Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Every summer I tell myself I'm gonna write something substantial. This is the beginning of this years effort, which will probably also fail in the face of 'chasing paper' to pay rent - making this start of the story itself 'kind of meta', or something.
When Ed awoke on March first he was filled with a self loathing he could not endure. “I had no desire to continue living with all the problems that were inside my head.” Unable to make a living, at age 49, he walked into the woods near his house and shot himself. “I have taken my life in order to provide capital for you.” [Please note the above paragraph is 'stolen' from a Dystopia song entitled 'Sanctity'. Dystopia themselves 'stole' the sound clip from a mental health documentary. I had hoped to steal these words, not acknowledge the source and make 'mad cash' from it, but was 'called out' by some guy who's obsessed with the word 'chud'. Pretty crack up, all things considered. Thank you for reading my word blog.]
Years ago, I'd planned this as the first paragraph in an epic novel spanning the scope of modern life, love, anomie, destitution and the poor of spirit. Within these meager lines, I'd hoped, was a hint of something much more – a Celinesque promise, maybe, towards a lost and rambling hero who wasn't exactly cut out for life on this strange, brutal planet we happen to call home but was in any event, like, trying to make his way, or something.
It was this general idea of self-loathing that brought those fleeting lines of barely promising prose to my mind as I stared at the peeling floral wallpaper of James' living room and tried to keep from succumbing to the putrid nausea of a terrible cask wine hangover. In the years which had passed to date, that opening paragraph had become a cairn stone marking my unbeatable inability to complete a single worthwhile thing. To my credit (and perhaps, again, due to that terminal inability to see things through to their end), I hadn't drank the whole three litres of barely passable wine – roughly 1/8th remained in the plastic sack hanging over the cigarette-burnt arm of the damp brown couch I was calling home 'this week'. Looking at it in any great detail caused, without fail, the terrible gland-rush of saliva familiar to afternoon waking, shivering deadbeats the world over. In slow time I decided that maybe self loathing and regret are two words for the same buried feelings.
Already the day had announced itself as an obnoxious, denim short and socks+sandals wearing American tourist – too loud, too close and bearing an awful damned headache. The problem with this metaphor, of course, is that there's no opportunity to steal a camera from an idea like 'today' while it makes expensive dental work into a cheap smile waiting for you to take a picture. With small minded and petty revenge off the cards, the only option available is to stare at the ceiling and ride it out. Lord, I hate your day.
Friday, October 29, 2010
It took him seven tries with the magnetic swipe card to escape from the office building. This was more than the average, but still fell far short of the record 24 attempts required last Monday. Eyes bleared and head numb from 7.5 hours punching numbers into a computer station, he gulped in the outside air, a rare treat to his lungs after days on end of the recirculated variety in the office or at home. He thought about the not-insignificant pleasure the experience of dioxide-flavoured air occasioned as he walked home. Somehow, sucking air is the highlight of my day. This is probably a hugely terrible thing.
Walking home he passed lifeless window displays, and avoided the tough looking girls outside the bus exchange, not wanting to be asked 'what he was looking at' because there wasn't really any way to answer that question, you couldn't just say 'I don't know, shops, pavement'. It can all get very messy. He saw the early evening weekday drunks pissing on ancient gravestones. He listened to music, and when Ross Farrar compressed to 196kbps said ‘I’m going to throw this fucking bottle as hard as I can hope it hits you in the teeth make you learn your lesson it's dog eat dog in a place like this hard luck life sucks so I use my fists I got a chip on my shoulder I'm on a losing streak there's a cloud of contempt hanging over me', he wanted to throw a fucking bottle as hard as he could.
Inside, the air-con hummed and the TV, left on in the morning rush, screamed about the latest in a seemingly endless string of Briscoes sales. At first, the one bedroom flat had seemed lonely. By now he was used to it. The painted concrete block walls matched the rest of the city. He hadn't decided to live alone by choice, more out of necessity. Moving to town for 'his career' (as if it could be called that) had been a hasty decision. The thought of sharing space with strangers on a day to day basis creeped him out a little. A product of 21st century media, he was convinced (via To Catch a Predator, Target and various Crime and Investigation channel re-enactments) that 'stranger danger' was not only very real, but also waiting just around the next wrong turn he happened to make. Life was threatening. Once in High School, Chris Whittaker had called him a 'sheltered pussy'. In his mind, he knew he was nothing more than a pragmatist.
He spent four hours browsing the internet that night, again the result of fierce necessity – Monday night television had sucked forever, and well, what else do you do when you don't know anyone in town? After catching up on the news for practically the entire globe and making a series of vague, cry-for-attention Facebook updates, he turned to an old favourite time killer – the local hip hop forums. He hit the right password first time, and his alter ego, EATPUSSY666, was online. He took his time, slowly devouring the rap scene's interpretation of new alcohol licensing laws, and where the best sushi was made. He avoided the 'PoSt HuNnIeZ' thread, deciding that it was not yet time. This could always wait, until the more pressing issues of the evening were completed. The 'Post Your Sh*t” thread, where Christchurch's newest 'talent' came to show off their 'material' via short videos of themselves rapping – putting themselves out there for all the world to see – was maybe his favourite thing in the entire world. Tonight, he decided to review 'Shawty Jam', by SUB D.
Dear Sub D,
Thank you for posting this. I have not laughed so hard since, well, your last effort. I am wonderfully excited that you have continued to explore the 'pastiche of Soulja Boy and an eight year old with Down Syndrome' style you had previously established. I assume the lengthy delay between your last post and this latest update was the product of you inability to decide what to rhyme with 'ass'. I am glad you were able to overcome this by simply employing 'ass' again in the following line – perhaps it is a clue towards your embrace of post-modernism and a distaste for the 'conventions' of rhyme, and rap in general? Or perhaps, as I suspect may be the case, the real explanation is that you are borderline retarded. Given the mongoloid expression you wear, and the low brow-line which you have attempted to hide with a counterfeit New Era hat, combined with your slow and stuttering flow, I think it is realistic to settle upon this as an explanation. I did enjoy the beat though! It reminded me of childhood – a simpler time for those of us who weren't subject to daily shock therapy and molestation like the unfortunate wards of the state mental health care facility where you grew up. One can clearly make out the distinctive tones of a Fisher Price brand 'Noise n Learn', over what sounds like someone slapping greasy hands on the disgusting bloated stomach of a solo mother somewhere in Linwood. Hopefully you have not employed child labour in the 'production' (if one could call it that) of this piece of shit. Not only would that offend the laws of the land, but most likely the children have been scarred for life in the process. Please, give it up. Give up rapping. I have literally heard eight year olds better than this. And they weren't even rapping at the time – just going about their daily business. I will propose a deal. If you stop rapping and kill yourself, I will cover all funeral expenses. I would also offer to support your family, but I suspect that through my payment of taxes I am already doing just that.
Before you come back, crying like a baby, and saying 'Oh, but what have you ever done, wah wah wah', note the logical fallacy in this. (You can find these words in 'the dictionary'. It is arranged alphabetically). Must one be a great chef to know that one shouldn't eat dog shit? I think not.
Thanks for reading my review,
'A hip hop connoisseur'
Satisfied with the night's effort, he turned to the more pressing issues at hand – starting to stream some free online pornography, and cooking instant noodles while it loaded far enough that he could play the whole way through. He ate, cursing the third world internet speeds this part of town was burdened by.
