Faraway Fred

Tick, tock.  Tick, tock.  An otherwise silent room.  Lying on the master bed is a man old, once young.  All his life he’d been one to look forward – to milestones, achievements, joy, and even sorrow.  But he’d been recently reminiscing.  And as he was wont to do, he started at the beginning: his first memory.

Four years old.  A one-time gold-rich town in western Queensland that exists now as little more than a long-haul petrol station, pub, and general store and post office servicing a handful of nearby – to use the word loosely – farms.  A hill.  And very young Fred, as his parents called him, a tiny-training-wheel-bike atop blur literally screaming down said hill, as his father shouted from its summit: “Hit the brakes!  The brakes!”

Then a void, for a while.  Fred’s memories of recovering from the injuries, ultimately learning to ride, and attending his first couple of years at primary school not deemed significant enough to swim into his consciousness.  Then Mildred.

Grade 5.  Both aged 10.  Fred put dirt in Mildred’s hair, she gave chase, Fred fell over, grazed his knee, started crying, and Mildred comforted him.  Fred got the cane.  Mildred comforted him some more.

Focused now.  Or perhaps distracted, as men are often both made to be by the fairer sex.  Fred’s reminiscence jumped forward and over other perhaps worthy life-events, to more Mildred.

Her face was obscured by a white shroud.  He could see nothing else, and hear little but the blood rushing past his ears.  From somewhere far away he heard “Do you, Fred, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”  To which he responded: “I do.”  Then a return to singular focus on the white veiled figure in front of him.  Until the veil disappeared, from his to be tear-blurred vision.

Tears from this recollection had still not dried beneath his eyes when Fred’s mind turned to later, but presently much earlier, years.  Years of solitude, for example.

Sunlight would have somewhat penetrated the giant redwood forest’s gently shifting canopy, if not for ever-present northern-Californian fog obscuring it.  Fred walked without hurry, his only companions a gnarled, scavenged walking stick, songbirds, and the wind.  He looked at a counterfeit, as it turned out, Rolex won in a back-alley Las Vegas poker game.  Then wondered why he’d bothered, and instead concentrated on the clearing up ahead.  A grassed clearing, still glinting surprisingly bright in the low light from morning dew.  A single deer.  A fawn, seen upon entrance.  It looked up, munching lazily on the wet undergrowth, straight at Fred as he paused in its gaze.  Then as he took a single short step forward it bolted, and he smilingly watched it disappear into the trees.

And years of companionship.  Of brotherhood.

John lay on a sun-lounge in nothing but his boardshorts, holding a salted margarita glass in sips to his lips.  Fred lay beside him, equally boardshorted, waiting for his third drink to arrive.  Both watched the ocean heave from beneath a grass umbrella and the noon sun.

“Whack,” simply said John.

“Buckets,” added Fred, as such a generous amount of spray threw from a wave.

“Barrel!” exclaimed John.

“Wooooooo!” shouted the surfer upon exiting the barrel about 100m from the two friends’ view.

“What a morning,” said Fred.

“One of the best,” added John.

“What should we do now?”

“More of this,” John emptied his glass and raised his hand to resort staff for another.

“And after?”

“More waves.”

“Then?”

“Bars, then a 7am flight.”

“No sleep?”

“Hell no.”

“Fuck no,” said Fred, as a drink appeared in his hand. “Life’s too short,” he concluded to himself before taking a sip.

The group of surfers boiled happily in the warm water during a lull in swell, in anticipation of more to come.  The pair on the beach watched with empathetic enjoyment.  John decided it was a time for a question of his own, as his drink arrived.

“Have you been thinking about her?”

“No,” replied Fred, lying only in terms of recent past-tense, as of course the question swam Mildred to his mind.

“And now?”

“Of course.”

“She can’t be tamed.”

“I don’t want to tame her.”

“What do you want from her?”

“To love her.”

“I asked what you wanted from her, not what you wanted for her.”

“I, also, want to be loved by her.”

“Good.”

Uncharacteristically impatient now, Fred’s thoughts rushed without labour but not complete dismissal over a litany of his life’s triumphs and tragedies.  To both his greatest, centered atop a hospital bed.

The two younger siblings, a boy and a girl, stood silently and uncomprehending.  The two older, both male, soundlessly shed tears down their as yet beardless cheeks.  Their respective mothers, having said final goodbyes to their own mother, wailed on their knees at each bedside; comforted by their standing husbands.  And Fred seated quite prostate at the bed’s foot as the hospital machinery sounded its droning detached death knell – he cried yet smiled as he held Mildred’s now lifeless but once so seemingly immortal feet.  And decided, inevitably yet indefinitely, to chase his sometimes elusive love one final time into the unknown.

