Geriatric-Just another cliché..

We are not now or ever going to purchase a mobility scooter. You know they come in a side car version now so that you can ‘take along a grandkid’ Like I’d let my daughter ride out with my mother.

I am sitting at my computer. So my mother and Maureen Bitman knew each other. I am looking at  some of Maureens arts and crafts videos, some of her more popular ‘crochet’ series ones. She is currently crocheting a ‘crop top’ – who wears a crochet crop top-it has holes! I want to scream at the screen but in Maureen’s world you wear a crop top over something so the holes don’t matter.

I looked at search history-foolishly-something you should never do when you’re married. What has my husband been looking at? What delights of the internet have tempted him? It has not been a good day. I know I have been focussed on my mother and her increasingly international career, I know her public profile causes all of us problems. But this was a new low. A blow beyond what even I expected. He has been googling arts and crafts porn-which is not even a  thing-because for one thing the women are not even naked. He is just watching fully clothed women knit or embroider in some sort of weird throwback to a golden age of femininity. They’re dressed for gods sake-it is not porn when they are fully clothed. I want to shriek at the machine. What is happening. Why is the machine letting this happen. I can’t do that. I can’t shriek at a machine. I am calm. I am not calm.

I don’t even think I can face him. I don’t know what to say. This is the last straw. My daughter is absorbed in cute puppies on Nicebook where her saccharine sweet 7-8 year old friends talk about the latest trends in pony tails and never disagree on anything. They love how those cup cakes are iced regardless of the fact that most of them look like a seagull flew overhead and let one go on top of it.

They are all sweet and encouraging when Freya cuts her finger on the page of the book she is reading for the readathon for who knows what charity. ‘Oh goodness Freya, you will get over it, you will recover. Remember when Jana cut her finger, she wore a plaster for a day but then she was fine.’ And then some enormous discussion about the best plasters, how it should be put on, oh and lets not forget, best plasters are the ones with puppies on them, or kittens. Nicebook, OMG Nicebook –it shouldn’t even be a thing. Whatever happened to the golden age of cyberbullying. Everytime she signs off the machine says, ‘Now play nicely together and we’ll see you tomorrow but only if your Mummy and Daddy say yes.’ It actually says that to her at the end. I want to grab the whole device and scream at it. ‘No my daughter is a child and children can be bad and stop brainwashing her to be good, good, good all the time.’

Ok I admit it, the other day I did grab it and scream at it and now she thinks I’m delusional.

So to sum up, my husband is watching fully dressed women knit in his spare time (it is not porn if they are not naked), my daughter is being brainwashed by her stupid social network into permanent niceness and my mother remains at large, with a warrant out for her arrest, ok several warrants. Murder, theft, drug dealing, imitating a crochet judge – the usual stuff.   If I were going to do Christmas cards this year I can’t even begin to think what I would put in them. Maybe I could just go with-‘work is going well’ –which it is because I remain committed to my career, focussed on what needs to be achieved and calm despite the crises surrounding me.

Of course the only friends I have left are the ones in the police force- the ones who haul me in once a month to find out if I have seen my mother. I wonder if I shouldn’t reach out to Maureen Bitmans daughter. I resolve tomorrow to write her a Christmas card even though Christmas has just gone. I should at least thank her for the information that she gave to me. The file. The one I haven’t looked at, haven’t opened-the one about the woman, the first woman who imitated a crochet judge. I wonder why she gave it to me. What am I supposed to get from it.  I don’t even know where I put it.

I shut down the machine. There is nothing more I can learn from this stupid machine today. The truth is Christmas has been hard without my mother. I know I never went to see her at that stupid home and true I never called her, not even at Christmas time but I read all those updates the home sent and she seemed happy. It makes no sense that I would miss her so much this Christmas. I tell myself that it is not what I think it is, those other Christmases didn’t matter because it was my choice.

This Christmas is her choice. She could send a card, write an email, arrange to meet in a motorway services, disrupt transmission for the Christmas specials and send me a message. She did none of those things. Christmas passed us by without her thinking of me. It passed with the usual hoo-haa on the news, a round up of this year and all of them plastered with her face-here are the highlights of the year, most of them relate to a bunch of octogenarians who have changed the world. Do you know the sales of mobility scooters have skyrocketed. I don’t want to say it but I even found a brochure for one of those in my husbands briefcase. Which is another reason I am sitting here alone on a computer. We are not now or ever going to purchase a mobility scooter. You know they come in a side car version now so that you can ‘take along a grandkid’ Like I’d let my daughter ride out with my mother.

That file, I think it is in the car. I go downstairs, the house seems full. She is on the device in one room, he is on another device in another room. I get in the car, rummage around, there is the file.

I might as well. I pull out of the drive, head out to the main road, then, and there is no avoiding it because the place is full of mobility scooters and you can’t just bump them out of the way. I am on the motorway. I pull into the usual services. I am distraught, overwhelmed.

I take the file, go in, sit at my usual table. I think the till operator recognised me. I nod politely and pay for the coffee. I must look pitiful. I think I am still wearing my pyjamas but I try to pretend I have some dignity. This is going to be another of those movie clichés, I am the woman sitting in the motorway services reading a file given to her by the woman whose mother’s death the first womans mother covered up whilst impersonating her to escape from being captured after she had murdered four people (or was it five, maybe three-does it matter) in a nursing home before going on the run with her friends-or something-who can follow it anymore. I am the woman who has discovered her husband watches arts and craft porn-I want to stand up and scream –if they are not naked it is not porn. I cannot scream that out in a motorway services. I must not scream that out in a motorway services. The woman whose daughter is so nice that it induces her to vomit. I am the woman in pyjamas in a motorway services who is on the verge of a breakdown-how many movies has that been in!!!!!

