We Need To Talk About Norman


Suggested Audio Candy


[1] Tupac Shakur “Dear Mama”

[2] Elvis Presley “Mama Liked The Roses”

[3] Ozzy Osbourne “Mama I’m Coming Home”

[4] Bernard Herrmann “Psycho”

[5] Danzig “Mother”

[6] Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster “Celebrate Your Mother”



I’ve got nothing but admiration for mothers. No sooner have our umbilical cords been severed, than they donate their areola for our sole suckling and when the time comes to stop breast-feeding just before our eighteenth birthdays, they continue to do their utmost to keep us out of harm’s way. I tend to speak often about my father as he was my personal hero growing up, and every boy needs a male role model, but seldom speak of my beloved mother. This is not preferential treatment by any means as I owe more to this fine woman than words could ever hope to encapsulate, simply that her role was always completely different. Indeed, I cherish her just as dearly. What an astonishingly selfless lady she is, full of unconditional love and unshakable loyalty. On occasions too numerous to list, when things have appeared decidedly bleak, she has constantly fought my corner, sheltering me from the storm out of natural instinct. From the very first grazed knee to the time she caught me spanking my monkey with her cheese grater, she has known what to say and do to keep me unruffled, always putting the smile back firmly on my face.


When I was fifteen, I was caught in the act of shoplifting. This had been going on for months and my extensive vinyl collection contains a fair few “rares” that never quite made it to the checkout. However, like any thief, I started to consider myself infallible and, when the gargantuan hand of the store security guard landed on my shoulder, it was inevitable that she would be getting a call. When she came to pick me up, mom looked like she had just done ten rounds with Kimbo Slice, and the look on her face said everything and so much more besides. It wasn’t her furious anger that stayed with me, but the look of crushing disappointment is one I will never likely forget. Once we arrived home, I fully expected another grilling from my father. So I was pleasantly surprised when he reached into his pocket, pulled out a crisp five-pound note, and suggested I go rent us a movie. I pondered momentarily how much a murder would pay out, then thanked my lucky stars, counted each of my blessings, and quit will I was ahead. Mom considered this gross misconduct on dad’s part and they likely entered skirmish the moment I fled the scene. But I loved the fact that they both tackled my heinous crime differently and, thanks to that look of sheer disgust on her face, I never did shoplift again.


Talk about open a can of worms, I’ve just remembered another doozy from my childhood involving my mother and this one is every bit as riddled with shame. I was around ten-years-old and had acquired some frothing blood capsules from the local novelty store. It seemed an ingenious master plan to masticate said lozenge at the specific moment that I knocked on the door. When she answered and I lunged in like a bloodthirsty zombie she very nearly vacated her skin. I even cried “BRAIIINS!” for that additional dash of authenticity. Whilst seeming like a cunning plan at the time, I instantly lamented my actions the very second I witnessed my mother’s horrified reaction. This was deeply distressing for me as I hadn’t figured on the sight of her offspring bleeding profusely from his maw startling her some. Needless to say, she saw only one side of the joke and it sure as shit wasn’t the funny one.

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I’ve only gone and got the ball rolling haven’t I. We are supposed to be talking about Norman and will in good time, I assure you. However, I did get up to some mischief as a young whippersnapper and my poor mother often had to watch on helplessly. The day of my tenth birthday is one I will never forget as it coincided with receipt of our very first household VHS toploader. It wasn’t a gift per se, more a cunningly planned treat for all, and my father decided to celebrate the occasion by pulling out another of his magical respawning crisp five-pound notes. A trip to the local video store was in order and I was afforded the chance to select whichever rental my heart desired, under his supervision of course. Needless to say, there was no chance whatsoever I was going to be arriving home with Herbie Goes Bananas. Not when the horror section was similarly fair game. I scoured the selection with a fine tooth comb, searching for the most grotesque movie I could lay my grubby little paws on. Then I spotted Xtro in the darkest recess and the decision was promptly made for me.


Pops endorsed my selection as he too had a soft spot for a dash of the macabre and we headed home to baptize our new piece of techno kit. Mom was in similarly high spirits on our rearrival, thrilled to see her boy sporting such an all-encompassing beam across his face. If only she knew. She was far too busy to sit down with us as she wanted to iron my school trousers so they were fresh for her sweet, innocent little cherub the next day. Thus, she watched from afar and, within ten minutes or so, was unequivocally repulsed. This was the sight that greeted her.


Then, while she still attempted to find some words, this happened.

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Needless to say, she wasn’t over enamored with this one.


But the clincher had to be this one.

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My father was in the dog house for the foreseeable and, had it not been my special day, then I’d probably have been right by his side slathering a femur. But a mother knows better than to douse the joy of her only son on his one-tenth centenary and I made it to the end credits, albeit by the seat of my pants. Things were only to get worse for her as, the moment I turned thirteen, I was offered my very first part-time job – in a video store no less. But she never elected to take a hard line approach and the reward were many of my favorite all-time memories. Pops and I, perched on the sofa catching flies in our wide-open maws, while mom rolled her eyes in the shadows. It feels good now to say to her “look how I turned out mommy” and watch those eyes roll once more. Actually, she remains proud of me, even after three years of watching me attempting to dislodge cheddar from a mouse trap, and that means more to me than words could ever convey. You see, a young lad strives above all else to please his mother, no matter what. Right then, I do believe we need to talk about Norman.