Lying in bed later, feeling somehow gratified yet still filled with that horrible, lingering post wank self-loathing guilt, he considered calling Rebecca, his ex-girlfriend from back home in Palmerston. There was, of course, no point in doing so. If he called from his cell phone, she'd know straight away it was him and ignore the call, probably. If he called from the payphone downstairs, the anonymity might once again lead to the phone call amounting to nothing more than a torrent of abuse in a 'cleverly disguised' Chinese accent. Much like his confused post-release feelings that evening, his thoughts about Rebecca had also recently become increasingly conflicting. Sometimes he'd find himself thinking about 'the good times' – the romantic meals shared and work missed because it was easier to stay in bed and 'make love'. The good times. Usually, though, these idyllic memories were shattered by an overwhelming sense of regret and stupidity, which kept the kind respite of sleep at bay as his mind tossed in a seemingly bottomless rage. Why had he wasted all those years on some bad toothed slut who was becoming 'increasingly like her mother' (which, as usual, was nothing more than euphemism for gaining like twenty god damned kilos) as the years went on? How had he been so dumb? He thought about her and her new boyfriend, a pathetic skinny man. He thought about his under-developed arms trembling as they struggled to keep her girth at bay for the thirty seconds it probably took him to blow his measly load up her well used... The new guy had, according to his mother, also dumped her.
This was always a bad path of thought to traverse. He was still unsure where, months on, the overpowering urge to telephone her and 'catch up' came from. Sometimes you just do things, I guess.
From the start, the next day seemed to progress far better. He woke early, with time enough even to turn the television set off on the way out the door. The swipe card worked first try, for perhaps the only occasion in its entire existence. The day's filing was numerical – a welcome relief from the far more taxing alphabetical variety. His good mood meant faster work, and hourly targets were reached with sometimes as much as fifteen minutes to spare – fifteen heavenly minutes to bask in the halogen glow from above, and stare contentedly at the purpled grey carpet which lined the cubicle wall. Had he cared more about religion or, for that matter, metaphor, he might have spent some of that time in the bathroom updating his Facebook status via cellphone to something like “feels like Siddhārtha Gautama in Bodh Gaya”. Amongst this sourceless calm and goodwill he was even able to complete a 3 ½ minute conversation with the receptionist (who happened to be another Rebecca), about (generally): today's weather, yesterday's weather, and the outlook for the weekend. He wondered afterwards whether Jim Hickey had it easy with women.
That night, just as he sat down to (an almost celebratory) dinner of Watties 'Big Eat' Butter Chicken, someone started knocking on the door. At first he ignored it – not knowing anyone in town meant it was unlikely to be anyone of interest. Probably some recent immigrant stumbling over the English language as they tried to sell discount movie tickets door to door, he thought. The knocking persisted, however, and he was forced (out of a mixture of irritation and curiosity) to get up. Through the spy-hole he gazed out at a giant in a hi-vis vest and a white hard had. All signs pointed to something serious.
Opening the door, something felt a little off. Emergency workers coming to warn of gas leaks didn't usually wear Slim Shady jeans, did they? The man standing before him had no identification tags, and stood with his hands behind his back.
“Yo, this James Alexander's place?” the fluoro-vested man asked.
“Um, yes, it is?” said James Alexander, at once confused and vaguely terrified as to where this might be going. He still hadn't seen the man's hands.
“I guess you've got a problem then, ma'fuckaaaa” said Mr. Hard Hat, spitting the final syllables and finally revealing his hands – which happened to both be curled around the grip of a steel baseball bat.
James' stomach dropped, and kept dropping, as if one of those bottomless third-world sinkholes had opened in the pit of his torso. He had to swallow a rush of saliva, that harbinger of vomit. Fuck. He tried to keep from shaking. To pull himself together. Be a Man. The cops on those home invasion TV shows always said to just do whatever the 'intruders' said. Lest you wind up dead.
“I mean... I mean, yeah, he lives here. But he's out! At the moment. I can give him a message for you maybe?”
“What's your name then? Door man said there's only one room in this place. You some faggot boyfriend? What's your name, queerlord?”
“I'm... I'm, ah, his brother, Steve. From, like, out of town. I'm staying on the couch. James went out to get us dinner, yeah” said James, hoping like hell that somehow he might get the bat weilding fake Council worker to leave.
Instead of leaving, another giant appeared from around the corner to join the man. He seemed bigger. His bat, this time wooden, seemed bigger. His vest seemed brighter. James' sinkhole deepened significantly.
“I don't believe this ma'fucker”, said the second man, who in plain view began to look almost familiar. If he weren't fearing for his life, James might have taken delight in the sight of a giant wielding a wooden club, which provided an opportunity to use the word 'bommy-knocker' in a serious context for the first time ever, thus fulfilling a lifelong objective. Such are the opportunities lost to fear.
“We're gonna take a look inside then, gay boy”.
“Well, hold on,” said James, stalling desperately. “I don't know if James would...”
“FUCK UP FAGGOT DO YOU WANNA GET THE SMASH TOO CUNT?”
He was forced to press himself against the wall as the two giants passed. The copious sweat from his clammy hands left an impression on the lilac paint. This is not such a great day, after all, he thought, and considered running – sacrificing his worldly possessions in exchange for the preservation of health. Upon later reflection, James would decide that modern life itself was to blame for his failure to seize this one opportunity to escape – either through its fetishization of commodities which caused an unhealthy attachment within him to the consumer goods he had amassed, or through the sedentary lifestyle (and its consequences) which was enforced upon employees of large corporations in the name of 'the greater good' (and meant he sat filing all day in an air conditioned office rather than, I don't know, hunting wildebeests across the prairie or something). It all meant he was totally unfit and could run about three metres. No doubt they'd have caught him by the end of the corridor, had he managed to tear himself from three years of locked in finance payments. Resigned to his fate, James followed the two men into his apartment.
“Yo, dick nose, how you sleeping on the couch when there's no couch in here?”
“And how's that fuckin' nerd out getting food for yous when you're already eating some bullshit in here. Either you're lying, or your some greedy motherfucker. And by the look of you, I'd say you eat maybe once a week. So, that means you're lying.”
“We're gonna fuck you up you lying faggot. Talk shit about me on the internet this is what you get bitch”.
James was struck by four things almost simultaneously:
1) A sudden realisation as to where he maybe recognised the second oaf-giant from;
2) Some vague insight into the cause of his current predicament;
3) A metal baseball bat to the side of his knee;
4) A wooden baseball bat to the forehead.
These two sudden flashes of comprehension were, understandably, followed by a long bout of nil mental activity.
After the initial bouts of disorientation passed upon regaining consciousness, the first thing James wondered was – 'AM I DEAD'. Having decided that heaven (or hell) probably didn't consist of his own living room messed up and stripped of anything valuable, he concluded that this probably was not the case.
Now, though, he was unable to keep from throwing up. The sight of orange rice pouring from his mouth did nothing to help the overall feeling that everything was a little bit too close – his brain was too close to his skull; his eyes too close to the light overhead; his stomach too close to itself, as if his intestines had divided up and turned into a pile of snakes fucking; his knee, too close to the nerves that surrounded it, pressing on them, pinching them... more orange rice appeared.
His attackers, those grotesque giants, were still present, sitting at his computer, laughing together.
“Oh shit, he's awake bro, should I smash him again?”
“Nah g, bring him here”.
The smaller giant approach, forcing James to his feet. With the bat prodding into his back, he was forced to hop over to the computer desk in the corner. The bigger one threw him down in the chair in front of the screen. In front of him sat a webcam. He could see his face in the screen, and the arms holding him down. SUB D pushed a torn scrap of paper into his hands, commanding him to read. James' hesitance earned him another punch in the stomach.
"This is EATPUSSY666. If I had any friends they'd call me James Alexander. I live at 23/8 Rosehip Lane, if anyone wants to come hang out / shut me up. I'm a fucking loser, I guess. I talk shit about people on the internet because it makes me feel better about my tiny cock, which I use for docking, because I'm some Freddy Mercury wannabe free-gayer shit talking pussy. I live alone because I have no friends, except the gay men I meet in St Albans Park to have sex with and spread AIDS. I look like a more feminine, white Tina Turner. I pretend to drop knowledge but the only thing I drop is soap in the showers at the swimming pool. I'm so poor I blow homeless men for their pocket change. I get beaten up by school kids. My father molested me twice a day. I do the same to my four year old neighbour".