Another – Another motorway services cliché

Its such a cliché, I am sitting in a motorway services, drinking coffee and trying to remember how my mother took over the internet, how she murdered, stole, lied, faked being an international crochet judge. I am the person in the movie staring into their coffee wondering why they never knitted for their daughter….read more

They said it was voluntary, which I took to mean, voluntary or else we will make you.

It’s the same two officers as before, only they look more tired. I note one is still wearing some kind of crochet number-seriously the police should think about banning crochet items.

She starts, ‘Maureen Bitman, did your mother ever mention her?’

‘No’ I say. I shuffle in my seat. I am sitting down but I am not going to take it that way.

I can ask questions too.

I go on the offensive. This is voluntary.

 ‘I think we talked about this before?’ They change tack.

‘In the 5 years in which you NEVER’ (and she emphasises that word-but frankly not visiting my mother is no longer a source of guilt for me-I think she realises it and starts again).

‘In the 5 years in which you never visited your mother, did she ever write to you, email you.’

I shake my head, ‘I got regular report cards from the nursing home like everyone else, nothing out of the ordinary, your Mum enjoys the Friday shows, she knits and sews.’ I know those are untrue now but at the time I thought she’d found a new hobby. I don’t say that. I am giving nothing away.

The one who’d been talking, nods at me.

The other one passes a leaflet across the table and waits to see my reaction. On it is a face I now recognise, Maureen Bitman. It’s a flyer for a tour she is doing for arts and craft, a motivational speaking tour to every nursing home in the south east. I have nothing to say so I go with, ‘So.’ It sounds confrontational. It’s not the tone I wanted. I was aiming for careless indifference.

‘Look at the venues.’ one of them says. I am too busy thinking about my own words to pick up on which one spoke.

Of course it went to my mothers nursing home about a month after she moved in.

‘Your mother and Maureen Bitman, we think they met.’ It’s the one in the crochet jacket again.

I nod but say nothing. I don’t want to say ‘So’ again.

She goes on,  ‘We think they knew each other well.’

I go on the offensive again. I really can’t help them here. ‘I wouldn’t know, I didn’t see her during that time.’ I am polite but firm, whatever the hell that means.

‘They didn’t like each other,’ the two of them look at each other as if they are playing out their own little drama with this interview, ‘well at first they did, but after about a year, your mother refers to her as ‘Bitters’, then ‘Bitso’, then finally just ‘Bit’.’ She spits out the last word and avoids eye contact with her partner. If I didn’t know better I’d say they’d moved slightly apart in that exchange. It makes me wonder even more if this is about my mother or them.  

None of that stuff about my mother really resonates, I wonder what they are trying to get at.

‘We’d like you to look through their email correspondence, see what you think? See if you can spot a reason why they fell out.’

‘I don’t want to.’

She says, ‘It’s voluntary of course’, only it sounds menacing, well as menacing as someone wearing a crochet jacket can be. I take it to mean I have to or else.

I start to read, this is my mother’s personal correspondence, not ever meant for me to see. They start by talking about grand children. Maureen has one tucked away somewhere as well. I keep reading, they move on to philosophy, then arts and crafts, where they heavily diverge. Maureen is convinced the future of the internet is an arts and crafts collective, my mother is convinced it should be for use by over 70’s only. My eyes prick with tears and this must be what they want. There is no mention of me. Nothing, it’s like I didn’t exist. Lots on my daughter, even my husband is mentioned, but not me, never me.

I collect myself. I focus. In my head, I’ve got this -no matter how perturbed I am,  ‘I guess they disagreed about the future of the internet.’ I sound casual. Unflustered. Focussed.

‘Guess they did?’ She sounds matter of fact. I am not sure if I am affirming what she said or if it’s a new idea. She tries a different tack as if I am withholding information.

‘Been on Wikipedia lately?’

Stupid question, why would I be on Wikipedia, ‘No,’ I say, shaking my head. I know what’s coming next. This is the bit where I should tip back my chair casually and give them a look of defiance, but I will likely tip my chair over so I settle for a sip of water. I drink defiantly though and set it down closer to me, not even bothered by the ring of water it’s left behind. I am in the groove now. I know why they’re asking about Wikipedia. I even know the theory behind it. The idea is that my mother was trying to get more elderly women on to Wikipedia whilst in her nursing home and they kept rejecting her and now she is taking vengeance on them. Is it true? How would I know? I don’t even care anymore. I look at them, meet their gaze. Seriously I can see the marks other glasses of water have made on this table. A proper police station would have coasters. I am in control now.

‘You know your mother has restricted it to entries for people over the age of 75, its more like an octogenarian dating site than a fount of all knowledge now.’

They mean Wikipedia. I nod. I know.

‘Plus’ she goes on ‘there’s the whole mobility scooter thing, what are they called, Muberscoot, that company moving in on mini cab territory. We think she’s behind that too.’

Then the other one chimes in-‘we think in her spare time in that nursing home she wrote some Wikipedia profiles and they were all rejected. Coincidental?’

I say nothing. Everyone thinks that. Its hardly a secret. Even I’ve heard it. Sounds like my mother, its probably true. They won’t get me this way. I am made of ice and steel. I hold their gaze. I want to say something like, get some coasters or crochet looks rubbish on a cop but I hold it in. I am ice today.

‘Your mother- she has a mean streak’ I want to roll my eyes at this one, the body count kind of indicates that. So tempted to say it but I don’t. I just stare.

‘Seems like if you make an enemy of her, you pay for it in the end.’ They look at each other for the first time. They think I am about to crack.

‘Our question to you is-who’s next?’ She leans across the table and looks at me. I can see the hook and eye on the crochet jacket really closely now. It’s a botch job, even I know that. Focus. These people seem to think I have some insight into my mothers activity. I don’t. I find her as mystifying as everyone else, I just don’t worship her the way they do.

