Wandering down Featherston Street, Wellington this morning I noticed what seemed to be a large scale Roadworks operation underway. Upon closer inspection and with the removal of my mp3 earplugs, it proved to be none other than the Indian produced remake of a remake ‘Players’. The film, well movie itself is based on ‘The Italian Job(s)’, either that or ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’ which I hear is also being filmed nearby.
I had two hits on my blog today. That’s a record that perhaps stems from two and a half year’s worth of membership at Word Press and four poorly constructed assertions around my own passive boredom. I now have eleven hits and subtly refresh every four minutes to see if this figure can rise further. I’m not a writer, in case you didn’t already know or realize as you scrolled slowly down the page. I studied at university, some bachelor of arts that doesn’t get you a job and certainly doesn’t mean your clever, or smart, or whatever. At university I’d write essays, unremarkable essays with poorly constructed arguments yet despite this they were easy to read. I think that’s what probably saved me although I hedge that you can randomly jumble five thousand words about Media Distortion for a Bachelor’s degree these days.
Anyway back to this blog, so it’s Tuesday and after sitting around the lounge for thirty five minutes I decide to smoke a joint. I don’t know whether the smoke relaxes me or makes me paranoid but I think it’s a combination of both in a circular pattern. When I inhale it tastes like good weed, silky smoke that swirls cautiously downwards past my lips and down towards my lungs. Four seconds is the length of time you need to keep it in your lungs, any less and your not maximizing the hit, any more and your developing lung cancer. For the first five minutes I lie on the leather couch and I stare at the film posters that adorn my lounge walls. Outside up the valley, dusty sunlight filters through the branches of trees like a snake. The sun has vanished for the evening but blue skies, spread with golden trails of cloud will continue this fusion for the next hour to come. I stare to the city outside and I ponder what to do now. The house is empty and my lounge usually littered with ashtrays and rubbish is oddly unsoiled for this part of the week. There must be a reason, something behind this.
11.38PM – I love this time of night, I can hear the rain outside, a constant stream of chaos falling to the ground. Cars drive past, all I see are the lights and the menacing sound of tires sliding along the silky wet ashphalt. I think about the people in these cars, where are they driving, where is their life taking them? I wonder if they are like me, it forces me to ponder identity. Within this world of individuals we are all connected through channels created by individuals, whether it be the CEO of the financial services company you work for or the manager of the shop you work in, changing fifty eight tires every day, the smell of worn synthetic rubber drifting through the doorway as you hang up your overalls each night. Perhaps you know me, perhaps your connected by the duty manager of that bar you always go to. The one with the stools that you drunkenly slide from every Saturday night, internally cursive yet vocally redundant because you don’t care, the bars cool right.
Three more cars pass by, silent ghosts in the dark of the night. I think about Amanda, she broke up with her boyfriend today. She texts me and tells me about it and I remember how once I loved her. Well at least I think I did, maybe my emotions were distorted by the countless hours of labor that would lead me to walk home in the misty rain every Sunday morning. People weren’t awake at that hour, only me and a few scattered joggers who trundle by, shamelessly flaunting the fact that they’re too embarassed to exercise at an hour when people might actually see them. Apart from me that is, I would always see them. Amanda asks me the questions she should probably be asking herself, I cannot tell her that because I feel it’s innappropriate in her current emotional state. It’s been four years since I’ve actually seen Amanda, facebook updates and emails sent with a frequency of enlarging disparity don’t count up, I wonder if she’s still the same. She was the one who inspired me to write my script, ninety pages off A4 writing refill, faint blue horizontal lines layered with the fading ink from an overtired dot matrix printer. I kept the printer because I thought creatively it was romantic.
