Just like Christmas it is present time again.


In 3 days time Charm will be 40 so Proton is writing out her card and is about to put in the obligatory £10 note. She always gives her children money on their birthdays, £10 to Quark for a bag of smack even though his debts to her run in to the thousands, £10 to Strangeness for a bottle of rum or some dope. So why should Charm be any different? Well for one, she is the only child who gives presents, so why should she not receive a nice surprise for once? But this is difficult for Proton, it would involve thinking of others and selecting something appropriate. This she is unable to do, money is far easier.

“Why don’t you send her a present ?”, asks Electron.

“No, I’m sure she’d prefer money.”

“What for? Dope?”

“Not necessarily, she could use it towards anything.”

“But she won’t. Its her fortieth, why not get her a present? For the same price you could get her the second series of that programme she likes, on DVD.”

“Do you think she’d like it?”

“Well, she loved the first series.”

“But she will be expecting money”

“Only because that is what you give her every year, GET HER A PRESENT”.


Electron is dispatched to order the present online.

This process being new to Proton, she begins to suggest other items to order (as recommended by the vendor).

“No, just this will be fine, anything else will only detract from the item chosen especially for her.”

The present is purchased.

Later that evening Proton says;

“I’m pleased I got Charm that present”.


“But she would have liked the money.”

“What for? Dope?”

“Not necessarily, she could have put it towards anything.”

“But she wouldn’t.”

“Glad, I got the present.”


The definition of a vicious circle.


P.S. Charm phoned on the morning of her birthday. She loved the present!


Bad Choices


3 Jan 2017

A post Christmas poem:

For the first time in years the Christmas event proved uneventful.

Quark remained at his grandmothers with Charm.

Strangeness mostly slept through, and kept out of harm.

Even Proton, now teetotal, managed to not go mental.

First Monday of the year, late evening, Quark phones, he is back in town ostensibly to get his teeth sorted out. Electron brought back 5 cartons of cheap fags for grandmother and Quark intends to come over tomorrow and take these back to her.

On Tuesday he duly turns up.

“Did you get your teeth sorted out?” asks Electron.

“No, The dentist near Grans is taking on new patient’s so I will get it done there”

So the reason for his return is immediately proven to be a lie. The first of the day.

He sits at the kitchen table, head lolling, says he is tired as the heroin addict with whom he was staying had visitors last night. Quark could not get to sleep. Proton believes this. Electron aware that it was also Quarks free drug money hand out night does not believe this.

Electron does not think Quark can be trusted to deliver the cigarette cartons to his gran, and tries to whisper this to Proton whilst she is in the bedroom fetching them. But Proton will not play the game;

WHAT IS IT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” She says loudly, as if she wants Quark to know.

Proton eventually gets the point, but instead of making a decision herself she consults her mother;

“Do you want Quark to bring all of your fags back with him today? He is a bit tired, you know he tends to fall asleep on trains.” (cf “A Welcome Break)

Her 87 year old mother is supposed to be able to interpret this as , “Quark is totally out of it so say no and we will get Charm to collect them in 2 days time”. But of course she doesn’t do this she says;

“Yes please, all 5 cartons”.

For some reason Quark has turned up with bags full of heavy vegetables for his return journey and it is decided that 5 cartons is too much to carry so he will take only 2 (at a value of £200).With the railway station some 30 minutes away, Quark leaves 25 minutes before his planned train departure saying that he must first drop in to his heroin friends place en route.It is looking highly unlikely that the train will be caught, if indeed that was ever the plan.

Charm telephones 3 hours later saying that Quark has not turned up.

Electron talks to Charm and asks about the recent reports of Quarks sobriety. Yes, he has been helpful but has been sleeping a lot. No, no money has been forthcoming for his upkeep, in fact he owes money to both Charm and her Gran. Electrons talk, turns into a rant….

