Categories: Blogs, Book 1 - The Blog Of An Artist Who Lives Alone, Book 2 - Kids From The Internet, Book 3 - The Adventure!, Book 4 - What Does The Inside Of A Tear Look Like?, Book 5 - Return To Carolyn's House, Fanart, Webcomic
THE ANCIENT SHARK OF DESPAIR
by Sebastian Borckenhagen and Tom McNally
Book 1 - The Blog Of An Artist Who Lives Alone
20 October 2006 - 3 January 2007
In an apartment block in Mowbray, Cape Town, South Africa, a lonely shark starts a blog and meets some special people. Will his sudden embrace of youth and community alienate his family, his landlord and his jerk grocery kid?
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 - Page 9 - Page 10 - Page 11 - Page 12 - Page 13 - Page 14 - Page 15 - Page 16
Book 2 - Kids From The Internet
4 January 2006 - 18 February 2007
The shark becomes fully socialised by having Moe's cousin sleep at his house for a few days and by throwing a party for all his new friends. Can love be far behind?
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 - Page 9 - Page 10 - Page 11
Book 3 - The Adventure!
19 February 2007 - 11 June 2007
David, the kid next door, has been trained up for his final test - a full-on adventure across the country. But is David ready for such a wild, spiritual experience? Would he freak out if they killed a cop? Or is the pizza delivery boy a better choice all round for hitting the road and hanging out with Leonard Cohen?
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 - Page 9 - Page 10 - Page 11 - Page 12 - Page 13 - Page 14 - Page 15 - Page 16
Book 4 - What Does The Inside Of A Tear Look Like?
12 June 2007 - 7 June 2008
How quickly can love cause a shark destroy everything he's built? He's not immune to love. No one is. Neither is Sarah, the girl who lives down the street. The shark has a cool car and he's always available for lifts. You can win her Sharky, if you try!
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 - Page9 - Page 10 - Page 11
Book 5 - Return To Carolyn's House
2 November 2008 - 24 June 2009
Maybe this time the shark has gone too far. It's a battle of wills between him and the landlord, with his home hanging in the balance. There's also a matric dance to attend, a funeral to avoid, a trip to Plettenburg Bay with a car full of girls to arrange and then face a fiery climax wherein he must account for his past sins.
Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 - Page 9 - Page 10 - Page 11 - Page 12 - Page 13 - Page 14 - Page 15 - Page 16
------------- SONGS, GUYS, SOME SONGS ----------------
Also, perhaps you'd like to hear some of the songs that various attractive people have made about The Ancient Shark Of Despair?
'The Ancient Shark Of Despair's Theme Tune' was composed and performed by Nicolai Roos, with vocals by Paul Maree, electric guitar by Adam Hill and wailing by Jolene Cartmill. The lyrics were written by Tom McNally and Sebastian Borckenhagen.
'Ancient, Ancient, Ancient' was written and performed by Gavin Haynes.
'Landlord' was written by the entity known as Pravda23, arranged by Nicolai Roos, with Nic on the acoustic and lead guitars, also on violin plucking, and Pravda23 on the rhythm guitar, violin and the singing. Tim Lester provided back-up vocals and the lyrics were written by Tom McNally and Sebastian Borckenhagen, at a party.
It was recorded at Black River Studios by Nic.
There's also a charming demo version here for you, with Paul Maree on the violin and Chris Truter on bass. It was recorded in Chris' lounge.
If you're wondering what all these fine musicians do when they are not crafting projects tangentially linked to The Ancient Shark Of Despair, please consult:
Nicolai and Adam's band is called THE SLEEPERS, while Paul's band is called THE BEAMS
Gavin Haynes is some sort of MEALY MOUTHED INKSLINGER, while a large chunk of the PRAVDA23 programming can be safely viewed at the link above.
Return to Carolyn's house.
Sunday, July 11th 2009
Today I woke up and I knew that something big was going to happen. I didn't let it show on my face as made breakfast or showered because I didn't want it to turn out not to be true and my face to have been lying the whole time, but that didn't stop me from trying to guess what would be.
Mostly I thought it might have been the new TV that Sarah's dad ordered from the internet with his credit card. That's due to get here really soon. Or it could have been the guys coming round to set up the internet. I'm getting this new kind of internet where I don't have to dial up with the modem every time I want to check something. This would improve things, I think, but I'm going to miss the sound. But I was told that the internet guys probably won't be coming for another few weeks, so is wasn't 100% likely to be them. It could also have been the day that they start construction on the new houses. I've got a pretty good view of the site from the attic and they've been making good progress on getting it all cleaned up, but it still kind of smells. Anyway, I don't think I'd really get a special feeling about some building or a TV or even a new internet. People had to be involved.
It's been pretty weird not having TV or the internet. I've got my computer but it can't do anything beyond itself. I'm writing this blog by hand in a notebook, like in the old old days, which is a lot harder than I remember it being, especially because I've got to write so neatly so that Sarah's mother can type it out for me later. This is actually the second time I've written this all out, but it's okay because I've got a lot more free time now, or at least it feels like I do. I'm doing some more drawing and getting back into the meditation and I'm really good at making roll-ups now, almost as good as Nikki. I've got my TV show all planned out now, all the way to the end of the second season. Sarah's mother and father come to visit me almost every evening since my place is on the route they normally take when they walk their dogs. Their dogs aren't too small or too excited, they don't smell so much and they don't try to control me or get on top of me, so I guess they're okay. Sarah's parents did a good job with them. They tell me about what's happening out there and who they met in the shop and what's going on with politics, or something funny that one of Sarah's mother's students said or did. They bring me some food in a buckie almost every time – usually it's leftovers but it's still good because I don't mind that someone else had a chance to have it before me. It's good that I get that food because I can't order pizza any more. I call them up but they don't want to talk to me all of a sudden. Also, Sarah's father has been fetching my groceries for me in his car and he says he doesn't mind, but it's only until my own car is fixed. That might take a while though because the landlord towed it back to Greyton so he could work on it. He didn't want Sarah's father to take it in to a shop.
