"A pessimist is an optimist with experience."
JUST ANOTHER LIFE STORY...
a monologue by Chris Brookes
[A woman with short dark curly hair is on a roller coaster ride
at a fairground. It is the last ride of the night before closing
time. Two children are stood near by. The ride starts, and the
assistant shouts "Hold tight!"]
Too right I'll hold tight. I hope those bloody kids are behaving
themselves down there... mind you, what sort of kids would behave
themselves with no parents around? I was well behaved, but that's
probably because mother was so strict. She wasn't strict with our
Denise, oh no, she got away with murder. She was mummy's little
girl. There isn't that much difference between us, only a few
years. Everything I did wasn't good enough, but everything Denise
did was wonderful. Denise this, Denise that. It makes me boil
just thinking about it... I just wasn't appreciated whatsoever.
Then there was the time when she got hurt, and mother couldn't
do enough for her. It was pathetic really. Little miss was stood
balancing on the window ledge trying to open the top window,
which was somehow jammed. She pushed the window that hard that
when in jolted open, she jerked backwards and fell about 5
feet... on to me sat below her. Mother screams and comes running
in shouting "Denise! Denise! are you alright darling?" [The ride
dips, and she let's out a loud scream] What about me? I mean, I
was the one under 10 Ton Tess... and was I Okay? Well, apparently
this didn't matter to mother. She was only interested in Denise.
Denise this, Denise that... and do you know what really annoyed
me? My necklace. In her 'accident' she just seemed to be wearing
a necklace of mine, which coincidentally managed to get broken.
It wouldn't of mattered so much if she was wearing it with my
permission, but she wasn't. She had just 'borrowed' it from my
She's got a habit of taking things without permission... I
suppose it's a form of stealing really isn't it? She even stole
off mother once. One day, mother had gone round to see a
neighbour, and she had left me and Denise in the house on our
own. I was reading a magazine, and she was fumbling around the
house quietly. I said "What are you looking for?" She said "Errr,
oh, err nothing", and then she disappeared upstairs. I carried on
reading. A few minutes later, I noticed everywhere was quiet, and
so went to see exactly why. When I got upstairs, I checked both
of our bedrooms, but she wasn't to be found in any of them. There
was no toilet upstairs in the house - well, there wouldn't have
been in them days - so she had to be in mother's room. So, I
popped my head around the door... and got the shock of my life.
There, before my very eyes, was my own sister routing through
mother's emergency purse. We both gazed at each other,
expressionless, like we wanted to say something, but didn't know
what. [The ride reaches the top of a dip and stops] We both just
stood there, motionless. It was horrible. Then suddenly, she
dropped the purse and ran out. [The ride starts its decent down
the hill] She couldn't even run very fast... well not as fast as
my friend Linda... well, actually she wasn't my friend because
that was another thing she had stole from me.
[The ride reaches the bottom of the hill, and then shuttles
round a 180• curve. It then begins begins to drag up a long hill.
The woman, coming up to her 40th birthday, looked out of the side
of the carriage to check on the children. They stood patiently.]
Things didn't seem to get any better when we were both a little
older. I had starting courting with a lad called Paul. He was
nice, caring, and understanding. He was my first boy friend, even
though I was nearly eighteen. Denise, then being about 15 had
gone out with many boys, older and younger. I think she had even
'slept' with one... or was it two? Hmmm, two I think. Oh yes, I
remember, it was two. I could hardly forget because the first one
was in fact Paul... yes that's right, the Paul that I was dating.
Deplorable. When I found out, I was of course brokenhearted. And,
to make things worse, when Paul found out I knew, he dumped me.
Soon after he his real self began to come through. It's funny how
you think you know somebody. He used to upset me by saying Denise
had bigger breasts than I did... and other hurtful comments. None
of the comments were true though... he knew it, and so did I...
and besides, he never saw me naked anyway. He and Denise
eventually got back together... so I suppose that's another thing
she stole really isn't it?
