Having written in a journal for more than a decade, writing a novel, or rather a number of novels, has been my dream.
I have recently started to take my writing more seriously and have decided to take on a blog to get some feedback about whether or not what I am writing is a load of nonsense.
I have been inspired threefold: some of my students have produced excellent writing, someone I know from my past has published a book to my surprise and my closest friend has been talking more and more about writing in the past few months.
Please see below a story I wrote over the weekend. I won’t give away the ‘task’ I had assigned myself from ‘Writer’s Block’ by Rekulak; instead I hope that your imagination will fill in the blanks.
I awoke in my dirty linen, unwashed for at least three weeks longer than the usual one week interval. It had been a difficult month; lost my job and my girlfriend left.
My mouth was sticky with alcohol and food rotting my teeth with those fuzzy sweaters they leave when proper hygiene is not adhered to. I just remembered the tequila and the headache hit me like a tonne of bricks.
My surroundings were filthier than the bed itself. Pizza boxes, beer bottles complete with floating cigarette butts, burn marks in the carpet, torn posters on the wall. A fleet of well organised cockroaches marched across the room. They worked as a team, performing a task unknown to me. The fridge was left open overnight, my drunken mistake. A pot on the stove had its plastic handles melted to the element in the attempt at cooking I had just remembered.
Disgusting. Disgraceful. Disorganised. Disingenuous. Disfigured. Disillusioned.
My t-shirt had a number of holes in it from wear and tear. You could pretty much see my entire left nipple through where the right speaker of the boom box print had come apart from the cotton. I didn’t even want to think about my boxers; the button had fallen off in the front and I could not remember the last time I showered and put that particular pair on.
I smelled of funk, farts and BO. There was another smell, the kind you get after a nosebleed. It is embedded in your nose hairs and the sensitive skin, if you’d call it that, on the inside of your nostrils.
I was overwhelmed. What to do first? Shower? Brush my teeth? Laundry? Tidy this piggin’ mess? I opted for none of the above. I threw on the nearest pair of jeans, stuffed my pockets with wallet, cigarettes and my ghetto Nokia phone before finding my keys in the door and heading down to the diner on the corner.
The waitress was a bit rough round the edges; deep laugh lines in her face, though she wasn’t laughing now. She could smell me but didn’t let on. Despite her bad mood, she remained polite and courteous. I ordered the usual fry up and bottomless coffee and tried to recall the events of the previous evening.
My mate Bill asked me to meet him at Dookie’s Bar. I got there after eleven and the cover band was playing Plush by STP.
A fat kid in the background was shouting ’50 CENTS: IN THE CLUB!’ To his chagrin the band wasn’t enjoying his joke.
I joined in and shouted ‘BLACK HOLE SUN.’ After the song was over, the singer quietly stated he could not do Chris Cornell’s voice. Fair dues.
Bill wasn’t even there. I slipped into one of the oversized booths with a double Jack and Coke.
Bill rocked up the best part of an hour later. I had had three doubles in the interim. Bill was not himself. Tall, dark and handsome had become wilted, grey and dishevelled. He had been using again. In retrospect it had seemed he had gone much longer than I had to pay attention to his personal
maintenance. He got straight to the point.
‘I’ve got a hook up on some hot cigarettes,’ he said. No drink as of yet in his hand.
‘Oh, yeah?’ I asked absent-mindedly. I didn’t give a shit about what he had to say. My brain waves were floating around elsewhere.
‘So my mate Slim, you don’t know him, has a connection. He’s got the inside track on a truckload of fags. All we need is to intercept the truck and hold them up.’ He was far too enthusiastic for such a moronic plan.
‘What has this got to do with me?’
‘I need your help to make the score.’
‘How is it, exactly, that I am to help?’
‘I need you to be the heavy.’ A comment on my sausage body and I suppose my ugly face. I was self-aware and not upset. I might have chuckled a little.
‘What’s in it for me?’
‘Ok. I don’t have much else going on.’
He ran through the specifics as we drank. My memory of the rest of the night was hazy and the cigarette plan was more than a week away.
On my second cup of coffee I decided I wasn’t going to assist Bill. He would have to choose another of his deadbeat friends.
After three hours and seven cups of coffee I made my wayback up to my flat. I had forgotten the awful mess and was immediately reminded when I opened the door. I should have taken a slash at the diner but my dehydrated body absorbed the caffeinated water, delaying my need to piss.
I rushed into the bathroom and what I saw brought back a sobering recollection of the previous night’s events. I looked in the mirror to check my face and looked down at my arms to find scratches I hadn’t noticed before. I was completely and utterly alone, well sort of.
I needed to make a plan and had the greatest sense of urgency I had had in the past few weeks. Without touching anything I left and grabbed the bus to the nearest discount store. I purchased everything I would need to clean away my soiled flat’s recent history.
I had no choice, no one to call, no support system and no idea how I would make it out of the disgusting ruins I had found myself in.