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Guess who’s fucked? You’d be right: me.
Today another Moan-day and I’m running late. I slide my feet into my slip-ons feeling yesterday’s dampness and no sunshine to ease matters. With a look of rain I button up and shovel off to work feeling cursed. I’m in a rut, feck-arsing about, vegetating like a prisoner. Sinfully, I’ve become boring. Uneventful. At a standstill.
It usen’t be so; being nobody.
Despite my inner turmoil, I harbour dreams of conquering the world. Truth is, a reality check is only around the corner then depression will have me in its grip. I feel its onset. The start of the end. The end: a shotgun in the mouth and a sidebar news-story in a regional newspaper – 70 words? Meanwhile I’m playing survival as I look for a way out. An excuse. An exit.
But isn’t everybody? I’m no dim-wit; I know a thoroughbred doesn’t stand still. A guy has to shake a bone to be remembered. As I make over the bridge and work coming into sight, I egg myself on, screaming at my lot. You see, today I’ve come to a momentous decision: I do not belong here.
I roar into the blustery wind again: I DO NOT BELONG HERE.
It’s absurd, if not illuminating, for this reason: right now, at this precise moment, I begin thinking of myself as somebody else, as an entirely different person, a different life-form, a passenger no longer and instead at the wheel, driving my life. Perhaps something might happen, something good, a bonanza of some kind. Now I’m trucking along, growing in confidence, imagining my hour has come.
Only it hasn’t. False alarm, a false dawn. Reality hits. Nothing has changed. These past few years I often have the same escapist urge and do nothing about it. My mood dampens in keeping with the foul weather. There is no life-changing event. In fact, nothing has changed save for a revelation: mortality anxiety. I’m timing out; dying by degrees. My life is a wasteland. I’ve peaked. It’s downhill from here and I never made a jot of difference.
I’m appalled. By me. By my everyday. Feeling more antsy than usual, I dwell on it. When an idea takes hold how can it sit quietly, at odds with the body’s goings on, living a lie, mind and body, the self divided, acting in concert as one? Faking it.
Opinion has it you stop feeling things after a time, only I don’t. I’m uncomfortable in my skin and I’ve grown more conscious of it, of my existence: how peripheral, parochial, its become. Maybe it’s what made me lash out and deck someone. Oh, then there’s that. The fight and its consequences. I’m staring down the barrel of a gun.
Dad, he wants me to stick, to establish continuity. To invest in a life. One life. He knows I’m the eternal stop-starter, that I’m in the habit of discarding my life every five or so years. Nine is nothing, me, I’ve lived a dozen lives. I’m this, I’m that, then, hey presto, vamoose. I disassemble and restart in a new location with a new career, culture and friends, wandering the world to find home. It’s my reoccurring life-cycle, people and places always failing me. Or vice-versa. And I think if I start over one last time I’ll stop looking, a make-over bringing rebirth, bumping into the real me, finally. This dad knows, that if it’s stick or twist, I’ll always twist. Well, not always, see, these days I’ve lost my bottle; all will power is gone.
Instead I’m being pushed. This dad doesn’t know: fight then flight.
Or go to jail.
Yet, nobody is on my case.
Nobody knows I’ve a problem.
Folk even think a guy like me has something. Sure, I’m a flash git in a suit but everything is relative. I’m being pulled under, caught in a world of ifs.
If only I was somewhere else I’d be doing something else.
If only I hadn’t taken so many wrong turns.
If only I bucked the trend.
If only I wasn’t everyman.
If this and if that.
I start to wonder about it.
About regaining my individuality.
About becoming someone different.
Different to this ……
A snap-shot of us.
There she is at my door. In a skirt. A tight little number. Sexy brat. I wish I had it over her head. Instead:
‘You OK?’ I ask.
‘Just a little tired.’
I think she might strut. But no, she just stands there toying with me. I hold my own. With hands behind my head I bask, leering with fuck-you abandon. My x-ray eyes are on her, counting how many items of clothing she has on. Four. Maximum five (including panties). I’m allowed; I pay her wages.
We know what we’re doing; circling, sniffing. I’m like a five year old looking for hidden sweets. Perhaps she’s imagining me naked. She draws first.
‘What you looking at?’
She runs a hand over her blouse then paranoia climbs over her face. She goes to rub it off; she’s pawing at it, at her mug. There’s nothing there but it’s good because she submits to my stare.
I’m in control. And although the dominant one, I can’t condense it down. How do I explain I’m wondering what kind she is? Would we sleep as spoons? Would she wake me up with eggs Benedict?
