The Good Old Day’s
I woke up late in the morning with a jackhammer in my brain and a fat, ugly thing in my bed. My left arm was trapped beneath her snoring mass and had turned half numb. I removed it slowly, careful not to wake the beast, and walked outside. My piss was a thick, dark yellow and its pungent aroma steamed off the dirt and into my nostrils making my empty stomach churn. After Courtney left me I had gone on a bender, hitting bars most nights, drinking all day, every day and shooting crystal. That was six months ago and the binge hadn’t ended. It just seemed to gain momentum. If cash ran low I would drink cheap wine instead of whiskey or take dexes instead of shards. Somehow I still hadn’t lost my job, although I was certainly testing my boss’s patience.
Inside my apartment I lay on the couch smoking a Winfield and listened to the girl in my room rummaging around, gathering her things. She seemed to be taking forever and I was losing my patience. All I wanted to do was smoke some weed and fall back asleep but if I sparked up before she left then she probably wouldn’t leave and I might have to kill her. I was not in a tolerant mood.
‘Hey could you hurry the fuck up!?’ I shouted.
‘I have to get to fucking work you know!’
That wasn’t true, but I thought it might help get rid of her. She emerged from my room with her butt – ugly face morphed into a demented scowl and hissed;
‘You really are a cunt hey!’
‘Yeah I know.’ I replied under my breath and glanced at her indifferently.
Finally, around an hour later, she left with a giant slam of my fly – screen door. I thought about running onto the landing and yelling slut at the top of my lungs, but I decided not to. I closed the door, drew the blinds shut, and settled back down on the couch. I looked at my cat curled up on the coffee table staring at me.
‘These girls of mine hey Tubs.. What’s a guy to do?’
I found myself laughing out loud for a moment, but there was no joy in it. The weed was good enough to knock me back out, and before long I managed to drift back into a blissful slumber. I slept for about five hours or so and woke up as the sun was beginning to disappear. I showered and left the apartment block, took a left on Vincent and headed towards the train station. I had a guitar under my arm, and a bag over my shoulder that held my jacket and a large bottle of coke mixed with both vodka and gin. I felt greasy and drained but I fought this with the cover of dark shades and a lit cigarette.
For as long as I can remember, I have always found it strange that the busiest times of day on Public Transport are also some of the most quiet times (unless of course you are unfortunate enough to be surrounded by fucking kids commuting to or from school). So many people, of so many different occupations, huddled (sometimes crammed) together, most of them silent, create an eerie image before my eyes. I often wonder how many of them are looking forward to their day at work. This leads me to wondering how many of them are already looking forward to coming home. Finally this stream of thought leaves me pondering the saddest question. How many of these people are looking forward to neither? As I sat on the train that evening, wondering these very thoughts, I cast my eyes up and down the carriage a few times, and decided grimly, that most of these people heading home were already dead.
A man sat almost opposite me but one seat to my left caught my attention. I slugged on my bottle of vodka/gin mix and watched him. There was something in the awkward way that he stared at the ground and shuffled his feet that depressed me. He was wearing brown leather shoes and his grey slacks were too short and revealed tight black cotton socks around thin ankles and shins. I noticed that every now and then he would pull down at the knees as if self-conscious of his trousers being too short and I wondered why he wore them. In contrast to his pants, the man’s shirt seemed at least two sizes too big and his bright red tie sagged awkwardly around the large collar that adorned his long thin neck and birdlike face. Even though he appeared to be in his early fifties, the man’s appearance made me think of an unlucky child, dressed by fundamentalist Christian parents and sent to school like a fucking lamb to the slaughter. It wasn’t just his awkward attire that inspired this rather cruel comparison in my mind, but everything about his expression and his mannerisms were just as awkward. He looked so damn uncomfortable sat with his knees together, hands on lap and eyes pointing straight down. Everything about his demeanour showed me an individual lacking any confidence in himself. Of course I could have been wrong. Perhaps he was a shy but highly talented physician with a beautiful family and huge income. Or perhaps he is a reclusive mathematician on the verge of some monumental breakthrough. I decided to check his hands for a wedding band. I was less conscious of staring at him than I had been a minute earlier as his gaze still hadn’t diverted from the ground in front of him. There was no wedding band. The greying, balding, nervous looking, middle-aged man sat across from me was single.
I decided I liked the idea of him being a brilliant mathematician. As the train slowed down for Esplanade Station, I noticed that even when stood up, his trousers barely reached his ankles. Stood in front of the doors, waiting for them to open, he still stared at the ground. As the train pulled away from the platform and over the glistening Swan River, I watched the expanse of water reflecting the last moments of light in the sky from the window and imagined an eccentric looking man, franticly covering a whiteboard with equations, sweat on his brow, closer than he or his students could possibly know, to becoming a genius. I liked that idea best. I looked up and down the carriage again but nobody else interested me, so I slouched in my seat and kept swigging at my drink. The train ride dragged on and although I tried to fight it, my mind went back to Courtney.
It had been a turbulent relationship that the two of us shared. Often we would be fighting one moment and fucking the next. Sometimes I would leave her in a temper. Sometimes she would leave me. I always came back though, and so did she. I just figured that’s how we were. Erratic and half mad, but totally in love. The last time she left though. Well that was the last time. It was a fight just like any other, probably about money as usual, but this time she never came back. I tried calling her for a while but it just proved hopeless. I shoulda seen it coming but I didn’t. I thought we would be that way forever. I sat on the train feeling miserable and remembered her soft buttocks and sexy thighs. I remembered the way she would talk nasty in my ear while I screwed her. I remembered her dark eyes and how they would stare into mine with intensity every time she came. Eventually the train pulled into Rockingham station and I stumbled onto the platform. By now I was quite drunk and I felt as if I could cry. I forced her image out of my head and called a cab.
I was sat on the curb for what felt like forever, nursing the last few mouthfuls of booze that I had left. Eventually the cab arrived and I threw my guitar clumsily onto the back seat and sat in the front. I told the driver to take me to the ‘Rockingham Hotel’ and he made me pay in advance. I wanted to tell him to get fucked but I thought better of it. Instead I stared at him and did my best to make him feel uncomfortable. It seemed to work. When he pulled up at the pub I made sure I slammed the door as hard as I could. He drove off quickly. I flipped him the bird and walked through the car park to the entrance. As I climbed the steps I nearly fell, the bouncer was looking at me but surprisingly he left me be.
It was open – mic night and I was booked to play fourth, so I ordered a double scotch and jug of beer and found a quiet corner for myself. Some young guy came over and asked me what kind of music I played. I told him I didn’t feel like talking so could he please fuck off. I remember feeling deeply satisfied when he did. He actually looked hurt, the stupid kid. I downed the scotch and half of my jug in five minutes with a few valium I had left in my wallet. All the noise in the place seemed to blur together and I wondered why it was so dark. I had forgotten my sunglasses were still on. I felt invisible but not for long. As I stood up to find a toilet I lost my balance and managed to knock the entire table over. The glasses smashed first and then I did. I landed right on top of the mess and cut my hands up. For a moment I wasn’t sure what hit me and I lay there like a lowlife moaning and cursing.
What exactly happened next is a bit of a blur. I remember being grabbed by the back of the neck and shoved through the doors. I remember yelling for my guitar, and I remember kicking a parked car which made me fall again. Then I remember cold. I woke up laying on my side behind a large yellow bin in a car park that I didn’t recognise and I was fucking freezing. I began to cry and shuffled back and forth to keep warm. The air was fresh and felt like judgement. I turned my eyes up to the dark sky, and I wondered; How much longer can I live like this. The stars looked back and said nothing.