“It’s the standard behaviour all over again! Getting his money every Monday fortnight, drug binge time, run out of money, lay low and sleep, followed by a quick burst of activity before the money turns up again. He has just replaced his mums place for his grans. There is no way he should have been given those fags, they are worth a lot on the black market. Oh, and I hear from your mum that you accept that it is your fault that the house burnt down because you gave Quark the lamp.”

This is news to Charm. She claims that no such statement was ever made by her.

2 hours later, she calls again to inform them that Quark has called from a telephone box in the street adjacent to the shed to say that he missed all of the trains that evening and will attempt to travel again tomorrow. He claims that the 2 cartons of cigarettes are safe.

Only time will tell if this, for once, is the truth.


The Ungraspable Concept of Giving


It is 5 days before Christmas and Electron has been giving Proton ideas for things he would like. She has done nothing. He already has her presents.
Her response is that she was not brought up to give presents to people once they are grown up. Electron can understand this when talking about children, of course, but he points out that when you are with a partner, spending Christmas together perhaps it would be nice to receive a surprise for once.
Last year he bought his own presents and wrapped them for himself. This year it would be nice for Proton to get him a present without him knowing what it is.
“Well take me to the mall and I will get those dvd’s”she says.
“No. You do not understand. I do not want to know what I am getting, why do you not understand.I have given you ideas for several things I would like, Books, dvd’s, vaping equipment, a new violin bow. Baby boy is doing bugger all, you can get him to get one of the items and I will not know which it is. It’ll be a Surprise!”
“Well he is in town now” she replies, “I will phone him up and get him to stop at the DVD shop.”
“No! A surprise.”
Proton accuses Electron of having a tantrum about presents and thinks that this is all very childish.
“OK. Forget it, I will go into town now and take your presents back.” Says Electron being childish.
Baby boy phones up and Proton starts to ask him if he would be able to go to the DVD shop tomorrow!

Loopholes, Shmoopholes


A loss adjuster turns up to assess the damage.
He attempts to ask Proton a few questions, but as listening is not her strong point she begins to harangue him with demands for a nice apartment to move into and wants to know how much of her house will be replenished at their expense.

Suddenly, mid questioning, there is a load crash from upstairs. It sounds as if it came from Quarks room, both Electron and Charm leap to their feet and run to investigate. It must be obvious to the adjuster that they are fearful of something as they return to inform him and Proton that it was just a piece of timber wedging the window shut that had fallen to the floor.

After some 90 minutes the insurance man is nearing the end of his questions and no doubt his tether. He has noticed that the kitchen window is also secured by some makeshift pieces of timber. There is just one thing he does not quite understand;
“I’m still not sure who is actually living here?”

All the while, Proton has gone out of her way to avoid saying that Quark was resident, she kept implying that he was temporary and that Strangeness had his own Flat.
“ Quark has been living here for 2 years!” Electron clarifies as Proton glares at him.

Satisfied, the adjuster begins to inspect the living room. He is sure that he is dealing with a fire , this guy is good, but is unsure of the cause.
He returns to the kitchen and begins to discuss other claims he has dealt with. He concentrates on cases where actions have deliberately caused a fire and states how even if this is the case, the insured person is still entitled to HALF payment of their claim.
He then states that he will call in a forensic expert to ascertain what has happened and that her claim will be settled as soon as possible after that.
Just as he is leaving he turns to say;
“I expect Quark to attend when the forensic expert calls.”




22 April -the clearance of the house continues.

The house is securedburnt-house-2 against Quark, windows are boarded up, doors barricaded, there is no way that Quark will be getting back into this house. At 4pm the doorbell rings and Charm goes to open the door.
In walks Quark!

Despite saying that he had somewhere to stay he claims to have been walking the streets since leaving the house, but no pity is forthcoming. He is chaperoned around the house as he attempts to collect a few items only to find that those items have been dumped. This angers him but it is not as if he had not been warned.He leaves empty rucksacked.

