Walls. By C A Middleton © 2014
Life exhausted Maria Worthington.
As she trudged home after her long shift at the supermarket the heavy, cold rain poured down her ineffectual jacket collar and onto her back, sending shivers. The full shopping bags tore her arms out of their sockets and bit into her already blistered hands, making her wince with every step.
To combat the misery, Maria daydreamed of her son, Colin, having a hot cup of Yorkshire tea ready for her when she arrived home.
But she also knew it was as much a likelihood as a limousine with George Clooney pulling up by her side and whisking her away to Cleethorpes for a dirty weekend.
One heavy footstep after the other, Maria trudged up the steep incline of Ganners Hill, cursing the council for their lack of bus route. Each sloshing step, in the descending muddy river, was just another on the path to her miserable life.
At this point in her short span she would settle for Georgie-porgie stopping by in a beaten up Robin Reliant.
She was thirty-six going on eighty and shared a house with a jobless dreamer and damp rotting the walls.
Maria could stop and cry, but knew little good came from crying.
‘Stop it!’ She scolded herself.
The image of her stepfather filled her leaden mind, warning her, ‘If you dare cry, I’ll give you something to really bloody cry about, girl!’
As she reached the top of the hill, she stopped to give her arms a rest. A thoughtless passing lorry rewarded her by flooding her with a deluge of filthy, freezing water as it screamed by.
She stood, arms out, blowing raspberries of gritty water through her thin lips, aware that passing cars were laughing at her plight.
What could damn well happen now that’d be worse than this? She thought.
Unwilling to find out, she picked up the plastic bags full of value tins. Fountains of water sprayed through holes in the plastic onto her and the pavement as she trudged the last hundred yards to her council terraced-house on Willow Drive.
She remembered when the council man told her they were moving her to Willow Drive. It had sounded peaceful and warm. It was, however, as far as New York from either. The whole street was a toothless snarl of boarded houses and drug dens. It carried a terrible nickname. A nickname she only heard about after the grinning government worker had handed her the keys to her new house on “Bastard’s Row”.
She slouched into her tiny, dark front garden, ducking to avoid having her eyes poked out by the overgrown privet hedges. Colin was on the verge of trimming them for the last three years. Maria had given up asking him around August of last year. When the rain stopped -which it never did- she would trim them herself. She edged through the forest of leaves, dropped the bags and entered the mess that was her home.
The putridity of the full kitchen bin whacked her nose; wrinkling it.
‘I specifically asked him to put them out before I left for work, fourteen hours ago,’ she muttered. ‘COLIN!’ She screeched. The anger took her mind off that fact the she was beyond soaked to the skin: her bones also felt softer for the deluge she experienced. ‘COLIN WORTHINGTON I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! I WANT YOU OUT!’
Silence was the only reply.
That’s odd, she thought.
Maria’s son never left the house and always had a glib, insensitive reply for anything she threw at him. Yet, a heavy silence blared back at her.
‘COLIN! YOU ANSWER ME NOWWW!’
She ripped off her jacket with disgust and frustration and bounded up the cheap hessian weave, not stopping to knock on his bedroom door.
Maria, primed for an argument, observed her son’s bedroom etiquette and then told it to go screw itself. She threw open his door.
The mess he called a bedroom showed no sign of him. The television was on and showing a picture of the heads of George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges and a goat.
‘Who watches this rubbish?’ She asked out loud and switched off the screen. ‘Colin! Are you in the bathroom, you idiot?!’
Her ears picked up a muffled sob. But Maria couldn’t be certain if it had come from the bathroom or downstairs.
She swept out of her son’s bedroom and down the narrow, short landing, before stopping to pound the fragile plywood door.
‘I’m coming in if you don’t answer, young man,’ she called when no reply was forthcoming.
Again she heard the muffled sob.
The hot anger flooding her veins before turning to cold panic.
‘Colin? Are you okay?’ She called as she threw open the bathroom door.
Another empty room greeted her. She ignored the dirty underwear and socks lying scattered on the floor like a Tracey Emin installation.
Something was wrong, and she knew it. Her parental alarm bells rang in loud clangs.
‘Colin?! Answer me! I’m worried now!’
Again, she heard the strange muffled sob.
‘Where are you? You’re proper scaring me!’
Her head shot left and right as the sound came again. Only this time it sounded as if the voice was trying to say mum.
She turned around, saw her son and fainted on the spot.
Behind her, within the fabric of the wall itself, like Han Solo frozen in Carbonite, were Colin’s unmistakably Concorde-long nose, rubber lips and a knee, poking out towards the landing.
Several minutes later, Maria Worthington gained consciousness.
Three seconds later, she lost it again.
This went on for about an hour.
When she at last decided to remain conscious, she phoned the emergency services and they in-turn called the tabloids.
By lunchtime the following day, Yorkshire’s laziest teenager was a celebrity.
This is the reason why:
Colin was indeed a dreamer as his mother claimed on many occasions. He was an avid reader of superhero comics since the day he could connect words into sentences. He had watched every superhero, fantasy, science fiction film ever made; even the ones that made The Power Rangers television show look good.