My own warped sense of romance carried me as I spent months writing. Late nights through to the morning fuelled by coffee, marijuana and Marlboro Reds, skipping 9AM university lectures and irrelevant tutorials so I could pass my way through creative exhaustion until I was stripped bare to nothing. That was my end game, to strip away each and every layer of my own personality until I found the layer that was who I was. That was the layer I presented to Amanda, subtly in the form of a packaged PDF copy of the script sent to her email address. I’ve since had better considerations in my theorising about scriptwriting, I attempted to write Amanda the greatest love story I could possibly imagine, a film that was narcotically indulgent and submerged within it’s own composition. I wonder as I stare out the window at the fading lights on the hill opposite me whether I astounded her or disapointed her, I imagine the latter and my own gaze drops slightly as I remember this.
I don’t know what I’d consider myself. I don’t know whether I could classify myself as some form of Romeo or some sad and lonely twenty seven year old that found a keyboard and a broadband internet connection. Maybe this consideration is a little too harsh on myself but it’s time for some sort of soulful examination. That’s what I say at least, secretly I know that any conclusion(s) may be too forcefully constructed to be true or false. If you’ve lost me there for a bit, it’s understanding. These you may have ascertained are the ramblings of a guy that for some reason finds staring out the window of his apartment, a cigarette in one hand a glass of red the other more romantic than a dinner at some Italian restaurant where by 10PM you’ve spent more money than what you earned in the two days prior. There we go again, for someone who is so poor at budgeting I must subconciously think of money a lot. Maybe this disdainful opinion on what constitutes a true emotional connection between two people of opposite gender is why I find myself sitting here, ten minutes after I began writing this period, talking about why I’m writing this alone.
I met a girl today, twenty seven. Pity she’s getting married, all the hot ones are these days. The rest, well two percent of the rest are lesbians, one percent is about to find out she’s a lesbian and the other ninety seven percent are bitches. Well at least that’s what they say. I guess I’ll be waiting until 2019 because I figure by the time I’m thirty-five at least twenty percent of the girls above will be middle aged, divorcees drinking Speights at some bar that serves Sangria three quarters full in orange porcelain jugs, checking their nannies facebook profile to find out when they need to pick up their child(ren). I digress, the impact of twenty seven years of shifting social norms and technological advance force me to do so. I read a journal article once that MTV and music television was lessening the attention span of children. The thing that probably concerns me is that was 1995, it’s now 2010 and those children are teachers, pilots and prime minister. So this girl, Julie, 27, brunette, Marketing Manager. I never met a Julie that was a bitch, that’s probably why she’s getting married. Damn, that’s my first impression of her, I didn’t anticipate her being so hot, I mean amongst all the percentages that there are, there are only two that really matter right, the two fifties that separate the hot ones from the ones that aint. I shook her hand, firmly, remembering all the times I’d been told the mark of a man is his handshake. I wasn’t going to even let her think for a micro-split second that I was some wimp dicked Wellingtonian that supports the Phoenix and only attends parties organised by his third year girlfriend. Shaking her hand, I tell her my name, “Jason” I say, an elongated enunciation of the ‘n’ to signal my intent. Yes, she now knows I have a cock and I know how to use it.
It’s 5.15PM, I know Zach is drunk because he texts me the lyrics to a Killers song. I also know later that he will also text me “Don’t mess with my zen thing”, apart from he will misspell “with” with an “r”, I will struggle to interpret it’s meaning or context and conclude that he is referring to a movie character. Walking home, I pass two, possibly three hot girls and some social-psychology newbie pretending to act homelessly on the street. I always see these guys, with a similar frequency to the Oxfam representatives pitching to me in a way they find internally amusing and I find subtly aggressive. These newbies, the same drab stereotypical Hutt Valley attire, brown cardboard sign scrawled in rich red crayon. I sometimes wonder if they all use the same sign, passing it down between generations of dumbass to the next. You can always see the paved footpath for two feet in front of them because private sector Richard and corporate Julie haven’t ever taken a walk on the wild side, haven’t ever encountered adversity and sure as fuck don’t want to risk themselves getting messed up on Lambton Quay before their 2.30 Week in Progress with Marketing. My Ipod delivers funk to my ears, Microsoft Office spellcheck queries Ipod, I smile and tune out, thoughts of Julie running circular through my empty mind. She kissed me, well she didn’t however that got your attention, but she presented her eyes to me all the same, green eyes with a freckled forehead submerged by an eighth of an inch layer of foundation. Her eyes meeting my non-perturbed glance halfway across the café table, she told me how excited she was by the new creative they were running for the January campaigns, how positive the change in upper management had been for her. I smiled, lifting my left arm over onto the table as I recollected a body language seminar I had attended once, if your arm is not visible I was told, it’s interpreted subconsciously by your company that your hiding something, across from me the lies continued to flow.