 

Tick, tock.  Tick, tock.  Broken now by a gasp, from his younger daughter Milly (short, or perhaps modernised for, of course, Mildred).  Right hand over her mouth, she approaches the old man on the bed, Fred, who has reminisced his last.  And Milly can’t help but lower her hand, and subtly smile.  Because so is her father, no longer breathing, clutching a photo of a not yet middle-aged couple.  The man: wearing a tuxedo and a broad, perhaps relieved grin.  And the woman: all in white, Fred’s arm over her shoulder, and a veil thrown back to reveal her also and no less smiling face.

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The Dirt n Dust Girl

THERE’S a girl. Someone special you want to impress, but the problem is she’s easily distracted.

Dangerous.

“Stay away from her”, a mutual friend warned while we held each other up, too drunk to stand except with each other. “She’ll hurt you.”

And I said; “My mind agrees with you, but the heart doesn’t care.”

The mind usually wins these battles. And it probably will again this time.

I like writing these stories because somehow women make the best muses. I like to look at them more than I like to touch. I need to gaze at a mascara lined, wide eyed beauty with wild hair and an athletic curvy figure like a Nullarbor Nymph, a woman for one night to change my world with what she does and says, more than I would want a relationship.

Flashy: The Dirt n Dust festival isn't just a triathlon. It also has odd competitions like Australia's Best Butt competition. These are the girl finalists.

Flashy: The Dirt n Dust festival isn’t just a triathlon. It also has odd competitions like Australia’s Best Butt competition. These are the girl finalists.

I hadn’t met many of these for a while, but I finally met one to rival Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

It was the after-party of the Dirt n Dust triathlon in Outback Queensland, April. Hundreds had gathered from the stations, businesses, nearby communities. A great excuse to get pissed listening to a band cover Rolling Stones.

I was there, taking photographs for a newspaper like some awkward Peter Parker. There was a girl I knew there, Jaimee, and I was so relieved to have a friend to talk to. She bought me a drink and while away her friend groped my butt.

The friend’s name was Julie (her name wasn’t really Julie but I’d be a fool to share it). Julie was sitting next to a friend I assumed was her boyfriend. I took their photos and they went dancing in the wind and dust, and I braved the mosh to take more photographs of more drunken people.

“Come back,” Julie said, “and drink with us.” I promised I would, flattered some stranger thought my butt was beautiful enough to grope. I was back once I locked the camera in my car. We drank for ages to The Doors and I Can’t Get No Satisfaction and I accidentally pocket dialed a local mayor even though I had no phone reception.

And it seemed to impress the girl. “Here’s my number,” she said, putting it in my phone.

“Why do I need this?” I said, “I have no reception.”

“You idiot,” the boy she was with said. “This girl is giving you her number.”

“Oh,” I said, “but I might accidentally drunk dial you.”

“I’d love it if you did,” she said and grabbed my arm and led me away.

We left the mosh and walked to the house of a friend of hers. We sat on the patio drinking. I was staying in a small motel room by myself with a spare bed.

I was wondering if I should go back to it when Jaimee arrived – a bit grouchy and tired. I felt a little guilty but I didn’t know why. We sat another half hour and I was having a friendly argument with Julie’s guy friend.

“I’m going to have to find somewhere to sleep,” Jaimee said, just when I was thinking I should offer my spare bed to someone – hoping Julie would be first to accept.

“Have my spare bed,” I said, and she said “really?” and I said “yes you might as well” and we left five minutes later.

“Please,” I said when we were under our blankets in the dark. “Please do me a favour and let Julie know nothing funny happened between us.”

She laughed.

It wasn’t the last time Jaimee and I were to share an enclosed space with each other. Last weekend I woke with a hangover in a tent with Jaimee and Julie lying next to me.

Julie was wearing a hot dog onesie. It’s another story. One I’d tell soon if we get enough blog post likes.

