Mis-fit, Misplaced, Miss Shelly Clover,
Mis-fit, Misplaced, Miss Shelly Clover
By James Steven Clark
Copyright 2014 James Steven Clark
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents
are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Table of Contents
Chapter One - Misfit, Misplaced
Chapter Two - Elvis Has(n’t) Left The Building
Chapter Three - The Box That I Made
Chapter Four - Electus Unus
Chapter Five - Forsan et Haec Olim Meminesse Iuvabit
Chapter Six - Danish Gambit
Chapter Seven - When It All Kicks-Off
Chapter Eight - Grave Concern
Chapter Nine - Heat on the Hill
Chapter Ten - The Hope-Filled Lie
Chapter Eleven - She Can’t Let Go
Chapter Twelve - Please…Go Away…
Chapter Thirteen - The Sandman
Chapter Fourteen - Darkness
Chapter Fifteen - Hidden Wings
About Shelly Clover
This is for those of you who stuck by me - you know who you are. This book is for you.
Hello. My name is Shelly; Shelly Clover to be precise.
I am the only daughter in a family of six. I have four brothers and a mother. My mum’s had various boyfriends, so I don’t really count the latest as part of my household and I know next to nothing about my real father.
Nor do I really want to.
My current dad – if you can call him that - is sitting with me, my mum and my youngest brother, Buddy. My oldest brother, Elvis, is also here; he’s in trouble.
The sun is beating down on us all through floor to ceiling windows and the heat is making us feel uncomfortable, but there’s another, more pressing reason for our discomfort.
I’m part of what some people call a dysfunctional family. I’d agree if I’m honest. I don’t think it was the way my mother planned it, or, how any family would wish to turn out, but, that’s the way it happened for us, so, there you go.
My mother is weeping, and my ‘dad’ is shaking his head at my oldest brother, who is snarling and swearing at three people sat across the other side of the table. I’m quiet (as always) and Buddy is in the corner of the room twirling round and round and making a whirring noise.
We look and sound like a dysfunctional family.
I love my youngest brother, Buddy, more than I love anybody in the world. He’s special needs. He’s on the Autistic spectrum, and his particular need means that he basically struggles at anything that involves moving, breathing and thinking straight (but he can ride a bike quite well). It doesn’t matter though, because he’s human; he’s my brother, and he is the sweetest person I know. I care for him so much – sometimes, so very much - that I get a physical pain in my chest when I think about his struggles.
Elvis has just sworn again. He’s lurched forward out of his seat, and the man my mother is seeing, is trying to restrain him – half- heartedly - because he too is swearing at the people behind the table.
Buddy has to be here, because I guess, my inconsolable mother couldn’t afford to get a baby sitter to look after him while we attended Elvis’ permanent exclusion meeting. I’m here because the school I attend has an Inset day.
So, I’ll daydream my way out of this horrible situation that we’re facing and tell you more about me:
I’m the second youngest in the family. I am I guess, what you call a no-hoper in the eyes of the world; a tiny, decaying, rapidly- blackening banana skin, with everything mushed up inside; something that will only cause people to slip up. I have dreams though, lots of them, not just visions for my future - actual dreams; the kind that snap you wide awake in the middle of the night, thinking:
Did that just happen? Is that going to happen?
I have sandy brown hair and I’m okay-looking: I’ve been told that I’m nice looking by a few people, but the girls at my school, Jacobsfield High, say I’ll look like my mother in a few years; fat and bloated. That’s not strictly true; if she lost a bit of weight, she’d actually be quite pretty. She must be alright-looking because she’s had lots of boyfriends.
I like chess, and I adore riding my bicycle across the small Island where I live. I find solace and calm in cemeteries and my archipelago (I’m good with big words) is a particular stone coffin adorned by an angel statue at the south side of St. Harold’s church, where I ring bells every Wednesday evening.
I keep myself to myself, but I’m kind, compassionate and concerned about people. I’m aware of a person’s struggles because I’ve had my share - am having my share. I’m a bit of a do-gooder really. I help in a local charity shop on a weekend.
I get picked on an awful lot for the following reasons: I wear hand-me-downs; I have a yellow racing-bike and a green ruck-sack; I have violent thick-witted brothers who beat up other kids and teachers for no apparent reason.
I don’t really know how to stand-up for myself when I’m teased. (I just really want to get along with the girls at school, I want to be liked by them, but they just won’t allow that.) Consequently, I feel very, very blue sometimes, and life feels pretty hopeless.