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Young Mr. Bates is no exception to this rule. A grown man already way past the male menopause beacon, Norman still shacks up with his dear frail old mother, tending to her every whim. He sits her up in a rickety old rocking chair, where she barks out her instructions and keeps Norman right on the front foot. There are needs that he must tend to and rules to be adhered to also, one of which is that she will not, by any means, allow him to have another woman under the same roof. That would be absolutely unthinkable and nothing could prepare him for the dressing down he would have coming to him. Mrs. Bates happens to suffer from a dash of insane jealousy and any whore looking to service his pistons falls straight between her crosshairs. In her eyes (okay, hollow sockets) he’ll forever be mother’s little boy. Some separation issues potentially but nothing too abnormal right? Wrong! I had negated to mention that she has not stirred from her comfy chair for many years.


She has not bathed, not worn a lick of make-up since Norman pilfered it, and it is fair to say that she has withered away some during the interim. It’s perhaps a tad unfair that all the blame should fall at Norman’s loafers as he fetches her milk and cookies on a tray each evening like clockwork so it’s not like he doesn’t make every effort to oblige. Perhaps she is just suffering from a spot of agoraphobia and a home visit from the local physician could break the old girl free from her emotional shackles? Negative. Mother’s not interested, there’s not a doctor for miles and, besides, her son needs to be on hand should she require him to soak her bunions. So Norman does what any young entrepreneurial eternal adolescent would do in his predicament. He opens a Motel on the grounds. Perfect. This should keep him out of mischief. Yeah, like fuck.


Actually, this could work y’now. He can now get some income rolling in and prevent any unnecessary trips to the benefits office. As long as the pantry is kept stocked, then it should all work out fine and dandy. Thankfully, Norman is making a modest success of the family nest egg. He doesn’t get many guests nowadays (though the great Janet Leigh was rumoured to have stayed a solitary night back in the sixties) but so long as he can offer cozy shelter and hot shower to any weary passing travelers then he is more than happy and mother is too. If you don’t believe me, see for yourselves how happy the old crank is.

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Regrettably, it is twenty-two years since the motel last opened its doors to the public and much has changed in that time. Much to mother’s annoyance, Norman has found it necessary resorting to moonlighting at a second place of employment just to make ends meet as the price of milk has doubled over the past couple of decades and cookies never come cheap. Thus, he has found himself a nice little earner in the bustling local diner working for that nice Mr. Statler fellow. He has also found himself a nice catholic girl to bother over; down on her luck and needing some place warm to lay her head. May I suggest Norman’s lap perhaps? First things first, surely she will be needing a quick shower and somewhere safe to lather up that soft supple body so he had better grab some warm towels (and assume position…ahem).


That’s quite close enough as, should she fart whilst drying herself down, then we shall all catch the two-strong nasal blast of her rectal bouquet. Anyway, about those urges. You see, Norman is a red-blooded fellow not too far from the peak of his sexual prowess and it is only natural that he will have certain needs right? The pages of the lingerie catalogue beneath his mattress have long since merged together and the brain is a muscle like any other after all. It needs daily exercise or else a man like Norman could go doolally. Mother doesn’t need to know a thing; it’s not as though anything untoward is going on after all. She could even help out around the house; perhaps help to prepare mother’s supper while Norman gets on with some of the odd jobs which have stacked up over the years. Who can find the time? Life happens and if you don’t stop and take it in on occasion it may pass you by.


Everything is really starting to work out for Norman Bates and his mother will be so proud once she hears most of what he has been up to. It feels just like how it did back in the day and Janet Leigh paid well for her stay. Sure, it’s over two decades later but things seem just as groovy as they were then. Norm (I’m sure by now he wouldn’t object to me calling him by a more affectionate mantle) is really beginning to perk up (pun marginally intended) and, after a decidedly lean period, the motel is thriving once again. But what’s this… Blood? Mother? Blood!

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Better make those cookies chocolate chip tonight fella. I’ve seen her and believe me when I say that she ain’t best pleased.

Psycho 9

Yes, I know it looks similar to her happy face but there are plenty of ways to be expressive. Take Norman for example. He certainly knows how to make an impression and looks simply delightful in mother’s pearls and bloomers. May I suggest perhaps another kind of moonlighting Norman? You’d make yourself a dainty dollar on the boulevard, on the sidewalk right outside the donut store. You called call yourself Phyllis. Okay then Norma, push the boat out won’t ‘cha. Long story short, look at what this boy will do to celebrate his mother. Almost deserves itself a rousing encore don’t you think? Oh goodie, look what I found next to mother’s dentures.


Bates Family Album


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Click here to read Psycho II Appraisal


Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,


Keeper of the Crimson Quill

keeper rivers of grue

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