Tuesday, 6 June 2006

'We're gunna need a bigger boat'

Well, I want to write, I always have, this is my first real attempt at creative writing. I have bad grammar and terrible punctuation, Im working on it and I acknowledge it, however, Ive got little time to work on removing all the small niggles at the moment, I just want to hear if people like it. If you do, comment, thank you.

Who the fuck is alice?

He woke into an immediate panic, twitching thumbs and blacked out thoughts of sin and bad crazies were all he had. Picking himself from the floor with the sort of carefulness normally reserved for the elderly, he walked over to the full length mirror hanging at the side of the door in the eight berth hostel room, on Amsterdam Street in uptown New York.

His refined face was bloated and whiter than usual, his naturally pouted lips were scarlet red giving the impression he was wearing lipstick and his clothes were marked with splashes of whiskey and beer.

He turned around to gather his things noticing the silence of the room, normally crowded and bustling with a wonderful mixture of nationalities it was still and dull. He quickly looked out of the window, facing into a small patio garden the youthful population of the hostel would gather there for sordid tales of the night before, or in most cases, just to smoke and relax. One girl in particular caught his eye, wearing all black on a day that looked so hot. No time for her now though, it was important that he re-hydrate, ease the pressure on his dried up brain, piece together the nights actions, to evaluate and regroup.

“Just these two waters please, actually throw in some chewies, strong ones, I think an tramp died in my mouth last night.”

He reached into his left hand pocket and took out his wallet, the cashier at the convenience store across the road from the hostel looked vacant as usual and accepted his cash. Reaching with his open hand he stuffed his wallet back into his right hand pocket, it was crammed with paper notes, one flew out lightly and softly whisped its way to the floor as he walked outside narrowly avoiding a collision with a push-bike.

It was hot, thick summer heat that close cities bring mixed with awful and potent mixtures of pollution and bad breath surrounded him. He stepped back under the short length of shade the shop brought and squinted for the note. Picking it up he read it eagerly whilst opening up a bottle of water.

‘Adam, I cannot define what I found in you last night, it would only limit that which is limitless, I will see you at 2, where we agreed, your wonderful, Alice’

He tingled all over, the water dropped to the floor hitting the concrete on its bottom side with a quiet thud, the kinetic energy forcing out a petite jet of water against his jeans, rubbing it off wild thoughts came rushing into his still shriveled brain.

Who was Alice? Where had they met and under what extraordinary circumstances has led her to writing such a note? He found it impossible to think, too much bearing down on his sore head and racing heart, the love of his life lost in gray matter, what was he to do?

‘Come on Adam, maintain you fuck, get it together,’ he piped quietly to himself over and over.

The sun was bearing down, pollution was quickly crawling up his nose and catching the back of his throat, it was still in the city even though he was surrounded by movement.

‘Right, fuck this,’ he said out loud, hailing a cab he knew he had two hours to try and retrace his steps, regain some memory of the night, gather himself for his meeting with Alice and still have the energy, if necessary, to impress and charm in his usual sleek manner.

The cab took him to the first haunt of the previous night. A gothic looking bar in the downtown area, its doors were just swinging open as he jumped out of the cab, almost throwing the fare at the cabby and yelling in clich├ęd bliss to keep the change.

‘The Hauntishoon’ in gothic lettering named the bar, some play on words he had no time to figure out. Red and black paint everywhere, long dark purple velvet curtains blacked out the main drinking area and, even thought it was just after mid-day, fake electric candles lit the stalls that ran along the side of the bar, helping a great chandelier in the middle. He noticed he was the first and only person in there and quickly rushed up to the barman polishing glasses.

‘I’m sorry, I desperately need some help, I’ve had quite a terrible night, too much Gin, you know the drill, I was wondering if you remembered me?’

The barman stood up, he was young with a chiseled face but tired eyes, too many long nights had obviously caught up with him, it was clear his nerves were still a little fried from the night before.

‘Shiiiitttt, Adam dude, I almost didn’t recognize you, fuck man, what a night, didn’t expect to see you this early, if at all, what did you say? What the fuck are you doing here?’

Adam drew a sigh of relief, recognition was the first step, the small talk would have to be skipped, Alice was all important and he could catch up with this young rapscallion later.

‘Seriously man, I’ve got very little memory of being in here last night… Ohh fuck, Mikey, I remember now, you knocked off early and we had a few long island ice teas, then some more and some vodka and gin, lots of gin, Jesus, that was early as well, what the hell happened though dude? Seriously, I’m missing quite a few pieces’

Mikey was giggling, ‘Arh man, I can’t believe you don’t remember that girl, you convinced her your father was the Micronesian ambassador to the US and that you had diplomatic immunity, I’d never even heard of fucking Micronesia before…’

Adam interrupted quickly, ‘…Fuck, what was she called? I vaguely remember, she didn’t seem at all impressed when I demanded she got naked…’ He was thinking quickly, too quickly for his state of mind, tripping over his own thoughts he had no idea how he could have been such a swine to someone and have been left with such a note. ‘The note!’ he thought.

