(also, keep in mind that this is only a draft, and has not been reviewed or edited. You have been warned)
I spent the rest of the afternoon sprawled out on the lounge in my boxes drawing various people. Some people have strange obsessions with porn, dolls, and/or staring at people on the street untilt he become uncomfortable and ask you if you need help with anything. My obsession is with drawing people. Sometimes they're people I've seen previously on the street, while at other times they are whatever comes into my mind.The person on my paper was one of the latter. It was a woman wearing a blood-red evening gown, sans sleeves. I let it flow to her ankles, but left her barefoot. she wore a couple of large black bangles on her wrists, and her nails were the same shade as her dress.
Moving towards the top of the page, an oval face was set on top of an elegant, swanlike neck. Her eyes were a blue so pale it was almost grey, and her hair was a spill of auburn curls.
Once I had finished the drawing, I sat up and looked at it for a while. Although she was only someone from my mind, there was something about her that bore an uncanny resemblance to the girl in my dreams. Her wide eyes seemed tormented, like a lost soul wandering the darkness of a mind not quite unlike my own. Her feet were bare like the girl's too, although I have no idea why I didn't draw her with shoes. With a jacket and some high heels maybe, she could've passed for an actress or a high-class call girl. However, the way I had actually drawn her suggested a mix of fragility and power that I had never seen in anybody before.
It perplexed me - normally when I draw people I take great pleasure in finding their greatest characteristics and twisting them to the point where their selves were far darker than they actually seemed to be. Even the people in my mind often came out like a Tim Burton-esque transformation into darker, more sadistic individuals.
I put my book down and went to make myself a cup of coffee. I needed a break from where I was going.
After a coffee, I came back to the book and started drawing more people. Successful businessmen, children playing at a park, prostitutes...all took on the same tormented visage that seemed to silently scream something at me. It was as though I was in a dream, and the people in my book were parading in front of me.
I closed my eyes.
"Isn't it a bit early for you to be sleeping?"
I opened my eyes again, and as sure as night follows day I was back in the room with the girl. There was no furniture this time, and the walls were completely bare.
The girl giggled. "I see you're a bit lost."
Lost was the understatement of the century. I felt like I had been wrenched from one nightmare and thrown into another. My throat felt like I was drowning in milk, and I was shaking all over.
The girl walked over to one of the walls and stared at it. "You seem to hate people. Why?" I didn't respond. The girl walked over to me and stared up at me. She seemed a lot shorter than I remembered her to be. "Do you hate me?" I shook my head.
She stared at me for a while then, as though I was a subject at the zoo to be studied. I grew uncomfortable at her staring at me, but I felt like I couldn't move.
Eventually, she took a step back from me. "Why are you dead?"
I was perplexed. "I'm not dead though."
She smiled and turned back to the wall. "You should wake up. You haven't eaten dinner yet." With that, she walked through the wall and disappeared. It looked strange seeing her walk through the wall. You would expect to see her fade into the wall like a ghost, melt into it, have it shimmer like water - you know, what you see in the movies. However, it was completely different to that. It was like an optical illusion where someone was walking into a closed door, but walked through as though it was open.
I blinked, and I was back on the lonuge.
Once chicken salad later, and I was sitting on the lounge staring at the TV like a mindless zombie. While looking at the people on the screen, I tried to picture them as though I had drawn them in my book, but every single one of them took on that same tormented look that the characters drew earlier. I don't know why they were all looking like it.
At one point, someone on the TV said, "I am a destroyer of dreams and harbinger of souls." That sounded so much like me at that moment in time, I shivered.
Thank god for weekends.I awoke feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck. After taking a shower and padding naked into the lounge room, I flicked on the TV and decided to watch some cartoons (I have the maturity of a hormonal teenage girl if you haven't figured that out by now).
After consuming a healthy breakfast of fried spam, poached eggs and bacon, I slipped on a pair of shorts and a nondescript t-shirt and gave Drake a call. I decided that Barbara was right and I should try to be more supportive of him.
It took a few rings for Drake to pick up the phone. He sounded slightly groggy. "Hello?"
"It's me, Reid."
"Reid? Why the fuck have you gotta wake me up at this hour man?"
"I wanted to talk. Are you free?"
There was a muffled argument on the phone. Clearly Drake wasn't being exactly responsible with his newfound medical knowledge.
"Not today. Can we talk tonight?"
I was the slightest bit pissed off at that. Even though I knew what Barb said yesterday rang true as a church bell, it was still difficult to deal with someone like Drake. "Sure. Where do you want to go?"
