The Nurse Diaries – Part 3

The Nurse is chuffed to introduce the third chapter of her diaries, The Life and Times of a Brighton Serial Killer. You can find out more about The Nurse and her misadventures here.

Bored Fucking Shitless

Fucking mischief

Bad shit. That’s about all there is to get up to in this shithole. Several years locked up, and The Nurse is fucking bored out of her fucking skull. Thank bloody Christ for her smartphone, nicked from a Screw she killed. The rest of the silly shit-wizards think he fled the unit for good after falling in love with an inmate, but no. His final resting place is right under The Nurse’s feet, buried deep where fuckers like him belong.

The smartphone is The Nurse’s window into the world. She surfs through the night, face lit eerily by the screen’s chilly blue light, on the prowl for subjects to investigate. The thing is, having been analysing, investigating and de-bullshitting for a very long time, she is running low on inspiration, scraping the bastard barrel. Tonight’s investigation is about shampoo. Shampoo, for fuck’s sake. It is hardly the world’s most dangerous or scandalous substance.

Beggars can’t be choosers. She sighs, settles herself on her lumpy bunk and dives in.

Shampoo is innocuous enough, you might think? Not so. The Nurse, who enjoys de-bunking, soon discovers there’s much less to shampoos and conditioners than she’d imagined. Down an Internet wormhole she goes, then down another, and another. Doesn’t time fly when you’re busy?

You don’t get many luxuries in prison. The Nurse has often bemoaned the lack of decent shampoo. Most of the time, her hair looks like a nest. So she’s cheered to discover that very few of the ingredients in shampoo have anything to do with actual hair. They’re mostly there to improve the appearance, smell, texture and shelf-life of the shampoo itself.

While it’s no real surprise that hair care adverts are bollocks, The Nurse is intrigued to find out exactly how much of a shampoo’s contents are pointless. And what a walk of shame she uncovers. The detergent element of shampoo, anything between five and twenty percent, cleans hair. The rest doesn’t. There’s loads of water, plus special bubble boosters, essential because detergent won’t foam on its own. There are oils to counteract the detergent’s drying effect, emulsifiers to make the oil mix with the water, emulsion stabilisers to hold the whole thing together, a water soluble preservative and an oil soluble preservative. There are thickeners to create texture, and colourings, and UV stabilisers to stop the colour of the shampoo from fading. There are opacifiers to make the product creamy or opalescent, reducing agents to stop it from stripping out hair dye, and of course fragrances.

Holy crap. Basically, when one shampoos one’s hair, one strips out its natural oils, which one then has to replace with man-made chemicals via a conditioner. If that’s you, you’re a wanker. You’ve fallen for the cosmetic sector’s junk science promises. Next time The Nurse sees a shampoo advert starring some silly bint fart-arsing around in a flower-filled field, she’ll think twice before wishing she could shell out on expensive shampoo.

Not only are manufacturers’ claims unsupported by science, they’re unregulated. In the words of one expert, they’re “free to use just about anything in cosmetics and toiletries.” Maybe they put shit in it, and that’s why The Nurse’s hair always looks so shit. Who fucking knows.

Aha! Suddenly inspired, heart beating faster, The Nurse takes herself off to plan an experiment with homemade shampoo. Not on herself, of course. Because she’s worth it, she experiments on an unwilling dicktard of a fellow inmate… whose head more or less dissolves like something out of a horror film.

Fuck. Another failed experiment. The Nurse is hurled back into solitary to mull over her wicked ways. Life isn’t fair. Ah, well. On the bright side, at least there’s telly down here. On the downside, it’s usually shite.

The Nurse whiles away hours, the days, the weeks, the months watching telly, dreaming up ways to kill people she dislikes. Whenever a pompous knob-jockey politician gets on her nerves, she imagines them naked except for socks and sandals. It’s a neat trick that makes it impossible to take them seriously from then onwards. She also likes to squint at politicians through one eye until she has them in centre view. Then she squashes their silly little heads between her index finger and thumb until, in her imagination, they pop like berries. That’s better. Alternatively, she imagines their heads squashed flat by great, big, massive wobbly arses. It is just as effective.

Right now, The Nurse’s TV viewing pleasure is being ruined by an outbreak of catastrophic eyebrow embellishment. A lack of eyebrows makes a person look like an alien. Immense eyebrows can be just as disturbing. Even middle-sized ones can prove risky. You should see the fuckers on some of her fellow inmates. Anyway, attempting to enjoy one TV show this week, The Nurse finds herself driven to distraction by the contestants’ astonishing brow creativity.