James paused, trying to choke back the tears. Failing, he wiped them away. He saw his reflection in the screen – a fat, tanned slug sat on each of his shoulders. Looking down, he recognised them as the flaccid penises of the home invaders. Of course. Why not. More tears came. A tear for every regret he felt. The moment seemed an apt metaphor for life in general. How it could go from almost successful conversations with receptionists to telling the world you molested children while the penises of violent strangers dangled centimetres from your face. It was all a monument to just how unkind the world could be. Maybe he'd been a bit of a jerk. But this? This? This doesn't seem fair, he thought, as the tears continued to flow.
'Keep reading, little bitch'.
"Sub D is actually the best rapper I've ever heard, I just talk shit because I'm jealous. I'd blow him if I could. Anyway, its been nice. Hopefully see some of you soon. Just come over whenever. Better go back to knitting for my boyfriend."
Time was muddy as the giants unplugged the webcam and started uploading the video. James' brain was stuck in recursive loop, like the radio at work, replaying over and over, Ian Curtis Ian Curtis Ian Curtis Ian Curtis Ian Curtis Ian Curtis. Any form of escape would have been acceptable. Ian Curtis Ian Curtis Ian Curtis Ian Curtis Ian Curtis Ian Curtis.
It looked as if they were preparing to leave. A small ray of sunshine through a Chernobyl acid rain cloud, maybe. Not one of those Josef Fritzl 20 year ordeals, at least. This didn't stop the tears, or cure the recently-gang-raped-by-the-world feeling.
He saw their stupid, wide faces upside down from his position on the floor. Crooked, grinning, stupid faces. An image, he thought, that was burned forever behind his eyelids. To be seen indefinitely. SUB D delivered the following speech: "Fuck you, faggot. That's what happens when you talk shit about me g. You call the cops, and I'll kill you. Literally. I will find you and kill you". He went to kick again, but the other one stopped him.
‘Chill out bro, he’s already fucked as. We better gap eh’. And then, they were gone, stomping out the door like Butch Cassidy heading towards the sunset.
James lay on the floor. When your head feels like implosion and your entire life seems void, there's not a whole lot else to do. His mind tracked from Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain to Budd Dwyer Budd Dwyer Budd Dwyer Budd Dwyer .
In the canon of motivational literature, one phrase is ascendant - "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!". Ignoring the obvious fact that lemonade made with only lemons and no additional ingredients is simply lemon juice, which is itself scarcely better than a pile of lemons, the phrase is meant as a succinct way of declaring the importance of making the best of a bad situation. The problem is, people don't really feel like making lemonade. They feel like taking the pile of lemons and hurling the fuckers through car windows. Metaphorically speaking.
This dilemma, this choice between broken windows and lemonade, struck James a few hours into his lying on the floor crying, thinking about famous suicides and wondering if maybe he could just stay lying there, forever, until expiring from lack of food or water or whatever else it was about lying on floors that could kill you. Letting wretched life pass by outside the locked door of his small apartment. Imagining the world outside going by like the life-cycle of grass in a David Attenborough documentary. Furious movement around a fixed point, outside of his (hopefully) impregnable urban fortress.
Twelve hours on, he thought, this is not an honourable way to die. I should avenge myself, or something, maybe. God, I’m hungry. And my back hurts. I should have called work. Slowly, he crawled to the bathroom, where he saw his bruised face in the mirror. It looked worse than it had through the webcam. The high resolution of real life, in all of its blooming and busting glory.
He threw himself into the scalding shower still clothed, in a fashion any cynical observer would have labeled as an ironic tribute to the eternal post-rape-shower-scene trope James had often joked about. Hot water flowing over mental nothing and broken life. An attempt, maybe, to sever oneself from the past. Cleansing. Something like that.
Lying back clean but still broken, he allowed himself to daze. Having never been 'in to' science, he wondered if Einstein's theory of relativity was the same as the fact that everything was relative, and context was everything. His ex-girlfriend danced across the jagged fever-ridges of the inescapable beat down images. Now, she was beautiful. She was christian god offering Salvation in the face of the Romans who'd only hours before invaded on the barest of pretexts to crucify him. Out the window the concrete town looked more and more like Jerusalem, ancient or modern, torn by conflict, forever hostile. As set beside Palmerston, it practically was a war zone. The West Bank. Basra. Wherever you please. James felt ashamed of his previous pleasure in the stale air. The same air choked down and spit out by thugs who can't take a joke. Enjoyed by an inept police force who can't just tell where a violent sexual assault is taking place. An atmosphere, he knew, that would slowly choke him if there was no escape. Maybe this is the lesson. I need to get out. I need her.
The day followed an uneasy sleep. James walked to work without showering, and ignored everyone on the way to his desk. The forty two year old unmarried claims adjuster in the next cubicle looked over hesitantly, before delivering her evaluation in the tone he usually reserved for the victims of arson - “Wow, James, you look like shit!”. He ignored the comment, staring at his desk while he packed his things in a box. There was no point telling the bosses. He'd miss holiday pay and maybe a reference declaring him the world’s best alphabetical/numerical filing clerk. There are things people can make do without in life. Sometimes sacrifices must be made. Later in life, all he'd remember about the place was its overwhelming grayness – down to the managers' early-morning sweat covered skin.
He didn't bother calling the landlord either. Who knew what would happen. Probably nothing. How do they even track you down? The omnipotence of debt collection was another terrifying though. Probably how they found me. It always seems to come back to money. The good thing about knowing no-one is that there aren't any slow goodbyes. You just start driving down SH1 and don't feel the need to look back. Who cares if the door's locked or the stove's on. Momentum’s enough to keep the memories well hidden, trying and failing to bust through the overwhelming detritus of swift movement.
He avoided shouting at the hitchhikers. The irony in shouting at the defenseless to 'GET A JOB' // 'NICE HAT JEEEEEEEEERK’ might have been enough to crack the meagre shell he had attempted to build between himself and the rest of the world. The town hadn’t changed. Still a mistaken, timeless place where the only teenagers around hung out on bikes in the main street wearing too-big hats with their ears tucked in, pretending to know what ‘cool’ meant. A place devoid of Sub D’s. Devoid of concrete block mountains. Probably (hopefully?) even lacking the internet. Home. The smell of stale air was replaced with slow commerce and rural decline. It tasted clean, and you didn't share it with anyone you didn't know. There were always jobs at the tannery. Take it easy, keep your head in, smile at your neighbours and make it through the next fifty or so years. This is how you live life. Slow life beats fast life in the right contexts, relativity, and all of this. Images of falling into her arms, locking themselves away, free from the world, tracked through his mind as he walked the main street.
He found her at the pub, of course. Drinking the same beer with the same friends. Always ready to forgive and forget; to take him back; hopefully. He approached slowly, and pressed himself close in the embrace. ‘I came back for you, baby. You know I love you, and I guess I just couldn’t stay away. Things were bad, but I came back. What good is big city life, a job, all of that, without the things you really care about, y’know? I need you.’
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
this piece of paper was stuck to the ground next to the Orbiter bus stop on Buckleys Road, Linwood (opposite Eastgate Mall). i was stuck wondering whether there's any significance to the fact it was discarded. is 'forever and ever' over for eehbaby or sione? cue: existential crisis centered on the impermanence of life and love. ms word love notes kind of tear me up sometimes.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
some things i have been dwelling on to kill time in between no work and no university:
+ is 'being drunk and on speed' during 'a major natural disaster' going to replace seeing some guy get dumped, beat down in 30 seconds after trying to fight us for like ten minutes, and arrested, as 'the 'buzziest' thing that ever happened'?
+ if god exists, and therefore should be thanked for the fact that no one died in an earthquake, should he not also 'take the blame' for stupidly creating a world based on tectonic plates? i feel like this dude is getting off kind of easy here. you owe me a television, bro.