‘Oh god as if I would know.’ It sounds tough, determined. Like my mother then I just –I don’t want to be my mother and I lose it for a second. I am flippant, its momentary, I shouldn’t have said it but I say. ‘Maybe you?’ I say out loud, stupidly, without any feeling behind it. It sounds desperate. I am not ice or steel. More like jelly.

They are on it straight away-‘is that a threat?’

‘No’ I backtrack, shake my head, ‘No’, now I sound really desperate, ‘I’ve no idea who my mother hates most of all.’  I sound pathetic and childish and I can hear my voice cracking. I keep thinking of some of those mothers at the school gates who my mother loathed and who should be shaking in their shoes right now.  

‘No’ I say emphatically, ‘Is that it?’ I ask, I think I might be shaking.

They nod. Clearly dissatisfied. I broke but not when they thought I would. A small victory. I get up and leave.

My daughter is home when I get there. I ask her how school was. Look she says and shows me the card she has made for mother’s day.

The card reads ‘Happy Grandma Day’.

‘But it’s mother day,’ I say.

‘No, nanna has changed it, its only for grandparents now, fathers day too.-just for grandpas.’

I look at her, stunned.

‘Its on the internet thing Mum,’

Then she says, ‘You’ve never knitted me anything.’ in a determined kind of way.

‘Nor has daddy and nor has grandma’ I say with too much sarcasm for a 7 year old.

‘Grandma doesn’t think you’re doing a very good job.’ She says that very determinedly.

I don’t feel I’m doing a very good job, I hold my tongue. Grandma on the other hand is doing a grand job on all of us.  

A device beeps in the background, she runs to it.

‘Whats that?’ I say.

‘Nicebook’ she says.

‘Nicebook?’

‘Gran made it, its social media for kids, there’s words you can’t use and its moderated by grandparents and everyone gets likes, everyone.’

I am suddenly more horrified. ‘Does it have a newsfeed?’

‘Only kittens and puppies’

Its like a wave just washes over me. She is completely insane. I don’t say it out loud but I am thinking it. She is utterly mental. Psychotic. Narcissistic. Every word I can think of-she is. Now I am shaking. SHE doesn’t think I am doing a very good job. What sort of role model is ‘she’

‘Mummy needs to go out, tell the bot to get you dinner.’ I grab the keys, my coat and run out the door.

I get in the car and drive at snails pace behind the mobility scooters. In the general milieu its impossible to change lanes without bumping a dozen mobility scooters into the hedge. I end up on the motorway and then at the motor way services.

I pull up and go in. I want coffee.

Its such a cliché, I am sitting in a motorway services, drinking coffee and trying to remember how my mother took over the internet, how she murdered, stole, lied, faked being an international crochet judge. I am the person in the movie staring into their coffee wondering why they never knitted for their daughter, having just made it through a police interview about their mother, the serial killer fraudster, fake crochet judge. I sit there and try and remember how Uma Therman played that role and  I can’t.  I just can’t.

Geriatric-another motorway services cliche

this is such a cliché-two women having coffee in a motorway services where the mother of one has covered up the death of the other’s mother and the one who’s mother is guilty is saying how much she loves her mother…read more

 

The woman sitting across from me is suited and booted. Neat, tidy and glossy. I wished I’d thought to wear something other than jeans. At the very least I should have worn jeans that fit. I have no jeans that fit. I am already making a bad impression and I haven’t even spoken yet. We are here because of my mother. I am not sure why but this crime, this impersonation of an international crochet judge always feels like the worst of her offences. I think it’s because no one has ever been charged with it before. Other people have done hacking, murder, theft, but this one just feels like-well it’s the one that sets her apart. It’s the one that garners the headlines. It’s the one that smacks of desperation, of dereliction, of total deviancy. And a whole raft of other ‘d’ words I can’t remember.

I didn’t even want to open her email when I saw it. She wants to see me. Her-the woman whose mother my mother impersonated after her mother was dead, Maureen Bitman’s daughter.

Here I am again, at another motorway services, trying to pretend I know what to do. Trying to think of what to say to this woman. I didn’t look her up on social media. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. I know she was all over the news when it happened. I know my mother was responsible. I know my mother hacked her social media, what could looking her up possibly tell me.

I should have looked her up, that would be respectful. Would it? I suppose I would at least have recognised her when she came towards me. I had a vision of what she should look like. She isn’t like that of course. In my head, she had long grey hair and a wrinkled face and she was wearing quilted trousers and a vague coloured undershirt with a crochet knit jacket over the top. She was the epitome of arts and crafts. My ill-fitting jeans look positively glamorous in comparison, they would put her at ease.

Her mother was the worlds no 1 crochet judge so I know just how she should look. Its just that she doesn’t look like that and I still look like this. I guess she has just inherited a multi million pound empire off the back of her mothers work so she is- corporate. Suited and booted. And I am all baggy jeans and a shirt even my mother wouldn’t wear. Although I am not sure what my mother is wearing these days. There are rumours of a calendar, I hope they aren’t true.

I have no doubt this woman is here to discuss how my mother somehow covered up her mother’s death. I don’t think my mother actually killed her mother, at least not directly. She might have got a machine to do it. But there’s no getting past that my mother posed as her mother after her mother had died.

I stare into my coffee. I can’t  meet this woman’s gaze. I think I’m blushing with shame at something I didn’t do. I think it makes my clothes even more unacceptable in comparison. I look like I haven’t taken it seriously.

She speaks first, ‘You’re not what I expected?’

Might as well start with an apology, ‘Sorry’.

I am mumbling. I am never what anyone ‘expected’. Everyone expects my mother, but younger. Everyone who meets me now is disappointed. I am not my mother. I am not the one committing crimes, I am the one trying to hold on to a world that my mother is ripping away from me.

