I find that people who tell me not to consume too much media consume a shitload of media about why they shouldn’t consume media.
I find that people who tell me not to consume too much media consume a shitload of media about why they shouldn’t consume media.
These treacherous miles
No song will get us there
But we still try
I’m afraid of dying
But I’m not scared of death
They say I’m still young
But I’m old before my time
I guess it just plays a little on my mind
With this little broken heart of mine
We saturate our souls
and silky shadows
hiding broken truths
Shortie and lanky stood across the road from their target. The rain spat at the collars of their topcoats. Shortie puffed on his cigar, his hands dug deep into his coat pockets.
“How’re we gonna do this?” Lanky asked as he lit a cigarette.
Shortie bit down on his cigar and shifted it between his lips, “The usual.”
Lanky smirked taking the cigarette from his lips between two fingers, “There is no usual with you.”
Shortie turned to look over his shoulder at him, “Wipe that smirk off your face!” He turned back to their target.
The women inside the building were none the wiser of their future assailants standing across from them. They chatted over the sounds of music and hair dryers with the women sat in front of them as they cut their hair.
“You can’t go in there,” Lanky pointed with the cigarette between his fingers.
“You’ll stand out! You’re a local, and you’re a short fucker!”
Shortie turned to his accomplice, “You don’t talk to me like that, Mucker.”
His hand raised so fast Lanky didn’t have time to respond before the slap hit him sharp on the cheek, “You hear me?” Shortie said with his cigar clenched between his teeth.
“There was no need for that!” Lanky cried rubbing his face.
The slap was hard enough to little a temporary red mark which Lanky felt no qualms to moan about.
“Shut it, mucker!” Shortie said as he stared across at the hairdressers. “What do you propose we do then, smart arse?”
“You’re so full of ideas you,” Shortie whistled full of sarcasm.
“I don’t see you coming up with any!” Lanky hissed through a haze of smoke. “Anyway,” Lanky dropped the end of the cigarette on the ground and twisted the bottom of his shoe on it, “I thought we didn’t hurt women?”
Shorties mouth dropped open as if to say something before turning into a scowl, “We don’t!” He dug his hands even deeper into his pockets. “I don’t want to hurt them, I won’t hurt them. But you know who their boss is!”
Lanky’s face twitched in anger, “Yea,” He looked across at the hairdressers now with hate in his eyes, “Yea I know.”
“I know what we could do,” Shortie started.
Lanky stared the building across from them down not so discreetly. Shortie turned on his heels and walloped him.
“Jesus!” Lanky rubbed his face again staggering a little, “What was that for?”
“Being a little bitch,” Shortie shook his head, “You know what for!” He rolled his eyes, “Take Lanky, he’s discreet as they come!” He shook his head again, “Discreet as they come, my arse!”
Shortie raised his hand, “Are you asking for another slap?”
Lanky stepped back a little and shook his head, holding his hands up in appeasement.
“Anyway,” Shortie began, “I’ve got an idea.” He rubbed his hands excitedly and ushered Lanky back up the street to their car.
“What is this plan of yours then?” Lanky asked impatiently in the passenger seat.
“Well,” Shortie gripped the steering wheel and listened to the ticking of his indicator. “We’ll find other men the same height as me!”
Lanky bit back a chortle, “And where are going to find these short fuckers?”
“Never you mind that!”
“I will mind!” Lanky frowned, “It’s my ass on the line as much as yours!”
They sat in silence as the car jerked forward and out of the space at the side of the road. Lanky turned the radio on to fill the silence.
Shortie concentrated on the road with his cigar still clenched between his lips.
Lanky fidgeted in his seat with huffs and puffs of breath in boredom.
“Jesus Christ, Lanks!” Shortie spat.
“Can you sit still for a second in your life?”
Lanky shook his head, “Nope.”
“Anyway,” Shortie turned the radio off, “Want to hear my plan?”
Lanky was eager to hear it, ready to lap it up like a lapdog.
“We’re gonna find some shortie muckers like me,”
Lanky couldn’t help himself, “From the Short Gangsta Society.”
Shortie turned his neck to face Lanky so fast he could’ve given himself whiplash, “How did you know?”
Lanky’s mouth dropped, “Wh…What?” He shook his head in disbelief.
“How did you know about the Short Gangsta Society?”
“You’re looking at the fucking founder of it!”
Lanky laughed, “Oh I see you’re pulling my leg!”
Shortie frowned, “No.”
Lankie stopped laughing abruptly and looked at Shortie sheepishly, “You’re…You’re serious?”
“Of course I’m fucking serious!”
“Shut it, Mucker!” Shortie pulled into the drive of a big mansion.
Their footsteps on the hallway floor echoed.
“Shoes off!” Shortie told him as he undid his own laces and carefully placed his to one side.