+ how can i cash in on the suffering of thousands of people? is this an ideal time to purchase 'stocks and bonds' in relevant industries?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
christchurch with nothing but a used bus transfer,
two bottle caps, and a muddy head full of defeated thoughts.
ducking passing conversations about how
what we're writing can't be plagiarism
because 'the Beats' died with our falling enthusiasm for life.
still stuck on forever's problem;
the space between reality and late night schemes.
still trying to reconcile
the unfulfilled promises of modern life.
degrees in 'sales and marketing'
tuesday night punk rock shows.
full nude striptease.
full nude striptease.
the far off sounds of street-lit vomitting, and
drunks asking 'what're the cheapest smokes you sell'
to a school aged fuck up who 'gets it'.
spilled cans of Diesel and Carter Lager
leaking like the wounds of wartime.
surrounded by humming signs and hostile footpaths,
empty land guarded by barbed fences
and twenty four slash seven security signs.
still shouting songs of revenge at the moon.
our one chance
wasted on these streets
take no prisoners
take no prisoners
take no prisoners (x ∞)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
and broke every motion sensing light
that lit me up.
doing my bit for crime deterrence deterrence.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
June 12, 1990 was an unremarkable day in a relatively straight forward year. On this day, free from major air disasters or stock market crashes, Mark Smith entered the World. He was neither early nor late, and neither kicking nor screaming – just another unremarkable soul joining the procession of millions of other unremarkable souls who wind up seventy years down the track wondering where it all went wrong.
Throughout childhood, Mark maintained his steadfast commitment to the ordinary - role playing Dragon Ball Z at school with his four friends until a respectable age, and tossing his uneaten peanut butter sandwiches in the bin daily. His parents separated and his father moved to Australia, as was par for the course in those days. Later in life Mark would wonder if this event hadn't played maybe just a small part in how it all turned out. At the time, though, it had just seemed so, well, normal. All his friends got two Christmas presents too. Mark's mother Sharon had been back working since he started school, and so they were never poor or anything. And so, life marched on, each day inevitable as the planet's revolution, every week punctuated by Simpsons re-runs and Friday night fish and chips.
Adolescence, with its bursting hormones and the accompanying government-sanctioned sex-ed classes, proved the turning point. The point where Mark Smith, for reasons that would remain unknown to him, realised that he was Different. At first, it was just 'different'. The capital D came later in life. And not just different in that boring and cliched 'I'm a unique and wonderful snowflake and will dye my hair green and shout obscenities at authority figures' kinda way that was almost expected of teenage dirtbags at the time. Different in a different way.
By the time he was in High School, Mark was moving in the second-tier popular crowd. Not the top rugby players crowd, but only one step below, on the grand High School scheme of things. Sure, at 14 he wasn't attending all the parents-outta-town parties, but he still did okay for himself. This second tier friend group had corresponding second-tier friend groups at at least two of the girls schools around town at any given point, which was pretty good.
When the 4th form school dance came around, Mark bowed to the pressure of his friends and asked Christina from the Catholic girls school (with the eternal reputation for teenage pregnancy) to come with him. Leading up to the dance, Mark and his friends spent more than a few hours talking about 'how mean the dance was gonna be', and 'who was gonna pash and/or finger who'. Despite this undefeatable young man bravado , Mark was becoming increasingly nervous. He'd never even kissed a girl before. Mostly, he messed up talking to them. Didn't know what to say. Sweaty hands preceded nervous laughter, which itself was the harbinger of impending failure. These pressures teamed up with a catalog of imagined inadequacies to weigh heavy on Mark's mind on the Friday of the dance. He almost threw up on the skill saw during last period woodwork.
Monday, August 16, 2010
“It's essentially a show about nothing, y'know, like Seinfeld” he'd proclaimed to all the adoring young girls, who'd taken to ringing his long-term table at the bar, hoping for some sort of 'big break'. He left out the part about how it was like Seinfeld, minus the jokes. And how he enjoyed most television about as much as the general public enjoyed watching 'curvy, natural' behemoths heft themselves self-righteously across the screen each night to empowering messages about being 'real women'. That is to say, he knew fuck all about television, and even less about how to make it. What he did know, though, was how much television meant to these vapid martini drinkers. To have your own TV series, though, meant you'd made it.
“It's kind of like this conceptual, hard realist take on young peoples' lives, I guess. Like Skins, but funnier. And grittier. A realistic take on drug use”. He didn't even know about this part- it was mainly conversational filler really. Or maybe he would throw in some more drugs. Glam things up a bit with some thick white lines off of porcelain in 'pumping clubs'. Tired old cliches. It had to be nose drugs. The pilot had consisted almost entirely of the 'funniest' of his friends, smoking weed and talking about 'buzzy shit'. But really, no one wanted a 'realistic take' on weed. 6.5 hours of some doss cunts sitting on second hand couches watching Spongebob slightly paranoid and not wanting to talk heaps didn't exactly sound like Emmy material. And what else was there? Some old man, half-grey mustache waving as he rides helmetless on a stolen bike across wide ghetto avenues with pockets full of meth? Pockmarked depraved ex-private school girls slurping on the bulbous, diseased penii of grey faced and lecherous finance company directors? It had to be 'cocaina'.
“But yeah, we're gonna be casting next week, probably, if any of you are interested? I could run through some lines before hand too?”
Sunday, July 18, 2010
There were three lines. Two of them were lime green, and stretched across the automatic doors, where the buses pulled up. The other was a dappled tan stripe of vinyl, which cut a path through the industrial-kaleidoscope carpet. Through my blurring eyes, the effect was like a strange upended topographical map, and rendered the room in an extra dimension. I tried to ignore this illusion and focus instead on the other people waiting for the night's last bus--trying to figure out who was going Out, and who was going Home. Across from me were two girls gossiping about god knows what, and I could almost taste the cheap wine in their piercing laughter. I wondered if maybe they were going to the same party as me. Small chances in a big city, but you never know. Maybe I'd get drunk and hit on one of them. The red head, probably. Not the fat one. Or maybe, depending on how I was feeling. I thought about what her face would look like when she came. The only thing I ever learned from my uncle is that fat girls try harder. Anything for a distraction.
I thought the man who'd sat down next to me was trying to start a conversation, before realising he was talking only to himself.
'The boats! The boats! The waves!'
He looked like a homeless Robert De Niro, and kept up chanting his strange incantation the whole time I sat there. If I was a better person, maybe I woulda talked to him. Found out his story, if he needed help, that kind of thing. It's always a risk though. Talk to a guy like that and there's a fifty-fifty chance he starts putting dead cats in your letterbox, or something. I took the easy road and ignored him, instead stealing sidelong glances at his big wet eyes and wondering if being retarded is just like being drunk all the time, not caring about the god damned world and all of these problems, or if maybe it's like a bad acid trip with no way out. Blind speculation. Anything to pass the time.
The bus arrived around the time this guy progressed to 'The boats! The boats! The waves! The sand!'. It was empty apart from the four of us who got on. My fat girl and her friend paid child fares, and I felt like some creepy old pocket-masturbating weirdo. Our love died with a $1.40 concession fare. The muttering tard sat right behind me, even though almost every other seat was empty. I spent that bus ride focused on the classic rock hits which played quiet through the speakers somewhere up the back, praying to God that I wasn't minutes away from death by strangulation and wishing that I hadn't had those beers after work so I didn't have to ride the damned bus. I learned from John Mellencamp that life goes on, even after the thrill of living's gone. And it did.
The underaged girls got off at the same stop as me, and to avoid feeling even more like a creepy rape dude, I said hi. They were going to Josh's party, too--friends of his sister, or something. We parted ways in the kitchen, and I felt better. Soon enough I was outside by the fire, opening beers with lighters and talking shit about oh my god who was so drunk, and all that other stuff. Thinking about that red-haired girl I'd left in the kitchen and how society just couldn't accept a love like ours. You start to accept the impossibility of it all the further through the dozen you get. Less matters. Sure getting laid would be good, but who cares, have a good time. On the piss, or whatever. We talked about the guy on the bus. How he was some Navy experiment gone wrong, or De Niro himself, trying out method acting for the remake of Rain Man. How he was probably watching us through the fence, waiting to rape Josh in his sleep.
