A List of Some of the Things Martin Knows

Fiction Sasha Saben Callaghan

1. EACH TIME YOU HAVE AN INJECTION
Each time. Each time you have an injection in your arm. Not most times. EACH TIME. Each time you have an injection in your arm YOU LOSE TWO BRAIN CELLS. When I said that to Mr. Massie he said martin, YOU ARE A CAUTION, YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND, WITH ALL YOUR IDEAS and then I went to get my dinner. Even after dinner it was STILL TRUE about the injections and STILL TRUE about the brain cells.

2. IF YOU BREAK THE RECORD PLAYER
If you break the record player you must pay for it. You have to pay for it OUT OF YOUR OWN MONEY. Mr. Lanning said I REALLY MEAN IT if the record player is broken again because SOMEONE HAS BEEN CARELESS, they must pay for it OUT OF THEIR OWN MONEY and I am NOT JOKING. Mr. Lanning is FIRM BUT FAIR and the record player gets broken. It gets broken QUITE A LOT BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS BEEN CARELESS.

3. IT IS A BAD IDEA TO SET FIRE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S COATS
It is a bad idea. It is a really bad idea to SET FIRE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S COATS. If SOMEONE finds a match on the floor by the workshops and they put it in shiny silver paper from a special Friday sweetie and then they go over to Lavender Ward corridor and then they put it in a coat and then the coat gets hot inside so that flames come out and then THE FIREMAN AND THE POLICE ARE CALLED then that is a VERY BAD IDEA. It is a very bad idea AND THERE IS NO POINT IN DENYING IT.

4. THAT IS WHERE I USED TO LIVE
I used to live in WillesdenHarlesden. Then I was knocked down by a bus and it hit my head and then the bus ran over my head and then I lived here. Mr. Massie says NO MORE OF YOUR ROMANCING, MARTIN. YOU HAVE ALWAYS LIVED HERE. THERE IS NO PLACE CALLED WILLESDENHARLESDEN. It will only UPSET YOU by MAKING UP THESE STORIES. But I have NOT ALWAYS LIVED HERE I said to Mr. Brindle who HELPS OUT in the workshop. Is there a place called WillesdenHarlesden and he said oh YES MARTIN THERE IS BUT IT IS A REALLY LONG WAY FROM HERE. IT IS A VERY LONG WAY FROM HIGHFIELDS WHERE YOU LIVE NOW. So that shows I am NOT ROMANCING and WILLESDENHARLESDEN is WHERE I USED TO LIVE.

5. THIS HAPPENED ON WEDNESDAY
On sundaymondaytuesdaywednesday WEDNESDAY early, Mr. Lanning said Martin, will you go to Lilac Ward. Will you go with Patrick? Will you go to Lilac Ward and HELP JACKIE because a SPECIAL VISITOR is coming today and we want everything looking all SPICK-and-SPAN so please can you and Patrick HELP JACKIE tidy up?

6. JUST IGNORE PATRICK
It is STUPID for Mr. Lanning to ask Patrick. It is NOT A GOOD IDEA. It is a stupid idea. Patrick always GOES OFF, he goes OFF ON ONE. Patrick is always PLAYING HAMLET. Jackie says Patrick is a right MARDYBUM. Patrick NEEDS A GOOD SLAP. I said to Patrick I bet you will wander off and Patrick said oh JUST SHUT UP MARTIN you CREEP you GRASS you BIGMOUTH, you are a RIGHTSTUPIDPRICK. I said to Jackie I said Patrick always says SHUT UP MARTIN, you are a RIGHT PRICK and Jackie said oh TAKE NO NOTICE of Patrick, JUST IGNORE PATRICK.

7. SPARKLING IS THE RIGHT IDEA
Jackie said rightio, boys, we need to get on because this place IS A TIP and time is VERY TIGHT. We need to get on and make it something like and I said we want it all SPICK-and-SPAN and Jackie said yes that is the RIGHT IDEA, Martin. We want it SPARKLING. Jackie said first we must move the wardrobe then Patrick said FUCK THAT and then Patrick said he WASN'T a FUCKING SLAVE and he went off. Jackie said oh well just let Patrick go, let him PLAY HAMLET then, he is always being a MARDYBUM, we can manage WITHOUT Patrick any day of the week, can't we Martin?

8. HEALTH AND SAFETY
Jackie said you take one end and you pull the wardrobe and I will take the other end and I will push it. We will do this a BIT AT A TIME. The wardrobe was A RIGHT HEAVY BASTARD Jackie said and it must be AGAINST HEALTH AND SAFETY to move it but in the end we moved it into Lilac Ward corridor and Jackie said AT BLOODY LAST, lucky I haven't DONE ME BLOODY BACK IN, now we can get started on the cleaning up.