23 – 25 April – Proton & Electron are in the shed with Charm. She can no longer sleep in the house as she has developed a smoke induced cough.
Throughout the weekend Charm contacts various acquaintances of Quark to see if they can put him up. Eventually Gluon steps up to the plate and agrees that she will put a roof over his head temporarily.
In the course of her quest Charm has discovered just how bad things have gotten with Quark:
He has ostracised all of those close to him, even hardened drug users and junkies find his misuse too much to handle. Added to which he seems to have crossed or ripped off some very dangerous people. His drug taking is seen as out of control. The general consensus seems to be that Quark needs to be sectioned for his own good.. But how?

Meson, awaking from his drug induced slumber in some New York shithole is informed of his sons behavior and even he believes this to be a good idea, but in the meantime states that he will start to extradite a passport for Quark. Thus enabling him to travel to the United States and thence to Mexico to visit a shaman where he can get to know more about hallucinogens. Great idea. NOT!


Meanwhile there are more pressing things to attend to; Insurance claims, temporary accommodation, building work…….



21 April 2016


BrrrNNNggg BBrrrNNggg BBrrnnnGGGG BrrrrNGGGGGG.

Urghhh …. 8 am, what the…….  Electron drags himself out of the bed to answer the phone.
It is Charm:

“There has been an incident”
“What’s happened, Whats happened?” shouts Proton hobbling from the bed.
“ We have had a fire!”
“Is everyone OK” asks Electron.
“ Yes we are all okay but you will need to get around here”
“ The lounge is destroyed”
“Wheres Quark?” Proton instructs Electron to ask.
“ Gone upstairs to his room”

Electron is hastily dispatched to the house.
The lounge is indeed destroyed.Electron cannot help but look at the ceiling, his ceiling only recently reinstated at great expense. The sofa is almost burnt in half, The wall and radiator behind are black and peeling. The TV set has begun to melt. The floorboards beneath the sofa are like remnant cinders from an open fire. The bay window is shattered. The Victorian door is smashed through where the firemen needed to gain access.

A smell of rancid smoke fills the house.

So what happened?
AntiQuark narrates the course of events:
Luckily I didn’t get much sleep. The bloody phone was ringing all night long, I finally got up at must have been 4 am and ripped the phone line out of the wall and returned to bed. I then smelt smoke about an hour later and got up to investigate. Then the alarms all went off. Quark was coming from the kitchen with the fire extinguisher but the idiot had shut the door behind him. It was deadlocked. I could see the orange glow within the room but Quark was of the opinion that there was no need to call the emergency services. Resisting the urge to batter him I pushed him out of the way and got my mobile out. Fortunately the fire brigade were very quick, they said another 5 minutes and the first floor would have gone up in flames.

Anyway we have got things to do, he is still leaving today.

They busy themselves clearing the house. AntiQuark makes eleven journeys to the local dump. Electron changes the lock on the front door.
All the while Quark is in his room upstairs, when last seen by Charm he was busy snorting 3 different coloured lines of chemicals off a piece of card.

And then he is gone. Left of his own accord….for now.

Charm, AntiQuark and Electron all stand in the hallway. Along with the smoke, there is something unspoken hanging in the air.

It’s all a bit coincidental, opines Electron.

Mmmmmm, the other two concur.

Burning Bridges


Arriving at work Electron is informed that a Mr Strangename has asked to be called back. He does not know Mr Strangename so ignores his request. He calls again and reluctantly Electron accepts the call. It is AntiQuark,  a close friend of Charm and Quark, who says they need to talk later to finalise THE PLAN.
They meet in the park and Electron is informed of behavior that had been thus far unbeknown to him:

