend because a girl called fRIDAY 1 MAR(H III
asking for "Just" (I was so surprised I said, "just WIUl?"),
and when I asked him who it was, he said, "No one" Went to Disha's after school (again) hoping J migbt run
(which is pretty ironclad proof if you ask me). The Me into EMn but he wasn't there. The good news was th.t
says I'm getting carried awa), by my vivid imagination (as Calum wasn't there either, I had mother attack of genius.
'1511~!!!),
She says this girl's probably just a friend, She sa)'s MaybeCalum had Elvin's phone number written down
justin has lots of female friends. Strange bur tnte!!! Gcek somewhere. Disha said looking in Cahan's room for Evin's
Bo)"salways had lois of girls hanging round him, but number was a waste of time. (Was I mad? He's a BOY,
he's never gone Out with any of them, I said J reckoned for God's sake. Did I think he kept an address book?) But I
it must be time that changed. Why else was he nicking was convinced it was worth a try, Sbe was right about the
Illy underwear And. an)'\\I,)', as hard .15 it ntight be to address book, but Calum, being a Serious Filmmaker,does
believe th.t ANYONE from the human species could be keep a notebook! It was in his desk, Elvin's number is
interested in lusun, there was somcrhing in this girl's voice written on the inside cover, Dlsha said it was too bad
that sounded POSSESSIVE-and also sllggest~dSEX Calum didn't keep a diary. She'd give her red leather jackct
(which, obviously, she LOVES) to read if: I said that and stuff, 0 said she not only found It "Is depressing, but
even if Juslin knew how to write, [ wouldn't want to read she also fclt she now knew more than was necessary about
his diary. I'd be afraid to. Knowing the superficial justin the relationship between loneliness. madness. and felines.
B.mdry is creepy enough without finding out his dttjlfll I, however. found it a disturbing but V MOVING 'lid
Stmls. Oisha $,lid yeah. but think of the v interesting bess thought.provoking commentary 00 our times.
we could make each other about what we would find in
our brothers' diaries. Disha said she bet Calum is seeing an
older woman. [ bet her that justin has boils on his bum,
We laughed so much we though' we were going to ga.sp SATURDAY J MAR(H
our last!
Awake half 'he night worrying about where [ can hide my
118 We found two other V INTERESTING things in diary. I've been keeping it in my laundry basket, under my
Calu111's desk: DRUGS (there was a lump of hash in a tin dirty clothes, but lt doesn't scent very secure. (With her
on '01' of his notebook) and ELVIN'S MOVIE (Pun mood swings. the MC could suddenly decide to do the
LDl't-a film by Elvin A. Zagary). We debated what to do lot herself, never mind what she said about Dot being
about the dope for about half. second, and then we anybody's slciwy.) I dOD', know why [ didn't thin.I: of
decided that It should definitely be POft of our intense. it before. r mean, not only have I got the Mad Cow lying
cxpenence-seektng Dark Phase. so Disha hacked. bit off on my bed and snooping round when I'm DOthome. but
with Calum's Swiss Army knife and wrapped i, up in few I've got justin bursting in whenever he feels like i, to take
of 'he Rizla.s,hat were also iII the till. She hid it under the pictures 'lid Dick my underwear and Nan wandering in
rug in her room for future use. Then we watched Eh'in's when she forgers where 'he 100 is. It's llke King's Cross
movie. It really is about cats(!!!)-feral cats and the people Station at rush hour, It goes without saying that NONE of
who feed them. I have to say that I learned A LOT from these people respect my righ' to privacy. And also. ill case
it. You wouldn't believe how many people there arc you haven't noticed, Sigmund sull hasn't gOt me my DeW
skulking around with tarrier bags of Cat food and bowls door, Unless i rip up a floorboard, I can't think of any
place that's REALLY safe to keep m)' diary, I have know what's happening In the world if it comes up in
tempo.. ril), moved it to my closet, under a pile of stulTed CODVeTS4tiOD. (I reckon 1don't actually need io read up
toys. Eventhe MCdoesn't go in there since the time she on the cinema, even though it's Elvin's greu passion, since
opened the door and was buried under an avalancheof I've been watching films from before 1was born.) And also
clothes, (Well, where did she think I was going to put 1 bought a jazz CD (MQStm of MocklD),
partly because jazz
everything? If it would all hang in the closet, it wouldn't is the music of tbe intellectualand panly because il was
have been on the Aoor, would it?) v cheap, I even did TWO sessionsof yoga! [ felt
absolutely brilliant afterwards. but nobody tells you that
yoga makes you fan, do they? You wouldn't believe bow
much NOISE can come out of one body. How can
SUNDAY 4 MAR(H people do it in a class? It must smell Ukeany room Justin
110 and Andrew have been in for more than five minutes. [ 1)1
I DID ITI!! I rang up Elvinand asked him when he reckon thai's wby tbey burn Incense.
wanted to go for that bike ride, (Thank God he answered
the phone, I've had just about enough of mothers! I'm not
sure I could cope with another one, even if she is the
woman who gave birth to such a remarkable son.) Elvin 10lDIY S IIR(H
said we couldn't go today, because it's raining, So NEXT
SATURDAY, weather pernumng. I'm a little wary of Latefor school this morning because 1 feUback to sleep
trying. weather spell since obviously neither 0 nor I have when [ was doing my yoga (lying dead still is v rel..tiDg!)
enough .Ptytr~(1I11{ ;i)tit'(I()' in which to make one. M.'ybe and the Mad Cow didn't wake me because she was busy!
I should get Nan to ask Jesus to make sure it's not plsstng What SOrt of mother is so busy she forgets her own
down, child?!!(What am1 going to do If 1 DO turn Into my
mother? How will I ever live wuh myselR)
Had ;I v imensive self-Improvement day in prcparauon
for next Saturday, I even read Sigmund's ObIin''' so I'll
. hand!) when (WO more boys came up beh~d me. On.
grabbed my mobe and the other gave me a shove. J (are
my best tighlS, The strip), ODes Sappho gave me for my
JUHDAY 6 MARCH birthday. I was so traumatized by fallmg over with the
bike and all tha., I dtdn '( even know my mobe was gone
rYE BEEN MUGGED! em you even believe II? until ['d calmed down, No one came over '0 help me up
I HAVE BEEN MUGGED! IN BROAD or mythiug, of course (his Is definitely (he age of
DAYLIGHT!!! I hne '0 sa)' u. but Nan's riglll, Wha. selfishnessl!'). And (he irony Is th .. I could have been
IS the world coming .o? Here's what happened, I wen. saved, David wanted '0 go '0 Ihe library (0 work on our
10 see thts bike that was advertised in Loo.afier school. English project, but I said I couldn't. Well, I couldn't, I
11'$ no. exacdy stare of the an (i.'s white, pink, lilac, and HAVE (0 have a bike by Saturday or I'm really gomg (0
Bl rust) , but i. was only twenty quid (which seems '0 me have a problem. Bu. if I could have thai moment back, In
reasonable price for something you have .0 pedal), I rook I'd make David come wlth me (0 see (he bike, I'm sure
the overground af.er I bough r the bike because II was he would've done it. He's very accommodaung.
MILES away and there was no way I was gelling .11
S\veal)' riding II home, I was talkmg .0 Disha ou Ill)' Imusr've aught her on one of her UP swings, because
mobe as I came 0111 of the train station, (til..s NEVER the Mad Cow was ucruoalingly sympathetic about my
allowed .0 have another pm)' because this tune someone mugging. She wanted (0 (ake me for an x-ray. And she
threw up in the ficus, They'd covered it up with dead wasn't even mgry about me losing my phone, She iUS!
leaves, bu. Mrs. Ienkius smelled u.) Wc were tr)'ing '0 kepi SO)'ing,"You poor thing, . , Are you sure you're
work out who the mysterious barfcr nliglll be, I had 10 all right?" over and over. Nan trted '0 cheer me up by
stop for a second .0 ge. Ill)' hearings. and then I went reminding me tha. God Works in My<lerious Ways. [ustin,
len .hrough the tunnel. That's when lt happened. Two of course, was his usual insensitive, uncaring self. He said
boys were (;onting towards IHe, and [ had to swerve a hi! I was the only person he knew who'd fallen off a bike
.0 avoid running into them. The bike SO," of wobbled, wuhout ever gelling on u. I said al lea$1 I hadn't ridden
and I was dealing with that (not eas)' with onl)1 one in front of a police car. I wasn'r as stupld as .hal.
Justin had three phone calls 10nighl-aJld"lhey were ALL
FROM HER!" The Mad Cow answered the first lime, I
answered the second, and Nan answered the third. Nan
has no shame, so she asked her what her name is. You WID.ESDAI 1 MARCH
won't believe Ihis!!! It's Berhsheba!': I knew she couldn't
be NORMAL andinterested in the Bandrys' other child. MEGA trouble at the Rancho Bandry!!! When I gOI horne
I usually spend some time before I fall asleep imagining from school loday the Mad Cow had a surprise for me,
all the brilliant dungs thai are going 10 happen 10 me She'd decided 10 GIVE ME her mobe. She said she never
once I've lefi secondary school. but last nighl I spenl used iI, so she didn't see .IlY reason wJIYI shouldn't have
it wondering what Bethsheba could possibly see in my hers. I tried 10 talk her out of it. I said I was preuy shaken
brother. I know girls are different 10 boys. Boys see a short from the auack and wasn't sure if I wanted 10 walk around
B4 skirt and a big pair of lils and they go into meltdown. with something Ibal was so popular with thieves. As per In
(I think it has something 10 do with male hormones. bUI usual, sbe paid ABSOLUTELY no artennon 10 me. She
Sappho says it's because men Can see better than the), Call said as long as I was careful and paid mention 10 where
tlunk.) Girls, however, are auracted by other Ihings. like I was she'd actually feel beuer about me going OUIon my
intelligence. talent, character. and personality. But Justin own if I had her phone. She went 10 gel it. She was gone
doesn't possess intelligence. ralem. character. Or person alii)' for eons. I crossed my fingers and sipped my lea. Maybe
any more than he possesses looks, for God's sake. J reckon she'd 10lally forgotten where she'd pill it. She hadn't, She
Bethsheba either lost a bel or is a nymphomaniac with no returned in screaming mode. "Where's my phone? Did
standards whatsoever, you lake my pbone? Did you go through my things? How
would you like il .if J went through your things?" (As if.
righl?!I) Yadda yadda yadda. I didn't break down though.
I've been her daughter for sixteen years: I know how 10 do
il. I just kept saying that I bad no idea what she was
lalking about. What could she do? She's 100 lazy 10 dust
for fingerprints. The whole lime this was going on, Nan
was sound asleep at the kitchen table. She'only woke up The MC was still up and in one of her antH ..~rs, Kennedy
when the MC started screaming that it was her phone I lost moods wben I got back from baby-siuing toniglu. She
yesterday. "Tell the truth, Janel. II was my phone, wasn't wanted 10 know where I'd been till nearly midnight, and
it," she kept shrieking, "Trust in the Lord!" cried Nan. The I said across the read-s-where did she think I'd been? She
Mad Cow said He was probably the only person in this said she thougbt Mrs, Kennedy, having children of her
house you could trust. own, would realize that Thursday is a school night, Then
she wanted to know if she was usually drunk when she
came home in the middle of the night like this, Did she
say where she'd been? Did she go OUton her own or with
THURSDAY 8 MAR(H friends? (I really think the MC musi've played a v key role
in the Spanish Inquisiuon in one of her previous hves.)
06 Disha, being of a v thorough (and, 10 be honest, less I said so now you're Mrs, Kennedy's mother too. She said 1J1
crearive) nature. thinks it would be a good idea for me no, she's jusl my mother and thai's hard enough, I pointed
to tryout my new bike BEFORE the weekend, bUI this Olll Ihat paranoia is also a symptom of the menopause, and
seems a little reckless to me, I mean, what if I do get hit by she said nOI to forget that infanticide is 100, I said u's
a police car? (If you belong 10 a family like mine, you lucky she doesn't have an infam then, and she said thar's
realize at a young age that you haven't exactly been born nOI what il means,
under a lucky siar.) It would be bad enough if I had an
accident oft" my ride with Elvin, but I don't wanrto be in
traction when I should be with him, I reminded Disha that
YOIlnever forget how to ride a bike, no mailer how long fRIDAY 9 MAR(H
it's been, That's a facr. She said she reckons il really is a
fact, since her grandn10ther can', remember where she is Marcus rang wan ling 10 know if I fancied going to the
most of the time, bill last summer at the family barbecue cinema at the weekend, I said Disha and [ were planning 10

she jumped on some child's bicycle and rode all over the see that Chinese film on Sunday and he could come along
garden. singing. if he wanted, Then David rang with the same question, so I
invited hlm to C0l11C along too. t conslder'Ibts \I fortuitous! the Same Again. Think of il! I gOI up chis morning and did
II could be my chance 10 find out whar's happening with the lhings I do every morning. I washed. dressed. and PUI
him and Carnona. on my makeup. as per usual. I had a cup of cea and a bowl
of cereal, as per usual. Nan was arguing with her only son,
Spent HOURS blacking in the siltching on my combats Justin was Sluffing his face while he read the paper. and
with a marker, as suggesled by O. They Are the absolutely the Mad Cow was Lalking 10 the radio. ("Yes," she was
only Ihing I have lhal' s rlghl for cycling 011 the hcnh sa)'ing. "that's precisely what I Lhink. ") Everylhing normal,
(excrudalingly cool. bUI practical al the same time). And if And all the time I didn't know I was about 10 ,'Fall
I do sa)' so myself. Ihey look well wicked. ('m also wearing &mtriI1Tm,/yellf4t1lyin .u.~. Thai while I was wiping
the bat 101' Dish. gave me (panly because I ADORE it. up the juice lhal gOI spilled, My Destiny was brushing IIi5
and partly for luck). I doubt Ihal ('II sleep much looighl. teeth in Crouch End. So Wish Me Luck! The next lime you
HS bUI al 1 sl my chimes will soothe 01)' troubled. restless hear from me I may be a woman in -o.,,~.
heart.