9. THERE WAS DUST
Behind the wardrobe there was DUST, there were things on the floor, there were things that looked like a RIGHT TIP. Jackie said let's put all this rubbish in a black bag, Martin, then it will start looking SOMETHING LIKE. I said we will make it look SPICK-and-SPAN and Jackie said YOU ARE A LITTLE STAR, Martin. Not like Patrick who is always going OFF ON ONE.

10. THIS IS WHAT WAS BEHIND THE WARDROBE
When I looked at the wall behind the wardrobe there was writing. There was writing on the wall and it was like this. It was really tiny writing. I said to Jackie what does that very tiny writing say and Jackie said oh I can't read that without my glasses and I said here are your glasses so YOU CAN READ IT NOW. Jackie said the writing said my mum put me in here.

11. SOME THINGS ARE MADE UP
I said my mum DIDN’T PUT ME IN HERE and Jackie said no, not your mum, Martin. Someone else wrote it about their mum. It’s a PIECE OF NONSENSE. People here say ALL SORTS and most of it is JUST MADE UP.

12. SOME THINGS ARE A MYSTERY
I said the writing is like blood but Jackie said oh now don’t you fret about it, Martin. It is just from a red pen or maybe from red paint. Jackie said the tiny writing was a PROPER MYSTERY and it must have been there for a VERY LONG TIME and GOODNESS KNOWS how it got there and who wrote it perhaps they WERE A BLOODY MIDGET as it was very small and very near the floor.

13. ASKING QUESTIONS IS JUST SHOWING OFF
Asking questions. Asking questions can LEAD TO TROUBLE. Asking questions can be a very bad idea. It does not always make someone POPULAR. Asking a special visitor questions is really SOMEONE JUST SHOWING OFF.

14. WHAT PATRICK ALWAYS SAYS
Mr. Massie said here is Martin, he is a real CHARACTER, Martin knows all there is to know about Highfields, you can ask Martin anything about Highfields. The special visitor said hello Martin, I hear you know everything about Highfields and I said not everything but I do know some things, like I know Patrick HAS GONE and Mr. Massie said oh Martin, you are a JOKER, Patrick is probably just away for a little while, wasn’t Patrick helping Mr. Brindle or Jackie, Patrick HAS NOT GONE anywhere and the special visitor said who is Patrick, is he your friend, Martin, and I said NO, Patrick is NOT MY FRIEND, Patrick is a MARDYBUM, Patrick ALWAYS says Martin you are A RIGHT PRICK.

15. GETTING OVEREXCITED DOES NOT HELP ANYONE
Mr. Lanning said I don’t think Patrick really did say that, did he Martin but Mr. Lanning and Jackie KNOW Patrick DOES SAY THAT. The special visitor said where is Patrick NOW and Mr. Massie said if he is not helping Jackie then perhaps he is in Laurel Ward and I said NO Patrick IS NOT in Laurel Ward and Patrick is NOT in any of the locked wards and Mr. Massie said you are getting OVEREXCITED, you must CALM DOWN NOW MARTIN just calm down or you will have to go indoors and you will miss your Wednesday treat.

16. THERE IS SUCH A PLACE AS WILLESDENHARLESDEN
The special visitor said is there something you want to tell me, Martin, and I said YES THERE IS SOMETHING I WANT TO TELL YOU and it is that I was knocked down by a bus and a bus ran over my head and the special visitor said oh THAT IS A SHAME but how do you like living at Highfields, is it a NICE PLACE to live, is everyone kind to you and I said is there such a place as WILLESDENHARLESDEN, is there such a place, is there such a PLACE as WILLESDENHARLESDEN? Mr. Lanning said to the special visitor oh dear, Martin has a real BEE IN HIS BONNET about this I AM AFRAID and Mr. Lanning said Martin you must go back to Lavender Ward with Mr. Massie right now and CALM DOWN or you will miss your Wednesday treat and there will be NO TURN with the record player tonight.

17. WHEN THE RECORD PLAYER GOES CLICK CLICK CLICK
The special visitor said oh do we have a musician here, do you like music, Martin, NOW what kind of music do you like and I said I liked music BEFORE the bus hit my head but NOW I just REALLY LIKE the RECORD PLAYER and the way it click click clicks when the record turns over and the way it click click clicks when the record starts and that is what I like best and it was like that in WILLESDENHARLESDEN and there was a record player at WILLESDENHARLESDEN and that record player was better than the one at Highfields.

18. THIS IS WHAT COULD CAUSE TROUBLE
If someone if someone IF SOMEONE had borrowed a really little thing, then that would be a very bad idea because it COULD CAUSE TROUBLE and people COULD LOSE THEIR BLOODY JOBS OVER THIS if someone did take the little thing. The really little thing. The sharp little thing that wasn't in the special cupboard and it wasn't PUT AWAY PROPERLY. Then SOMEONE might have put it in their pocket which would be a very bad idea and SOMEONE might have taken it outdoors which would be a REALLY BAD IDEA.

