a lovely mix of Labourers, Trolls and the odd Rubber-Mummy: just the right types to make it worth my while…
Next morning, after a hearty breakfast of several pills and potions, I made my way to the Local Charity. They have this Wondrous Contraption: you feed your documents into a slot and it produces replicas! (photocopier)
They also possess several Magic Mirrors. (computer) You scribble: “Mirror, Mirror, tell me now. Am I worthy, tell me how?!” with the pointy nose of an attached Stuffed Rat, hover the head over the picture you desire and double-click on the left glass-eye! After choosing a small pot of gold (ESA), writing appeared: “You might be worthy! You might be not! Your request has been submitted! For further information please contact the Hall of Voices.” (DWP Call Centre).
Next I was guided into a soundproof room to contact the Hall of Voices through The Gramophone of Torture!(Telephone-enquiry to the DWP) An ordinary gramophone at first glance, it had a row of numbered buttons and a mouthpiece. After pushing in the numbers given by the mirror, an Unearthly Voice said: “You are through to the Hall of Voices! Your call is important to us! We are very busy… You could call back another time or stay online and the next available voice will speak to you!” It then played a tune named after a Famous Italian Delicacy, but only a part of it, followed by: “We are very busy, please hold and we’ll connect you to the next available voice!” Tune and announcement were repeated continually.
For the First Hour it was bearable. After the Second Hour I started pacing the room… After Three Hours I screamed and kicked the padded walls, hoping for it to end! Finally a voice answered!!! “I am ever so sorry but you came through to the wrong voice! Please start again and press the numbers given to you by the mirror in correct order!” AAAARRRGGGHHHH! So I started again…
Five Hours later I was finally connected to the right voice! I stated my request…only to be told it hadn’t been received… Screaming at the top of my voice I ran from the premises!
That’s when I noticed it was night already! As I urgently needed Financial Help to Pay my Lodgings (Housing Benefit) I followed the road to ‘Ye Olde One-Stop Shoppe’. There I joined the queue of supplicants. As I finally reached the Enquiry- Counter, the clock stroke Midnight: my lovely clerk turned into a Ghastly Hag! Snatching my papers with her talons she screeched: “Is this it? Is this all? Be gone and bring the remainder before next midnight! Or I’ll have your guts for garters!!!”
I fled and kept running through the streets in sheer terror!
When I finally stopped I felt parched. Following the sound of water I came to the Fountain of Truth, a mirror above it. The basin was inscribed: “AQUA VERITAE – DRINK IF YOU DARE!” Cupping my hands I drank greedily! A vapour rose from the basin and words formed: “Don’t despair! Regardless how many times they knock you down and drive you close to insanity, you will prevail!” How can you not? You have such wonderful friends and the help and guidance of your Fairy Godmother! Count yourself blessed! Many, many others have no-one…
Lighter at heart but also thinking how others can survive such ordeals without any support, I wandered “home”.
Once upon a time I fell in love with a dashing young(ish) prince. Having lost two suitors to the terrible Spectrecalled HIV, and certain this was the Man of my Dreams, I followed him to his castle on Fantasy Island (near Colchester).
In exchange, I had to relinquish my Hovel (Council Flat). Two years later Prince Charming dumped me, but swore he would still care!
I believed him…and sank deeper and deeper into the quagmire called Depression. With the help of a Psycho-Pharmacological Potion, provided by a White Witch (Psychiatrist) and the encouragement of my Fairy Godmother I escaped my shackles and clicked my heels three times!
In the Hamlet of the White Chapel, near the Tower I found refuge, provided by dear friends. After a good night’s sleep, I felt ready to face the world! A plan formed in my head:
a) sort out my finances and find a home
b) find work
c) have some fun!
Wondering how to achieve these goals best, I started with the Local Charity for Local People. Previously I’d sworn tonever ever set foot in their premises after they blatantly refused assistance: I had dared to move and therefore they were no longer receiving the King’s Shilling (funding) for me. Beggars can’t be Choosers… I knocked on their door. They granted me a Place in their Midst, but not straight away: Times are hard and Volunteers few!
However, they told me of the Wonderful Wizard of Housing holding Court in various places around the City, so I went to see him! But the Wizard must have had a busy night: he was constantly yawning his face off… I heard his mumbling and thought I could read his mind: “Stupid Queen, you f***ed yourself left, right and centre…”
At least he showed me one of his tricks: Litho- Phlebotomy – How to get Blood out of a Stone!
Slightly dismayed, but still full of hope, I came to the TOWER, surrounded by HAMLETS where a Fair Maiden(Housing Officer) took pity on me, listened to my woes and promised to plead my case to her Master! With no blood-ties (relatives) in the HAMLETS, she was not very hopeful … her Master refused help!
Seeing my distress she promised, should I desperately need a shelter, a nice Cell in the Dungeons (B&B) might be available… The Wizard’s Trick had partially worked…
Slightly exhausted, I rested when a Little Bird told me about the Inaugural Meeting of People similar to me: 50+ and Positive! I followed the Road further into the City until finding the house with a sign: Mad-Hatter’s Tea-Party, Special Guest The Queen of Hearts, COME IN! What a Jolly Lot they seemed – ‘til they started slapping each others’ shoulders declaring what a Wonderful Bunch They Are! 50+! Positive! Employed! How wonderful to make it to this Ripe Old Age!
That moment I had a Vision: They All Transformed into very Stale Baby-Cheeses…
Shaken, I fled! After a few blocks I stumbled across the entrance of The Labyrinth of Hell: D W P ! I followed the path called Job-Seeker’s Allowance. After a few twists and turns I encountered a Very Helpful Minion (Job-Coach) who showed me a Short-Cut and handed me a Carrier Pigeon for sending my ESA Claim! WOW!!!
Sod’s Law: my pigeon was shot down… At my Sanctum I took stock: I achieved F*** All!
But I swore myself to have some fun tonight! “After all, tomorrow is another day!”