SUIDAY 11 MARCH
SATURDAY 10 MARCH
I couldn't wrire last night. nOI afier the day I had! And nOI
I'm writing this now. BEFORE my dale with Elvin. even because I MD a woman in -otJ~(u's almost a miracle
Ihough I slill have scads more 10 do to get ready. BUIas I'm nota woman in T-R-A-C-T-I-O-N). I feel like
I fin.lI), dnfied ofT to sleep last night. Roating on the a Pawn of Fate. Delete all that crap about God lovillg me.
delicate sound of my chimes like a bamboo leaf 011a Nothing in Illy ttfe is easy. Nothing ill my life goes Ihe
warm spring breeze. it struck me th.lt Ihis could be a way u's meant 10. (HOLD EVERYTHING! I have
V lomCIlI01lSday. This may be the day I rail ill .tllle for co gec a cup of lea 1.0calm my nerves before I piu rlus
che first time. (Which. as everyone knows. is Ihe Most excruciating tragedy down in purple and white. I'll be
lmponanr Day of Your Ufc!!!) If u is. rhcu I will Never Be righl back.)
I'm back! Firsl of all, I should've known lliis wasn't going reinvented the solid-steel frame, BUIhe seemed impressed
10 be the Dale of My Dreams from the momenr I woke up thaI I wasn't even out of breath, He said I was v lit and
and discovered Ihat something had gone RADICALLY must have incredible thighs (Disha agrees that this was a
WRONG with my hair In the nigh I. (I reckonthere mUSI v flirtatious remark).
be some cosmic law Ihal says Ihat the more important the
occasion, the worse your hair is golng 10 be.) Elvin said The first forty-five minutes were PERFECT. We went to
he'd meet me by tbe station in Hampstead. This ruined my this little QJe before we aauilly started dolng ony
pion of laking the rube. I dldn't wam him to see me strenuous exercise. I ordered herbal tea. (I felt prelly
coming OUIof the station, nOI afler all our I.ill: about how pleased with myself thaI 1remembered.) Elvin ordered a
greal it is 10 ride a bike, etc, On the other hand, there was double espresso. My tea tasted the way the water looks
no w.y I was riding up Haverstock Hill, even if I could when you wash your krtid:ers by hand, but it didn't mailer
140 have done il withour bursling a lung. NOl only did I nOI because I felt about rwenty. A sophisucared twenty. I 141
want to arrive for our firsl date .11swealY, bUI also I was reckon if you're a sophisticated twenty, you con pUI up
bit weak since I'd eaten ALMOST NOTHING since with laundry water. Elvin told me some more abour the
Friday niglu so I wouldn't feel 100 fal. Even walking, it's a film he wonts 10 make. He wonts il 10 sbow the side of
bloody sleep hill! I was beginning 10 think that they'd Ufe thaI you don't see in Hollywood movies. I said, "You
moved Hampstead (like 10 Finchley) by Ihe lillie I finally mean, no guns?" and he laughed and said what a good
gOI 10 the top. I was v happy 10 see Ihal Elvin is a man of sense of humor I have. It was all smiles and meaningful
his word (I think rcllabtllty is important in " nun). He was looks after that. We should've ended the date on minute
wailing outside the lube with his really flash bike (it made forty-six, bUI we didn't. We went outside 10 gel our bikes,
me wish I'd painted mine black and silver, bUI I thouglu il Elvin explained the route we were "king (up there, first
would impress him more if it looked rcalll' used), I gal on right, first ngln, firsr left-that son of thing) and I nodded
before he spoiled me and rode 10 the corner. He started thoughtfully even though I hadn't a clue where we were
laughing as soon as he saw me, Iilvln said he hadn'l seen a going, (To tell you the truth, I've always found Oxford
bike like mille ill EONS. He said II looked like they'd Street more tmeresuug than Hampstead Heath. I mean,
Once you've seen a tree, you pretty much 'get the Idea, ahead of me, so I went right. where there were more trees
don't you?) I watched Elvin take ofT. He was faster than the and Jess rain. It was the wrong cboice. The only thing in
trallic, I gOt on my bike. I hadn't had any trouble riding froot of me now was DOWN.
the couple of meters to the comer the tube station's on
(push down on the right pedal, push down on the left 1 don't think I'd ever seen such a v perpendicular hill
pedal, eic.). but for some reason this time I pushed left before in my life! Aside from the fact that 1 was more
and pushed right and then I more or less fell over. (I hurtling than gliding down the hill, 1 wanted to stop
reckon il was nerves because now I was with Elvin. Or sort before I went too for so I didn't have to walk back up. I
of with Elvin, Elvin actually shot through a yellow light touched my brakes. Absolutely NOTHING happened. I
JUStbefore I tipped over. I thanked God. I didn't need any touched them again. If anything, I was picking up speed.
more of all audience t1WI I had.) The next time I ma".ged This time I squeezed both brakes so hard 1 thought I was
142 to stay upright. I was wobbling a bit, but I was .150 going to bend the handlebars. I started ringing my bell, but 141
moving forward. Elvin was waiting on the other side of the that didn't slow me down either. 1 closed my eyes and
lights, and as soon as he saw me he set ofT again. I REALLY screamed. Elvin said I was lucky not to have
couldn't go nearly as fast as he was going without being broken anything. He said it was tOObad my brother wasn't
able to fiy (I think he said his bike weighs about a pound). with me because he would've loved. photo of my race as
but at least I stopped wobbling. Everyhody was right: You 1came down that hill (I made a mental note to tell Disha
Never Forget How to Ride a Blke. Unfortunately there's nor to talk about my family to Elvin until I've had a chance
another thing that's true, and that's that Engbnd never to prepare him myself).
forgets how to rain. [ was just sort of beginning to almost
enjoy myself when it started to pour down. I rang m)' bell Being a gentleman, Elvin insisted on coming back with me
so Elvin would know I WaShaving a good time (and also to make sure I was all right. This was FINE with me.
so he wouldu'i forgct I Was there). He turned round ,"1(1 Sigmund had a group, the Mad Cow was OUI with Nan,
waved. And then he went right and disappeared. ) went and Justin's never home on a Saturday unless he's ill. My
after him, J couldn't remember if I was rncam to rake lhc spirits rose even more when on the way home Elvin said
firs! lefi or the fir<! right then, but he definitely w.,n't that if I wanted, he'd come back next Sallllday and fix my
bike for me. I wasn't actually planning to ever get on the they were IOlklngabout some photographic exhibition
bike again, bill I said that would be v kind of him and I'd Justin's going to see next weekend! Really!!! As if
even fix him lunch. He reminded me that I had my yoga anybody's interested, Trust my brother 10 be mure for most
class on Saturday afierncon (what a memory!). I said I'd of his adolescence and then decide 10 make up for all those
changed it because Saturdays are just too busy. years of silence the first lime I bring a potential boyfrtend
home .. I PUI the keule on. 1 suggesled thot Elvin and I
And that's when all the good news stopped, because nOI could hove our lea in my room. bur Elvin said he was fine
only was Justin at home; he was watching a film on the where he was. 1drank my lea and watched the film while
lillie telly in the kitchen. Elvin Immediately introduced Iustln tried 10 bore Elvin to death. I could feel depression
himself and sat down. Following his practice of descending, bUI I acted cheerful and normal. I don't want
ALWAYS HUMILIATING ME IF HE CAN, Justin Elvin thinking I'm moody this early on. And W 1hove
144 said. "Costello or Presley?" After I told him It was ElvinnOI 10 consider my skin. My skin always erupts when I'm 145
Elvisand he should consider having hts ears syringed. I depressed-e-because of the stress. As soon as the film was
went to change 11110 something dry. And W do something OVU, Justin said be hod Sluff 10 do and leli.