19. THE LITTLE THING IS OUT OF HARM’S WAY
Then SOMEONE might have taken it to the trees the trees THE TREES that are near the wall away from the road so they could look at the really little thing, to see properly how the little thing works, they might have TRIED OUT the little thing to see how it works. They might have tried out the SHARP little thing just for a minute on a LITTLE piece of rope just to see how it works. Then they might have put the really little thing in the ground so it was OUT OF HARM'S WAY.

20. IT WAS TIME TO GO IN
Then SOMEONE could have said to Patrick come here, come over here and look at this rope, Patrick just look at this rope you can swing on this rope, Patrick, you can say you are flying LET ME SHOW YOU Patrick. Then Patrick could say NO YOU LET ME GO FIRST YOU FUCKING LITTLE RETARD. Then Patrick could PUSH IN and Patrick could swing on the rope. Patrick could swing higher and higher just LIKE FLYING and SOMEONE could say go higher Patrick go higher until the rope made a click click click noise like the record player and it was time to go in.

21. YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG
Then it was getting dark and Mr. Lanning said please can you come to the office, Martin, do not look so worried you have DONE NOTHING WRONG and I said where is the special visitor and Mr. Lanning said the special visitor has GONE HOME and I said GONE HOME for their tea and Mr. Massie said yes I expect so. Then Mr. Lanning said now this is getting quite SERIOUS Martin, what did you mean when you told the special visitor that Patrick WAS GONE, do you know where Patrick is because we CANNOT FIND PATRICK anywhere and I said NO I DO NOT KNOW where Patrick is NOW but Jackie might know where Patrick is, JACKIE MIGHT KNOW.

22. PATRICK IS NOT A STAR
Then Mr. Lanning phoned Jackie and said Jackie can you please come here to the office right now and then Mr. Lanning said to Jackie Jackie did Patrick come over to Lilac Ward this morning with Martin to help you clean up and MOVE THE WARDROBE and Jackie said NO Patrick DID NOT come to Lilac Ward with Martin, Patrick DID NOT help, Patrick was probably being a MARDYBUM as usual, only Martin was there to help, MARTIN IS A LITTLE STAR.

23. IT IS IMPORTANT TO THINK VERY CAREFULLY
Then Mr. Lanning said THINK VERY CAREFULLY MARTIN, this is IMPORTANT and Mr. Massie said this is VERY IMPORTANT Martin can you REMEMBER about Patrick. When did you last SEE Patrick, what was Patrick doing when you LAST SAW him and I said I LAST SAW Patrick when he said you are A RIGHT PRICK Martin and then he said oh JUST SHUT UP Martin and then he went OFF ON ONE and then he went into THE TREES. Patrick was being a right MARDYBUM and then he went off into the trees THE TREES that are away from the road and then I went to Lilac Ward and it is SPICK-and-SPAN. It is SPARKLING and now Jackie says it is SOMETHING LIKE.

24. IT IS A GOOD THING TO BE HELPFUL
Then Mr. Massie said oh that is VERY HELPFUL and Mr. Lanning said oh THANK YOU MARTIN, you have been A VERY BIG HELP and here is a sweet for you.

25. WHAT IS IN THE WORKSHOPS
In the workshops there are the machines for making mats and there are machines for cutting shapes. There is special paper and it tastes of yellow. There is paint. There is HEALTH and SAFETY and there are SHARP THINGS. Mr. Brindle who HELPS OUT on Fridays puts the sharp little things in the special cupboard so they are OUT OF HARM’S WAY.

26. IF I HAD DONE THE LITTLE WRITING If I had done the little writing. If I had IF I HAD. It would not be little writing. If I had done it then the little writing it would be BIG. The writing would say THERE IS SUCH A PLACE AS WILLESDENHARLESDEN it is not romancing I DID USED TO LIVE IN WILLESDENHARLESDEN and that is WHERE I USED TO LIVE and WHERE I WILL LIVE.

27. EVERY TIME YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR
It didn't used to be EVERY TIME but now it is EVERY TIME. Every time someone looks. EVERY TIME someone looks in the mirror. Every time I look in the mirror I can see two very weak little eyes. I can see two REALLY WEAK LITTLE EYES then it makes them cry.

28. IF
If I still lived in WillesdenHarlesden.

“Each new issue feels like a public report from many individual private spheres.” —Antoine Wilson

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Issue 25

ISSUE

25

Winter 2017

Author

Sasha Saben Callaghan, a 2016 A Public Space Emerging Writer Fellow, is sixty and began writing seriously three years ago. In October 2015 she graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with an MA in creative writing. She is the program director of the Big Flame Disability Arts Festival and lives on the east coast of Scotland with her children and granddaughter.

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