Quark the thief

7 August 2014

Electron returns from yet another tedious day at work. On the wall outside Protons house he can see a carton of orange juice, a blue shirt and a small canvas bag (which he later finds out is Quarks cycle tool kit). It is obvious before he enters the house that something is amiss. He enters the house; Proton is sitting by herself in the kitchen:

“He’s done it again” she says.

“What? Who?”

“Quark. He’s taken some of my tranquilisers again.”

Proton takes a very low dose of diazepam, only 2mg, hardly does anything but she has been on them for so long now that it has become just something that she does.

“That’s the third time!”

Indeed, as far as we know, this is the third time. The first time he was racked with remorse and wrote a “beautiful” apology letter, promising never to do it again. Then he did it again 2 weeks ago. Taking a box of 56 tablets – that’s 112 mg which we are sure would do something!

And now another 30mg or so, meaning Proton will now have to get an additional prescription, which could involve some explaining to her GP.

Proton seems to know instinctively when her supply has been raided, she checks and lo and behold some tablets are missing. Although as today unfolded, she probably was given some hints:

quark the thief

She was awoken at 9am by loud banging coming from Quarks room followed by a loud crash, all accompanied by throbbing drum ‘n bass music. Turns out that Quarks large houseplant had fallen out the window, Quark it appeared had also fallen over several times. But no damage to either plant or person. The plant being retrieved  from the flat roof some 1m below Quarks bedroom window.

Quark proceeded to be totally erratic for the entire morning, trying to make coffee for his mother, the first attempt being cold, the second full of coffee but no milk . Fortunate Charm arose from bed and stepped in to sort things out (Despite the venom she had drunkenly inflicted on Proton the night before).

Both Quark and Charm then left to “go to the park”, but only after Quark had had a shave (uh, oh)  which had the effect of leaving the bathroom looking as if it had been hit by a monsoon..

Strangeness remained in bed for the entire day, leaving Proton alone to cope by herself.

By phone, Quark later admitted that he was the culprit but would not be returning that day because of the bad atmosphere in the house, an atmosphere created by him. Charm reported that Quark has decided to stay at Titanias and that he has already had 2 showers in an effort to get his head together.

Proton begins to beat herself up over Quark feeling so bad about what he has done that he cannot come back to the house tonight.

“Stop it!” orders Electron. “Quark started the day with a shave, he has now had not 1 but 2 showers. He had no intention of coming back tonight. It’s the same old procedure, he is off on one of his drug binges. It would be best that he stays away for the duration. “

Curiously Quark appears to have rearranged the start of his drug week from the normal Tuesday to Thursday. For this week at least. This may have something to do with him looking to be put up in a homeless hostel and having to attend an interview(?) for such a position yesterday (Wednesday). This is a potential escapade for the future, but he has started the ball rolling at least.

It  is now 9pm, Charm is on her way back from wherever (she seems pretty unsure where she is herself). On the phone she sounds  stoned and has obviously had a  few drinks.

Strangeness is still in bed.

No doubt he will get up as soon as his sister is home to prepare some food for him, followed by some dope and wine. And when the daytime people have once again gone to bed. He can go (and come) on the internet.

Electron has retired to his shed.



2 August


Electron spends another day decorating.

Protons back appears to be slowly healing but she still has pain. All of the offspring are now in the house.

Quark (34) has spent all day racing up and down the stairs taking things from the utility room to his room. He had a tidy up a few days ago and now has space for more junk. A junkie in more senses of the word than one.

He is sniffing his nose a lot today so I guess he is on some sort of powder . Does one sniff speed? He is also trying to be helpful today. Taking everyones washing to the launderette being the main task.

Proton has already caught Quark trying to sneak his sheepskin rug in with the clothes and is about to add some towels to the collection as he rushes down the stairs and out of the door with 3 large bags.

“Quark! There’s just these to go now.


But he is gone.

Proton, armed with the towels, follows Quarks path to the launderette, but all items have now been deposited into the machines. As stated earlier, Quark is in a rush today.

Charm and Strangeness who have been shopping and sitting in the park together, pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend as is their wont, return just in time to see their mother slowly walking from the launderette. Proton is not happy.

“Why did he do that? I asked him to take the towels. Why is he such an idiot. What is he up to?”

Charm does her best to appease her mother (Charm is still being good), but Protons rant continues for several minutes.

To Electron who is in the other room, it sounds like someone talking about a 5 year old.