She tries again, ‘You’re not at all like your mother.’

That gets my attention. Alarm bells go off in my head.

I look at her and the slow dawning hits me. The words stumble out of my mouth, ‘You’ve met my mother?’

She nods.

I close my eyes, ‘Recently?’

She looks at me, as if she can see everything I am thinking.

‘Yes.’ she says loudly and clearly.

I freeze. I am not here to apologise, because my mother has clearly probably –has she apologised?

It occurs to me then how little I know my mother. How I am just not ‘her’ in a way other daughters sometimes are. I haven’t become her as I got older. I am so insignificant in comparison. All the excitement in my life comes from being her daughter and not from being me.

I have nothing to say.

She keeps looking at me. A slow steady gaze as if she is seeing my unease and is trying to reassure me. I must be reading the signals wrong.

‘I love my mother.’ Its all I can think of to say.

It such a cliché, this whole thing- I want to scream out that sentence-this is such a cliché-two women having coffee in a motorway services where the mother of one has covered up the death of the other’s mother and the one who’s mother is guilty is saying how much she loves her mother. How many movies has that scene appeared in? I’ve seen it so many times on screen but its not like it is on the screen.

Fuck even the clichés in my life belong to my mother. Where is my resolve. I suck in my tummy and try to look thinner, more chic, as if my shirt isn’t light purple with flowers on the sleeves. I try and look like I might be my mother’s daughter.

The woman notices and gives a wry smile. ‘Late bloomers, your family.’

It’s a statement, not a question. I clench my hands, ‘Why did you want to see me?’

‘Why do you think?’ She passes a brown envelope across the table to me.

I look blankly at the envelope. Is it for me? Is it money? I am lost in the situation.

‘I don’t know.’ I blurt out. That at least is honest. She pushes the envelope even closer. It’s A4 size so probably not money.

‘My mother was a top international crochet judge’, she says coolly.

The only answer that comes to mind is to say, “well my mother is a top international criminal,” but I can’t say that aloud to this woman. I cringe inside and the only other words that form don’t come out right at all.

‘Tell me something I don’t know’ I say childishly.

And she does.

‘People loved her but she was cold and selfish and all she cared about was wool and needles. I could have died from cold in some of the clothes that woman dressed me in. Crochet garments are full of holes, full-of- holes! Do you know what its like to live in the north and be dressed by a mad woman who makes clothes full of holes. I didn’t much care for what your mother did but it didn’t bother me.’

She pauses and a moment of pain washes over the manicured smoothness of her face. It’s suddenly there and then gone as if she might have cared but only momentarily.

‘And then I met her- in person- your mother. Funny isn’t it. She’s lovely. Warm. Caring. Attentive. Everything you could want in a mother.’

My ears are literally bleeding at this point, I feel compelled to point out, ‘She has killed several people.’

The woman is soft, wistful now. ‘I know, but those things can be forgiven. ‘

What planet is she living on, although I grant you the internet does seem to have forgiven my mother or my mother controls it-hard to say which.

This woman though-is truly deranged. ‘Really.’ I say. Thinking I might dress badly but I do live in reality.

The envelope sits between us. I am feeling the pressure. Another someone my mother has won over with her doddery old grandma, don’t you love me act. Granted, it may not be an act but you know what I mean.

She smiles, ‘You are so lucky, Your mother loves you.’

At this point it all becomes too much. I confess I lose it.  The tension just gets me. This woman has seen my mother. Has not turned her in. I have seen my mother, not turned her in. None of it makes any sense.  I stand up. It’s as if I am not in my body. I see the middle aged saggy jeaned, lilac shirted woman standing there and she is shouting but it’s not me shouting, but it is me shouting. I can hear myself-  ‘Are you deranged? My mother is a serial killer, a thief, a hack, a faker of international crochet judge status.’

Now everyone in the motorway services is looking at me.

The unthinkable happens.

The woman across from us on the left stands up and says ‘ Are you, are you her daughter. OMG can I have a selfie.’

I freeze but the selfie is done and then it is just an endless stream of motorway services selfies, that social media category that has started a thousand careers. I am trapped and the suited and booted, neat and glossy woman slips away. The envelope sits on the table.

I am all over social media, my picture everywhere. There is no escape. The police will see it. I will need to explain.

I sit in the car 40 minutes and 4000 selfies later. I have the envelope in my hand. Inside pinned to a pile of papers is a note in the neatest hand writing I have ever seen.

‘They lied to you. Before your mother, there was another one. The one for whom the law was made. Don’t bother searching for her on-line, they don’t give women like that Wikipedia pages (although your mother might soon). Then crosses which are kisses and her name-Helena.’

Attached are a whole bunch of old documents. I read the note again-don’t bother searching for her-for who my mother, this other woman, Helena. I don’t get the context from the hand written note, why didn’t she email or text, context is so difficult without emoji’s.

Then I look at the documents. They are really old-20th century. The law, that law-faking international crochet judge-there was another, the first one-why is she telling me this. This woman has been dead for 100 years and there is no Wikipedia page-surely she must be nobody.

I am clutching the wheel. My head is reeling. My mother is not the first to fake being an international crochet judge.

I am not my mother’s daughter. These are the only words coming out of my mouth as I slip the car into gear and slink away in first. I want to do the whole journey home in first gear as if going slow on the motorway will ensure that no one notices me. The problem is that since my mother went rogue every mobility scooter in the country is on the motorway and everyone else has had to cope-by driving in first gear. I will just be one of many.

I want to yell and scream at her. She has ruined my life. Turned the world on its head and she doesn’t care.

Geriatric-A daughters unease

There is the slow clack of an old woman tapping her cane, walking across the floor of a motorway services in the dark. Its such a cliché-is it? Read more

I sense my daughters unease. We have travelled around the M25 and now we are at the services. She wants to know what we are doing here. We are sitting at a table. She is swinging her legs back and forth.

