Archive for the 'Short Stories' Category



23
Mar
10

Short Story: Smooth Baby

He couldn’t wait to go home. In all seven years of being alive, he couldn’t remember ever being so excited before.

His heart hammered relentlessly inside his tiny chest and his mouth felt cotton-dry as he fidgeted and squirmed in his chair, bursting for a pee and not paying one scrap of attention to anything going on around him.

In his mind, all there was, was THE TOY.

He’d first seen THE TOY in a flea market when his mom was shopping for some black dog to grill for supper. Amongst the chaos and the noise and the thick clouds of oily smoke that mingled and moved like dragons through the narrow, dirty alleyways, he’d spotted it.

At first he wasn’t quite sure he’d seen correctly. He adjusted his glasses, thick as coke bottle bottoms, on his practically non-existent nose and squinted across the alleyway at the adjacent stall.

There it was. THE TOY. The most incredible toy ever invented. The second he comprehended what he was looking at, the child’s mind came alive with possibilities.

How was it possible that such an amazing toy had come into being? He had to have it. He would do anything to get it, even crawl over his own dead mother.

He immediately started tugging frantically at his mother’s leather pants, squealing at the top of his lungs, much like a pig being skinned alive.

His mother had never seen her son so furiously locked in paroxysms of overwhelming desire. The way he twitched and screamed almost involuntarily frightened her and she struck him hard on the back of his head to try and knock some sense into him.

If only it had been that easy.

That night, her son refused to eat any of the succulent dog she had prepared for him. He sat in a slack-jawed kind of daze while a thick, translucent trail of drool crept steadily from the corner of his mouth to his shirt front.

He sat like that for days, wasting away. Eventually she began to fear for the child’s life as he halved in size before her very eyes and so, in a huff of desperation, she finally agreed to buy the child THE TOY for his next birthday in three weeks time.

The change in her son was instant. He leaped up from where he was sitting and began to hop around the room, singing irreverent songs of praise to no one in particular in a language only he understood.

The bell for the end of school sounded like a prison exoneration as the boy, after three torturous weeks of jittering constantly and wetting his pants in excitement, jumped nearly two feet in the air and bolted, legs pumping, to the parking lot outside where his mother sat on her motorbike with his present neatly wrapped in her hands.

He ran in slow motion, the sun shining down like a host of holy angels above him as tears of unrepentant joy streamed down his face.

This was finally it, the moment his brief life had been building towards, the reason he was sure he existed.

Finally, finally his wildest dreams had come true.

Finally, he could shave the baby.

 

15
Mar
10

Short Story: Who The Fuck Is SlickTiger?

‘So yeah, this SlickTiger guy, he’s got a site, I read some of it the other day, it’s really crazy shit up there. Really crazy shit. I mean, reading it I feel like we’re connected somehow – does that sound fucking crazy to you?’

Dr Schmeizer shifts slightly in his chair, sighs and rubs his eyes.

‘Yes. That does sound fucking crazy to me.’

‘Um, are you allowed to say that?’

‘Say what?’

‘I dunno, swear at me during a consultation?’

‘Under normal circumstances, no.’

I start to say something, but the good doctor cuts me off, ‘But considering you come in here sprouting the same gobbledy-gook week after week, month after month since we started these sessions, and considering your total lack of progress during that time, I hardly think it matters what I say or don’t say.’

‘Yeah, but I pay you to be professional. I pay you a lot to give a shit.’

‘Do you know how many sessions we’ve had so far?’

‘Of course! I’m paying for them, of course I know…’

‘Ok, how many?’

‘Um…’ I cast my mind back. I get as far as about a month ago, I’m wearing my ‘The Internet Is A Fad’ shirt, driving here. Some guy in the traffic is waving furiously at me. Do I know this person? I’m swerving to avoid getting side-swiped by the crazy fucker.

No, it can’t be a month, it must be longer. I cast my mind back further. It’s like throwing a fishing line out there. I remember when I was a kid learning to fly fish, watching my dad, the long, slow motion of his line like an extension of his arm, the way the reel used to spin, making that zinging sound as it unravelled. I do the same in my mind, I cast a line way the fuck out there, the reel zings, then snags abruptly, cutting the line.

I watch as the line floats through the air, anchored to nothing. It sails over the opaque waters of my mind, and lands like a long, thin snake on the water.

It sinks.

‘Um…’ I say again, stalling for time, ‘like, about three months?’

The good doctor’s head slumps forward and he stares at me through his thick, heavy brows. This is a passive-aggressive gesture, he’s doing it to show me he’s pissed off. I’m always pissing someone off.

‘Try six months. September 28th, that’s when you first started coming here, do you remember that?’

Do I remember that? Sure, I think I remember that. I mean, if he remembers it then it happened right?

‘I dunno doc, I try not to sweat the details, things like that, they’re neither here nor there really, I say three months, you say six months. I mean, in the universal sense of time, does it matter? In the universal sense of you know, the way things work, is it really a big deal? I don’t think it is. This conversation, my life, your life, I think maybe we j-‘

‘I took the liberty of recording our last session.’

‘Eh?’

‘And if you don’t mind…’ The doc opens his desk drawer and pulls out a dictaphone. He hits play, I’m saying something, but he stops and fast forwards it, he’s saying something, he stops and fast forwards again. I’m saying something. Boy do I love the sound of my own voice.