about my hair and my makeup. BUIwhat did I sec when J


looked In the mirror? NOI onl), was I soaking wet and ALONE AT LAST! I wanted 10 cry out loud with joy!
slightly bruised (my hair looked even worse than it had BUInOI for long because then Elvin said he had Sluff to do
when I woke up-I think I may CUIit rNlly short and dye too and better shake. leg. As SOOn as Elvin leIi, Iwent 10
it plum). hut MY FACE WAS STREAKED WITH Justin's room 10 kill him, but he was already in his
BLACK! I looked at my hands. They were black too. I darkroom (that locks, of courser). so instead 1 went 10
looked down at my trousers. They were still black, but the Disha's for the night. (I used 10 wish Ihal the Paskis would
scltching wasn't, Now it \V.'tS gray, r even held ink on Itl)' adopt me, bUI since the Nighl of the Fire Engines Mr,
legS! Paskt's been more ill the mood to have Disha adopted than
take me on.) Dlsha said what happened with the ink was I
By the lime I got back 10 the kitchen. Elvin and the didn't use 0 laundry marker; I jusl used 0 colored pen. It's
Abominable Brother weren't watching the film .''')'1'0'''; all the Mad Cow's fault because we didn't have a I.undry
marker, did we' Sometimes I think she does these things seats while Marcus and I bought the snacks, It was a long
on purpose, queue, and we started messing around. I was trying to get
my wallet from behind his back and I wound up pressed
Disha says she doesn't remember saying anything to Elvin against hls chest, but when we broke away most of my
about my brother taking pictures. She thinks Calum must purple glitter bat was on Marcus! (Disba says maybe
have, I'm beginning to see some advantages to having a it's because ir got so Wet on Saturday.) It wouldn't come
brother who doesn't speak. off Marcus though. would it? When we got ba.ck to tbe
others Disha said it looked like we'd been snogging with a
definite amount of :/'o4;,;on. Really! At the snack counter?
And also I never got a chance to interrogate David about
MONDAY 11 MAR(H Camona because he left right after the 6hn for some reason.
146 141
The Chinese film was well wicked! Neither I nor Dish.
really likes martial arts films (one rime over at Nick's the
boys were all watching a Bruce Lee movie and Disha and TUESDAY U MAR(H
I talked through it because it was 5000 cheesy and boring,
and they told us to leave). Fight scenes are as tedious as Car I had to go to the library this afternoon because I got
chases if you ask me. But this was different. This was more another notice about overdue books. I told the old bag I'd
Iike a cross between Jane Austen and Peter Pan because there brought them back, and she said not those, the other ones.
were two great love storles in it and the people could fly. I said I didn't even remember taking that lor OUt, and she
And also thc fighring was absolutely brilliant and not just said one of the most astonishing dungs she's discovered
the men, which, if you think about it, is still preuy in her hundred years as a school librarian is the high
unusual. The boys liked it too. even though it was a love perCeIitage of teenagers who suffer from amnesia. I said I'd
siory. There was, however, a bit of an incident. (Didn't I look for them (the books, not the teenagers). When I gOt
tell you nothing's ever easy') The others went to find Our home the Mad Cow and Sappho were in session ill the
kitchen. There was One of those sudden mhnlngful WEDIUDAY 14 MAR(H
silences when I shut the froll( door behind me. "Shhh! The
child's home! Don 'e lee her hear wlw we were saying DL,h. goe her period last nighl and didn 'r feel like coming
about sex!" co school today (HER mother is v sympatheeic about these
things. unlike some). I was on my way co see her lhis
Anyway, by the time I goe co the kiechen they were going afiemoon when I bumped imo David. He said he was
.g.in at full volume, but now, of course, Ie wasn't about going 10 Camden co gel his mother something for her
sex; ie was about food, Simple as peasanu. this 101, u's binhday, and I said if be wanted some feminine help I'd
almost unbelievable. I shouted "Hi!" and they looked up, be glad 10 I.g along. He was excrucbtingly graceful (even
.ceing surprised co find me in the house, Sappbo said hi when ie isn'l Christmas, boys hare shopping!!!), Now thac
back, but the Me gave me chis Sickly smile hke she was I finally had biro alone, I didn't know how co stan about
148 lr)'ing co be brave and asked me If I'd had a good day. Carnona, Valenlioes Day seems a long time ago. So we 14'
Needless co say, ie wasn't real question. Before I could ralked about the film we saw on Sunday (which he dldn't
even open my mouth co answer. lhey went back co seem 10 remember much), and school and scuff like ehac,
banging on about root vegetables. Boring or what? I waited and then I said he seemed co be hanging out a loe with
for someone co remember I was watung 10 speak. lr's juse Catriona Hendley lacely-dead casual-like. He said,
as well I wasn 't holding my breach. "Did someone ask how "Really!" He said he's always hung out with her; he's
my d.y was!" I asked loudly. "Well, co tell )'OU the truth. known her since they were six (she Seems co have known
ie was pretty damn awful." Sappho reminded the Mad Cow every attractive male in London since Ihey were l!cele-if
that she was going co do her chan for her and said rhar she wasn't so stupid you'd assume she musr've planned Ie).
maybe they should go somewhere quter. This was .\ hint: Then (v telhngly if you ask me) he quickly cried co change
they wanted me co vanish. I cold ehem not co bother the subject co how chummy Marcus and I seem co be
getling up: ( was going 10 Illy room to commit suicide. lately. Since I definitely don't wane David chinking I'm
interested in Marcus (in case he says somcthlng co
Carriona, who says something co Elvin), I said we weren't
any chummier than usual, and I explained >.iboul the glitter,
As I expected. he laughed v loudly, which I look as "'I
admission that he'd had the wrong impression. It pUI him
in such a good mood that he treated me to a coffee. FRIDAY 16 MAR(H
Naturally, rhe firsl dung I did when I finally reached the Bethslieba rings al least twice every day, but lonight she
lI~usr~rIIm~rwas ring D. I said I reckoned we sbould set rang FIVE TIMES! I was the one who had 10 answer
up in the matchmaking business, since David and Carnona the phone, because I was the only one home excepl Nan.
are obviously all their way 10 being an ITEM, I mean, I didn't want her to answer in' case it was Elvin about
David denied it so much he might as well have admlued it. tomorrow. I don't want him exposed to the darker side
Disha, however, disagrees, She says I have no corroborating of my family life until we know each other beuer, say in
ISO evidence, I think she's warcluug loa maul' pohcc dramas, a year .0. tWO, (You can bet your last Rolo that Catriona lSI
Disha says Lila hasn't said anylhing about it, and we all Hendley's grandm.olher isn't any mare embarrassing dian
know whar a BIG MOUTH Lila has: there's no way she the rest of Catriona's incredibly perfect family. Catriona's
wouldn't at least drop a him if Ihings were hatting up grandmother isn't a [esus freak: she's a baroness.)
between Catriona and David, And also Lila did say Ihal
they'd always hung alii logelher, like David said, BUII'm Anyway, even though I told Bethsheba that Justin wasn't in
the child of a psychoiheraplsr. and I believe ill and that I'd give him a message, she kept right on ringing,
psych.ological evidence, Psychological evidence isn': based Ifinally unplugged the phone and went to take a bath. As
on what people say, bUI Oil what Ihey mighlbe s'ying, per usual, the Mad Cow yelled at ME when she got horne
and realized the phone was disconnected, What if she'd
been trying to get through? What if there'd been an
emergency? I said what if she bought me a new mobe so
she'd know dlat she could always get me if she bad to, and
she said what if I started ironing my own clothes and the
moon turned blue?
You can see why people seeking cnllghlennfent usually To cheer myself up, I went over 10 Disha's. The other
live in caves by themselves. (If it weren't for the lack of Paskis were all OUI.Since I've gOI WHOLE WEEK
electricity and the snakes and scorpions [ mlghl consider before I see Elvin again I decided 10 use it ccnsuucuvety
il myself.) [ really find coping with my family v draining. and asked Disha 10 CUImy hair-.fl~r all, the DP is a ume
[ hope I can survive long enollgh 10 gel my own place. It's for experimentanon, [t look EONS because al firsl she
nOI easy 10 pursue a lif~ Ih.1 is intellectually slimulaling as was SO terrified of taking 100 much ofT that she hardly CUI
well as spirimall)' fulfilling in a house where everybody it at aU. Since Mr. and Mrs. Puld were out W~ then moved
else is submerged in Ih~ Iriui.1Jand the 1IUU14ant. Mobile Into their room, where there are IWOMAJOR minors,
phones ... ibe menopause ... a llule dye in the washing so I could monitor both from and had: ibe whole time.
machine-what are these things compared 10 the greal Th.1 worked pretty well unul Disha gOl so obsessed with
books, the greal music. the grul id~as? NOTHING. making II TOTALLY even thaI she nearly exposed my
In that's what, BUIhow can I concentrate on ;:(iglt~r:J1,inlJ' EARS (one of them is slightly imperfect). We called it
when I'm consrantly being brougfu down 10 below ground quits after that, I think it's 100 short. bUI Disha says Ir's
level by the Bandrys? v trendy and immediate. (Wbat else is she going to say?
That I look like my head's been mown!) We mighl've had
a 6gbt, but then Dtsha remembered the dope we liberated
from Calum's desk. I pointed OUIIhOl we didn'l have any
SATURDAY 11 MAR(H tobacco. but Dish. said she had a few fags stashed away.
I asked Disha when she started smoldng. and she said she
MEGA DISAPPOINTMENT! Elvin rang this didn't really smoke. she [ust liked 10 have one now and
morning 10 say he can 'I fix my bike today afler all. He said then when she felt messed. and she could stop anyume
he was REALLY SORRY lnu he had 10 do somelhing she wanted. I said did she mean like Sigmund (who SlOpS
with his falher lhal he couldn't gel OUI of. I told him lim, at least twice a year) and we borh laughed. We gOI some
having unreasonable parents of my own, I understood. So snacks and pUt a film on, and then we gOt the hash 0111
I won 'I find 0111 If we're desuncd 10 'lid/ill Lon' until
from under the carpel. We weren't sure how much 10 use,
next weekend, so we used the 101. I was trying v hard 10 follow the film,
so I dtdn'i nonce when Dish. feU asleep. I>'didn'l even secure location. Every day I put II somewhere different in
notice Ihal I ATE ALL THE SNACKS (a family bag my room, and 1 always Slick a hair or a piu'e of thread
of crisps, a famil)' bag of tortilla chips, and an emir. packer between the pages so I'U know if someone's been reading
of custard creams) either. We both decided th.. thls Is not it, but even though there's been no sign of rampering it
our drug. I definitely can't afford somerhing th.. turns makes me v nervous. 1 had such a premonnion that the
me into a human Hoover. I walked all tbe way home (the MC was trawling through my room on Friday, wanting to
REALLY LONG WAY) because I reckoned I needed Ihe see what I'd written about her, that Ms, Staples asked me
exercise. Stopped ofT at the shops and boughl some hair something twice before 1 realized she was talking to me,
dye (.P,lip/I" if>a,,,rioll), After class she puUed me aside to ask me if everything was
all right because I seemed distracted lately. 1 told her it
was because 1 was working on a story with a v good but
complicated plot. She said she'd love to read it wben it's ISS
SUNDAY 18 MAR(H finished. (I hope she forgets about It, or 1 may actually
have to write something, which I'm MUCH tOObusy to
Privacy being as rue as film stars in our house, I was do at the moment, No wonder Catrlona sticks to poems.
v excited lonlght to more or less 1I,,'e the entire fl.. to How long do they take?)
m)'SCIf.Sigmund was Out solving other people's problems,
tile Mad Cow was with Sappho. Justin bad a dale with So anyway, 1 fin.Uy CUIle up with the perfect hiding place.
Bethsheba (I know thar's where he went because when The garden! It's easily accessible, and since it's a1w.ys
I asked him where he was off to be told me 10 mind my raining no one ever really goes there. Even Sigmund's
own iug business. I wonder if J should tell this poor once-a-year barbecue extravaganza has been permanently
deluded-and possibly blind-girl Ih.1 [ustln wei the bed postponed because last year he WaSso determined that the
I ill he was len before she gels 100 involved). and Nail was burgers were going to be tOI>Uycooked 011 the barbecue
passed OUIill from of the Icily (jUSt for ,I change). 1\',' had and not finished ofT in the kitchen, as per usual, lhat be set
a coul,lc of Ihlngs I've been wanting 10 do clw demand one of the deck chairs on nrc. The other lhing I wanted to
soluud e. The ft", W3S '0 fUlaUy move my di,uy to rNlly do was DYE MY HAIR purple. I did the hair first
because you have to leave it on for twenryrminutes. so I whole life shimmer before me in the steam from the kettle.
could hide my diary while I waited, I went to the kitchen Well, maybe not all of it, but A LOT, Mainly they were
and gOt an empty flowerpot and a smaller pot with, plant happy memories. I saw me and Disha walking in the rain
in il. TIleD I wrapped my diary in a lot of plastic. PUt it in in our frog weJlies when we were lillie, and the beach that
the empty flowerpot, and put the pot with the plant on summer we went to Greece and the MC got sunburn
lOp, Brilliant or wh.t?!! It was raining, of course, SO I stuck poisoning (you should've seen her feet-they looked like
a curler bag over my head so the dye wouldn't drip all she'd nicked them from a purple elephant), And also I saw
over, then I nipped 0111 and hid it in the shrubs, The wind all my friends' faces 80ating over the stove, smili.og, And
banged the door shill behind me, but I didn't think Elvin! I hadn't even tasted his sweet lips yet and now it
anything of It, Not until I tried 10 get back in. That's when would never be. BUII thought to myself, well, if I have to
I remembered that it locks automatically, (what'd I tell you die so tragically-before I even reach my prime-at least
1~6 about being born under a curse? Of all the billions of my last Sight is a happy one! 151
famlltes In the world, I had to be born to the one lhat pUIS
a Yale lock on the garden door. It can't be an accident! Miraculously Nan shuffled 1.010the kitchen before I died of
There HAS to be a God, The only thing I don't rx..,.rr iI1II-nin9, Of course, then I had to sneak back Out
understand is why He has it in for ME!) I couldn't exactly again to rem eve my diary since I had so much to tell The
haul myself OVC!the wall and go next door since all I was MC W>S.D'tthe tiniest bit sympothetic or worried that I
'\Turing \,,~Sone of Siglllund's shins And a CArrier bAg over might have got pneumonia, All she was concerned about
my head, so I banged on the kitchen window and shouted. was what I was doing in the garden in the dark, I can see
Sometimes I think if it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have I'll have to keep my diary indoors after all. I can't keep
.lny luck ill all. The storm was making more noise than [ popping in and out, Not when my mother has such a
was, and there was no \\'.1)' Nan would've heard Inc even if IUSpiu,us l41ituT,
she'd been awake. nOI with the ICUyblaring away (nol
unless I was whispering somcrlung I didn't want her 10
hear). I fclt like ,1 ghosl looking in at hci old life, unseen
and unheard. ;\s the seconds turned to J11inlHC!J, I $.1\\' IU)'
MONDAY 19 MAR(H .. Bethsheba. (I don't see why: he doesn't lell her anything
else.) 1said then why is she ;t!ways ringing ill' like be's
The curse continues to work! Wben I woke up this morning the l;Uking clock and she doesn't Own a w atch? She said
I SCREAMED OUT LOUD when I saw myself In the maybe Bethsheba hasn't realized th.t Justin Isn't interested
mirror. I couldn'r've been more SHOCKED AND in her in thotw.y. It's truly anu.zing tho! I haven't been
HORRIFIED if I'd grown a second head. (Which is permanently struck DUMB, living with these people. like
probably the only lhing that could be WOrsethan what has the girl's pursuing Justin?The Me re;t!ly is losing touch
happened.) My hair has turned an EXTREMELY vivid with realiry in a v frightening way.
magenta. rill sure it's because of the bOlUSI spem in the
garden. There musr've been a chemical reaction with
something they're putting in the rain. TIle Me said it was
us lucky 1cut it so short Or I might have blinded half of TUESDAY 10 MAR(H IS9
London. I cried not to let her negativity discourage me, I
decided to make myself. llr.unollitSultll1l'nl.I dressed totally Sappho asked how the vegerananlsm was going, and I told
in black and wore Ill)' biggest silver earrings (PERFECT her it was going well except I seemed to be g1ining
for the OP or wh.t?!!). It's a shame my new boots fdl weight. not losing It like you'd expect, How can you put
apart like thJl. because lhey would've been the killer touch. On weight when you're toting soya burgers, soy.. rashers,
Dish. said 1slill looked v striking. David said he never and chicken nuggets instead of hamburgers, bacon,
realized I wore earrings before. Marcus said I reminded and pork chops? It doesn't make sense. Sappho said,
him of the girl in TheMatrix,except that her hair wouldn't "McDonald's chicken nuggets?" She said there's twice as
stop traffic, much fat per ounce in McNuggClSas in a hamburger. 1was
shocked. 1mean, it's chicken! How call you have fat in
The Me ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to believe tl!.lt chicken? Sappho says it's chicken the way the Matterhorn at
the Abominable Brother has a girlfriend. She reckon' Disneyland is part of the Alps, She says that in America
he would've told her if he really W,lS gOIl1& OUI with McDonald's chips have beef additives, She read all about it
in some book. Sappho says you can't be roo-careful. Justin, right! Whit docs she Ihink! TIw they're GAY? And
Obviously not. It's Incredible the things people don't tell why would Elvin lie to me! It's nor like we're even going
you, They don't tell )'OUthere are Great Women Artists and out together yet, is It! I mean, Sigmund's always tdling the
they don't ttll you there's aU that fat in chicken. Wlw else MC untruths (e.g., last Sunday when he said he was doing
aren't they telling us! If you ask me, life should come with something with bis dependencies group, he wasn't because
a book of instructions, D agrees. She says if you think one of them rang up to find out If It'd been changed 10
about it, adults are INCREDIBLY irresponsible, nOt to Tuesday or Wednesday!!!), but they're married, You expect
mention lhc}r He a lot-even lO each other. We can't that SOrtof thing from people who have lived together
decide whether adults never had any principles, or if Ihey long enough to feel suffocated,
lost them when they sold their souls for rhelr mortgages
and crap like that.
160 16f
THURSDAY 11 MARCH
WlDHHDAY H MARCH Went for pizza with the usual suspects after school, except
for Disha. I thought Dlsha'd given up on tennis, but she
Disha wanted to know why I didn't go 10 the gallery with said she had a lesson lonight and wanted to go home and
the guys last weekend, I asked her what gallery and wlw do her homework firsl. So it was up to me to watch for
guy., She said some photographic gallery in the West End psychological SIGNS between David and the Hendley.
and Elvin and jusun. She overheard Calurn and Elvin 1.lking And Ihey were there! David and Catriona made sure they
about it. I said she gOI it wrong. Justin went to some didn't stand next to each other or anylhing (in a v poimed,
photographic exlubirion on Saturday, bUI Elvin couldn't let's,aa,like-we,bardly,know,cach,other way!), At first the
have gone because he had to do something with his Iaiher. conversation was monopolized by Nick and Marcus in
Dish. gave me her "oh yeah?" look. It's One of her more PlaySlation mode, and then David started banging on about
irl'italing habits. Like Elvin would dump me 10 go oui wnh the pizza he makes at home. (I hadn'. realized he's. New
Man. Justin, the Neanderthal. can barely microwave a SATURDAY 14 MAR(H
crotssam.) Marcus didn't find it tOOthrilling either. He
started talking to me about Some lillie an gallery near his The devil Nan's alwaysgoing on about woke up this
place that he thought I should see. I wasn't TOTALLY morning in a really shnry mood and decided to gJveme a
listening because I was keeping watch to sec ifDavid and small taste of what hell is Uke.First of all, I meant to get
Carrion. made eye contact. We had a v good time. Marcus up early because I bad a lot to do before Elvinarrived
did an impersonation of Ban Simpson accepting an Oscar to fix my bike. I wanted to run through my yoga (so if
that cracked us up so much we all had tears in our eyes. be asked me what I'd been doing, I could say my yoga).
I wanted to take a shower with the shower gel Sappho
I can't believe it! Turns out that the lesson Disha went also gave the Mad Cow for the winter solstice (so if he
to wasn't tennis-it was yoga. She said she'd beard me noticed how good I smelled I could tell him I smelled
161 and Ms. Staplesbanging on about it so milch that she gOt politicallycorrect). And I reckoned it might be a good idea 16l
interested. And also she saw something on relly. 1 said if I didn't greet him in my pajamas so I needed to dress.
if she was going to join a class. why hadn't she asked me And also get everything ready for lunch. Bm I musr've slept
to go too. and she said she had. She said I said I wasn't through the alarm, because I didn't wake up till nearly ten.
interested in a class because I had my book and it was It took me an hour JUStto find something to wear, so I
cheaper. I don't remember this conversation AT ALL!!! had to skip the yoga. Then when I opened the frjdge I
Disha said. "And (0 think you're like this and you've only discovered that the Mad Cow hadn't done a proper shop
taken drugs the once. I thought you had to do it for a yet. There was nothing to eat unless you liked bendy
while Deforeyou lost your memory." I still think she's carrots and mustard a lot. So then I had to change into
making it lip. something I didn't mind sweating in and run to the shop. I
bought cheese, bread, tomatoes, and a large bag of crisps.
Toasted cheese sandwichesare my speciality.That and
peanut buner. As soon as I gOthome I changed again. I
was still looking for the sandwich toaster (microwaved just
isn't the same in my opinion) when the doorbell rang.
Elvin! Electricity shot through me. I had 3 'big smile on my well, here was a firsr, then. I could tell Elvln,lhat he
face and was already saying hello when [ answered the couldn't wait for him because he bad to go out. And iIS if
door. The smile vanished. It wasn't Elvin. It was Bethsheba. this wasn't surprising enough (1 mean, why would Elvin
think Jusrin was going to wait for him? He was coming to
I was a bit taken aback. She wasn't at all whn I was see ME!!!), Justin then made a quick exit through the
expecting. I was expecting someone rather pathetic who guden. I was watching him heave himself over the b.lck
probably lives under a rock, but she was trendier looking wall when Ibe phone rang. I picked it up because I thought
than even Carriona Hendley. And v auraeuve in an it mighr be Elvin. It was Marcus, ringing to tell me nor to
emaciated art student son of way. She wanted to know if eat lunch because we could gel something after the gaUery.
Justin was in. I was too stressed to deal with her, and also I said whar gallery? He said the gallery I'd made a dote
if Justin was in his room, I didn't want him coming out with him to see today because there are paintings In It tmt
164 while Elvin was here, so I said no. She wanted to know reminded him of my stuff. I acted all sbk4 IIIIIIIIrriAtt 165
if I was sure. I said he'd left eons ago, Then she suned (which 1son of was, though 1 was also roo preoccupied
screaming for him from the doorway. There wasn't any with my date with Elvin to get THAT enlotionally
response, of COUISe,so then she Slid to tell him she'd been involved), and said I'd forgotten all about it. I said my nan
by and that he should ring her, I Went back to looking for had fallen again and we were all pretry upset and It had
the sandwich toaster. Justin strolled into the kitchen with totally put it out of my mind. I said I couldn't go today
his camera over his shoulder, I said I tllought he'd gone because my parents were both out (uue), and I had to
out; didn't he hear Bcthsheb. SHRIEKING for him? He look after my nan (would've been true if Nan were home).
said who hadn't? He reckoned the whole road had heard Marcus said well, what about next SalurdilY, and 1 said OK
her. He called her Bloody Bumshtva and said he wished because the doorbell was ringing. This time it was Elvin
she'd leave him alone, and I said why not tell her that (FINALLY!). I still hadn't found the sandwich toaster,
instead of pretending not to be home. and he said wh,u but he said just a plain cheese sandwich would be great. (I
made Inc think he hadn't told her .t le,lst ,I hundred times! like men who are flexible; I think that's another tmporum
[ said because he never tells anybody ,,,,ything, and he said quality to look for.) He wanted to know where Justin was
and I rold him he'd [ust climbed over the garden wall. I Out. I decided to go to Disha's, When I gOt outside,
think he Ihoughl I was joking at firsr, I put the lunch smff Beihsheba was sitting on Ihe step like that creepy bird in
on the uble and Elvin said be couldn't cal the cheese tho! Edgar Allan Poe poem, God knows how Geek Boy
because it wasn't vegetarian, I said of course it \\'U knew she'd be Out there-~.rcepllon isn't one of his
vegetarian: It was cheese. He said no, they weren't strong points. I told her Justin wasn't back yet and she
necessarily the same thing. He said cheese isn't veget.. ian gave me this Mona Usa smile and said she knew. Didn't I
unless it has. green V or something on the packer to say someone who was interested in Justin had to be
prove Ihal it isn't made with animal glop. (And how was I REALLY STRANGE?!!
meam 10 know a thing like that") I said OOPS, I forgot. I
haven't been a veggie that long. Elvin said vcgcrarlans have
10 be rcally careful, and, so he didn't think I was
166 TOTALLY clueless. J said il was worse for vegans because SUIDAY IS MAR(H 16J
mv aunt's a vegan and she reads the labels on
EVERYTHING before she eats it, including salt. AI lost Sappho and Mags rolled up unexpectedly tonight with a
being related 10 S.ppho has paid om!! Elvin said he bottle of organic champagne. Sigmund (who is a BIG
admires vegans. He said I had. v interesling famil)" Since FAN of the gra~) musr've known somehow that there
this isn't true, and since even if it were true he wouldn't was going to be free wine on offer because he wras actually
know it since he's only met Justin, I knew he was talking home for a change. Psychologists aren't known for their
about me, I pretended 10 pick something off the Aoor in sense of humor either, and Sigmund is no exception
case I was blushing. (unless it was marrying my rnorher), bUI he still tried
10 make a joke. "What's the occasion? You scalp another
Aflcr lunch Elvin took a look at my bike, bUI even Ihough while man?" The Mad Cow. Sappho, and Mags all told him
he had a b.lg full of tools it turned OUIhe didn't have Ihe 10 shut up. Sappho said she had a malor announcement.
right one whh him, so he said he'd come h.1C1. next week. Turns out Sappho and Mags are pregnant! Well, one of
I IhOlighl mavbe he'd suggest doing somelhing else bUI he them's pregnant (I Ihink u's Sappho, bUI I gOI a litde
didn't. After Elvin lcfi, I rang Marcus back, nUL he'd gon,' confused wirh all the shrieking ihts announcement caused),
Once dungs had seuled down a bit, justinJ(ledded to make somebody on the first date. You'd think that .someone
a joke. He wanted to know if it was an immaculate who's been to university and is so pollrically sussed, like
conception. Instead of telling him to shut up (he way Sappho, would have a little more common sense, but Disha
they did Sigmund, Sappho said yes. and the), all laughed says tbat common sense is llIce the CulM)' Islands. There
hysterically (except for Nan, who said it was blasphemous aren't any canaries left on the Canary Islands, and there's
and made her lips into a straight line), While lhey were. noihing common about common sense, Sometimes D can
laughing, Sigmund poured himself another glass of be v profound.
champagne (a big one). Then Nan decided she'd given
them the silent treatment long enough and got back into Sappho said I should've known about the cheese not being
the act. She couldn't understand bow Sappbo (probably) vegetarian because she'd told me often enough. She wanted
could be preggers when she's One of Them! Things to know if I ever listened to anything she said, and I said
168 weren't like this in her day. In her day people knew what sometimes. 16'
tbey were meant to do, and if they didn't want to do it,
tbey didn't make a big deal of it and have sperm injected
into them. Sigmund told her not to Start (which was preuy
ridiculous, since she was already in full swing). Nan said MOIDAY 16 MARCH
she hoped they were going to have the baby baptized, the
poor little thing. Sappho told her what she thougln of that It never ends, does it? What would everyone do if I
idea, and Nan stomped off to pray for everybody (she weren't around to rake the blame for everything? David
made sure she took her champagne with her though). was in a mood today because Disha and 1 didn't turn up
for his pizza p.my On Saturday night. I said I didn't know
I hope Sappho isn't making a Big Mistake. I mean. she's about any pizza party. David said I did and that I said it
only JUStstarted liviDg with Mags. What if it doesn't work sounded great when he invited everyone the other day.
out? (It's never worked out before.) It seems like a prcuy I don't consider some casual remark made when at least
major step to take. Dish. agrees. She says it's like marf)'ing four other people are talking at the same time even close
to a ,,,,I Invitation. Who could really heat him? And also
be was going ON AND ON about pizza (it's bread,
basically:there isn't thatmucb to say), and he didn't make
it excruciatinglyclear that he mean. LAST S.turday, NOt TUESDAY 11 IARCI
'0 ME! I apologized abjectly and promised lba. even If
Prince William Invited me to a mega do at the palace on It's. world of surprises, isn't it? Came home from school
the same night I'd be al David's next pizza party. David to lind the Mad Cow going through Sigmund's office,She
was appeased. He said OK, it's a date. Next Saturday.Eight had duster in her band to make it look like she was
sharp, I wrote It on my band, and later I made Disha write cleaning, but she was definitely turning it over. I told her
it down on paper so we don't forget. he didn't hide his cigarettes In his office, and she said she
wasn't looking for cigarettes:she was dusting. She said it
IJO Tonight when the phone rang justin said that if it was like she wouldn't care if he smoked himself into an iron 111
BumshivaI should tell her he wasn't home. I was lung. (I'm not sure what an iron lung is, but it doesn't
SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED that he expected sound good. I mean, it doesn't sound IIh something you'd
me to lie for him. He said he still had the negative of me wisb on the ,u," o.IJfmr ift, or even your busband.)
sleeping with my mouth wide open and dribbling, and if Maybe I'll never get married, if this is what happens, All
I didn't want Elvinto sec it I should just do what he said, tbe :/>auion and :Rmnan" goes, and there's nothing lefi
I told him that was blackmailand it made him. crlminal to keep you together but the mongage. l almosr felt like
and he laughed, saying to her (woman to woman), "Jocelyn, don't you
remember how your blood used to race when you beard
his voice? How your skill uugled at his touch? How you
used to lie awake, imagilling he was beside you? Where
did all that passion go?" But I didn't. If she ever did feel
like that (which does seem a bit unlikely) she'll have
TOTALLY forgotten by now.
D agrees that marriage sucks the romane! out of a
relationship. She says this is why Great Artistsand Writers
have traditionally been opposed to it. Tbe @{ollL is always
)'earning to be free, and sociery'salways'trying to chain it THURSDAY 19 MARCH
down. Docs that mean that the creative impulse is innately
opposed to the needs of society' If man works on rules Mrs. Kennedysaid she wouldn't need me next week, but
and the rest of the universe works on chaos, docs society she wondered if I could mind the twins from Friday night
go against our TRUE nature? Questions, questions. to Sunday the weekend after next, At first I said no. I'm
questions'!' Sometimes I feel as if the Dark Phasemay give not totally sure about having the twins for long periods of
me a permanent migraine. Watched some old Frimols videos daylight on my own. 'I'd have to do things with them and
to calm my overworked mind. FriendsI can understand, keep them entertained, which could be quite draining. And
In instiJlcttold me that the Mad Cow would object. As you In
know, she's not v keen on Mrs. Kennedy, but she's even
less keen on leaving me with ME on my own for a whole
WIDHISDAY 28 MARCH weekend-never mind with someone else's small children.
Mrs. Kennedysaid she only asked because ber mum usually
HOT NEWS FLASH!!! Sara Dancer DID IT!!! She takes them when she needs a break, but she's gone to
went to a party on Saturdayand made it with some bloke Australia.Mrs. Kennedysaid it was a sbame I couldn't do
from New Zealand. I said she'd been keeping prcny quiet it because she was going to pay me double time, but she
about it, and Sara said that even though she definitely felt certainly wouldn't want to upset my mother after all my
LIKE A WOMAN now there really wasn't that much to wonderful father's done for ber. Double ti.me!I don't like
talk abom, She sald she'd had a few beers and did" 't maths, but I do appreciate that it can come in v bandy
remember it all that well. I said I hoped she remembered from time to time. A quick calculation told me that what
using a condon, and she said no. She said ,IS a roptc of Mrs. Kennedywas offering me was FREEDOM AND
conversation condoms hadn't exactly come up. (JUSt the PRIVACY in the shape of a new mobe. So I threw
penis did!!!) caution to the wind and said I'd do it. I reckon the
simplest dling is nOI 10 tell the Me. Wliatshe doesn't minutes alone) will be the llroe,fl O/i<' thai's, ever existed.
know can '{ SLOp me. I am THWARTED al every 111m.

