Your Worst Nightmare by Jonathan Wainwright

Some people believe I’m evil. Others see me as a bit of a ‘Wide boy,’ but I’m really just a pussy cat. I live in the background, happy with my own company. Leave me be and I’ll cause you no harm, but mess with me and it’s gloves off. Like Tyson Fury I’m a fearless fighting man and don’t take prisoners. Attack me, and I will fight back, and I will kill you. Slowly and surely. Not physically, that would be far too messy. I prefer the financial route, damaging assets and draining bank accounts.

I’ll get into your head too, affecting your mental health. I’ll make anxiety, stress and depression all come your way, causing you to suffer without compassion or mercy. And with a sleight of hand and subtle anaesthetic of a snake charmer, you won’t feel a thing. But by the time you realise what’s happening you will be doomed; I promise you that.

In winter I prefer living at ground level, hiding from the cold, conserving my energy. It’s only in summer that I preen myself and show off. I’m well over 6ft tall and they tell me I’m handsome. But when I get angry my complexion turns to a deep reddish-purple which looks fearsome. Nothing to do with blood pressure or alcohol, just an uncontrollable rage.

I’m told by those in the fashion world that my hair grows in a way that’s, ‘Fast growing and strong clump-forming.’ Hardly words used by Vogue. I was very hurt when I first heard them uttered but it’s toughened me up no end. My critics ate their words when they realised I decorate my hair with delightful crimson buds. Beautiful, especially contrasted with white creamy tassel flowers. Friendly and pure pristine white, almost virginal. But my goals are far from pure. I just seduce people into a sense of calm, lulling them into a false security. It depends upon how I’m feeling, but harm’s way is coming for you. Anyway, as winter approaches fear not, I’m heading back to the comfort of low altitude, I really don’t like the cold weather.

This year I’ll start my crimes early Summer. It made me laugh that I can be prosecuted under schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1998. You don’t usually get that with anti-social behaviour, do you? Bring it on, that’s what I say.

You do know that once I’ve got a footing you won’t get rid of me. I’m pretty much indestructible. Stab me and I won’t flinch and guaranteed you’ll never hit my vital organs. Try to poison me and I’ll just bounce back like a Hydra, the mythical monster. I don’t have nematocysts to sting and poison you, but my flesh heals super quick so that I can attack again and again. In fact, the more you try to cut me the stronger I become.

When the time is right, I’ll break into your home without you ever knowing. One day, you’ll move the sofa and there I’ll be, grinning right back. Locks don’t stop me, nor security systems or concrete. I’m so determined that nothing stops me once I have set my mind on something. I’ve beaten the SAS, so nothing you can do will even come close to stopping me. I’ll haunt you and be your nemesis for ever if I have my way. That’s my purpose in life.

The ultimate irony is that if you try to attack me and put me away. Unless I’m incarcerated in the right place, you’ll be committing an offence and fined too. I call it kidnap, although the authorities don’t agree with me on this one. And Travellers think they have a bad press. It’s nothing compared to my lifestyle. But I’m super resilient. I will just laugh in your face. I laugh in everyone’s face and enjoy being a thorn in everyone’s sides. That’s how much I’m hated and despised.

They originally described me as pretty. Then they built on the insult calling me ornamental. I mean, really! It sounds as though I sit about doing sweet FA all day. That’s not fair, I’m very industrious. Would you like to be described as ornamental? I can guess the answer. It makes my vital fluids boil, and I’ve got some very special fluids, very rare. Unique in fact. When I do bleed, a congealing stickiness seals any wound so that I can keep fighting.

I’ve also been called weedy. I get used to back handed comments. Would you call someone that can punch through concrete weedy? No, you wouldn’t. It’s another unnecessary slur on my character. Fake news, taken out of context or as I prefer to call them. Lies. It’s no wonder people tell me that I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I’ve got a lot to live with, so I’ve got every sympathy for how Katy Price and other faux celebrities gets treated in the press. The papers vilify and hound us all to within an inch of our lives.

I like to work under the radar, so I’m subtle going about my day-to-day business, but I keep getting reported for my activities. Bureaucracy and red tape abound, there’s a whole industry to try and stop me. I tell you if I wasn’t well-balanced, I’d go ‘Doodle Alley’ with the stress of it all.

I must have a laugh about how I’m persecuted. If I cross your path, the authorities make you fill in a TA6 form. How dull and boring is that I ask you and what does it mean? Terrible Attitude 6, Trouble Alert 6, Terrific Aged 6? Whatever. It’s as deadly dull as I am deadly, the form must have a plan describing how I can be destroyed. It isn’t pretty reading. Makes me giggle, just shows how feared I am, inciting people to commit violence. Yet all it does is forewarn me every time, so I can evade capture. In the old days poisoners used strychnine or arsenic, cyanide maybe. Now the poison of choice is glyphosate. Administered in small doses the poisonous effects build over time without killing others nearby. But it seems to do more harm to those using it than me. Get it on your flesh or breath it in and it causes skin and lung irritation. Swallow it and things get worse with burns to your mouth and throat, plus nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. It might even kill you. Talk about the friend that bites your hand, it’s nearly as nasty as me and that’s saying something.

I’m tenacious and never give up. My special skills will allow me to overrun and destroy your home making it worthless. And there’s nothing more exciting than when I start ‘Neighbour wars’, pitting one neighbour against another with the blame game. I’ve known legal fees for this get into the £000s. Has me doubled up laughing when that happens, and I do my best to pop up in all the right places to add fuel to the metaphoric fire of ‘Neighbour Wars’ once they start. Boy they are entertaining. I mean, I’m vile. But some of the tricks neighbours at war play on each other can be pure evil. I’m thinking of producing a reality show and selling the rights to all the networks. Maybe it could become a Netflix special.

Once I’m involved, if you sell your house without declaring my interest, the new owner can sue you, so the cycle of destructiveness continues. Did you know they even amended the Anti-social behaviour, crime, and policing act 2014, to include me, such was the mischief I was causing. Big result that. Tick in the box I can tell you, so pleased about that one. Mind you, I was less than flattered being mentioned in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as they associated me with environmental waste.

Anyway, lovely talking to you. I don’t often get chance for a chin wag, I’m so glad you spotted me when visiting your sister. Will I leave you alone? No, that’s not going to happen. I just love older men. Perhaps you would like me to come over and ‘Entertain’ you, I’m very good? Now, tell me your name and where you live? I’ll come and visit soon? Well, Jim, of 10 Arcadia Drive, would you like to know my name? A clue, I’m named after an exotic dancer. It’s Fallopia Japonica.

What, my name sounds Latin? Some say it means I’m a complete nightmare and strike fear into homeowners all over the world. I say, that’s rubbish. Look I’ll pop in to see you soon. Watch out for my heart-shaped leaves. Hopefully we’ll have a beautiful love affair and live happily ever after. You never know we might get on well and you can enjoy my beauty. However, history tells me that we probably won’t love each other for very long and that our relationship will end in a poisonous affair.

My name in English? Oh, it’s Japanese knotweed.

Published in Issue #26

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