Yeah, the landlord still visits. Not as often as he used to, of course, because Greyton is far, but he bought himself a little car and comes down once every two weeks or so. He still calls and leaves a message for me every day. Mostly he talks about the Snipe and the progress on that. The other day he said he was getting original axels shipped in from Dubai and he's always changing his mind about the new paint job and so on and so on. He's not really my landlord anymore, I guess, but I don't want to come up with a whole new name for him because it would be confusing. The grocery kid is still the grocery kid to me – the landlord says that he'd forgotten how difficult it is sometimes to live with him and that he keeps letting the dogs in the house although they're not allowed, but he mostly just stays on his home and writes – and Celene has always been Celene. The landlord isn't angry with her for changing sides back then and I don't think he ever was. He keeps saying that he's just glad that no one was hurt in the fire and that she's having a pretty good time there in Greyton. She liked how she could arrange a whole new house just the way she wanted it and she likes that she can walk around outside without getting afraid. I don't know how you'd tell the difference between Celene being happy and not being happy, but I suppose he has known her for a relatively long time.
Sarah's father keeps telling me that I should blog about the fire. He says it was very traumatic and it would help me to write about it. He's a psychologist, like Burzum. People come to see him in his home. But I don't think the fire was like that at all. It was more beautiful and complicated than trauma.
I'd stayed the night at Sarah's house. It was early Sunday morning and Sarah's mother woke me up with some tea and bacon with eggs. I said I didn't eat meat, like Sarah and she went away and quickly got me some fruit yoghurt instead.
“Sarah used to hate it when I brought her breakfast in the morning,” she smiled.
“I don't hate it,” I said quietly. “And I don't think Sarah hates it either. You can't hate this.”
“She just likes to be different,” she agreed. I started eating. “Well, I'll leave you in peace for now. When do you think you'll be going back home?”
“Home?” I asked. I thought I was already home. I wasn't.
“Well, you're welcome here any time, Sharky, of course...” she said and paused for a while. “But aren't they missing you back at home? Sarah said you lived with your landlord...”
“He's not my landlord from today,” I said and I had to explain a bit about that.
“Well then if they're all moving out today, they must be wondering where you are!” she was worried that they were worried. Their worry collided with hers and the room was filled with worry. It made me nervous and I had to go have a shower. When I came out the bathroom, Sarah's father was waiting for me in the foyer.
“Your car's in a bad way,” his eyes were full of confusion. “What happened to it?”
We went outside and he showed me what he had seen about my car. The tyres were all down and it wasn't sitting well.
“The tyres've been slashed,” he explained. “You've driven on the bare axels and they're all broken.”
“Can I drive it home?” I asked. He shook his head.
“This is a beautiful car,” he said sadly.
“Thanks,” I said. “The landlord and me worked on it quite a lot back in the day and it was his for a little while but I bought it off him when he ran out of money.”
It was decided that I'd be driven home. It wasn't very far but we also agreed that I wasn't really up to walking it. The first thing that came to us was the smell of the smoke, then we could see the smoke itself. The next thing we saw was David. He was running down the road. He looked wild.
“It's David!” I said.
“David? The David who Sarah went out with?” said Sarah's father. He hadn't seen him yet.
“Oh my god,” said Sarah's mother. She'd seen him.
“Sarah didn't go out with him for long,” I said.
“He's a strange boy,” hummed Sarah's father. David was alongside the car now. He'd recognised it. Sarah's father rolled down the window.
“Fire! There's a fire!” he yelled. He looked at me and said, “Your building!”
“David, calm down sweetie. Are you all right? Are you burned?” said Sarah's mother.
“No, but there's a fire!” he cried.
“What kind of fire?” said Sarah's father.
“A really big fire!” David yelled and ran back to the smoke. The window went up again and we followed him slowly in the car.
The fire had been going on for quite a while. The roof and attic was all up and a lot of the front wall and a few of the apartments had fallen down into the courtyard. It was all ash and broken house there. People were crowded around the apartment, watching, and I recognised the people. There was the landlord, who was running around, there was the grocery kid and Celene and a lot of other people and even though I hadn't really ever seen them before, I knew that they were the people who used to live there. They were watching it all finally come down. But none of them were standing on or near that ash. It was a no-go area. It was hostile. It was the Moon. Only one person was standing out there, all screaming and suited up in light brown. He was shouting at the people but no one could hear him over the crackle of flames. His eyes were huge and his face was black and flecked with ash like a reflection of the stars. He turned to David, who was running towards him, waving his arms around, then he saw the car and his eyes homed in on me. His face collapsed into a black hole of fury and he ran in slow motion towards the car. Sarah's parents tried yelling and questioning but that didn't stop him coming. He hit the door beside me and the force of his body made the car rock. He looked at me and he screamed and he screamed.
