I just realized my book is garbage. Depressing.
This is a song I wrote. Imagine it building and building with a really energetic singer!
All I want
What do I want.
I’ll tell you what I want.
I want to sleep with a different girl, every night
I want to go to the bar and win a fight
I want to be really rich, and drive a fast car
I want to travel the world and go really far
I want a big TV, and a comfortable chair
I want more than I ask, I want more than my share
I want to see world peace but fight in a war
I want everything, and then gimme some more!
I want a really big house on top of a hill,
I want all you can eat and eat more than my fill
I want to know everything and always be right
I want to play all day and party all night!
I want beer and wine and an electric guitar
I want to be a big singer or a movie star
I want to find a needle in a stack of hay
I want to know who the fuck shot JFK!
I want big and small and in between,
To be a fairy tail king with a fairy tale queen
I want my own talk show with my own white trash,
I want to swim in a pool filled with cold hard cash
I want blind kids to see what colours are
I want guided tours around the brightest star
I want to go to the moon and play basketball
I want ants to be huge, and elephants small!
And on top of all that I want a chocolate cake,
And a jelly donut and a cheesy snake,
And a sea of waffles with syrup too!
That’s everything I want if I can’t be with you!
Small part of one of my shitty books. Yes, it's bad. I know it's bad but I wrote it a loooooong time ago. The following has coarse language so be warned! Swearing and all that jazz.
... We started in the usual place; buried in a mid-city bar with a steady flow of beer and pointless conversation. Chris suggested that we see the latest Hollywood action film, so we could escape in two hours of gratuitous sex and violence. I agreed. As soon as the end credits rolled, we stumbled out of the dark and into the crowded city.
‘That was shit,’ Chris was angry, fighting through a stream of people, ‘totally shit. They shoot too many films and not enough directors.’ We ducked into our usual eatery; a kebab restaurant that also served as an all-night café. ‘Who the hell thought that was a good idea? “Hey, that’s crap. Here’s a hundred million dollars.” They may as well give me the money so I can film our toilet after a bad night on the piss.’
‘It wasn’t that bad.’ I found our usual half-booth and took my place on the chair. Chris took the bench along the wall.
‘Oh come on! No helicopters! No explosions! And no nudity! What the hell was the point? We should have stayed at the bar. I can get four drinks for the price of that crap, and I would have seen more action.’ Chris screwed up his face, groaning in pain.
‘Are you alright?’
‘Yeah, no,’ he grabbed his temple, ‘it’s just, I’ve had this headache all night. But now it’s getting really bad.’
‘That’s because you’re all worked up.’
‘No, it’s not that. I just don’t feel very good.’
‘Do you want to go?’
‘No. It’s ok. I should be fine.’
We read the menu for some reason, even though we always ordered the same. Chris groaned again, clutching his temple in agony.
‘You know what, I think I’ll duck out and get some aspirin. You don’t mind, do you?’ He slid from the booth and stood.
‘No. Go for it.’
‘I’ll be quick, there’s a place down the road…’
‘Whatever, go away.’ I just wanted to eat.
Chris dashed out while I stared at the menu; stomach growling at me to order. ‘Fuck off,’ I growled back. Soon, even the menu grew boring. I was left staring at a framed picture of Marilyn Monroe; the famous picture that everyone knows, with her white dress billowing over the subway grate from The Seven Year Itch. The place had a classic movie theme.
‘Chris! Where the fuck are you?’ I checked my watch impatiently. Half an hour had passed. I built a small log cabin out of thin, tubular sugar packets; including a driveway and letterbox.
‘What’s that?’ The waitress asked with a laugh.
‘It’s a house, in the tropics.’ I grinned. ‘I’ve ordered a pool but they said it would take a few days.’
‘You’re weird.’ she walked away.
I sighed, and then built a doghouse in the backyard. Chris finally staggered in, gasping for breath and clutching a small paper bag.
‘What took you so long?’ I destroyed the cabin and replaced the sugar in the plastic container.
