The Broom Closet


The phone rings.

Me: [chirpy] Oh Hi Lynne. Good to hear from you.

L: Oooops. Sorry, John. Didn’t mean to phone you. I pressed the wrong button.

Me: [shoulders slump] Don’t feel bad, Lynne. Most people who phone me don’t mean to.

L: Oh.

Me: It’s alright. I’ll have a little weep in the broom closet and get over it. Until the next time, that is. But just don’t ask me ….

L: [sounding worried]. What?


L: Well are you?

I hang up.






She had just come from the clinic from seeing the care nurse and seemed a little flustered.

Everything okay? he asked.

There was a medical student there. I said to the nurse I didn’t mind. He was neat, presentable, well spoken and was totally okay except for the fact he kept adjusting his crotch.

Perhaps he was just glad to see you.

That isn’t even remotely funny. Not these days.

Sorry, he said. I’ll be back in a minute.

Where are you going?

To the bathroom. To wash my mouth out with soap.

Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself


I go to borrow a book but the librarian takes me aside.

You take care, she says. I will, I promise. So when I get home

I remove all sharp objects, have a packet of anti-depressants

at my side and put on the Monty Python song’ Always Look

on the Bright Side of Things.’ I have beside me  a poem

‘Hope is the Helium’ though modesty forbids ……. and have

the Lifeline number at the ready. I flick through the grim

chapter headings and brace myself for an ordeal.

At least there are no photographs.


  • have you read any books lately that have disturbed you?
  • is it permissible to make jokes — black humor — about subjects like the above?
  • is there even a point — aside from morbid curiosity — in even reading such books?