Stealing. That's was Denise's speciality in them days. It really
does surprise's me how she didn't turn out to be a crook or
gangster and end up in irons with a gang of others. Typically,
she did of course hang around in a big mob of girls. The hard
crew of something. One time, and purely to spite her, I followed
her around for the day... playing the big sister looking after
the little sister routine. She naturally didn't like it, and so
for me it was a scream I can tell you. But as always... it back
When I met her friends, they made me do a task so that I could
join their group. I didn't really want to, but I went along with
it anyway. It was quite puerile really. The idea right, was for
me to go into the local shop, and steal a box of chocolates. So,
in I went (nervous as hell, you see, unlike Denise, I'm no thief)
and I slapped my penny down on the counter. "Pack of bubble gum"
I said. There was no bubble gum on the shelf, and so the man
behind the counter had to go into the back-room. It was just as I
expected. Quickly, I bent down and slid open the glass door in
front of the chocolates, grabbed a pound box of Milktray, and
slid the door back. Just as I did, I heard the shopkeeper coming
back. I stood up in a flash, and fortunately I was wearing a
dress; so I stuffed the chocolates up my dress and between my
legs. The shop keeper, unaware of this took the penny and put it
in his till, well... more of a little box actually. At that
point, I was surprised the look on my face didn't give me away,
because after all, the chocolates were cold. So, there we were,
both stood looking at each other. The man said "Errr... do you
want anything else, young lady?" I said "No thanks". We still
stood looking at each other. I smiled at him, Opps, no, I
shouldn't of done that, I think he was starting to get the wrong
idea. Panic time. I turned around, and in very short hops, I
hopped over to the door. The shop keeper must have thought I was
utterly barmy. I opened the door, and hopped through, closing it
behind me. I... had... DONE... it! None of them could believe it,
and they all stood speechless. Then in a great plan, brilliantly
executed, I made the fatal flaw. Grabbing the box of chocolates
from between my legs, I held them in the air, and waved them
round shouting "I've done it!" Well, I was rather tickled pink.
To my misfortune, the shop keeper was still watching me through
the glass window - I'm not surprised after my little performance
though. Well, naturally, Denise and her mob all ran off and left
me there to get the blame. I didn't even get to have the
[The ride is now speeding down a steep hill, everybody is
screaming. The two children, Philip and Georgina, are eating
candy floss. Philip is the woman on the ride's son, George is
Denise's little girl]
So a few years on, and I was to get myself a husband. My last
husband. Definitely my last, I can tell you. He was bloody
useless. He didn't look after Philip whatsoever. In fact, the
only thing he ever did as regards Philip was to play a part in
his conception... a very small part come to think of it. I knew
it would be like that though. Right from the minute I went into
labour, when a nurse had to spend 30 minutes phoning around for
him. In the end, it turned out that he was in bed under a
mountain of sheets, and he couldn't hear the telephone. So by the
time he had dragged himself out of his pit - had something to eat
first, naturally - and got himself down to the hospital ward, I'd
had the bloody baby already. He falls though that door, takes on
look at Philip and proceeds to come out with "Is that It? Nine
months of agony for that?" It's not even as though he was the one
giving birth, I mean he didn't feel any physical pain. I suppose
he could have been a bit mentally disturbed by the whole thing.
No. I don't think so actually. I wouldn't have said he had much
of a mind to be disturbed, because he was thoughtless.
There was one time when I was off-colour, and Philip was giving
me some trouble. Mike was fast asleep in bed and just would not
get up. I had a pain in my left leg, and I could hardly walk. At
the time, I was upstairs trying to drag Mike out of bed with one
hand, whilst holding Philip with the other. "Look..." I said. "Go
away..." he replied. I said "I need to go to the hospital, it's
my leg again." He would not reply to this. " Look I'm going to
the hospital whether you drive me or not, I'm going to go if I
have to bloody crawl there on my hands and knees" I said. The
bloody tyrant still didn't get out of bed. Sure enough though, I
started to go. There I sat, at the top of the stairs, edging
myself down them one by one. Philip just balanced on my knee.