He dreamt of one day finding out he might have a superpower.
He practiced trying to move things with his mind every day. Although, the only thing he found himself able to move was himself to frustrated tears. He threw himself down the stairs with his dressing-gown worn like a cape. But only flew into a forward roll and was lucky not to break his silly neck.
Then it came to pass that serendipity wiggled her booty in Colin’s direction. Because, during a rare outing into the world of people, as the sun bathed his skin through a charity shop window, his eyes flopped upon a film called, Men Who Stare At Goats.
The DVD cover photo, with four giants of the silver screen and a nameless goat looking, with resolute pride into the distance, was enough to attract his attention. He bought it for one whole, standard English pound and almost jogged home.
Later, as he played the DVD, it struck Colin what a funny, yet a sad tale it was. The young impressionable adored the film before the last credits rolled.
However, it wasn’t until he checked out the Special Features that he found something which blew his little mind to smithereens.
He came across what was, to him, proof that psychics existed.
Wide-eyed, he watched a fascinating documentary. It informed him about the actual involvement of both the American and the Russian governments in training super soldiers to walk through walls and find people in other countries with only the power of their minds!
With new vigour, and a belief that it was destiny who brought the DVD and himself together, Colin trained harder.
He researched exercises on the web. He practised meditation. He turned to vegetarianism.
He became obsessed.
Colin also broke his nose and battered his rubber lips so many times on the solid wall of his bedroom that his mother suspected he was being bullied.
The pain only served to push him further.
The young Jedi watched the film every day for inspiration. Sometimes even three times a day, convinced that if Kevin (K-Pax) Spacey and Obi-wan McGregor told him he could do the impossible there was no doubt it could work.
If only he could train his body and mind to accept that everything was comprised of atoms and in between those atoms must be space. A space that his body, also made up of atoms and space, should pass through if charged towards at a fast enough velocity.
The day came when he told himself he was ready.
‘I am ready to be the first human to manipulate atoms,’ he repeated like a mantra. ‘I, Colin Marion Worthington, will pass right through the wall of my bedroom and then… who knows. The world will be my psychic oyster. I will be a Jedi master. I will save trapped cats and foil bank robberies. I will get the girl and treat her to a Big Mac meal. I will be the one that the kids strive to be and not the one they snigger at.’
In short: Colin would be the HERO!
As a kind of reassurance for his excited mind, the young man turned on the film one last time, before relaxing his thoughts and controlling his pulse.
Flexing his tiny muscles and stretching his back, he moved to the far wall of his tiny bedroom, breathed in deeply and then out several times. Colin thanked the universe for the opportunity and then took the five swift strides across his busy floor.
Five strides he soon found were not far enough to build up momentum and force himself through to the other side.
The initial balloon of excitement he felt as his body broke the shell of physical law burst as absolute claustrophobic terror soon replaced all emotion!
Luckily for this psychic guru, he had a huge conk of a nose. If not, he would have found himself entombed in the dividing wall with no way to breathe.
‘I’m stumped,’ the large-bellied gent from the emergency services said on arrival.
Accompanied by a slim-waisted blond with a bulbous bottom, emergency Jonny sidled from one side of the trapped phenomenon to the other with wide, shocked eyes. After six passes of both sides of the wall, he declared, ‘Actually, Mrs Worthington, stumped is now somewhere in the rear-view-mirror, waving vigorously. We can now declare to being utterly and completely flaggerghasted.’
Therefore, they rushed off to call for specialist backup assistance.
The specialist backup arrived three hours later, scratched their stubbly chins, went for several cigarettes and then looked on Google for any solution to the problem that sounded vaguely plausible. They had to concede to a fraught Maria that they’d never seen such a strange problem they were at that moment faced with.
After three more cigarettes, the specialists decided that they should call Uri Geller. It was his field after all.
Uri told them, in a tired tone, that it wasn’t even his front garden before hanging up on them with an embarrassed apology.
Another hour passed before the specialists decided they would have to chip Colin from the wall as delicately as they possibly could.
They contacted Tony Robinson M.B.E. to gather his archaeologist friends and, armed with fossil brushes and tiny trowels they made a documentary as they released the soon-to-be titled, world famous “Psychic Worrier”, Colin Worthington from his strange prison.
The British public do love a trier and embraced Colin to their bosoms and moobs.
You may think, after his degrading experience, The Psychic Worrier might have given the whole thing up as a bad job, wouldn’t you?
Not a baby boy’s chance in Herod’s illegal creche.
It only served to spur him onwards.
And do you know? He got better. Until any wall seemed fair game.
Colin spent the next five years travelling around the world demonstrating his spectacular ability.
With the money earned, he provided Maria with a new home and servants to shop for her.
The world appeared to be his slide and swing set.
That was until he presented a live demonstration of his skills, promising the world that he could run through every room of the 100th floor of the world-famous Empire State Building.
But, not being the greatest mathematician or, map-reader, misjudged the route and hung for a scary second or two over a busy Fifth Avenue: for the first and very last time.
Reports indicate his last words to have been, ‘Bugger! This is going to sting.’