Wednesday, 26 August 2015
First and second chapter of my latest novel: IN PROGRESS
I was the editor-in-chief at a reputable paper. People bowed down to me as they passed. I kept a bottle of 15 year reserve whiskey in my cabinet and I smoked my office blue. I walked out my office to pee. I was strangely well-preserved for a man in his early fifties, but what the hell; some have the luck. I closed the office door and my assistant immediately offered me a surprise 30 minute fellatio session. This didn't seem right; she had buck-teeth and a little bit too many freckles. I tried to get away. I held onto my belt buckle while she tried to pry it from me. She was supernaturally strong and grabbed my package. Wait a minute.
What the fuck. I awoke at my desk at work, sweat pouring from my brow and most likely red in the face. I checked downstairs; no standing ovation, thank God for that, and also for the fact that I wasn’t in my fifties; I was a tender 35 years of age. It was the dirty thirties, not the fumbling fifties. Piles and piles of research lay on my desk; now all messed up due to my face resting in them. Empty take-out boxes formed an untidy tower in the corner. My desk was a total abortion, exactly the way I liked it. All the geniuses in the world were untidy anyway; at least that's what I told myself. I knew where everything was despite the mess so technically it was an organized mess. The sun shone through a gap in the blinds and hit me square in the eyes; it hurt like hell. I rubbed them and looked around; everything was as I left it, except for the untidy heap of papers and newspaper clippings on my desk. I reached for my lighter and fumbled for a cigarette. I almost lit up before I remembered that smoking was banned in buildings about 10 years ago. I grimaced; i remembered those days when you could smoke in the middle of a busy shopping centre and nobody said a thing. Nowadays, you could be standing outside in the cold and a middle-aged woman will come up to you, eyes filled with rage, and say: "Excuse me, you're not allowed to smoke 10 meters from the building. Your smoke will go into the entrance." I doubt anyone would die from this highly fanciful scenario if it happened to occur but that's what happens. So now you have to stand at some demarcated area for smokers in a little group with people you don't know or want to know, listening to the previous night's antics and how important it is to get a manicure. Anyway, i proceeded to the fire-escape; that was where the staff was told they could smoke. I peeked around the corner; I didn't really like to smoke with company. I wanted to enjoy my cigarette in peace and quiet. Crowds irritated me; so did people in general actually. There was nobody there so I quickly snagged my spot in the corner with the only chair in the vicinity. I sat down, lit up and took a long drag. Ahh, i exhaled. I was watching the cars down below when the door opened. It was the nerdy guy who sat going over articles for grammatical errors before sending it to the editor-in-chief. He was like a sub sub-editor. Actually, he did all the editing and by the time it got to the editor-in-chief there were no mistakes anyway, leaving the editor with nothing to do but decide if the article would be printed or not. He was good at editing, I'll give him that, but he was painfully awkward in social situations. He crawled up in the other corner by the balcony and sat there. He lit up one of his menthol smokes and puffed like a 14 year old. His very presence annoyed me but I hated to kill a perfectly good cigarette, even if it was my third one since I went outside. He asked me how i was. "I"m okay, man."
I left it at that; I wasn't really looking to converse with him and I hoped he would take the hint. He didn't. "Editor Beesley requests your presence in his office. He asked that I pass on the message." His face didn't move. He looked down the whole time when he spoke. It made you feel like you weren't important enough to warrant eye contact. He was always shaking too, not like Parkinson's shaking, but nerves. The guy was a ball of nerves; stammering on his sentences and just looking awkward pretty much all the time. "Fine, fine. I'm just finishing my smoke." I tried to finish said cigarette but he kept eyeing me out like he was waiting, like he wanted to escort me to Beesley's office. A couple more seconds of this and I'd go mad, i thought. The hell with it, i tossed the cigarette over the rail and watched it fly towards the street, then I walked over to Beesley's office; weird, socially-awkward, nerdy youth in tow.
