Essential Services

Essential services

Are what we need to exist

And Osbourne says

We have too much


Too much clean air

It’s probably bad for you


Let’s do away

With the green initiatives


Too much fresh water

The oceans are overflowing

It’s Global Warming

Of course


Too many green spaces?

Oh, that’s no problem

Let me open the gate up

And we’ll let the builders

Concrete over the New Forrest


Too much food

We are all so fat!

Best ban the food banks

Just to be safe


Too much money

Yes, far too much.

‘We’ are overspending

By the trillions

However much that is?


And what about what our souls need

To exist?

What about our culture?

Our heritage?

Our art and music?


Those have been deemed surplus to requirement.


S J Menary



The Date

Chunky boots, spike-studded and standing before me. She had that waif-like look so popular with girls these days. Spray-on ‘jeggings’ and a glittery top. She wore her hair in meticulously undone curls that were stiff with hairspray, and black spider web eyes.

‘Hi!’ she held out her hand with a little bounce. ‘I’m Ella. Great to meet you! You look so much like your profile picture.’

I grimaced. It was clear to me that ‘Ella’ was not the ‘mature, sophisticated woman with a taste for Avant-garde cinema’ as it said on e-harmony.

‘Err…hi, I’m Peter. Shall we get a seat and some coffees?’

‘Oh, I don’t mind standing at the counter.’

‘Oh…ok then. What can I get for you?’

‘Hmmm… A flat white with a shot of caramel hazelnut? Thanks, you’re a star.’

A star? I was old enough to be her father. But then her profile did say she was looking for a ‘classing older gent to treat me right.’ I brought the coffees and mentally checked the blister on my heel from walking her from the office. It was going to be a long evening.

‘Thanks babe,’ she said.

Dear God. Kill me now.

‘You’re welcome. So…what was it you said you did for a living?’

‘Oh, I haven’t decided yet. I took a gap year a couple of years ago and travelled – I bet you have travelled too, haven’t you?’


‘I have to tell you – Thailand is soooo spiritual, you know? You just have to go there. It makes you just re-evaluate your life choices, you know?’

‘Not really, no.’

‘I mean, it was such a meditative experience. I’d just come out of a long relationship. It was so negative, so I quit. I mean, life is short and I deserve to be happy, right? I mean, my happiness is the most important thing. I needed space to develop into my most authentic self. So I had to go to Thailand to find myself.’

‘Oh, but you came back to England?’

‘Yeah, I’m living in Croydon now. I share a flat. Well, my mum shares with me… And I was working as a receptionist but I just quit that job too. It wasn’t making me happy, after all. And well…wait! Peter! Where are you going?’

‘Bathroom. Back in a moment.’


It wasn’t easy getting out of that bathroom window.


S J Menary