Sleep Wishing

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I have insomnia. I can’t sleep. Can find no comfort against obstinate thought. Have to go to work tomorrow. Have to. At the same time. Every day. Up at 6am. Home about 5pm. No matter whether I’ve had 9 hours, or 8 or 5 or none, sleep. If I want to live. If I want to eat. Be sheltered. Have a car for driving to work and other places. If I want to be loved by those I can afford with limited time and money to spend time and money with. If I want to believe things will get better. That I’ll make more money without losing more time. More sleep. I fear dreaming. That I will dream not the happy things dreams are known for. Not even those painful. But those banal. Those obligatory and required and expected that one never feels are fully achieved to the wishes of the obligator or requiror or expector. Not sure if they are made up words. Not sure if with each night, that becomes each week, each month and year of lost sleep my mind further loses its grip on established, mass-approved sanity. I need to sleep right now to gain 7 hours. But I won’t. Because I’m writing. Maybe 6. I hope. And then hope my mind is awake tomorrow and not just pretending. I envy those who need not much sleep. But cynically suspect that that’s just what they tell themselves. And that tragically ironically lack of sleep has altered their grip on reality sufficiently that they can incorrectly convince themselves that they don’t need more, sleep. I’m tired. But I can’t sleep, at worst. Can’t paragraph, at best. I should edit but won’t. Write drunk, edit sober – Hemingway. But I’m not you, Hemingway. Nor should I pretend to be. I’m me. This is my journey. Just wish I had more control over it and not just enough control to recognise the inadequacies it gathers like moss on a temperate street sign. I don’t want help for which something is expected in return. I’m too proud and ashamed to want want help for which nothing is expected in return. I don’t want to be a burden either fruitful or cumbersome. I just want to be, without expectation or obligation or enslavement. I want to feel free. Free to have a brain that decides it wants to stay up late to whatever useless end, and let it also wake when it wishes. But I can’t. I have to wake it when it’s expected to be awoken. And have it do things it’s expected to do. Then have it stay up all night regretting its enslavement to the whims of a society that has normalised exploitation of those who day after day only feign possession of such to be exploited.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. Freedom.

Fuck I hate capitalism

Fuck I hate capitalism. Fucking fucked up system that benefits the few at the top despite their lack of effort, at the expense of the teeming hordes at the bottom through their daily, individually meaningless toil.

The masses used to bring down those whose wealth exceeded their contribution to society. Now they not only worship them, but pay to do so. It would be history’s greatest joke, were it not so both current and unfunny.

Perspective

Once upon a time at work a bbq was put on for staff and I guess maybe customers. I got there and grabbed a sausage sandwich and stood, munching, watching the hills in the distance – mindful of the fact I was busy but wanted seconds. A colleague turned up and said within earshot of me “There’s – my name – over there. You expect him to jump over the railing with a rope around his neck.”

At first I was angry but, as I all too regularly do, I suppressed the rage. Then I was sad, ironically sad that another human’s reaction to my apparent unhappiness was to, willingly or not as I’m not sure whether he realised I overheard, seek to amplify said unhappiness. I was made more unhappy by the fact that the other colleague he said it to responded by fucking laughing. Then I grabbed seconds and went downstairs – and in addition to working continued thinking about the incident.

I ended up pitying him. Because I realised for him to think such a thing and also say it within earshot of who it was about he must have been pretty unhappy himself. It seems the only reasonable course of action, when internalising reaction to abuse. There was noone at work I could tell because you should never trust anyone you work with. I trusted my bosses equally as my lowliest colleagues not to either believe what I heard or do anything about it that would satisfy me. And even if you trust family or friends – which you should also be wary of – telling them about such incidents doesn’t necessarily have a practical effect.

So that’s the nature of perspective: you have to rationalise in your own mind that the person abusing you is doing it from a place of their own wretchedness. Because to reason otherwise you could only conclude that their behaviour toward you is indicative of your worth – in their eyes or those they know who may have said ill of you. And as, as I get older, incidents such as these BY FUCKING BASTARDS WHO DON’T DESERVE THE OXYGEN WHICH PROPELLS THEIR HURTFUL HORSESHIT multiply and I have to hope they don’t weigh down my mind. At least by not apparently reacting I don’t have to worry about the reactions, indeed consequences, to my reactions. Night after night it comes down to the fingers-crossed moment – where when you decide to go to sleep, you indeed do and don’t instead stay up all night thinking about the hurt you have to suffer at the hands of others whether you like it or not.

Not that I know I can trust this blog, but I have got to hope by getting it through my fingers that it will get the fuck out of my brain.

Another Party

Another party.  They’re all the same, to me.  Sure, some people vary apart from the inevitable regulars who inhabit my surrounding social circles.  And the music.  That of course depends on whose party it is, and the type of crowd in attendance – until everyone gets drunk and starts obnoxiously commandeering the speakers without even waiting for the previous person’s song to end.  Otherwise: constants.  Banal constants.  Especially the almost total disregard for yours truly.  If it wasn’t for Facebook, and its figuratively endless literal list of colleagues past and present, borderline strangers, and neglected relationships, I’d likely not be here.  They’re laughing and talking about I don’t know what, and I might care if it didn’t seem to appear to them that I was but a beer by a wall occasionally being lifted up as if by a ghost or air current and poured, vanishing liquid, into thin air.  Such a moment strikes, so I lift the last of my current drink and focus closely on the frothy amber liquid gurgling toward my lips.  In the distance, a pretty blonde talking excitedly to a swaying drunk brunette.  Just as my focus deepens she makes eye contact with mine as her friend turns to grab her drink.  Then just as quickly turns back as her friend does to her.  I know that it wasn’t an accident.  I know I should go over to her.  That I’m at least superficially attracted to her and if I would just say ‘hello’, who knows what might happen.  But I don’t, confidence lacking.  Another constant.  Instead I put my drink on the nearest flat surface, manage at least to say goodbye to who I’m not even sure is one of the hosts, and leave.  A rerun of a TV show I never enjoy but feel obligated to watch.