First of all, the Me did another one of her vanishing acts


this morning without so much as a word 10 ANYONE,
fRIDAY JO MAR(H God knows where she goes, but it definitely isn 'r
Sainsbury's since she's out ALL DAY and doesn't have
This afiernoon Marcus said he hoped I hadn't forgouen any food wuh her when she gets back, It WaSJUStas weU I
that we're going 10 the gallery tomorrow. I said of course shopped for lunch yesterday, This time I bought pasta,
I hadn't. (II had TOTALLY gone OUIof my mind, which pasla sauce with a big green V on it, and a bag of salad at
is understandable considering all the STRESS I've been me health food store, so I felt prelly calm about mat at
114 under lately.) I told him I was really sorry bUI I still least. Nan was taking one of her afternoon naps, and 115
couldn't go, because of Nan's relapse and all. Marcus was Sigmund, as per usual. was working his lingers to the bone
v sympathetic (unlike anyone I'm related 10), He wanted to pay my bills, so I was feeling V POSITIVE, But then
10 know why Iusun couldn't look afier the old bag for, Iusnn Bandry, the boy who thinks home is where you
couple of hours and J said oh, come on now, you've met sleep, wouldn't leave the flat today no matter how much I
my brother: justin's 100 selfish 10 do anylhing like thai. begged him. I was rushing round, trying to get ready for
Elvin, and Justin even made me check to see if Bumshiva
was "lying in wait" for him out front. (Melodranmic or
what? Men really are the most incredible prima donnas!!!)
SATURDAY JI MARCH She was. justin said that in that case he wasn't going
anywhere unless there was a fire. (How TEMPTING is
If Shakespeare's righl and the (;tJ/II:re(!/Ji1lt' Eor(' is that? If I wasn't afraid it might spread to mine, I'd torch
rougher than a (Tall up Mount Everest. then 'he rc('Jings his roomt) I said I didn't see why he couldn't go through
Elvin and ( are going to experience (if we ever have ten the garden, which is what he's been doing for DAYS, and
he said the man at the back booby.tuppell his border so be TOTALLY Ignored me, Isaid should I be putting out
he can 'I land in il anymore. I told him Ihal in Ihat case four plates, and he g.ve Ole this big cheesy g;ln and said
he'd beuer slay in his room or I'd invite Bcthsheba in for 001 to worry because Bumshiva had left, Elvin wanted to