I dunno doc, I mean, life’s too short to sweat the small stuff, y’know? Does it really matter how long it’s been?

Humour me.’

Ok, phew, um…’ uncomfortable silence, broken only by the sound of me squirming in my chair, in the recording and in real life. ‘About 3 months?’

‘It’s been six months.’

‘What? Really, that long? Phwoar.’

‘Does that surprise you?’

‘Yes. No. A little. But really, in the bigger picture, is it really that important? I mean, in the universal sense of time, does it matter? In the universal sense of you know, the way things work, is it really a big deal? I don’t think it is. I could be wrong. But I don’t think it is…’

He hits the stop button. This profound silence hangs like a punching bag in the room.

‘You have a serious problem,’ he says, his hands doing that pyramid thing when people touch the ends of all their fingers together and move their palms forward and backward. I think this is supposed to have some kind of calming effect. It’s like watching lungs. Or a jellyfish.

‘Hahaha, okay, and it’s taken you six months to figure that out?’

‘Your memory is abnormally impaired. In most cases, once a number of weeks have elapsed, it seems you forget things completely. The people you’ve met, the things you’ve done. In other cases, it’s instant.’

‘Huh. You don’t say.’

‘It’s a rare condition, and I must admit, I’ve never seen it before. I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never seen it.’

‘Okay. That’s… fucking great…’

‘There are a number of psychiatric drugs we can put you on to try and improve your memory function and promote higher levels of concentration, I th-‘

‘What?! No fucking way. No drugs.’

‘You have a very serious problem and I really think what wou-‘

‘I didn’t come here to get dosed up to my eyeballs, what the fuck?! I came here so you could help me figure out why the fuck everyone thinks I’m someone I’m not!’

‘SlickTiger?’

‘Yes! Fucking SlickTiger! Who the fuck is SlickTiger? Why the fuck does everyone think I’m SlickTiger?’

Dr Schmeizer stares at me through his brows again. Man is this going well. He presses fast forward on the Dictaphone. The sound of the heads whirring inside, intricate mechanisms spinning, working like tiny insect bones inside the machine.

He hits stop. He hits play.

I’m not interested in your bullshit miracle cures! What the fuck?! I didn’t come here to get prescribed a bunch of bullshit drugs that are going to make all my fucking problems go away! I came here for answers! I came here to figure out if I’m losing my mind or not! I need to know that shit!’

‘You need to know what shit?’

‘I need to know who the fuck SlickTiger is!’

It’s like staring into a mirror reflecting a mirror, reflecting a mirror, reflecting a mirror…

‘It’s you. It’s always been you. You just don’t remember.’

I say ‘Holy shit’ at the same time the me on tape says ‘Holy shit’.

The good doctor hits stop. I slump back in my seat. Sandbagged.

‘So… does this happen every week?’

‘For the last four weeks, yes.’

‘And you think drugs will help me?’

‘Yes, it can’t hurt to try.’

I sigh. Do I want to go down that road? There’s a reason I’m forgetting all this stuff, do I want to know what that reason is? It feels like a bottomless can of worms.

‘Okay, I’ll try it, what the fuck. Why not.’

‘Excellent. And in the meantime, I need you to do me a favour.’

‘What, like a homework assignment? I’m not good with favours, I always forget the- oh yeah, you already know that.’

‘I want you to get off your lazy fucking ass and write something funny for fuck’s sake!’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Something funny! I don’t read your site everyday for this metatextual bullshit! I read it for the Klapping Gym Boet articles! Stop fucking around or I’ll go read some other site. LOL-cats or something. Maybe Motifake. Do you understand me?’

I understand him. And I know what I have to do.

‘You’re fucking fired,’ I say as I get up to leave.

‘You say that every week.’

‘Yeah, but this time I’m fucking writing it down!’

I storm out of his office, slamming his door hard behind me. What a fucking jerk. I can’t believe I’ve been going to him for such a long time. Three months totally wasted, what the fuck.

Outside I light up a smoke. It looks like it’s going to rain, did I do any washing? Maybe. But fuck the washing, I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Like figuring out who the fuck this SlickTiger guy is.

Yeah… I think I’ll start there…

-ST

10
Dec
09

Short Story: Tasting Salt (A Fragment)

I’m waking up to the sound of my cell phone ringing and as I open my crusty, sleep glued eyes and look around to try and figure what the fuck is going on, I realize that I stink of sour booze and am still very, very drunk.

I’m in my bed, well, technically, I’m on my bed and I’m still wearing most of the clothes from my 21st and the bed sheets feel sticky underneath me. My curtains are still open and the lamp by my bedside is still on – Jesus! How did I get here? Also, my skull feels cracked and my mouth tastes musty and stale, like I ate a couple of mouthfuls of dung last night.

The goddamn phone’s still ringing – where the fuck is it? Maybe I should just go back to sleep? My hand flops around on the bedside table, near where the ringing is coming from, but no phone, I just knock the lamp over. I feel so thick and sludgy; I don’t know what the fuck is going on. I roll closer to the sound of the cell phone ringing and flop off the bed and realize that my phone is under the bed and answer it.

