Thursday, 14 June 2012

In a Dirty Motel

It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon when I finally tried to drag myself out of bed. I had only been asleep for an hour and a half – it had been a long and heavy night and I knew I wasn’t going to show up for work. I couldn’t care less, frankly it was a relief.

I stumbled into the kitchen, filled the kettle with water, set it on the stove and fired it up. As the metallic beast slowly groaned into life, I rinsed out my only mug, spooned in some instant coffee and filled it half-way with my favourite bourbon. Kentucky coffee. That’s the name I’d given the concoction and I couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

I rubbed my eyes and tried to piece together the events of the previous evening as the kettle meandered its way to its whistling climax. What exactly did I get up to last night? I didn’t care. I just ran my tongue across my numb teeth, blew my nose on the tea-towel and waited patiently for the kettle to fully burst into life.

Returning to my bed, I hoped that sleep would grab me. The whiskey made my head swim but my heart thumped from the caffeine and my legs ached with restlessness. I felt both lost and trapped. I reached into my shirt pocket, searching for my tobacco, but I only found an old, bent cigarette and a couple of filter tips. Snapping the cigarette at its crooked bend, I lit it with the lighter from the bedside table and dragged deep. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. The cigarette was spent. I exhaled finally and stubbed the ungenerous bastard out on the radiator by my side. I had nothing left to do but lean back onto my pillow and wait for sleep to take me.

I was hazy as to how much time had passed before I was dragged back out of sleep by the incessant, shrill cry of my telephone. Ignore it. I had to ignore it. It groaned and whined, pleading me to answer, but I was going to ignore it. There was only one person it could be. It was going to be him. No doubt he would be ringing to find out when he was going to get his money back from the night before and then claim that I owed him a little extra than I actually did. He’d probably also want to know how far things went with the pretty brunette that was hanging around last night’s party. I couldn’t face talking to him. I immediately regretted ever allowing him to have my telephone number, or any means by which to contact me. I waited for the ringing to cease. I tried to shield my eyes from the sun flooding into my room, but the half-broken blinds were clearly being no help this morning and the light was penetrating my brain and it was not helping my fragile state. Finally the phone shut up. Thank fuck.

I dragged myself out of bed, in need of a shit. It’d be loose and wet and it would smell foul. Best not. Maybe I should save it for later and let it harden. I walked over to the desk by the window where my typewriter now lived. I felt so cool and chic when I bought that damned thing, but now I couldn’t help but think that it would probably have been easier and cheaper to just buy a cheap laptop. As I stared at the archaic thing resting on the desk, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I was a dick. It lay there, motionless, with a blank sheet of yellow paper already loaded into it. Apparently I had expected some poignant late night creative spree when I got home last night but was instead met with the frigid bitch that is writer’s block. Oh well, at least the old trooper is good to go now. I should write a letter to Chrystal. It’s been a while since I spoke to the girl and she has been popping up in my thoughts on a regular basis these last few weeks. I started pounding on the keys...

"Dear Chrystal,

I've been meaning to write you back for a while and I hope you can forgive me. I kept meaning to get some words down on paper for you but things kept coming up and I just wasn't able to get it done. Please don't hate me for that, I never meant to leave it so long.
I've been doing okay. I've taken some work at a bar called the Bucket of Blood. Yeah I know, the name sucks but the pay is alright. As you'd expect the place is a dive but the rest of the staff are cool and the manager pays on time. I work as hard as I can but I never suspect it's enough. I met a girl there and she liked my hair. We started seeing each other for a while but I got scared and stopped calling her back. I don't know why I do these things, but it happens. Well I messed up. I shouldn't go into details but I don't have anyone else to tell. I found out later she'd been fucking some other guy. He lived across the road from her and so I went round there and beat him up pretty bad. I left him in a mess. I'm not proud. I had to take up smoking again for a while just to get over it. I wonder if I should go back to find out if he died, but I haven't heard anything or read about him in the local papers, so I suspect he is fine. I'm a bad person, Chryst, but you know that. You were always right. I shoulda turned myself in that time when we were on the coast. Fuck. Let's forget those times. The guy'll be alright. Let God be my judge and let's move on.

My parents aren't so good, but thanks for asking. My dad hasn't been the same since he found out my mother was cheating on him. He kicked her out the house and I haven't heard from her since. I don't know where she went. I go pay my old man a visit about every fortnight. We just sit there and drink beer and watch the racing. He never says much, but that's okay because I never know what to say to him anymore.

I hear you're engaged now and have a kid on the way. That's fantastic. You've deserved it after all you've been through and I know you'll get that cut of happiness you've always been searching for. "Smiles on rainbows" and all that poetry you spoke of has finally come true. Sometimes I lay awake at night, thinking. It's been easier to sleep since I heard your good news. I love you Chryst, and I always will. Our hearts are the same even when they belong to others. Stay safe and stay true.

I'll try and come visit you some time. I managed to fix my car up at last and now it's running again, so it shouldn't be too hard to travel out to you. Let me know, yeah? Write back soon and tell me everything.



