The Makings of Mia Pleasure, nee Mia Brigshaw, nee (nee?) Karen Brigshaw…
Karen’s (and later, Mia’s) hatred for the police, and I realise that ‘hatred’ is a very strong word sometimes used in the wrong context – but in this particular instance hatred sums her feelings up perfectly, can be traced back to one particular day when her ‘striking’ father, Mr. Brigshaw, took her on a bus with his fellow striking miners and their families to somewhere she thinks must have been Yorkshire because of how long it took to get there and because of the way the people she met there talked funny. Mr. Brigshaw had not wanted to take her along, but Mrs. Brigshaw insisted that she couldn’t take care of Karen on that particular day because of Aunt Susan’s ‘women’s problems,’ whatever that meant.
The bus journey itself did not put Mr. Brigshaw out any as all of the men sat silently smoking at the front of the bus, all of the women sat smoking and talking endlessly around the middle section, with the children piled at the back trying desperately to keep their seat on the prized ‘back row’ seats – prized because of the big window, allowing those sitting there to pull faces and/or stick fingers up at the drivers behind them on the motorway. Karen kept her seat on the back row for the entire journey. The arrival did not put Mr. Brigshaw out as a woman with a whole litter of runts took a shine to Karen and offered her services even though Karen would have rather she hadn’t bothered. The day started off pretty boring and Karen half-wondered if she’d rather have gone with Mrs. Brigshaw to see about Aunt Susan, but the mother-runt had a picnic basket stuffed with all sorts that kept Karen’s mind occupied for the most part – bags of broken biscuits off the market, aniseed balls, drumstick lollies, butter pies, the sort of cavity-inducing, artery-clogging crap that poor people crave.
There seemed to Karen, whilst reflecting on the day’s events in her bed that night, to be two very different moods evident at the journey’s end. The first filled with boredom, perhaps a twinge of excitement that something might happen, and then just boredom again, all of which took place while basking underneath a rolling sky that alternated between blue and a kind of light grey. The second seemed to be accompanied by a chill wind, the screams of desperate mothers and their socially limited offspring, the clip clop of horses’ hooves, the crack of skull bone beneath truncheon, shadows that suddenly seemed darker and stretched farther than before, the back and forth of men’s raised voices as they try to reason with men who are not there to be reasoned with, and then finally, and most chillingly, the small patch of quiet that developed around the body of a young man, still and bleeding from the head in a way that never ends well, whilst everything else around the small patch continued in its chaotic fashion; a small patch of quiet that only remained quiet until his mother arrived and let out the cry that every mother (and father for that matter) cries upon the realisation that their child, no matter the child’s age, is dead.
Thatcher’s a bitch, says Mr. Brigshaw. Bitch sent the police, says Mr. Brigshaw. Some were police, and they’re bad enough at the best of times, pig b***ards, says Mr. Brigshaw. Some of them weren’t pigs, says Mr. Brigshaw. Some of them were army, Special Forces at that, says Mr. Brigshaw. Not in front of our Karen, says Mrs. Brigshaw. I hate them f***ing pigs, says Karen. Get to bed, says Mrs. Brigshaw.