The night drew on and soon enough, I was sitting alone on a couch outside, tasting the cold air and watching the ashes fly skyward. Wishing there was someone I could talk about those ashes with without getting called a fag. Wanting to shout about what it'd be like to slowly float out of this scene, everyone blurring into the same face, the house beginning to look just like all the others. To look out from above, across that very same strange topographical dimension, on a grand scale, and see all the other blurred faces in the backyards of identical houses across the city. And how you'd look down, and see all the other ashes rising, making the exact same journey as you, and feel so common and meaningless, before realising that even if the journey's the same, your perspective right now is, like, different from all the other ashes, and none of them are in your place. Wanting to shout all of this at anyone who'll listen, thinking about all of this and feeling a bit to drunk to make sense of it all, and it stopped mattering at that point anyways 'cause Josh was sitting down with his arm around me telling me how drunk he was and how he wanted to bang the fuck out of his sister's ginger friend, and how we should go watch John 'Cougar' Mellencamp on youtube. I took one last look at the fire, and realised that some day those ashes would be the death of me.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
the ad on the bank said
'set them up for life,
with a long term savings account'
and I threw bottles through their window
like i was vomitting
'set them up for life'
with a healthy distrust of Everything
'set them up for life'
with powerful arms for smashing glass.
set them up for nothing.
i watched a cock fight
two days later
i went to a rock show.
my arms like tornadoes
tearing up flesh.
i can still taste
the blood of swollen dreams.
i shot myself in the back yard
of a house where no one lives
don't let me be a burden
even in death.
we all have our coping mechanisms.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
The problem with most people, man, is that they're stuck in this weird kinda earth-bound trip. They've got no, kinda, 'perception' of what else is out there. The parallel dimensions, and alternate astral planes. How easy it is to transcend all of this temporary human nonsense, and really get down to what it is to like, exist, man. And that's what we wanted to do with Old Mary. That was the whole deal man. Get people out of it, and explore the expanding universe that is human spirit-consciousness.
We'd just drive round the North island, sleeping in the van and selling enough to pay for petrol to the next town down the line. Some of those kids, man, they had no idea what'd hit them when we rolled into town! It was like a whole new world for them. And the girls, man. Talk about a spiritual experience. Just so many beautiful souls, floating around and somehow connecting with us along the way.
Every couple of months we'd have to head back to the Coromandel, up to the Rainbow, to stock up again. Stock up on greens of both kinds, man! That was the life, man. We were never in it for the money. It was never about that. And sure, we took a few beatings along the way. Some of those rugby club type of guys started swinging as soon as they saw us, and I never could understand it. Young souls, I guess. We never fought back, man, because someone had to keep the spirit of Gandhi alive, right? Plenty of cops took to beating us too, but they never found the stash. An old friend up at Rainbow had welded this box under the van, to look just like a fuel tank. And they never found it. I guess beating us down was just easier. That's the way with cops, I guess. Still is, if you ask me. Maybe they didn't think our buzzed out weed-feed brains could handle the mechanics of deception, or something. But, higher consciousness man. Peace.
It all changed in Foxton, though, when we hooked up with this older guy. I'm not even sure what his name was, or if he even had one. Told us he was a chemist, from way back, and he'd been making LSD since before '62 even, when that Misuse of Drugs Act came through. We switched up our product after hooking up with this cat, and for me things got kinda hairy after that. There were some great times, but some bad vibes man. We lost Old Mary #1 after the steering wheel melted into my lap while we were driving. A whole different trip, and I didn't see it coming.
The negative vibes won out in '67, on a full moon winter soulstice. We'd each dropped a handful of Rolling Stones, and I freaked out, man. There was no coming back from that night, for a while. If you've ever talked to the moon, only to have it unravel the realities of space, time and the complete inconsequence of your own existence, you might know what I'm talking about. It was off the road, and into the hospital, man. I'd always heard about the acid casualty guy who'd got perma-fried and thought he was a glass of orange juice. I just thought I was a ball of nothing, man. A human black hole. I spent enough time in the hospital though, and it got better. Those doctors, and the largactyl, sorted me out. No more acid though, and no more weed. For me its just herbal tea, meditation and buzzing out on the realness of life.
The above is an excerpt from the forthcoming book 'Hash Palaces: An Oral History of Great New Zealand Tinny Houses'.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
You've gotta remember that this was the 80s, of course. Everyone was gonna make it big on the stock market, live in a huge house and get the trophy wife. I guess the problem for us was that we didn't know a whole lot about stocks, or any of that Michael J Fox 'Secret of My Success' type stuff. What we did know about was weed. Bro, so much weed.
I'd been down to the library, the Central one, and got this book about business, to figure out what we needed to do. It turns out, this book said, that the capitalist business model is pretty simple, when you get down to it. Buy for a dollar, sell for two. There's your profit. Not a whole lot more to it. And so, we came up with a business model. This was pretty straight forward too—buy heaps of weed from Dave's cousin, using 'our capital', which we got doing the summer work at the freezing works back in ??. Then, we need 'premises', and 'customers'. This book I was reading said the premises should be central to our target customers, and should be well furbished. So, there goes more capital. We signed a six month lease on this place, and told the landlord we were 'trading futures'. I still don't even know what that means, something Dave came up with, but the landlord guy was happy enough. It was a pretty nice building, too. We got some desks, and some of those swivel chairs. A broken photocopier, and even some of those posters with people in suits running a race, to make it look right. Sometimes when the landlord was coming past we just drew these graphs and numbers on a white board. Seemed to make him happy.
Anyway, we had our business model, our product, and our premises. According to the book I'd got, the next part was customers, and this meant advertising. For obvious reasons, this was gonna be a little difficult. You can't exactly buy up a bunch of radio time and start shouting “COME BUY OUR WEED, IT'S REAL MEAN”. Cops and all that. In the end, it never really mattered. In business, advertising is all about increasing demand for your product. As we found out, though, demand was pretty sky high anyways. I wouldn't even like to guess why. Life's just not that interesting when you're not wasted, I guess. Still, its a weird New Zealand thing, maybe. The rest of the world was busy chucking cocaine up their noses at this point, or washing up a few bowls of crack before breakfast, or whatever, and here we are, everyone smoking a few cones just to make Top Town bearable evening entertainment. I'm not complaining, though. There was the demand. We had the supply, and the law meant that supply was always gonna be on the limited side. The word got around. Some jokers are selling tinnies outta the NZMP Tower! In business terms, we were set.
The average day went like this. One of us would open up, and serve all the before-work types. The dudes that worked in town in weird data jobs where they had to get wasted at 9am or the unbearable day would grind them down. Come to think of it, this was always the most depressing part. The dependents, the early hours, the inescapable impression that everyone else's job was a horrible waste of time, and the corporate ladder everyone was talking about was about as climbable as the Green Bay Fort on datura. We'd just hang out all day, while business boomed and bloomed. Open late, for the after-work wind down types, with their ties loose and their shirts all wrinkled in the same places from slouching over the same desks all day. I realised that for most of the world, that's what 'business' meant. Not us. The last thing we'd do is count the money. That was always the best part of the night. Some days, it was ridiculous. We were selling 10 ounces some days. Wasting all the money on useless shit too, come to think of it. Big shouldered suits and steak dinners. Champagne by the barrel.
The headlines said “THE KINGS OF QUEEN STREET” when the cops finally cottoned on and busted us. I'm still not sure who narked, but I guess it was our own fault. Selling drugs to strangers, and always staying in one place, with nowhere to hide when they did turn up. A whole pound, they got us with. It was gonna be all conspiracy and distribution charges for all of us, but I said it was mine. The rest were just customers, just hanging out, I said. We weren't the kings of anything. Just greedy kids in a greedy world, and I paid the price. Only four years, though. Nothing major. They never tracked down the cash, either, and that got me back in business, at Jimmy's Spa and Pool.. Some of the boys hooked it up for me when I got out. Even the building's in my own name, and we're moving more spa pools than any other bastard in town, so business is good. The game never changes, no matter what you're selling.
