It was almost eleven and it was a week night so the bar would be closing soon. Christ, what would Will say? The thought ran through my mind but it didn’t fully sink in until a few moments later. Shit. Will and I were not on speaking terms. Things had come to a head after my brutal deconstruction of The Dark Knight Rises…
Will had been in L.A. shooting a film that parodied organised religion. There were already stirrings of controversy, but all hell broke loose after an unfortunate interview clip found its way onto Youtube. Will was caught coming out of a club, shitfaced, by TMZ. During the ensuing street interview he was asked about his involvement in the film and he claimed it was a work of passion.
‘So you don’t care if the film is a box office success?’
‘No!’ shouted Will. ‘This is too important. Fuck the profit!’
Taken out of context, a number of Libyans found this soundbyte incredibly offensive and decided to start burning shit down. When the riots spread and Will started to receive death threats, he moved back to the beautiful, peaceful land of Northern Ireland. It was then he found his website desecrated by anti-Batman writing. He fired me for slander and went back to his day job shooting candid photos of the Royal Family on holiday. I have no idea how that has been working out for him, because I decided to look at my dismissal as an opportunity to move on with my life. Bukowski took ten years off from writing to get drunk and get involved with crazy women, and it worked for him. I decided to do the same.
I shacked up with the first one I met. I never had any trouble falling for women, and this one I took for a rich girl because she had a fancy phone. I have since learned that most mobile phones have cameras these days. But she was wearing a polka dot dress and black tights and she was perched on a barstool, one of her high heeled shoes bouncing on the end of her foot. I didn’t stand a chance. That night I found out they weren’t tights at all, but stockings, complete with garter belt. The next day I put some underwear in a suitcase, filled it the rest of the way with four different kinds of whiskey, grabbed my desk lamp and my notebook, and moved into her place.
Now I was sitting at the bar on a week night with my suitcase at my feet. It was lighter now – the whiskey was long gone, even after my repeated demands that she not mix the good stuff with Coke – and I had let her keep the desk lamp. I had my new phone sitting out on the bar in front of me. I had spent the last of my money on it so she could send me dirty pictures. I hadn’t even taken it out of the box when she kicked me out. I took a drink and typed out a text.
‘Hey baby, how about a sexy photo to remember you by?’
‘Sure how about one of my new mans cock’
I noted her lack of punctuation and decided maybe I was better off without her. Before I could protest, though, another text appeared. It said, ‘Cannot display picture. File too large’. Jesus, life was vicious. I finished my drink, took my ringer of dirty undies and headed for Will’s house. I left the phone on the bar.
I knocked on the door. Will took his time about answering and when he did, he was wearing a kimono.
‘You got a cold beer?’ I asked, and I was surprised when he let me in.
I explained my situation and asked about his, regarding the religious fanatics.
‘Man, the violence just keeps escalating,’; he said. ‘Whole cities turned over to wanton violence. All over a fucking film!’
‘I felt the same way when I saw the Total Recall remake,’ I said, and sucked at my beer.
He laughed. ‘That’s exactly what Bandwidth is missing. Your old take-no-prisoners attitude. What happened man?’
‘I don’t know. I started to second guess myself.’
‘Well start third guessing man. Start giving it hell again.’
‘Giving it hell… that was the name of one of my old articles. You remembered.’
‘Wait a minute, are you saying you want me back on board?’
‘Only if you do it with some balls,’ he said.
‘All right, it’s a deal. But what should I write about? I’ve been drunk for two months and haven’t been to any gigs. I’ve hardly been outdoors.’
‘Just write whatever is in your heart dude. Now I gotta get back. I’ve got a new woman in there,’ he said, motioning towards the bedroom. ‘She’s filthy.’ His voice took on an excited, hushed tone, like a kid on his way down the stairs on Christmas morning. ‘She’s been taking photos of my cock on her phone…’
When he left, the depression tried to take me, but this time something stopped it. I got up, went to the kitchen and poured a tall glass of whiskey. I had a hit and sat down at the coffee table. I opened the suitcase and looked for my notebook. It wasn’t there. I must have left it at the broad’s house. I was sure I had written my most brilliant material in it and now it was lost forever. Then I heard a giggle from the bedroom and realised it might find its way into Will’s hands after all. I took another drink and noticed something in the case. Something pink and frilly amongst my unwashed drawers. It was a pair of her knickers. I took out a pen and turned them over to write on the ass. It was a thong. Never mind. Brevity has always been my forte. On the crotch I wrote:
‘Watching Lawless is like getting smashed in the mouth with a knuckle-duster after drinking too much whiskey and trying to look up Jessica Chastain’s skirt. Fuck the pretenders. Appreciate good cinema.’
I didn’t know quite what it meant, but that is what was in my heart. I spent the rest of the night sitting on the sofa drinking Will’s liquor. Just before dawn I stuffed the panties into the empty glass and walked out into the grey light. There was no traffic and the air smelled good, even in the city. Everything was closed. Everyone was asleep. The hangover wouldn’t arrive for a while yet. I was back.