‘Sorry man,’ he sat, ‘no place was open. I had to go right down the road.’
Chris took his aspirin, and we proceeded to order and eat. I devoured my chicken kebab with lettuce, tomato, onion, and barbecue sauce. Chris looked at me with pause. Guilt was eating him faster than he could his lamb kebab. He wanted to tell me something.
‘What?’ I studied him, curious.
He took a moment to think, glanced at the waitress walking past, and then leant in. ‘If I tell you something, you promise you won’t get mad?’
‘Tell me what?’ I mumbled through a mouthful.
‘You have to promise.’
‘Ok, I promise. What?’
‘I don’t really have a headache.’
‘What? Then, where did you go?’
Chris floundered for a moment, looking around uncomfortably. ‘Don’t get mad or anything.’
‘Just tell me!’ I was far too curious to get mad.
‘Ok…’ His explanation was brief. There was a strip club a few blocks down the road. Chris had been there a week before and a particular dancer caught his attention. ‘Long brunette hair, perfect breasts, and her pussy…’
‘Get on with it.’
I wasn’t a fan of porn, and I hated going into sex shops. It wasn’t any moral objection. I wasn’t offended. I just found them crass and tasteless. Chris lied to get away from me and find out if the dancer was on again. If she wasn’t, then he would stick to the headache story and I never would have known. But she was on, and he was desperate to see her. ‘Sorry for lying to you, man,’ he was still full of guilt, ‘but you can understand.’
‘What about Jess?’ His girlfriend—the third ingredient in our cheap mixed salad of friends. A young suburban girl, she liked to say ‘Fuck Censorship!’ and adored heavy techno. She had short pink hair. She was an eyeliner junkie. She liked to hang out in the ladies room of an all male gay bar. She would probably hate you, unless your name was Chris. She went to university and that brought the usual debauchery into her rental terrace house; like parties on the weekend that start on Friday and finish some time before lunch on Wednesday. Anything could happen; bonfires, benders, group orgies involving full contact nude twister and a four-foot stuffed koala with a bow tie. ‘She’s hot. Why do you need to look at strippers?’
‘Just because you have Da Vinci at home, doesn’t mean you can’t go to the gallery once in a while and check out a Monet.’
‘That makes a strange kind of sense, except Monet was an impressionist that did landscapes.’
‘This brunette has an impressive landscape.’
‘Anyway, it was a shitty thing to do, lie to you. I’m sorry.’
‘And I’m going to see her again.’
‘Now. Are you coming?’
I considered it for a moment: Dark, filthy watering-holes saturated with intoxicated louts shouting abuse at drug-fucked dancers in tight vinyl boots and cheap lipstick.
Flashing neon lights danced on the wet street. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. A light rain slowly drenched those lingering outside in the open. Bins overflowed with garbage. Smashed beer bottles and fast-food wrappers littered the ground. Vagrants slept in alleyways and dark corners. Some even found shelter in the entrance to the train station, where streams of people spilled onto the street. Young girls wandered aimlessly along the footpath, scantily clad for a quick mounting. Lonely men lined up behind automatic tellers, extracting their weekly pay for a night of companionship, or entertainment.
We stopped for a moment as Chris answered his phone. He dove into a corner to block out the noise while I waited nearby, trying to stay out of everyones way. Three plump, elderly women waddled past; short, well-dressed, and dignified. All I could hear was one of them declare: ‘…what we need is a full-scale chocolate dick…’
Two businessmen in suits came stumbling in the other direction. ‘What’s worse than paper tits?’ one laughed before he was out of earshot. ‘A cardboard box!’
