Wednesday, 24 August 2011

...Joe - Chapter 3

The darkness swallows the inside whole. The tunnel is closed. All hope leaves me.


Chapter 3

I park right in front of my house, a first in a long time; you can never, ever get a spot right in front of my house. As soon as I pull up Jonie gets out, not even waiting for me to park properly. Damn, I’ve really fucked her off. Fuck, I’ve fucked myself off. What the fuck was I thinking? I don’t know what to say, I don’t know how I can possibly begin to apologise for nearly running over a child, for I dunno, putting Jonie through what she’s putting me through right now. I guess she can see it from a different angle. Fuck me; it has been 6 years of her shit. Fuck, 6 years, that’s a long time. I run my hand through my hair and remind myself again to get a fucking haircut. I climb out of Lola and make my way to the door, where Jonie’s standing, giving me the eye – the evil Jonie eye. Geez that look cuts through me. 

I can’t stand this silence, it’s making me twitch, I look at Jonie and I can tell she’s sulking. Her bottom lips pushed out and she’s scowling slightly. I laugh a little to myself; she can never hide when she’s upset with me. 

I open the door and head straight to the kitchen, desperate to avoid a confrontation.
“Drink?” I yell at Jonie.
I can hear her getting ready to pounce, slash me with her onslaught of questions. I smile at the thought of being verbally mauled to death; I can see the headlines now. I laugh out loud.
“What are you laughing at?”
Man she’s quick!
“You wanna get the papers?”
“Fine. But don’t think you can avoid me Joe”
Geez. I roll my eyes and grab 2 beers from the fridge. I find Jonie sifting her way through my CD collection – she does this every time and she should know that it never changes. I have a very organized and revised collection.

Jonie turns and I pass her beer to her, she joins me on the sofa and as if in slow motion I produce the little bag of delights from my pocket and place it on the coffee table. Jonie never learnt to roll so it’s always down to me. I start the process but I’m so excited my hands won’t stop shaking. I try to calm down but it’s just too damn hard. I look at Jonie and she has exactly the same look on her face. I catch her eye and we’re in fits, man when did we get like this? Our love for the leaf is way too strong; I finally get the word “addiction”.

Time seems to move so slowly and it feels like forever before I finally finish rolling. I hunt for a lighter and Jonie presents one immediately. I smile and take it off her. I hold up the joint as if I’m displaying it to a council of drug lords for inspection. I have to admit, it’s not my best; it’s rolled a bit sloppily and has a few lumps in the middle. It wouldn’t pass the test, but it is still smoke-able and that’s the only thing that matters. Throughout this daydream I forget that Jonie’s been patiently waiting for me to light the sucker. So I do. The first drag is harsh and catches the back of my throat and I cough a little, trying to style it out. Jonie laughs. I roll my eyes and grin at her – what does she expect? It’s been years since I smoked. The 2nd drag I take is better, magnificent you may say and I exhale and pass it on. Jonie in her excitement drops it but quickly regains her finesse in the way that only Jonie can. We carry on like this for a while, not saying a word, just enjoying the moment. 

Somehow we’ve made it to the floor and somehow there’s a CD playing, one with a lot of heavy bass, it’s so loud it’s making the floor vibrate.
It feels like hours since we moved and it feels like the worlds stopped spinning and all that is left is the room and this awesome baseline. I go to take a swig out of my bottle and realise its empty, when did that happen? My mouth feels like I stuffed a million pieces of cotton wool in it and the more I think about it the worse it gets.
“Jonie” I say, doing my best to dislodge the cotton wool.
“Jonie!” I sound like a child trying to draw his mothers’ attention away from her favourite soap opera.
“What...” sounds like she’s got a case of cotton wool mouth too.
“I need a drink Jonie, like I need a drink”
“So do I, it feels like I just swallowed the Sahara”
“Yeah, you wanna go to the corner shop on the corner?”
“Yeah but only if you agree to sit still”
“I am sitting still”
“Fair play”
We heave ourselves off the floor and onto the sofa, at this point it feels like we’ve just climbed Everest and I desperately need a break. Man that weed was strong. Either that or my resilience is getting weaker. We finally make it to the front door, using the walls to steady ourselves; I didn’t know you could get sea sick in your own house. We open the front door; yes it actually took two of us to figure out how to open a door. How lame is that? We draw the fresh air into our lungs and make our way precariously down the steps.