I like big cock porn the best.  A friend of mine once said he didn’t like dick in his porn, like it was a homosexual line he couldn’t cross.  But to me the point always lay in the nature of fantasy: that you could imagine it was your own penis mostly thrusting hard and deep or, less often, tenderly and measured into a shrieking, moaning or wide-eyed, impossibly beautiful woman.  There’s nothing romantic in it.  Similar to shaving, it’s merely a regular and somewhat necessary, yet pleasurable, bodily function quite quickly taken care of then, on with life.  But now, to bed.  I dream of high school.  Of the time a tall, freckled frizzy-haired brunette talked to me for the first and last time by the school gate.  Lazily twirling her fingers through to the ends of her hair, which would then bounce back toward her head – I understand now but didn’t then have a clue what she was thinking.  Perhaps she didn’t either.  It was hormones.  At once innocent but pleasingly dangerous stirrings of what was at the time maybe ambiguous but now recognised in three throbbing fluorescent letters: S.  E.  X.  So I took her to the toilets.  (Not then, but in the dream.)  In the fast forward way of dreams we were suddenly in a cubicle, and then our clothes were gone, we were all over each other, and then I wake up.  Rude awakenings.  Another mainstay of dreams.  My alarm is sounding.  It’s time for work.  After the erection makes its slow departure I put on some around the house shorts and begin the morning routine.  

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When I get to work – the delicatessen at my local supermarket – I find I’m working with Courtney today.  And my younger, taller, arguably better looking and more muscular brother, Tom.

The smiles and suggestive conversations and not-so-casual brushes, between Courtney and Tom, of course, make me cringe but the shift surely ends and I walk to my car.  

‘Keen to head out tonight?’ Tom says, from the passenger seat.

‘Sure, why not?’ I rhetorically feign interest without averting my attention from the road.

‘Courtney’s coming,’ he adds.

‘Courtney?’ I can’t help turning to inspect him.

‘Yeah,’ he grins toward the windscreen at my not so subtle interest.  ‘And Sarah,’ by whom he means her fuller-figured, plainer-featured friend.

‘Oh, ok,’ and I return my interest to the sallow suburbia slinking past.

Smiles and suggestions and brushes, instead among others at another party, again between Courtney and Tom.  I stand holding another beer, as disinterested as ever, instead beside Sarah.  And feel undeniably as if I’ve drawn the short straw.  We must be at that point, between six drinks and 16, when consciousness blurs, when suddenly Courtney is in front of me or Sarah or both of us, saying something about ‘skinny dipping’.  And Tom is beside her, grinning.  Then we’re at the lake on a cloudless new-moon of late-summer.  Tom and my clothes disappear and the girls’ all but their panties.  The water is warm and Courtney is in Tom’s arms and Sarah must still be on the bank but then Tom’s gone and I’m holding Courtney then the water around us is frothing green with a strange fluorescent light reflected from the moon onto algae in the water.  And she’s moaning: ‘Biggest cock.  The biggest cock!’  All flashes green and black and pleasure, and voyeuristic silver crescent moon.

Then it’s cold and a little muddy, then dry and warm.  I’m back at the party.  Tom and Courtney are gone.  Sarah’s talking about I don’t know what and couldn’t care less to a large bloke with flashing eyes and frantic hand gestures.  A rock song plays, cut short by some electronic music, cut short by some reggae.  I recognise some faces in the crowd but they don’t acknowledge mine, as I finish my beer and leave it on a coffee table on my way out.  Another party.

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The Little Window

There’s a little window,
Where I work.
One of very few.
A little window,
Where I work.
Through which I wish,
I’d flew.

The little window,
Reminds me,
Of a world beyond the walls.
The walls between which,
I work.
The walls between which,
I work.

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The little window,
Reminds me,
Of yearning to be free.
The little window,
Reminds me,
The world cares not,
For me.

The little window,
Shows some sky.
Sometimes blue; others grey.
The little window,
Reminds me,
This could be hell.
If I die.

Sitting in My Car

Sitting in my car,
Hoping for a miracle.
At once chastising myself,
For being a hypocrite,
Because I’m not religious.
It’s darker without the,
Light of day.
Quieter without the,
Hubub of industry.
Colder without the,
Exertion of work.
An alarm sounds nearby.
I wonder will it stop tonight.
Will I sleep.
Must stop writing this,
“Poem”.
Because my phone will lose,
Its battery power.
Was tempted to write that,
The battery would “die”.
But I’m trying my best,
Not to think about,
Death.
Instead love.
Life is not the opposite of death.
Because without love,
One is not really,
Alive.