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|The Great Escapism (standard:other, 3157 words)|
|Author: Craig Anderson||Added: Dec 21 2003||Views/Reads: 1847/1207||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Ecapism in different forms...|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story Dressed, and ready to stumble out, he found he was running unfashionably early. He flicked on the telly, to kill a bit of time. An advert masquerading as programming; a couple of wet and soulless muppets swimming mindlessly from one end of the container to the other, perpetually gargling on the same lame jokes to sell the same iffy product. John didn't mind, though – he had a cone, then another, and relaxed. The world seemed much more pleasant to John when he was stoned, with everything less threatening and the intensity turned down a notch. It helped him function at a more intuitive level, instinctive and impulsive. Come nightfall, he could relax more readily in front of the telly after a billy or two, which was much needed after spending the day smoking drugs in front of the tube. Since discovering pot, John had felt little urge to try other illicit drugs, and he drank little, bar the occasional beer down the pub. He considered himself blessed – at twenty-nine, he had found his niche and knew what he wanted from life. Not one of his friends could say that. Not that he saw many of them anymore. To most of them, he was just a pot-head, a loser with no life, no plan. He had a plan alright, he knew that this was what he wanted and how he wanted to live. He wasn't merely content, like they all struggled to convince themselves they were. He was happy. In his small rental flat, he'd subsist on pasta and noodles, spending only what was necessary to survive on non-weed related consumables. His one mate, Colin, supplied both his bush tobacco and weed at we've-gone-crazy prices, although lately, he had seemed distant. John reckoned he was having troubles with his missus again. Bitch, he deserved better. He had dozed off, hot coffee in hand, and now woke with cold coffee over what was formally his best shirt, his interview shirt. He jumped up, spilling the remaining liquid onto the carpet. He shook his head, more to clear it than from concern over the stains, and saw that he was now officially tardy. He was grubby and late - the universe was aligned. He grabbed his keys, slammed the door, opened the door, and re-slammed it with him on the outside this time. He hadn't ridden his pushie in a couple of weeks, but it was where he left it. More or less. For a while now, he suspected that the kids down the road may have been borrowing it, maintaining and possibly repainting it. On a few occasions. In fact, he wasn't sure there were many parts left on this bike that were actually his anymore. Nevertheless, he boarded, and was off. The second attempt at boarding was far more successful. Dodging through the traffic. Riding like a man possessed, or, at the very least, quite stoned. He was one with his steed, feeling the limit of adhesion, hopping up gutters and swerving to miss pedestrians. He cut across the path of a blue sedan, the passenger arguing with his wife, his wide-eyed wife arguing with the wheel, and it's tyres, evidently fed up with rotating or supplying directional integrity, smoked the vehicle across the road, behind him and gone. When he made it to Centrelink, he was barely an hour late. Sarah, later. “...unzipping them. The park surrounds were doing little to conceal from passers-by their identities, much less the act about to take place. Wrapping her fingers around it's length, exposing his paleness to the midday sun, she began to stroke this stranger, upping the tempo gradually. Shaking, his hips moved to meet her hand, and then her mouth.” Sarah's face did it's best to frown. What a piece of shit. She tore it from the typewriter, screwed it up, and tossed it into the bin; the last screwing and tossing this pair of half-arses would experience on her time. She hated writing trite twaddle even more than she hated reading it. Sarah yawned and stretched – she needed a break. She hopped to the fridge, and took out the bottle of milk. She suckled on it, and gazed forlornly at the empty shelves. She really needed to go shopping. She felt tears down her face, saw them flower on her blouse, delicate wet roses, tears from her tears. Goddamn it. She dropped the milk, and to her knees. She began to cry. There she remained, sobbing and holding her face on; it leaked from the same poor join as always. After a time, she stood, and made her way slowly to the bathroom. A stranger had been living with her for the past two months. It had come home with her uninvited, from the hospital, and taken up residence in her mirror. It grinned back now; lips of dough, melted plastic, crude and contrived. She could take solace, however: it appeared injured, it was bloodied. Maybe it would leave soon. She dabbed at her own face, and found that she had stopped crying. She made her way back to her desk, and her typewriter. How she loved to write, more so now than ever. It felt so wonderful to just get away for a while, be free of her life and the monster in the mirror. Ever since she had been knocked down, ever since her pretty face snagged on the bitumen, ever since her body rolled over and over beneath the car – one of the doctors had made a joke that she had just kept rolling, right through the hospital doors- ever since she lost the eye, her leg at the knee, and her looks, she had found more and more time to write. Erotic fiction was her thing now. Tom had had some magazines here, among other things, and she had claimed them as hers when he had left her that morning. Neither the articles nor the oddly dislocated and anatomical spreads particularly tickled her fancy. The short stories had, though. In fact, a few times there she had nearly tickled her fancy right off. After reading a few stories, however, she had realized that she could do much better. Sarah, once a professional dancer, had found out early in her recovery that she would still needed to express herself, and that she still needed to switch off and take on other forms, other characters. The accident had changed her; she was more introverted now, more introspective, more mortal. It had made her reluctant to leave the confines of her flat; she was painfully conscious of their stares, this cyclops collective – by paradox, it seemed to somehow steal her sense of self. She would blush and feel that her patchwork face may split apart and spray their brazen gawks at any moment, red-facing the shameless. But that car hadn't killed her, nor even any part of her. Energy continues, in other forms, as did hers. Crumpled in the bin was her unfortunate fourth attempt. The first three stories had all been quite good, and had been published in the same erotic fanzine. She had supplied a pseudonym and a post-office box number with each submission for any correspondence