lunch. I reckoned Ih.1 would keep Geek Boy our of the know who Bumshiva was. Justin started explaining that she
way. Which was jusl as well because the doorbell rang and was io a couple of his classes and had Ihis fixauon on him
it was Elvin. (ego or wh'I!!!). and 10 my surprise Elvin not only didn't
laugh al this piece of fanlasy but acted all sympathetiC. I
The firsl Ihing Elvin said when I opened the door was had was tempted 10 tell Justin what I'd like to do with his
my hair .Iw.ys been thts color! I satd InISI a filmmaker 10 lunch. but I didn't want Elvin to see my harsher side just
be SO observam. He obviously Ihoughl this was another yet. NO( until we've at least bad our first DSS. So I put out
example of my gre.1 sense of humor, so I laughed 100. He three plates. And guess what? Dish. was right about Elvin
116 wanted 10 know if Iustln had gone over the garden wall going 10 that exhibition last weekend, because th.IS all In
again and I s..id no, he was in his room, but he was they talked about while they shoveled my lunch Into tMr
excrucialingly busy. Everything was V COZY .fter that. I gobs. As soon as they'd fintshed eating, Justin asked Elvin
gOt lunch ready while Elvin fixed my bike, JUStas if we if he wanted to see what he was working on in his
were a real couple. When he was done he came into the darkroom. As sweetly and meaningfully as possible, I told
kitchen, all triumphant, I said that was brilliant, cos now Justin that Elvin had come over 10 fix my bike. not look
we could finish that bike ride, and he said sure but not at his pictures. And whar did Elvin s.y! Elvin said he'd
today. Elvin read the label on the salad dressing while I already fixed the bike and he'd LOVE to see Justin's
drained the pasta, He couldn't eat tlla! either, because it pictures. (If Justin shows Elvin even ONE of me-even if
had anchovies in it. I WaS already thinking about how I I look. Slone lighler than I really am and am MIND-
was going to describe the afieruoon to Dish" when [usttn BOGGLINGLY GORGEOUS in ii-I swear I'm
appeared, nose twitching (he's gOt the sense of smell of a going 10 destroy his bloody darkroom.] I know Elvin was
police clog). I gave him every sign.1 I could to make him only being polite. He probably thinks he has to be nice to
go aw"y (eyes, hands. eyebrows, IlIcntaltelep,\lhy-thc my brother even though he's the biggest pain In the bum
lot), but except to ask when lunch W.lS goll1g to be ready thai ever lived. bUI I was so ENRAGED [ had 10 force
myself 10 remain pleasarn. As soon as I heard jusuu's door were going 10 have 10 order more plzzas and I could pay
close, I raced omsidc 10 see if maybe Bethsheba had come for them, whieb was preuy unreasonable If you ask me.
back, bUI (NA'IURALLY!!!) she hadn't. JUSIwait 1IIIIhe David said he thought II was more unreasonable 10 invite
next lime she calls round. We'll see who lies for Geek 80y four people 10 dinner at someone else's house without
then. lUng Marcus, but he'd gone OUI,so I'm going over bothering 10 tell him. ( told him 10 look on the funny side.
10 Dlsha's. I don't rrust myself 10 be alone with my I mean. considering the faci Ihal OUIof the 101of us D,,1d
brother, and I arc the only IWOwho speak English as our first
language, it's preuv ironic Ihal we can't seem 10
communicate, David said I'm the one who can't
communicate.
SUNDAY I APRil
118 11'
Dtsha, Marcus, Nick, Siranee. and I all rurned up al David's
al '-'ighl o'clock last nighl, as requested. David opened the 10lD1Y 1 APRil
door, and then he sort of stood there. half smiling .r us as
if he ihouglu he was on C4ndidComtr. or something. The I'm still pIeuy irked by whal happened wnh Elvin on
boys were hungry, as per usual, so Ihey son of barged in Saturday. I know iI's .11Justin's fauh, bUI I can 'I help
and the rCSIof us followed. David said somethiag' about thinking that Elvin could have shown a hule more interest
checking the dough and dragged me into the kitchen with in ME. Disha thinks ( may be misinterpreting things.
hlm. I've never seen hun so angry. Not even the rime he She says maybe by ignoring me he was showing 110W
gOI thrown into Ihe biology pond ill his while suit. He Interested he reaUy is, Dish. thinks Elvin feels so
wanted 10 know if this was some SOrtof April I'ools' joke comfortable with me Ihal he doesn't think he has 10 make
Or something. I said, "Um, duh, ):ou invited us over for any special effort and JUSt acts normal. Like we've been
pizza. remember? t even wrote ir down:" David said he seeing each other for eons, BUIwhal about {Passion and
was under the tmpression thai he only invited me over for ilOIllORC"? Thai's what I want 10 know. I mean, I know
pizza. I said, "Really?" He said really. He said now we lunch for three isn't the same as a candlelit dinner, bUI he
could at leasr've talked lO me a bil!!! Because"! was so PUMA. I was .1 the window in a flashl.There was JUSl
HURT AND DISAPPOINTED) decided lO ask enough lighl from the other fI.ls for me 10 make OUIa ~
Marcus if he wanted lO go lO lhal gallery afier school one sinisltr IigII't crouched like. v luge puma on the garden
day dus week. Marcus said the exhibition WaSover. He wall. All those lectures from the Me about what lO do In
said il like It was my fault. an emergency finaUy paid off. I quickly squeezed through
my door, raced into the kitchen, and dialed 999. Then
I went to wake up Justin, (He's always had more of a
sense of adventure than the parents. and he acu wnhout
TUHDAT J APRil thinking.) Justin wasn't asleep; be was working on SOme
project for college at his desk. He grabbed his camera
Will I ever find peace from the slings and arrows of and ran to the kitchen. I gr~b~ his heaviest tripod and
180 Outrageous Fortune? (It's beginning lO look like the answer followed, The rest, as they say, is hislOry. [ustln was JUSl 111
to that questlon is NO!!!) Between school. EMn. Davtd, stepping OUlof the garden door with a lea lny over hts
Marcus. my f.mily . nd lrying lO keep my sanilY and sense head when I gOl lO the kirchen. He shouied something
of humor despue .U of them, I found it v difficult 10 get 10 threatening like "Don't move!" and then he started
sleep last night. II was raining preuy bard, so even the snapping. I reckon it was the firsl flash lhat caused
wind chimes weren't as soothing as usual. I never count the intruder to faUoff the wall, I ran inlO the garden
sheep (I don't know about anyone else, but I can never gel brandishing the tripod and warnlng him lhal Ihe police
the sheep 10 jump over the fence), but eventually ) was so were on their way, Iusun yelled al me 10 be careful of his
desperate that I started going through my multlpllcatlon tripod. and the dark sinisler figure roared, "For @#$%s
tables. ) reckoned Ihal should do ii, since It's usually only sake, Janel, are you Irying lO kiU me?" It was Mr. Burl. My
with SUPERHUMAN eITorl Ihal I nMnage 10 my wind chimes were driving him BONKERS and he'd
awake in marhs, I was soaring Ihrough rhe lives when I hauled himself lip on the wall to try and cut them down.
heard someone ourstde. AI firsl Ilhoughl II W,IS a car. He stabbed himself in the calf wllh his pockerknlfe when
Then il made another noise. and I knew Ih,\I if II was ,I be fell oIT the wall.
cal. h wasn't your dvcr.lge sort of cat: it 'V,lS 1110rc like a
...,
The only one who's shown any pride in my quick dlinking
and resourcefulness is Nan. She said it was what she
would've done. She said next rime to wake her up too.
WlDHlSDAY 4 APRil
Everybody at school was v impressed by the way I tackled
Mr. Burl last night. And also they tllouglll it was the THURSDAY SAPRIL
funniest story they'd ever heard. Not so ar home. though.
Sigmund was APPALLED by the behavior of both of his The stress just doesn't end! I was just selecting my supper
children. He said no wonder Justin's always being injured (vegetarian stir-fry dinner or pasta with salmon] when
in the line of duty. I no longer even Iry to make any sense Disha rang in a PANIC! Elvin turned up, looking for
IS} Out of what these people say. but I did muller oh right, Calum, bUI Calum was 01\1 and Elvin decided that rather 18)
nly brother the law enforcer. Signlund said he meant than wail around wuh Mr. and Mrs. Paski. he'd walk her
taking pictures. Like that black eye. Somebody decked him 10 our yoga class. I said what yoga class, and she said the
for taking his photo. GET THIS!!! Apparently the one [told him we go 10 together. Whal a memory! It's
Abomina ble Brother is sort of famous for taking photos of lucky Elvin fixed the bloody bike, that's all I can say. [ told
street people (although they don't always appreciate it). Disha to walk SLOWLY and I raced to the yoga center.
He's even had his work in some gallery. (You really would I'd already pill my mat al the back when they arrived. I
think SOMEONE would tell me. wouldn't you?!!) All acted well surprised 10 see them. And then, as if I wasn't
this time I thought Justin was just really clumsy. And as for under enough stress already, Elvin decided 10 stay for the
me. Sigmund couldn't decide if I was JUSIincredibly stupid class to see if it was as greal as we said. We staned our
or if I'm criminally insaue as well. The Mad Cow thinks I with some breathing (easy). and chanting (dumb but
should offer to walk Mr. Burl's dog for a week to show easy). and then even though it was almost night w~
him how sorry I am. The police. on the other hand. said I Greeted the Sun (not too hard and vaguely familiar). All
did the righl thing and that Mr. llurl had no business was well until we had to stand on one leg and stretch out
skulking Mound in Ihe dark like th,H. and I'm wuh them. our other limbs. Well, we're not flamingos, are we? l lost
my balance and Greeted the Floor. Mary. the inslruclor. bad [ust informed the MC u.al he had a conference 10 go
said she didn't Ihlnk my lip was cut as badly as the amOUR! 10 this weekend and had only come home to get his kil
of blood gushing from it would make you believe. You'd and the MC went BA.LLlSTlC. Nan said that even
think I'd deserve a quiet nighl afier thai. bUI God wasn't thougb Sigmund's her son she wouldn't blame my mother
through with me yel. ( had an encounter with the law on if she beat him to death with bls elecromc organizer.
the way home. A mororcyde cop pulled me over for nOI (Spoken like a true Chrtsrlan. right?!!) I said thai personally
baying lighls on my bike! Sappho's right-Ibey should usc ( couldn't sec wbat she was all wound up about since be
raxpavers' money to hunt down criminals. was never home anyway. Justin found another
expresslon-e-comempt-e-and said he reckoned that was Ihe
whole point. Even baby-sluing the twins has got 10 be less
stressful than dealing wllh rlus 101!!!
lB4 fRIDAY' APRil 115
Ms. Slaples wanted 10 know if I'd finished Ihal story I was
working on. since she was hoping 10 read il over the SUIDAY I APRil
Easler break. ( .. id nOI yel. ( said I was trying 10 do some
,. complex Ihlngs with 1'101and sryle, which was holding ( think il was Ibal Scottish poet Roben Bums who said thai
me up a bit. ( said ( was aiming 10 finish il over Easrer, no mailer how well a mouse or a man plans things. they
when ( had more free lime. She said she can't wail. don't always turn out the way Ihey were meant to, He
speaks for me. ( planned ihe weekend carefully and preuy
Came siraighl horne 10 pack for m)' secret weekend across Rawlessly, J told the Mad Cow Ihat Dlsh's pareDls had
he road, Nan and justtn were silling on the sofa. Geek Iloy invlted me to rbeir cottage for the weekend (no phonel) .
doesn't usually have any expressions except asleep and She didn't PUI up any objection, Afier Sigmund skulked
awake, but IOd"y he acrually looked WORRIED. In the oIT011Friday and the smoke cleared, ( kissed her and Nan
kitchen the Me and Signlund were reenacting the war ill goodbye and walked out of the from door with my satchel
Kosovo. ( asked what was happening. Justin said Sigmund over my shoulder.
The twins and I spent Friday nigh t alone, ['-W3.sn'. '00 bad, afler me! 1nearly collapsed with relief "He's in Jail." I said
because Mrs. Kennedy IcC. a lorryload of food for us and from the stairs. The policeman said. "No. anymore. he's
the twins were \valching videos in their room tln),,"vay. so I no." Can you believe i.! Mr, Kennedy's escaped! Once I'd
spent most of the nigh. on the phone. Disha (heavily made it clear .ha. neither Mr. nor Mrs. Kennedy was home.
disguised jus. in case she bumped into my mot her on the more policemen materialized. They couldn '. believe 1
street) came over on Saturday morning, II was Ius, as well dldn '. know where Mrs. Kennedy was. so 1 explained ,ha, 1
Dish. WaSthere, because the rwtns are defini.e1)' more hadn', expected a raid, had I! Bu. 1 did have. phone
active in daylighl. They wanted '0 go outside (which. of number.The Mad Cow was so SURPRISED when J
course, was OUT OF THE QUESTION). so we had '0 arrived home wlth Disha, .he twins, and approximately half
work v hard .0 keep them occupied. We were both the police force of north London ,ha, she didn't make a
EXHAUSTED by lunchtime. And then the doorbell big deal ,ba, Disha and 1 weren't in the countryside. Af.er
186 rang. Dlsha looked a. me and I looked at her, I told her no. the police lef., the MC said she though. she should call 18J
.0 answer u. in case i. was my mother (you never can 'eli, Mrs. Kennedy '00. so she'd know 1I1eboys were all rlgh'
righ,!). The doorbell rang 'gain, DEMANDINGLY. and all. So I gave her the liSl of emergency numbers Mrs.
Paying no attention to a.nyone else. .15 per usual. the twins Kennedy'd lef. She stared a, i. for. few seconds. and
ran out of the fl '0 answer it. Jus. in case it W,lS the Mad then she wen. over '0 the memo board and stared at the
Cow. I tried to work out a plausible excuse for being number Sigmund had left for a few seconds. and then she
Mrs. Kennedy's and no. in Wales as 1 raced af.er them, said maybe 1 should ring; she was going .0 .ake a barh.
She was in there for ages. Dlsha thinks 1should REALLY
The good news was .ha. i. wasu 't Ill)' mother. By the time consider a career in literature, no mailer wh Ms. Staples
1 gOt down the stairs, the (wins had opened the from door thinks of my plots. because you JUStcan', make this
to a pair of policernen. It's amazing how policemen .a.J\\I.a)IS Sluff up.
look like policemen. even when they're not iii uniform.
isn't it? All [could .hlnk of W,lS now what have I done? Acting TOTALLY QU' of character (and much to my
Shane \,'1\ shrieking thal his 11\\1111 wasn't home, The amazement) he MC said she wasn't going '0 boil me in
policeman warned to know if his dad was in, They weren't oil or any,hing like .ha. for lying '0 her about going '0
~
Mrs. Kennedy's. She said tlUI in future she'd appreciate it if coming after HIM. since he's been Irylng 10 help Mrs.
I made some vaglle attempt lell her rhe truth, but all in
10 Kennedy sort OUIber life. Tbe Mad Cow happened 10 be
all she though; Ihal compared 10 some people I hadn't within earshot and said the only words she'd spoken 10
actually done anylhing wrong. And also I'd coped pretty him since he got home, which were lhal II hod occur red
well with the cops and all. and al leasl I was Irying 10 earn 10 her. and she only hoped thaI Mr. Kennedy was a re aUy
money 10 buy a phone and wasn't nicking Cars or doing good shot. The menopause is giving ber a v black sense of
drugs or worse (whatever she thinks WORSE could be!!!). bumor.

Since it's the Easter holidays and all. and since he seems 10
have forgonen thai we never really finished Our bike ride.
MOIDAT 9 APRil and since I'm ABSOLUTELY desperate for sornethmg 10
188 do. I rang Elvin and suggested that we pick up where we II'
LISTEN TO THIS!!! TIle police rhlnk Mr. Kennedy left off. He said he'd love 10. He'd REALLY. REALLY
escaped because he found OUIMrs. Kennedy is fooling love to. But he hurt his hand doing wing fu or c1l11og
around with another nlan!!! Is that DRAMA or what? It's Xu or whatever it is he does. so he's incapacit1led 11 the
like somethlng out of a Quentin Taran1ino movie. except moment. He'll ring me as SOOnas the swelllng goes down.
so far dozens of people haven't been brutally murdered. AI last ( have something 10 smile about.
JUSIin case. Ihough. the cops have Mrs. Kennedy and the
twins in biding rill tile)' gel Mr. Kennedy back. Sigmund
gOI home well late 1.51 nlghl. afier ev~rYlhing had prelly
much simmered down. He 'vas v upset 10 hear what had IUUDAT 10 APRil
happened. though he didn't hear II from rhe MC since
she's even angrier with hill) now thetll she \'1,\$ on Frid,\y NOI only is the tension belween Sigmund and the MC
and nOI onlv refuses 10 speak 10 hhu bill has moved back GINORMOUS, bUI Sigmund's aCling even more
into her bedroom with N,H'!!! Signuuld wanted to know peculi ar than usual. For months we've hardly seen him
if the police hMI considered the poihllit)' of Mr. Kennedy because he's always working. bUI now he's canceled
EVERYTHING and refuses to leavethe house. I asked WEDNESDAY 11 APRil
the Me what she thought was wrong with him and she
said (AND I QUOTE!!!). "He's a roul jerk. that's what's Rang up Sara Dancer to see if she wanted to hang out,
wrong with him." I WAS SHOCKED. Really. It's one but I never got a chance. SIT DOWN AND GRASP
thing me slagging him ofT-after all. being critical of your THIS!!! Sara Dancer thinks she's PREGNANT!!! Her
parents is pan of the teenage experience. isn't it! But period's DAYS late,I said don't be ridiculous; you can't
Jocelyn's mani'" to him. Also. she's my mother. I don't gec preglUllt from just ONE time, and Sara wantedto
think it can be healthy for a child to have one parent know what I was doing during sex educauon-e-havtng one
telling her what a tot'" waste of space and air her other of my out-of-body experiences? I said but THE FIRST
puent is. It feels like It breaks some rcall)' major rule. TIME? That really docs seem a bit harsh. Sara said It's not
People on the same team are meant to be loyal co one like learning co skate or something like that: you don't
190 another, aren't they?

