* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.


22 November 2001
Victor shows you how it could be, if only...

If you'd like to follow me. Doctor Jarvis will see you now.

I hate this: odour of disinfectant masking lymph and urine; stench of absence and evacuation. I have never been happy in hospitals. No one is, save vagrants and convicted criminals. I trail after the buxom nurse sewn into her uniform. Appearances are indeed anything to go by, and this one had once been one of the less able but more boisterous members of an under-16 Lacrosse team.

Had it not been for the fact that she had expressly stated our destination the nurse and I could have been on the road to anywhere. It is the peculiar distinction of the characterless hospital corridor network that its disorientating effect renders the visitor capable of believing that they may just as well be going to have radiotherapy as physio, as likely to deliver a child as to have a wisdom tooth extracted. The possibility rapidly increases that one is suffering from long dormant and previously undetected heart disease; that, thank god, the routine cholesterol test at the local health centre picked it up; that you are, in fact, on your way to a triple bypass.

By the time I reach the examination room I have inoperable testicular cancer; at the very least I am looking down the barrel of a eunuch's shotgun. As I am shown inside a voice from behind the screen gestures me to the couch in the far corner and asks me to take a seat. I duly do so and, to the sound of running water, the lathering of hands, the tearing of paper towel, close my eyes, try to steady my nerves, regulate my breathing, allay my discomfort.

Now then, Mr Barnes let's have a look at you.

My eyes reopen. At first I see no-one. My gaze travels downwards from my sightline and a boy appears - small, certainly no more than hip-height, six or perhaps seven years old. He is wearing the white coat of a grown man. On him it is outsized - the sorcerer's apprentice. His movements are the mannerisms of caricature: in the disorder of my shock they are made in time to the Fantasia soundtrack playing in my inner ear.

If you could just remove your shirt for me.

By the time I register his request it is already by my side on the couch - my arms have moved without first gaining consent from my brain. In the theatrical exaggeration typical of a dressing-up session my doctor flourishes his yellow plastic stethoscope and, sweeping with determination across my chest, issues appreciative grunts which I suspect correspond only to symptoms of make- belief. He then seeks my back, adjusting the angle of the box on which he is standing in order to gain access.

There appear to be no major problems up top. If I could now ask you to drop your trousers and smalls...

Close your eyes. DON'T LOOK DOWN. A hand cups my balls, gently squeezes, checking for irregularities. It is small, so truly tiny that after a few seconds it is joined by another hand in an effort to cover the required surface area. Paralysis. Motionless both with horror and by an absurdly paternal concern not to startle my mini doctor. My mind flinches and whirls: this is repulsive, the ultimate reversal of the abusive stereotype. I'm no kiddie fiddler, but I would imagine that a large part of the thrill is being able to appreciate the vulnerability of one's victim. Here I was, and a seven year old had me by the balls. DON'T LOOK DOWN. The excessively affected murmurs of the doctor are no longer an innocent's unintentional pastiche. They have forced upon me a sensual dilemma which places me in the same category as the paedophile.

LOOK DOWN. Aaaghgodno. The noise is not mine; the rational me doesn't recognise it. The child begins to scream - fitfully at first, more of a sob, then uncontrollably, wailing like an ambulance siren. Remembering first to pull up my pants and button my trousers I fling myself into the corridor, searching frantically for the nurse who had brought me here not ten minutes ago. Recalling the unease I felt at last being out here I realise that I have little hope of finding her - staff nurses go missing for days on a regular basis, only to be rescued from an underground defile or store room blinking into the light. I will settle for anyone, of average height and above, in a uniform. A blue one approaches, a diminutive form inside. I'm not totally convinced.

How old are you?

I don't think that's any of your business, do you?

How old are you.


Good. The added menace second time around clearly worked. I tell her what has happened. Of course, she knows my name.

Mr Barnes, you know that since 1997 NHS policy has stipulated that twenty percent of new doctors are to be recruited from the Child Training Scheme.

She's right. I remember now.

And you must also know that the criteria for acceptance on the Child Training Scheme are the ownership of a toy stethoscope or blood pressure monitor and a year's experience, certified in writing by a parent or legal guardian, of playing at doctors and nurses. After all, it was your idea. Now if you don't mind, I'd better go and see if Dr Jarvis is alright. He'll be needing some ice-cream after the nasty fright you gave him.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
27 October 2003. Victor writes: Our Tune
6 October 2003. Victor writes: Sucking face (in a public place)
15 September 2003. Victor writes: You got any ID?
25 August 2003. Victor writes: Blood on the Boulevard
4 August 2003. Victor writes: In (paren)theses
10 July 2003. Victor writes: Island Fling
19 June 2003. Victor writes: Back (back) and forth (and forth)
2 June 2003. Victor writes: 300 clowns, 13 eight-year olds
12 May 2003. Victor writes: The swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune
21 April 2003. Victor writes: ...just sitting there quietly contemplating suicide
31 March 2003. Victor writes: Victoria
6 March 2003. Victor writes: Relevant experience
17 February 2003. Victor writes: You will eat chips and go nowhere
27 January 2003. Victor writes: A bushy fish for fishy Mr Bush (after Juvenal)
6 January 2003. Victor writes: The Accidental Voyeur
16 December 2002. Victor writes: Gripper goes bang
25 November 2002. Victor writes: Bediquette
4 November 2002. Victor writes: Where have all the spastics gone?
14 October 2002. Victor writes: An Immodest Proposal
23 September 2002. Victor writes: Fastscan masterplan
2 September 2002. Victor writes: Dry Humping Social Club
12 August 2002. Victor writes: Beat the Mongol
22 July 2002. Victor writes: What life is not
1 July 2002. Victor writes: Stupor heroes
6 June 2002. Victor writes: Dry
13 May 2002. Victor writes: Muppet Suite
18 April 2002. Victor writes: gingermingeninja
25 March 2002. Victor writes: Sodomize with Pukka Pies
28 February 2002. Victor writes: Dave's problem
4 February 2002. Victor writes: King of the Aisles
10 January 2002. Victor writes: Here come the decorator gimps.
17 December 2001. Victor writes: Make war, not supper.
22 November 2001. Victor writes: Cough
29 October 2001. Victor writes:
4 October 2001. Victor writes: Green Gauges
10 September 2001. Victor writes: Blind weed
16 August 2001. Victor writes: Snout!
23 July 2001. Victor writes: You're not going to put this in a clown are you?
28 June 2001. Victor writes: What is a droll?
4 June 2001. Victor writes: Burt Pakamak
10 May 2001. Victor writes: Board to Death
12 April 2001. Victor writes: Tricolon with anaphora?
22 March 2001. Victor writes: Point of View
26 February 2001. Victor writes: Goth's Dinner
1 Feburary 2001. Victor writes: Les Miserables
4 January 2001. Victor writes: Flat-packed furniture
14 December 2000. Victor writes: Deliverance
20 November 2000. Victor writes: Bottomry: Exorcising Ghosts
26 October 2000. Victor writes: Body Art
2 October 2000. Victor writes: Disney must die
7 September 2000. Victor writes: Ice-cream in Offworld
14 August 2000. Victor writes: I like sweets that taste of medicine
26 June 2000. Victor writes: I've seen the future, and it's feathered

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