This feels like it will never end.
So there was a break –it can’t have been more than 5 minutes. Then they come back, laughing, smiling at each other as they come in the door. They see me sitting there and their faces drop. I couldn’t be less popular. It’s like my mother is the rock star and I am the unfortunate progeny who missed out on all the cool stuff-there isn’t even an analogy for that.
It’s then that I notice that one of them now has a cardigan on-a crochet type cardigan. She looks at me pointedly, and slips it off to hang it on the back of the chair. I try not to notice. It could be that she was just out shopping and bought it, but perhaps they were out researching my mother and she got it. Is that a conflict of interest? Has she worn it for a reason? Hoping to get a response from me? Maybe I will react to it and remember my mothers long lost love of arts and crafts-except she never had that, spent most of her life hacking phones, buying apps, deconstructing them and building robots in the garage-at least I think that’s what she was doing in the garage, it certainly wasn’t knitting.
They slide a picture across the table at me. This is a new tactic. I look at it. A woman slightly younger than my mother maybe. I have to admit, that even to me all these elderly women look the same. I am not even sure I would recognise my mother in person, the pictures in the paper are grainy and old. I might recognise the clothes, she does have an eccentric dress style and now I guess there is the tat, I would recognise the tat.
‘Recognise this woman?’
I don’t. I shake my head.
‘Sure’ says number two.
‘Its Maureen Bitman.’ says number one
They look to see if I react to the name. I don’t. It’s just another picture of an old lady that I have never seen or heard of before.
‘Big in the world of crochet.’
They exchange glances as if they expect that to mean something to me. It doesn’t.
The first one continues. ‘ International world crochet judge 2012-2015, due to judge at the show where your mother and her friends disappeared off our radar.’
I still don’t react. The woman in the picture does not look familiar.
‘Except she didn’t. Died three weeks before it.’ Number two announces it, waiting for my reaction.
I admit it. My stomach flip flops, not more to add to the body count.
They see my discomfort, the restless movement of my feet, wiping my sweaty hands on my jeans. After an interminably long time they say and I can’t remember which one says it-, ‘died of natural causes’.
My relief is palpable.
‘In as much as anyone connected with your mother dies of natural causes,’ number one is quick to add.
I swallow hard at this comment.
Number two goes on in a sort of good cop, bad cop way. ‘Only two people at the funeral’
I try not to react, is that odd-I don’t know? It is, as it turns out.
‘Kind of odd for an internationally renowned crochet judge.’
‘Maybe she wasn’t very popular as a person?’ I say.
I see the look of incredulity cross their faces.
‘Maureen Bitman,’ number two is almost spitting the name at me, ‘THE Maureen Bitman, internationally renowned crochet judge, author of multiple books including, ‘Grief: how crochet got me through,’ Crochet and trauma-how to take your life back’’
‘Arts and crafts-is it really that popular? ’ I say half heartedly, defending myself, suddenly remembering that I might have read one of her books, ‘Crochet: How to win at business based on lessons from the world of arts and crafts’. Not a very catchy title. It was a gift from a friend. I plan to bury this fact deep inside and never repeat it and hope that they never search my house again.
‘Arts and crafts,’ they say simultaneously and I can see their incredulity is rising.
‘Second most popular search on the internet after pornography, probably over take it in 3 years time as the population ages. Two people at her funeral, the most well known crochet vlogger in the world, editor of Crochet Socialist International. Founder of THE Crochet Co-operative. Two people at her funeral, seems unlikely’ Number two’s voice is rising, getting louder as she says this. I wonder at her connection to this woman.
I’d forgotten the socialist connection completely as well. I’ve seen her on TV too promoting her latest book, ‘Crochet and organised crime, knitters in bed with nutters’ talking about how the industry had to clean itself up. There had been some speculation that Maureen was perhaps the worst of them all –some kind of crochet based drug overlord arts and crafts king-queen pin thing. God why was my mother involved with these people, impersonating these people.
We think your Mum hacked Maureen Bitman’s daughters account after her mother died and stopped the notice of death going out. Hacked the lot, facebook, twitter, gmail. We think she stopped her social media profile being updated so no one knew. She went to that show, posed as Maureen Bitman and then somehow all four of them escaped again.
I want to lay down at this point and just bang my head on the table. ‘Maureen Bitman-dead-her and her daughters social media hacked. I want to say this kind of planning is beyond my mother. But it’s not, as a working mother she spent her life multi tasking, planning, thinking ahead. This smells like her, sounds like her. Is probably her.
I wait to see what they have to say next.
‘Are you aware it’s a very serious offence to impersonate a crochet judge.’
It’s at this point I think they have totally lost the plot.
I suppress a smile This seems unlikely.
‘On the statute books since 1909. No one ever prosecuted for it, But your mother when we find her is going to be the first.’
Now I know they are unhinged. My mother has murdered –and I am trying to use that word sparingly and in a nice way-but lets face it –murdered 4 other people-possibly more and they are going to prosecute her for impersonation of a crochet judge.
‘Maureen was ‘connected’ you know.’ says number two
They are trying to scare me now.
‘We hold grave fears for your mothers safety.’
This fear is different to the fear I have for my mother, mostly I fear for her sanity but then I look at the two sitting across the table from me and worry that I am starting to think my mothers actions have a point.
‘You know what you’re mother has done?’
I am hoping at this point they don’t want a list.
‘She has ruined the funeral of one of the most respected arts and crafts moguls of our time.’
‘More that that, she has inspired some kind of octogenarian crime wave. There have been other incidents in nursing homes, break outs. Highly questionable deaths of elderly spouses at the hands of their surviving ones. Its not just the arts and crafts world, they are taking over the internet, our internet, the internet that belongs to young people. The whole of Facebook overrun with pictures of grandchildren, great grandchildren. Porn sites hacked and pixellated so grandma is not offended. Have you heard of tweeter, its like twitter but with punctuation-you twit on it but only with good grammar. And your mother she started it all.
We need to bring her in. Our resources are being stretched. We are desperate. You, you must know something. ‘ They are both shouting now. Raising their voices, trying to intimidate me.
I look at them. I should have known. This whole thing is really just about who controls the internet and they don’t fancy a world where its run by a bunch of octogenarian women.
I will not be cowed. I am my mother’s daughter-literally obviously but figuratively as well. I lean across the table. I spit the words out at them, ‘Go Mamma.’
I lean back and watch them squirm.