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.”




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.

“Looking after” the house.

8 March 2016.

Since coming out of hospital in September, Proton has been living in the shed. But it had to happen sooner or later, she would have to visit her house.

Strangeness and Quark had been asked on several occasions as to whether they were keeping on top of things and both assured her that they were keeping the place tidy.

Recently Strangeness had managed to get a free journey to visit Charm and their grandmother in the country. It takes a lot to get Strangeness to wake up and move and when he does he stays put wherever he stops. So after 2 weeks he is still asleep at his grandmothers, leaving Quark alone to his own devices.

Spring is in the air so Proton & Electron decide to move some of her winter bedding (all those cushions!) back to her house. Proton rings her house to warn Quark of her imminent appearance , the car is loaded up to the gunnels and the two of them set off.

gollum Q1On arrival they cannot turn the key in the front door. This means Quark has left his keys in the lock on the inside. Proton rings the doorbell and shouts through the letter box. No response. The phone inside is ringing incessantly. Electron begins to hammer hard on the door then looks through the window into the living room. The room is piled high with speakers and electrical equipment and then suddenly Quark appears at the window. He deigns to let them in.

The door opens and it is obvious that he is totally out of it, looks like he hasn’t eaten for days and has difficulty in forming coherent sentences. He looks like Gollum. In the centre of the hallway is a large ancient wooden cupboard unit blocking access to the rest of the house. For fucks sake Quark! shouts Electron, yeah for fargggs sayg repeats Quark sarcastically. At the top of the stairs is a wicker chair that doesn’t belong to the house teetering on the edge of the flight. Further investigation beyond the chair indicates that tiles have fallen off of the bathroom wall, these of course have been left where they fell …….. in the bath.

Cigarette/joint butts litter the floor throughout. The kitchen of course is piled high with dirty dishes and welded on food. The recently purchased brand new cooker looks about 20 years old. There is a plastic bag of what were once frozen chips on the table. Uncooked. Quark makes some space on a dining chair for Proton. She sits down and weeps inconsolably.

The phone still unanswered finally stops ringing.

Quark begins to apologise for the mess but says he cannot understand why it is so bad. He swears that it was fine when Proton spoke to him on the phone 2 hours earlier. Apparently this has all happened since then.

The phone begins to ring again,”Why won’t you answer the phone!” Proton shrieks. “Not now”, he replies and runs out of the house.

He returns 20minutes later and sits down next to Proton now on the garden bench outside the front of her house, leans back and almost overturns the two of them onto the concrete behind. “For fucks sake Quark! I have fractured vertebrae in my back I don’t want another one!”

Still incoherent, Quark is instructed that the house must be cleaned and tidied from top to bottom and that they will revisit in a few weeks time to inspect the place. If Quark were a tenant he would be in the process of being evicted.

Proton and Electron cannot wait to leave, as they do so, the phone begins to ring again.

Quark disappears back inside the rapidly degenerating house.


new start

1st January 2015

By 4.30pm Electron is concerned that he has heard nothing from Proton. Are they all still alive?

He calls, and Proton answers in a shaky, quiet voice.

“Everyone okay?”

“Yes, no further disruption. The boys are both still in bed.”

“Well get them up!”

“No, I just want some time on my own.”

“They should be made to get up and apologise, see you later.”

At 7.30pm Electron visits Proton. There is still no sign of the boys who are still in their rooms.

The plastic garden chair that Proton uses because of her bad back is smashed beyond repair. There is a metal bucket in the centre of the room: placed there to catch the water that leaks into the ceiling every time either of the boys has a shower. This does not happen with anyone else. Fortunately they rarely have showers. There is an upturned bicycle in the centre of the living room. The whole house feels lifeless. Not a home, more of a drop in centre for delinquents.

Electron has no desire to remain and tells Proton that he will be on his own in the shed this evening. Rightly or wrongly (probably wrongly) he believes Proton should be punished because of her kids.

Electron returns to his shed. He still believes that Strangeness should be made to get out of bed and should be apologetic for his behaviour. But if he thinks that he can just get up after his mother has gone to bed and start the New Year the same as he spent most of the preceding year, watching internet porn, he has got another think coming.

Electron opens his laptop and logs into Protons internet account. Child lock settings are changed to ON.