‘H’lo?’ I say, my swollen tongue lolling uselessly in my mouth.

‘Baby? Jesus, I’ve been trying to get a hold of you since eight this morning, why don’t you answer?’ It’s Chrissy.

‘I think a truck hit me.’

‘Are you ok? Where are you?’

‘In my bedroom, I’m fine.’ This conversation is already starting to irritate me, I get up shakily and rub my face. Something crusty flakes off. I see glass of water on my desk. I drink some.

‘You weren’t fine last night.’

What? When did I see her last night? I drink more water and try to remember what the hell I’ve been doing, but all that comes to me is that beach I swear I woke up on. That was real, all this other stuff is bullshit.

‘Baby? Are you still there?’

‘Yes, and I was fine last night, just grumpy, I’m sorry you had to see me like that,’ I figure this is a safe bet, I usually get a little out of hand when I drink. Maybe I ran into her last night and got a little rowdy, sometimes I do this.

‘I don’t blame you for being upset, I’ve had some time to think this morning and what I did was wrong, I’m just so confused, Rick and I just happened, it meant nothing…’

Now I’m really racking my brains. What have I been doing? Where have I been? I remember celebrating my 21st and going out afterwards and I think I played a couple of songs live somewhere and there was some kind of fight and a couple of bongs probably, and then a lot of walking, and then… some kind of… argument? Was that before or after? Then waking up naked on a beach, that must have happened yesterday, that’s probably why I feel so crusty, all the sea sand and salt still stuck to me. But that doesn’t make sense, none of this shit makes any sense – who the fuck is Rick?

‘… it’s just that you flew into such a rage when I told you, I’ve never seen you like that, God, you had this look I’ve never seen before and I was so worried that you might do something stupid last night –‘

‘Wait, are you sure you saw me last night? When did you see me?’

‘Last night! Don’t you remember?’

‘Sure, sure, yes…yes…’

‘Baby? I want to see you, I’m worried about you, you really scared me last night…’ But I’m not listening really any more, I’m looking at my hands…

‘…I know it’s been hard, it’s been hard for me too, but we agreed this was for the best…’ Now I’m hearing her voice tiny and far off because I’ve dropped the phone and I’m walking into the bathroom and I’m not feeling very well…

‘…I don’t want to lose you, baby, and I’m so scared that you’re going to do something stupid…’

I can’t hear her anymore, she’s too far away now, I’m in the bathroom, I’m standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom and I’m looking at the person who is supposed to be me and I think I’m going to be sick because I’m covered from head to foot in dried blood and I’m pretty sure it isn’t mine…

03
Dec
09

Short Story: Summer Love

Summer Love

Once in a while, her face would slide off, and for the briefest, most terrifying of moments, I would be able to see her real head.

She did it right at the end of it all, on the last morning that we were together. Returning home from where ever it was that she had spent the night, I met her just outside the front door and told her that she had broken my heart.

I forget how exactly the conversation progressed, but eventually I found it necessary to threaten her, so I informed her of the fact that unlike the other spineless men she surrounded herself with, I wouldn’t be strung around like her personal yo-yo.

‘The difference between them and me,’ I said with wavering conviction, ‘is that I have balls.’

At that exact moment, her face slid off, and she castrated me with her smile.

 

02
Nov
09

Short Story: Every Dog…

Every Dog…

It’s Monday night and the game has changed. I’m walking into another Newtown dive, some club or other to watch some band or other, and while they’re stamping me and my buddy Peggles, I see her.

She is sex incarnate. She is tall and leggy and has jet black hair and the face of a huntress, a feral creature. She is wild, her body is something godly, you almost feel embarrassed, you almost want to look away, you almost want to blush and hide, but she’s got you bucko, there’s nothing you can do. All the armour in the world can’t stop her smouldering, molten eyes. If you’re smart you’ll cut your losses and run a mile. But you’re not smart, are you?

You ignore her completely. If you so much as raise an eyebrow, she’ll know you’re hungry – you’re Pavlov’s dog, and that sound resonating in your head every time you look at her is the bell ringing. Head straight to bar, do not pass go, do not collect 200. You should know better than to try and douse the inferno inside with whisky, but in moments like these, common sense, well, it ain’t that common.

A few moments later I’m staring at her across the room and something about her starts to haunt me. I swear to God… I wait for her to turn and face me. Isn’t she… isn’t that…? Fuck me. It is. Her name comes to me, it’s Italian, it’s the name of an Italian flower. I know this because in another life, she told it to me.

Flashbacks are really cheesy, you smear a little Vaseline over the lens, dim the lighting, change everyone’s haircuts and bingo, it’s a year ago and I’m finishing up a shift at News Café one Saturday night. It’s three o’clock in the morning and we’re going to Taboo, a nightclub famed for the larney pricks it attracts. If you drive a sportscar they let you under a red velvet rope and you can park right by the door. Inside looks like Patrick Bateman’s sweetest dream; the kind of environment only a sociopath could love.

We do favours for the Taboo staff, we bring them free avo and bacon tramezinis, they get free drinks at News Café, so they let us in for free and don’t look twice when we walk in dressed like a bunch of Southern suburb refugees. The other patrons, however, look at us like we’re something they all just stepped in. This kind of entrance makes working as someone’s bitch-boy six days a week almost worth it.