The above is an excerpt from the forthcoming book 'Hash Palaces: An Oral History of Great New Zealand Tinny Houses'.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Saturday 19 June was the date of my first visit to The Palms Shopping Centre. I'd been drinking, but then who wouldn't be, on a day like that. Probably the warmest all winter. The nor'wester was blowing, and it'd left the sky banded grey, white and blue, like the tricolour flag of some imaginary skyward republic. For reasons I'd rather not get into, I had to ride the bus that day. At first, it wasn't so bad - there was a cute girl with pink hair and a nose ring, sitting across from me. Just as I'd reached the point in my daydream where I was taking her to Tahiti on our honeymoon, I realised she was listening to 'My Way', by Limp Bizkit. Really loudly. Keeping in mind that the date in question was 19 June 2010, you can probably see why this became an issue.
In any case, it was with a head swimming with imaginary sky flags, the unfulfilled romantic potential of pink haired nu-metal throwbacks and the yeasty, head spinning drunk that only comes along when, in a move combining innovation and self hatred, you mix homebrew beer with good Scotch whiskey, that I arrived at the Palms. All I wanted was some food, and I'd heard that this mall had everything! The predictions were true. I'm glad the place decided to cheap out on those blue-shirted people who clear away the discarded food, because those food court tables were like some kind of dream buffet. Rather than 80 days, it took me a mere 30 minutes to traverse practically the entire world, in culinary terms. The sauces! The spices! the things people are willing to spend money on and then cast aside. The food court seems to make a fitting metaphor for these modern times. I'm still trying to work out how my getting asked to leave by security fits into this metaphor, but I'm beginning to think the answer to this question is bigger than I will ever grasp, and will probably refer back with several layers of ontology and rely on a complex yet perfect syllogism. This is all besides the point, which is that I was kinda drunk, kinda full and kinda happy while getting escorted out of the Palms. The sorta gratification that usually only comes when tall buildings collapse on my birthday.
I was carrying this feeling when I noticed the many advertisements throughout the Palms for the Champion family, to which an AMP Capital logo was appended. I spent many minutes at the time wondering what the significance of this proud and upright family was. Do they list amongst their (no doubt limitless) achievements the ownership of an entire shopping mall? Are they the subject of an upcoming TV drama or reality series, in the course of which their perfect facade will be torn asunder by drug use and interracial romance? Without any further explanations offered, the possibilities swiftly approached the infinite. John Locke, in his c1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding, perhaps best explains the resulting conclusion that maybe these advertisements meant nothing at all:
Men, extending their Enquiries beyond their Capacities, and letting their Thoughts wander into those depths where they can find no sure footing; tis no wonder, that they raise Questions and multiply Disputes, which never come to any clear Resolution, are proper to only continue to increase their Doubts, and to confirm them at last in a perfect Scepticism.
In the spirit of Mr Locke, it seemed only fair to attempt to cure my scepticism through the rigors of empirical investigation. The internet at the local public library informed me that the Champion family were the product of AMP Capital's new advertising campaign. I was left to figure out the rest for myself, when my internet money ran out. I finally decided that there were two phases to the advertising. The first was where each member of the Champion family represented a key mall demographic. These ads were practically shouting to the world: rich white people! we want you! Labradors! you may shop here! As time passed, I thought more and more about the second phase of the advertising.
I decided that, because no one in their right mind could honestly believe that a stack of pictures of some retardedly wholesome and obviously fake family would somehow make people want to go to their mall, rather than stab their eyes out with a rusty coathanger, there must be some other reason behind all of this. I have called this phase the aspirational phrase. I have taken some liberties here, but I hope you will not lump me in with the hollow-earthers and David Icke types. The most likely explanation, of course, is that the association of the Champion 'family' with the AMP Capital brand was an exercise in aspirational advertising, whereby I would see these advertisements and realise my tragic and general lack off success in life, compared to Mr. Champion. I would tie this castestrophic failure to my lack of ownership of AMP Capital bonds or shares or whatever sort of financial derivative it is that people even own these days. I would think this is the only reason I have no patrician-chinned and gracefully aging wife, no daughter to jealously protect while secretly scheming to 'have intercourse with' her best friend, no son to make feel terrible for missing that tackle. The only reason my posture has slackened and my hairline receded.
Well, you got me. It worked. Since those ads, I've been seconds from suicide. Only the thought of investing in AMP Capital and thereby remedying my life have kept me in the realm of the living. I'm sorry for the long-winded introduction, but I thought you should hear it, in order to pass along congratulations to your advertising staff. I guess that brings me to the point of this letter. I would like to somehow invest in AMP Capital! I have about $70 in cash on me right now. Will this be enough? If this isn't enough, I would be willing to trade the following intellectual property, in exchange for a piece of your fine organisation:
i) A collection of photographs of elderly people wearing matching tracksuits and hugging. This would be perfect for your next advertising campaign! Everyone knows a partner wearing the exact same clothes as you is the 'perfect family' of later life, in terms of aspiration marketing!
ii) A list of every single person I know who regularly shoplifts from your 'The Palms'. I realise that some people might see this as 'selling my friends out' or 'back-stabbing'. However, as I am about to enter the business world in any case, I figured, why not get a in a little 'screwing over the poor' practice before I receive my interest in AMP. I'm sure you guys understand!
Finally, in terms of the family, will I get to select them from a catalog? Or is it more of a lucky dip type arrangement? I understand the necessity of woollen jumpers in heading up such a family, but is this an absolute necessity? Wool has caused problems with my eczema in the past.
I look forward to hearing from you!
George F. Mill, Vagrant.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I always thought there was that whole unconditional love thing which went with parenthood, but it looks like I was wrong. Those fuckers aren't having a bar of it. Won't even open the door when I visit. I mean it's not like I took anything major last time. Just an iPod. Turns out an iPod is worth more than their love for their only daughter. I got a good price for it too. And it wouldn't have happened if they'd just lent me the money in the first place. They know I'll pay them back. One day. When I sort myself out, get clean. One day soon, I might add. Ah well. There are some bastards you can live without, and now my own damned parents are going on that ever growing list, I think, walking back down their stupid winding gravel driveway. Its like a medieval fort in here or something. Bourgeois wankers, anyway. Good riddance.
I start to shiver, waiting for the bus. Not sure if its cold shivers, or the withdrawls. Senses have started to blur lately. Its been a day since my last shot, and this winter's been hell. Coldest in twenty years, they're saying.
I don't bother smiling at the bus driver when I get on. I'm sure the greasy old creep is trying to catch a view down my top. Not for free, baby. Call me when your shift's over, maybe, if I'm desperate.
All of these well-painted houses, with their new fences, the leafy parks and the occupied shops over this side of town, rushing past out the window, remind me of how far from home this all is. So fake. So sterile. Christ, I need dope something real too. Not that fucked up homebake cut with shit knows what Anton's been selling either. I can almost taste that chemical fuck-up, and it's making me wanna spit.
I'm off the bus in town, thinking maybe I should eat. Getting too thin. I could be a model, though! A life of glamour, cocaine instead of the dope, maybe. Dreams are free. I'm in that bakery, where for some reason the rolls are opposite the cash register, outta sight. Its like an unintentional soup kitchen, without all the Christians. These rolls have been keeping me alive, I'm pretty sure. Nothing wrong with carbohydrates.
Walking home, I run into someone from school, I think. They know me, anyhow. “What've you been up to?” etc. I don't say sucking old man dick to get high. I don't say ripping off my parents. I say “not a whole bunch, you know how it is, you?” and listen to some bullshit about marketing out at the University or something, thinking the whole time that I must look like shit, like a role-model for how to fuck yourself up good. I walk away without asking her name.
“I'm worried about her, David. We should have let her in at least, to talk with her”.