with her growing fan-base. She had heard from a few different men - all bar one were semi-literate louts with dick-pics, burdened with scarcely enough digits and brain-cells to oversee the operation of a keyboard, much less the writing of an interesting letter. She sat at her desk, settled in again, and lost herself. Colin. “Hullo?” “Yeah, uh, hi... Can I speak to-uh Chris please?” “...There's no one here by that name...” “Ah, a'right... Look-uh, would you mind telling me the number I rang please?” The male voice did so, and it was the number Colin intended. “Ah a'right, well-ah, I guess there was a mix-up there...” The earpiece had clicked, and he was talking to himself. Colin turned off his mobile, and returned his wife's phone to her handbag, hung behind the bedroom door. He made his way through their house to the fridge, got a beer, and walked outside. The native trees in their back-yard grooved to the slow beat of the breeze, and here and there an insolent blade of grass encouraged an uprising from it's kin, a green-tongue poking cheekily at his inability to mow straight. When he woke today, his marriage had been fine, if a little strained. Now it was over, just like that. Home from his day-job, shift-working, her mobile phone had sounded twice, indicating a text-message. Evidently, his wife had left her handbag home today as she had left for her nine-to-fiver. He tried to justify, now, as to why exactly he had gone into her bag to retrieve it. Was it because he believed that she had text-messaged herself, on someone else's phone, so as to locate the device? Or maybe he had thought that she may have been in some-kind of trouble, perhaps. She was untrustworthy. That was clear now. But was he untrusting? Had he suspected her of something, with no evidence, or had he intuitively known about and repressed it for some time now? As he stood on the porch now, with the breeze drying the sweat across his brow, he regretted his actions. He had taken down the number from her phone, and then called it from his mobile, so as to remain anonymous. He had been hoping naively for the man's name, an address, even, or a clue that perhaps he was being silly. The conversation had revealed nothing, bar this individuals intolerance for wrong-numbers. Yet he was convinced. His wife was cheating on him, with this man, and had been for some time. The text message, despite it's typically simple abbreviations, hinted to him of their sexual familiarity and enduring passion. He and his wife had not had sex in some time – he had assumed that that was just the way it went with some women; sex simply became unimportant, a distraction. It seemed now that he was the one distracted. His mind retreated. He thought again of the writer, as he had done more often recently. There was something about this woman, this stranger. He had never been one for overt pictorial pornography, and over the years had developed an interest in erotic fiction. He considered himself somewhat of an aficionado these days, and thus recognized this woman's stories as something special.. It had all been done to death, of course – Colin had read hundreds of similar stories. But there was something about this woman and her prose, her intimacy and honesty with the words she chose. Her characters were simple and flawed humans that were, via desire, granted uncommon audacity. They were to meet tomorrow. He had written to her first, two weeks ago, immediately after reading her latest instalment. She had written back, and following further correspondence, they had decided on a visible halfway point - a park bench they had both known as youngsters. Before today, he had told himself that it was simply two asexual beings meeting to discuss a common interest in things. Things that just happened to be of a sexual nature. He saw it differently now, and knew that he never intended this relationship to be anything less than infidelity. It sure was lucky that he found out about his wife's lover today, otherwise he may have felt guilt sleeping with the writer. The phone rang five times before Colin was able to get to it, and he let it finish it's sixth before he answered it. It was John, of course, asking about scoring sometime today. “Yeah mate, sure, just pop round and I'll fix y' up”, he said. John was by far Colin's best customer. Once every fortnight, on dole day, John would ride around to collect his goodies. Very regular, always had the cash, an absolute dream to do business with. They had been through a lot of shit together, he and John, and were best mates. “Um, yeah... that's the problem, mate. Some prick nicked me bike...”, John said. “Ah shit, not that flash green one?” “Nah – well, yeah... but I think it was red this week, some nice pin-striping too...” “Ah right – those kids, eh?” “Yeah mate... I don't reckon it was them that pinched it tho ‘cause they've been hangin' round the front all morning, with a brand-new set of tyres and some spanners, frowning their little arses off...” “Ah righto, yeah... Tell ya what mate, I'm heading out tomorrow, to see that bird I was tellin' you about. I'll zip ‘round after with your gear, and give you a bit of a rundown, too...” “Sounds good mate, sounds good...” John, again. Two days passed. Not only was John's stash depleted, he had since ground up and smoked his wooden pot-pipe, his meagre collection of gourmet herbs, a clipping of hair and some lint of questionable origin he found behind the couch. He was desperate – he was starting to have unusual and worrying thoughts, thoughts that questioned his direction in life. He picked up the phone again. He had rung Colin countless times already (he had actually lost count the second time), but the phone had rung out. It rang four times, and was picked up. “Hullo?” “Um... Hey... Colin...? “There's no-one here by that name ...” “What the... who the hell are you then?” “Listen, I'm Tom, I'm looking after Colin's place – and his wife – while he's gone...” “Like fuck you are...”, he yelled down the phone. John's painfully lucid mind lurched. “Where the hell is he then, eh?”. “He's been arrested, you friggin' pothead moron. They've got him at Hill's. He was done shagging his ugly-arsed girlfriend in the park - one pocket full of weed, the other chock-a-block full of home-grown tobacco, the stuff that really shits ‘em. Your not gonna see your silly bloody mate for five to ten, I would imagine... Not even I would represent his scum...” A snigger, a click, and the phone was dead. John was utterly motionless for a long, long while. When he did finally move, it was with a conviction and determination John hadn't exhibited in, well, ever. He blacked his face with grease. He lit a tailor-made cigarette, and coughed on the chemical. He got his crowbar, a torch and a hacksaw. He called a cab. “Yeah... yeah... just one travelling... where to...? Yeah, I'm goin' to the prison...” He needed to help him. He needed to escape. Tweet
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