This is where she is, I notice her because she has a beautiful pair of breasts and she isn’t scared of making that fact known. She’s dancing by herself, I watch her until she knows I’m watching her. I like how she moves, partly because she doesn’t really look like she knows what she’s doing, which makes me think I could dance with her, no problem. When she goes to sit down, I sit down next to her.

What makes this flashback especially cheesy is the fact that I can’t remember what we said to each other, so the music in the club is playing in the foreground and what we’re watching is more like a montage. She gave me her number, that’s all that’s important.

Our first date and she smells like something long dead. ‘Heavy night’ she says, and her breath confirms that fact. Part of me is pissed off that she didn’t take the time to freshen up before meeting me for drinks, the other part of me is too busy trying to be witty and interesting to give a shit. After awhile I find it’s getting easier and easier to do this. She’s smart, she’s different, she’s very, very conflicted, but that’s normal when it comes to most of the women I find myself attracted to. I am a night in shining armor, she is something worth fighting for.

The montage continues. Next time we meet, I’m late and she nearly ups and leaves. This time, she looks shit hot. We talk about all kinds of stuff, there are continents of common ground, it’s comfortable. In this montage scene she laughs at my stupid jokes, and we drink and even though you can’t hear it, at one stage she tells me that her breasts are getting a lot softer since she had the implants put in, and that she finds when she’s giving head, it’s way easier to get a man to come when you push a finger up his butt. My sphincter tightens involuntarily.

She tells me her name is an Italian flower, and I want to buy meadows of those flowers and fall asleep in them, drunk on their perfume, staring at an impossibly blue sky.

She tells me that she has an attachment problem, that when she gets to love a person, she can’t let them go, she clings desperately, she gives too much.

If a date can be said to go swimmingly, then the word to describe the third date is drowningly. We meet at Trance Sky, we sit side by side on a couch, we drink, we talk, conversation starts to dwindle, we both feel it. I start to become painfully aware that it’s do or die. I need to make a move. Am I sweating? Can she smell me? She asks me why I always wear the same shoes, and I don’t really answer the question so much as evade it. Is she making fun of me? This is shit. I go to the bathroom, she keeps our couch. I get back, she goes to the bathroom.

A bunch of gorillas are sitting across from me, and they start asking me questions. They think she’s hot, are we dating? I neither confirm nor deny this. They ask me how many times her and I have been out, I say this is the third time. They tell me, ‘Dude, make a move TONIGHT. If you don’t do it TONIGHT, you’ll end up in FRIEND ZONE. Once you’re in FRIEND ZONE, there’s no telling how long you’ll stay in there for. Could be weeks, could be years, but your hopes of getting laid will be fucked.” I’m pretty sure the implicit paradox in the last part of the gorilla’s sentence is completely lost on him.

I have to bite my tongue to keep from telling these guys to fuck off – who the fuck do they think they are, exactly? I disregard everything they’ve just told me, the jerkoffs. No pressure man, just be cool. She comes back and we sit close. The thing to do now is to make out, but…how? She’s right here, but she might as well be a world away. How do I do this? How do I bridge the infinity between my lips and hers? Conversation is limping around like a leper in the advanced stages of his affliction. She’s getting bored, this is going to shit, I have to save this, so I look dreamily into her eyes and say:

“I want to kiss you so badly right now.”

Cut. The director in my head screams, “What! The! FUCK! Those aren’t the fucking lines! Jesus, where’d we find this asshole!” The inside of Trance Sky almost comes to a standstill, it’s like everyone just heard me. She turns her head away from me and says, “Really?”

And right then and there, everything dies. All around me, people puke and die, flowers in vases shrivel up and wilt, stray dogs in the street hit the deck, paws up, even a block away a rose vendors stock turns to dust in his fist as the shockwave of lame ripples out from me.

I think we can end the flashback right there. After that, I didn’t bother to contact her again except to send a drunken SMS one night after I’d seen her out, I don’t remember what it said.

And now I’m standing across the room from her and she looks good enough to die for, good enough to murder for, way better than I remember her ever looking before. I tell Peggles who she is, I kick myself for never making a move on her, I do this repeatedly while I’m talking to Peggles to make my point, my big toenail cracks slightly, but I won’t realise this until tomorrow.

I tell him, “I’m a complete dickface if I don’t go right up to her and say hi right now. I’m a fucking loser if I don’t do this right now, I’ll never stop kicking myself if I don’t do this… fuck…”

Peggles stares blankly at me, he doesn’t have to say, “Stop fucking around” for me to know this is what he is saying. I clink my whisky against his, I take a hearty gulp, I go straight to her.

I touch her arm lightly and she turns to look at me, I say her name and her face blossoms into a smile. We trade pleasantries, I think she gives me an obligatory hug. Her neck is long, when I’m close to it, I’m torn between tearing it out with my teeth, or kissing it as gently as I can. Beautiful women often provoke this kind of response in me, it’s not conscious, and putting it into words looks strange, and sick.

She asks me about my father and his psychic girlfriend. I stiffen up involuntarily and briefly consider my next move.

“He’s dead,” I say, “as for his psychic girlfriend, well, I guess her powers must be going through a slump or something, because she never saw it coming.”