“Get out the car! Get out!” I just shook my head and backed away and he started pounding on the roof, the door, the window. He turned back to scream at the crowd. The landlord was already running this way. Others broke off from the fire-watching and followed him, one by one at first and then in a big mess, but they didn't run as fast as the landlord. Sarah's father opened his door and tried to talk to him, father to father, but he punched him and shoved him and got into the car with me and Sarah's mother. David cried and tried to pull him out of the car by his shirt, by his belt, but he was too strong. Sarah's mother screamed and got out of the car and ran to her husband, who was wiping his face and frowning. The man in the front seat tried to grab me – I tried to unlock the back door but my hands were slow and numb and I couldn't close my mouth and I was shaking all over.
“Dad! Dad, don't!” shrieked David and he sounded just like a little girl. David's father grabbed my wrist and pulled me towards him and I hit my head on the window and I could hear him shouting something and then all I could think of was Moe being a secret agent and me with him and we were rescuing the grocery kid's daughter again only she kept on running away back to where she'd been captured and we couldn't get back to the spaceship and Leonard Cohen was so disappointed with us because we'd miss the flight and there's this whistling as David's father says, “This isn't going to hurt! It's not going to hurt!”
The landlord yanked David's father out the car by his leg with one huge pull that made him walk backwards for a few steps after he'd dropped David's father onto the road. Before he could get up, the grocery kid was there, and his dogs were jumping. Celene joined them when she arrived, which took a while because of her bad knees. Mr. Roberts was there. I think I saw Monopoly. David took their side and so did Sarah's parents. They got in between David's father and the car and they closed the doors and stopped him from coming near. They formed a community and it was impenetrable. He shouted but he couldn't shout louder than them. He tried to rush them, but the landlord got his arms and pushed him back. He tried that a few times but he got weaker every time. After a minute or two of shouting, he grabbed his own face in his hand, squeezed it tightly, then walked away. Every so often, he'd punch his fist downwards at nothing. David followed him. He got in his own car and drove away.
I didn't feel like talking much after that. I stayed in the car until the fire engines showed up and the landlord told Sarah's parents to take me back to their house. I spent the day in bed, not really thinking anything. At nighttime, they took me back to the building where the landlord helped me across the surface of the Moon and showed me into the granny flat. It hadn't been hurt by the fire. It hadn't been hurt by anything. It was the only part of the original house still standing. I thought it would have collapsed when Carolyn died, but the structure left by her emotions was enough to keep it up. When I opened the door I saw all my things piled up carefully around the place in boxes. They were arranged all around the old bed and the old wardrobe and dresser and the books on the shelf and the old bathroom that brought back too many memories to be looked at directly. I'd have to replace Carolyn's old emotions and memories and self that had seeped inside the walls and the ceiling and the bed and the wardrobe with my own. They'd have to be powerful enough to keep the house standing but not so powerful to suffocate me like they did to her. I wondered if I could do that or if I had enough time. I said goodnight to the landlord and I said goodnight to Carolyn and I fell onto the bed and did my best to get to sleep before the memories in the room could get me.
The special thing that happened today, which I knew about before it even happened, was that someone came to visit. He came to knock on my door but I knew who it was even before I opened it because you can see people walk through the gate and up the little path through the window. Even though I saw him right from the moment he parked his scooter outside on the curb, I didn't quite recognise him until he'd actually reached the door. He had shorter hair and he was wearing a different kind of clothes. He had something in his hand. I got up from the desk and moved as quickly as I could to the door. I hadn't seen him since the Matric Dance. I didn't want to keep him waiting outside. It might have rained.
“Moe!” I said.
“Hey,” he said. He raised a hand and let it drop again.
“Come inside, I live in a new place now,” I said, which was a dumb thing to say because he'd obviously figured that already.
“Yeah, I saw the old place all burned down. That's messed up,” he said.
“It's not so much,” I said and shrugged. “Lots of places burn down. It's cool.”
“I drove past the other week and I was like, 'This doesn't look like the right road, the Shark's building is supposed to be here,'”
“But it burnt down!” I said and we laughed. He looked down at his hand and he stopped laughing.
“Here, I made a new CD,” he said and he gave it to me. “You can listen to it if you like. It's a bunch of stuff I made at college before I dropped out. There are some demos and stuff.” I took the disk. It was blank on the outside but inside it were a lot of new sensations.
“Thanks, yeah, I'll give that a listen sometime. Thanks,” I said. I was smiling. It was really him. “Would you like to come in? I could set up the TV games,” I said. He shook his head and looked away.
“Nah thanks man, I'm on the job right now, I'm doing some stuff for my dad. I'm supposed to be out in Belleville by one.”
“Oh, that's okay, some other time.”
“Yeah, I just came to drop that off. You said you liked the last one I made, so...”
“No, yeah, that's cool. Any time.” I said. He hung there for a few seconds. Long enough to give me an idea.
“Hey, what does your dad do?” I asked.
“He's a pathologist,” he grinned shily. “It's pretty weird, but yeah.”
“Does he make you work on the weekends? Sunday?”
“No, weekends are free.”
“Because I need someone to fetch my groceries for me every week,” I said.
“Uh huh,” he nodded.
“I can't do it myself, you see,” I looked down at myself. I looked fat. “I can pay you. And you can use my car when it's fixed.”
“That's a nice car,” he said. “Yeah cool man, I think about it, speak to me closer to the time.” I got him to write his number down on a bit of paper while he nodded. He left after that. He put his hand up and let it drop, went to his scooter, put his helmet on and left without looking at me again. I thought of all the adventures we could have now. I wondered for just one second if he still remembers how to have adventures but then I remembered, he's Moe.