‘Would you mind…’
‘Mind what?’ she asks.
She almost stops me; I almost turn away. I torch the idea but can’t be bothered making something else up. This is how it went down. Period. We’re breathing it out. Making fists. Pissing the poison from our minds.
‘Oh, nothing’ I say.
‘Everything is nothing with you. You’re such a child.’
‘The way it is.’
‘An exit is an exit!’
We keep saying nothing though she wonders about this. Deal with it, I think of saying.
‘Exits! Louis, what’s that supposed to mean?’ she asks.
‘Know what, I’m free-associating!’
‘… to dig yourself out of a hole?’
‘Like I’m in one?’
We stare. She’s only arrived and already acts bored. It’s true, she’s the only stimulus around here.
‘You do know I don’t take you for granted.’
Is it a question or fact? She awaits clarification, going limp, lifeless, praying on a confession. I continue:
‘You know sometimes ….’
Sometimes, I interrupt myself; cut myself off. Like now. She releases a huff. A sour face. A look of dislike. Meaningless questions; meaningless answers. And we’re only starting; warming up. I’m frustrated, fucked off I didn’t jerk-off last night. Then I might have slept. Now I could forcibly rape a sheep.
This is it, this is us: the waking day. Our everyday. The more I question the more alert she becomes. It’s our natural rapport, our intimacy. At least that’s how I have it in my head. Us, waking up in the office. Together. Courting.
Today her blonde locks are pinned back. Tightly. Her forehead is higher up. It’s how I like it. She’s quick to advertise her strengths: the acres on her face. Some famous ballerina said lashing her hair back was the cause of headaches. I suppose her suffering is fine with me especially if it’s for me. I’m down with penance.
She lingers. I register awe. Lust. I look. Gawk. Longer. Harder.
‘I look ok?’
I don’t say ravishing. Instead.
‘Panadol in the canteen.’
‘I don’t have a hangover’ she says.
‘Wowa, frosty, hold up. Don’t pin anything on me!’
I’m holding my hands up. She draws breath. I like that she’s overstepped the mark: it shows how close we are; that I’m big enough to let it slide. She thinks I care about rank. I don’t. It’s why I passed on joining the army. Now there’s one General less. https://vine.co/v/hH1HMQLrn3z
‘You know the root cause …’
I’m swirling a hand between us but pull myself up mid-twirl, holding myself in check. Refraining. After all, why bother, why confess? She doesn’t care for my feelings, she only wants dirt. Gossip. Maybe she’s laying a trap. Tick tock, the sexual harassment clock! No more complacency for me, thank you very much. I change tack.
‘I thought you might have replied.’
It doesn’t need explaining. She ignores my text messages. I’m sending them into thin air. At least feed me a lie.
‘I swear I have this mobile that writes slower than me’ she says.
We’re looking at the guilty phone in her hand. It becomes a person. We’re having a three-way conversation. It’s what 22 year olds do. Discuss their mobiles.
‘Are we chatting about your phone?’ I ask.
‘I don’t do that.’
It shuts her up; stops her in her tracks. Now we’re back on track: back at work, all the while sailing away from nine o clock. She makes to leave. I pull her back. Pulling rank.
‘Any chance of a bagel. You don’t mind, do you?’ I ask.
‘You’ve never cared before.’
‘Well, what with your headache. Would make anyone narky.’
‘I’m not narky.’
‘You really should look at your diet’ she says.
Instead I look at my belly. And smile. I can easily see my dick over it.
‘At your age diabetes is likely’ she adds.
‘More risk then.’
‘Is this you plugging your thing?’
‘It’s not a thing. I’m a celiac.’
‘Thought that was a type of car! You should try one – a sandwich; not the car.’
‘I only eat for one.’
She’s snappy and won’t let up. I’m not fat so it’s a wasted energy trying to pin a complex on me.
‘And eating three meals a day is feeding a family?’
She knows I’m right. But she has her ass to think of. Anyway, she can’t afford my diet. It’s rich in every sense.
‘Bacon and brie?’ she asks.
‘How you know me. Oh, and a latte. Thanks.’
She thinks she’s being funny. Facetious is actually the word.
‘No thanks, though it beats eating tofu as a treat! I’m thinking of going celiac. A two litre diesel.’
I smile, patting my gut. She makes eyes at me – this isn’t her life. But it is. I go to reply but she beats the rush. She has already turned tail.
In her wake: a floral waft.