The walk to the end of the road seems to take hours, Jonies been reeling off a shopping list of what seems to only contain a copious amount of beer and hot dogs and for some reason a hammock. I quiz her on the hammock – don’t get me wrong it sounds amazing right now and Jonie tells me that a hammock is necessary; in order to get the best intoxication you have to have the right leverage and altitude. I nod and gently remind her that the corner shop probably doesn’t sell hammocks.

We make it to the corner shop and the guy behind the counter clearly knows we’re high, Jonie keeps stumbling into everything and we have an insane amount of biscuits.
“Hey, HEY!”
“Jonie who are you talking to?”
“Him” she says thrusting a can of Stella at him.
“Jonie I seriously doubt his name is “Hey””
“Then what the fuck is it? Hey what the fucks your name?
“Jon there is no need to shout?”
“Do not call me Jon – is that your name? Is your name John?”
“No.” The guy replies visibly pissed off.
“Then what the fuck is it?”
I sigh and set the rest of the Stella on the counter and “Philip” as Jonie is now calling him starts to cash up.
“Jonie I seriously doubt his name is Phillip”
“Well until he tells me his real name it’s staying as Phillip”
“Dude” I turn to the guy willing to put an end to this madness “What’s your real name? – please”
He looks from me to Jonie and back again – the motion making me feel dizzy and points to his name badge which clearly says “Leon”
“Oh” Jonie says “Well you could have just told me that from the beginning”
Oh gosh, here she goes.
I hand him the cash and thank him, shoving a couple of bags into Jonie’s hands before she makes a bigger spectacle of herself.
“Thanks” I say again, pushing Jonie out of the shop and onto the street – she’s provoked and that’s never a good thing.
“Why the hell are you shoving me? Stop it!”
She wriggles free from my grasp and shoves a bag at me.
“It’s heavy, you carry it”
I agree reluctantly, whatever makes her happy, makes me happy.
“And you have absolutely no right to be angry with me – YOU NEARLY KILLED A CHILD TODAY, just because you weren’t concentrating; you were staring at those big blue eyes and guess what Joe? She doesn’t want you, get over it, because next time you might actually hit a child or crash and kill yourself or me or both.”

I’m stunned I knew she was angry but I was not expecting this. She turns and marches off down the street, it takes me a while to realise she’s not going to wait for me, I drag my sorry arse after her, I hate the way she can make me feel like a loser. I finally catch up to her – for someone so small she moves pretty fast, she’s sitting on my doorstep sulking, drinking a Stella. 

I really wish she’d grow up sometimes. Why can’t I be the sulky one? Why is it me that always ends up feeling guilty? I push past her and open the door. I’m the first one in this time, it feels childish but I don’t care. No chivalry today.

We forgot to turn the music off and it’s still so loud. I like it. It’s a soundtrack to my mood. I urge it on, keep pumping, keep playing, keep feeding my emotions. I go to the kitchen and set everything down on the kitchen table and Jonie starts helping me put everything in it’s rightful place. Her phone rings. She looks down and her face goes white, or should I say whiter?
She doesn’t turn to look at me. She’s picked up the call and she’s out the door, heading towards the living room.
Jonie turns the music off and i know it can’t be good. I stop unpacking the thousands of packets of biscuits and tip toe down the hallway. I stop by the door to the living room and listen.
“Err yeah”
Who is it? Fuck I think she’s crying. I peer around the door and she’s standing in the middle of the room, sobbing. Fuck, its Alex isn’t it? It must be. My hearts pounding, I know I shouldn’t be standing here but I need to do something. Move, for fuck sake Joe, move.
My bodies travelling towards Jonie, my minds screaming – how can I move independently? Shouldn’t the two be together? Before I know it Jonie’s phones in my hand and I speak.
“Fuck off Alex”
I throw the phone and grab Jonie and for the 2nd time today my shirts damp. I hold her and cry; I can’t help it. Today’s been too hard. We stand there, the two of us. Broken in our own ways trying to make a whole. Please don’t fail me.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

...A Conversation

This is a conversation I had with one of the delivery guys at work. It's all his side of the conversation. It made my day so I thought I'd share it.