  • Quark has been borrowing money from AntiQuark but never paid any back.
  • Various packages have been arriving at AntiQuark’s and other addresses around town. All for Quark although the names on the packages were never his name, sometimes anagrams of his name, sometimes not, sometimes male, sometimes female. AntiQuark believes that these packages contain legal highs or other chemicals .It seems that Quark has plans of manufacturing his own drugs. A notebook discovered in Proton’s lounge confirms this; website addresses and lists of various pharmaceuticals together with prices, £80 here, £250 there,  £950 on 1st April alone. April fool ? Where is he getting such sums of money?
    The notebook also contains a list of his books together with prices, presumably for sale but this does not correspond with his outlay.
    His free money handout amounts to less than £100 a week and they all know what he spends that on.
  • Quark has been taken to hospital on several occasions having been found unconscious in the street (park) he is then returned to Proton’s house. He treats Ambulances as Taxis.
  • He has been having many junkie “friends” around to the house.
  • He seems to be dealing. Hence the smiley face sign in his mothers lounge window, a known code to those in the know, that the drugs are available, the sign is taken down when they are not.
  • At least one person has overdosed in his mothers kitchen – the junkie was dragged outside and recovered – no ambulance was called, either for him or Quark.

All of this  happened when Strangeness was still sharing the house with Quark but he did not think to inform his mother lest it upset her. But in the end it all got too much even for him and that is why he fled to his grans.


It is agreed that THE PLAN must be carried out on 21 April, a few days hence,and that it would be best to keep this information from Proton. She is of the belief that Quark has until 1st July but they cannot wait that long. The house is going downhill fast and god knows what it will be like after another 2 months.

The days pass and Charm continues to tidy the house whilst Quark continues to take whatever he can get his hands on in the way of chemicals. She is now assisted by AntiQuark who has made it clear to Quark that anything he has not packed come 21st April will be taken to the dump. Quark does not seem bothered, remaining in his room consuming chemicals.

Eviction Eve arrives. Quarks rucksack is in the hall awaiting his departure. Charm and AntiQuark are in the large bedroom on the first floor ready for the final push on the morrow. Quark has locked himself in the lounge having been belligerent to everyone and no doubt feeling persecuted. He has made no attempt to tidy up or pack despite saying that he has arranged storage for his belongings (mostly broken electrical equipment or things discovered in skips during his night time raids. He has continued to do this in the past few weeks despite his imminent eviction). One more evening to go………

The Plan

Amazingly Charm has taken notice of Electron’s outburst and has begun setting a plan into action.
Quark has been given notice to quit.He is to get out of the house by the 1st July deadline set by Electron. Charm has promised to help him get his own accommodation if that is what he wants. But now it appears that Quarks plans have changed, he doesn’t want a flat, he wants to go and live in Mexico.
He no longer has a passport.

Charm leaves her grans house to come and stay in Proton’s house for the duration to help Quark tidy up and pack in readiness for his departure. Ever afraid of hard work, Strangeness remains behind.

After a few days away, Charm is angry to find that Strangeness has commandeered her bed in her grandmothers house.
“Yes “ says Proton “and you are using my bed in my house”.
“And you are in my bed” Electron points out to Proton.
Like a warped version of Goldilocks and the three bears, Quarks behavior has ousted each and everyone of them into different beds.
For the first time in months they all laugh.



4 April 2016

 The structure of “conversation “ with Proton is always the same. Someone will state an opinion  and she will respond, “Yeah but….” It is as if she can never agree with another persons point of view. She always has to take a contrary stance. You could say to her that the sky was blue and she would find a way to negate this. A number of years ago there was a notorious child killer all over the news, it was an open and shut case. Everyone thought that she was guilty. Yeah but, both Proton and her mother thought it could have been someone else… Maybe the butler…. Who did not exist.


Charm rings to say she is coming to visit and sort things out at Protons house. “When?” asks Proton.                                                         “I’m on my way, be there in about an hour”. Charm arrives, the problems with Quark are discussed. She knows. Unbeknown to them she has been dropping down occasionally for some time and has seen the state of the house.                                    She asks if the lights in the house have been fixed..

“What about the lights?” “They are all out and it isn’t the fuse this time, they have been out for about 6 weeks. Both Quark and Strangeness said that they had told you”                                          They hadn’t.

