The Nurse is thrilled to present the fifth chapter of her diaries, The Life and Times of a Brighton Serial Killer. You can find out more about The Nurse and her hair-raising adventures here.
Den of cunts
Women stick together. When there are this few of you, it makes sense to close ranks, making a circle with your metaphorical wagons so the metaphorical Indians can’t shoot you with their metaphorical arrows.
That’s exactly what The Nurse does when her mate Crazy Mary is released early for good behaviour, the lucky cow, and the total female prison population drops from four to three. The ladies get together to make emergency plans, and they decide to call their new gang the Den of Cunts.
The Nurse, a serial man-killer called Lavinia who’s one of The Nurse’s heroines, and a woman whose name nobody knows meet weekly in the telly room. The rest of the inmates mostly steer clear. There might only be three of them, but these women are fucking terrifying.
The Cunts’ first few meetings involve smoking long bifters and telling tall tales about their escapades, each story top-trumping previous ones as the women become more stoned and more confident in each other’s discretion. When The Nurse describes her passion for trepanning, and how she was arrested before managing to fully fledge her wings and fly, Lavinia nods respectfully, understanding exactly how it feels to be cut short en route to one’s own crescendo of brilliance, cut off at the proverbial knees.
It’s a small world. Lavinia, as it turns out, knew the Chief Surgeon back in the olden days when she was a cleaner at his medical school, and she agrees with The Nurse: he is indeed a massive knob, and the fact that he escaped scot-free makes the three women spit with fury at the unfairness of it all. Lavinia has no idea where the Chief Surgeon is now, nor does The Nurse, but they vow to remember him and, if they ever escape, make the best use of him they can before killing and discarding him. It gives them something to look forward to.
Back in the day, Lavinia was single-handedly responsible for knocking off every good-looking man in Lewes. It was such fun. Now and again, The Nurse would come along for the crack, keeping out of the way while observing her talented friend at work.
Before Lavinia came along, Lewes was well known for having an unusually high proportion of pretty men. Today, as you may have noticed, there are none. They’re all munters. Lavinia may have been locked up a few years ago, but the people of the little market town have long memories. To this day, if a male offspring born in Lewes reveals so much as a hint of handsomeness to come, they shove him off to boarding school quick-smart before it’s too late, paranoid that their lovely boy might fall victim to some awful kind of modern day wannabe-Lavinia.
As it turns out, the other female gang member, the no-name lady, slaughtered her bully of a husband after decades of coercive control. One day, having finally had enough, she cut him clean in half with his pride and joy, a Second World War Japanese Gunto Samuri sword he’d inherited from his father. Then she calmly stepped over his body, leaving it on the floor of the living room, and went down Sainsbury’s, where the police found her several hours later, wandering the aisles, singing to herself, her trolley overflowing with kidneys, liver, steaks and chicken drumsticks.
All three women are in thrall to their heroine, an eastern European royal who died back in 1614, having killed more than 650 people in what is now modern Slovakia. Known as the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory suffered from fits of fury and violent seizures all her life thanks to generations of inbreeding. She wasn’t unusual. Most of her family were barking mad, very like our own not-so-delightful aristocracy.
A sexual sadist and psychopath of impressive cruelty, Bathory was aided by her dwarf manservant Ficzko in torturing and killing dozens of girls who she whipped, knifed, burned with hot irons, and half-drowned in freezing water. She inserted needles under their fingernails, and when they protested, she hacked their fingers off. The dying only stopped when the precious daughters of the local nobility started to go missing. Then The Establishment finally sat up and took notice.
The Nurse finds it abhorrent yet fascinating that Bathory’s ‘noble’ background protected her for so long. Fucking lucky cunt. That night, she dreams about being Queen Elizabeth 11, a woman in such a position of privilege that she’s probably allowed to trepan who she wants, as often as she likes, whenever she likes, despatching whoever she likes in any way she fancies without fear of reprisals. It’s such a fucking brilliant dream that The Nurse doesn’t want to wake up.
Over time, the Den of Cunts acquires a mysterious and compelling reputation. Now and again, a male prisoner tries to sneak in and eavesdrop, but they’re always caught. Regarded as fair game, they’re neatly despatched by the women, who take turns with the killing to keep things fair. The vics are buried without ceremony underneath the women’s increasingly-crowded cell floors, and the body count steadily stacks up. The Screws turn a blind eye. They’re over-burdened, under-resourced and underpaid, working zero-hours-contracts, on shifts, in a horrible, horrible place. Frankly, they couldn’t give a bollocks what the inmates get up to.