Strangeness will only be allowed to access sites suitable for the under-fives.

2nd January 2015.

Electron has to get up early for the dental appointment he has regarding his lost tooth.

Surprisingly, the dentist is able to save the tooth. He will not need to speak with a lisp for the rest of his life.

“There you go,” says the dentist, “you can smile at the girls again”.

“That’s what got me into trouble in the first place” jokes Electron.

HAPPY NEW YEAR……. Yeah Right.

knockinggreen0538The dead period between Christmas and New Year passes uneventfully in the shed. Apart from Electron breaking his front tooth off that is. No violence was involved. It looks bad though and Electron now speaks with a slight lisp.

There is still no sign of the boys. Several phone calls home are unanswered; perhaps they are still away in the country. Either that or they are permanently asleep.

Out of the blue on New Years Eve afternoon, Proton receives a call from Strangeness; he wants to come over to visit. On arrival he is quizzed about his and Quarks Christmas, but can remember very little of it. Turns out that the boys have been back in town for a few days now but for some reason did not hear the phone ringing.

The purpose of the visit is to borrow money in order to buy food for a celebratory evening meal for the 2 brothers. Money is handed over and Strangeness is despatched to track down some sirloin steaks and vegetables before the shops close.

Wishing him a Happy New Year for later in the day, Electron and Proton settle down for their own celebration.

The starters are consumed and the main course is about to be put in the oven when the doorbell rings.

It is 10.30 at night, too early for first footing.



The doorbell is quite insistent, Electrons heart sinks, here we go again.

On approaching the front door, to the backing of the still ringing bell they hear:



Electron opens the door to a very inebriated Quark, who flings a small knife onto the floor of the hall.

Your son’s a f****** killer.

Quark is ushered into the kitchen by his concerned mother; Electron can see blood stains on Quarks sweatshirt.

Quark is sat down on a dining chair while Proton tries to get him to remove his shirt to inspect the damage. Electron conceals the knife. Quark is babbling all the while but eventually the shirt is removed.

He has a superficial knife slash to his upper torso; his mouth and nose are bleeding but nothing to concern the emergency services.

Quark continues to babble and constantly falls off of his chair. He is upset and angry; he wants to return to kill his brother. While Proton tries to get to the bottom of things, Electron fetches a piece of timber studwork from the hallway for protection. He will sit holding this timber for the next 5 hours.

From what they can gather a fight between the brothers has ensued. Strangeness bought some rum on his shopping trip and shared this with Quark in the early evening. Strangeness and spirits do not mix well; spirits bring out his innate psychopath.

It is clear that Quark has had more than just rum, however.

“What have you taken?” asks Electron.


“Don’t give me that, you are always on something. What drugs have you taken?”


“Don’t be a f****** smartarse”, replies Electron raising the stud in his direction.

“Oxygen” he giggles as he slumps back into the sofa.

“You’d better watch your back Electron, he wants to kill you!”

How Oedipal.

Strangeness is called, he does not seem as out of it, but then he is a psychopath. He is unclear as to what caused this but admits sitting on Quark and headbutting him. “Not seriously though.” He is going to bed and has no intention of further hurting Quark.

And so it continues until midnight when Electron goes outside the house to watch the fireworks. He is later joined by Proton.

“What are we going to do with him? He is not staying here” says Electron.

“He can’t go home. He will kill Strangeness”.

“A night in the cells then”

“He’ll calm down eventually, I’ll take him home.”

“You can’t walk home, you have a bad leg”

“I’ll get a taxi”

On New Years Eve “good luck with that”.

They return inside to find Quark singing a delirious song;

“LSD, LSD plenty of acid for you and me….”

He continues babbling whilst various taxi firms are called. The earliest one can arrive is 3.15.

Only another 3 hours to go then.

By 3am Quark has come down enough to talk reasonably coherently and despite the imminent arrival of the taxi decides that he is walking off somewhere. His mother begs him not to go, but he is off.

Minutes later the doorbell rings, it is Quark again, “taxi is here” he says.

Electron, Quark and Proton are deposited back at her house. Quark immediately goes to his room. Strangeness is already asleep. Electron leaves Proton with her kids and returns to his shed, concerned that stray lit cigarettes may have been left behind. He will leave them all to it until daylight.

He has no desire to stay in a house where someone has vowed to kill him.