‘Mikey, settle down, you need to help me seriously, as a matter of the uppermost importance, I found this note in my pocket this morning with some other stuff, it’s what I’m here for, can you tell me anything about it?’

Mikey grabbed the note, it took him a few seconds to read, then a few more to piece a sentence together, ‘I have no fucking idea what the fuck this note is about maaaaan.’ He said as he burst into hysterics.

‘So this girl, the one who I told I was an Ambassador, she wasn’t called Alice?’

‘No man, I cant even remember her name, she didn’t stick around for very long, in fact after she left, you decided it was time to move on as well, how did you get on, or can’t you remember that either?’

‘I’ve got no idea on either question,’ Adam answered with a sigh, the momentary high of being recognized and the chance of help had been quashed, he was dead at the first hurdle, downtrodden dreams even before he could attempt to get up and over.

‘Hey, don’t be so glum chum, have you checked the rest of the stuff in your pocket? You know what those old Columbo movies taught me? Always check for fucking packets of matches, you can trace anyone with them, didn’t they find JKF’s killer with that method, or was that….’ he drifted off into a mumble.

Adam reached into his pocket and pulled out the pile of notes, napkins and crushed cigarettes, sifting through it without any thought for luck or chance he was certain nothing was going to come of it. But there it was, burnt and withered the lettering was still distinguishable.

Adam leapt onto the bar, thrusting his pelvis into the dank air, ‘Oh fuck me, seriously, fuck me, the fucking Motorcade, that’s where she’s got to be, I remember her from there, I’m sure I do. Mikey, my wonderful fellow, I shall kiss you now for I have to fuck off, into the thick of it, to find Alice.’

He jumped down and did as he said, planted a big kiss on Mikeys forehead. The bemused barman laughed, waved him goodbye and carried on cleaning his glasses as if nothing had happened.

By the time the cab reached Adam’s second destination he was an hour down and shrieking at the cab driver to take the money and fuck off. Although his trip to The Hauntishoon was kept to a minimum the Motorcade was on the other side of the city. The long cab ride had given him time to clear his head slightly, to reappraise the situation in a misty but not entirely blacked out fashion. Vivid colours, shapes and sounds but nothing totally distinguishable squeeze there way back, like the seconds leading up to a horrific car crash or savage beating, all the detail was lost, leaving the large soft round edges to be scraped at for improved features.

He noticed in the corner of his eye a bar woman ducking behind the bar and trying to crawl away as he entered. It was immediately clear the air conditioning had broke, maybe she was searching for the cool air in the bottom quarter of the bar’s moist and sickly atmosphere? He rushed up and, putting his elbows down on the top, let the momentum carry him slightly over the top to get a glance at the girl.

‘Please get up, what the fuck did I do last night? You’re not calling the police are you? All I want is to know who the fuck Alice is?’

She got up hesitantly and spoke whilst leaning her left cheek into her shoulder and fluttering her eyelids.

‘I’m not calling the police I’m just a little embarrassed about my friend, actually a lot embarrassed, but it sounds like you don’t remember so I’m going to quit whilst I’m ahead’

‘No don’t!’ He answered. ‘Seriously you have to help me out, who was your friend what happened? Oh god, she wasn’t the half Mexican half Native American girl was she? What happened? Is she Alice? I need to know, it’s urgent’

‘Oh no, she’s not called Alice, she’s called Sarah. You’re right about her mixed race though, it’s what gives her that amazing glow, although you didn’t seem to appreciate it too much last night…’

It suddenly came back, like a focusing lens, the colours and objects around him blended and took form, memories of the night were coming back with horror. She did have a glow, Sarah, a wonderful complexion, fine pine wood painted a rusty red, bright green beaming eyes, she was brilliant, but he recoiled, her large hands had given him the gitters. An evolutionary leaf on the line of an otherwise perfectly smooth running track. But that wasn’t all, what was it that caused him to leave this place in the hurry? Maybe the bar lady could fill in the gaps.

He waited for her to return after serving a large biker type and quizzed her, ‘I’m sorry, I remember your friend up to a point but I don’t remember leaving, don’t think I’m such an awful bastard please, I’m normally a perfectly nice guy.’

