Suddenly, and unarguably, a bewildering sensation took his mind, his body and of course his soul. His unique brand of misery seemed depleted as something beautiful and black was dredged up from the materials of the universe around him. Objects from littered tabletops, ashtray contents, old lipsticks, and empty beer cans hovered and collided and formed a wewe, and as the wewe grew it shone silvery and twinkled brightly. It began to simultaneously revolve and dissolve, and as it did it tore a large hole through the thin air in front of him. Invisible fingers pushed a botox smile onto his face, and then they disappeared leaving behind a natural grin. His internal organs dissipated. Hair grew rapidly on every centimeter of his skin, as he simultaneously shed old skins and grew new skins. His right foot lifted, and he let the drone of, and thunderous tone of The Misfits lift his size 9 soul. Passageway through this dimension was granted, only, by the amount and variety of prescribed and unprescribed substances he had taken four hours previously in that desert the rest of the world was calling a party. Occupied by cacti with human mouths and human minds. How he came to be here, he does not now know, and now as his inflated chest leads the way as he passes through bright white light and enters a glittering and blistering inferno. He steps through, and eventually floats through the newly torn hole and discovers a better place. No longer bewildered by each limb that slopes off his body and floats off into the ether, he treats this phenomena as inertia and simply relaxes into it. He becomes one with the void he has found himself floating through. Tomorrow he will wake up, and re-realise he is a non-metaphysical being in a world regulated by the laws of numerous sciences, but for now he is returned to our natural state. Consciousness as dust, drifting through oblivion.
She slowly placed the phone onto the receiver. Her withered, thin skinned hands trembled, relieved that another night’s attempt had ended and again he had not picked up his phone. She put this down too luck, for he could never know it was her who phoned and surely no man with such importance as he would simply refuse to answer the phone each night. Luck, fortune, fate, kismet, call it what you will, but her heavy heart could rest a little more gently in knowing that each night, at least she tried.
Sitting silently and quietly she marvelled at the image of herself reflected in the icy window of her study. Drinking in the bitter sweet image of herself, she let out a slow warm breath and it left it trail of mist in the air as it floated toward and clung to the window. Leaning down, towards the ground slowly, she slipped off her thermos slipper and pealed back the four thick, Sherpa lined socks she wore. Then she took her old foot in her hands and spent a few minutes massaging it before her hands grew stiff and pale and her feet had lost their feeling, she closed her eyes and smiled in the rare delights of this. Slipping and tucking her feet back into the safety of her heat-preserving garments took some time. She was old now. Much older than she had been before she met him, older than she had ever imagined she would ever be. She was one of only two people in the town who had memories of the long day light. She remembered the world in such a different way, before the axis change, and her memories of this place were especially fond.
The steam of the tea she had poured herself had long since gone, she had been sat next to the telephone for such a lengthy time before mustering up the courage to dial those dreaded numbers, that her tea had turned cold. But cold tea was to her tastes and as long as it hadn’t turned to ice she would still enjoy sitting quietly, sipping at it, watching her ghostly figure smiling back at her in
the window pain, reflected clearly against the cold, pitch black sky of the night. If only he had answered. Would she have even had the courage to speak, or simply slammed the phone down and retreated into the next room, refusing to answer each time he called back, now knowing she wished to speak to him. A frown suddenly came across her face. Why hadn’t he even answered his phone? Four consecutive nights she had called and each night he had given no answer. She wondered where he may have been at such a late hour, what he may be doing out at such a time, a man as old as he ought not to brave this weather. Perhaps he was in, but if he was then why did he not answer?
