Billy’s Arms

Billy wants a brother in arms so he turns up at my place. He is sweaty. I see that through the curtains, he’s really shimmering. He is at my front door but I’ve blocked it off so I don’t see the abandoned sail boat and cars. It’s been raining all day, and it’s that real refreshing sort. I stick my head out the window like Rapunzel. It’s one of those ones that swing upward.

Oh hello, Billy says. He has a habit of pushing his glasses up all the time with the tip of his thumb, they are thin-rimmed and silver, one of the lenses is completely fogged up. He’s just turned my water off. Yours isn’t off is it?

No, I go.

Bloody bastard!  I am a heart patient!  A small ball of saliva comes cascading through his lisp and out the place his four front teeth once were. Billy’s shirt is that real thin button-up material, patterned like an old hanky, brown and teal stripes. It’s buttoned down from below his nipples, the scar is there, piglet pink. A pack of ciggies dangle in the pocket beside it. All the irony in the world is there for the plucking but all I keep thinking is how incredible it is that through that gash Billy’s heart was opened up. I picture Billy laying there anesthetised  with his mouth agape and his chest agape, and tubes everywhere, a real public hospital shocker, nurses running around everywhere, and people dying, and no flowers for Billy after. A visit from the lady on the property who sells weed maybe, and probably a visit from Chad, the schizophrenic guy. I feel sad for him.

He is going down you know, Chloe. I am going to take him down.  I am going to go to the tenancy tribunal about this,  and all of this, he says motioning his arms to the corners of the property, will be history! He scowls as best as he can so he knows I know he means it and a bit of spit hovers in the corner of his mouth, his eyes are wild. He seems a bit stoned.

Billy’s hair was once strawberry blonde, I think. Now it’s silvery pink. They are big oily curls that hang below his shoulders, parted in the middle. Always in the way, though occasionally revealing ear lobes that look older than the rest of him. Real grandpa ears. A few silver rings hang in them and raw red sores are on and around his cheeks. Like he’s squeezed blackheads and made real mountains out of molehills.

But you know what he’s like. I say cheerily as I can. You’ve really got to keep it brief will Billy otherwise you’ll be there all day. It’s Fastie’s kingdom and we’ve just got to play by his rules or move out.

But he’s a psychopath!

Yeah I know, but what can you do? I mean he was trying to show me his penis for a year and a half every time I tried to pay rent…

What? Billy’s eyes light up. That is disgusting!

Yeh.

I can’t believe he did that to you! He pauses. That is disgusting.

Yeh. I say. I direct debit now, it’s all good.

He once sat in front of me and spread his legs when I was up at his place one time! And his dick fell out like he is proud of it or something! Trying to intimidate me! I mean he might have a bigger dick than me, I don’t really give a damn about how big it…

Yeh.

Billy leaves me eventually. I close up the window. It starts raining again. I have a shower. I lay in the bed naked reading for a while. I listen to Father John Misty.  I start feeling horny. Him swooning his wife always does. I get out my vibrator. The rain hits the roof harder. What bliss.

Chloe?

Jesus Christ.

Hello?? Chloe?

I find a flanney. And a skirt. I look a real treat. I shove the vibrator under the mattress. I move back the curtain and swing open the window. A man is standing out there who I’d never seen before. He is wearing a bandanna like he is a red hot chilli pepper or something.

You are Chloe right?

Yeah.

I am George. I’ve just moved into the cabin down there. Your electricity isn’t off is it?

No.

Sorry to bother you. Fastie is having a war with Billy. I think he’s turned my electricity off by accident. Sorry to bother you.

You’re all good. Nice meeting you George.

George takes up the driveway, up to Fastie’s house. I start the Father John Misty album again.

The next day I’m driving down the street and pull into my property’s driveway. Billy is parked at the top, blocking the driveway, talking to the lady who deals the weed. They are both in their cars talking through their wound down windows. Billy sticks his hand out the window to acknowledge me and his engine starts. He waves goodbye to the weed lady and crunches the gravel as he rolls down. I’m right behind him. He stops his car suddenly and gets out and walks up to me.  I am his brother in arms. He is barefoot. His toenails are ripped blunt. He stinks. He smells like ciggies and like sweat stuck under folds of skin and the stink of him makes breathing normal breaths difficult, even from in my car. His jeans are the same as always, maybe the same pair always; black straight legs with grey and white powdery marks stark over his crutch and knees of ash and ice cream and cum. But his smile is always intended to disarm, bless him.

Can you believe last night at midnight he took all the knobs off my gas bottle!  Came over with a torch. He seems excited.

Gee, I say. That’s messed up.

And he turned off my electricity but I got a generator.  I called a local real estate and let’s just say they were very interested to hear what I had to tell them. They lent it to me and he’ll be paying for it don’t you worry. He is going down. Oh and I’ve called Mental Health about what he did to you. Showing himself to you…

You don’t need to do that. It’s all good, honestly.

They are going to ask you for a statement.

What? No. I really don’t want to get involved.

Yeah? He says at me with his eyes crazy and the pinky silvery oily curls swinging on his shoulders. And this is exactly what everyone said in World War 2! Noone wanted to get involved and look, look what happened! He pushes his glasses up with his thumb. The lenses are covered in raindrops.

I live here knowing what he is like. I smile. I chose to live here y’know, I like my house, I just don’t want to get involved.  

