Category: Book 5 - Return To Carolyn's House
The return of the pizza punk.
Friday, March 20th 2009
I saw Francois' name on the pay slip when the pizza arrived and I guess I sort of panicked. I didn't go along with the plan I made. I plan was to just be quiet and not pick up the phone until morning. I couldn't eat any more. My stomach was so swollen and it hurt to move and I kept thinking that dry spaghetti was coming out of my bullet-hole. I was already a bit full when I ordered the pizza but I ate some beans while it was on its way. It was a bit late, actually. So I was going to just lie low and wait for the pizza punk to go away but when the pay slip came through the letterbox and I saw Francois' name on it, I panicked. I said his name.
“You there, Ancient, hey? There's no money here in the plant, bru. Where's the money why won't you answer?” I tried to think through all the food.
“I was in the shower,” I said.
“That's funny bru, a shark in the shower. That's classic. So where's the money, it's not in the plant, bru – I see you trying to schnaai me, hey?” I swallowed. I felt like I was three seconds away from throwing up.
“Listen, please, I don't feel like it.”
“You don't feel like what? Giving me any money? Is that how you feel, hey?”
“No, that's not - ” I struggled. “I don't feel like any pizza.”
“You ordered pizza bru – two Groovy Greeks, it says here – no Butleritos. You must be feeling like pizza because you called for pizza and they sent me all the way over here and here's your pizza, bru.”
“No, but - ”
“The pizza is here, bru, but the money's not here. Where's the money?”
“I'm sick,” I tried.
“Okay, Ancient, listen okay – I'm out of time, I've got to go. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take the pizza back with me, go back to the shop and then I'll put your name on the list, the 'Do not deliver' list. Then you'll never have any pizza again, all the pizza places share the list, bru, no one will want to come here.” I turned and I rolled and I felt my stomach contract with my movements. I wanted to call the landlord but then a bigger voice than the one that told me to call him told me that this is exactly what the landlord would want – to find a situation that would give him an excuse to pretend to get angry so that he could stop me from getting pizza any more. I was stuck here with Francois and I started to think then that he would shoot me. He'd shoot me straight through the door and then I'd have another scar on my belly and the two scars would look like nipples, only they'd be way too low down on my body. People would tease me about my low-down nipples. I'd get all shy about them and I've have to wear an apron all the time to hide them.
“No,” I started, but he was quick.
“Kay, bru - ” there was force in his voice. He was about to do something. I really didn't want to get shot again. I didn't want to be in danger and I really didn't want any pizza that might make me sick. There was only one thing I could do to stop him, to stop him from putting me on the list, to stop him being forceful with his voice and to stop him from shooting me. I stood up, which wasn't easy, I opened my mouth and screwed it up into its most terrifying shape, unlocked the door, opened it, spread my arms wide, jumped with all my strength over the door frame and “RARRRR!!”
He laughed at me while I stood there. I was breathing very heavily. He put his hand on my back while he laughed, like I was in on the joke.
“Jaysis bru! Just chill! Chill out, hey, don't have a cadenza, all right? Don't stress yourself out.” He laughed for a while longer and I put down my arms and waited. “Ja bru,” he said before he'd quite stopped laughing. “I know all about your shark thing, hey, Sarah told me all about it.” I fiddled with my hands. I was still out of breath. I wanted to sit down.
“How do you know Sarah?” I asked, quietly. He slowly turned his laughter down and then off.
“She's my girl, hey. She's told me all about this place. Now come, bru, go fetch me that money, I know you've got lots of it, your pizza's getting cold.” I nodded then I went back into my room, walked over to the cupboard, got the money out of the box and walked back to the door. I wanted Moe to be there when I got there. I wanted Francois to be Moe's little brother and I wanted Moe to be there suddenly standing behind him and punishing him for being so mean to his friends. Maybe Moe would have Francois in a headlock or a wrestling move. And Moe would smile and we'd go and play TV games. Francois wouldn't be allowed to play. He'd just have to watch.
But Moe wasn't there, just Francois with his face all grinning as he handed me a load of pizza I didn't want. Even the smell of the pizza made my stomach move around. I handed over the money.
“You haven't been tipping so nicely lately, bru,” said Francois, smiling weirdly. “That's very naughty, hey.”
“The landlord won't let me have so much money at a time now,” I said in a small voice. I wanted him to go and he did after he'd touched my back and grinned a few more times. I walked straight to the bathroom and I threw up. I haven't thrown up in a long, long time and I hate it now just as much as I did before. My heart was going crazy in my chest. I didn't even notice that I'd left the door open.
Afterwards, when my heart and stomach had learned the calm way again, I checked on @groombridge. He says he likes the profile I sent because it's funny, but nobody has sent him any mail or winks yet. He wonders if he should put on a different picture. He's got a picture right now, but he stole it off someone else's profile, it's of two tiny people walking across a huge beach. The people could be anyone. He says that's the whole point – it gets girls imagining. That's what you want them to be doing.