One thundercunt of a would-be Master Chef has plucked hers into such a high arch of surprise that The Nurse can only assume she unexpectedly sat on something pointy. The night before, a misguided lady had plucked hers from above, with disturbingly Neanderthal results. Monday night’s classics included a pair of eyebrows with a wide, stubbly gap right in the middle of each one. Four-brows. Why?

In the olden days, The Nurse’s mum bought her a weekly copy of Jackie magazine. It taught her how to talk to boys, navigate teenager-hood with a modicum of success and – crucially – pluck her eyebrows without ending up looking mental. The Nurse dreams of a time when she can watch telly in peace without being menaced by shit like this.

The Nurse extracts her phone from her undercarriage once more, grits her teeth and hunkers down for the duration. It looks like, this time around, she’s going to be in solitary for a while. Bored beyond belief, still stuck for a decent subject, she investigates false teeth.

Thanks to being a child during the ’60s and ’70s, The Nurse has crap teeth. Her childhood dentist was spectacularly bad, as well as really scary: Mr. Sockett, she shits you not. No wonder, when she left home, she didn’t go to the dentist for a decade. No wonder her teeth no longer do what it says on the tin.

Let’s face it. If false teeth were in fashion, The Nurse would have her gnashers whipped out without a second thought. Especially given their current condition. Bored one long, dark winter’s day, a couple of years after being banged up in this hell-hole, she filed her front teeth to sharp points, cute yet painful in a draught. No wonder she’s inspired, speculating wildly about marketing false teeth as the next hot trend.

On a roll, it doesn’t take long before she realises there’s a lot more to falsies than meets the eye, plenty to keep her interested. False teeth are actually rather thrilling. The business possibilities are endless, bearing in mind the public’s obsession with super-white implants and veneers. She gets her notebook out and jots down ideas. A few days later, and she’s sure she’s onto something. Definitely onto something.

The Nurse reckons hip-hop has gone some way towards kicking things off. She envisages a time when ageing hip-hop superstars might replace genuine bejewelled gnashers with falsies. She imagines party teeth for special occasions. Royalty with diamond encrusted teeth. Self-assembly falsies from Ikea in cheery primary colours. Flashing LED teeth. Glamour teeth. Limited edition teeth. Hello magazine would wet themselves over the latest celebrity teeth. There’d be porn teeth. Recycled teeth. Gay teeth. The opportunities are fucking endless.

Having said all that, the worst thing about false teeth is the way your face collapses into a frightening, loose heap when you take them out. To remedy this, The Nurse proposes a comfy self-cleaning device that sits permanently in your mouth. You’d simply slot interchangeable sets of teeth smoothly into it; your mourning teeth, Bar Mitzvah teeth, Divali teeth, Valentine’s day teeth, wedding teeth, fatwah teeth, whatever the fuck. That way, you never have to horrify your partner – or yourself – with a face that hangs like the flat, dangly tits on one of those African tribeswomen you see on telly. Thanks to The Nurse’s contraption, a person’s face would always look nice and pert, with cheeks as smooth as a baby’s arse.

Stunning false teeth, plus the extra benefit of a non-invasive partial face lift? What’s not to like? The Nurse decides she needs the support of a great science brain, a marketing genius, and a celebrity endorser. Imagine, a huge and growing audience of people across the planet who are sick and tired of things going wrong with their teeth. Many of whom would, if it became cool, jump at the chance of having The Nurse’s ground-breaking falsie system installed.

The basic permanent mouth unit would be painless, simple to fit at home, and affordable. We’re talking high fashion false teeth for the masses here, no elitist nonsense. Once you’ve got your basic kit in place, the sky’s the limit as far as your falsies are concerned. From basic white to rainbow tie dye, real rubies or crooked comedy Billybobs, pure gold to cheap daily disposables – whatever tickles your fancy.

By this stage, The Nurse is almost breathless with excitement. A generous spirit despite her murderous tendencies, she would like to throw open the false teeth fashion challenge to the world at large. All she asks is a 1% cut – for life – of the profits of every company that succeeds with her invention. While it might seem naive to be so free and easy with such a superb business opportunity, The Nurse is confident that nobody will take the piss. There’s no need to patent her idea. She is far too scary a person.