"The Velvet Lounge?"
I groaned loudly into the phone. Drake laughed. "So is that a yes?"
I sighed. "Fine. I'll see you when you decide to get your whore ass in there."
Drake laughed. "Sure thing."
After hanging up, I headed into the bedroom and turned on my computer. It had been a while since I'd been on last, and like most women if you didn't engage with them regularly you tend to get lost in the wave of things said and done quite quickly.
A quick look at Facebook confirmed this. There were that many updates from people that even scrolling through it looked like it would take at least an hour to get through everything. Instead, I made a quick status update of 'Still alive. Glad to see everyone loves me' and turned my computer off.
I spent the rest of the day being a good little housewife and cleaning up the place. Among my notable achievements was rescuing the Kingdom of Stacked Plates from the furry green monsters invading their land, and making my way through Clothes Country to the Land of Clean Floors.
By mid-afternoon I was feeling a little sleepy, and clearly didn't want to go tonight. However, if I'm nothing else I'm a stubborn little son of a bitch, and having committed to tonight I wasn't about to back out. I ended up taking a shower and popping a couple of caffeine pills in an attempt to get myself through the night without passing out (which would be a Very Bad Thing™).
Padding my way naked to the wardrobe, I mulled over what to wear for the night. I wanted to dress stylish enough so I didn't feel even less confident about myself than I normally did, but didn't want to stand out like a lamb in a flock of hungry wolves. It was one of those first world problems that really shouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that peoples' self-consciousness can grow to the point where it consumes you over the most trivial of issues.
Eventually deciding on a set of skinny black jeans, black shirt and blue flanelette shirt (left open), I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was a tumbled mess of black, and the beard was at the point where it looked feral. The bags under my eyes weren't quite so bad today, but I still looked like I had better days.
After a quick shave so I looked at least somewhat presentable, I made my way on the train into the city and the ominously-named Velvet Lounge.
It had been a good long while since I last walked into that place, and now I remembered why. After greeting the bouncer on the way in (who was a huge Samoan guy that I hadn't seen before), I was hit with a wave of sweaty, barely clothed bodies mixed with alcohol and heat. Seriously, didn't the owner think about adding a bit of air conditioning into the place?
Well, considering I know the owner quite well, I already knew the answer to that.
Whilst there weren't a lot of heads that turned my direction when I first entered, the ones that did made me feel like fresh meat being eyed up by a hungry animal. The room was cavernous, which added to the feeling of being trapped in a cage with a horde of hungry lions.
I made my way past the table exhibit, which marched off either side of me along the walls like a row of cats hunting in the shadows. In the middle of the club, past the free-ranging predators on the dance floor, stood the feeding booth for the animals. Serving radioactive coloured drinks to the punters was a girl in a short red dress carrying a riding crop for her circus of underwear-wearing animals.
She wasn't paying attention to me as I made my way up to the bar. Taking a quick glance along the side I could see, I didn't recognise any of the scantily clad, crotch stuffed (although one guy certainly didn't need it) men pulling drinks behind the bar. After pulling a drink for some thirsty gazelle that was all glitter and no pants, she made her way across to the opposite corner of the bar, straight past me.
I put on my most innocent smile (which looked like a fifteen year old who was about to tell a guy she screwed that she was underage and about to call the police), turned to her, and said "Vagina not very moist tonight?"
She turned, face as red as the fire she looked about to breathe on the disgusting individual who said that. When she saw my face though, you could see the fire becoming harmless.
"Only because cunts like you aren't worth my time."
She grinned then, like the evil little bitch she was. An evil little bitch that I loved like a dysfunctional wife in a bearded relationship, but an evil little bitch nonetheless.
I jumped over the counter and gave her a hug. "Where the fuck have you been Reid? I haven't seen you in months" she said in the middle of crushing my ribcage.
Rachael was The Velvet Lounge's owner. With long brown hair, brown eyes and a slender build, she often didn't stand out in a crowd unless she was wearing one of her incredibly tacky bright dresses and skirts. She was one of those people who you'd say hi to on the street and then forget five minutes later even if you walked straight past her again.
For those in here though, you knew who she was. Moreso, you respected her.