“So did you study in Auckland?” I asked after a while, trying not to sound uninterested but at the same time attempting to interrupt
“No, I actually studied down here,” she paused, interpreting the ‘Idon’tgiveafuck’ look on my face as if I had merely misunderstood what she meant.
“Down here in Wellington” she affirmed, I think about a further change in subject but decide that it is too obvious, especially with such tremendous professional opportunities at risk if I seem at all rude.
“Oh, so at Victoria?” I finally replied, arms both firmly entrenched on the table, my cheap analogue watch with black leather wristband protruding from my left French cuff.
“Well for the first three years, I did my post grad at AUT,” she pauses as she had a thousand overly confident times before “but I really miss Welly now, it’s such a neat place, did you study here?”
I feel anger rising within me at her usage of the word ‘Welly’ but I restrain myself, reminding myself that she is good looking and at some point I would want to fuck her.
I planned on initially writing this as some form of semi-arrogant biography of my life to date. After fifteen pages, it hadn’t turned out so much biographical as it had an obituary. So again, I begin, attempting to translate thoughts, some dark, some inspired into words.
This is a not a mission statement. This not fiction more than it is non-fiction. It is a way of moving forward into the light and away from the darkness. I feel at this point as if I should stop and clarify my usage of the term ‘darkness’. The word darkness perhaps due to the vivid mental onomatoepia that accompanies it whenever dispelled is one that is thrown around very loosely. In my case, I deliver darkness in the most twenty year old analogical fashion you can imagine. Yes, you.
I’m not twenty by the way, I’m twenty seven years old and I am the guy wearing a tailored suit, reading the Dominion behind you on the bus, look for me because I am smiling at the back of your head waiting for you to turn around.
Most people don’t turn around I’ve found, so I’ll convey my life’s experiences to you, childhood, boyhood, adulthood. More specifically, I am brunette, 5”10 (although I say 5”11) with blue eyes, chiselled jaw and slim athletic build. You may feel as if you recognise me, it’s true you do and the reason for that is that I’m not a person I’m a fucking generation and if your not scared you should be because from what I hear the next is by now twice as disenchanted.
I live in an overpriced rental apartment that comes with no furnishings, I rent those as well for $16 a week split between my flatmate Zach and I. I guess I rent other things, electricity from the power company, telephone and broadband connection from the Telco, television from the satellite provider. You get the idea, it means that for someone that isn’t responsible and can’t budget fiscally I am always strapped for cash and relying on credit. I don’t know how this is the case, I earn twice as much as I did when I was sixteen working night shift packaging apple sauce in a growers factory. Everytime I walk into a McDonalds the warming apple pies remind me of the crisp, starry winter nights when I would finish up at the factory and drive my Corolla out into the flat countryside and park beside the river, lying on the bonnet of the two door hatch as I smoked a joint and watched the smoke chase the river downstream like a bubble caught in time.
Can you see that I’m struggling to find an entry point here. I could go to my high school girlfriend cheating on me at the ball with a school jock who reminded me of too many teen movies. Or Julia? But nothing happened there, unless she messages me back. I could validate my argument about robotic bitches from space by talking about Maya but there’s no cheap hooker ads in the paper to remind me of her. Talking about hookers, there’s my entry point.