The last time the landlord called and left a message he said that he was thinking of building an extention to the new house in Greyton. He keeps on saying that he doesn't have enough to do now. He says that I could stay in the new room he builds if I want. I don't know about this. I'm a shark. I'm used to being alone. I'm just working out a whole new system for living in Carolyn's house. It will be a system plus Moe. Last time Moe was around, I accomplished so much. I got a blog and I made friends and everything went pretty well. I'm not sure I want to give that up by going somewhere else all of a sudden. The landlord also said that he was reconsidering the idea of giving me my money as a monthly allowance, he was coming round to the idea of giving it to me all at once, like I wanted. I've called Monopoly and told him that the TV company is going to happen soon. He's still on board. We can make it happen. He's been writing some songs but I might want to use Moe's music instead. I haven't listened to it yet because I'm waiting for the right mood, but come on.
It's Moe we're talking about.
THE ANCIENT SHARK OF DESPAIR
By Sebastian Borckenhagen and Tom McNally
Thank you kindly for reading.
The kind people who take care of me.
Sunday, May 31st 2009
Okay. Things have happened. I'm writing this from Sarah's room. I'm not used to her keyboard and it's hard to type. It's got all these new keys on it that open windows and make lights go on and off. But I need to get this all down while it's fresh in my mind, so I'll just go slow. I've got all night.
The things started happening on Saturday morning when Celene came over – just like how we planned – and we called up all the tenants to tell them to come back. This part was really exciting because I was moving bits of the world around just by talking into my phone. There were snags though. I ran out of credit a few times but Celene would run out to the shop to get me some more even though it was raining.
The conversations I had with the tenants started off awkward but when I got into the flow of them, they got pretty fun. It was nice to find out they were all real people with voices. The biggest problem was that most of them didn't know who I was, so they wouldn't just take my word for it when I said that they could come back. But then by the third conversation or so I had the idea to say I was the landlord's friend or a developer or even David, which I think made things a lot easier because I didn't have to explain the whole shark thing. But there was one person who did know who I was and that conversation went a little like this:
“Hello?” This is the other person speaking.
“Oh, hello. Is that Mr. Roberts?” This is me speaking.
“Yes, who's speaking please?”
“Oh, hi Mr. Roberts. Yes, this is just The Ancient Shark Of Despair calling. I'd just like to tell you -”
“I'm sorry, what? Who's speaking?”
“The Ancient Shark Of Despair. I'm the Shark. You used to live in my building. You lived downstairs. I lived upstairs.”
“The – the shark?”
“Yeah, that's my deal. But don't worry, it takes all kinds of people to make a community, you know?”
“I met you on the stairs one time. Do you remember?”
“Oh god oh god,” he sounded really tired here, like he was just about to fall asleep and could see the dreams coming at him.
“But hey, I found out you're in Greyton now. That's cool, Greyton is very wide-open, it's not like Mowbray. It's not quite my kind of place.”
“How did you know that? How did you get this number?” he said. I tried to think of a good response to that. I didn't want to lie but I didn't want to turn him away from my team by admitting that the landlord had secret files on everyone. People get nervous when they are around someone who has too much knowledge. So anyway, I just stayed quiet for a while then said,
“You can come back to Mowbray to live now. The developers aren't coming any more. I sorted it all out for you.” There was a pause while he absorbed this huge thing I'd just told him.
“My landlord said that - ” he said, but I was on him.
“He doesn't know yet. It's going to be this big surprise. He still thinks that the developers are going to come here and destroy everything that matters. He doesn't know that I beat them. He thinks that he tidied up the garden for nothing, but he didn't. He tidied up the garden because there will always be a garden so long as I'm around. I'm going to be around forever.”
“I don't – what is, I mean,” I heard him swallow and get a grip. Get a grip, Mr. Roberts! “What did you do?”
“Come back to the house on Sunday morning and you'll see. We're all going to be together again. We're going to be a community.” I liked the sound of that. I hung up before he could say anything to spoil the flow and then I smiled at Colleen to tell her I'd been successful and she raised her eyebrows to say that she approved, then I went on to the next call. The next call was difficult. The name I saw on the list had been crossed out but the phone numbers were still there. The name was actually three names – the members of a family we all knew once. David's name was one of the names. I could see it under the crossing-out. I signalled to Celene to tell her to keep cool and not expect this one to work out so well. I can't work very well if she's expecting too much of me. I held my breath and typed in the cell number.
“Good morning, Craig speaking,” was the voice.
“Hi,” I said, and my voice was already all over the place. I pulled it back under my control and I think I took a bit too long to do this. “I'm looking for David – is David there?”
“Who is this?” he said sharply.
“Tell him it's me, it's the Shark. He knows me, it's cool.”
“Yeah, that's me. I mean, that's what they call me because, you know.”
“And what do you want with David?” the voice was cold and metal. I could almost taste it.
“Just uh, could you give him a message for me please? Ask him why he doesn't respond to my e-mails anymore. I'm not angry or anything, and he doesn't have to reply back if he doesn't want to, but I just want to know why.”
There was a long, stony silence on the other end of the phone. I cleared my throat twice and breathed as quietly as possible. Eventually, David's father said,
“You used to live in the same building as us, didn't you? Upstairs?”
“Yeah, well no. Not any more,” I said. I didn't like something about his voice and had to throw him off my trail.
“I'm going to have a little talk with David when he comes home,” he said.
“Okay, goodbye. Peace.” I said, but he'd hung up already. I guess he liked the sound of that last line and didn't want me to spoil the flow. That's just how it is sometimes.