I didn't feel very helpful after all the excitement I'd had so I ate some of the pizza (it was still a bit warm), spent a long time brushing my teeth and then thought about going to bed early, but then decided against it because I didn't want to mess up my patterns.
Enjoyment +++ tnemyojnE
Sunday, March 22nd 2009
Sarah didn't come over today. I called her up and she said that since I'd patched things up with the grocery kid, she probably shouldn't fetch my shopping for me. Also, she was on the beach. Maybe @groombridge was right about girls and beaches and imagination. I wanted to tell her that I wasn't sure that things had been patched up with the grocery kid, but I didn't. I wanted to ask her about Francois but I didn't. People don't like to talk on the phone when they're on the beach. It messes up their enjoyment.
I saw @groombridge's profile picture this morning. It is of his face. He took it himself by looking in the mirror with the camera. He is in his bathroom and he doesn't look happy. He's trying to look happy but he isn't. He doesn't look anything like I expected from his chats. I thought he'd be older, kind of dressed better. I thought he'd wear a black silk shirt with a big collar. I thought he'd have this look of sadness in his eye – not the bad kind of sadness, the kind where you're afraid of what might happen and who might fight you next, but the kind where you're aware of what's already happened and all those fights you've lost over the years, and you're kind of okay with it. He's got an earring. I think that maybe the photo has messed up my enjoyment of @groombridge as a concept.
I was starving by the time the grocery kid came round. I spent just about all of yesterday tearing through my food so that he wouldn't get suspicious if he saw the kitchen. I was afraid that if he saw there was a lot of food left he'd tell the landlord that I don't need as much food anymore as I usually do and then he'll buy less food next week to compensate and I can see a cycle happening where I'm hungry forever. Yeah, the stakes were high.
I did the job really well. The kitchen looked just like it did every Sunday – empty. The food was all gone (into me) and the garbage made by the food was also gone (into the back room). The grocery kid didn't really look around the kitchen very much when he came, but I felt so much better knowing there was no chance he could find me out and punish me for not eating enough.
“I'm sorry for the other day, I shouldn't have got so angry with you,” he said as he put the bags on the ground like it was no big deal. “But sometimes I just want to grab you and shake you, you know? The whole blumming world is full of people and they've all got their stories, enough to fill a million lifetimes if they just told the best ones, all these people and some of them right here and you don't take any notice. You don't see who they are or what they have to say or the effect you're having on them. You don't see! Can you see why that could make me angry with you?”
My mouth was dry. It needed food. There was so much of it there on the kitchen floor and I couldn't have any before he'd stopped. I opened and closed my mouth a few times but I couldn't think of anything to make it all go faster. Anything I could possibly say would probably make him go on and on. I wanted to stop him, take him aside and tell him that he was wrong, that there were all these real people out there on the internet, the people who are pregnant or sad or getting teased a lot or really into their truck. There are people who clean the hair out of subway tunnels and people who are one quarter Cherokee and people who work the fryer at a chain restaurant to save up for an engagement ring. They've all got stories too and they tell them every day. I'm one of those people. I'm real. I tell my story. But I couldn't tell him about us. He wouldn't understand. I don't think it would be the same world at all if the grocery kid went on the internet and looked through all the pages I've got bookmarked.
“I like the people in your books,” I said and I surprised myself when I said that. “I like their stories.” His shoulders kind of moved down when I said that and I realised that I hadn't seen the grocery kid relax in a very long time.
“I know,” he said. “I know.” My mouth filled with moisture. We were patching things up.
“Do you think you could put the groceries on the counter instead of on the floor when you come in?”
“My back's gotten worse,” he said.
“But what about me?” I asked, but I didn't say anything more. I know how it feels to have your enjoyment of something or a moment or a TV show messed up for you. I didn't want to do that to the grocery kid right then. He left and he didn't say anything to his dogs.
I'm not worried
Friday, March 27nd 2009
@groombridge said a funny thing to me. He said that he hoped that me and my family were all right and that the fire didn't get our houses. He'd seen something about a fire in the newspaper, he said. I checked on the internet and I saw that, yes, there had been a fire. The whole mountain had burned. It had looked like it was coming to get us (the city.)
When the landlord came over I asked him about the fire. I asked him if he'd heard about it. He immediately took the defensive. You could tell that he'd had this conversation already with me in his mind, which put him at an advantage.
“Listen Shark, we didn't want to worry about it. We were safe the whole time. It's safe here in Mowbray. If I'd told you about the fire you'd only have worried.”
“I wouldn't have worried,” I said.
“Shark, you always worry about this sort of thing.”
“You're the one who worries, not me,” I said and it was true.
