Location: Perth, W.A
To hear this, to know this story properly, you’re gonna need the soundtrack. To start off, ‘Well of Misery’ by Nick Cave. I’m the one deep in the desert of despair, waiting at the well.
Ok, so there’s me, with this playing over the top, from Satan herself up above. It’s not raining or anything, but its shit cold and I’m cuddling into the collar of my jacket.
I’m spewing ‘cause I knew I should have worn something warmer, but there wasn’t any time.
I’ve just left in a haze of fag smoke, and slushed vinegary beer drags it’s way from the floor out onto the streets. With me. Trees and letter boxes are looking evil, street lights are too far apart; I’m pretty much being set up for something altogether Gothic to happen. But I’m no young girly virgin lost in an old house.
I’m abandoned and bony. Feeling the cold and nothing else, just letting it torment me. I’m horny but slack, killing my liver but not drunk, I have no bucket to crank and hoist and hoist and crank. When I get home I have no key.
So I came in through the bathroom window. Can I be protected by her silver spoon? Where is the light from the moon you may ask, but remember?
This is dark.
This is miserable.
This is hardcore.
When I get to the toilet I’m attacked by a phlegmy rift played on a demon axe.
The hacking from my throat makes me stumble and I piss all over myself. Am I making it clear this isn’t pleasant?
Toby left at 9 and I hadn’t seen him since.
“Where did he go?” says a voice from the lounge.
I don’t know. He didn’t say.
“I’m going to put the kettle on. Want tea or coffee?”
But the kettle takes too long. I can’t collapse into bed because I can’t stand being still. Not right now.
We both wondered what the noise was.
It walloped us from outside, near the shed I reckoned. And considering the mood I was in it was all I needed. You can see it all unfolding before you, the story I mean?
It’s so obvious to me now, it was clear to my shadow ‘cause he was nowhere to be seen. We have no torch. We have no candles. I was running low on Zippo fuel.
But out I go through the screen door, down the wheel chair access because the steps are dodgy. Sloshing across the lawn, the score kicks in again.
Same album, track number nine.
‘A Box for Black Paul,’ written and recorded fuelled by heroin. Can you feel this?
Muddy grass is all over the bottom of my black jeans. It’s finding its way into my boots. I’m wishing I was The Partisian.
Though I’ve never had a wife and children, I don’t have many friends and hardly any of them are women. I’d been ordered to surrender, but this I cannot do.
I shit myself. I almost fall over. I start to yell out, but *cough*hack*hack*cough*bluaaaargh… I do fall, doubled over, fist to my mouth. When it subsides I’m still twitching, ‘cause as I said I can’t stand to be still. This is not the night for quiet. It’s the night for moans.
Moans and screams I think is more fitting.
So I get back up and don’t bother wiping any crap off. I was thinking that this mud could be faecal matter for all I care, and then I remember why I almost did have it on me, well at least in my pants. It could be the wind, or a cat or something.
When I get to the shed, as armies of ants wade up little red streams, heading for the mother pool the screen door slams shut. Out he comes, my shadow, dragging himself from the bright and warmth.
“what is it?” I hear whispered, but I ignore it.
There’s about a metre between the back of the shed and the fence. This is where it’s coming from. Getting nervous?
“Hey, where did you go?”
He wasn’t wondering for long after that, because I fucking bolted out of there. Jesus, did I wish the moon had given me some opal cataracts. As you can see, I was scared but still clinging to my melancholia. Now listen, these are the true demon flowers! These are the true demon flowers… blood black everywhere! Stand back everyone.
Stand back so I can tell you this. When I went round that corner, into the dark of the cockroach hotel woodpile, feeling myself carrying this massive coffin on my back. My coffin, his coffin. It was bad, man.
I say Toby sat because that’s what it looked like. His legs were out and he rested on his arse, but he’d been put like that. He couldn’t make himself sit, stand, lie or squat anymore.
I didn’t even bother shaking him or anything. Toby had been a bad man, but Lord knows he’d done some good things too. I wish I could change the CD, put on ‘Release the Bats’ and make this all darkly comic.