Perhaps he slept heavily with his television blaring, or he may have been in the bath or he was simply entertaining. But if he was entertaining, then whom did he entertain? That horrible twat of a woman Mrs Pugh?! She’d wanted to sink her claws into him since the day she came. Mrs Pugh had moved to Spreake a widow. Much speculation had arisen as to why she chose Spreake; but she had, and her choice in adobe had been peculiar also, to say the least. She had t first bought a small sandwich apartment in the centre of town, there she lived for seven years before selling and buying a huge property, the biggest property in Spreake which was on the east side of the town, paid for no doubt, with her husband’s inheritance. Although the state now takes a large proportion of the dead’s wealth to fund the Nation’s Heating Service, word around town is her husband was a very rich man indeed. She grew instantly angry, and then fell instantly calm in the realization that of all the people of Spreake, Mrs Pugh was under the category of “most unlikely” to currently be being entertained by him... But it couldn’t be ruled out. She flipped her phonebook to P and ran her thin blue finger down the page until P met U.
“Pee, you, ghee, hache” flitting her eyes between phonebook and telephone she dialled each number precisely and with pneumatic force. She waited. It began to ring.
“Hello?” the commandingly prudish and sharply harsh voice of Mrs Pugh could have been heard distinctly through the ear piece of that telephone had someone been listening in another room! She slammed the phone down and giggled in the delights of knowing Mrs Pugh was not being entertained... And that she had just made her first ever prank phone call. Joyous in the delights of knowing what inconvenience she had caused to priggish old Mrs Pugh, she stood slowly and made her way to the kitchen clasping her empty mug. Suddenly, the phone rang. He head darted one hundred and eighty degrees the fasted it had turned in as many months. Her eyes wide, her mouth aghast, she clutched the kitchen doorway either for some form of comfort, or to support her from falling to the floor. The phone rattled on its receiver with every ring. She slid down the door frame and sat like a child on the floor watching the phones rigid rattle, its sounds echoing about the house.
He was "That Guy".
He didn't want to be "That Guy" anymore, but somewhere along the pathway toward his "That Guy" destiny his control over that decision became non-existent.
His biggest fear now, was that he would always be "That Guy".
The bare bottoms of his feet where all that could be seen poking out of pile dirty clothes and sex stained sheets that lay strewn over the bed. Underneath those sheets he lay naked with a burning coke-nose and dry lips. Beside him, and wrapped partly around him, was a devoted fan. She was fast asleep too.
He was dreaming. He was dreaming he was bobbing up and down in a pool of purple water underneath a starlit sky. He was experiencing himself symoultanously from two different camera angles. One camera was underneath the water, capturing him at an up angle from behind. The other camera bobbed in front of him lapping in and out of the water. This angle captured his clean shaven but worn-tired face. His eyes wide open in awe, gazing at a burning Hollywood hills. He'd never been to Hollywood before, and thought he'd maybe seen this exact thing in a movie he'd watched once. Suddenly the water developed a kind of current, a wave. He struggled as it became increasingly difficult for him to keep his head above the water as it lapped and bashed. He trod the water and paddled, and as he did his head went under and his view of the burning Hollywood hills dipped in and out of the purple water. He could breathe, and then couldn't breathe, and then suddenly he needed to piss.
Underneath the mass of dirty bed cloth, "That Guy" begins to urinate.
In the purple swimming pool in front of a blazing Hollywood hills, "That Guy" began to urinate.
In that instant two momentarily confused signals manage to make sense, spark and bridge the gap between his conscious and unconscious mind. He gasps awake, innately aware of the fact he's pissing the bed, almost like the dream version of himself told his real self to wake the fuck up and stop it. He leaps up and dashes over to the corner of the room. There he stands and pisses in a small wastepaper basket.
"Why don't you just use the toilet?" the rudely awoken, fan suggests as she sits up and rubs her eyes.
He turns his head to the left and can see the toilet through the open bathroom door, he winces his bloodshot eyes and adjusts his vision, now he can see himself in the large mirror that covers the bathroom wall, and in a way it sort of looks like he is using the toilet. In a way. He looks down again and can see his
hand holding his dick dribbling his piss into the hotel's wastepaper basket. He doesn't answer the fan, but just carries on pissing. She's confused by the
animal nature of her one time lover. The now former fan covers her nakedness with the sheet and lays back down. All that can be heard is the traffic from the busy street below and the drum like patter of his piss hitting the bottom of the wastepaper basket.