Electron is asked if he will go around to fix it. He reluctantly agrees to do so but insists that Quark leaves the house before he will enter as otherwise he will not be responsible for his actions.

Quark is called and eventually answers.He does not want to go out as he is cleaning but eventually agrees to do so. He is given 30 minutes to leave and Charm and Electron set off. They arrive, put the key in the door, it does not turn. He is still inside with the key in the   lock.Propped up in the centre of the living room window is a sign of a smiley face saying  “Sex in the street” FFS Charm batters on the door while Electron sits around the corner in the car…away from Quark. Eventually Charm is let in. Reluctantly Quark leaves, no doubt for the park. Electron sets about mending the electrics in the house. Quark had stated that it was definitely not the fuse.It was the fuse. A few lights come on but on closer inspection most of the other fittings have been relieved  of their bulbs and for some reason their lampshades. The store of light bulbs in the under  stair cupboard no longer contains light bulbs.

With nothing more to be done, Charm and Electron return to the shed.  On reporting to Proton, her main concern seems to be for the light bulbs.

“We must buy some and fit them. We can’t have Quark wandering around in the dark” “If he wants light he can buy some bulbs”says Electron.        “Yeah but……..” begins Proton.                                               “NO YEAH BUT!” screams Electron.

The flood gates open:

If he didn’t spend every penny on drugs he could afford to buy a light bulb, he is a junkie c***, he doesn’t give a sh** about anyone or anything, and you just let him get away with it all because he is vulnerable or sad or you are not feeling very well or lets not upset anyone or lets not confront anything, or or or or yeah but, yeah but there is always an excuse to maintain the status quo.

And then the bombshell….


If he is not out of your house by the 1st of July, you are going back to live in your house  whatever state it is in and I am washing my hands of your entire family!

dinner party vom

Both Proton and Charm are in stunned silence until Proton decides to break this with…..

“Yeah but……….!”


 22 March


What has been going on whilst Quark has been in the house entirely alone is open to speculation. Why the large wooden cupboard in the hall? Electron thinks it may be there as a blockade to the front door.  Why the incessant unanswered phone calls, drug debt demands?

But to Proton this is all perfectly understandable.  Apparently Quark stated the cupboard is for his new place when he moves out (hilarious).  Later he  said that it was  a project he was going to do up for Charm (who also does not have her own place).  Proton also believes that Quark did not answer the phone because he wanted to    answer it  in private (but why?). Who was calling so urgently?

Suspicious Electron, Gullible Proton, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

2 weeks pass by, both Proton and Electron have been felled by a vicious virus.  It gets so bad for Proton that she needs to collect her ventilator from her house.  Again she phones to warn Quark that she may be coming over.  She believes he sounds together.  After a few hours she phones again and is informed that the ventilator is nowhere  to be found.

“How do you know that? It is in my bedroom and that is padlocked closed.” “Ah”, replies Quark, “I had to break in on my birthday.”

(Quark regularly does this in order to steal from her stash of cigarettes,  £200 pounds worth last time before said stash was rescued to the shed.  She also has a rucksack full of painkillers that have been prescribed over the years.  Naively Proton believes these drugs hold no interest to Quark as they are past there use by date).

As ever Quark is ready with a reason for breaking in….                                                              “I had a friend around on my birthday and he brought a friend with him who swore  was okay.”                                                                                                 “And………?” prompts Proton.   “And it got a bit out of hand and his friend punched me in the face. I had not put all  the phones back in their chargers so when I wanted to use them they didn’t work.  So I had to use the one in your room.”

“Oh god, why did he hit you?” asks Proton already distracted, “At least you are okay.  So you cannot find my ventilator?”The interrogation now totally abandoned. “No its definitely not here.”                                                         “Okay, thanks Quark, love you, bye.” “Sounds to me that Quark definitely does not want you to see what’s going on   in your house, ” says Electron.



“No he is just being helpful”, she replies.