Most of m)' mates have gone .wa)' for the E.tster holidays
nero a few cries before your body gets the hang of it. I
asked her what she's going to do and she said gct a I"
pregnancy test. so. since I had nothing better to do
(inclUding Disha, whose parents were lent .. cottage in anyway, I went wuh her to buy it. She tnstsied on going
France for a few days and decided 10 go at the last somewhere where it would be IMPOSSIBLE for us to
minute). So since 1'111 well BORED (there is no phone in bump into anyone who knows either of her parents, which
the French cOllage and D was forced 10 leave her rnobc at largely left us with the options of Mayfair and Stoke
home) and feeling very STRESSED by the war between Newington. Mayfair's easier to gel to. I am tra happy that
the Bandrys, I decided 10 forgive David for the pizza I'm not the one who needs a pregnanc)' tcst, but r have to
incident (time really is the great healer. isn't it!) and asked say that tile whole experience made me feel v grown IIP-
him if he wanted to spend the day with me. lie wanted to like a heroine in some depressing reallsrlc novel. We got
know who else I'd invited "Iollg. and I said no one. We a bit lost coming back and ended up caught in all rhe
went bowling up l'insbury Park. I wid David all about Mrs. tourists wandering round in confusion outside the V8:.A
Kennedy and the pollee and cv<~rYlhiJlg.He could hardly with their cameras and their guidebooks. SM,I and [ were
stop laughillg. discussing the fact that we haven't been in the V8:.Asince
primary school when I suddenly noticed a fa~iliM face offhand. so I Bipped through you, dear diuy, 10 see if
in the middle of. clurch of Japanese tourists who were I could find any. I couldn 't, As an experienced child
b,,;ng their picture taken on the steps of the museum! minder, I know how demanding and time-consuming even
"Good God," I cried, "there's my brother." Sara wanted 10 children who don 'I need Ihelr nappies changed can be.
know who his dishy friend was. Isaid what dishy friend When would you have lime 10 CREATE if you had a
and she said the one taking everybody's picture, CLAMP baby? How could you devore yourself 10 your work if you
YOIJR MOVTH OVER YOIJR DENTlJRES! II were tied 10 the schedule of an infanl? Sara Dancer wants
II was Elvin! He was holding the camera with TWO 10 be a fashion designer nOI an artist. bUI I reckon it's not
HANDS!!! Which suggests that either he's made a THAT dlfferent, You still need .prtJr~oll"filpi~/lo get
MIRACIJLOIJS RECOVERY or he was LYING your ideas and all, Plus fashion designers have 10 go 10 lots
TO ME!!! I told Sara I didn't know who he was, I was of shows and celebrity parties and Sluff like that, wbich is
191 MIJCH TOO STVNNED 10 speak!!! bard 10 do if you're breast-feedlng. 1'1
I decided to have a few words with the Abominable
Brother tonlghl, I asked him what he thought he was
doing. hanging out at the V&;\ with Elvin, who, .uler all, TIUI5DIY 111PIIl
is meam to be MY friend. jusun wanted to L'IloWif there
was something about him lhat attracted insane women or I can't tell you how relleved I was this morning wben
if \\Ie were all insane. Sara rang to say the lest was negarlve. She sounded preuy
relieved 100. She said if she'd known II was going 10 be
I've been Ihinking A LOT about Sara Dancer. I decided negative, she would've boughl some condoms while we
that at our age pregnancy is a bit like death, You never were in the chemlsr' s.
really Ihink II's going II) happen 10 YOIJ!!! And also
although rill sure there must be TONS or Great (or even I was just geutng ready 10 scule down 10 writing my slory
just excruclanugly good) Women Anists and Wruers who when Marcus rang 10 say he's returned 10 Ye Olde London.
have also been rcrrific mothers. I couldn't think of an)' He asked me 10 go to the Tate Modern wuh him, so I said
I'd been dying to go but somehow had never'gor round ro SATURDAY 14 APRil
it, [t was all righl. The bulldtng's prelly cool, But Marcus
and [ agreed thaI even though we're .)1lI1II~(lilt! r '{Mill' Nm's all wound up because she read In the paper lh.t
{jan/r we're nOI really into modem art. Marcu, says Jim/ according to some poll nearly 50 percent of the
has been replaced by mere cleverness. [ was v impressed. I population has no ide. why we celebrate Ea.uer. I sald I
thought that was a v profound pcrce pnon and said so. thought it had somethlng to do with the founding of
Marcus said what did I think. that he was jusl another Cadbury. Both Justin and the Me laughed. which is preuy
e.'luordinarily handsome face. and I said no. I never much a firsl for one of MY jokes. Nm sald she just hoped
thought Ibal. (Sometimes we re..lly crack each other up!!!) I "'cIS joking.
We go< v bored of soulltssolI1 In a "cry shon ume, so we
wem om for coffee. I told Marcus .11 abom Mrs. Kennedy
194 and the police. of course. and he I.ughed even more than
David had. (ISHR DIY I"
To show you exactly how TENSE the atmosphere is lnstead of the Easler Bunny. the Easter Bethsheba turned
at home and how desperate we all arc for some neutral up al the door with a v peculiu-looldng hard-boiled cgg
conversation. [ustin .ctually asked me how [ liked the Tate for my brother. She said she made it herself. I said it
Modern at supper. I sald I thought some of it was preuy looked like it'd been cooked in tea and she sald It was, in
cool. but lhal Oil the whole I felt that modern art had Darjeeling. Then she wanted to know If Just was back from
replaced soul ,\lith lucre cleverness. [usdn Solidhe'd read Greece yet. (So THAT explains why she hasn't been
that piece in the Guurdian too. haunting our road I'lciy!!!) It took me a few seconds to
absorb (his. I was about to say oh yes. he's back and he's
siuing in the kitchen right now. when Nan suddenly
loomed up behind me and shout ed right in my ear dlat
something had gone wrong with jusun's flight and we had
no idea WHEN he was getting hack. Bethstleba said oh. said what about supper, and the Me said that she reckoned
but before she could say .nything else Nan shut the door a fifty-five-year-old mao with three psychology degrees
very firmly In her face, I said to Nan that I was should be able to manage supper on his own, Fornm.ately I
SHOCKED that she'd lied like that. I said is that what don't have to sit around half the night while Sigmund tries
Jesus would've done? Nan said no, of course He wouldn't. to find the pasta because Dish. 's finally b.ck and I'm going
Jesus would've zapped Bethsheba like a fig tree or turned over there. ( feel like someone being released from prison.
her into salt, Or a bird released from its cage, Ie wouldn 'r've been so
bad if ( could at least have talked to her On the phone.
The Me said th.t so we could .11 eat the same thing she God kIlOWShow anyone survived before the telephone was
was declaring Easter a no-meat holiday and she made fish. invented. I may have to name my firstborn Bell.
You'd think that even Sigmund could carve salmon without
196 too much trouble, bill you'd be wrong. He was Imt about
to make the first Clll when. CArbackfired In the street. He
",
hit the floor as though he'd been shot. Eve.rybodythought TUlSDIY 111PRil
it was HILARIOUS, except Sigmwld, who said 11 was
obvious none of us read the papers or we'd realize )"SI I can't teU you how good it was to see om I feel like I've
how violent a SOCIetywe live in. been living in the wilUmtss without her. Than}: God there
was no one home when I gOt back. I don't think I could
BEAR to interact wuh my f.mily nght now. Ir's only
afier finally talking to someone who understands me and
MONDAY 16 APRil thinks and feels as ( do that ( realize what. strain I've been
under this past week,
There was some [ubilarlon in the Rancho Bandry tonight
because Nail', lin"lly gone home, Sigmund was '0 cxcued Life really is full of SURPRISES, isn't it? Hang on 10
that he actually volunteered to drive her, but the Me <a,,1 your wig- YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELieVE
,he W", going om ",)'wa)' and she'd take her, Sigmund WHAT'S HAPPENED NOW!!!
After 1filled you in on recent events, 1s'.lJ'u;d working decided not to wear, She basn'l gone '0 Greece. She's gone
on some sketches for an, (I wish I'd gone to sec those to Hackney '0 Stay with Sappho and M'gs!!! You could've
paintings with Marcus, Which of my slyles is it?) Atl)"\'~y, knocked me down with. paper clip, REALLY!!! The
1 gOt preuy immersed in that. (Art is all-consunung, after first time j read it, 1 thought It was jok.e until 1 got to the
all.) 1 heard justin come home (he was )'clUng at end and realized there wasn't any punch line, The second
someoue-e-presumably Bethsheba-e-to leave him alone), time 1 read iI, 1didn't know what 10 think. It might as
and then 1 heard Sigmund come in (he was singing some well have been written in code for all the sense it made,
old song). Nex, rime 1 looked up it was nearly seven, 1 was Then, obviously unsettled by this unexpected and shcckmg
famished. 1 went to the kitchen [0 see bow long it was lill news, [ made an UNPRECEDENTED move!!!
supper, Sigmund was silling at the table, drinking a glass
of wine and smoking a cigarelle and suring Imo space, 1 1 showed my leuer to Iustln. He had one '00, though be
198 asked him if he was planning 10 feed us anytime lonighl. didn't seem as shocked and surprised as you'd think. The 199
He told me to gel the rake-away menus, "Wbere's Mum?" letters are pretty much the same. They both say that the
1asked. He said didn't 1 gel the leiter she lefl me in Ill)' M.d Cow's sorry '0 leave 1I$ like this, but she's been
room? 1 said 1 hadn'l seen any leiter, but I went 10 look feeling very unhappy and confused lately, and having Nan
just to keep him happy. 1 reckon j musr've been in what around was too much added stress, so she's decided she
Sigmund cans denial. because it didn't even occur to me needs break. She'd be rhrtlled if we wanted '0 call ber,
that the MC had abandoned ship (well. it wouldn't, would but she can understand If we're angry and upset and don't
it?). 1suppose what 1 v.guely reckoned was that she want to speak to her jllSI yet. She said if justin and 1were
musr've taken a sudden holiday, After all, i.'s. well-known rounge,r she wouldn't have gone, bUI we're old enough
facl that middle-aged women who are sick of their boring now to be able to gel on without her for a while, 1said 10
lives oflen go on holiday to Greece and have oln:tirs wlrh [ustin, "I don't get I!. She didn't need 10 leave 10 get away
gigolos, walters, or fishermen, (It's "ImoSI romantic In a from Nan. Nan's gone back 10 Clapham," justin said she
depressing sort of way.) And also menopausal women are didn't leave because of Nan: she lefl because Sigmund's
known 10 he impulstvc and unpredictable '00. The leuer such. jerk, 1said bUI he's ,\Iways been a jerk, and justin
\V.1~ on top or In)' chc~( of drawers. under some >;tu(f I'd said, "Wake lip, janet. The man Mrs, Kennedy's been
dlealing with is dear old Dad." I was so golfsmacked I WIDIUDAY 18 APRil
didn't know what 10 say.
A. firs; I was v calm and philosophical about the MC
RighI after the take-away Justin sloped off as usual and leaving home. And, anyway, I was preuy shocked by
Signlund. clutching his wine and muuering about how Sigmund's behavior-you expect more from a
the MC could al least have lefi him the car, staggered off to psychorheraptsr, especially if he's your father, BUI D and
the Bunker. I don't know if they thought I was going 10 I have already discussed how everyone has a secret self,
clean up the mess from supper, bUI if they did they were so I wasn't totally unprepared. In reality, we are on our
REALLY deluded. As soon as r was alone I rang D 10 tell own in this life and have 10 learn .0 deal with that and be
her what'd happened, As one would expect. Dish. was independent and responsible, (Thar's One of rhe really good
SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED. She said imagine things about being in the DP: you're .not looking a. the
100 Mrs. Kennedy (who looks like she was invented for SEX) world through the rose-tinted glasses of a child. You 101
havtng it ofT with Sigmund (who looks like he was appreciare how drtp, aNI polinfu[ life can be.) I could tell from
invented 10 wear old clothesjtn And also D said she'd my reaction that the lasr few months have &EALLY
always thouglu of my mother as being so STABLE and matured me, But IOnight I was lefl alone io the kitchen
family-oriented. And what day was that? Dish. said no wuh the dirty dishes (AGAIN) and il finally hit me what
really, Who did I think kept everything rogerher! Sigmund the Me's done!!! She's ABANDONED ME!!! Me, her
can', even find the coffee wuhout help, And then D only daugh.er!!! If you ask me, she mighl as well've left
remembered that she had said the Me seemed tense. wluch me in a skip with a note pinned '0 my nappy On the day
is true, Isaid Isull reckoned that leaving me with Sigmund I was born, In fact, ir would've been a KINDNESS!!! AI
and the Abominable Brother is V DRASTIC, D said at least it would've saved me all those years of
least I have 10 admit I have au uucresung life, She says if DELUSION -of Ihinking I was wanted. cared for, and
I don 'I become a major novelist I should consider wriling loved! I mean, what does it mailer what she wrote in her
for the soaps!': lwer? She. didn 'I give one nanosecond's thougbi to how
Ihls would AFFECT ME!!! If thar's 1101 MEGA
SELFISH I don't know what is, I burst into tears. I jusl
sal there at the table, surrounded by the enipl)' containers out on her children wuhour even a little wapting. 1can
of fast food. weep.illg like an orphan. my ,foil/ bowling. understand her abandoning Justin -if you ask me. she
HOW COULD SHE DO THIS TO ME? Eventually1 waited eighteen years more than sbe should have-but I'm
pulled myself together. After all. 1 am adult enough to her DAUGHTER. How could she do this to me? Neither
accept the f.ct that 1am ON MY OWN. Marcus nor David knows the answer. to that question. (The
only one who disagrees is Disha, who is showing some
feminist tendencies heretofore unsuspected, D says she
reckons rhe mistake the Mad Cow made was in not tarring
THURSDAY 19 APRil and feathering Sigmund before she left!!!)