She expresses her sincere condolences, and I can’t help smiling despite myself as I relate the details of my late father’s untimely demise when his heart exploded on a treadmill in the gym. “I know it’s not funny, but the thing is, it’s like a double-edged sword, y’know?”

“Why?” she asks, also smiling.

“Because I never really got to know the guy, but I never really got to know the guy, if that makes any sense. I mean I’m not really torn up about it, which is a good thing, but that’s only because I didn’t know him very well, which is a bad thing,” I say, and she listens, and there’s something about her that reminds me of when we went out on that one really good date – she’s looking at me like she did that time, like there’s more to me.

She tells me she’s just bought her first house, she tells me she’s been having trouble with the plumbing because she’s renovating a bathroom. I tell her, “Yeah, people think that a bed’s the most important thing in a house, but I swear to God, it’s the toilet. I mean, you can sleep on the floor, but there’s no way you can shit on the floor.”

She packs up, and I quietly pat myself on the back. This isn’t going badly at all. She says she’ll be back, and ducks off to the toilet. I turn back to Peggles and tell him about the conversation.

“So far, I got two out of three man – she remembers me and she’s single. That’s a great start, now I just gotta get her number. That’s all I need to get three out of three. I’m not even going to fuck around, I’m just going to straight up ask her for it, and then everything will be fucking awesome!”

“Great.”

“Yeah, just going to straight up ask her for it, just like that, no fucking around. Then I got my foot in the door y’know?” Peggles knows I’m not saying this to convince him, I’m saying this to convince me.

At the bar, she sidles up next to me and I make her give me her number for the second time since we met. I fuck up the spelling of her name because I’m putting the whole thing in this time, not just the abbreviated version. Once I have it, I ask her to chose a picture to go with her name. I don’t know why my phone has this option, it’s the lamest thing in the world – you can choose from a variety of stupid faces and pictures to save next to a person’s name.

“I was thinking the girl, but she has red hair and yours is black,” I say.

“As long as it’s not the kid with glasses and freckles,” she replies.

“How about guy-with-the-moustache?” I ask, and she laughs and gives me that look again. “Nah, not really you is it?”

She shakes her head, still smiling.

“Here we go, the cat! That’s pretty fitting, don’t you think?”

The cat it is. I remember her tattoo, I see she has a new one encircling her arm, petit, some kind of flower. We order tequila, she takes a shot and recoils like an actual bullet just hit her. “Tastes like mommy’s kisses,” I say, baring my teeth.

The conversation breezes into star signs, she goes through half the zodiac trying to guess mine, and in the end I have to tell her “Scorpio”, which I always enjoy doing because Scorpio is not the kind of sign that ever causes a mediocre reaction.

Most sex offenders are Scorpio.

More Scorpio’s are murdered than any other star sign.

I ask her if she really believes in all that star sign hokey pokey and she says that she’s a pagan. I ask her if that means she wears all kinds of weird necklaces with magical crystals and rings that add 5 to dexterity and light radius, and she laughs and says yes. She’s leaning close to me now, there are parts of her naked skin that are touching mine.

I ask her not to put a spell on me, but I know it’s too late.

She bites me before she kisses me. Gently, on the neck. Her scent curls deliciously into my brain, I can’t think anymore, there’s no need for me to think anymore, I shut my mind down; I’m two parts animal, one part god.

In this moment she is everything beautiful and sick in this world. She’s hungry, she eats me up and I watch whole parts of me disappear and I give more, I give everything. She leans into me and I bear her weight effortlessly and the feeling of me, strong against her, gently crushing her to me, wrapping my sinews around her, is magnificent beyond words or measure.

God knows, it’s been too long since a beautiful woman has surrendered to me like she did. Of course, during that moment, I was blind to the fact that despite everything, despite the way she melted in my arms, the way she let my wandering hands slide where ever they pleased, she wasn’t surrendering.

It must have been nearly half an hour later when I came to. She was heading to the bathroom and Peggles was standing right by me and saying, “Nice.” The grin that spread from ear to ear across my idiot face radiated happiness to the extent that every person who met my idiot smile, smiled too. It felt like the first time I ever kissed a girl, it felt like I was coming up on acid and the world had never been so mind bendingly beautiful.

I was just really, really happy. Happy like kids are happy when they’re too innocent to know how bad it gets. I felt extremely confident that I was going to get laid and that my morning was going to end nestled like a cat full of milk in her warm, soft bosom, having just exorcised what has been one of the worst dry spells of my life.

“Go!” I told Peggles. “This is the best thing that could have happened to me tonight, and I have you to thank buddy. I thought this club would be shit, but man, this is fucking awesome! Things couldn’t possibly be better right now, fuck! So go, head home, don’t worry about me, I must venture once more into the fray and once more I shall emerge: victorious!”

“Ok man,” he said and left.

I figured without my lift, I had an even better chance of getting her to take me back to her place, which is like locking all the doors and windows of a building and setting it on fire in the hope that the lack of oxygen will stop the flames from spreading.