Calm is eventually restored, Charm makes a cup of tea and Strangeness disappears into the bathroom to prepare for his evening trip to (apparently) visit his 13 year old daughter and her mother in the country.

Eventually Strangeness leaves only to return minutes later as he has forgotten something.

Apart from oneself what could you possibly need to visit your daughter?

Ahhh, His new toy. A small glass bong. A toy for himself I must add, not for his daughter.

Don’t think there will be much childcare going on in the country this evening.

Proton, Electron and Charm spend the evening in the kitchen trying to watch a film on TV while Quark rushes back and forth from bedroom to utility room. In between making one of his interminable cups of tea.

Strangeness returns just before midnight to announce to his siblings that he has got some nice new hash.

With that all 3 decamp upstairs to the large front bedroom to get wasted together.


25 July

into the brown2The bathroom situation is mounting up. Proton cannot leave the room during her 3 hour morning session and with nowhere else to go her daughter has to resort to the use of a carrier bag!  Electron cannot even contemplate how this is even possible and doesn’t really want to think about it. But a solution has been found…..they have managed to source a portaloo on the internet. It was supposed to arrive today but as Quark was charged with the task of arranging things, the item in question has been sent to the wrong store. It will be delivered to the correct store and be picked up by Quark and Charm tomorrow.

Strangeness has buggered off again, Dickhead did not offer him a job, the library books remain in the hallway.

26 July

A very complicated contraption now also sits in the hallway. The new portaloo. It looks like a very clever piece of kit, self-flushing and everything. It’s going to be a bugger to clean out when the time comes though, what with all those pipes and valves.

29 July

After some thought and further internet research, it is the general consensus that the contraption is far too sophisticated for its own good. Special neutralizing products and cleaners would be required on a regular basis. With that in mind, Electron is dispatched to a local camping store to acquire something a little more basic.

He returns with what is basically a plastic bucket with a seat and lid attached. Everyone seems ecstatic about this. Charm cannot wait for tomorrow morning to come.

30 July – 1 August

The bucket has now been “christened”. Charm is initially pleased with how it works. Relieved that at least she does not need to resort to a carrier bag in the morning.

After a few days, however, the novelty is wearing thin. Especially when it comes to the slopping out. It doesn’t help that after the first time, she left the un-emptied vessel for 2 sessions. When the required slopping out came around it was not a pleasant experience. She was almost sick.

Next time she is going to borrow Quarks 2nd World War gas mask.



24 July

bonobo job

For once Strangeness does his duty to his mother. Making cups of coffee in the morning while she sits in the bathroom.

Charm with the aid of a speeded up Quark and his friend manage to move all of her belongings to her grandmother’s house without incident. She returns in a relieved mood that she finally has closure on her old flat and its associations with Neb#45.

Neb#45 is still working in the local shop and so has to be avoided by the whole family. Only Quark has the courage to enter the shop to fetch things for all the others. The few times that Charm has encountered Neb recently have either resulted in verbal abuse or in him self-harming in a harmless sort of way. Punching himself on the head or scraping his face along a wall, that sort of thing. All perfectly normal in the scheme of things.

Strangeness has some vastly overdue library books to attend to. He is facing a massive fine but reacts to this in the usual way. He does nothing. The fine continues to mount up. .

Then a bombshell. Strangeness gets a phone call from his long estranged father, Dickhead.

Dickhead wants to meet up, “sooner or later” and in a rare moment of momentum, Strangeness agrees to meet at a local bar that evening.

Of course, Proton has to enable her baby boy to make a good impression. She gives him money for a new T shirt and a haircut. He has spent all of his hand out money on hash and tissues.

Electron in an effort to build some bridges between himself and Strangeness offers a lift and in the car Strangeness even mentions that “Perhaps Dickhead would be able to arrange a job for him”.

Electron is staggered, Strangeness has never shown any inclination of even wanting a job.

But sarcastic to the end, Electron says “I don’t think there is much call for night shift workers in the second hand car business”.


23 July

For years Electron has tried to get through to Proton, but she insists on giving her children the benefit of the doubt. Quark has just turned up twatted as he is on his drug week – obvious to see – but she insists on asking him what he is doing tomorrow.

Electron has to go away on business and will be 30 miles away if anything happens. Charm is decamping with all of her belongings to live with her grandmother 45 miles away. Strangeness has once again “promised” that he will be around but we know how that usually works out.

