Richard Bones was strange man. On his 50th birthday he moved into a house previously abandoned by crack addicts and alcoholic tramps. He had a scrunched up den by the window with a white and blue striped mattress. And he made a pillow from a hessian sack stuffed with a collection of clothes raided from bins and from the back seats of buses as well. You would think (well, I imagine you would) his entire world was strewn around him on those rat-knawed floorboards, that the carrier bags and in pots was the limit of his fortunes, but you'd be wrong (perhaps you’ve been wrong before?); for in the high street he kept a fridge, yes it sounds vague and unlikely but really, I promise you, Old Bones had a fridge on the roof of the Natwest Bank, which he had somehow plugged into the attic of the next door chemist's. He refrigerated an array of food, including gallons of yogurt, which he stole from the health food shop on Connaught Road. ‘Yoghurt’ he said, to his falling roof beam, which he named ‘Rolf’, ‘Yogurt is the energy, yoghurt is protein, yoghurt is life’. Then he would laugh out loud to himself, a deep raucous laugh which slowed to a wheezy snigger.
He was monkey, by that I mean, he was born in the year of the monkey, a fact which seemed to render him prone to sniggering at the slightest of things, especially that which contained mischief, or the petty inconveniences of other people. Nothing delighted him more than listening to a public argument, something along the lines of a couple out shopping on a Saturday morning arguing about time or the price of something. Etched on his mischievous brain was the quote: “I waited for you outside that bloody shop for nearly an hour. Now where the fxxx were you?” which he had gathered on a rainy Saturday in Camden town.
When the chips were down he would replay it to himself until the wheezing laugh reduced him to a catatonic figure of enlightened serenity. Coupled with that was his ability to turn himself into the object of humour and spend several days in blissful amusement of himself, his tatty clothes, his aching arthritis, his elongated feet, his prayers, (which he said every night) his pet cat, who followed him everywhere, his rolled-up collection of comics and, in the deepest moments of his rigid jaw soul-stopping fed-upness, he would laugh at his very existence, his actually entity-ness. Once you reach that level of humour the laughter actually stops and you slip into a brief coma for five minutes or so. Locals often found Old Bones in that state on park benches or in the bus station waiting room, looking entirely frozen but with the most serene look on his face.
As the years gathered around him his periods of coma got longer and longer and more frequent as his entity-ness got funnier and funnier to him. The emergency services got tired of repeatedly being called to his aid. Doctors gave him a new drug designed to stop him from finding his entity-ness so funny. It didn’t work and one day the inevitable happened. Old Bones reached a point of such clarity about his existence, life, reality, the cosmos and All-That-Is, all of the usual distractions that prevent anyone from finding the whole thing so funny dissipated before him and he slipped into a coma from which he never returned. They now keep him alive on a machine in a secret London hospital. Yes, Richard Bones was a strange man.