Patient Number 666
Yes, I used to work in psychiatry. No, the potted history of Bartholomew is entirely fictional. Even so, I’m going to add a disclaimer: in a world with a population of almost 7 billion, there’s a slight chance of a coincidence.
Who says children are born innocent? Bartholomew – named after a saint and born years before Bart Simpson – had nothing in common with either celebrity.
Son of the First World War hero, Major Stanley Templeton and twenties’ flapper, Beatrice Morgan, Bartholomew embarked on his torturer’s career at an early age. Aged two, he drained the fish bowl of water and chewed its occupant to death. And aged five, he plucked legs off spiders, singing…
Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout
down poured the acid and burned poor Incy out
out came the sun and dried him to a husk
Incy Wincy Spider, scrummy toasted rusk
To celebrate his first decade, he decided to prove that cat tasted of chicken. Exit Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
Six years later, he borrowed his baby niece for an afternoon’s biting practice and discovered a taste for humans. He had not meant to kill her.
He celebrated his twenty-first birthday on D-Day by cooking a head with carrots and potatoes in a boiler house oven. A month earlier, the pilot had parachuted into the grounds of Shadyreach Institution for the Criminally Insane and demolished Bartholomew’s vegetable patch.
Thirty years later, when all Bartholomew’s teeth had fallen out, a nurse took him to France on a day-trip. A rabid dog had the audacity to bite him. He said, ‘Ouch, that hurt,’ and burst into tears.
As he lay dying, with NIL BY MOUTH pinned to his bed, he thought the ward sister the most sadistic person he’d ever met.
(c) Sarah Potter, 2011