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The Scrivener: On And On And On

…'Who the hell wants to be called SharON MariON JohnsON — on, on, on?' This morning, she was blaming her parents for her misery…

Brian Barratt tells the story of a confused young lady for whom life goes on and on and on, until… To find out until what, read on and on...

After coming to the end of this satisfying tale do visit Brian’s fascinating Web site The Brain Rummager www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/

'Sharon Marion Johnson. Stupid name!' Sitting on the edge of her bed, Sharon was at war with the world. It wasn't merely her second year lecturers and tutors she was fighting, or the wider world of academia. It was the narrow world that hemmed her in, prevented her from being herself.

'Who the hell wants to be called SharON MariON JohnsON — on, on, on?' This morning, she was blaming her parents for her misery.

There was a quiet knock on her bedroom door. 'Sharon. Are you awake yet?' Her mother heard a combined snort and sniffle come as a response. It's going to be one of those days, she thought. Best to leave her for a while. She'll work it out of her system.

'You'd better have a word with that girl,' her father had said the previous day. 'I think she's mixing with the wrong types. If you ask me, she needs sorting out.' Her mother observed that she had not asked him, and perhaps he didn't really understand his own daughter. That put an end to that conversation.

The usual group assembled in the student cafeteria, the group that her father disapproved of. Long-haired louts, he called them. Sharon eventually turned up, having missed the morning tutorial. Simon took one look at her as she stumbled across, slopping some of her coffee on the floor. Her eyes were still red from weeping. 'Hey, man! What's wrong with you?'

'They're going on at me again. I feel... I feel like I'm trapped.'

'I've got something that'll untrap you.' Simon took a small tablet out of his jeans pocket and slid it beneath his covering hand, across the sticky formica top of the table.

'Give it a rest, Sime!' One of the other girls grabbed the small white tablet and pushed it back into Simon's pocket. 'Can't you see she's got real problems?' Simon smirked when the hand pushed into his tight front pocket, 'Wow! You really want it, don't you, babe?'

Sharon slurped down what was left of her coffee, glared at all of them, and stormed off to the library. Somehow, she got her brain round the research she had to do, forcing herself to focus on the computer monitor, searching for the data she needed. Dates, locations, names, cases, judicial decisions.

It just went on and on and on. Useless, pointless, what's a degree worth, anyway? But her father had set his heart on her taking up Law, and keeping up the family tradition. Her rebellion was temporarily interrupted while she noted down some new data that seemed to be particularly relevant. The rest of the day was routine, until she arrived home.

She went to the kitchen, expecting one of Mum's little chats, but took the lead by blurting out, 'Mum, why am I called Sharon Marion Johnson?'

Her mother remembered the time she had asked the same question when she was still a little girl. On that occasion, they had avoided a direct answer, laughed it off, and changed the subject. This time, however, she had to provide a more convincing answer.

'Why, you're Johnson because that's Dad's name, of course.' She paused. 'And Sharon Marion because, well, we rather liked those names. They were very popular when you were born.'

Sharon looked unconvinced. 'But Mum, why don't I have a family name? You know, Anne, or Mary, like you or Nana?'

The microwave beeped. 'Sorry dear, but will you give me a hand to serve up?' The little chat had not eventuated but the microwave had saved her from further embarrassment. Sharon kept her cool during the meal, but quickly disappeared into her room to study. And eventually to sob herself to sleep.

At lunch time next day, she desperately sought out Simon in the cafeteria. She put on her most winning smile. 'Sime, that pill. Still got it? I could use it now.' She had misjudged him. 'Aw, hell, come on. You didn't want it yesterday. It'll cost you today.'

'I'll pay you. How much d'you want?'

He looked her up and down with a sleazy grin. 'Not money, babe. Something else, you know?' She was acutely aware of her vulnerability but she needed what he had, and agreed to give him what he wanted. He surreptitiously handed over a tablet in return for a promise that they would meet the next night. She knew she could not refuse. She was already trapped She pocketed the tablet and headed for the library.

Back in the legal database, she completed her search for material related to her assignment. Then she went back to the special data she had come across the previous day, and checked the full details. There it was: Morton, Marion Sharon. Verdict: Accidental death.

She tackled Mum in the kitchen, getting in plenty of time before the microwave would beep. 'Who am I? Am I adopted?'

Tears welled in her mother's eyes as the real story emerged at last. It was true, her father was unknown. He was probably dead. Her birth mother had died just a couple of years after Sharon's birth. The verdict was 'accidental death'. In reality, it was an overdose.

Dad came into the kitchen to see what the fuss was about. Tearfully, Sharon handed him the small white pill. He assured her that he would take care of that matter discreetly, 'But that long haired lout,' he said grimly, 'is trapped'.

Sharon sobbed, 'I'm sorry about the way I've been. Now I really know who I am. And I know who you are. You're the best Mum and Dad in the world. You're my Mum and Dad.'

© Copyright Brian Barratt 2007


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