When he'd gone I started planning all the things I'd do if there was a fire that broke through to us here in Mowbray. I'd have to get to the stairs quickly, they are the only way out. People would see me but it wouldn't matter by then. It would be the end. Afterwards, they'll just say that it was smoke-blindness that made them see the shark on the stairs. People imagine all sorts of things when they're in trouble.
I'm going to make a box of things I can carry away in a big hurry. I'd take the landlord's mother's box and my PC (not the monitor – too heavy!) and a blanket in case I have to sleep rough. I'd get to my car, put the box in the backseat and I would keep on driving. I wouldn't go back. I'd go to Sarah's house and she'd get in the front seat.
“Where are we going?”
“We're going to find David.” I'll say.
“But he doesn't talk to you any more,” She'll say.
“I think something's wrong with him. I think we need to save him. I think the David we brought back with us from Carolyn's -”
“You mean?” she'll say and I'll look at her, totally serious.
“I don't think that was our David, Sarah.”
The city will burn behind us, but it's okay. I've got everything I need. Let's go, Sarah.
A metaphor for who you are.
Monday, March 30th 2009
I carried the garbage out this morning and although I wanted to clear out the bin bags in the back room too, I didn't because I was getting tired from all the carrying. My body is used to only carrying the garbage I normally make in normal week so, now I've got a backlog, I've got to reconfigure my whole body so it doesn't get tired on me. I'm going to do this next week.
Things got exciting this weekend. @groombridge got a message on his dating site. He told a girl that he liked her and she thought that was okay. She wanted to know if he really was an astronaut. He wanted me to tell him what to say back.
Burzumfan9999: Just go with it
groombridge: wont she find out
Burzumfan9999: It's a metaphor. It's not something you can or can't find out. It's part of you
groombridge: ill tell her its a joke
Burzumfan9999: Its not a joke
Yesterday I decided to get the future started so I asked the landlord whether Monopoly was available.
"You know, Monopoly."
"Oh - Bradley."
"I'd like to talk to him, please."
"That's just not a very good idea."
"You don't know him. It's okay that he punched me. I've forgiven him for that."
"Come now, Shark. Don't be silly." But I wasn't being silly. That's just his word for things he doesn't understand, like the internet.
Here is a list I made of all things the landlord thinks are silly:
NASA (and space in general)
Funny mash-up videos
What is taught in schools today
I saw some more moving trucks and people talking to the landlord this weekend. I don't know what the big hurry is - they've still got six months before the developers move in. People always want to be the first.
Empty rooms below me.
Tuesday, March 31st 2009
The power went off again today. This wasn't so great for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was right in the middle of talking to @groombridge about dating and what his interests are. We decided that he was interested in cars, the news, music, making jokes, watching musicians perform and - boof, the power goes out. He's going to have to make do with just those interests I said there until my timeline synches up with his timeline and we get talking again. It's okay though - I think we covered some good interests in the time we had.
The other thing that happened when that happened was that I noticed all of a sudden how different the room sounded. There are a lot more empty rooms in the building now and they all make different echoes than rooms that are full of stuff and old people. I sat there listening to all the sound bouncing around those empty rooms, bouncing in the dark where the sound carries better, and pretty soon I had a headache. I fell onto my bed, got under the covers and put the pillows over my ears and the headache faded, but it meant that I had to stay in bed and kick my tail around a lot to fill out the empty noise that was coming in from all around. This got really tiring so I tried going to sleep but I couldn't even do that! I'd slept late in the morning.
So I lay there with the threat of a headache all around me, under the covers, just thinking. It wasn't long before I started thinking about David. Yeah, there's a lot to think about when it comes to David.
He was so close to breaking through. He was practically a shark himself before Carolyn got to him. We should have been watching him, looking out for him, but while me and Moe were mixing it up at the fair, and Leonard Cohen was playing to the crowd, she had David trapped in the attic of that little house of hers, the house that was full of her and her emotions. I'd heard the machines whirring up there, going round and round, and I knew they were for malice but if I'd known for a second that they'd be used on David... that she'd turn his thoughts into weapons to fight me and Sarah, well I don't think I'd been able to control myself. I'd have exploded and leapt on her and ripped her lies up for everyone to see. All of our lives would have worked out differently. Maybe not even for the better?
There's a part of me that understands why Carolyn did it though - why she'd keep David away from us, all to herself and her selfish tears. There's so much potential in David. He's still young. You could tell him to be anything you want and he'd be able to work at it and do it because he's got so much time. It's dangerous to try and think like Carolyn - you'll make a mini version of her inside your brain and it will do to you what she did to her house. But I think we're equals, in a way. I work out people's sadness and she uses that sadness to get people on her side. That's what happened to David - he saw her tears and then he was gone.
All I'm saying is that I'm glad I got Sarah. When it comes down to me and Carolyn, Sarah will beat David at anything he can throw at her. Her training will be complete. She was always better than him.