I'm going to get a T-shirt made that says liDmeh lieU. Anyway. we had a v interesting discussion about marriage
202 When 1 got up this morning, not only were all the dirty over lunch. 1 said the thing that really got me was how 10J
dishes. etc., exactly where they were last night. but ,SUI:lDEN this all was. 1mean, my parents argued a lot,
Sigmund was still in the Bunker playing Bob Dylan at a but they al"ays argued a lot, especially lately, so bow was I
volume more appropriate to dance music. Loyal friend that meant to know it was dffferem lbis time? That's what
she is, D caine found to console rue. She wanted to tid)' married couples do. isn't it? Tbey argue. Everybody agreed.
up. but I said 1reckoned Sigmund should do it, since it's Marcus said his parents once had a four-day argumenr over
his fault the MC left. Neither of us could stand the dJlom and tbe nghr way to boil an egg. and David said his mother
gloom Or Dylan for long. so we arranged to meet Marcus once threw a Weight Watchers chicken dinner at his dad.
and David for lunch so I could get my mind ofT my woes. straight from the microwave. Even Disha agreed that
That didn't exactly happen. since my woes were mainly though the government's always telling everybody that
whar we talked about. David and Marcus were well they should be married, it's probably a lot less stressful to
shocked about SigUlluld and also about the MC's behavior. join an army in combat.
The)' agreed with me that though leaving home is preuy
typical for MEN, mothers aren't meant Co do things like
that. If you ask me, u's unnatural for J. 11101her to JUSt walk
fRIDAY 10 APRil As you know, I was v traurnarizcd when I ~aw Elvin at the
V&A with my parents' other child. But I have had Lime (0
Despuc the fact thar be never spoke 10 her when she was think -abour it and I realize I mal' have overreacted, JUSI
here, Geek Boy rang the MC tonlglu, probably 10 tell her because Elvin didn't LOOK as if be were In pain doesn't
that we're running out of food and there's no washing mean tim he wasn't, Riiling a bike and holding a camera
powder left. (Sigmund, as per usual, was in the Bunker, aren't exactly the same thing, are they? And maybe he was
He seems 10 be going rhrough all five hundred Bob Dylan suffering when I spoke 10 him on the phone, bUI his hand
albums in chronological order. which means he won't be started 10 heal rather spectacularly after that. So I decided
0\11 till the weekend at the earliestttt] After he finished 10 put it behind us, and after I raiked to D I rang up Elvin,
grunting into the phone, Justin said the Me wanted As a Serious Filmmaker (and an older man) I reckoned
10 talk 10 me, bUI I said 10 tell her I was busy. In an he mtgh; have some valuable advice. for me during these
104 UNPRECEDENTED geSLUreof sensitivity and diffieulLtimes, His mother said he wasn't in. I said could 105
diplomacy, [usrin put the phone on hold and said I should she tell him [anet rang. She sald janet who? I said Bandry.
talk [0 her Or I'd hurt her feelings. I said what was he And do you know what she said?!! She wanted 10 know if
Irying 10 do, make me try' What about MY feelings' I was justin's sister!'! Maybe I should encourage Geek Boy
Then be said I was aCling like a child!!! Is that rich or 10 visit India for a couple of years, He'd love India. It's
what? J said I wasn't the one who ran away from horne. absolurely FILLED with poor people who live on the
street.
I'd LITERALLY jusl hung up from lalking 10 D when
the phone raog again. I practically [umpcd!'! It was Sappho. I couldn't gel to sleep so finally I decided [0 see if
She said the MC was really hurt that I wouldn't talk 10 her. Sigmund bad left any wine in the fridge. I reckoned a glass
I said she wasn't the only one who was hurl. l-10\\1 did she of wine would help me relax. II was one in the morning,
think I feiL?Sappho said maybe I should Ify 10 PUI myself but tile lighl was still on in the Bunker. At first I thought
in the Me's place. and r said thai was not a location [ ever Sigmund had thoughtfully turned his stereo down really
wanted to be in. low, bUI then I realized the sound l.could hear was him
la!king on the phone so I uptoed down the hal) 10 listen. I
reckoned he was lalking 10 Mrs. Kennedy. HI: wasn't, He and I'd be baby-silting the twins on Thursday, and
was Ialklng 10 Mrs, Bandry!!! Even more AMAZING, he Sigmund jusl sbook his head v slowly but didn't say
was begging her 10 come borne, I can only assume u's the anything. I'm taking that as a no,
car he's ~fler,
Bethsheba was back In her usual position on the front
Everybody was going 10 David's rornght to watch videos, steps when I got home from D's thts afternoon, Since
but I sraved home, When you have a major upheaval In I'd more or less forgouen about her, I was v surprised,
your life 0ikc your female parent running away and your She said she'd been trying 10 ring Justin for days, bUI the
father having it off with a neighbor), it nukes YOIl phone was always engaged so she decided to come over
lnlrosprctivr ~lIdrrfiulivr, NOI for me the brighl Iighls of in person. I said she should ring him on his mobe because
Hollywood and the Innocent clntchat of my friends over there were other people In the Rat besides justin who also
l06 snacks and fizz)' drinks, The crisps would have turned '0 needed to use the phone, I sald anyway, I was under the lOl
ashes In my mouth. My mood demanded the comforting impression that they'd broken up, and she said no, it
glow of candles, the warm seen, of sandalwood, and was JUSta misunderstanding. She said I must know how
anguished [azz squeezed from the JOll4 the notes flowmg dlfficulr Justin can be, TELL ME ABOUT IT!!! I told
through the night like blood. her if she was wailing for justin to get home she was
going 10 have a long wait because he'd gone round to our
aunt's. Sbe wanted 10 know where Sappho lived and I told
her, If you ask me, it serves justin ngbl. If he spent more
~UHDAY 21 APRil lime with his own friends he wouldn't be spending time
with MINE!!!
Sigmund has emerged!!! lie doesn't look grea" bUI a' lcasr
he's turned off rhe stereo and he says he's going to go If somebody doesn't do tlte dishes soon 1I0t only are we
back (0 work IOlnOrrO\\I. Apparently Mr. Kennedy's been going to run out of plates and cutlery-e-we won't even be
apprehended, J said did this mean Mrs. Kennedy was back able to have a cup of tea!!!
.
I was watching Icily lonighl 10 lake m)' mind off all screanting!!! (He's oIways been v volatile and emouonally
01)' problems, (I dOIl'1 believe one can be a TOTAL unstable, but if he keeps this up he 'U have a heart mad
rNTELLEC1VAL 011 of the lime; there Me limes in life before he gets OUIof on school.) He wanted to know what
when simple amusement is necessary. which I reckon was wrong with ME!!! I snd ME? What did I do? He
explains why so many Gre>! Wrilers and AniSlS are also said I was the MORON who told Bumshi where he
alcohotlcs.) I musr've Sat on the remote because suddenly was yesterday. Was I OBLrVIOUS? Or did I really live
the set switched ilself On standby, That was when I realized on my own planet? Didn'l I see lh.t Bumshlva's a mad,
that Sigmund was on the phone in the Bunker again, deluded creature who's been st.lking him? It was JUS!as
Steahhy as a cal, I moved towards his door. This lime ( was well I was already lying on my bed or I would've collapsed
ABSOLUTELY sure he was talking to Mrs. Kennedy from laughter, If 1'011ask me, Ihe Abominable Brother's
because he kept saying the L-word. And then I heard him been watching lOOmany movies, SI.lking! ( mean, really.
108 say my mother's name, l couldn'i make OUIwhat else he get. life, It's preuy obvious tI,al the girl isn't worlting 10'
said, but al a guess it was probably tim be thougln there with a complete deck or she wouldn't be interested in
was someone outside the door because he suddenly yanked Justin in the firsl place, bUI STALKING?!! People wbo
il open, I satd I was looking for 01)' earring and he stalk aren't trendy art students; they're usually bolding
believed me, losers with bad dress sense and worse breath, Justin said it
wasn't funny, He spent the nlgbt .t Sappho's because even
though he told Bethsheba 10 go away she stayed outside
the house and he didn't want to end up trying to ger.home
MONDAY B APRil from Hackney with her in the dead of night, I said I was
under the impression that he and Bcthshcba were back
[usrin threw a major wobbly when he gOI horne Ihis together, which was why I told her where he was, and he
afternoon. He marched into Iny TQOln without even asked me who told me Ihal. I said well, who did he think I
knocking, I <,llelexcuse me, bUI you can't [ust barge lmo He said I was a con man's dream, Wah till he 6nds OUI(
a person's room like that. and he went DEEP red and gave her his mobile number,
started <hokanghkc a Chihuahua, Then he suncd
Disha says it's possible rhat Bethsheba reall)"'ls stalking he said i, wasn't as if the MC'd lefl for good: she was just
Justin, She says she thinks certain sons of stalking can taking a leave of absence, I jus, hope the MC knows that,
happen to anyone. like measles or something. She says
you'd have to .have .0 obstssi~t ptrSon~liIy,but artists often
do. I said give me a BREAK Who could get obsessive
about a boy who shops in Oxfam and always smells of WEO.ISOAY H APRil
developer? Disha said apparently Bcthsheba.
There are some disadvantages to being a motherless child
that I haven', thought of before, For one thing, there's the
fcod.Tm the first 10 admit thai ti,. MC's one of the worst
TUlSOAY 24 APRil cooks 10 ever make IUllIPy gravy, bur at least she does
210 cook. Now that she's living it up in Hackney, nobody 211
Nan rang last nigh' 10 find OUIwhy no one's rUllg her to Can be bothered to go shopping, SO we're slililiving on
see if she's all right. Since the only persall who would lake-away. (Take-away's all righl for a couple of days, but
think to ring her isn't here anymore, I admitted that the you'd be AM.A:ZED how quickly tile charm wears off,
MC had TUnaway from horne. Nan said she always knew I mean, jt'S not what you'd want as a steady diet.
something like this would happen, right from the moment Especially nOI when your choice is pretty much pizza or
Sigmund rurned up at the church in a wedding coat and pizza: if you don't want to do the dlshcs.) So, since no
high-laps. She offered to come back and look after us. one's shopping, we're 001 only OUIof food, but ,ruff like
Personally this struck me as a reasonable idea, since Nan detergent and bog rolls as well (we're reduced 10 using
believes in vtcionan values like meals and household newspaper-I can't tell you how GROSS thar is). And
maintenance, but Sigmund looked like tlus was all the also I had a 'report 10 typ,. up for history, and even though
good news he needed for the rest of his life and lied Sigmund can Iype almost as well as the MC he
and said we were doing just fine on our o\vn-he's not REFUSED to do it for me. It took me EONS with only
INCOMPETENT, is he? (I couldn't hear Nan's answer, IWOfingers! The other 'hing is that rhe health and
but even though she's old she isn't exacrly srupidf} Then sanltauon standards of 'he flat have slipped so much thai
it's gelling v hard to find things. and if )'OUPUl
something my husband was running around wlth '11l(\lherwoman-
down you have to check first that you' re not puuing it in cook him supper? I said nOI likely. If I cooked him suppc.r
something disgusting. I said to Sigmund. didn't he rhink il it would. only be 10 dump it over hls.head. D saki
was time he found the Hoover. and he said why dtdn'i I EXACTLY!" She said if I'm going 10 be pissed ofT wtth
find il? (Yeah. rigln! If he dunks I'm going 10 be his anyone. it should be Sigmund.
SKIVVY he tan think again.) Ihope he is right and the
Me will come back once she's calmed down or I may have
to move '0 Hackney too!!! I don't think I couJd survive
indefinnely with Sig'lllmd in charge. fRIDAY II APRil
Disha says '0 look on the briglu side. 1 asked her what .h., Disha's gOt. point. Sigmund's always lelling me I'VE gOI
112 is. Disha says that this is meant '0 be our year of spiruual a long way 10 go before I'm an adult, bUI if you ask me so 1IJ
and intellectual growth. and I'm definitely doing that. And has he. He doesn't DO anYlhing! He just goes 10 work and
also it's pretty dark. I said that if I gel stuck living on my then he comes home and goes back 10 meBunker to listen
own with Sigmund for the res' of my life u's going to be '0 1Rr. lJ",m oUld~m. (I should've dumped all his Dylan
more like a black hole than a Dark Phase. BUl I can see she albums ill the bin while he was OUI,)
has a poim.
I decided 10 break down and ring the Me tonight. It's
ironic considering how she drives me crazy. but I'm really
slarting 10 miss her, And besides the general quality of life
THUR~OAY 16 APRil descending quickly into Third World levels. I don't know
where my Pc kit is and L gOI yelled al again by Mrs. Wisl
I 'old Disha how selfish I thin k 'he Me is being. and she today. The Me sounded surprised 10 hear from me. I said I
sald have I rhouglu about how I'd feel if I were in the Me's wasn't angry with her (which is more or less In' e. though
place? I said she was beginning 10 sound like Sappho .. mel I'm sull v irked). [ said I'd been thinhng about it and if
she said no REALLY. Wh., would I do if I found (>111 I'd found out my husband was runuing 'around with
~
another woman I would've gone too. And then I. sked her that yet, But after what 0 said about not being able to
when she was coming back, She said, "For God's sake, make up the stuff tbat happens to me, I decided to give
janet, I've only just left." I sald no, re.Uy, I said if she it a try, It's about a girl whose self-centered f~ther uses her
didn't want to live with SignuUld anymore (and who could to mind his lover's children whlle they go to cheap hotels,
blame her?), wouldn't it make more sense to make him and then the lover's psychotic husband brew out of prison
move out? The MC laughed, but not AT me (for a to avenge himself on the self-ceruered f.ther, but when the
changet). more like in surprise, She said my Dark Phase girl captures the psychotic prisoner and becomes ~ hero,
must really be changing me because I'm '(1u.II)' sounding her mother finds out what's been going on and leaves
more mature, If you ask me, It's the MCwho's changing home, I'm c.1IIingit "Reasons Never to Get M~rried,"
(I've ALWAYS been v mature for my age), but I didn't
say that to her. I said it's. well-known fact that children
114 of divorce grow up suddenly (I bend It on Opr.h), liS
~OID1T 191PRil
Tbere wasn't any milk in the lIat this morning, so Ihad to
~ATURDAY 18 APRil go out and get some, AGAIN, I'm going to sun keeping
a record, An)'way, it's not even eight in the morning and
Dish. was hauled .way for the weekend by her parents. the first thing I see when I step outside is the 9lt11ritnd
from
and the usual suspects (David and Marcus) arc doing htU!Since I gOt all th.t grief from [ustln for JUSttalking to
sornethlng male and Juvenile logether tonighl, so I S3I Bethsheba, Idecided to ignore her, She called my name,
myself down and went into ("l'ulir(' ';flollt" It's true what but I kept right on walking, When I gOt back with the milk
the pOCtSsay about it being a REALLY rouen wind IhM she was standing in front of our door, I told her [ustln was
doesn't blow some good somewhere, isn't it? With the still sleeping, and she said how nice it would be if she
exception of people like Tolkien and jefl'rey Archer, lOISof could have a cup of tea while she walled, I told her there
writers use their O\VI1 lives {or rhe basis of ficuon, btu up was a care nearby, She didn't budge, I said would she
till now I'd always felt Ih.1tIny life wasn't BIG enough for mind stepping aside so Icould get into my own home,