Case in point: After I hugged her, one of the scantily clad barmen (whose stuffed crotch looked like he had three testicles) tapped Rachael on the shoulder and whispered something into her ear. I followed Rachael's eyes across to the dancefloor, where a couple of guys had graduated from 'bump and grind' to 'slip and slide'. The top hadn't done a bad job of hiding what he was doing - the jeans were still up arond his waist, belt buckled, and was making it look like he was dancing with the guy. The little guy however, gave it away like a poorly shot infomercial. His shorts were around his waist (even though he managed to keep his crotch covered), his belt unbuckled, and panting like a dog in a desert. If he shoved his ass any further into the guy behind him, it's likely it would disappear into some strange other dimension.
If you were the owner of a nightclub and saw this happening, would you:
A. Walk up to them and threaten to boot them out of the club if they don't immediately stop.
B. Call over security and have them escort them to the fuck room out back.
C. Grab your giant purple dildo, storm over there and beat the living daylights in them until they got the message.
For those that said A, we cannot be friends. While it is a professionally correct option, clearly you are too much of a drag.
For those that said B, we could be friends, but it is not the most correct option. I'll give you half a mark if you chose this, and an additional quarter mark if you decided to follow them out back like a Peeping Tom on viagra.
However, for the mistress of The Velvet Lounge, nothing sends a loud, clear message like an eighteen inch neon purple dildo of death. Reaching under the bar for the sex toy aptly named Cassanova, she leapt over the bar, stormed over to the fornicating couple on the dance floor, and proceeded to belt them over the head. For those who haven't been whacked over the head with eighteen inches of gel, it hurts .
After getting their attention and pointing to the door, Rachael came back over this side of the bar.
"I see Cass is still getting plenty of mileage in the Lounge" I said, grinning.
Rachael nodded. "When you get fags hot, sweaty and full of alochol, sooner or later somebody is going to make things hang out."
"Is Drake around at all?" I asked.
"Yeah, he's upstairs, why do you ask?" She responded, with an ever so slight quizzical look on her face. By 'ever so slight' I mean 'looks like a duck trying to solve the Da Vinci Code'. Rachael was very abrupt and straight to the point usually - and didn't tolerate any beating around the bush.
"Has he told you anything recently?" I tried to tread lightly around the situation, even though Drake had been a dick to me. It wasn't my place to disclose his status, and I knew that if Rachael felt I was hiding something that she would jump on me like Kirstie Alley on a Christmas turkey.
Rachael looked at me intensely. "No, he hasn't said a word. What should he have told me?"
I was cornered. When Rachael wants something, heaven have mercy on the poor soul she will inevitably mow down on the way to getting it. There was a reason The Velvet Lounge had remained open long after all the other gay spots had migrated to a strip further away from the centre of the city.
"Honestly, you need to talk to him about this one. I'm not trying to back away from this, but it's not my place to say."
Fuck. I blew it.
Rachael tilted her head in the direction of the spiral staircase that wrapped itself around the centre of the bar like an Egyptian pole dancer.
"He's up in the VIP area. He had a real dopey look on his face when he came in, but I left him alone. Now that I've talked to you though, I'll make sure to grill him when you leave."
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks Rach, you're my best friend" I said dryly.
I thought about it for a while, even though I didn't like it. He did have a point though - if there was a guarantee I was going to die I should be preparing the will, putting money aside for the funeral, things like that.
"You know, I should" I said (at least, insofar as I hadn't had enough time to formulate an appropriate response as to why I shouldn't), "However, I'm simply content to float on the sea that is life until the currents decide they want to pull me under."
He seemed to enjoy the awkwardly philosophical answer. I have to admit I felt like a Confucian fraud in formulating a response like that. He seemed to be pleased by it though. "Dude, it's awesome that you're not caring about dying! It's like, you're a totally free spirit or something."
"I'm about as free as I want to be. I don't take crap from people, and I make sure I'm always doing what I want to do."
He eyed up what I was wearing then. Admittedly, what I was wearing was more appealing than his faded brown cargo pants and black band t-shirt (it was so faded that I couldn't exactly identify which one it was). "Is that why you're wearing that?" he asked.
"Yeah. I felt like looking good today, so i decided to wear a suit to work."
"So why the white dude?" He asked. "Looks like you're going to a wedding or a funeral or something, not to a freakin' job."
"Because I felt like it. I don't see the point of conforming to society's expectations." I responded. It was bullshit, but he seemed to appreciate it. He nodded knowingly, like a philosophy lecturer to a crop of pigheaded students. "You're right dude" he responded, "Nobody should have to conform to The Man. He's up there you know, watching all of us." He pointed to the roof, but I'm guessing he meant up in the sky. "They got sattelites you know. America, China, Russia, they all got ways of watching all of us. Every time you pick your nose, bump into someone on the street, jerk off on the beach, they're always watching!"