I smiled at Celene and she raised her eyebrows, but the way she did it told me that she had questions. I waved them down. I had another call to make. I called the number but it was busy. I called it and called it a million times before I realised that the number was my number, only the landlord had put it under a false name. Celene wanted to know was up, but try explaining something like that without using any real words.
The mission had been difficult but we were successful. We'd called everyone on the list and told them all to come back. Normally I try and explain what's happening and who's who to Celene when we watch TV, but this time she was cool to just it all wash over her and heal her. We'd done well. Then our son arrived at the door. We heard him coming a bit before he knocked, actually. Celene's hearing is almost as good as a shark's. When that happened, we looked at each other like 'Oh no!' but then our look changed at the same time to 'It will be nice to see him!' and then back to 'Oh no!' because we'd have to explain everything.
Knock knock knock went the door.
“Oh, who is it?” I called from across the room.
“It's me,” said the kid.
“Can you come back later?” I said. He thought about this.
“No, we need to come in and start the moving now,” he said.
“No, I don't think I'm ready yet. I've just woken up.” There was the sound of moving papers and then a voice, a voice that wasn't supposed to be heard, said,
“I think your mother's in there too,” it was Henrietta's voice. Then there was the soft hum of the landlord's voice. I didn't hear what he said but it was enough to tell me he was there. They'd come in numbers. I thought quickly and pushed the bed in front of the door. They heard me do this.
“Shark, I'm going to open the door with my key,” said the landlord. He wasn't threatening or aggressive about i, he was just giving me a heads-up. That was fair of him because it was taking a while to get my bed into place. There was too much stuff on the floor. I managed to get it in front of the door before the landlord could get it fully opened. Things were looking good for my side – the landlord couldn't fit through the crack in the door, all he could fit through were his words.
“Shark, come now. We've got the movers downstairs and we're renting the truck by the hour. It's very expensive and we've got a helluva lot to do and we've got no time for this nonsense now.” I didn't speak. Celene looked like she was going to move. He must have sensed that because then he started talking to her in Japanese. She was about to respond but I helf up my fin – no. He was trying to fight us with emotions, so that's the weapon we would use too. Doing nothing can be the most powerful emotion of all. It worked. He resorted to pleading in a soft voice. “Please Sharky. Please. We need to do this. It has to be today.” He didn't even need to say it, really. I could tell what he was feeling through the door, through the bed, across the room.
Then the kid came forward. It was ROUND 2. The kid is harder than the landlord because I don't know his tricks and techniques as well. When I stayed up in the landlord's mother's attic for a while, the kid was the one who got me to come down in the end. I think he's a lot cleverer than the landlord, actually. He could be as clever as Moe.
“We know you have the deeds,” said the kid. “We know you wanted to surprise us so we thought we would surprise you instead. The movers aren't here to move you out, they're here to move everything back in. So let us in, Mom can make us all some tea and we can put things back to normal.” I thought about this. It was pretty funny that they were going to turn my own joke around on me. That kind of thing is always how it goes on TV shows. One character is trying to pull a joke on some other characters but they find out about it and pull the same joke, only bigger, right back on him. I felt pretty bad actually for spoiling the joke by making the kid have to explain it. He said something then to Celene. Celene said something back. I looked at her and she showed that it was all okay. I stood up and pulled the bed away from the door. The kid came in so quickly, followed by Henrietta with a big stack of paper in her hands, then the landlord came in last. His lips were tight.
“They're in the cupboard,” said Henrietta, nodding down at her papers, and the kid had got the deeds out of the cupboard before I even thought of going round the bed and stopping him. He showed the deeds to the landlord.
“No, these are just photocopies,” he said, “Thank goodness.” He put them down on the bed and shook his head. “You could have caused so much trouble, Shark.”
I looked from face to face. The landlord was sad, like usual, but was doing disappointment and relief all at the same time. The kid was stern and I think he was actually angry at me. Celene looked kind of spooked and nervous. Henrietta came towards me and her face was big and sorry. She held the stack of papers out for me to see.
“I read it on your blog that you had the deeds and I had to tell them. It could have been so bad, Shark. I'm sorry,” she said. The papers were my blog. I didn't know you could print it all out like that. I couldn't see my own face but I knew what it was doing. It was staring at the landlord and saying the words that I couldn't say. The words were, “From the moment I met you I knew that this would happen. I didn't want it to. I tried to stop it. But the world pushed us to where we are.” The landlord saw my face doing that and folded his arms to defend against it.
“I read it too. All that nonsense about throwing me out the window. Is that what you want to do to me?” He said it like a joke for the others but the way he looked told me how hurt he was feeling. I had him in my jaws before I could feel his hurt. There was no time for feelings to reach me, no time to fetch his boxing gloves and wait for the grocery kid to get here. I jumped right over the bed and caught him as I landed. People forget sometimes that I'm a shark and that a bed or a door can't really stop me from killing you. I had him in my jaws and I turned towards the window. The burgular bards were still bolted to the wall outside but I'd been testing them and I was pretty sure that if I threw the landlord at them hard enough, he'd tear them right off. He wasn't struggling in my mouth at all. I used to pick him up in my mouth all the time when he was just a kid and he knew that if he moved about in there he might cut himself accidentally on my teeth. The kid and Henrietta were all around me, shouting and telling me to stop and to put him down. Celene was being quiet. I thought they were being pretty silly about everything. I'm a shark and I'm holding this guy in my mouth. His feet aren't touching the ground. I've won. You can't talk me down from this, guys. I know what I'm doing. I remember hoping really hard that the developers were down in the courtyard like I'd planned it and then I took my first step towards the window and then there was so much pain in my back that I actually blacked out for a second and the next thing I knew I was on the bed, the landlord was on the floor and Celene was hitting me over and over with her fists.