Billy skulks back down to his car and throws his hands up in the air when he reaches the door. He hops in  and shouts out something out to the forest about needing luck because no one gives a damn and then leaves a skid mark on the gravel and charges down the driveway, careful to dodge the witches hats Fastie has set up to stop driveway erosion.

I go home, my paradise. I open up the back door to the balcony and the forest and put some Moby on. Most of his stuff is shit, but there are a few real nice instrumental numbers on the Play album. I select one and sit down to meditate. My sister told me recently my over-analysing was starting to get out of hand and I needed to do something about it. I sit with my legs crossed, taking on the breeze, I summon all the real zen thoughts. But all I can hear is the fucking generator.

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Jazz Bananas

 

Dean went to the desert and lost his mind. When he got back he was always hovering round my place trying to bum hooch off me. He brought back this guy with him who wore jazz shoes, I learnt later apparently he was a good dancer. His shoes looked like he was wearing a couple of grey bananas and I kinda couldn’t keep my eyes off them. The shoes made him look like his toes were always pointed, and his heels also. They were like a worm, you didn’t know which was the front and which was the back.

His name was Jeff. I renamed Jeff Yeff because Yeff seemed to know everything, he was a knowledgeable guy. Yeff knew my vagina better than me. He told me that if I touched my clitoris and the ridge of my mouth at the same time when I had period pain it would go away. He told me this while he sat with his bum on the concrete downstairs by my garden, his legs outstretched like the stick of a sling shot, the jazz shoes two grey banana worms far too close to me. I got up at this point, I just wanted to move and do something. I started watering the flowers with a watering can. Yeff’s eyes were real glassy in the sun as he looks at me and says something about me feeding the plants and being their sacred mother or something. The jazz shoes were watching me.

Dean learnt in the desert that the aliens were coming and I just kept thinkin they  were probably already here.

Heart Sage

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I am sat in front of where the coffee table used to be. The carpet is blue, quite blue, Bic lighter blue, electric. The carpet is the colour of the place in the middle of the flame and I never realised how just how blue it was until the coffee table was no longer there.

I  used to sit right here a lot. In the nighttimes the lamps would glow up the timber walls showing up the marks in the wood, the blue tac, the staples, dints from the old tenants. Sometimes the windows would be open, the door out to the balcony where the forest stood still and silhouetted, the hushed birds and bats and possums and koalas keeping quiet while they knew they were being watched. In winter it’d be a different story. Everything would be closed up and cosy, sometimes a fire would glimmer red and the logs would crack in between songs. And he would be there. His eyes warm and little and mellow. Little slits that I’d seep right into like gaps under the door and I was the morning light.

Red wine rings would mark up the coffee table like the olympics logo, lids and candle holders would be piled high with my dainty little white butts. How I would wish to squeeze all the pleasure out of these nights.  Indulge like a polar bear not knowing when its next feed was coming because seeing him was kinda like that. I’d wring these nights out like a chamois and slurp it up. All the red wine, all the champion ruby I could have until I found that place, the place where I didn’t fear anymore. That place sounded just like Radiohead’s Reckoner you better believe,  just pure purr, warm golden bliss. He would be reclined over  the cushions and he’d be watching me.  I’d fall back into the cushions too and he’d watch me do that. Those eyes of his, deep dark right in the middle, they were always watching me, observing, like I was wonderful no matter what I did.  I’d elongate profound sentences about nothing, my thoughts and promises to life. I knew we were both  really stoned but there was still a part of me that expected he’d zone away while I spoke just because everyone else did that. But he did not. He’d drink from the styrofoam cup that he held at his end, the one that was attached to string between us, his and mine, the telephones you’d make as kids, he’d drink from it the whole time. And I’d ask him if he thought I talked too much. He’d just reply no. He’d say he loved the way I spoke and the way I spoke it.

I had loved him in the way you almost can’t breathe, it felt like some of my breath I was breathing was given away to him. And he’d just be sitting there stealing away my breath like it was nothing, feeding me with his watching, his steady watching, sitting there on those cushions stealing my breath. He’d bleed his soul through his eyes when he looked at me, like all his thoughts and outgoing vibrations were taken, snagged upon me. Like time was encompassed and entangled in time. Like I was his keeper and he was too powerless to even wriggle, to even fight, like he was the creature and I was the anemone. And it was the strangest thing what would happen, because before him the clouds would always come. Roll over, roll over me, clouding me, blurring me into a ghost, blurring, destroying, frightening him. Deep and dark these clouds would be and I’d watch them come over. They were heavy with charcoal colour but empty within. Just frustrated particles of water and air that didn’t know how to make sense of each other and he sure didn’t know how to make sense of them. He let the clouds win eventually and left me for a big ugly city.

There was a time I couldn’t get enough of him. When he’d leave in the mornings smelling of tea tree, down that tiny staircase of mine and the door would bang behind him and make the whole house rattle like my longing heart in it’s ribcage. I’d be left in that bed and sometimes I’d just lay there like that for a good while not wanting to disturb the scent where he’d lay.  I  think of him now only sometimes, in that big city, I just see an ant among the ants and I can’t really believe I really ever once  believed him to be anything else. What is deep attraction other than a temporary madness? A drunkenness to sober up from.

Image:@lesserpoints