I have three people (apart from Buddy) who I’d class as friends: Mrs Dawson, the old eccentric hippy-goddess; Arthur Kingsley McFadden, the pointy-nosed, white wispy haired, inventor and Derek or Dezza as I like to call him. (I also call him Doo-lally because of his pointy afro hair. It makes him a bit crazy looking.)
Brief family history...
When my mother was in the hospital she was going to call me Grace-Kelly but one of her new-ager friends – you know, the kind that talk to angels and stuff - came to visit and gave her a shell which she’d procured from Boule beach. The story goes that, not being able to think straight and being strung out on Pethidine, she was so taken aback with this gift that she immediately wanted to name me after the shell. I was going to be called Shell. Her friend pointed out that Shelly was more appropriate for a girl and so my name was consummated.
My surname is Clover. My mother told me that a five-leaf clover is a very lucky thing and so the Clover household will be lucky one day. Maybe that’s why she had five children including me. On a personal note, I can’t see anything in our lives that resembles ‘luck’.
Here’s why: my real dad hasn’t been in touch with me – I don’t know who he is and don’t remember him. My mother’s last two boyfriends abused me, not sexually, but emotionally. One wouldn’t acknowledge that I even existed, the other would shout at me until his lips turned blue; I was so very, very scared of him. He’d bruise my skin as well as my soul. He’d also take drugs with my brothers.
My brothers: Well, they’re all named after rock n’ roll singers: Elvis, Chuck, Jerry and Buddy. Jerry is mixed-race. We all have different fathers except Buddy and me. I don’t suppose Buddy misses his dad. I’m not
And, speaking of the future: One day I’d like to be in love, but as a result of my experiences, I’m afraid of men. Derek, Buddy and Arthur are the exceptions, although of course, only one of those is a man. I’d quite happily be a lesbian if I felt that way inclined, but most of the girls I know are complete cows, so maybe I’ll just be asexual.
And, here’s another thing: How do you know what true love is? For me, that’s like trying to answer: what is there at the end of the Universe?
Mother: She does a good job – she really does. She wants the absolute best for us, but her Achilles heel is men. She likes rough-looking men, men with scars. They distract her from focusing on us and then she feels guilty and weeps, constantly thinking that she’s let us down. But, there’s always food on the table, a kiss on the cheek, a cuddle from time-to-time and a laugh and a joke. She’s not happy, but she perseveres in making us happy. I love her – she must be knackered half the time. If men give her fleeting pleasure then, so be it; it’s better than nothing, even though I worry that it damages her more and more in the long-run.
Elvis has just been told that he is not welcome at Harley High anymore.
He was excluded from my school, Jacobsfield High, last year. I thought that when he was thrown out, that the girls in my year would start speaking to me, but his presence actually acted as a buffer, and when he did finally go, I got it bad! Two girls in particular, Evelyn and Camille were particularly sadistic in their taunts:
“Gypo thief and her spacca brother - Duh-Uuumm. Nice clothes, freak! Do you get them free from the charity shop?”
Yeah, sometimes I do get my clothes from the charity shop.
Sticking their tongues into the side of their cheeks, they’d imitate Buddy, although I have never seen him look like that. His special needs don’t come out like that at all. It’s so unfair and unjust for them to do that.
I hope that if you ever find yourself in the position of being one of those girls and you read my story, you’ll stop, back-track, and think about that little pang of guilt you’re trying to ignore. Maybe you were picked on too, or maybe you just like to do the picking - I don’t know - but in every person you don’t like, for whatever reason, there’s good trying to come out that wants to embrace you. Don’t break a person who has so much to give into little pieces before they’ve had chance to form. Chances are they’ll be your friend on some social networking site in about ten year’s time anyway.
PC Tyler, Harley High School’s resident police officer, has now stepped into the room because things are getting out of hand. Elvis has thrown a notepad at the Head of Year chairing the exclusion meeting. This action has iced the cake even more, but to be fair, his expulsion was a done-deal anyway.
There’s a moment of tables being shoved and bottles of water flying everywhere (no glasses in an exclusion meeting) like it’s some kind of last stand against the Clover family name.
It’s not long before we are marching out of the clean room and are heading towards the front of school where a taxi is waiting. Elvis has kicked over a massive plant near the entrance and has been given a stern warning by the policeman. I just want to get out of here, get on my bike, and ride away from this. Buddy is crying.
The sun is hot in the July sky.
I know where it is beckoning me.