Beesley's door was closed, so I sat down on the couch in the foyer, completely bypassing his PA. Bob, the nerdy sub sub-editor had vanished. He probably just wanted to make sure I went to see Beesley; the dick. I opened a copy of Time magazine. Finding it immensely boring I placed it back down, and began fumbling around with my hands, before the PA piped up: "Mr Bravic, Editor Beesley will see you now. Please give this envelope to him, if you don't mind." She handed me an envelope. Sure as shit; an envelope. I held one end of it while she held the other and in a split second we made eye contact. Our eyes met, the world stopped, and then she released the envelope and went back to her typing. "Sure, I'll do that." I said. "Sure, you do that." She said, not looking up. I had an effect on her, mostly that of utter annoyance, Ithought. No matter, I didn’t want anything from her. She was fug-nugly. I knocked at Beesley's door; I gave it a real hard knock just to piss him off. "DON'T KNOCK SO LOUD, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!!" He yelled. "Who is that? Oh, it's you, Bravic. Come on in and sit yourself down."
I walked in, a huge grin on my face, and slipped the envelope on his desk, before sitting down. He noticed the envelope, took it and opened it up. His eyes bulged somewhat when he found something interesting; he started reading out loud in a mumble. I couldn't make out what he was saying. Suddenly the mumbling stopped and he put it down; it obviously wasn't that interesting anymore. He lost the look on his face too. "Right, Bravic, so tell me what the story is."
"Uh, what story?" I asked, dryly, as if I had no idea what he was talking about. That set him off; his face went a crimson hue of red and he jumped up. "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, WHAT STORY? YOU HAVEN'T PUBLISHED A DAMN WHISPER IN THREE MONTHS. I'VE A GOOD MIND TO LET YOU GO, CONSIDERING ALL YOU DO AROUND HERE IS IRRITATE PEOPLE AND DO WHATEVER THE HELL YOU LIKE!". He stood for a moment, as if to calm himself down. "What's my PA's name again? Shit, it's Chloe isn't it? CHLOE! PLEASE BRING ME SOME TEA!"
"Yes, sir, right way." Came the timid reply from behind the closed door. Within a few minutes she was there with Beesley's tea; Earl Grey, with a dash of lemon. She sat the tray down on his desk and excused herself. Thank God she didn't go down on me in that dream; I'd be traumatized, i thought. I'd been sitting there quietly for the last ten minutes since Beesley had had his outburst, and was patiently waiting for him to continue. He took a loud sip of his tea, sighed, and resumed his lecture.
"So, you don't know what the story is. Well, I do. There's a music festival set to be happening on the outskirts of town and guess who's going to be covering it? Shoot straight this time, or I'll fling you out this door so hard and then I will make your face the new cover of each and every magazine in that foyer."
It didn't sound too inviting. "I guess I'll do it." I said, quietly. He flew into his predictable rage again. "YOU GUESS? YOU GUESS? YOU WILL FUCKING DO IT! HERE, TAKE THIS ENVELOPE AND GET THE f...u..ck..out..of...my..off...fffice.." His voice had suddenly gone croaky in the middle of his shouting contest. He cleared his throat. "Ahem. GET THE FUCK OUT OF OFFICE!!!" I took the hint and left. Then I came back to get the envelope. He held it out and gave me the filthiest look I'd ever seen, up till then anyway. I took the envelope and skedaddled.
I left the office early when nobody was watching and stopped to get some booze on the way. I arrived home, cracked open a beer and sat on the couch. Slumped over comfortably, I pulled out a cigarette. I stuck it in my mouth and sat there for a good couple of minutes before lighting it; I liked to develop a taste for the flavour before I just lit it up. There was nobody to disagree with me anyhow. I could give a shit. I was the king here and that's how it would stay. I decided to get naked and chill around a bit. I made some popcorn and once again hit the couch. I figured I should eventually open that envelope and see what the fuss was about. It was already open since Beesley had tore its precious hymen to shreds. I took the paper out and opened it cautiously. It read:
"This notice hereby serves to invite one of your journalists the chance to attend the Groovy Roots Music Festival on the outskirts of Santa Maria, CA. The exact location is the Island of Moheeti, 20 miles off the coast of the city. A very liberal piece of land, inhabited by a population that is embracing its legal drug status. This festival will ultimately be seen as the Woodstock of the new age. "
Then, in huge capitals it read:
"ADMIT ONE ONLY, TICKET ENCLOSED"
This was a bad idea, I thought. I was a known dabbler in all things mind-altering. When I was younger, I got so drunk that I actually got lost in a parking lot. The odds of that happening are mind-numbingly slim, yet I achieved it with alarming success. In a way, I was proud of myself; not everyone could say they had done it. Not everyone could say they'd walked through a mall, pissed as a fart and not remembered a damn thing of it. Not a damn thing. Of course, I would never pass up such an opportunity, not while I drew breath. What felt like a bad idea was my thing after all; I was good at fucking things up. Better than most I'd say. A veteran of sorts. I had to do it. I would do this thing.