Fifteen minutes later, I had reached the bottom of the stairs and
got my coat on. I was still sat on my bottom, I might add. Philip
was dressed suitably, so I opened the door and eased myself onto
the step outside. Just as I closed the door, down comes the
dictator cursing me badly. "Okay, I'll drive, you cow" I was not
impressed. But not being a person to cut my nose off to spite my
face, I went with time to the hospital.
We nearly ended up at the hospital quite a few times, come to
think of it. There was that time, a good few years ago now, where
Mike had gone out and left me with no money and no food at all.
Philip was whining because he was hungry, and I was getting
rather, well, tired of it all, to put it mildly. It didn't happen
every now and again mind you, it was every night. Well, I wasn't
going to be daft enough to let this continue. I knew where he
went to drink, and so I wasn't going to stand for it any more.
[She sits forward in the carriage] I picked up the phone, which
was about to be cut off, and dialled the Public House. "Can I
speak to Mike, please?" I said. Somebody replied "Mike, mmm...,
oh... yeah... Mike. No, I'm sorry, he isn't here." I did of
course know that he was there. "Oh, okay then, thanks." I said.
Now Mike didn't know this, but a friend of mine lived just across
the way from this pub. I phoned here, and sure enough, his
battered car was in the car-park. "Can I speak to Mike please?"
"Sorry, he isn't here" came the reply. "Well what is his car
doing outside then?" Silence. "Oh yeah, he's just walked in now."
A few short seconds later, a throaty voice came back. "Hello?" it
said. "Mike?" I enquired, calmly. I just wanted to make sure it
was the right person before I had a go at him. "Yes" he said.
Summing up all my courage, I spoke slowly "Get-your-arse-back-at-
[She relaxes as the ride becomes more manageable] I meant
business. The phone went dead. Sure enough, in around 5 minutes,
he was back at the house. God knows how, it's at least 15 miles
away where he drinks.
When Denise and I both reached adulthood, at long last, we began
to go our separate ways. Denise was marrying a man called Steve,
who was in the armed forces. I think going our separate ways is a
bit of an understatement really. Denise moved to Germany with her
man... if you ask me it wasn't far enough. I know that's a bit of
a bitchy attitude, but she didn't get in touch for a good
eighteen months. It was one Christmas you see... well, about 3
weeks before and this letter lands on the mat. It was explaining
what a good time she was having over there, and asking if I would
like to come and visit for Christmas. Ha! What a joke! How was I
supposed to get an eighteen month youngster over there, with all
his Christmas presents, and make sure the house was looked after
and find somebody to take care of the dog? I don't think she
realized how hard I was finding it to survive.
I went. It was after using a lot of my savings and organizing a
loan. She seemed happy enough. It was quite a shock to her when
she learned I had a child that was a year and a half old. It took
her nearly two days before she could remember his name. It's not
that difficult to remember is it? She seemed to have a habit of
calling him "it" as well.... do you know what I mean? Sort of
purposely avoiding calling him by his proper name. [She looks
over to see what the children are doing]
Well, for a few years, me and Denise lost contact. I was unable
to hold a job for to long because I had to keep having time off
when Philip was poorly. He was always ill with his chest. Every
time I got a call at work, I used to fear the worst. Fear, it's a
funny thing, isn't it? Fear when you're frightened, and fear when
you're worried. I wonder if Denise had any when she came back to
live with me after an argument with Steve? Cheek. There's nothing
quite like it. She just sauntered back to England and expected to
live with me. She had a lot of furniture. I don't know where she
got it all from. Ever since then she's been lumbering me with her
responsibilities [looks out of the side again]. Always coming
back to me when her relationships don't work out. She even had a
baby, though I look after it mostly now... well not even me,
Philip seems to like doing it. It's all just another life story
really, isn't it?
[Ride stops, and she gets out. Children side by side, they leave
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.