Five girls in their mid-twenties came trotting by; faces covered in thick make-up and cheap jewelry; dressed in high heel shoes and ugly frocks. The one on the far left bellowed ‘…so I said to her, “you don’t know anything about reality”…’
Across the street, a teenage girl in rags caught my attention. Barely noticed by the crowds rushing past, she huddled from the cold and was begging for spare change. She appealed to a young tourist couple in new designer cargos, sandals with socks, and overly expensive polyester jumpers they sell in adventure stores. It was a rough part of town, sure, but it was still the middle of a modern western city; not some towering mountain in the Himalayas, war-torn village in Africa, or dark corner of the Amazon. They don’t need all that modern backpacking shit, I thought to myself. To me the word backpacking had always conjured up thoughts about adventure. And when it started, that’s exactly what the backpacking culture was all about: people launching themselves into the wild unknown on a journey of discovery. You wouldn’t have much money. You’d carry one bag on your back for months at a time. You’d sleep in flea-infested hostels, wear the same clothes for months at a time, and eat the local food of wherever. There were no guides. There were no books. You followed a slight idea, some vague information, and the stories told by other travelers you met along the way. You wouldn’t really know where you were going, or how you would get there. Maybe trekking across some lonely mountain range, or hitchhiking along the coast. Walking through some isolated Nepalese community where the only transport for a hundred miles was a diseased yak with a limp. Not anymore. Backpacking had slowly mutated to accommodate a younger suburban middle class that were desperate for escape, but unwilling to give up their luxuries. Most were glued to the safety rails of the tourist trails, indulging in the delusion of adventure while clutching a Lonely Planet bible and low interest credit card.
The tourist couple feigned a conversation, pretending not to notice the beggar as they marched by; towards whatever trendy bar their fancy hostel had told them was the place to be. The girl searched for the next opportunity amongst the crowds rushing past—thick wallets to be emptied in poker machines and ladies panties. No one stopped.
I felt guilty. To me, one chunk of metal can be lost without care. I waste it on tips in cafes or a quick phone call about nothing. But to that desperate girl it could mean everything. It could help her buy a miserable piece of food, or find a safe place to sleep for the night. But more importantly, it could mean knowing that someone actually cared. That she mattered. I realized we had more in common than I dared to admit. And as I wondered where she had come from, and how she found herself begging for help in the rain, my hand was snug in my pocket, fingers twirling a small coin.
‘Alright, it’s up here,’ Chris grumbled as he pulled me away, fighting through the crowd.
‘Who was that?’
‘Jess,’ he sighed, ‘she’s gone to a spirituality conference in some outback hippy watering-hole.’ She was very big on that kind of thing, and I secretly shared her interest. Not the pot-smoking, lentil-eating, beard-growing part of it; and one day I hope to see a can of tuna-free dolphin. But I refused to hurt the multitude of cockroaches that shared our apartment and believe there’s more to the world than what we can see or touch. I often felt uncomfortable when conservative friends made fun of the alternative culture, when I secretly wanted to be something of a hippy myself.
‘I don’t like it, man,’ Chris grumbled, ‘those freaks are going to warp her brain. I had to tell her to be careful and not listen to everything they say.’
‘Don’t be so paranoid.’
‘I know what she’s like. I bet when she comes back, she throws out all the steak in the fridge.’
‘We have steak?’
‘Not for long. We’ll be steaming vegetables and listening to whales masturbate, and then we’ll see who’s paranoid.’
‘We have steak?’
A herd of students came charging past, singing and yelling in drunken merriment. They were ambushed by a spruiker and convinced that his club was the best in town.
‘Live sex on stage!’ He proclaimed, guiding them towards the door. ‘Hot girls, cheap drinks!’ The students laughed and jumped about, slapping each other on the back as they charged in. The reluctant few on their tail were quickly dragged in by their mates. The spruiker then blocked our path and tried to bundle us in with the rest. ‘Come on, mate, wanna have some fun? Live sex on stage! Who knows, you might get a free fuck.’
‘No thanks.’ Fuck off.
Our stop was Girly Girls, one of the smaller clubs tucked between a newsagent and a cheap backpacker hostel. They wanted a fifty dollar cover charge, but Chris talked it down to ten. I forked over the cash, followed Chris along a dark hallway, and then opened a large black door. We entered into...