Shortie led Lanky to his living room.
In the middle was a grand fireplace with a sheepskin rug laid in front of it.
Lanky sat down on an L shaped leather sofa and Shortie across from him on an old brown leather chair. “So I’m going to get a team of men the same height as me,”
Lanky nodded in agreement as he listened.
Shortie cut and lit another cigar, “and then we’re going to,” Shortie knew this bit was sure to get a laugh so he readied himself for it, finding it a little amusing himself, “We’re gonna dress up as women.”
Lanky’s mouth gawped open, “you…”
“I’m not kidding,” Shortie said with a chuckle.
Lanky frowned and looked at him, his face contorting with question.
“Oh I’m for real, but it don’t mean it aint funny!” Shortie slapped an arm of the chair and laughed.
Lanky forced a laugh while he gauged his companion’s reaction, when his fake laugh only catered to further Shorties own laughing he started to laugh for real till tears ran down his face, “You’re gonna…” He couldn’t speak for laughing, “Dress up as women?”
“Yes,” Shortie smiled a short, sharp smile then a foreboding looking crossed his face.
Lanky stopped laughing abruptly and looked Shortie in the eyes.
“We’d all be a good height for that.”
Lanky had to bite back more amusement, “But for the other differences like your voices, muscles, fat, built…” He continued on.
“Are you saying there is only one type of build for women?” Shortie shook his head, “You’ve read too many Nuts magazines!”
“Just because you’re wife…”
Shortie scolded him midsentence with a look.
“Sorry,” Lanky grimaced. “So,” Lanky nodded his head toward Shortie, “You’re all going to dress up as women then?”
“Then go in there and ransack the place!”
“And if someone catches you? As soon as you speak, you’ll give yourselves away!”
“I’ll put on my best woman’s voice!” Shortie smiled.
“Go on then.”
Shortie cleared his throat, “Okay,” He cleared his throat again and jutted his neck out from his collar like a chicken, “Okay,” He cleared his throat once more.
“Oh for fuck sake stop stalling!”
“I’ll have you know I’m not that kind of lady!” Shortie said in a voice that sounded more like a teenage boy whose voice hadn’t fully cracked. He tried again, this time trying to go higher, “I’ll have you know…” His throat hurt from the effort, “I can’t go any higher than that!”
“Well, this plan already looks good!”
“Fuck you, Lanks!”
Dust motes glide in the split streams of light as people raise their arms over their heads in a colourful array of supposed dance moves. The music blasts and you can feel the bass vibrating through your bones.
I don’t know if their smiles are real, I project onto them the fakeness of my own smile.
I’m dancing along, and women are brushing against me. I’m acting like it’s the best night of my life. I’m looking around me at all these faces flashing different colours in the lights, and I’m thinking, ‘are you listening to the lyrics? “Please tell me why, oh tell me why do we build castles in the sky…” “Do you ever question your life?”‘ Why yes, yes I do I question it all the time. “I think it’s time to talk with you…..Where is the love?” These lyrics are so depressing can’t you hear them? I want to shake these people. They call it trance music, and it seems appropriate because they’re set in a trance dancing, moving their body like hypnotised robots. “Give me a reason, must be a reason to hold on to what we’ve got,” you’re still dancing, why? What I the reason, why are we holding on?
I’m spiralling. The music is too bright to lights to loud. Existential voices sing over beats that propose promise of a good time. My mind can’t get over the contradiction.
Greenlight, arms raised, purple, pose, red, pout those lips and move that butt. Do the robot. “I don’t wanna say I’m sorry, because I know there’s nothing wrong,” But there is!
“Hold me in your arms, cause I need you so.”
I rush out of the club and throw up in a side street. I can still hear the thump of every beat inside the building, feel it even.
“Don’t be afraid, there’s no need to worry…”
I go to a nearby carpark and climb till I reach the top floor. The music is blasting from across the road, the neon lights shining on the night.
I’m gonna jump.
I stand on the edge. I hear the beginnings of a song called ‘Children’ from across the road. I know they’re dancing in there like it doesn’t sound sad. It must be me and my perception. No. The world is lost and I’m drowning in an abyss.
I stand on the edge. The beat the music has gotten heavier. Like my heart.
That lingering tone behind the beat, behind the melody it reeks of sadness. Or am I just too sad to hear the happiness?
I’m dizzy from all the bouncing on the dance floor.
I lean forward and open my arms to the wind.
Close my eyes.
This is it.
Blue lights. Heavy heart.
Are those blue lights part of the club?
Sirens reach out like a hand over the music.
My hairs a mess and my palms are wet with sweat.
I feel like I’ve had an electrocution to the head.
“You don’t want to do this, son.” A male voice says behind me.
The music coming from the club speaks for me. But he doesn’t hear it’s sadness, he hears it as people having a good night.