“It's over! It's over!” she was saying.
“Get away from him! He might, he might - ” Henrietta was saying.
“What the hell do you think you're doing?” the kid was saying. I wanted to talk to them all, to tell them that I was just joking and they'd all fallen for it, but Celene kept hitting me and I couldn't think or talk or get off my back, which was causing me more pain than I really thought possible. At last Celene stopped and everyone quietened down. She stood over me and jutted her jaw out and snarled, “I want to move to Greyton,” and then Henrietta took the landlord downstairs and the kid went to fetch the movers.
“They'll be coming up in five minutes,” he said before he shut the door. He meant that I had to get out of there if I didn't want them to see me, but there was no where to go. Celene was staring at me. Her smile was gone and wouldn't be coming back. I had to get away from the absence of that smile. I needed to hide. As she watched, I crawled inside my cupboard, shifted the landlord's mother's box to make room for myself and shut the door. She wouldn't be smiling and I wouldn't be coming out. It was all over.
There was a lot of noise. I stood there in the cupboard while a lot of strangers who smelled bad took all of my things out of my room. They took a long time and I think they were a bit confused by all the bottles in the back room. I think someone had told them not to move the cupboard because they didn't touch it once. The grocery kid's play was in there with me, sitting just on top of the landlord's mother's box. I thought about reading it but I couldn't, obviously, because it was too dark.
After what seemed like a long long time with my back aching and hurting like nothing else, the movers were gone and it was all quiet in my room again. In fact, it was too quiet. When I left the cupboard, all I could hear was empty room and echoes and all I could see was the wrongness of my room not being there in the place it belonged. They'd left my posters up on the walls and the dirty dishes were still in the sink but everything else was gone. There was nothing to say that it even had been there in the first place. I kept on having to go back into the cupboard just to remember what it all had used to look like. I could feel my memories of my real room being replaced with this fake, empty room I was standing in. After a while it got dark.
I was back in the cupboard when the landlord came in. He knocked on the cupboard door and I slowly opened it. He didn't look right at me. He was carrying a big sheet of rubber.
“Hi Shark. Look, you don't have to stay in here tonight. You can come sleep in my room. The furniture's all on its way to Greyton but I've got these inflatable matresses. You can sleep on one. You don't have to stay here.”
I said that I didn't want to stay in his room. It didn't feel right. I wanted to stay in my own room, even though they'd taken everything out of it. I felt like I had to start over and put a whole new layer of emotions and experiences into the room even though there was no point and I'd be leaving soon. I explained this again and again but I don't think he ever really understood what I was saying. He just gave up after a while.
“Okay, okay. I'll come check up on you in the morning. I'm fine, by the way, you don't need to worry. I didn't fall on anything.”
I said that was cool and then he left me. I went into the kitchen to sleep on the floor. I tried to remember the times I'd done that when people had stayed over. It was uncomfortable down there, but I think it was good for my back for a while. I slept for a few minutes here and there but at about ten 'o clock I woke up with a new plan. I got my phone out of the cupboard and I dialled the number I'd memorised years ago. It rang for a long time but I wasn't going to give up.
“This is Shark Of Wisdom and I'm here for you,” said the phone.
“I don't want to do this anymore,” I said. “I'm in trouble. I want to go back.”
“What?” he said. There was a lot of noise in the background. It was music and shouting.
“I want to go back to Sharkania,” I said. I tried not to say it too loud because the house was so empty. I got inside the cupboard and said it until he could hear me.
“Sharkania?” he asked.
“I've never been! I thought I could just stay here but I can't now. How do I get there?” I had to almost shout it to get heard over the music.
“Oh! The planet! The planet, the planet the planet. All right, I always meant to tell you this but, aw jeez, I made it up.”
“There's no such place. I'm sorry, kid. But hey, check this out - I'm at a party. Do you want to come over?”
“No,” I said. “I wouldn't know anyone there.”
“Okay, but I have to go. Take care of yourself. Take care of everyone.” He went then. I stood with the phone at my ear until the light went out.
I thought about taking the landlord's mother's box with me to Sarah's house but I figured it would slow me down so I left it in the cupboard. I think it was a good decision because it's hard enough to get down the stairs without having a heavy box to carry. I noticed the garage window was broken but I didn't stop to investigate. I gunned the car out into the street, knowing that everyone would hear me leave and would know that they couldn't do anything about it. It wasn't long before I noticed that the car was making a 'thunk thunk thunk' noise and not going very fast. The tyres were flat. I didn't let that stop me though. I thunk-thunked all the way to Sarah's house and practically jumped up to her door. I had everything laid out in front of me. Our whole life together. First we'd go and we'd find David. Then we'd drive out to the wild and build a little house out of my car and my teeth. I can start pulling them and saving them from tomorrow. They keep on growing. They're very strong and tough, if you built a whole house out of them it would be practically invincible and wouldn't just float off into space one day. We could start over in a place where what we did mattered, which could stay there for thousands of years. So long as I was there, I could keep it going. We'd paint our emotions on the walls of the place, but we wouldn't let it become filthy and overgrown with bad emotions like Carolyn's house got to be. We'd keep an eye on each other and help each other out when one of us starts acting in a bad way or using the wrong emotions against someone. We'd start off small, just me and David and Sarah, but we'd collect the right kinds of people from the internet. One day they're writing about how a corkscrew made of love had been softly screwed into their heart over the period of many years and then yanked out in a single afternoon, then the Snipe pulls up outside their house. David is driving it. He knocks on their door and tells them that there's a place for them. A house made of shark's teeth. The owner of the house needs their emotions to keep the house strong but they have to promise first to leave all their bad emotions behind. David makes them promise right there on the doorstep and then they're away. They'll stay at the house for as long as they want and there'll always be fresh groceries coming in and cool TV to watch and juice to drink. They won't see me, though. Not at first. I'll be up on the top floor, just watching and paying attention to everything. When they're ready, they'll meet me. I'll tell them how I knew them from the internet, how I saw the potential in their words and their profile and the kind of links they had. When I've got enough of the best people together, we'll go looking for Moe. We can get him back. He'll be working at an old dusty petrol station, composing new tunes as he fills the gas tanks, taking apart the world with his mind as he rings up the till. He'll see us drive up in the Snipe and he'll instantly see that every one of us is the best possible person we can be. He'll smile and he'll run over to the car and jump right into the back.
