Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The life of Bernard

Bernard is sitting down three benches to the right of the Park entrance. He has been there since 12 0’ clock and is on his second beer, he has four more in his Parka pockets for later. Bernard doesn’t smoke, he says it’s an expensive, filthy habit that ages you terribly- But he doesn’t mind if I do, and on second thoughts he decides he will have one after all, as he’s had a drink and it would be the sociable thing to do. Bernard’s tells me his father was an Anglo-Irish diplomat and his Italian mother was an upper class socialite in Sicily, where Bernard was born and spent his early years. His parents were wealthy and influential and he had wanted for nothing. Spoilt rotten, by seven years old he had decided that he’d had enough of school, and so his Mother home schooled him- Unfortunately she didn’t know much about much, and as a consequence neither does Bernard. Bernard spent his days snorkelling at the beach and was very good at making things- he and his father would often craft spears and nets to go fishing with. Always a keen swimmer, at ten years old, He began diving and it turns out he was pretty good at that too. When Bernard was 15 he and his family moved from Sicily to South Africa with his fathers job. His Mother enrolled him into a diving school there, of which he was swiftly kicked out of after repeatedly turning up with a spear. Bernard was terrified of Sharks and refused to get in the water without it. The Diving instructor said it was a health and safety violation, and plus it was unethical to kill a Shark (Bernard disagrees, he says they have a taste for human meat and that they should all be killed and he’s sick of Davis Attenborough making them out to be pussycats.) As a result, Bernard quit diving for good and went back to snorkelling and catching fish in the shallow water, away from all the Sharks. Bernard knew he was due a generous inheritance at 18 and so at 16 he went to Art college in London to pass the time while he waited. Coming from a privileged background, He enjoyed pretending to be bohemian but says he was far too stoned to get anything done, dropping out a year later. At 17 Bernard knew what he was going to do with his life- He was going to be a race car driver, all he needed now was a car and a drivers license. A few joyrides later, Bernard was 18, with a racing car and a license, but nowhere and no one to race. On his fathers advice he began training to be a mechanic; To celebrate, Bernard bought a few broken down classic cars which he intended to fix up and sell on after he completed his training, but on his first day off that week he bumped into his ex girlfriend and decided there was no harm in putting off his training for another month or so, to rekindle an old flame. Three years and three quarters of his inheritance later, Bernard decided it was high time they got out of bed. They weren’t John and Yoko after all. The cars had long since rusted over and were fit for the scrapheap- Bernard says he was conned and that they were unable to be fixed in the first place and that if he hadn’t of been too stoned to get anything done he would have been a fully qualified mechanic who would have taken the dealership to court. About the same time his girlfriend got pregnant, Bernard got a job behind a bar and drank away the last of his money, but he kept that to himself until after the wedding. Unable to support his wife and child, he appealed to his wealthy parents who in turn agreed to help out financially on the condition that Bernard went tea total and found a respectable job. Bernard didn’t keep to this condition, his wife left him and his Parents took his daughter back to south Africa and cut him out of their will. Bernard doesn’t want to talk about what happened next, he says it’s not very interesting. He says he’s going to be an actor. Or a Diving instructor. He doesn’t know yet, he’s always far too stoned to get anything done.

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