“Look, Mary, I know it's hard, but I thought we decided enough was enough. Dr. Robertson said the treatment, the CADS or whatever it was, had to be voluntary. And she won't do it! So what are we supposed to do? Let her steal from us? Buy her drugs?”
“I don't even know here she lives any more. What if she's on the street again? What if something happens? It'd be on us”.
“It wouldn't be on us. It'd kill us, sure, but it wouldn't be our fault. That arsehole boyfriend of hers, those druggies and the ones that make money off them, it'd be their fault. Fuck! I'm sorry for swearing, honey, but it just gets me so mad”.
I arrive at Jason's room without realising I'd been walking there. I'm in a fucked up mood, and being here never seems to help. This giant rotting house, with its tiny rooms and smaller kitchens attached, somehow justifying the almost extortion-level rent. The smell of cat piss that never seems to leave, but gets worse when his neighbour passes out in the stairwell. Which is every other day. The fucked up mood part is nothing new. You never get used to feeling like the entire world's about to collapse inwards, squeezing your lungs and choking the life outta you, almost constantly except when I take the needle, the pipe, whatever, the Great Escape from all the bone-cold and surface tension built up in the grey clouds//grey faces of the city. A counsellor once asked me why I 'abuse substances'. I asked him “Why don't you need to get high? Why aren't you running away from all of this?”. “This is about you, Laura, not me”. All of the best questions go unanswered.
I knock on Jason's door, and stare its flaking paint, waiting for him to answer. Part of me is hoping he won't. This part is probably some evolutionary survival instinct, hoping to protect my liver, veins, head, whatever, from abuse. Good luck, instincts. Jason opens the door. Bob is standing behind him. They're almost twitching in unison, which is kinda cute. The more their faces sink and scab, the closer they resemble each other. One day, they'll merge together. I'm sure of it.
'Hi Lauuuraaa', goes Jason, in his messed up queer-junkie slur.
'Hi Jase. Looking good! What's new?'
'Oh the saame old, y'knoww?'. I know.
'Bit of a problem, Jase. I'm sorry to ask. I need sorted out. But I'm broke. Temporarily at least. Wondered if you could sort me out if I pay you back tomorrow or something, after I get some more work done tonight?'
'Uhhhhhhm. Suure, I guess. But chuuu gotta pay me back, cos I'm no ch-charity, right?'.
I must have come at the right time, because Bob's too outta it to object. Usually, he knows the chances of payback are slim at the best. Jase would know too, if he hadn't fucked his memory doing god knows what. They're good people.
The foil wrap's in my pocket and I'm thanking him before leaving. I'm thinking about friends and co-dependence and co-defendants and this wonderful sense of community and commonality that springs up because of the opiates. And how false it is. How every single guy I know would pimp me for a fix if I hadn't got there first, and how every girl'd rob their man just as easy. Bleakness, weakness, humanity and all of that. 'What a wonderful world' is playing in my head as I push through my own front door. So cold. So small. Single bedroom condensation hell. There's black mould on the roof. What kind of fucked up City Council builds houses from cinder blocks? Black mould covers the roof. Probably somehow toxic, and killing me slowly. I lie back in the bed, with my pipe. No more needles, I promised myself. I'm soon enough forgetting about cold and toxic moulds and enjoying the sweet relief of no thought at all.
'Maybe we could do one of those intervention things, you know? They have them on that TV show. Show how much we care, how much we want her better?'
'If she doesn't know how much people care by now, that's not gonna change. We gave her everything. All of those toys. That damned dog. The schools. $10,000 a year. For what? Its not like we were hard on her. And we were always there! Not alcoholics, not molesters, not gang members. I can't figure her out! Its like she's doing it outta spite or something, I think sometimes'.
'The doctor said you need to watch your stress, honey'.
I'm waking up in a weird clogging sweat and it's already dark. I don't have a clock and so the only way to tell the time is by the traffic volume. I never can get it right though. It doesn't matter. 'Night' is enough. Soon enough I'm dressed and out the door. Cold, so cold, but always it pays off. Walking out for work like this I'm only glad for the fact my parents don't go out at night any more. They'd die if they saw me. Maybe even literally. I talk to Tony, who's in his car watching the girls. Keeping An Eye Out, for a reasonable fee. Quiet night, he tells me, absentmindedly twirling an axe-handle, the modern pimp. Hourly rates, rather than commission. Income security. I stand by the Church, on the corner. Usually the spot's free. These girls know its mine, even if I'm late, and Tony'll sort out the ones who don't get it. The headlights are blinding, and sometimes I wish I could wear my glasses. I guess then I'd make out their faces, though. Greasy, sweaty white faces – like the school principle or the priest or the mail man or your father. The nights are easier when they're not much more than a dribbling pink blur.
I take my first guy behind the church, and he's cumming in minutes. Blowjob, $50. “A religious experience”, maybe that should be the slogan. He pays up, shuffling off away from the city. You never know the regulars if you can't see the faces. Maybe his cock tastes familiar. Fuck him. Exploiter. I'm shivering again and walking back over the bark to the street. Roadside, in the dirt, there's a golden light shining. Reflecting the headlights of a passing car, or something. I go to look. Maybe someone's dropped their watch, or something. Straight to the pawn shop. Maybe I'll get the night off! You spend enough time kicking around in the dirt, you're bound to strike gold eventually, I'm thinking. All that glitters isn't gold, I'm thinking.
Getting over there, its certainly golden but it isn't no watch. At first I'm not even sure what it is, and almost stick myself in the finger from the needle's spike. A golden needle, full of some kinda something. One of those reusable types, from old movies and stuff, with the double loops on the plunger. As tempting as it is, I'm not about to jam it into my vein and fire it home. How do you know what's inside? Could be rat poison. Maybe some asshole's tossing out golden needles full of rat poison to take out a few junkies. Thinks he's doing society a favour. Removing our sort from the gene pool, for God or for Darwin or for whoever. This all starts me thinking on science and evolution and how my brain's wired and why it just makes me 'fuck up' every day, why my body feels so god damned sick every morning I'm trying to quit, and it must be a strange sight for all the punters, a messed up junkie whore looking like she's trying to solve Fermat or something.
Thinking about the punters, though, reminds me of this story an old dero once told me and Tony, in the Square on night. One of those guys that somehow, after twenty years on the streets, has been left alone by Death. Alone to wander with lank hair, torn up jeans and a jacket held together more by grease than the tiny-handed stitches of Chinese children, or whatever. Anyway, I remember the story this guy told us, because it seemed so ridiculous. Far out, even for an old dero, which is stupidly wide—in normal terms. He reckoned that some time back in the day, which probably means the 80s, there was this rumor about a golden needle. He swore to God that his mate's ex wife's brother had this golden needle. And, no matter what, it was always full. Always the best stuff you ever had. A golden needle, full of magic and wonder. Like something out of a Walt Disney movie, if he'd traded his hatred of the Jews for a love of junk. Me and Tony, we were laughing around with the old guy. About his story, and about the fact that it'd taken six cops to get him down from the bridge he was threatening to throw himself off the week before. The drop from that bridge was about two meters. I spent a few nights thinking about that story. How it was that we were building our own mythologies, just like the Greeks back in Classics, maybe to give us hope. Salvation through golden needles. How the story couldn't be true, because Hume killed miracles and Science stabbed magic right in the god damned back. We have to above all be Rational, and there just isn't anything rational about the magic golden needle in my bag being a magic golden needle.
After finishing the shift and paying Tony, I'm walking home. Done 'selling myself' (as if everyone else who ever worked a job hasn't lowered themselves just as much), and ready to run some tests on the needle. Rigorous science, not magic, will facilitate explanations. At home, I've got the needle off the tube and I'm scraping it out. I'm knocking the bottom off a wine bottle in the sink, and the tinfoil and butane lighter are ready. Small doses. Lighting up, feeling fire, feeling fine. Shit. Maybe there is a magic in these humble streets, because oh man. Right before my eyes, the needle's bubbling back. Instant refill. There is no way. I might be high. I don't hallucinate, much, usually. Give it half an hour. Somewhere in my mind I know that in fifteen minutes it'll be sticking outta my leg, no matter what promises I've made to myself about needles or veins or anything, and I'll be outta here, maybe for good.