I wasn't exactly certain that people masturbated on the beach, but it really wasn't something I wanted to to think about.
"I think the government has more interesting things to do than be a voyeur for the goings-on of random people walking down the street. Because, y'know, they have other countries to spy on."
"Good point." He said. "I suppose we're insignificant in the greater scheme of things, right dude?"
"I suppose it depends on how you define 'insigificant'." I felt like an imposter talking philosophy, and I was half-expecting someone to snort in disgust at me as though I was an arrogant dick. "Are you insigificant in the eyes of a greater power, or insignificant in the eyes of the people you interact with? In that case, are you living your life with purpose, or are you living life for the sake of being alive?"
He toyed with his hands then, as though he was expecting to see a ring on his finger. He started muttering to himself then, and as much as I tried I couldn't make out anything he was saying. I looked up to one of the men travelling to work sitting across to me, and he shook his head in dismay, as though he was sorry for having to put up with the creature sitting next to me. Strangely enough though, LSD junkie did remind me a little of Gollumn from Lord of the Rings .
He looked up abruptly, as though he was slapped awake after falling asleep in some woman's breasts. "Sorry dude, they were talking to me."
"They?" I hadn't the slightest clue as to who 'they' are.
"The midichlorians. The freakin' force dude."
I can't believe what I was hearing. Here I thought the acid had given him some sort of sagely powers, and now he had to go and change topic to fucking Star Wars. I was not impressed.
"Don't worry about me dude. I know I'm hearing things." I can't believe he was lucid enough to actually understand that. I'm not so sure he was actually on LSD anymore. "It's just nice to know that you've got someone to talk to y'know? Like you dude. You've sat here and talked to me, and that's a good thing. I love you man."
I decided to be nice and smile. When I didn't say anything, he continued, "The midichlorians, they've been with me for as long as I can remember." I decided not to interject by correcting him in that they had only been with him for as long as he has been taking drugs. "They help me dude. They help guide me the right way in life. They won't make me a jedi, but that's okay. I love them dude, and they love me."
He was really big on the love stuff.
"What matters dude is that I've got someone to talk to. You can't go through life like a loner, y'know?"
I nodded. "You can't. I'm glad for the people I have in my life, even those who drive me absolutely insane."
That was mostly true. I was still quite happy to show up to work this morning and discover Jerry resigned, and I still wouldn't mind slapping the ever-present smirk off Carol's face, but most people I was happy to have. Even if they drove me insane. Pricks.
The train began to rumble to a stop then. The guy stood up, took a pill out of one of his pants pockets, and shoved his hand down the pack of his pants. Just before he got off the train, he looked at me and said, "Dude, next time you take drugs, take them as a suppository. Works way better than if you swallow them." He got off the train them.
I leaned back and made the most of the piece that was the remainder of my train trip. I hope the rest of work is as interesting as this train trip has been.
After getting out of the shower, I padded barefoot and naked into my bedroom and checked the clock.
9:30am. I was supposed to be at work half an hour ago.
Fuck me. I can't seem to get a break lately.
Sighing, I doggedly covered myself with a pair of faded jeans and a tight black t-shirt. If I was going to have to go into work today, I might as well piss off Jerry by attempting to look professional.
I decided to take the bus in today to drag it out a little longer. If I was going to be late, I might as well be really late. There was a good chance I was going to end up fired in any case considering I hadn't turned up to work the previous two days, so it wasn't like Jerry didn't have a good excuse to.
The trip into the city wasn't a half-bad sightseeing expedition, mostly because the suburbs had changed significantly since I had last visited them. A lot of places were run-down, especially the suburban commercial and industrial districts. What were once family-owned manufacturing businesses were replaced with dilapadated buildings, and the houses had the signature living room on the front verandah that signified housing commission specials.
At one of the stops, some woman garbed in fine-cut clothes got on the bus and sat across from me. You know those clothes that look like they were custom-cut from the catwalks of Milan? One of those types.
Immediately upon sitting down, she wrinkled her nose. "Have you had a shower this morning?"
Not a good way to kick off a conversation.
"No, I haven't" I said. I had, but if this bitch I had never met before was wanting to give me shit from the outset, then I was going to give her shit for it.
She snorted at my response. I had a feeling this was going to be a particularly enjoyable conversation.