The shadow collides into me in the middle of the garden. We’ve both got shit all over us.
“What? What did you see? What is it?”
I could say nothing but get out. Get out! Get out!
Go! Fuck! I could nearly make out the vibrations of his dexie-ridden mouth, but it could have been anything.
How long had he been home? I’d been down the pub for two hours. He says now he’d been on trains and buses all night, trying to get back here. All I could see were his massive pupils. The red where his whites should be pulsed almost black. That’s how I explain what I saw… black blood, mouth ripped at the edges, head thrust back.
I grabbed his arm and pulled him, pulled him back into the house, back to the light bulbs and radio. But what happened?
Toby’s shoes were gone. Was he wearing them? What had happened?
His wallet was there. His weed was there. His fucking SMOKES were there. The shadow, bless him, wanted to know what happened.
I couldn’t tell him.
I couldn’t say anything but fuck. Build a box for me, please.
“I’m going to see” and off he went. To be honest, he might not have said anything. This bit I’m not clear on. But he was still barefoot, because I could see foot shaped mud prints going out to door.
That’s all I ever saw him of him that day. That’s all I’ve seen him of him since.
So I went and smoked some of Toby’s cones to calm down a bit. I figured he didn’t need them anymore. Then I went looking for the shadow.
There was something by the screen door, it turned out to be Toby but I couldn’t see the other one. So twice in one day I was being flooded.
It was like some evil mangrove, salty horror coming at me. I was the only one holding my breath… fuck, I was the only one with breath left to hold.
I had seen that there was no wood stacked inside, so that would explain why Toby had gone out there. But what the hell had happened to him? All this I’m thinking just inside the back door, and I see something fly across the garden. Thudding into the fence.
Kind of sickly like.
Did I go see what it was? Or did I slam the door and hide under the bed?
Well, I’ll tell you that my jitters had come back, and standing there on that wooden floor I could feel the tension in my knees get all too much. I had to move.
What of the shadow?
The album is on shuffle. We’re up to ‘Wings Off Flies’, and you’ll see why.
I crept out. The missile looks round, the missile looks hairy, the missile is a head. My heart at this point is like a chase. I’d have thought that would have been the crescendo.
You must have seen this, but I didn’t.
The shadow was eyeless. And apparently now just a head.
I was back scrambling in the mud, but this time puke wet my jeans. I was obliged to move.
I had to get the fuck out, being the last one alive in a house of three bodies was clear. What wasn’t was how to distance myself from it, but witness her gatecrash my tiny hell with some obscene tête-à-tête.
Shitshitshitshitshit she’s here.
“Willy, where are you?
I know you’re here. Look we need to talk, I’ve got good news! Willy!”
I wanted to yell out to her, but I didn’t want to make any noise. I wanted to go grab her, but I didn’t want to move. I start to get up and my foot kicks the head.
I projectile vomit and she hears me retching. “Are you outside?”
She’ll see Toby, she’ll go do something.
I’m still trying to yell, but I’m fucking paralysed. Not just with fear, I must have ralphed all the THC out of me cause I was in panic mode.
But there’s no scream.
There’s no OH MY GOD!
She’s now stroking my back and cooing. Relief is a-buzzin’ in my ear, but it’s more of her blackmail, ham Shakespeare and lies.
I can see skin.
“There you are.”
I can see the fire poker.
“They’re gone now, it’s ok”
What is ok? What are you talking about? What’s going on? Her hand is going round and around.
I can smell sex.
Now hear this;
“I’ve taken care of everything.”
My face hit the muck and vomit, and the flies your heart goes out to after insect suicides against the window? Well that’s me. That’s me.
AND some buggering about
Shower sheen round curtain mould
long shelving clipping-reels
maggot scabs toilet pubes and sweat.
But sink faced and rum stained with
skid marked bleach pain,
fermenting apricot fingers stay
the baked beans on shirt way.
Meat muck on a plate all day;
re-rolled butts under ashy grey...
unfiltered window sun is the same
as spongy water, babe.