The overwhelming stench of beer soaked carpet, stale vomit, and sweat. The air was damp and hot. I could barely breathe. The stage was lined with red velvet curtains. Worn out, they were covered in stains and rips and holes. Behind them was a room where the dancers got changed. Cheap wooden stairs covered in strips of rotten carpet led from the centre like a catwalk, down into the audience; two rows of chairs faced either side of the stairs, and three rows on either side faced the stage. The steel-framed chairs were interlocked; the cushions crushed and rotten. The bar was two meters wide and right next to the entrance. Dirty glass shelves held a few liqueur bottles and a display of beer available; the usual local brands, plus something exotic from Germany. Four tall, round tables with barstools sat right down the back, near two black doors. One led to the fire escape, and the other to the male toilets. The ceiling and walls were all black; warnings and adverts painted in fluorescent pink: NO Photography! – Water, beer, bourbon $5 – Keep off the stage! – Champagne available, ask at the bar. The paint was illuminated by several black-lights, which made the fluff on my clothing glow.
There was already a dancer on stage; a large woman awkwardly moving to the hoots and hollers of slobbering drunks. Her blubber shook with every move. Her face was hideous; like someone smashed a vegetarian pizza with a sledgehammer. I couldn’t understand why the rest of the room was so excited. Chris shrugged and ordered a beer. We nestled into our moist seats and prayed it was spilt drinks. Appalling dance music drummed through my head. It was so loud that neither of us could talk normally, so I resigned myself to just sit in silence and pretend to enjoy the entertainment.
A stunning girl in her mid-twenties slipped up the stairs. Tall and slender, she had a fit body and long brunette hair. She was one of those girls that I always caught myself staring at on the street. Cool trance music, along with interesting and fashionable clothes, proved that she not only had talent, but taste. Thank fuck, I thought, finally someone to look at.
‘That’s her.’ Chris slapped me with excitement.
‘What?’ I only heard a mumble.
‘That’s her! That’s the brunette.’
‘What?’ He only heard a mumble.
‘No! That’s the Monet! Nice, eh?!’
Not only was the Monet attractive, she was also a master of seduction with no inhibitions to get down and dirty. The crowd was hypnotized. They just stared in silence, drooling in lust. She owned them. She owned us all. We were under her power. Her moves did all the work; the Monet stripping slowly and not revealing much until the very end. Chris got ice down his top, a sore nipple, and a big grin.
‘So, what did you think?’ Chris was eager for my approval.
‘She was ok.’
The next dancer was of no great interest; shapeless body; chunky legs; ugly tan lines. She could have been a librarian or shop assistant for all I knew. It was fascinating that most of the dancers were just ordinary girls. They were not Penthouse Pets or Miss Julys. You would never see them on calendars hanging in a workshop, or plastered on a teenager’s wall. Instead, they were just ordinary people you would pass on the street, sit next to on a bus, or see at a friend’s party.
She finished, and we loosely clapped in appreciation for the effort. We did that for every girl who performed, even if we didn’t like them. We were the only people who did.
My façade of care was slowly dissolving, but luckily at the same rate that Chris was getting drunk. I didn’t want to ruin his evening, or be a pain, so I just put on a smile and made the most of it. I read every poster and sign in the club, peeled off the labels from all my beer bottles and then five that I found on the floor. I arranged the bottles in a conga line and gave them all five-letter names: Scott, Jenna, David, Paige, Felix, Maria, Byron, and so on. After several hours, the Monet was back on stage and I had to take a piss.
I got up and staggered into the bathroom. It was filthy. The urinal was only big enough for one, and the single cubical had a cracked toilet bowl without a seat. The floor was wet and sticky. I could smell the stench of previous masturbation. I tried to hold my breath as I pissed in the bowl, staring out of the window into the alleyway behind. I’d had enough. I wanted to go home.
As I stumbled out, the Monet finished and slipped behind the curtains.
‘Come on.’ I insisted. ‘Let’s go.’
