There’s mint in your drink, ice clinks the sweating glass. You sit lit by fairy lights, a thick still Sunday night that’s too hot to sleep. Someone else’s party floats over the back fence and you reach into your top pocket for that pouch of tobacco you threw away four years ago. She sees you slip and smiles a question. You tell her it's nothing, “just a nice night”, and it is.
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
I finished my joke about the cat that eats unborn babies and waited, patiently, for recognition of my ability to hold an audience. It didn’t come. Fucking hicks in this town.
I pushed my fringe out of my eyes and tried to focus on the girl behind the bar. She was showing teeth, but I wasn’t sure what they meant. I was mid swig when I saw you. I almost choked, and then spat a gobful of foamy beer in her face. She called me a name. Who cares? I didn’t.
I stood up, knocking over my barstool and rushed towards you, arms flailing like I was waving down a rescue plane. What the fuck are you doing here? I was about to ask, but then I stopped when I noticed your haircut, I thought it would be rude not to mention that first. You were also wearing a new dress, the kind of green that fills the middle of those peppermint Cadbury Roses.
People made affected huffing sounds as I sweatily shoved them aside, but fuck them, it was you. I was so excited and surprised to see you that my heart was hummingbirding just like a hummungbird. “Aren’t you in Melbourne?!” It was lucky I spat the words out so fast, because I had only just finished speaking when my face crashed into the concrete floor. This fancy pants Vietnam vet tripped me with his diamante studded, sequined wooden leg. Bubbles of blood burst and gurgled in my throat as I smugly laughed and told the old codger the joke was on him, my face broke the fall, so the phone in my shirt pocket was fine. Vince stumped out of the bar and I revelled in my victory.
I tried to look up and speak to you directly, but first I had to wrench my incisor free from the floor. My third savage attempt to yank my face backwards worked, I was free. The floor kept my tooth, but I called it a draw, it was going black anyway. My eyes crawled up from your blood soaked shoes to your face, but you weren’t you. Not even a little bit. I mean you were pretty, and wearing a lovely green dress, but you weren’t really you. This you was just some disgusted, pretty New Zealander with my blood on her shoes. You were still in Melbourne.
The music was dead and there was lots of gleeful whispering zipping around the room. I looked over at the girl behind the bar, I was going to ask if I could maybe get a tab or something, but she was wiping beer off her face and signalling for the bouncer to punch me in the kidneys. What a shit night.
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Dear The Basement,
You are very lovely. Super lovely. I’d like to tell you how I feel about you but it’s tricky, you’re too big and tingly to squish down onto a silly little page. When I first met you, to be honest, I was nervous. I was also very smelly, with a runny nose and bloodshot eyes – I came strait from the airport. But you didn’t seem to mind, I guess you were feeling a little self-conscious about your appearance too. It was about six hours before you reopened with all your wiz bang renovations, and you had lots of dust and paint and bins on and around you. You looked worried, but you needn’t have, you were beautiful, even then.
The past couple of weeks have been very special to me, every night you pick me up and dust off the loneliness that catches in my beard during the day. Your beer is always very cold, and who ever happens to be standing behind the bar smiles when they see me stump up the steps. I smile too, and my air balloon heart fills with fossil fuel and lifts, while the tiny couple in the basket spit over the edge and open a bottle of bubbles.
I have a handful of shows left, then I’m left leaving you here, far too far from me. I’ll miss you when I’m gone, and think about you often. I’ll tell my friends all about you and the times we shared. They’ll tell me to shut up and talk about something else, and I will, but secretly I’ll still be thinking of you.
I love you, The Basement,
Monday, 25 February 2013
It’s dark. Krumpet is lost and lonely. It’s dark all the time. It’s dark all the time because Krumpet is lost and lonely in Antarctica, in the middle of winter, which means there has been no sunlight for the past three months. Krumpet isn’t exclusively lost and lonely however, he is also stuck. Krumpet, or more specifically his left kneecap, is wedged between the big rusty teeth of a bear trap. So Krumpet is lost, and lonely, and stuck, and cold and bleeding.
Krumpet has spent months in the snow, watching the blood go from a gush to a flow to a trickle. He watched the snow change colour, and taste. He turned the plain white snow into copper-flavoured deep red crystals. Krumpet understands, he knows, Krumpet is an alchemist. He knows he can turn empty things into living things, frozen things into melted things, and sad things into jokes. He knows this.
Krumpet likes the moon, but he’d like it better if it was the sun. With the waistband from his trousers, and the bones of whatever occupied the trap before him, Krumpet has built a very powerful slingshot. The Chucker can fire capsules of blood up and into the moon. Krumpet started off by collecting toenail clippings from his two smallest toes. Then fingernail clippings. Then hair trimmings. Then ear wax. Then he backtracked and collected those rugged, thick, rust coloured wedges of toenail from his two big toes. Then he picked a scab off his knee, it was shaped like a duck, he put that scab in a bottle and labelled it “Duck Shaped Left Knee Scabs”, and when the bottle was full he fired it up at the moon. He fires it all up there.
On a clear night, when it isn’t too windy or too snowy, when the gulls cries abate, when the waves whisper, when Krumpet’s relentless sobbing is stuck in his throat, when his shrill laughter takes a walk for the other side of the island, when the night is just like that and all you can hear is nothing, when all you can hear is a waiting sound, a waiting to be filled up with noises, well on these nights Krumpet fires The Chucker. Krumpet fires a capsule of blood or skin or elbow scab up into space, he watches the tiny capsule whirl and twirl and zoom strait toward the moon. While that little rocket ship flies he lies back in the snow and watches it go. Krumpet strains his ears and holds his breath so that he can hear the capsule ‘plump’ into the soft sandy face of the moon.
He isn’t sure what he’s trying to do, not exactly, he figures he’s an alchemist. Maybe I’ll make the man in the moon wake up? Maybe all he needs is some bits? Some crawlies to creep around his sandy veins and shake the old boy back to life? Maybe. That’s alchemy for you.