He finishes urinating and shudders.
He zips up his flies and makes his way towards the sink. Jack's office is way too nice to have nice sinks like this, and "That Guy" makes the assumption that his 15 years of 10% paid for these nice sinks, so out of protest he tries to snap or bend or damage the tap with brute force when he turns it off, but he does nothing to it, except turn it off.
Jack was a man of many words, too many words in "That Guy"'s opinion and so he didn't like spending too much time with him, even if it was better for business. "That Guy" kind of had the opinion that you can only swallow so much shit before you start before you overflow with it yourself. He knocked and Jack's door, and Jack bade him in.
"What the fuck is this?"
"It's nice to see you too Jack..."
"Shut the fuck up and sit down."
"That Guy" had no idea what Jack was talking about.
"I buy the news papers every day, and every day I hope I'm going to turn to page ten and see your face in there, like you've attended some party or some shit, and who do I actually see? Not you, that's who. I never see you. I tell you to put on a suit, smell yourself good, get an expensive girl and walk the carpet at something once in a while. Stay in the public eye. Keep peoples attention. But you never do. And then this morning, what do I do, buy the fucking paper, like the fucking mug I am, and I turn to page ten, and I prepare myself for the absence of your stupid prick face, but this morning, this morning I see your stupid prick face and I smile".
"Good for you".
"Yeah, good for me... Until I read the fucking article. You little prick! Do you have any idea what this will do?"
"It's not a big deal, people do it all the time. Besides it's conjecture or what ever you want to call it. I didn't get arrested, nothing can be proved, I tried to score a little speed. Who gives a fuck?"
Jack's face, although this conversation is a mere 30 seconds old, is boiling. His veins are sinuous on his face, his eyes look closed but aren't, his lips are wet with spit rage, he looks like Danny DeVito if Danny DeVito was fatter and had some kind heart condition.
GARY THE EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR
His eyes peeled open and the first thing he saw was the disappearing mist from the warmth of his morning breath. He hadn’t paid the gas bill and so now he had to wear two jumpers and a pair of jeans to bed. Rolling over he remembered that last night he shared his bed with the half eaten carton of home delivered Chinese food he couldn’t bothered to finish, and now dim sum or some dim was all over his legs.
Gary looked, and gently began to despise the limp, thin curtain draped across the condensation covered window, because it had holes in that let streaks of 2pm light into the room.
As Gary lay there, he hoped something would happen. That maybe an earthquake would come and tumble his dingy little flat. That maybe he might be swallowed up by the ground as the walls and ceilings cave in and cover him in his own filthy bedsheets and worthless possessions. It may give him a reason to stay in bed.
The local community would form some kind of rescue party no doubt. They’d meet in a surviving building nearby and discuss how best to form a refuge party. They’d take action by standing in single file, passing large chunks of rubble down the line, people would read about his plight on Twitter using the hashtag “GetGaryOut” and some would drive from miles and miles around to help. They’d dig and labour and tug at old bit’s of steel-frame and brick-work. Then, suddenly, the person at the head of the line moves an oven door and a bit of old breeze block to see Gary’s face poking out of the terrible rubble.
“We’ve got him! He’s alive!” The person at the head of the line would shout.
It’d probably go nation wide with BBC, ITV and Channel 4, all covering the event, getting ready to send emails vying for Gary to make a special appearance on their channels. He might meet Phillip Scofield, or Bill Turnbull, or maybe even Richard Wright.
“Gary, you’re going to be alright, we’re going to get you out of here”. The person at the head of the line would shout.
They’d give him cups of tea, special dressing rooms and private cars to and from the fanciest hotels in London. He’d probably be so enigmatic during his various television appearances that numerous celebrities would be offering to take him out to dinner, just to hear his incredible fucking story again and again and again.
“Hold on. I’ve got you now”. The person at the head of the line would shout.
He’d be front page news ’The Man That Survived’. He’d write a best selling book ‘The Man That Survived’. They’d commission a four part TV series all about his life, his strife and his struggles and they would call it ‘The Man That Survived’.