and she srarted crying and going on about how she escaped through the garden despite the IJo9by traps.
LOVED Justin and how if only she could talk to him they Sigmund, of course, was TOT ALL Y oblivious to what
could patch everything up. (Till about drama queenttt) had been going on, but Bcthsheba was excruciatingly
NOI only was I DYfNG for a cup of tea, but I was gOlllg happy to fill him in. Anywoly, Sigmund was all Mr.
to have to dig a cup OUIof the sink and wash it before I Concerned Puent and Comforllng Shrink, while I (of
could have one, so I was less than MEGA sympathetic. I course!!!) got stuck with making the tea and washing OUt
told her tha! as far as I could see. Justin had even less THREE cups, etc,
interest in her than he did in translating MansJidd PorkInto
Sanskrit, I advised her to get a life. Eventually Bcthsheba calmed down enough to say she was
sorry for trying to Cut my promising life short, but she was
That's when she Went for me! [Literallyl!l} I know this in a v emotional state (11m,duh , , , really?1/) and she
116 may sound naive, but I really wasn't expecung to be couldn't believe I told her to GET A LIFE wben that was 111
auackcd on Illy own doorstep. Which gave Berhsheba the what she had. Neither Sigmund nor I knew what she was
advantage. She lunged straight al me and knocked me over. on about. We looked at each other, and then we looked at
(If you ask me, it's a miracle I wasn't wounded.) It's just her again and Sigmund said, "Pardon? I'm not certaia I
as well Sigmund's a light sleeper. He charged out in uaderstand=-" and Bethsheba started crying again, HANG
nothing bill his boxers (which is nos a preu)' sight-if ON HARD TO ANYI'HING THAT ISN'T
photographs of Sigmlllld in his boxers were given out in CEMENTED DOWN!!! Bclhsheba, through a
sex ed there'd be a whole lot less pregnant teenagers in churning ocean of tears. s~d tholt what she meant was that
this country, believe me), shoming like a kung fu warrior, she's carrying Justin's child! Even Sigmund didn't have an
Of course, It wasn't SolIJn'! spJwn be was shrieking at. It W.lS answer for that one. He JUStsat there like a beached fish,
ME-the iunocent victim!!! What the hell are YOI1doing? staring at her, I took advantage of this moment of
Yadda y"dda yadda , .. What I was actually doing, besides SHOCK AND HORROR to pretend I had to go to the
trying 10 push the stupid cow off me. was open the milk 100 (nor that either of them noticed). I walked straight OUI
so I could tr)' 10 drown her. Sigmund gOI us both inside of the front door and went to Dish. '5. (What would I do
and then he went lO wake lip Justin, but [usnn had already WITHOUT HER? I ask you!!!) D called it the Auack of
..
the Killer Cow. She said did I rc.lly think Justin would be your girlfriend pregnanl and then dumping her like a hot
srupid enough to get Bumshiva knocked uJl and I asked her polalo was pretty Irresponsible In his book. [ustln Solidfirsl
if shed mel my brother. I was going to stay over at D's, of ill Bumshiva'd NEVER been his girlfriend and Ihu
but in the end I decided to come home and work on my second of all she WASN'T PREGNANT; she was jusl
story. It's so ABSOLUTELY true that suffering fuels insane. Sigmund said. "That's what you say." Justin said it
creauvny, isn't it? let's face it: shallow. happy people write was. The Mad Cow had ...tready heard the whole tortured
Burger King jingles, bUI deep, unhappy people write War tale from Justin (obviously), and she TOTALLY believed
end Peact. him. Sigmund gOt all haughlY and raised an eyebrow and
alI1il:e he'd completely forgouen he was meant 10 be
trying 10 enconrage the Me 10 like him again and said
REALLY? The Me said REALLY. She said If Belhsheba
218 MONDAY 10 APRil actually was preggers it was either an immaculate
conception or the father was someone we dldn't know,
Iustin suyed al Sappho's again last nighl and the Mad Cow Sigmund asked her how she could be so sure, and the Me
brought him home Ihls afiernoon. She said she reckoned h said because Iustin W'SO'I a compulsive liu like the only
was time the four of us sat down and had a SERIOUS other male in this family!!! I jusl sat there, observing .11of
talk, Sigmund said 100 bloody righl and immediately this llke a Great Writer would, bUI I have 10 admit I was v
started going on about justin being. disgrace. The MC Impressed by my mother. l'd never seen her like litis
wanted to )a10\V what he was on about. and when before. Then she said that anyway. Bethsheba's histrionics
Sigmund explained she and justin boih fell about laughing, weren't what we had to talk about. YOII could lell from the
which made Sigmund go into morally superior mode way he immediately started nodding and looking v serious
(which is probably his favorite). He said he was shocked like someone on N(lVsnight that Sigmund thought thts meant
that the MC. of all people. would condone justin's she was ready 10 come horne for good. But I was walchlng
irresponsible behavior. justht stopped l.ltIghing long the NEW jocelyn Bandry and I had my doubts (and also I
enough to say that he wasn't like Sigmund and didn't noticed she didn't have a suitcase with her). You should've
indulge in irresponsible behavior. Sigmund said th,lI getting seen Sigmund' s face when the MC said she was corning
home, bUI only because he was moving ouf. (If he meaningfully and she was inspired. She looked at her own
doesn't SlOp looking like a dying 6.sh I may have 10 change life and she saw its sh4UllUlnrss
andIriuialUy,and she was
his name 10 Troul!!!) Sigmund wanted 10 know where this lin.lly ready 10 face the pain and remake herself. The Dark
brilltam idea came from but the MC jusl smiled and gave Phl$e has DEFINITELY affecled Disha. I have a1w.ys
me a look. known thaI I will never have a beuer friend than Dish.
Paski-ool if I live 10 be a MILLION (though, really,
who would wam 10?)'-OUl now she has surpassed herself.
How? I hear you ask, And this is how. To stop my torment
TUHDAY 1 MAY Disha look direct action. She just carne rigbl OUI10d asked
Calum if Elvin WAS interested in me or not, Calum ....id Or
I gave !vis, Slapies my SIOrytoday. It's over TEN PAGES. not. Dish. said she was woodering because Elvin had SOrt
110 Ms. Staples said no wonder il look me so long 10 write. I of made a play for me, and Calum said. "Oh, that." D 111
said I KNOW how busy she Is and .11 (apparently wanted 10 know oh what. Turns OUIElvin was hoping that
teachers. like whales, are an endangered spectesut). bUI I if he gOI friendly with me he could gel Justin 10 help him
would REALLY appreciate il if she could read il .5 soon with b.is film. My ooly consolation is Ihal Elvin's stupid
as she has a chance. Now that my creativity has been film is also the reason he was cooing round Catriona,
turned on, it needs FEEDBACK Ms. Staples said she'd Because of her father. He was hoping he could gel It on
do her best. Icily. I'm DEVASTATED! Mine is a rrusung nature. I
can't believe someone could be so duplicitous, Disha says
well, live and learn-thal's wh .. life's all about, isn't ill
(She really has MATURED!!!)
WlDNlSDAY 1 MAY
I'd like 10 Iltillk lh.1 ihe new [ocely Baudry owe,
somelhmg 10 me and the Dark Phase. I mean. u's IX5lble.
,m'l il? She ....w me Strugghng 10 hve deeply and
.,

THURSDAY J MAY fRIDII4111


NOTHING lasts for ever, that's the truth. LaStweek I AM DEFINITELY ON MY CREATIVE WAY!!!
1 was a motherless child, and now I'm a fatherlessone. Ms. Stapleswas v impressed with my story. She says it's
Sigmund moved out tonighr. lthough. as Justin says. it funny. inSightful,and ORIGINAL. She even wants to
isn't as 'fhe's gone FAR. He's gOta flat ill KemishTown. publish it in the school magazine. She did say we'll have
The Me's saying this is a trial separation. but Sigmund to sit down and discuss It IN DEPTH, of course. She
couldn't have been halfway up the road before she was says she still feels I have a problem with implausible plots.
III rearranging their bedroom. Alreadythe living standards III
have risen. There's bog roll in the bathroom and we had I said it's not MY problem-It's LIFE'S.
meatballs and s!"gheui for supper. 11wasn't as bad as 1
remember, but LIla! could just be because I've been on the
Sigmund SaJldryStarvationDiet. Now that Elvinhas proved
nor to be a Man of Principlesbut a Sn.1litin the GrollS 0( lDut,
I've started uting meat again. I mean. really. why not?

David rang tonight to see if I wanted to go to a film on


Saturdaynight. I said yes. He said JUSt)'OU and me. right?
I said of course. At least I know that David is an honest
persoll and Interested ill ME-not my brother. And also
(since rill not COMMITIED to anyone yet) I've
already arranged to go tce-skanng on Sunday with Marcus.
GLOSSARY

999 U.K. equivalent of 911


ALEVEL HATH$ Advanced-level exam in
marhematlcs. usually taken at age 18
A-Z street map of London
BANGING ON (colloq.) talking endl essly

a,SCUITS cooues
OLOKES (colloq.) noen/boys
BLOODY (colloq" vulgar) very: used as an
all..purpose Intensifier
BlOODY-HINDED (colloq; vulg.r) stubborn.
pighe.ded
lOG ROll (colloq.) toilet paper
BOXING DAY the day after Christmas
BRILLIANT very good. excellent
CAPITAL Got..o British radio station:
plays oldy-moldles from the sixties
CARRIER BAG plasuc shopping bag
C H E HIS T phanllac),
CHIPS french frtcs
CHUff ED (colloq.) pleased
cow PAT pile of (;O\\! dung
C"IS', CRISP WRAPPER potato chip: b<lg
of potato chips
CROUCH ENO il neighborhood in nonh LoH'don GIVEA TOU (colloq .. "ulgar) care
CUPBOARD closet GOI. (colloq,. vulgar) mouths
DINNER LADY a woman who cooks or serves food GOasHACKIO (colloq .. \'\Ilgar) astounded
in .i school rnetcna, GONE Off gone bad; spoiled
DISHY (colloq.) vcry good looking; cute HAlf.TI""one-week mldsemester vacauon
DRIBBLING drooling HAVINGIT Off (colloq .. vulgar) Iuving sex
ow ..... (colloq.) n.. de-up word III(:>nln&gecko HEATH, HAHrSTEAD HIATH big put in
idiot north London
.-srHORJ popular SQ.1popera set in London's Hlas, HII, HINt, ouas (colloq.) her place. his
F..1,. End place, DIy place. our place
FAGS (colloq.) cigareues HIGH IT,,'IT ?-.Uin SUett: the main road in a town
FANCYING(cotloq.) Iuving. crush Oil HOLIDAY, HOLIDATS \'<lallon
FIT (colloq.) good-looking uraeuve HOTTINO u, becomlng more intense
FIVER five-pound note JELLY ).110
FLASH (colloq.) flashy. glitzy JUMPtR s,Ye~ler
FLAT apanment KIT doth es andlor equlpmen! assembled for.
FROG WELLlfS rubber boots with frog f.tees specific purpose
011 rhcm KNICK I'" underpants
GAROENb~(kYilJd LOO (colloq.) loilet. lav.lory
GCSEs General Centric.itt ofsondAr)' EdU(';Utori Loor British magazines and web servtee ad\'C1tising
CX,UllS. usuaUy raken ,I "ge 16 used goods for sal.
GET OUT borrow or take our. as a IIbr.1ry LooonOAO (colloq.) rruckload: a large qu.nlity
book or video MARKS'" SrENCER Brhish department store:

GINOR"OUS (colloq.) made-up word: "f.mily" store, ,he kind of place your mum
;un.llg.lIllltion of gtganll( and mormou'; \'Cf)' big drags you '0 for "bock'IO-school" clothes
HAT" (colloq.) friends PUSHCHAIIitS strollers
M 15 the United Kingdonl's security intelligence QUEUE (verb) slmd In line
.gency QUID (colloq.) pound
HI NeE ground beef USH"S rhtn 'trips of meat, especially bacon
HIND babysi; (in this cu. soya)
HO (abbr.) mobile (cell) phone RIZlAS brand name for Cigarette papers
NAFF (colloq.) cheesy. I.c.ky ROUNDED ON (colloq.) turned on: sIMI.d .u.tkl.ng
NAPPIES diapers verbolJy
NEWS AGENT'S small shop selling newspapers, "ow. "OWING .argument. uguing
andy. CigMetles. and such SAATCHI GAlLI"Y contemporary an g.illuy in
NfWSNICHT current .rr~irsprogrlIn on British London
television SAINSIURY'S Ia_rgeU,K, supermarket chaln
NIC O (colloq.) stole SARKY(colloq.) ,.,casllc
NIPPED OUT stepped out SAS (abbr.) Special Air Service
OVERGROUNO above-ground trJins SE"VIETTI na.pkln
OXFAH charitable organtanlcn b...sed in the U.K.; SIXTH FO"" VIA'" lut 1''0'0years of school
funs shops .selling third ..world-produced and before uDivenlty. equlvalent 10 twelfth and
secondhand goods thirteenth grades
PE KIT clothes worn for Ph)'S. Ed. Dumpster
Sit I"

PHONE 80X phone booth SKIVVY (colloq.) servant

PISSING DOWN (colloq., ,\llga.r) relining hCJ,,"Uy SLAGGING OF' (colloq" vulgar) Insulting.

PLASTICINE J. 50(' modeling mnerlal deriding. criticltlng


!fOUND basic monetary unu of rhc United Klugdom SHOGGING (colloq.) kissing passionately

f'UOOIN<; dessert SNOOKER a "'"deIY of the ganlc of pool


.-
SODS (colloq . ,,,,Ig.. ) p.ins in the bun; people who WILLI .. high. w.lerproof rubber boou; . 1so ailed
are bcing delibeutely .nnoying Wellinglon.
SOLICITOR lawyer WICKED (colloq.) cool
STONE: measuremen; of wetgfu. approximately WINO ur push one's buuons
14 pounds WO .. LY (colloq.) tantrum
SUSSlD (colloq.) knowledg ea ble Woou.', (colloq.) dTeaiolUl< term for
T...e-...W...V tUe-OUl Woolworth' ch>in of five-mddlme stores
TALKING CLOCK telephone service thol' gi\'C:s the that no longer operales in the U.S. bUI ls still in
lim. of d'l' business In the U.K.
TATE HOOERN gallery of modern art in London YO"KSHIA, PUDDING similar 10 J popo ..'cr. baked
TELLY (abbr.) relevlston either muffin Slyle or in > fbI pan: Indhlonilly
TENN (colloq.) len-pound note served with TOUI beef
TERH school semester
TINNED, TIH canned. can
TORY member of the Conservative PArlY
TRAINER$ sneakers
TRO'-LEY shopping CJrt

TUIE London sub\\'''Y


V \'cry
V &A (abbr.) Vlelori nd Alben Museum
VEGGIE \'cgct.\rlan
WARDROBE external closer
WASHING powoe" detergent
WATER 81SCUITS thin. plain crackers
WELL (colloq.) "cry
: ,

-,
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