Still musing about the possibilities, The Nurse reminds herself to get Vlad the Dentist, her neighbour upstairs in the main jail, to pull her super-sensitive, pointy teeth out before the icy winter fenland winds arrive and start whistling through the cell walls like a tune by Al fucking Jolson.

Right. It’s time to do an experiment.

Sadly, The Nurse’s initial false teeth design, and fitting efforts don’t go well. Remove a set of teeth from one fucktard inmate, paint them with pretty canal boat art-inspired designs, relocate them to the newly-toothless mouth of another inmate. Simple. It should have worked like a dream, but a chronic MRSA infection gets in the way. And here she is again, thrown back into solitary confinement for two more accidental manslaughters. Fucking hell.

In and out of solitary like a fucking jack-in-the-box

In solitary, out again, in solitary, out again. The Nurse is losing fucking count and losing her mind. At the moment, she’s free to roam again, part of the general prison population. There’s no sign of Vlad the Dentist, which is a bit of a bugger. No sign of some of the other usual suspects either. Actually, things are looking a bit weird around here. Kind of empty. Where is everybody?

After another restless day spent bored to distraction, The Nurse focuses her next research project on recreational drugs. While she doesn’t get out much – not at all, actually – she devours the TV news avidly via her smartphone, and her attention is grabbed when a senior police officer recommends making drugs legal, facing the consequences instead of spending obscene amounts of cash criminalising drug users, as well as the abusers. This fascinates The Nurse. Out comes the smartphone. Hours pass peacefully as she investigates.

Apparently, millions of ordinary law-abiding folk hold down jobs, pay massive mortgages and rear nice, polite children. At weekends, they indulge in a marvellous array of illegal drugs to no ill effect. These happy Weekend Warriors are not vomiting up their kebabs in the street, showing their tits to passers by, falling down, stealing or fighting. That’s the binge drinkers.

The police chief’s recommendation to legalise recreational drugs makes sense, sparking The Nurse’s scientific curiosity. Retrieving her laboratory test logbook and pen from their hiding place under her stinky toilet bucket, she decides to test the theory: to offer unlimited prison moonshine and home brew to half her fellow inmates – thus simulating an all-night Stella-and-spirits session – while giving the other half free access to a generous pile of pure ecstasy pills.

Spare inmates prove thin on the ground. The Nurse gathers the few subjects she can find, then gives both inmate test segments basic instructions about how to consume their stimulants reasonably safely. Boozers – don’t drink too much. Stop before you get drunk. Alternate booze with water. Caners – don’t drink water if you’re sitting still. If you’re dancing, drink some water. Everyone – have an early night beforehand to avoid the jet-lag effect you get after pulling an all-nighter. Otherwise, you’ll fuck up the test results.

The Nurse sits back and observes. Eight hours after the experiment begins, she logs the fact that the drinkers are too trousered to remember her ‘stop before you get drunk’ safety tip. The booze test segment is stealing knives from the prison kitchen, hanging the Screws, vomiting in each other’s beds, engaging in beer goggle-fuelled incidents too horrid to detail, and arguing irrationally. Some are texting takeaways, demanding deliveries of extra-large kebabs, others are smashing up the television room, bleeding profusely and calling each other cunts. Overall, it looks like excessive alcohol makes the inmates boring, ugly and stupid. Or more boring, ugly and stupid.

As far as the druggie test segment goes, The Nurse observes the pilled-up group sensibly abiding by her safety guidelines despite having decimated a huge pile of Es. They appear busy and productive, setting up impromptu therapy sessions, sitting in the exercise yard, marvelling at the night sky, holding hands with the Screws and spontaneously cleaning their cells. One group pushes back the tables and starts a mini-rave in the dining hall. The only dramatic effects appear to be excessive gurning and the occasional massive rush, where the pilled-up inmates go purple from the neck up and can’t stop grinning.

The Nurse acknowledges that drug addicts have a terrible time. They deserve to have lots of money spent on them to help them get better. But happy, harmless drug users? She’d let them be. Alcohol is the only fart at the Bar Mitzvah, and it’s a particularly stinky one. The Nurse rests her case. And now she’s off to neck a crafty doo-dah or two herself. Nice.

Fourteen alcohol-related inmate deaths later, and she’s back in solitary, for fuck’s sake. What’s their fucking problem? Do they not appreciate science?

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