When the Den of Cunts discovers some of the men have been drilling small holes through the thick brick walls and others have been making periscope-like lenses from fuck-knows-what in order to spy on the ladies during their secret meetings, The Nurse is livid. Lavinia swears revenge and, tapping into her considerable man-killing expertise, fashions three beautiful little shivs, each as sharp as a sharp thing from an extremely sharp place and featuring a finely-carved, beautifully decorated bone handle. There’s plenty of spare bone hanging around here, after all. They just dig a bit up whenever they need it.
The men are a bit dim. In their eagerness to know what’s happening, they haven’t quite twigged that holes in walls go both ways. The ladies are able to turn the tables very effectively. They lurk by the offending wall. Whenever they see an eye peeping through a hole they jam a shiv into it, fast and deep, then fall about laughing as yet another silly bastard is dragged off to the infirmary by the Screws, missing an eyeball. As far as the men’s proto-periscopes go, the ladies puzzle over them for a while, then decide they’re useless crap and throw them away.
Once the eyeball thing starts to pall and they’re bored once more, the ladies decide to turn the tables on the men good and proper. Bearing the failed periscopes in mind, they hone the idea to a satisfying conclusion. Having a go at creating tiny, delicate lenses out of Coke bottles, something that takes months of work polishing deep into the wee small hours, they eventually discover the many delights of knob-watching. Such a giggle.
Lavinia is no virgin. The Nurse is, but she has seen far more than her fair share of willies over the years, thanks to a trepanning record that never did achieve 100% success. She has buried many, many male bodies and poked their funny little sausage things experimentally with a fingernail plenty of times just to see what it felt like. Not nice. She can’t imagine it feels much better when alive, warm and attached to a living bloke either, but hey. Each to their own.
The nameless lady is delighted by the whole thing, having only ever seen her deceased husband’s willy. She’s astonished by the sheer variety of dicks out there.
Forcing the Screws to bring them sketchbooks and pencils, the ladies start their own life drawing classes. Lavinia and The Nurse are shit at art. Their drawings are laughable, more like the cock and balls graffiti you see on walls than the real thing. But the no-name lady discovers a remarkable talent she had no clue about. The stunning level of detail she creates in her drawings of nobs – faithful reproductions of every hair, pore and wrinkle – takes everyone’s breath away.
Growing numbers of Screws queue at the cell door, looking sheepish but determined to have their own meat and veg immortalised in hyper-realistic detail by the sweet-looking yet lethally mad lady.
You cannot buy my forgiveness with cheesecake
When The Nurse gets too bored for words, she starts jotting down scraps of conversation. It keeps her entertained – to a degree – for at least a year.
Time is a fucker when you’re locked somewhere like this. Days, weeks, months, they slope by stodgily when there’s fuck-all mental stimulation. By the time the novelty of spying on other people’s chat fades, The Nurse has a secret notebook jammed full of overheard snippets. She sniggers at them when she can’t sleep.
“Pass me that giraffe…”
“He told me to go and shit in an envelope. I was really cross.”
“I set my Facebook status to ‘launching air biscuits,’ but that seemed a bit silly.”
“Are you going to dip your knackers in it?”
“We’ve had a few tense days, but it’s all fine now. We’re back on the boulevard of love.”
“Techno saved me from Jesus.”
“My behaviour was enormous.”
“Don’t mind me, I’m just attempting the World Grinning Championship.”
“There’s a lot to be said for elbows.”
“Does he fancy her, then?” “Oh yeah, it’s a clear cut case of blonde force trauma.”
“I’m not saying he’s a big lad, but his natural grazing skills have served him well.”
“You know that bit at the top of your leg where it joins your body? He says it’s called your hinge.”
“I’m not sure about my carbon footprint, but my chocolate footprint is huge.”
“Did you know that Eskimos have no word for ‘Eastbourne?’”
“I tried that, but it set my nose on fire.”
“I wore an awful dress. I looked like a vol-au-vent.”
“Have a word with that bloke over there, mate, he speaks fluent drunk.”
“Is that the phone? If it’s for me, tell them I’m on the moon.”