So how you doing? You alright yeah? What’s that in your hand? Hand cream yeah? Smell nice? Can I smell it? Oh yeah, it smells lovely. What is it? Camomile yeah, that’s why it smells so nice. Do you like to moisturise? Do it often do you? Yeah I like to moisturise coz my skin on my face you see gets these red bumps after I shave and I asked my barber Dave and he said to use a cold towel before and after but it doesn’t work you know so I moisturise to keep it soft.

So how was your weekend? You were here were you. Get no free time no? Not for dates? Dinner date? Theatre date? Picnic date? Do you like picnics? I do. I think they’re nice. I’m lying really I just like to go to the park and feed the ducks. You like to feed ducks? Never done it? You know some people like to watch them I like to feed them. It’s like trainspotting but I feed ducks. Not duck spotting because I feed them you know. 

So what do you do? You go to college? An actress! Really? How old are you? 24? What have you been in? Ah so what do you want to do? Theatre? Not Eastenders no? How about dramatization? Singing? You wanna be in something like Grease? Or Xanadu? You seen Xanadu? It’s great, it’s on rollerskates you know. Oh that’s great that. I wanted to be a model but you know I have the body for it, but you know. Your supposed to agree. Yeah Mike you do have the body, thanks a lot. Yeah I know I’m fit coz I carry barrels.  But I don’t carry them, I get him to do it, I’m only a skinny lad. They’re heavy. But it’s life isn’t it. It’s just a lie. You wait around for something to happen and then before you know it’s over and I’m stuck lifting barrels for a living. 

(After a short pause he comes inside and pets Clarence – the pub dog and then goes down into the cellar, singing to himself – then he comes back up)

So what’s your name? Rachel? That’s a lovely name. I’m Mike. Can you cook? That’s good. Do you live with friends? Your sister? So you’re an auntie? How many sisters you got? 4! Wow. You don’t want kids no? Why not? 

Can you sign this?

You know I just want to be loved. That’s all. Like when you’re cuddled in bed and you’re getting your hair stroked. Or your neck, you know this bit right here, it’s nice you know. It’s not the same when you do it yourself. Yeah you might get bored of it, then you mix it up do a little twist, but I like it. I just wanna be loved. I’ll carry these myself shall I? I’m gonna go unloved, wanting to be loved. You guys have a good day yeah.  

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


I found you with your heart in your hands
I asked what happened
You said you cut it out.

That the weight of it on your chest was too much
That after I left it wouldn't stop beating
You couldn't understand why a heart that had been broken could still beat
You didn't want to feel the pain of your world inside you.

You aksed me why I gave it back
I replied that it was never mine to have
That it was too warm in my cold hands
Too fragile for my clumsy grip
And eventually I would drop it.

Like everything else.

I watched your heart bleed
Tried to put it back but it wouldn't fit.
I wouldn't fit.

You told me to leave it
It would heal itself eventually
I asked you when
I said a heart belongs in your chest.

You shrugged.

Wrapped it in a cloth and placed it in a box.
It's safe for now you said.

Well when will you put it back I asked

When it doesn't feel so heavy
When carrying it is a joy
Not a burden
When the memories it holds doesn't feel me with dread
When that song that we shared comes on the radio and I can dance
Not cry
When your smile isn't a dagger.

You cradled the box
Held it in your arms
And wept.

And I left you

Thursday, 4 August 2011


I have nothing but my dreams to show you
They are disenchanted and fragmented
But I lay them out for you
Like a deck of cards.

But I keep the joker for myself.
I need something to hide behind
I need to keep a part of me safe.
Don’t laugh
I’m not funny.

At least I’m trying not to be.

The darkness is to be embraced
Roll with it
Or leave.