I am nervous, visibly nervous. My palms are sweating and I am watching the CCTV more than it is watching me.

I can’t keep eye contact with her.

She speaks first, ‘Are we here because of gran and the whole internet thing?’

I freeze. I didn’t think she knew.

I shake my head. She knows I am faking it. What was I supposed to do? This woman is my mother and she –she sent me a letter.  I know the woman who can hack almost anything, who shut mega social media channel for 2 hours last week because they gave some bad publicity to her and her friends, the 80 something year old woman who regularly threatens cyber-firms with total calamity –yes her! She sent me a letter, hand written,  telling me to be here at 2pm on Saturday. I guess she is one of the few people in the world left who knows how to do that. It’s also something the authorities aren’t likely to be looking out for.

Dear god, my mother!!!. No one was more surprised than me when the post man-who even knew they still existed, delivered it. And he was human, I guess that means he won’t remember it which could be useful. There will be no immediate audit trail of its delivery. By the time the delivery is reported if at all and probably via a form that is not on the web, it will be too late and this day will have been and gone.

I shouldn’t have come. I certainly shouldn’t have brought her. It’s a crazy idea. I should have gone straight to the authorities. I have no idea what I will tell them, except I do. She also sent me a brochure, a place we are visiting right after here-a new kind of care home-for your delinquent parents. That is what I will tell them I was doing. She sent me a cover story-I am out looking for a place to put her when they finally catch her. Its low tech, not much to hack, with human carers-who knows where they got those from?  And purely non electric pursuits, probably crochet for real -and baking -and stuff my mother can’t do and has no interest in. A lot of people are faced with delinquent elderly parents now and most people put the blame at the feet of my infamous mother. Which isn’t unreasonable -I certainly do.

She is all over the internet everyday, telling them to clean up their act or else. This from someone who murdered a few people, broke out of her retirement home and has been on the run ever since.  I recently saw an interview with the CEO of the biggest tech company in the world, they asked what was he most afraid of in the future. His words, not mine, ‘the internet being taken over by elderly women’-no that is actually what he said. Then the journalist asked, ‘Anyone specific’ and he said, OMG get this, he said, ‘Her, we all know who she is, all of us in silicon valley. But we never say her name. She’s watching, always watching. We’re all worried, we’re all scared.‘

They’re too scared to even say her name. She’s like some mythical creature from the deep coming to gobble them up. In their defence, it’s a while since I said her name. ‘Mum’ I say it out loud and my daughter looks across at me. ‘Gran’ she mouths. I am crestfallen. I really thought she didn’t know.

I can’t believe I am doing this. She isn’t going to come. The little girl sitting across from me-how can I even explain it. Its then I notice something. Her favourite rabbit, she has brought it with her and over its little purple dress is a little white crochet cardigan.

I freak out. I lean over and grab the bunny. ‘Where did you get that?’ I scream. The whole place turns to look at me. I shrink in my chair.

I whisper very forcefully to her as if that will somehow lessen the attention. ‘Where did you get that?’

She looks slightly worried, ‘I got it for my first birthday, you told me the story.’

‘Not the bunny, the cardigan its wearing,- its crocheted.’

She reddens and looks at the table. I look closely at the little white jacket on the bunny and see that crochet is an overstatement, it’s a bunch of wool barely strung together. I know this total lack of arts and crafts skill. I know the person who made this.

I sit frozen in my seat. At some point, somewhere, somehow!- my mother has seen my daughter and not told me.

I want to scream. I am so angry. Then the lights go out. Everything is suddenly much darker. No one seems to notice much, most of them are engrossed in their phones. The doors-the sliding doors are stuck on open. People are leaving but not in a hurry. The Costa woman is saying the electricity is gone and they can’t do coffee. There is the faint smell of uncooked burgers and then I hear it.

Clack. On the floor. Clack. Clack. The familiar sound of an old woman walking with a cane. Its coming from behind me, from out of the toilets. I smell her before I see her. Often the way it is with old people.

I see my daughter smile and I know my mother has put her fingers to her lips to silence her. She is right behind me now and I am frozen. My mother. Murderer. Hack. Reprobate. Escapee. Fugitive. Thief, so many words go through my head. The final ones are the most telling of all -Fake International Crochet Judge. Who does that?? I look across at the rabbits little white cardigan-my goodness how did she pull that last one off.

She puts something down on the table. Their eyes are still locked- hers and my daughters. A raspy voice says ‘Happy Birthday.’

Dear god its my daughters birthday on Tuesday. I forgot. I hope the Bot has something sorted.

‘Thanks gran’ my daughter says.

She is right beside the table and I turn to see her. To face her. To look her in the eyes.

She looks at me. I see love. I see compassion. I see pity. I sense the endless failure that I am. The plucky little princess that was never me, creeps up behind and whispered, ‘break a rule, just one’-but I never did.

She reaches out and puts my hair behind my ear. ‘Love you princess’ she says.

Then she turns slowly, very slowly, and –she isn’t gone. Of course she isn’t gone. She moves at a snails pace and still they can’t catch her.

There is the slow clack of an old woman tapping her cane, walking across the floor of a motorway services in the dark. Its such a cliché.

It seems to take forever for her to leave. My daughter is sitting there swinging her legs and smiling.

I want to run after her. Or at least walk really quickly. I could probably catch her at ordinary pace to be truthful. I want to stop her. To tell her I love her, to explain why I’m not her. Instead I just cry, uselessly. Sobbing loudly and spilling tears in my coffee.

I know she can’t hear me even though she is still within sight. She isn’t wearing her hearing aid. The doors finally swish shut behind her. She is gone. It seems like an eternity. It probably was. I can hear the distant hum of a mobility scooter-probably hers-as it heads for the motorway-another problem she seems to have single-handedly created.