She took awhile in the bathroom and when she came back, she went to one of the guys she was with earlier and started talking to him. I bided my time across the room, I sized the other guy up and came to the conclusion that if it came to it, I could wipe the floor with his face, the skinny runt. He hat a hat on, he wasn’t what you’d call easy on the eye, he looked like he’d dressed himself to piss his mom off. After all, she’d had a taste of me and loved it and in a moment would be leaving hand in hand with me.

And then she kissed him. Held him like she’d been holding me, her hands traced the same paths on his neck and face that they had on mine. Her body yielded to him like it had yielded to me. It was like standing outside myself, watching an inferior carbon copy repeat exactly the same routine I had enacted barely ten minutes before.

I should have socked that fucking imposter as hard as I could. I should have stamped his skull under my sneaker until it came unglued in a viscous mess of bone and brains, but I didn’t. I drank a tequila and left.

Outside, winter never felt so cold. I slumped between the wall and the pavement on my haunches and tried to black what I’d just seen out of my mind and figure out how the fuck I was going to get home. I probably looked up at the sky and felt no surprise that the stars were obscured by pollution, that the whole world was going to shit, it probably comforted me.

All I know is that after awhile people came out who were going back to Tokyo Star, where the night had started, so I explained my story and they gave me a lift. One of the guys said, “That sucks bro,” but he didn’t really give two shits.

Back at Tokyo I had more tequila, and it did nothing. A buddy called John was still there, and he gave me a lift home. When he asked why I looked so miserable, I told him my dog had died, and he told me how he ran over his favourite dog when he was fist learning to drive because he got the accelerator and the brake confused.

He said it took three days for his dog to die.

“Lucky dog,” I muttered.

26
Oct
09

Short Story: King of Spades

King of Spades

I never thought it would be like this, when I was planning this move, I never thought it would be like this. This is better than I could have ever imagined. I thought she’d completely flip out, I thought she’d be hysterical, crying and screaming, shaking and moaning, like in the movies when this kind of thing happens, but it’s nothing like that.

Movies are full of shit, written by people who get off on living vicariously through fictional characters. She’s standing facing me, a little way up the driveway, her left hand is covering her mouth and her eyes are wide and tears are spilling from their aquamarine depths and splashing silently on the bricks. I’ve never seen her so beautiful.

She’s different from how I remember her, her hair is longer, jet black and streaked with auburn it falls in soft tresses on her tiny shoulders that are heaving in a syncopated rhythm as she weeps.

Her face is more compelling than I remember it, and looking at it now makes me certain that God took the time to sculpt her himself; took an eon to carve the soft almond arcs of her febrile eyes, took a millennium to craft her delicate cheek bones, her aristocratic nose, her neat little chin and her lips – Jesus! They were his masterpiece.

I’ve never known a woman with such beautiful, full lips, lips that haunted me with every kiss and hypnotized me with every smile. I can’t see them now, but I can imagine how delicately their shapely bows are trembling. This isn’t the first time I’ve made her cry.

Her hand drifts from her face, the clouds drift from the moon, she tilts her head ever so slightly, and says, ‘Why did you do that? Why did you do that, Chris?’ Her tone is soft, her voice is almost a whisper, she isn’t angry, she is sad, disappointed.

I stare numbly at her and try to think of something to say, some way to explain my actions, but it’s been so long, I don’t know where to start, I can’t find the words to tell her how hard it’s been without her. My emotions are rising, my face is blushing and I can feel my vision blurring, I stammer, ‘B-baby, I –’

‘You’re scaring me,’ she says.

‘Don’t be scared, don’t be scared, it’s just me, you know me. I promised you I’d come back for you baby, and I did. Things have been bad, they’ve been really bad for me, but this is the start of a new life for us. We’re leaving this place, I’m taking you somewhere safe, away from here. Come with me.’

‘I can’t,’ she says, but I’m not sure she understands.

‘You don’t understand, you don’t understand how much I love you. I’ve never been able to put it into words, there are no words for how much I love you. I have something to show you, and when you see it, you’ll understand, you’ll know how much I love you.’

‘Chris, plea-’ And then in an explosion of light and sound I show her.

I show her and she sees. She sees what it meant to me all those years ago when we first fell for one another, when we first kissed, when she first told me that she loved me, when we first made love.

I show her how important the days we spent together were, how I cherished those languid afternoons spent basking with her in my arms in the sun, reading under trees, eating ice cream, cold, sweet kisses.

We are walking under jacaranda trees, we are holding hands, we are walking the streets of Paris, she is laughing at a story I’m telling her, her laugh is like little bells, it fills me, glows inside me.

I am waking up next to her in the morning, I am whole, she is getting up, getting dressed, I am making her cheesy toast for breakfast, we are brushing our teeth together, we are starting our day together, we are there for each other, she is there for me…

She is pulling me out of the car, she is crying, telling me that she loves me, I am waking up, she is crying, crying, thank God, thank God you’re alive, there is blood, there is blood everywhere, my hands are ribbons, they have to stitch me back up, I ask what about Ricky? I ask what about Ricky again and again, in the hospital she tells me… that night we hold each other like I’ve never held anyone and I cry until I can’t anymore, and she is there for me, she means the world to me, I want to die, but she’s keeping me alive, she’s the only goddamn thing in this world holding me together, I show her and she sees…

She is much calmer now, she isn’t scared anymore. I move towards her, how many times have I dreamed this moment? I cross the divide that separates us, step over his body. I let the gun fall and we embrace and it feels good, it feels like home. I breathe her scent in, let it fill me. Tiny atoms of her drift into my lungs and are absorbed into my blood, they course through my veins and flood my senses.