But certainly this is a bad thing because who the hell leaves their house when all they've ever needed is sitting right next to you when you sleep and when you wake up. Maybe this is Love. What some other jerks get from spending time with their best gal, or something. Three days later and all I'm left with is a view of the ceiling and an overactive brain and a Golden Ticket to oblivion. No more surprises, and no need to believe in the passage of time or the metaphysics of history. I feel each day seeping out of me, but it feels just like every other day and comes rushing in again in the morning. The same lifeless faces. The same dealers and the same tricks. The only things changing are the veins we're shooting off into. These are our calendars. The only marker of the 'time' I can't believe in, a reminder of days stretching backwards forever, and probably forwards too. I'm part way around the circle, with no way of knowing where it starts and ends. Maybe that's deja vu. Maybe the return to the beginning comes in an overdose or a hanging. All I know is that I've got a ticket out of this place, and away from the feeling that you're just another face in an endless guilt parade before God, and the lucky ones, the chosen ones, get to live it forever and eternally. Over and over. Total oblivion is a grand gesture in the face of it all – a penultimate expression of self and agency. People would care, though. Mum and dad, they'd want someone to blame. Its all they've ever wanted. Plus I owe Jason $20. Shit. My mind is jumping from practicalities to the metaphysics and possibilities of life's destruction and its on fiiire, baby and in the end it's 4am and I'm meditating on 'I Wanna be Sedated' and sleep seems far far off, as far away as God, and there's nothing to do and no where to go and I wanna be sedated over and over forever.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
+ sell tshirts with pictures of new zealand on them to new zealanders.
+ let myself go and become one of those gross people malls pay to hang out at food courts to make people leave faster and free up more seats.
+ be a documentary film maker covering weird shit that happens in Japan.
+ rich people can pay me to hang around so they feel better about themselves when they are sad.
+ become, like, the Warehouse of christianity and undercut Brian Tamaki by offering salvation for like 2-3% less.
if you would like to pay me money to do something real easy that would be cool.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Feeling smaller and less like God down on the street level, I decided to ride a cab over to the Boss' club. A luxury I could afford. They buzzed me in and it was the usual scene of Boss and Jimmy and Pope sitting around the card table, no cards to be scene. I was leaning against the pillar, waiting for them to throw me the cash. Their faces were cut with the biggest grins I've seen, and looking back I should have known something was about to fuck me right then. These are not happy people.
Finally, after a cheshire grin eternity, the Boss finally decides to let me know what's up.
'You know who you just shot?' he says.
'Naw, some yuppie I guess, owed yous some money?'
And the fuckers started laughing.
'You know why I like this kid, Jimmy? Because he's so fuckin' thick. He'll fire without thinking. Hell, we could probably get him to shoot the president for a few speedballs, huh?'
This was not going well and right about now was that increasingly common of moments when high spirits and anticipation u-turned into outright fuckin' dread and cold sweats.
'Who... who was he boss? Who was the guy in the suit?'
'Since you're gonna find out soon enough, I'm gonna tell you. You know the Robinsons, right?'
'As in the north side Robinsons? The ones that car bombed those Chinese for tryin' to get that crack in?'
'Those very same fuckin' Robinsons. And that guy you just shot. Rob Robinson. I hope that name means something to you, or you're already dead'.
All the paper in the world couldn't fit the amount of fucks and shits and misfired neurons my brain was throwing out at this point in time. I probably woulda busted one of those fancy heart rate machines down at St John's Hospital too. Messed up as I was, I could see how bad this was gonna be.
'Here's the problem, kid. They find you, they're gonna beat hell out of you. And you, being the junkie piece of shit that you are, is gonna tell them who paid you to shoot that guy. Maybe they won't even have to beat you. Maybe they'll just wave a fat needle in your stupid god damned face, and let you choose between goin' out hard or easy, if you snitch. And we can't have you telling them shit. And on top of this, there's no doubt gonna be a bounty on the head of whoever was stupid enough to shoot our man by the end of the week. So, the way we see it, there are two paths open to you from here out. A plane ticket away from here and away from this horrible life of sin, which your obviously deficient brain has led you to so badly fuck up. Or, we shoot you, and give your body to the Robinsons. Maybe even put a bow tie round that fuckin' neck of yours. You're lucky though. I'm feelin' generous today. Pope's got your plane ticket here. How do you like Korea?'
This was where I got lucky. The fuckin' plane ticket thing. Last time Pope got me in was to help him stash the body of some some other ex-jerk who messed up. He couldn't stop talking about the plane ticket thing. Thought they were so clever, how they tricked the guy into thinking he was about to start a new life in sunny Mexico. Next thing, slam, 45 caliber to the brain and the only place the guy's headed is to an abandoned house down by the lake. Wouldn't shut up about the look on this guys face when he pulled the gun rather than some paper. I took it as my cue to split, and ran like hell for the door.
Reaching it, I heard the soft thud of metal on plaster. I didn't have to look back to know there'd be two guys standing, firing hell at me. I could even picture the sour fuckin' snarls on their faces as each slug somehow sailed too wide or too high. The pillar had covered me long enough, and somehow I'd made it out of that damned old hornets nest. As if that was enough.
I took off down King Avenue, still not looking back. Thank fuck, there was still a good number of day time shoppers around. Too many civilians for anyone chasing to risk getting trigger happy. By the time I'd cut across Castle Park and down two brick alleyways, my legs were burning. My heart was hammering even faster than earlier. Everything was a blur. I chanced a look around. There was no one around. A pigeon landing above me scared the hell out of me. I sat down, and it was as if my heart and my head were tryin' to out do each other in a foot race, both going far, far too fast.
Monday, March 29, 2010
This guy was no different. Should have been no different, anyways. That's what the boss told me. Just your average nouveauriche property developer type. Turning brick buildings into apartments for young professionals. A king of the commodification of shitty vibes and making people feel 'urban', while they sit safe behind two alarms and steel-barred windows. Got himself into trouble with the wrong people, as it turns out. I'm not sure how, or why. They never tell us why – just where. Where and what time and how much, and maybe if you're lucky they'll tell you you'll get half in blow (at their wholesale prices) if you do a good job. And so you do a good job.
You show up early, and get up to the roof opposite the guys work. Where he comes in at around 8.30 every morning, leaving his car for the valet outside. Sometimes he'll have a hat on and maybe you'll miss him for the hat. Maybe it's just some other grey-suited jerk in a hat, and this is the kind of think you want to maybe have a little bit of certainty of before you pull the trigger.
I was feelin' a little jittery still. The night had not been a kind one and the wire sting to my nerves from altogether too much speed and maybe just not quite enough liquor wasn't exactly helping. The endless loop of nonsense thoughts I couldn't throw away had me on edge. I was screaming focus in my lungs but my brain wouldn't follow, it was caught up in the idea that the competitive feasting of primitive societies was often called “potlatch” without knowing why or how it knew this. I had nothing to pull myself together except the strange adrenaline which will flow every time you point a gun at another man from on top of a building and feel just a little bit like God.
Today there was no hat. That face, fat from years of 'business lunches', almost filled the telescopic lense. I waited until he turned his back from the car, passing the keys to the red-coated valet. I took a last look at the suit before squeezing the trigger.
I watched through the scope just long enough to see the two arcs of gristle and gore which had erupted from his head splash to the pavement. Sitting back with my eyes closed all I could see was that copper ten cent hole right through where our man’s most intimate thoughts used to live. That’s life, I guess. One minute you’re on top of the world, and the next minute you’re a pile of bones on a street corner, avoided by the mid-day shoppers and big business suit types, and not even the homeless will touch you for the easy dollars sitting in your back pocket.