I sit stuck to the chair. I am going to jail for this. I am going to jail for this. Its like my daughter can see inside my head.

My daughter smiles back at me. She whispers across the table. ‘Don’t worry Mum, gran will break you out and then we can go on the run too. ‘

Geriatric-Crochet contacts Part 2

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.

I nod.

‘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.

Geriatric-do you have contacts in crochet?

 

I can’t believe I am sitting here in a police station again. There are two of them this time. One does psychological profiling and the other wants to run through ‘the latest set of facts’.

She’s still all over the newspapers.

Number one asks, ‘What’s she like?’

Odd I think -because she is meant to be doing the psychological profiling, not me and secondly odd -because she sounds like a gushing school girl. They all admire my mother-all of them, some more, some less but still she is popular, like a rock star.

I can’t think how to answer.

‘She’s your average 83 year old who’s killed a few people.’ I can’t hide the sarcasm in my voice. I don’t know what to say to ‘what’s she like’, she’s my Mum, sweet, kind-outrageous.

She tries again, ‘She never showed any ‘tendencies’ when you were a child?’

‘No’ I say. Thinking tendencies to what?

‘Most killers start much earlier you know? Earlier than 83’

She says it as if that’s a fact that should startle me.

I can’t hide the sarcasm in my voice again. ‘No, no ‘tendencies’ when I was a child. She didn’t read murder mysteries, she wasn’t a loner, no deep ingrained childhood trauma for her or me, no parent to blame, she hated raw meat, couldn’t skin a fish, I can’t explain it, the homicidal tendency that seems to have occurred in old age.’

It sounds ridiculous.

‘ We don’t have much data on octogenarian killers, we think it’s more common than people think, people finishing off partners with medication either compassionately or vengefully. Your mothers really the first multiple.’

She says it like I should be proud and I think the other one is realising this is getting out of control. The whole gushing school girl thing is a little obvious. Number one sounds like she is talking about a supermodel not some 80 year old who hacked a machine and killed a few people in a nursing home.

Its then that number two starts- sombre, serious.

‘We caught one of them.’

My mother travels in a group of 4, her and 3 friends who escaped from a nursing home. It is generally accepted, actually universally accepted that my mother is the ringleader.

She is waiting for me to be shocked but it’s been in the news for weeks.

‘She needed a hip replacement, the one we caught, lots of pain, needed medication and we tracked her via that.’

 She is making that sound like a major IT achievement, when frankly most school children could do that in their lunch hour-although admittedly not using aging police IT.

‘Perhaps she’ll help you find my mother.’

Their faces both redden and then I know what is coming next. The bit that hasn’t been in the papers.

‘She escaped.’

My face reddens now.

‘A remote hack of the jail security system, carefully planned and timed. The usual thing, old lady-hobbled out, took a taxi this time-not ordered via an app, she used a pay phone. Didn’t think there were any or that anyone knew how to use them. She found one.’

At this point I am thinking there is no jail cell that will hold my mum or her friends and this will be my life forever. Stuck in a police station talking with her ‘fandom’.

‘Took her to the town centre, then another bus, then a taxi. We nearly lost track of her but she went to a fairground, a village fair-show whatever you want to call  it. Not much CCTV at an event like that? We have footage of her going into the baking tent and coming out with two accomplices, then all 3 go into the crochet tent. Your mother is not with them at this point, it’s just the other three and then they just disappear. We lose them. They never leave that crochet tent.’

‘Crochet tent?’ They are using arts and craft jargon now.

‘The tent where they have all the best crochet in the village and someone judges it.’

I have a faint childhood memory of a fair like that once, of the whiff of over-perfumed, overpriced pieces of lace that your grandma would like as a present. It was not the kind of thing my mother was into.

There is silence. They are both looking at me. I am looking at them. I wait for the killer question.

Number two delivers it, ‘Does your mother have any contacts in crochet?’

It is not what I expected

 ‘No’ I answer emphatically. They keep on it.

‘Can she knit? Sew?’ They are looking closely to see my reaction now. The tension is ratchetting up.

‘No she couldn’t even make a pom pom.’ I want to crawl under the table.

‘Could she sew on a button?’ The sentence is delivered with a hint of accusation.

I shake my head and try to sound confident, ‘No, no buttons.’

They look carefully to see if I’m lying. They note that comment carefully with an asterix in the notebook as if its crucial.

‘Maybe macramé?’ says number two

Number one interjects, ‘Is that the paper one?’

‘No’ I say and immediately wished I hadn’t. I tell myself to shut up now but I still go on, trying not to sound like I am the guilty one,  ‘it’s the one with the knotted wool and beads.’

‘So you’ve done macramé?’ immediately I can hear the suspicion in her voice, have I lied about the pom-pom? The buttons? How would I know what the word macramé means if my mother never did any.

‘At school, I learned at school.’ I say-‘without the help of my Mum.’

I feel trapped, like I have lied, these people, they can’t hope to catch my Mum this way.

‘Some sort of arts and crafts school was it?.’

I shake my head slowly. I take a breath. I ask for more water. This makes them even more suspicious. I ask for a break.

This feels like it will never end.

Geriatric bot-killers

I could barely believe it when I saw the headlines: ‘Geriatric Bot-killers!’ ‘Nursing Home Horror!’ And there was my Mum and her ‘friends’ on the front page. The four of them in their 80’s, looking old and innocent. Except they aren’t. Well ‘they’ might be but ‘she’ isn’t. She so definitely isn’t. I can see that, even from the photograph. Fierce, determined, yet slightly milky and faded 83 year old eyes, looking out at me. Defiant. Irreverent. I can’t believe she did it. Although I can believe she did it. She could never be trusted. I thought age or infirmity might straighten her out, instead it’s gotten worse.