‘Why?’ Chris couldn’t understand. ‘Beer and pussy.’
‘I’d rather go to bed.’
‘And do what? Dream of beer and pussy?’
As the Monet came back down, a new dancer pranced up the stairs and slipped behind the curtains. I didn’t take much notice. I didn’t care.
‘I’m serious. Come on.’
‘After this one. I don’t think we’ve seen her yet.’
‘So, she could be alright.’ He was pleading. ‘Come on; it’ll take, like, two minutes. If she’s not interesting then we go. Alright?’
‘Alright.’ I sat as hip-hop music bellowed from the speakers, followed by moans and sighs of despair. This wouldn’t take long. Chris quickly finished his beer.
The crowd was still jeering as the dancer began; hidden behind the split in the curtains. There was an intriguing sense of mystery, yet frustrating. I just wanted to go. After toying with us for a few moments, the girl finally appeared.
The following I wrote in about three hours while in a cafe on holiday. I was bored and needed to vent some creativity. I'm pretty happy that after 2 double shot flat whites and a glass of water I got this.... and yes, I know it needs a thorough edit....
SMALL bare feet stormed through Van Gogh’s self-portrait. His eyes and nose were smudged. Liam fell back, blue chalk almost falling from his fingers stained with red and orange. His brown eyes chased across the pavers to catch the back of slender white legs marching away, almost in a run. A short teen in a yellow singlet fought a cold winter wind, the embroidered hem of her garment bouncing around the summit of her thighs, teasing Liam’s sinful imagination. Her waist-long red-dyed hair was in a thick and scruffy mess, flickering behind her like a tangled flag. As she approached the main steps that lead down to Bondi beach, she leapt past a group of pensioners slowly climbing up. Air caught the cloth like a parachute, lifting it high to expose her narrow, bare hips and pale, tiny waist. The pensioners glanced back, startled, as her folded arms unraveled to force the cloth back down. The girl leapt down the steps to the sand, disappearing from view below the edge of the promenade.
Strange, Liam thought, and turned back to his smudged chalk drawing. He came further than ever this time, but still wasn‘t close to being satisfied. He’d been working on this copy of Van Gogh’s ‘Self Portrait 1889’ since the start of the day, carefully trying to replicate every brush stroke and swirling line. It wasn’t happening. Even if the girl hadn’t stormed through it wouldn’t have been quite perfect. Now it was getting too late in the afternoon to repair the damage or try again. And beside, he thought, there weren’t enough people left on the promenade who were likely to spare their change. He would just start from scratch tomorrow and try it all again. With practiced care, Liam packed away his chalks into a small wooden box that was made from the cross-section of a hollowed out tree-branch, the lid decorated with the carved head of an elephant. The lid didn’t flip up, but slid around, turning on a pin in the side. It was a gift from Thailand.
Because of his jet black hair and dark-tanned skin, most people thought that Liam was Thai. Vietnamese. Indonesian. Maybe even from the Philippines. Strangers, curious about the young Asian artist copying a Dutch master in chalk, were always surprised that he was actually born in East Timor. They were even more surprised when he spoke to them in a clear Australian vernacular. He spent all of his school years in the Australian education system and secretly enjoyed the glimmer of surprise on the faces of strangers when he spoke. He wasn’t trying to be an Aussie by speaking right and fitting in. He simply was an Aussie, and he rarely ever felt otherwise. Only when people still didn’t see it and were compelled let him know.
At first it didn’t mean anything, but Liam thought about nothing else for the rest of the afternoon, replaying those images in his head over and over again while he ate greasy fish and chips on the grass above the beach. Small bare soles stained with blue chalk. Smooth white legs. Embroidered yellow hem. Long red-dyed hair. Narrow bare hips and tiny pale waist. There must be a story there, he figured. There always was a story. He’d seen too many strange things in his travels to think otherwise, and this was by no means the strangest. As day passed the baton to night, Liam kept watching the procession of churning white lines tumble towards land and then spreading on the beach like a tired traveller on a giant hotel bed. A few random walkers in thick winter coats went drifting by, some holding hands and others with hands in pockets. A group of die-hard surfers bobbed quietly in the inky swell. Small bare soles stained with blue chalk. Narrow bare hips and tiny pale waist. He wondered where she went. Where she must be now. What she might be doing, and who with. He figured that may be why she had managed to infect his thoughts; that glimpse of flesh had triggered his desires. He hadn’t kissed anyone for a very long time, let alone felt the sensual beauty of tenderly touching a girl’s bare skin. For Liam that had always been one of the great simple pleasures of human existence.