The festival was happening on Friday and it was Wednesday so i had two days to fuck around and clear my head. My method of establishing this was to get dead drunk and fall asleep. Fun times. That was the plan anyway. Different strokes for different folks. You name it. I wanted to bring my friend Joey along so I sent him an IM on my phone. It was a smartphone; probably the only new thing I owned, a Samsung, with a touch screen. Joey didn't reply; it showed up as unread. Fucker must be asleep still, I thought. I forgot about him for a moment and decided I should work on that article I was supposed to submit. I did have one, I had just been struggling with the conclusion. I pulled out my ancient laptop and placed it on the coffee table and hacked away at it. A few failed attempts resulted in me having to utilise the backspace key, then I came up with a decent conclusion. It was about the music scene in our precious town of Santa Maria. I wrote about a gig that I had gone to; it was at a little bar called Maestro's, close to the main street. It was frequented by the usual Metal-scene type; dudes with long hair and Mohicans, girls dressed and painted black like it was the era of new wave punk and goth. What could I possibly say about it? That there was a real community of gig-going youths? That there was a sense of comradery in this tiny town? That newly formed bands had a chance of making it in this town, in this day and age? Hell, no. It was in fact far from the case; there was nothing but trends, passing and fleeting fancies. A band would enter the scene, the kids would lap it up and then three months later they would be obselete, as though they never existed. The bands themselves would disband after an average of three months anyway, like they got tired of playing a particular style of music. It was the same everywhere though, I guess. People didn’t play what they wanted to play; they played what other people wanted to hear. I reckon it’s the same today. Let the trend-surfers ride the next wave, to wherever it may take them. I could give a shit, but I won’t. I had my taste in music, and they could have theirs. Although, I wouldn’t call it taste as such. Maybe bad taste would be a better term. Metal-core and grind-core and math-core and and and everything fucking –core. I’d sooner go watch a Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith tribute band comprising of a bunch of old geezers in their 70’s than some bunch of newbies fresh from high school, buggering around with instruments and trying to sound like the latest band trending. Trending, how I loathed that word; it went against everything I stood for. It dug at the very core of my being. It made me want to drink more. To be honest, it never took much convincing for me to want to drink more. I was rather easily convinced; the sun never came up today, I think I’ll have a drink. It’s raining, I think I’ll have a drink. I have writer’s block, I think I’ll have a drink. See; easily convinced. As soon as a drink pressed up against my lips I was happy. Does that make me an alcoholic? I prefer the term “connoisseur of fine beverages”; beer and whisky and wine, to name a few, but enough of my endearing character traits. Joey replied to my IM.
“coming over with beers.”
Fuck him. Couldn’t he ask if I was home? Couldn’t he at least have the decency to do that? No, he couldn’t, and I was exactly the same. I’d just as easily do the exact same thing to him. I had a little chuckle and then the fucker arrived. He knocked on the door loudly and shouted “HIPPY. I’M HERE. OPEN UP, MAN!” Hippy was his nickname for me. I was a hippy of sorts; I definitely spread the love. I also had a thing about personal choice. My choice was my choice, and it worked likewise for other people. “That’s your thing, man.” ‘That was my line. It wasn’t apathy, as such, but more like a way of not bothering enough about other people’s ways or mannerisms or views or thoughts to actually work myself up about. He came in, 6-pack in one hand and a bottle of brandy in the other. He loved brandy. I couldn’t stand it; I considered it the Devil’s drink. It turned decent, honest men into raging, walking cocks. It made you follow that primal, natural impulse: to fuck. It meant you would fuck anything that harboured a clitoris though. It is a magical thing; the clitoris, but in the wrong hands it can become a thing of evil, a Pandora’s box, to coin the phrase, and we must by all means keep that relic safe. At the very least, we must try keep it pure, man. He wasn’t about being pure though; he was about ramming cocks and getting as fucked up as possible. Mandy, MJ; the whole gang, except for the needle. “We’ve gotta discuss this, man. I’m excited as shit. I’m ecstatic. That’s why I brought my two friends along.” He grinned and displayed his trophies; beer and whisky. We knew each other well. We cracked open the beers first, as I explained what was going on; about the festival and all.