 I remember when she was in her 60s and decided to take up smoking, and -god forbid as she got older the skirts got shorter, the clothes louder. I will never forget taking her to the doctors at 75 and she had a t-shirt that said ‘how’s about it babe? – IN SEQUINS- then she wore that one to our house for Christmas, ‘get your cherries here?’ Dear God, she was a mother, there was no cherry and hadn’t been for a long time. I hoped no one really got the reference, but that hope faded late in the afternoon when she loudly explained to my children what it meant. My husband was horrified. Still is, can’t talk about it without blushing.

I don’t know what happened. She was fine in her 40’s, really good in her 50’s, settled, focussed.  Then she hit 60 and its like the world just turned upside down. She stopped being vegan, I blame it on food additives. I still do. She took up zumba, bike riding- she wore lycra everywhere no matter how much was hanging out or sagging down. She went on one of those Saga Old people holidays and was asked to leave for raucous behaviour-raucous behaviour- and those holidays are pretty rowdy anyway. I will never forget the sound of the woman from the tour companies voice, ‘I’m calling about you mother’. My first thought was she’s dead, but no it turns out the tour bus was self driving and when they were meant to be driving to visit the palace in Versailles, she had hacked the system and taken them all to Amsterdam, where it had all gone horribly wrong.

She hired some sex-bots in Amsterdam. When I say hired, I can’t really confirm she paid, I think it was theft, but they let her off that charge. One of the others on the trip had a euro pharmacy card-you know the ones, you put them into the kiosk anywhere and they dispense your medication- and my Mum used it to get some drugs, which she duly distributed. Meanwhile everyone at the travel company thought the bus has been hijacked and the police were called. Finally they get caught up with them, somewhere in Germany. She denied it all but someone sensibly shopped her.  I had to go and get her and explain to the officers and the travel company. They were the first ones to suggest perhaps a nursing home was the best place for her.

I delayed- years, because she’s my mother. But in the end when she hit 80 and she was down the park harassing male joggers by screaming, ‘show us what you’ve got’ at them,  I gave up and decided it was the only place for her. I picked one with bots, because she can be a bit mouthy. And now this, all over the front page of the papers-‘Geriatric bot-killers’. It’s a very inventive headline, if not entirely accurate. She hasn’t been killing bots, it’s been people, so far as we know. She’s been hacking bots, nurse-bots, doc-bots, you name it bots.

Really it wasn’t like this once. I’ve read about it, seen it on screen. People growing old gracefully, not murdering people with random programming. Apparently its only two or three she’s done in. And it will be difficult to prove and my Mum is over 80 and, and, and. The police say they may not even press charges. I can see how that goes. She will pretend some kind of slight dementia, sob in her tissues, feign incontinence-the police hate pee on their floor. Who knows- maybe she is incontinent. I will never know. I can see her getting away with it. No one wants to believe ‘they’ are capable of it. They look so sweet and old and innocent on the front of the newspaper. I saw the children of one of the other women on TV saying how it wasn’t possible her mother was guilty. I can’t say that. Not with a straight face. Its entirely possible my mother did it. Planned it. Executed it. Laughed about it. I have declined to comment. Sensibly. My sole consolation is that no one reads newspapers and the story is low key on social media at the moment.

There is some government talk now of reducing the number of bots in nursing homes, of greater human oversight. How could this happen? The victim’s families, one of whom hasn’t even seen their relative for five  years- same as me, are asking that question over and over. It happens because these people grew up around computers, knew them from the ground up.  Because- old people and bots should not be left alone together and because my Mum has scrapped morality for coolness in her 80s. She sent me a message from prison, where again she is guarded by bots. It was touching –except, well – the thing is -you are not supposed to be able to send messages from prison. She’s hacked a machine again.

Surely I think, it can’t get any worse and then it does. Escaped-all 4 of them. On the run. Hacked into this, hacked into that and the prison gates opened and out they walked. It would be comical if it wasn’t so serious. The four of them just went to the nearest bus stop, used their senior passes and took a bus into town. When I say took a bus, they actually let this bus take them. When they got to town they ‘took’ another bus, self driving, which they promptly ‘took’ as in stole. Its all over the front pages. The police are watching my house in case they turn up. They have been described as a ‘danger to themselves and others’.

The self driving bus was found in the grounds of a stately home where they’d had tea and cakes-although I know my mum had coffee because she wouldn’t touch tea. They did the tour of the stately home apparently and police have confirmed nothing is missing. A small blessing,- they didn’t steal anything-everyone remembers them because they slowed the tour group up. Everyone on tour seemed to think they were four nice old ladies, nondescript. And that’s the problem- age makes you invisible when you’re a woman. No one could even describe what they were wearing. Once the tour was finished, the trail goes cold. They’ve not been seen or heard of since then. They are trying to track them via social media, but what my Mum doesn’t know about privacy settings could fit on a postage stamp-which I think was something that was quite small a long time ago.  They want me to do an appeal, traditional media and social media. I want to tell them its no use. She doesn’t listen. I think they have figured out she is the ring leader.

The policewoman said it’s a phase, some old people go through. Although then she said she hadn’t quite seen it this bad before. The press have latched onto the fact that I haven’t been to visit for five years-but really would you. I can see the contempt in her eyes. Telling me to live a bit, have I tried smoking yet. No I haven’t and I’m not going to. Eat some meat she’ll say. Five years seems like a long time but really we have nothing to say, I love her, she loves me but that is not a conversation. Anyway you know the press, they always blame the kids, if I just visited more, paid more attention, this would not have happened. I want to yell and scream, ‘she’s a grown up, she does what she wants-and that is so true, she does exactly what she wants.