Proton believes that if Quark is available he can look after her. But he is still on a drug week. During this time Quark cannot be trusted. He will say he is just nipping out for 10 minutes and will be gone for 14 hours. So best to rely on Strangeness.

But Proton will give him the benefit of the doubt and accept whatever Quark says even though it is generally bullshit. So potentially she will be on her own all day with no one to help or see her if she falls down the stairs or is unable to get out of bed.

But that’s okay; one of her kids gave their word!

So what is Electron to do? Attend to his job for which he has responsibility and ignore the situation. Unfortunately yes, or ultimately he will not have a job anymore. There is enough of that in this house already.

All Electron wants is to know that someone responsible will be there with her. With three “grown-ups” around surely this should not be too difficult to achieve?

If she is willing to trust the word of a junkie then she is mistress of her destiny. So it seems that Electron cares but that counts for nothing. But if she doesn’t care about herself why should He?

Perhaps Electron should just get on with his my life.

Electron is beginning to think this more and more.

Might as well get on with his own life before it’s too late. During this recent very stressful period, he has upset all of her offspring. It’s only a matter of time before one of them attacks him. Apart from Quark who is a pacifist. He would also probably forget what he was trying to do half way through starting out.

Strangeness turned up!


21 July


baby boy 2Electrons 3 day weekend is almost over. Being a Monday night, Quark has spruced himself up and left the house to collect his government hand out ready for the beginning of his week of drug abuse. Who knows when he will return. He has resumed his normal timetable with little regard for his mother.

Proton quizzed Charm on why Quark always had a shower and shave before his week of abuse. She thought perhaps it was a secret girlfriend, Electron thought perhaps he visited a prostitute. But Charm, who knows about these things said that it was because he knew that he would be so out of it for a while that he would not be in a fit state to attend to his grooming. That’s some sense of decorum I guess.

Charm is still being helpful and Strangeness has promised to return tonight in order to assist Charm in the morning while Electron is at work. But we have been here before of course.

At 11.30 there is still no sign of Strangeness. Proton insists that the outside light be put on to guide the way for him however. Electron, convinced that Strangeness will not be returning, says leave the light off, perhaps the B****** will fall and crack his head open. Not nice admittedly, but sometimes the anger at Strangeness’s selfishness cannot be suppressed.

This results in Proton having a panic attack. She cannot breathe. She is weeping. Eventually Charm and Proton manage to calm her down.

Electron apologises, but after 20 years the blinkers have finally fallen from his eyes.

This is what it has all been about for all this time. The protection of baby boy. This is why Proton wakes up stressed, why her blood pressure is high, why she cannot seem to relax. Why she has to spend so long sitting in the bathroom every morning (2 hours at a time for years, even when not on the painkillers)

She has to worry about what baby boy is up to and whether he is safe and well. Sooner or later the umbilical (or should that be imbecile) cord needs to be cut. It appears that this has not yet happened.

By 30 minutes after midnight, there is no sign of Strangeness and no phone call to explain. Charm decides to text him and receives a text in return

“. Hmmmm,” she says.

“What is it” asks Proton.

“You sure you want to know?”


“It’s Strangeness, he says he missed the bus”

Cue rant from Electron…….

“He’s done it again, why the F*** can’t he let us know, he knew this 2 hours ago all it takes is a simple call, but No, that would be too much effort. How many more times. Tell him that when he comes back he should go directly to his flat. You know, the place where he is supposed to live. He is no F****** use here.”

The anger drags on into the early hours. Charm will have to cope with her mother on her own in the morning.


18 – 21 July

Endless TeaThe end of another week. Electron returns to find that Strangeness has gone to the country yet again. After a whole day of being ensconced in the study, he left giving 5 minutes notice. This despite all 3 offspring discussing and agreeing a Rota for looking after their mother during which time Strangeness did not think to mention his imminent disappearance.

Over the weekend Electron busies himself redecorating the living room. The collapsed ceiling has been repaired, albeit by a cowboy builder who left the job half finished, took the cash and ran off without leaving a receipt. Electron has managed to complete his job for him and now the entire room is being repainted.

Proton spends most of her time in the bathroom of course. Charm is being unusually helpful, for once she has really stepped up to the plate.