P.S., I finally took your advice and quit eating meat. At last you can take me to that restaurant you’ve always raved about. I’d appreciate it now. My body certainly does; I’ve never felt healthier."

Done. The load had been shed. I leant back in my chair, clasping my fingers together behind my head and blew steadily outwards – eyes clamped shut. I was feeling better for it. Sighing hard, I reached for the letter and yanked it from the typewriter. Where the fuck was I meant to send this little bastard? Where was she living now? It’d been too long since we had last spoken. To hell with her. I screwed the page into a tight little ball, dropped it to the dirty floor and crawled into the sanctity of my motel bed. If only there was ganja.

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Greatest Show on Earth

The Falls Motel was a hole. There were blinds half hanging from the window, a broken television set, indeterminable stains on the carpet and cigarette burns on the sheets. The place was cheap and cheerless and that's exactly why I chose it. I couldn't see much from my window. The car park was empty except for an old blue pick-up truck diseased with rust and a kid's slide turned on its side. It was a depressing view. Beyond the car park I could see the rest of the town that I found myself in. It, too, was a hole. It consisted of one long road with nothing but dirty motels, bad hotels, oversized restaurants, a casino illuminated in neon, a run-down cinema and a few bars beyond that. That was it. That was the town I was stuck in. I'd finished my own meagre supply of drink; a six-pack of weak beer and a handful of little bottles of vodka, and I needed to find some way of entertaining myself until the bars opened. I was hungry and I couldn't afford to start gambling. I'd have to hit the streets and see what I could find. There had to be something else to do.

"Ganja. Ganja. Ganja, weed. Ecstacy. Ganja. MDMA. Ganja. Some shrooms. Whaddya say? Ganja."

"Fuck you! What the hell did you say? Fuck you! No, I don't want your shit. Stay the hell away from me! Crazy mind controlling Nazi. I don't need your shit. Can't you tell that I'm drunk? Hell, can't you see the bottle of scotch in my hand? Hell, where did it go? Joe! Joey! Joe you stinking crack-whore, where is my whiskey? Oh shit yeah. Hip flask. Fuck. How could I for... Hey! Hey, man. Where are you going? I don't have any ganjey. Whatever the fuck you called it. Sod you, Nazi-hippie cunt. I don't need your shit. I should smash this bottle on your face. At least I pay taxes. Yeah. I get drunk. You see this booze? It's tax motherfucker. None of this illegal shit. Yeah, I know you're selling shit. Who am I talking to? Come back here you little rat! Where the hell are you going? Come back here with your damned dread-locks.  You're not Marley. You're no better than me. Fucking fuck. Come back. Don't walk away when I'm talking to you. I know you can hear me. You shit. Utter shit. You've got no soul. I fucked your mother. I fucked her in Hell. Fuck. Where did you go? Drug dealing son of a whore bitch. Fuck!"

I endured it all. Teeth clenched, eyes fixed on the pavement beneath me. I'd been in the safety of the cinema, watching a film in darkness with lovers mumbling and fumbling around me and my feet sticking to the floor as I idly watched the man's fearless face on screen as the beasts tried to hunt him down while he desperately tried to find his way out of the wilderness and back to humanity. I needed to get out of that quiet little torture chamber, but I timed my escape all wrong and ran into this nut. Outside the air was cool after a long day of hot, horrendous, relentless sunshine. It'd been too much for some and had taken its toll. I exhaled hard as I fanned my t-shirt slowly.

"I should slit your motherfucking throat!"

I stared at my shoes. I really needed to find new friends in this town. I really needed to tell this dirt-bag to shut up and I really needed to get moving. I should've ignored him when I saw him approaching me in the street. I definitely shouldn't have agreed to go for a drink with the arsehole.

"Hey, wait, I've got ganja. Ha! Fuck you! Hahaha! Oh. No. Fuck, I don't. Where the fuck did you go? Forget what I said. I need you, little bastard. Come back or I'll cut your balls off. Those alleyways won't hide you forever. This city ain't that big. I'll find you, dipshit."

He had been talking to himself and I couldn't understand why I was still tolerating his rants and jeers. Perhaps they amused me. We all need something to laugh at – something to lighten the load. Drink was good for me. Plenty of others had turned to drugs. Mixing these was a bad idea though. I didn't care. I had strolled from the flickering lights of the auditorium, from the gaping, empty eyes of the sparse audience and out into the street. I'd stumbled out into the Greatest Show on Earth. Roll on, roll up. Ganja for one. Ganja for all. I couldn't take any more. I'd had enough. I was looking for some kind of safety but instead I had found this.

"Come back you bastard! Ganja? Who cares? Fuck you!"

I'd had enough. It was all too much.

"Get me outta here!"

I moved to the edge of the road and thrust my arm out in desperation. I needed a cab. I needed a ride. I wanted to escape the Greatest Show on Earth and I wanted to get to a better party. Any kind of bar would do. Headlights shone in the distance. I knew I'd be going home.