I bury my head in the gentle, sloping alcove of her neck and shoulder and crush her to me. ‘We need to go baby,’ I whisper through the soft curtain of her hair, ‘we need to leave this place and never come back. My car is parked around the block, we need to go, you can’t take anything with, you won’t need anything, you have me, you have everything.’

I hold her as we walk, it’s been so long since I’ve held anyone. We round the corner and I help her into the car and bundle her up in her favourite blanket, I brought it with me because I knew I could win her back, and I have.

I pull the car out into the street, gear up, let go the clutch and floor the accelerator. We drive to the city limits and beyond, we drive until the sun starts to streak the sky in pink and crimson hues.

I talk to her as I drive, I tell her how lonely it’s been without her, I tell her about how in the beginning, I would wake every morning into madness because my half-slumbering mind kept thinking I would roll over, and there she’d be beside me, warm and sleepy, peaceful, happy.

I tell her about how I started drinking, drugging, spending my nights with hollow, ugly woman, in hollow, ugly embraces, trying desperately not to feel. I tell her about how many times I wanted to phone her and beg her back and about how I never stopped following her life and her amazing successes and how I never stopped dreaming of her.

She’s getting sleepy now, but there are still so many things I want to tell her, I want to tell her about how a man has never loved a woman like I love her, I want to tell her about how she will never have to worry ever again, I want to tell her that her life will be perfect from now on, that I am better now, that I was sick for a long time, but that I am better now, but these things will have to wait, she’s tired now and she is silently nodding off to sleep beside me.

I brush a strand of fallen hair from her face and kiss her tenderly on the forehead and tell her that I love her, and though she’s sleeping now, I know if she’d heard me, she would have opened her eyes, those dazzling green eyes of hers and she would have smiled that magical smile that she kept for me and no one else in the world she would have told me that she loves me too.

The city melts away from us until there are no more buildings, just the road in front of us and the sun above. I find a lonely copse of eucalyptus trees by the side of the road and pull over. Their shade falls in dappled patches where sunlight penetrates the thick foliage above us and shines down in rays that are reflected in the dust the car has kicked up.

I get out of the car, light a smoke and take a piss behind one of the trees. I wonder if that petrol station I passed has any decent pies? Better get to work, I’m fucking starving. I open the boot of my car and take the spade out.

19
Oct
09

Short Story: Punctuality

Punctuality

‘Fuck.’

It was the same way he always woke up, feeling like a truck had hit him, feeling like something evil had crawled down his throat and died, he lay sprawled on the couch cradling the empty bottle he had sucked down the night before like an old lover. His heart-burn was bad, his heart burned bad, and that badness rose like fire inside him.

‘Aaaaa fuck.’

His head split as he wrestled his leaden body off the floor, and the muscles in his back and on his side ached to the bone. The TV was still on, infomercials blasting through his skull at an impossible volume. How many days had this been going on for? How many days can a man wake up like this, he thought, before something bad happens? This is my life, he thought… goddamn.

In the bathroom he stared at his reflection for a long while, trying to decide whether or not he should shave his miserable face. He was dimly aware of the sour, alcohol stench rising from his pores. Rum. It had reached a stage where he didn’t even need to hunt the bottles down to figure out what he’d been hitting the night before, his stench said it all. I’m a stench connoisseur, he thought. He grinned widely at himself and stumbled backwards into the shower.

The steaming, scalding hot water brought him up a level from the depths he had plunged himself into, but the surface was still a lifetime away. He’d been drowning for too long. He brushed his teeth, but it did nothing for his breath. He put deodorant and aftershave on, but it did nothing for his stench. He ate a grapefruit for breakfast, but he hardly tasted it and just barely kept it down. He got dressed last.

Putting his tie on made him grin again. He’d always thought of himself as the type of guy who would eat a bullet when things got too much, but recently he’d changed his mind about that. Recently, he’d seen himself as more of the hanging type. He could imagine how it would feel as he kicked the chair out from under him and struggled like a fly in a web, every exertion bringing him closer to death. Two things about hanging appealed to him – the fact that you die with a hard-on, and the fact that he would use his ties from work to do it.

He decided on his plan of action on the way to work, he was listening to The Doors when it came to him, in an epiphany punctuated by the lumbering, morning traffic, and Jim Morrison’s screeching vocals. The day was overcast, but when the idea came to him, his world was flooded in sunlight.

Entire office blocks turned to towers of orchards and blossomed as his car sailed past, parking lots crumbled and sprouted forests of magnificent pines, the asphalt cracked and fields of soft, rich, green grass rolled endlessly toward the brightest horizon he had ever imagined. It was finally happening, he was abandoning all hope, all desire, he was letting go of everything and focusing his entire being on one goal, one plan, his plan.