Beyond the South end of the beach, where diners laughed behind a wall of glass in the Bondi Icebergs clubhouse, a footpath wound along the edge of the rocks to a lookout before turning the corner and then diving back down to follow the coastal cliffs towards Coogee. Just below the lookout, to the left side of the stairs leading up, a low wall lining the path stopped walkers from straying too close to the cliff’s edge. Liam climbed over, following the ledge under a small, narrow overhang. Hunched awkwardly, he shuffled around the curve of the rock beneath the lookout, right to the very end, and then pulled out his sleeping bag from a hollow.
He sat on the folded bag, huddled in his green German army coat to hide from the heavy wind, listening to the colossal waves far below exploding against the cliff over and over again; just like they had been for hundreds of centuries before Liam had lived, and just like they would be for hundreds of centuries after. To his left he could see the distant sparkle of lights across the bay, of houses and blocks of apartments. But the beach itself, and Campbell parade, were just around the corner and out of mind. Endless clouds buried the vastness of space and smothered the white sickle of a new moon. Ahead, a dark black void had swallowed up the entire Tasman sea and everything that lay beyond. Liam was sitting on the very edge existence.
Liam slipped a cheap LED headlamp around his temple, and then turned it on while pulling a laminated postcard from the inside pocket of his coat. The lamination was scratched and worn, but the colours of Van Gogh’s 1889 self-portrait beneath were still vivid. Holding the picture close he studied it carefully, wondering where he was going wrong. He got the colours right some time ago, and bought all his chalks accordingly, but the mad tapestry of brush strokes were difficult to see on the tiny replication. He flipped the card over. Stuck on the back, under the lamination, was a small newspaper clipping. Three dead in horror crash, read the headline. There was no photograph. Just three short paragraphs. He flipped the card back over. He knew the words by heart.
The air grew colder and Liam could smell the rain before it fell. He could feel the cool wet air whipping at his face and the rising damp in his lungs. He tucked away the postcard and pulled off the headlamp, replacing it with his knitted blue beanie. A light drizzle quickly became a thunderous downpour that drowned out the sounds of the sea. Liam spun about, retreating away from the edge, and lay down his sleeping bag in a tight round cavern that tunnelled into the cliff about a meter and a half. He crawled in to hide from the intruding wind and rain, turning around and lying on his back in the coffin-like tunnel, legs dangling out the end. His eyes closed as Liam listened to the water cascading over the edge of the lookout above and spattering against the rocks.
Small bare soles stained with blue chalk. Smooth white legs. Embroidered yellow hem. Long red-dyed hair. Narrow bare hips and tiny pale waist. On my God, that tiny pale waist! He could feel it under his hands. Smooth and warm. Delicate to the touch.
Liam woke to dripping water and crashing waves. He slid out, landing on his knees, and turned...
They both scared each other near death.
Just around the corner from his coffin, the red-haired girl huddled in a ball with her back pressed against the sandstone. She was drenched and trembling. There was enough ambient light floating across the bay to highlight her face and legs. Bruises stained the front of her shins and the length of her arms. Her lips were slightly open, teeth chattering. The wrinkled cotton stuck to her body, translucent against her skin, with the embroidered hem crumpled around her waist. One foot was rubbing the top of the other. She turned and stared at Liam, light sliding away from her face. All she could see of Liam was a dark figure hidden by the shadows deeper in the cavern.
Separate names with a comma.