“Everyone, this is Moe,” I'll say, but it won't be necessary because everyone will already know about Moe. “It's time to go home, Moe,” I'll say and then everyone will put one hand on him and I'll drive us back to the tooth-house.
Every part of this plan flashed in and around my head as I waited for Sarah to come and answer the door. I don't think I was even waiting for long, it's just that my mind was working that fast to help me make the future happen. Everything stopped though when the door opened. It wasn't Sarah on the other side. It was a father.
“Oh hi, good evening, is Sarah home?” I said. I tried to stand up straight and look smart but I suddenly realised that I didn't have my towels or anything and I was standing outside, totally exposed to anyone and everyone. The warm buzz of my future plans was gone. Sarah's father looked down at me. For some reason I felt much smaller than I am. Maybe everyone I knew up to then was just a really short person and Sarah's father is the only normal-sized one.
“Who are you?” he said. He didn't put any anger in it, he was just laying down the rules: He had to know me before he gave me access to his house and daughter. I remembered that Sarah had told me how angry and alcoholic he was all the time, so I figured he was just saving his anger for when I gave him the wrong answer.
“The Ancient Shark Of Despair, sir,” I said. “I live just round the corner.” He turned away, but kept the door exactly as open as it had been the whole time. He called out to his wife, he called her name. Then he came back to me.
“Sarah did her work experience with you, didn't she?”
“That's right. That's what she did.” I said. He smiled just a little smile then and his wife appeared. She did a much bigger smile.
“Well hello Shark, pleased to finally meet you. We know all about you, of course, Sarah's told us so much.” She pushed gently past her husband and flapped her hands at me, “Well don't stand out there in the cold, come in. We're still up, we're just watching something boring on television,” Sarah's father did an exaggerated 'Oh no!' look at this.
“You said you were enjoying it!”
“No, that was you,” she said and they laughed as they backed away to let me in.
Their house was so nice. There were pictures up on the walls – pictures with frames. There were photographs of the whole family being young and happy up everywhere. In the hallway was a phone that looked big and heavy and forever and there was a pot with fresh flowers next to it. I smelled them. They weren't fake. There were so many rooms and the carpet was so soft. Even the curtains were clean. They invited me into the big main lounge and they turned the TV off and took some newspapers (also fresh) off the couch so I could sit down. Sarah's mother asked me what I wanted to drink. I said guava juice and they had that. While she was out getting that, Sarah's father talked to me about the economy.
“We've tipped over into recession now, but we're weathering the worst of it down here,” he mused. “Now that our man Manuel's on the Planning Commission, I think we might have seen the worst of it.” I agreed to this. It sounded exciting, like something from a movie or another culture. Sarah's mother came back in with the juice. It even had ice in it. The ice cubes were shaped like hearts, not like cubes at all.
“So, sorry to tell you this,” said Sarah's mother once everyone was settled and some music had been put on. It was old timey, classical music. It disappeared into the background and made all the words that followed more colourful and meaningful. “But Sarah's gone to England.”
“She landed on Thursday morning,” added Sarah's father.
“She didn't tell anyone, shame, you must have been wondering where she went.”
“She's like that. She loves to do something big and leave everyone to find out for themselves,” said Sarah's father, shrugging for effect.
“Like when she got that tattoo! Oh my god!” said Sarah's mother, laughing again.
“Oh, that was a shocker,” chuckled Sarah's father. “We only found out after a year, when we went to Nature's Valley and we saw her swimming.”
“Shame, she had a big fight with her boyfriend,” said Sarah's mother to me.
“Huh, good riddance,” muttered Sarah's father, then laughed again.
“I think that's what made her jump the date ahead on her ticket,” said Sarah's mother. “We tried to talk her out of it but it's probably for the best, hey. She's signed up with an agency now,”
“They'll put her in the homes of rich old people and she'll wipe their bottoms,” smiled Sarah's father. “She'll earn a fortune with the exchange rate.”
“We hope she'll come back and study after a year,” nodded Sarah's mother. “But she's not ready yet.”
“That's if she can get through a whole year,” added Sarah's father.
“Yes, I hear it's very stressful,” said Sarah's mother. “I hope she didn't give you a hard time when she was doing the work experience.”
“No, not at all,” I said. It was the first thing I'd said in a while but I felt like I'd been part of the conversation the whole time. “It was nice to have the company.”