That was first thing in the morning. At 9am. After an hour I’m bored waiting for events to happen; for things to brighten up the day.
Then, later on. At 10:26am. My office. There she is, framed in the doorway. Again.
‘Maybe you shouldn’t be like, I dunno, so familiar with me.’
She’s in the habit of saying no without actually knowing how to. I play innocent. We exchange nervous glances. A thought courses through my mind: what does it take to be a pervert? Is there a test of some kind? I go to pin her back, deliberately misinterpreting while revealing my bargaining chip.
‘Don’t be your boss?’
‘No! God no. That’s great, Louis. Really. That’s not it. It’s just …’
She stamps a foot, revealing how misunderstood she feels. Neurotic cow! The thrust of it is that I’m crossing a line. But I won’t let her say it.
‘Go on’ I say.
‘Hey, you seen the You Tube video about work practises?’
‘What? I’m not with you.’
I give a blank look. Yawn. Boring. You know sometimes, in ordinary day to day life, I die a little. Like now.
‘The video. I posted it on Facebook.’ she says.
‘Oh, ya! I’ll take a look later on.’
‘Ok. But I posted it two days ago!’
We’ve jinxed ourselves on Facebook. Cross-pollination. First week in the office and we’re FB friends. It would be unseemly to unfriend. I act like I don’t stalk her on-line. Of course I’ve seen her stupid video I just thought she’d keep us privileged. Instead twenty-six of her friends ‘liked’ the link. That really pissed me off. I know what she’s doing: they’re ganging up on me. All of them have me under suspicion.
Know what I’m thinking? How to make us an ‘us’. Why not? Aren’t we already involved? Otherwise this – work, training period, whatever – is pointless. I mean, why bother sleeping with her in my dreams if she’s going to carry on like this? https://vine.co/v/hHmYtIWPE5i
‘It’s good stuff. You should check it out’ she says.
‘You trying to educate me? Remember, I’m in law, not HR!’
And ‘still’ sticks in my head. Still, it’s a warning before she drops me in it. Still, maybe I should keep a distance. She could pull reassignment. She could. Yeah, she might. I’ve mucked up before putting things in writing – those emails which I know she has kept – and now she’s saying …
I’m not desperate; at least I don’t have to be. I get a lot of come-ons so this is a mite unfair. Remember, it’s not me that’s supposed to be auditioning for something. So why am I under the kosh?
She finishes her little ditty. It’s rehearsed no doubt. Her Facebook friends put her up to it. But she’s holding back. She’s gone all squirmish. Girlish. Is it to protect her career or is she hiding her true feelings for me? Or else, maybe, just maybe, it’s a me thing?
‘You look crazy!’ she says.
‘Ok, crazed. Louis, mind if I ask you something?’
‘Sure. Try me.’
‘There’s something wrong with you.’
‘That a question?’
‘How do you mean?’
‘You should see a doctor.’
My lust? For losing my mind?
‘Being retarded!’ she says.
‘That’s not cool… or PC.’
‘Ok, sorry, for having a mid-life then.’
I let out a laugh, ok, its a ridiculous high-pitched squeal.
‘I’m only in my 30s! Oh, I get it – is it because I’m not brazenly hounding you!’
Now I’ve put it out there, she’s speechless. She watches me, horrified.
The pathos. Still, what do I care? Contrary to social etiquette I’m happy to sit out the performance. I button up. Spectate, watching her silently self-combust. Staring. Carnivorously. Disrespectfully. Are we terminal? She holds my gaze. Resolutely. We are sexual equals her look says. I cede ground. Blink. Withdraw. Retreat. Still, it’s not her, at least not the real her. She isn’t bred so. Bred posh. Assertive-like. Or defiant. It’s an act. The staring. An acquired put-on. She probably adopted it from some dopey character in a TV box-set. https://vine.co/v/hX35AYq21gX
‘It’s just everyone wants, you know …’ she says.
‘No, I don’t know.’
Truth is, I’m irritated. She’s such a hit with herself. She’s the kind of girl who volunteers she’s intelligent, the real blue-stocking, only she’s a phoney. She’s not hitting high IQs.
‘Well, you know, everyone …’
‘Ya, everyone – I got that bit. What is it everyone wants?’
‘Oh, nothing. Forget it.’
But I know what she means… So do you.
To follow the next instalment, insert email in the sidebar at the top of the page.
 The events described herein are all real save for a few parts that aren’t. I’m cataloguing events as they happen unless amending bits of legal necessity.