Realising that his sister has now taken control of the situation, Quark has disappeared to his room to take whatever concoctions he has at his disposal, leaving only to make the occasional cup of tea. This process can take up to 4 hours as he forgets he has begun the task and constantly returns to his room in between the operations of;

Boiling the kettle

Getting a cup

Finding a tea bag

Pouring the water into the cup

Remembering to put the teabag into the cup

Fetching the milk

Remembering to put the milk into the cup

Realising that he has forgotten to remove the teabag

Looking for the sugar

And so on and so on, until he finally remembers that he has made a cup of tea.

At which point he emerges from his room to collect the tea.

As you can see. Tea making is a very complicated process.

Someone eventually retrieves the cup of tea a few days later, half-drunk it can reside anywhere in or even outside the house.


17 July

bonoboStrangeness has finally turned up. This is only apparent because the study door is closed, he has been back for an hour and is already doing his bonobo chimp impressions in front of the internet. Chimps are not very good at hiding their internet search history, so Electron knows exactly what he looks at. Not very edifying, the usual pornography along with sites promoting racial hatred and tips on martial arts.  Worrying. But Proton is happy that her baby boy is once again back in the house.

Why Strangeness has this hatred of foreigners cannot be explained. It is not as if he interacts with the outside world in any way. No one is “coming over here to take his job”; he has not got a job. So what is his problem? Neither Quark nor Strangeness seem to have racist views, although to be honest, Proton does seem to have a problem with Islam. Excusing her views by saying that it represents the oppression of women. In much the same way that the US &UK used the same excuse to justify their invasion of Afghanistan. But that is a whole other can of worms.

Talking of cans of worms, Charm is threatening to return to add to the dynamics of an already fraught situation.


11 – 17 July

wcThe days pass. Electron & Quark have got into the swing of things and acting as a team look after Proton. Fetching and carrying and doing their best to keep her as comfortable as possible. The painkillers that Proton has been prescribed have the unfortunate effect of “bunging her up”. This results in her spending the first 3 hours (!) of the day sitting in the bathroom. With only one bathroom in the house, this makes things difficult for the other occupants.

It is difficult to keep up the compassion sometimes. Both Quark & Proton need a break …. and a crap..  Electron needs to get back to work; He has taken time off for the first few mornings to look after Proton but does not want to use up all of his holiday allocation. Added to which, Quark has some important appointments he needs to attend, beginning at 9am.

Fortunately, Strangeness has promised to return from the country to assist his mother – about time, as he was the cause of all of this in the first place.

But….. The evening of Strangeness’s arrival comes and goes. Past midnight and there is still no sign of him, so Proton decides to call him. An addled Strangeness answers with the excuse that he had had so much to eat that he went into a food coma and missed the return bus. The food coma is also the reason for not contacting anyone to let them know that he was going to let them down.

“Food coma, if it was down to me he would be in another sort of coma” says Electron. Then again, Strangeness lives his life permanently in some sort of semi coma anyway.

It’s not just the self-centeredness that grates; it’s the fact that he cannot be bothered to inform anyone of his actions. If there is any sort of problem, he just ignores it hoping it will go away. At 38 years of age, he still has not noticed that this attitude merely makes things worse.

If Strangeness had let everyone know he would not be turning up, alternative arrangements could be made in advance. Now this has to be done at short notice. The result being that Electron has to take another day’s holiday.

Strangeness is not in Electrons good books.


10 July

backElectron returns from work to find Proton looking grim, sitting at the kitchen table with Strangeness.

“I think I’ve fractured another bone in my back”, she says.

Proton suffers from osteopenia which means her bones are not as dense as they should be.

“Oh no, ” says Electron,” you weren’t trying to open the window again were you.”

Proton has old heavy sash windows and this is how she has damaged herself on the previous three occasions.

“I was just reaching towards it when I felt it go” she replies.

“Why didn’t you ask Strangeness to open the window?”

“He was in bed”

Of course he was, at 4.30 in the afternoon on a beautiful sunny day, the darkness was still hours away.

In the first 12 hours the pain was not too bad, we were all hoping that it was merely a strain, but over the ensuing days it became clear that yes it was another fracture. We could tell by the agonizing screams that proton gave forth every time she tried to get up from her bed.

True to form the perpetrator of the accident, strangeness, decides to leave the very next day to visit his daughter in the country – leaving Electron and Quark to pick up the pieces.

Charm is once again staying with her grandmother, red riding hood style, hiding from Neb#45 who has turned into a stalker. Harassing her whenever she is back in town. She will open the door of her flat and there he is.