Apparently the body count at the home might be four or five now. No one can be sure. I wonder where the hell 4 old ladies could be holding out. The police are trying to trace them via their various medications, the problem is that between the four of them, no machine of any kind is secure. You can bet my mother will be doing her best ‘I’m an old lady’ act-which in her defence is not an act. Plus she will have a lot of aliases, by the time you hit 80, you have a lot of dead friends.

I dread growing old, that day when you abandon the rules and throw caution to the wind. Let her be found and soon. I’ll keep you posted.

Geriatric carelessness

For the record I wasn’t the cool girl at school. I never ran with the popular crowd. I was clever. I was bullied. I had few friends, but time heals you and things change. I hate this place. I can’t breathe here. I don’t like it. I don’t like being this old. I didn’t mind so much before, 50, 60, even 70 wasn’t so bad but this elderly decrepit 80 stuff is not so good. Need to use a big font on my screen.  

I don’t like this place, I already said that didn’t I. No one cares though, I am over 80, people just expect it. Sometimes before I came here when I was talking to somebody, I’d see how many times I could repeat myself before they started to look at me oddly. Ha Ha. Anyway, I don’t like it. Not the way it smells or sounds. Piped music all the time, well some of the time. Old music for old people. Slow old music for slow old people. ‘Ain’t no Kanye here’-whoever the hell he is or was. I don’t get any visitors. Thank goodness, it saves the endless complaining. Lots of them get visitors, “isn’t it lovely here”- “don’t you love the wall paper”- for the record, nobody loves fuckin’ wallpaper –and being over 80 none of us can see the stupid pattern anyway.  It goes on, “how are you dear? come kiss grandma”. Fuck the bloody lot of it. I’m glad my daughter doesn’t come. I hope she has better things to do. I certainly do.

We have human staff once a week. That’s a good thing too. Anymore and this place would riot. None of us like the human staff that much. I much prefer these android, humanoid bot-things, more efficient I say. Less need to dispense with the small talk. The people that run this place are stupid. All of them-stupid. Most of us wouldn’t have another human being in the place if we didn’t have to.

There’s a group of us. Four women, all of us in our 80’s-don’t know how to break it to you honey but by the time you get to your eighties all the good ones are gone –literally-they’ve all popped their clogs. The only ones left are the ones with healthy lifestyles and believe me they are as dull as all hell-always showing off, wanting to talk about Ernie who died because he drank too much and smoked too much weed! I didn’t do that and look at me I’m alive. You might be alive but you’re boring as all hell- let me tell you I’d have banged Ernie in the back of the car bent over double before I so much as unbuttoned your shirt. Them and their vegan righteousness.

Anyway there’s four of us in our 80’s, haha, repetition again- not going to lie to you I am the ring leader. I don’t know what the idiots who run this place were thinking, stuffing it full of bots. I grew up with computers, and I mean literally. I remember when they first started to appear in the office. I literally have seem them evolve from then to now, from advanced typewriters to robots who can wipe my arse. And they think during that time I never mastered a bit of programming, a hack here, a trick there. Idiots I tell you.

Last week they were down here wondering why the morphine supplies are so low. What’s happening to it? Where’s it going? Well its like this, see, Maureen is level 4, that means she needs all kinds of assistance but more importantly she is in pain, and the prescribed morphine dose from the doc-bot is not enough and no matter how much pain she is in the doc-bot won’t prescribe any more. Same as human doctors I reckon, only you can’t hack a human doctor.

Two choices for Maureen’s probs, we hack the doc-bot-which we have done before. Not often anymore though. It went badly wrong. Harold died. Accidentally, because we hacked the doc-bot and he ended up with too many sleeping pills. Who knew. He was a bit gobby Harold and a bit leery. A dirty old man in a decrepit useless shell. He bugged Rosa once too often-going the grope at an inch a minute. He was troublesome, but harmlessly beyond being able to do anything. Sometimes he was even fun Harold – we’d stand just out of his reach and tease him by showing our knickers, I guess it was cruel. Anyway Harold got to Rosa and she wanted it sorted. So we sorted it, but a bit too much. He didn’t wake up and the doc-bot pronounced him dead, D.E.A.D which was bad for us. So we just reprogrammed the results in the doc-bot for a couple of weeks and Harold died –well a few weeks later-when the stench was so bad we couldn’t hold out anymore. He really stunk after a few weeks of decomposing. No one else seemed to notice much. It was a lot of complicated timing and hacking and numbers and stuff.  So yeh, we don’t hack the doc-bots much anymore.

We hack the nurse-bots, much easier. This was Maureen’s second option. Maureen, like I said, lots of pain. We’ve upped her dose a bit, keep her happy. Love Maureen when she’s happy, floats about the place with her shirt undone and feeling happy. Morphine baby, most people in their 80s are addicted to it. I could give it up though. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t, just float out of here on a happy cloud one day.

Technically if we are caught hacking a nurse-bot or any bot really, we will be kicked out. Like in boarding school but in reverse, we get kicked out and sent back to our children’s house and let me tell you my daughter would not be happy about that. We all hate that fucking piped music too, we get rid of that as soon as they are out the door. I am working on subtly changing the smell of the place too.

Just last week the 4 of us hacked the nurse bots and made them give us a tattoo, when in fact they should have been administering dementia medication. I don’t have dementia and it was rude and mean but we are like the smokers in the toilets at school. In fact that is what the tat said-smokin’. I thought one of the actual human nurses was going to notice it but they are thick, those ones, no idea at all. The bots are also meant to do some kind of data dump every night, we’ve hacked that before too. We can hack anything.

There are four of us, did I say that already, ha ha repetition, in our 80’s. We live in a nursing home that has robotic staff. We are elderly and frail and wouldn’t harm anybody, except – when you’re back is turned, we are in control, we are holding your mother, overdosing her on morphine, accidentally killing your father with sleeping tablets and we are now the cool girls hanging in the toilets at school and you- we are laughing at you.