‘Ohh I’m sure you are, no it wasn’t entirely your fault anyway, she kept asking you for drinks and as a gentleman you kept buying them, at least she thought you were a gent, I thought you were a slimeball with a dirty agenda, but she’s old enough to look after herself so I said fuck it and let her get on,’ she flicked her black hair revealing a selection of stars tattooed on her neck and, biting down on a chunk of lime she carried on. ‘Anyway, for a skinny guy you can sure take your booze, you looked half gone when you came and after another five long islands with gin shooters I thought you were about ready to collapse, seems that Sarah had been trying to keep up though. From what I got out of her this morning she said she leant over, told you she loved you and dribbled on your knee until she noticed you were facing someone else and quickly sat back up, shame the guy you were talking to pointed out what had happened. At least that’s what she told me, it seems to fit pretty well with what I saw next’

Adam leant over thinking it might be something good but knowing it was going to be horrible, ‘What was it, please tell?’

‘Well, you slowly patted her face, wiped the remaining spit off the side of her mouth with a napkin, raised your arms above your head and ran out screaming like fuck, that was the last I saw of you.’

‘Oh fuck these tales, seriously, is that what happened? What about the rest of the night, how the fuck did I go on to meet Alice?! She wrote me this note do you know anything about it?’
‘Erm, nope, by the time you left here though it was at least four, pretty late, I’m fucked off because I’ve had to get up to do this shift, you’re lucky you caught me.’

Lucky indeed he thought, this tattooed harlot had ruined his dreams. Even if he had jumped straight into a cab after fleeing the bar in terror, got straight out and gone straight to the hostel room to collapse on the floor and scare off all his Japanese room mates, it was impossible for him to have got back to the hostel before five in the morning, leaving little or no time for talks with Alice.

He must have made her up, or even worse one of the Japanese with good English had realized he was reading Oscar Wilde, thought of some romantic epigram style note and left it in his trousers. He thought how they would be laughing at him right now, sat on their cool plane, munching on pretzels and sipping saki or what ever the fuck it was the Japanese drank.

He was tortured soul that had spent the last two hours running manically around New York in the summer heat. They were laughing alright and he was disheveled, having lost all hope paranoia crawled in with dark eyes, he began to shake slightly and as the adrenaline wore off he looked at his watch, it had just gone two.

Romantic thoughts remained of a beautiful girl sitting down to meet him, to talk and to fall in love with him, to be free together in this great bustling metropolis. To soak up art and theater, to get lazy in the afternoon and nap, then, into the shower for a powerful soapy romp and hit the city at night. He contemplated ordering a large gin, the bar lady had long turned away from him and his gut kicked, he couldn’t drink if he wanted to, the only choice was to get back to the hostel, to crawl under his thin sheets and sleep for as long as he could.

He arrived back in double-quick-time thanks to a fast driving but slow talking cab driver; he tipped him with foreign coins and walked heavy steps into the hostel. Leaning over to pick up his key from reception he took the time to sign-in, never usually one to follow protocol he thought it wise to have some record of him being in the building if a fire started, given how heavily he was going to sleep. Suddenly he was paralyzed, three names up on the sheet he noticed the name ‘Alice’.

The handwriting matched almost exactly that on the note, just over two hours ago she had signed in, but where was she? Why had she turned up so early? He looked again at the note and realized its single rip had removed the numeral 1 before the 2, it was 12 they were meant to meet. His heart was racing again, dilated pupils brought on by a massive adrenaline rush, he needed the toilet but realized it would have to wait. She could be leaving any second, where would she be? Would they cross? Would he recognize her? What did he look like? His beer soaked Levi’s were hardly impressive though he decided not to care, just find her an explain everything.

He began to rush through the main corridor, looking on his right through the bay windows that lead out onto the garden, it was quiet apart from the girl in black he had noticed before he had left, sat there reading a book. He recoiled, it couldn’t be, he knew when he looked down at her from his window on the fifth floor two and a half hours ago she was something different.

He could see her with much more clarity now, legs crossed neatly, she wore a black knee length skirt, a tight black top that showed off a wonderful figure. Her face was masked by large black sunglasses and her facial profile was hard to view because of her bob-cut hair, but he knew she was beautiful. He began to walk up to her and as he realized she was reading George Orwell he almost fainted, she seemed perfect in everyway.

An agnostic since he could remember he suddenly became a believer in the Gods, he prayed during his slow walk, he cried out in his mind to Fate to bring them together, he wept in front of the devil as he sold his soul to be with her and chased after Karma as its tricky dance maneuvered around him. As he stepped up to her he took a deep breath and spoke.

‘Hello Alice’

‘Hello Adam,’ she replied with a smile and pouting red lips. ‘I’ve been waiting for you for some time now, though I’m glad you’ve made it, sit down now, I want to know everything about you.’

The End