Miss X was born and raised in the south of Tensiontown, in Riotsville. In Riotsville, nearly everyone was Barking Mad. You didn’t have to do anything to warrant this title; you were just born Barking Mad. (If you weren’t a BM, you were from The Other Side, and a sitting target for “gettin’ the face bate aff ye”.) If you were an active BM, you proudly displayed an alizarin-ivory-and-cerulean coloured flag, you supported Scottish Team Y, and on one special day of the year you wore a tangerine garland and marched with bands in a big procession that everyone in Riotsville turned out to watch. It was like a party, that day. Even if – like Miss X – you came from a non-practising BM family, and dared to have friends from The Other Side, you still watched the Procession. It resembled a big family reunion, most years. Miss X’s mum always made a big pot of broth and served it up to the visiting relatives and passing neighbours after the bands had passed by, and then everyone went to the local pub for a non-bigoted sing-song. The night before, there was always a barbeque (and a big fire that everyone went to watch being lit, although Miss X was never terribly sure what the reasoning behind that was).

Anyway, the years passed, and Miss X moved out of Riotsville, having realised that BM-ism was, in actual fact, stupid. She’d become aware of the existence of a whole other culture, although she wasn’t entirely sure what it involved. She didn’t really get much of a chance to find out, for although she moved house within the Tensiontown area a few times, she always found herself in the midst of BMs.

Then, following a most unexpected and complicated chain of events, Miss X moved to a place called Dunourway, in the north of Tensiontown. In Dunourway, hardly anyone was Barking Mad – nearly everyone was Flippin’ Mental. The FMs had their own flags, too, but theirs were fern-ivory-and-saffron instead, and they supported Scottish Team Z. The FMs hated the BMs with a passion, and vice versa, although nobody really knew why. And on the eve of that special BM Day, Miss X was confused to note that even though the FMs hated the BMs and would take nothing to do with their processions, they all gathered throughout Dunourway nonetheless, drinking, declaring their hatred of all tangerines, and waiting for an unsuspecting BM to wander into the estate. [Miss X did feel it was a little foolish of the two BMs who were brave enough to come into Dunourway on BM Day Eve Night for their dope, to do so wearing Scottish Team Y shirts. The BMs were unavailable for comment, having had the faces bate aff them. Just like in Riotsville, but with a different perspective, boys.]

Miss X, although not an active BM, was horribly, uncomfortably aware of her BM heritage now that she was surrounded by an FM majority. And as the clouds of smoke (from the Big BM Day Eve Night Fires in Riotsville and similar South Tensiontown areas) reached the north of the town, and descended upon Dunourway along with the palpable tension and pent-up aggression, she began to wonder when God would say “Enough!” and come down in a flash of lightning to show the BMs and the FMs that they were all the same, deep down, and tell them that there was a better way. She had an uneasy feeling that he wasn’t going to. And she knew what that meant…


2 thoughts on “Tensiontown

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