Authoritarian Personality Study


We moved in during the summer so that we could enjoy the garden. It was overgrown and

needed the attention of an expert, but it had to make do with me. My previous attempts at gardening

had been fairly unsuccessful. Jenny said I had the dexterity of an axe murderer and was more than

happy for us to pay someone to take care of it. But I was resolute, if not entirely green fingered. For

Ben, the dense growth was an adventure. Since he was old enough to explore he had been

fascinated by insects.   At four years old he had already made detailed plans for the zoo he would

own by the time he was ten.

'You'll need more than just insects if you want to build a zoo,' I told him.

'No Dad,' he responded, 'This is going to be a creepy zoo!'

Within four hours of moving he had discovered a spider the size of a fist. Rather than run

away, he named it Larry and asked if it was okay for us to come and live with him. He could stay in

the bathroom and we would just borrow it sometimes.

The back door was wide open. Whoever had this house before me had no time to secure it,

no time to watch it burn. Setting your home alight had become the last desperate protest at asserting

control. There would be no carpets left to sweep our lives under. My family has been gone for

almost a month. The only truth in that story is Larry and he does live in the bathroom. It looks like

the only thing that's borrowed it recently is a stray dog. I found it's starved carcass on the landing.

This was the fifth house I tried. All the others were either barricaded or so terribly scorched

they were unfit for dwelling. I didn't have time to be choosy, I was sure I was being followed.

And despite the ferocity of my survival instinct, even I cannot outrun a truck.

The carpet is covered in dirt and the shattered pieces of porcelain frogs. The emphatic prints

of heavy boots suggest a struggle. There is little else to tell...