Downtown on Wakefield Street, two dilapidated cherry coloured brick walls facing out, the other two internally connected to the empty warehouse next to it. A place soulless even if it was only to those who didn’t a hundred for forty-five minutes with Becky or Angela, I can’t remember which ones her real name now. To me, I had envisioned an abundant sanctuary connecting me to anything that I had ever wanted or lusted for. For a good looking guy at twenty two years of age and being forced out of the hostel it was hellishly evoking of course it was, I had never lived at a brothel before. A co-worker that told me about it first of all,
“This place looks tight, there’s eight rooms and leather couches.” Reece bragged as he pointed at the newspaper listing,
“And it’s only one a hundred a week?” I half asked, half stated
“Dodgy though living above a brothel man, you’ll wake up and have hookers in your room and shit” I advised, subconsciously attempting to allude to the fact I was seriously impressed by this palace at only one hundred bucks a week.
“No way.” he paused as his phone interrupted him, as it always did. He sighed as he always did and pulled on his headset “The hookers only fuck there”
He pressed a button on his CISCO and welcomed some asshole to some company that didn’t care. There was an air of disenchantment about Reece however I never quite could read it. He hung up on the asshole and turns around.
“I went and had a look at it last night with a friend and you come in from the street and you’ve got couches and televisions and then a really long leather bar behind the waterfall”
I was sold.
He continued, I was enchanted by the possibility of living in the place. Even the carpet sounded lush, the hallways exciting. His phone continued to ring however he didn’t answer it. I wondered if I should bounce it but I didn’t.
I moved in that night.
Reece never came back to work, that was the first thing. He didn’t come back the next day and he wasn’t there the rest of the week. I wanted to ask someone what had happened but I didn’t know he was Reece then. I didn’t know what his name was and I still don’t, I made it up.
I moved into the palace, Zach moved into the room up the hallway. Neither had windows, mine had a bed, Zach’s a bunk. I’ve never fucked a hooker on a bunk but I wouldn’t imagine it mattered all the same, they don’t move much. It was obviously a party room because it had a shower, most convenient ensuite I’ve had to this day, half a fucking foot of carpet away from my bed. The first night, we partied hard. I had blown the best part of six and a half thousand dollars on my credit card but frivolity wasn’t gonna be an impediment to tonight’s entertainment. I wasn’t going to let the dream float until I was at least two more down. There were hookers downstairs, disappointing hookers if there is any other way to describe any cheap floozy. There was a Maori girl probably late thirties early forties, she wasn’t a hooker but she may have been a part-timer I don’t know. Even forty dollars has a certain shape to it’s face if you get the drift. This Maori girl was also a shoplifter because she sure as fuck wasn’t an Avon girl,
“Could have this one for thirty bucks” She muttered, I was distressed at her disdain for any normal level of societal awareness. Was this the bottom tier of civilization I had wondered as the words came shredded from her mouth.
“Na, I’m alright” I had said, the cold Export Gold leaving a trail of perspiration on my cheap shirt.
“Oh you missing out on the shit boy”, she warned
“Yeah, I know” I replied, smiling at her before glancing around trying to catch the attention of Steve who sat chatting up a hooker three feet away.
“I’ve just gotta go over there” I said, motioning at the other side of the room
“Yeah, ask him if he wants some, go on” she urged. I noted at the time that for a salesperson she showed a lack of interest in her craft, she could have at least dropped the aftershave to twenty-five. I moved away, I looked back at her and her eyes drifted away, she got up to take a piss I think.
“Steve bro, what’s up man?” I said, high fiving him before I leaned into his shoulder. I half turned towards his company
“Hey I’m Andrew” I turned immaturely and faced Steve
“What’s up?” I said again.
The music was loud, Steve was drunk and he was having trouble hearing me. I looked around. Steve leant back towards Cissy or Missy or whatever the blondes fucking name was. If Steve was drunk, Zach was in full party mode central over by the strip pole. He didn’t only have the attention of the Avon lady; he had also made friends with two of the hookers who both danced around him with a level of glee usually reserved for special occasions and Disney movies. We were getting to a level where the club would be spinning in two or three hours which meant it was usually time to go to town. As we said goodbye to the girls, we made our exit under the watchful glare of Harry, the ill-tempered publican, a glare that symbolically would pave the foundation for my ultimate journey into exile and back again.