Friday, November 26, 2004

Living with a sex offender

To continue my short season of "Living with.........." posts. Here's what happened after I left the YMCA.
I moved in with this old man, Pat, who had a spare room in his house. He seemed very respectable, he had a photograph of himself shaking hands with Harold Wilson on the mantlepiece. He used to be quite big in the trade union movement, a staunch labour supporter. But now he was retired. I never suspected anything at first. Until one day he said "Do you see that lovely Bethany?"
"Who?"
"Bethany she works at your place, at the Ministry."
"OH THAT Bethany. How do you know her?"
"She lived with me here for a while."
I thought no more about it until I got to work next morning and bumped into Bethany. "So we have a mutual friend." I said.
"Who's that?"
I said the guys name and she went white, speachless for a moment then
"Fucking pervert bastard he's no friend of mine." She started choking up and then ran away to her office. I stood there thinking "What did I say?"
A secretary came out "What have you done to upset Bethany?"
"I don't know honestly. I just said I knew Pat....."
"Well that's it isn't it? Don't you realise what you've done?"
"No tell me."
"He's a pervert he put her through all manner of stuff before she had to leave. But of course there was no proof. It started off with him allowing her to catch him reading porn magazines. Then he'd actively start showing her the pictures, then he'd be suggesting things and finally he started touching her which is when she had to leave. She's still upset about it."
Well that told me. I returned "home" that evening feeling a little unsure and a little wary, everything the secretary had told me was going through my mind. I was young fresh faced and barely shaving. Pat was sitting in his usual armchair as I walked in he turned his head round to say "hello".
"I've got you a present." he says. "I hope you don't mind but I'm giving it the once over to make sure it's OK for you."
"What's that Pat?"
"Oh just a magazine." and he holds up a copy of 'Rustler', "thought you'd like it." I felt sick and turned away, muttering something along the lines of putting my bag in my room. He calls out across the house to me "Just the thing for a young man, great bedtime reading if you know what I mean?"
It's started already. I walk back into the sitting room. "No thanks Pat, I don't read that sort of magazine."
He gets up, eyes me up and down, head slightly tilted to one side as if he doesn't believe me. "What a strapping young lad like you doesn't like the odd titillating photo?" And he grabs my arm pretending to test my muscles.
I shrugged him off and said I was going out. "I hope I haven't offended you?" he calls out after me. "I'll leave the magazine for you, where you can find it... OK?......"
I didn't answer. I went out and down the road to the phone box. I called my boss and said I needed to get somewhere else to live.
"So you've found out then?" he says.
"What? You already knew? You never said anything, thanks a bunch."
"You can look after yourself, he's an old man he's lonely, what can he do?"
"He doesn't have to do anything physical, it doesn't matter how old or unfit he is. It's the mental things going on that's just as dangerous."
"I'm sure you're exaggerating. What's he done?"
I suddenly felt rather stupid because all he did was buy me a porno magazine. It was my own fears, my own revulsion, my disgust at un warranted and unasked for attention. Tell that one in court. So I said "Nothing!"
"Look if you really want to get out, I know someone who's looking for a third to share a house. It's out of town so you'll have to travel to work. But I can give you the number if you want."
I got the number, within hours I was the third resident in a detached house in Church Crookham. My new house mates were an Ex-Hells Angel and a nymphomaniac, but that's another story.

iPod now playing - She's Electric by Oasis

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