When you’re brushing your teeth, do you imagine your teeth are cars in a car wash?
Because I do.
I imagine people sat in the cars rolling their eyes when they think the car wash is over… But wait! Nope, it’s not finished. It compels me to do a very thorough clean because the thought of them rolling their eyes as more froth comes upon them amuses me.
And then I imagine them breathing a sigh of relief and thinking, “It’s finally over!” and ready to put their engines back on. But they see the lights that tell them when they can leave still haven’t changed from red. So they stare at the light, “Come on!” Their knuckles going white with impatience. But then they get another assault with mouthwash now, a gargle and then the rinse after.
In the end, they have really pristine cars. But the drivers are initially too pissed off at the amount of time it takes as they know they pressed the button that said, “QUICK WASH,” which is cheaper than the deluxe wash. And they drive away wondering what the luxurious wash must consist of if the one they’ve just been through was the quick one!
Dave was the smallest of the trees. “Barb,” He shouted across to his auntie, “They’re coming!” He screamed, the alarm rose up a notch in his voice.
“Who is?” Barb trilled, a blue tit perched on one of her branches.
“They are!” Dave pointed behind him with one of his branches.
“You’ve got so many branches, Dave! How am I supposed to know which way you’re pointing!”
Dave rolled his eyes, “They’re coming to chop us down!”
Barb’s eyes widened, and her mouth formed an O shape. The blue tit that was perched on her flapped its wings and flew into her mouth. “Ya iccle shit,” She struggled to say as it’s feet padded along her tongue.
“Hurry, auntie Barb! They want to make books!”
Auntie Barb stopped in her tracks and spat out the blue tit. The bird landed in a pile of leaves and looked around dazed and confused. “What book they making?”
Dave rolled his eyes again, “Listen, Barb! We really gotta catch up with the rest! Do you want to be a book!”
Barb continued to dawdle her eyes heavy from lack of sleep, “Depends what book I’d be.”
Dave formed an O with his mouth now, his eyes blinking in astonishment. The bluetit had since caught up with them and flew into his mouth. “Oh ya….” He started and spat out the little cheeky git.
“What book do you suppose I’d be?”
“You wouldn’t be one book! You’re too big!”
Barb gasped, “Are you calling me fat?”
“NO!” Dave shouted in irritation.
“Oh, you’re saying I’m tall.” She smiled and puffed up her afro of branches, “One of the things your uncle loved about me!” She looked up to the heavens opening above, “Oh for the love of all things!” She cursed, “Have you got an umbrella?”
“Why would a tree have an umbrella?” Dave asked appalled.
“You don’t have an umbrella then?”
“No! Trees don’t use umbrellas!”
“Well,” Barb closed her eyes and lifted her face proudly, “I do!” Barb huffed.
“Mum told me you were weird.”
“I bet she bloody did!”
Dave looked behind him at the men driving their big machines, “Hurry!” He started faster.
“I hope I don’t become a Stephen King book!” Barb blabbed on with herself.
“If you hurry up no one will be turning you into a novel!”
“What about a scientific textbook then?”
“Or any kind of book!”
“If I become a Stephen King book it’ll be a real fright!” Barb said, picking up her pace to catch up with Dave who was now running on ahead.
“Where is ya dad?”
“He’s at the front!”
Barb leaned closer to Dave, “Do ya think,” She whispered in a conspiratorial manner, “Do ya think that If I were a book, I could be the bible?”
“Bound in leather?” Dave humoured her.
“Oh my god! With gold at the edges of the pages!”
“Poor old cow.” Dave shook his body and trudged along sadly.
“Did you just call me an old cow?” Barb huffed, “I’ll have you know I’m an old dear, not an old cow.”
“I’m talking about Shelia.” Dave reminded her of the field across the road.
Barb took a glimpse, “What about Shelia?”
“She’s gonna be wrapped around you when you’re a holy bible!”
“She wouldn’t wrap herself around me!” Barb said dismissively.
“I didn’t say she’d do it voluntarily.”
“And I won’t be holy that’d ruin the aesthetics.”
“Come on mad Barb,” Dave started to usher her along faster, “Let’s keep up with the others now!”
“If I could choose what book I’d be,” Barb continued drawling on, “I’d be a Matt Johnson book.”
“Who the fuck is Matt Johnson?” A male tree in front of them piped up.
“You know! That Gorilla!”
“Yes, James! A gorilla!” She tutted.
“A gorilla that writes, that’s insane!” James beamed.
They stopped talking as the army of trees came to a sudden halt. An eerie stillness settled over them and a breeze flitted through their branches. The sky became grey with a pregnant silence before the shudder of thunder and a lick of lightning, but the sound of the marching trees outmatches the storm. The trees have risen and are on a rampage of vengeance; we humans shall become pulp fiction!