A murder

Renoir, Le Moulin de la GaletteMan could not pay his debts. He strangled his wife and her nine year old daughter (probably), and shortly after died in a police cell.

One debtor I pursued would pay my client the supplier just before making his next order. Eventually the supplier got fed up. Several made up spurious complaints about goods supplied: almost always I acted for the creditors, but once I acted for the debtor, and it was my client trying that on. Sometimes it seems that the debtor would rather pay more money to a solicitor, to avoid paying a smaller debt- or, perhaps, run up fees without intending to pay them, either.

I have always dealt with these people at one remove, but have met fantasists. One woman told me she had been dismissed after transition, and her manager had written to the Human Resources worker: “Never send me a pervert like that again”. The HR worker was so shocked by this that she sent the letter to my friend, who used it to obtain £75,000 in compensation. The way I have told it, the story is full of holes: she told it slightly better, and I cannot remember or care how she filled in those holes. She also told me that she had two X chromosomes, but one had an “SRY inclusion factor” which had made her develop in the womb as a male. Apparently this is possible but uncommon. She told me “You look so feminine, possibly you have that too”- and I went away in a dream, to crash down to earth shortly after. I still resent her for that. I met one fantasist and heard later of her terrifying violence.

Then there were the two men who had served seven years for attempted murder. After one lost his DLA appeal, he started a long paranoid rant about how people in the DSS were conspiring against him. He had all his anger and malice, but prison had broken his ability to carry it out, except to his partner and children. As for the broken, grey woman who had chosen the other one, I never heard her speak.

Treading on difficult ground, here. I started with a specific case known to a specific person, whom I would like to call a friend even if a blogging connection seems too tenuous for that. Some reading will know whom I mean. I write selfishly- I do everything from selfish motives- and I am trying to be constructive. I can use both empathy and analysis, separately.

These people are at the tip of the bell-curve, but not a species apart: they show what humans are capable of, just as our heroes do. We can distance ourselves by seeing them as the enemy, the out-group- cockroaches, infidels, “gay activists” are such out-groups, and this is more difficult for me being in one such out-group myself. They show what those around me might be capable of. Yet- not everyone is like that: out of luck, we manage to avoid such urges, and rub along together.

Seeing one beggar at close quarters makes a far greater impact on me than knowledge of thousands of them in the city. This is a human response. It is the way we are wired up.

7 thoughts on “A murder

  1. Wow … you totally moved me with this one. I just simply adore you. In another life you were clearly my sister. I think gender transitioning must be more common over here, because I know quite a few. My stunning friend Alicia I first met as Alan, and now everything from passport to school reports say Alicia … if she has worries or doubts, she certainly doesn’t show or express them. She’s been with the same hunk o’ man now for about two years?

    Mind, that’s not what interested me about your post … what interested me was the truth-telling, the honesty, the straight-forward expression. Ironically, a friend and I were just talking about how the Brits have trouble with this ! We were wrong.

    If you ever feel like coming to New York for a visit, let me know … I have a spare room (which opens on the living room, so it’s a bit odd … oh, I forgot, you’re the guest, I give you my room!) and it would be such fun getting to know you. Are you straight or lesbian?

    Best, Mark


    • The truth telling is my main thing here, discovering and validating my own responses. The British are moving. I saw the explosion of feeling over the death of Princess Diana as mass hysteria- so few of us, it seemed, looked on in amazement- but it was a sign of increasing emotional expression. On meeting, we kiss cheeks, which we would not have done twenty years ago.

      Thank you for the invitation. That perspective on that skyline would be something to see. I am lesbian.


  2. I call you my friend, confidently.
    Did I already tell you that my guest looked suspiciously like you? A lovely lady named Teresa with an utterly interesting and English sense of style. On the last day she had on a long peacock blue knit dress that only left her heels of the same colour showing. Her jewellery was chunky, some with Greek turquoise.
    She lives in a glorious house in Sussex, but she’s part Welsh. Her grandmother and Mike’s grandmother were sisters.


    • No more equivocation or nervousness, then- I call you “friend”.

      Long skirts are out, as far as I can see, except formal evening, which is a shame: and necklines up, against the chunky pendants. Though some people make whatever they wear stylish by wearing it.


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