Highways melted into crystal clear rivers, cars fell apart around him and were instantly covered in blankets of moss and mushrooms. As he drove closer to his plan, the foliage got denser, it became humid, misty. The rivers turned to swamps, and he could feel his world teeming with a million hidden creatures, croaking and calling and growling; hidden in the thick, soupy, dense jungle that was swallowing everything around him. This is great! he thought. This is the best day I can remember, I know everything is going to turn out great, this is the best day…

He was glad to find his office block utterly ruined, thick jungle vines wrapped themselves around the brick and cement and rent huge cracks throughout the building. The natural order was taking over, the law of the jungle. Colossal tree roots curled their way through reception, rupturing the tiled floors and ruining the blue/grey carpets in the staff tea room forever.

Elaine, the secretary at reception, greeted him and asked what was so funny. ‘Your face’ he replied, and smashed his fist into it until all of her front teeth were broken and her nose was hanging at an obscure angle. He was still laughing when the security guards fell on him and tried to cuff him. One of them made the mistake of getting too close, and he tore the guard’s throat out with his teeth, and pushed his thumbs into the other one’s eyes, right to the back of their sockets.

It was easy from there, the guards had guns. He blasted his way through the jungle, blasted his way through Chief Information Officers and Human Resources Managers and Account Directors all the way up to the top floor. The elevator was made from bamboo, monkeys pulled thick vines threaded through pulleys to operate it. He killed the monkeys.

At the top, the air was somehow thicker than on the ground, and it smelt like something long dead. He was heading into the CEO’s office, that was the prize, that was his goal, the others meant nothing, they had just picked the wrong goddamn day to go to work. He found the office locked and shot the doors until his guns clicked.

‘Fuck.’

The doors swung open, and he found himself at this, the moment of his life, facing down the greatest evil he had ever know, all out of shells.

She wasn’t in her normal work clothes, that was the first thing that threw him. She was barefoot, wearing a torn loincloth, and her breasts were bare except for the hundreds of beaded necklaces that hung from her neck in green and gold. Her hair was loose, spilling onto her shoulders in thick, golden tresses. He had thought this jungle belonged to him, he had thought that it was his, but now he knew, he was wrong.

Her skin had a light sheen to it, and glowed bronze. He could clearly make out her taut sinews beneath her flesh, and he knew that even though she looked calm, leaning back, half sitting on the wreckage of her desk, her palms resting on it’s rent mahogany surface, in an instant she could spring at his throat. Her smile said it all, the things that slithered and lurked behind her swamp-green eyes said it all. He threw his guns down. He met her languid gaze.

There was all the murder in the world in her eyes. There were the shadows of the empires she had crushed, and the fires of the bodies she had burned to get to where she was. For the first time he saw her for the predator she was, at home here, in the dank, in the dark, in the rot.

He stripped his clothes off, unable to tear his eyes from her and crossed the vast tracts of swampland between them.

Her tender embrace when she held him against her betrayed nothing as the fingers of her free hand trailed slowly backward across the desk and curled around the rusted handle of her letter opener. When their lips met, a feeling of sweet rapture flooded his senses and overwhelmed him to the point where he didn’t feel the sting as she plunged the letter opener right to the hilt in the flesh of his back.

His rapture began to rise, he tore the beads from her neck and stripped the loincloth from her waist, he found the nape of her neck and bit down hard as his fingers slipped between her thighs and found her wanting.

She pulled the blade from his back and plunged it in a second time. He forced her thighs apart, and, bending down to kiss her where they met, felt something warm trickle down his spine.

He sunk himself inside her, she arched her back, he felt something irrepressible welling up inside himself, something great and terrible. It spread from his loins throughout his body, it felt like lava in his blood, it shivered up his spine and filled his skull to bursting.

His breath began to rasp in his throat, he coughed violently, felt something warm on his lips, opened his eyes. She had plucked the blade from his back and was sinking it deep in his stomach, rocking slightly with his every thrust, her gaze slithering behind slime of her green eyes.

He pulled the blade from his stomach and turned it on her. She gripped his wrists as he forced his weight down, the blade edging closer to her throat, while he thrust himself violently between her glistening thighs. Her sweet moans spurned him on through the mist that had started to roll before his vision.

The feeling inside him was growing, swelling with every lumbered breath, sweat pouring from his every pore, the tip of the blade bearing down, making a small dimple in her throat with it’s rusted point, and all the while she held him fast in her Medusa-gaze, right up until the feeling burst inside him, and he cracked his spine and rent his sinews and splintered his teeth between his grinding jaws.

He was magnificent in that moment, he felt magnificence, he felt it with every staggered heartbeat and tasted it with every raw, iron-laden breath. He collapsed on her with all his weight, and though he drove the blade clean through her jugular, she didn’t flinch.

All went quiet in the jungle, the eyes of a million swampland creatures watched them as their breath grew strained, and their hearts beat synchronously, slowly pumping the life out of them both. Before her eyes dimmed, she met his gaze one last time.

“You’re late for work Harold.”

He returned her impassive stare, and for the first time in weeks, he spoke his usually trite, unemotional response with more conviction than he’d ever felt in his entire life.

“It won’t happen again.”

The jungle watches them die, but feels nothing. The jungle has many queens and many kings, but sooner or later, the law of the jungle usurps them all. The croaking, calling and growling of a million unseen creatures resumes and is joined by the far-off sound of police sirens wailing through the humid, jungle mist.

 © Tony Niemeyer 2009




A Word From The Kind Folks At Nokia

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