“He’d stapled his ear to the bannister.”
“I’ve no idea what’s wrong with my legs today. It feels as though my knees are on backwards.”
“…so I said to the priest, those are my trousers.”
“He wouldn’t know a good woman if she came over and peed in his trainers.”
“That’s an astonishing hairstyle! Who built it for you?”
“It’s all very well being a grown-up, but I dislike the requirement to remain clean, dry and upright.”
“Why’s that fish swimming upside down?” “I don’t know. I was going to put it out of its misery until I realised it wasn’t miserable, just the wrong way up.”
“I don’t have a pubic region. It has been pixelated out.”
“He was either mad or both.”
“He isn’t speaking to me. I sellotaped him to the settee last night. Personally, I think he’s overreacting.”
“My legs are my best feature. I particularly like the way they dangle off the end of my body.”
“God gave woodlice more common sense than you.”
“Personally, I don’t care where you put it. Just keep it away from the cheese.”
“I told him to put his job in a jiffy bag and send it to Mars. That showed him.”
“His hair looks like someone’s doodled it.”
“You don’t know how lucky you are. You should see mine…you could drive a herd of bison through it.”
“Sorry we’re late. We had to stop on the A27 for tea, cake and an argument.”
“No wonder it all went wrong. When I got home, I realised I was wearing the Vest of Doom.”
“He’s a really nice bloke, but he sleeps with his eyes open.”
“Some beer helped me decide it was a good idea to ask her out.” “Was the beer right?” “Nope.”
“A nice nurse syringed the cake out of my ear.”
“I’m coming straight back home – the kids have put the hamster in my handbag.”
“What are you, a centipede?”
“I’m in detox. I’ve been clean for seventeen days, but not all in a row.”
“My balls keep sticking to my leg.”
She might be a grade-A baddie as far as officialdom is concerned. But The Nurse is more than sane enough to know that, at this stage in her lifetime jail sentence, she is bored to the point of fucking losing it.
The telly tonight is spectacularly bad. It’s coming up to Christmas, of course, something The Nurse had forgotten. Clicking through to ‘World’s Worst Police Shootouts,’ she wonders why she’s banged up in this shitehole when the police in the USA murder far more people in one thirty-minute TV documentary than she could possibly hope to knock off in an entire week. Compared to the US police force, she is fucking harmless.
Expecting mind-numbing ‘light entertainment,’ she is thrilled by the legalised murderfest that ensues. In one video clip, a middle aged lady runs out of her house on a suburban street in her nightie, waving a short knife, obviously in a state of emotional distress. The two attending cops, both in a flap, fanny around for a few minutes, then, when the lady runs towards them, they panic and shoot her. The other cases on the show follow much the same pattern.
The Nurse has always had the greatest respect for the British police. If she ever gets pissed, or pissed off, and runs out of a house in her nightie, waving a little knife, she can do so in the certain knowledge she won’t be shot. The rozzers will talk to her and get her to drop her weapon. Or, at worst, rugby tackle her to the ground. Either way, they’ll calm things down. Then they will probably make her a nice cup of tea and get her some help.
She wonders whether she’d rather live in the ‘land of the free,’ where the police are authorised to shoot the citizenry, or in this country, where they manage to keep control with truncheons, silly hats and mild sarcasm.
To be honest, anything would be paradise compared to this fucking dive.
Mulling over the distant delights of freedom, The Nurse has a revelation. Random investigations and experiments are great. She has investigated every-fucking-thing in the world that’s worth looking into. She has collected every crazy utterance that these asshats she’s locked up with have made. But she is still rotting away in a subterranean solitary cell, still getting more bored and frustrated by the day.
Something’s got to change. Then it occurs to her. If the shitmongering British police are so very unarmed, mild mannered and nice, might The Nurse be able to escape and find her way back home unscathed and uncaught? It’s an idea. Why hasn’t she thought of it before?
The Facility she’s imprisoned in has been neglected for donkeys years. Now that she thinks about it, there are fewer Screws around the place than ever. When was the last time she saw one? It must be days. She’s fucking starving, actually. She hasn’t spotted the Warden for ages either, not since the last time he sent her to solitary. Her brain ticks, and as the thoughts flow, an unnerving grimace plasters itself across her face, then slides off again, replaced by a pointy-toothed grin.
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