Before long, beautiful women would flock from all corners of the globe, just to be in the company the bravest man alive, the man that survived. He’d be a hero, a legend chiselled into the ever ageing ancient tablets of heroism throughout time. As his story is told and retold it’s embellished, details change, the time spent under the rocks gets longer, the amount of brick and stone that suppressed him grows in number, one version told in one of the remotest parts of the Tasmanian jungle tells of how Gary not only stopped the building from falling with his bare hands, but also managed to save every other resident and residents pet whilst doing so.
In the one and a half minutes it’s taken Gary to concoct this tale, he has become the stem cell for a future new world religion. He is the new messiah, he is Gary.
“That’d show Mr Patel” said Gary to himself out loud “always banging on about me not paying the fucking rent”. Who should really pay the rent around here? Thought Gary, not Gary, thought Gary. Not Gary the fucking Earthquake Survivor, thought Gary. If anything Mr Patel should leave him to live their eternally rent free, for everything he’s done, or at least could do in extremely rare event of an earthquake. God how he wished there would be an earthquake. That’d show him. That’d show Mr Fucking Patel.
The squirrel had been searching for well over an hour now.
Jumping from place to place, thoroughly inspecting each patch of grass previously unchecked, before discovering nothing and hopping hopefully to the next one.
As he foraged and ferreted away looking for his long lost nuts, his little fluffy tail flicked and twitched with anticipation.
His little fury face harboured his large optimistic eyes that flung from left to right as they surveyed from side to side.
Hands, almost human like in shape and form dug and ruffled and neatly parted blades of grass.
Such an inquisitive, delightfully intelligent creature, with thoughtfulness enough to bury nuts in a season of abundance for a time when there will be far fewer.
I simply watched as he leapt about my garden, from place to place, searching, aspiring to find his secret stash of summer nuts to stave away pains of hunger.
But he never would find them.
Because I dug them up the day he buried them, 6 long months ago.
Have that you fury little twat. Have that.
She waits, very impatiently. Complete anticipation. Sat on the arm of the settee, half uncomfortable, half un, she is completely ready to jump. She bites her bottom lip, rhythmically bounces her left leg up and down, and with index finger and thumb gripped on gold, she twiddles her wedding ring whilst staring out of the window.
The clock says eleven-thirty-one. He’s usually been and gone by now. “A watched kettle”, she thinks almost aloud. She’s excited, but finds the wait unbearable. A Jeremy Kyle re-run spews violent noises from the TV speakers that battle with the kitchen’s Radio 4 radiations. A mess of noise that may as well be neat silence.
She’s forty something with short blonde hair, and in some indescribable way, just by looking at her, you can tell she prefers a life indoors.
A clatter. She springs. She twitches at the curtain to see. He’s just walked through the gate. He’s approaching the front door now. She stands; back flat against the wall watches the letterbox. It’s flap, flips open and from the space the flap had previously been flipped and briefly left a rectangular gap behind. From this gap a box protruded, before extending so far it fell away, in and down and bounced away from the door.
Excitedly, she grabs the box and rushes towards the sofa. Carefully, she removes each piece of tape. She opens the box, her hands shaking, a wry smile curling up the edges of her mouth. She can see it now. There, folded up inside the box. She closes her eyes and sniffs the contents. It’s like a drug. She up ends the box onto the table and out falls the fur. The animal’s skin. She unfolds it and spreads it over her lap. She’s ecstatic. She loves fur.
She is the Lady Countess Of Nowhere. Her home is nothing special, her bank account near empty, her T.V bought on finance, her children from home absconded, her carpet old and scruffy, her windows wiped clean weekly, her kitchen smells of bleach, her bedroom soft and cosy, her walls attached on both sides to two others, and one another, the flowers in the vase fake, the lamp lit bright and sparsely, the laptop permanently plugged in and the kid’s toys in the attic. She has little, but manages to get by. She buys fur to remind her of better times, imaginary times.