“Ag shame,” said Sarah's mother. “I know how you feel, hey. Sarah's just been gone three days and already it feels so empty in the house. I keep on making dinner for three people and a third of it doesn't get eaten!”
“The fridge is very full!” laughed Sarah's father. He almost giggled it, actually.
“Would you like some? Have you eaten? We've got so much!” I said that I hadn't eaten. I said that I'd spent all day hiding in my cupboard while people I didn't know took all my things away. Sarah's mother's mouth was one big 'O'. Before I knew it I was at the dining table with a huge pile of hot food in front of me and she was putting so many different sauces and cups and sidedishes all around me.
“Would you like the TV on while you eat?” she asked. “We could bring the little one in here for you to watch.”
“It won't have DSTV on it, but we can bring in the old decoder if you like,” said Sarah's father. I said that I didn't want to watch TV. I actually wanted to hear them talk some more. I didn't say this part though in case it made them not want to talk so much because of the pressure. Thankfully, they did talk some more. They talked about the news and the new president, which I didn't know about, and about books I should read. I told them about the grocery kid's books and they loved that. They thought it was so great that I had creative people in my family. I told them that I was the creative one, really, and then they wanted to see my drawings and paintings and things. They really meant it too.
“You can sleep here tonight,” said Sarah's mother. “We can't have you driving back in the dark. You can sleep in Sarah's room, since she's not using it. All her stuff's packed away in the corner, but we can put some sheets on the bed now-now.” The sheets were so clean and they smelled so good. They were crisp and cool and white and they seemed to fit me better than most other sheets and blankets I've used. They both made sure I had everything and even rigged up a clean toothbrush that I could use. They showed me where the shower was and asked me what time I wanted breakfast.
“Good night, Shark,” said Sarah's father. They both stood in the doorway. He turned out the light and she shut the door.
“Good night,” said Sarah's mother.
“Good night, thank you!” I said. I smiled as the door shut. It was so quiet. I waited for them to walk back to the lounge and then I got up quickly to write this. It's all still fresh.
I think it's all going to be okay from now on. I don't think Sarah is coming back. There's everything for her out there. I can stay in her room and eat the meals that her mother accidentally cooks for her. Maybe some day she'll call and we'll talk about the old days and how we used to hang out, but when I ask if she wants to do those old days again, she'll just laugh and say, “No, I belong to the world now. Goodbye Shark.”
Goodbye Sarah. Goodbye.
Thoughts for the second season.
Wednesday, May 27th 2009
Today I was on my own. That's fine. It hasn't been like this for the whole week though. That's fine too. On Sunday, the grocery kid did his 'last' visit. As soon as I moved the bed out of the way and let him in, he went and made a really big deal out of everything, like he normally does, only this time he made the biggest, most extreme deal of all. He brought his dogs upstairs with him. This was the prize all along. He'd won the big, invisible war and now he was claiming his victory.
“I didn't know the dogs were allowed in now,” I said while he put the groceries down and his dogs sniffed around my front door.
“Ag, don't be like that. They deserve to have one look inside before we go.”
“They've had a look before when they lived here,” I pointed out.
“Those were different dogs,” he said softly, then looked over to these new dogs. “They seem to be very interested in your door.” They were. The dogs were crawling over each other to get a chance to be close to the door. It was a competition to get the most of the smell in their noses in as quick a time as possible. Queenie was winning. He was the boss.
“You know, I think I'm going to miss this place,” he said. It sounded fake and rehearsed. I think he must have heard that on TV and decided to repeat it to me instead of thinking of his own thing to say. I thought I'd seen the same show and was pretty sure the whole exchange ended in a joke.
“Why?” I asked. He sighed.
“I don't know, it's just been such a long time, you know.”
“It's not such a long time,” I shrugged. “When you're going to live forever.” He looked at me and sighed like three times and made an expression that looked a lot like one of the landlord's main expressions – the one where he looks as if he's just about to cry but can't because he's afraid of running out of tears. The landlord hasn't done that expression in a while. Maybe the grocery kid stole it. Maybe the landlord has one of the grocery kid's expressions now. One of the dogs stood on some part of another one of the dogs and a noise came out. The grocery kid changed his face into 'oh, I'm doing something now, this thing I'm doing is important,' mode and went over to the dogs to investigate the causes.
“What are you boys up to, he? What are you smelling over there?” He tried sniffing about near the door too. He didn't do it like the dogs did, by getting down low and climbing over everyone to get close, he just sniffed the air a few times and frowned. “Urgh, that stinks! It stinks like old piss!” He said and then he covered up his nose with his forearm and tried to get the dogs to come away. “Sis, boys! Don't put your faces in that!” He turned and looked at me. I was already looking at him. The piss had made him a bit angry. “Who pissed here?” he said to me. He would have said it to the dogs if I wasn't there.
“It was me,” I smiled. “I wanted to shake up the past. Why go in the bathroom all the time? That's boring.” My mind was moving fast and I could hear the audience somewhere laughing at my joke. I turned my words around to face the wind. They shot off in the right direction. “No, I'm joking,” I went and I laughed very quickly to back it up. “David was round here a few days ago and he brought his dog. It must have pissed there.” The grocery kid brought his face and his arm around to face me. Even with his arm there I could see that his face was vulnerable.
“You let David's dog up here but you carry on and complain about mine?” said his words through his arm.
“No,” I said, “It got in by accident. We chased it through all the rooms. It got away from us though and it must have come up here and pissed on my door. It was teasing us.”
“It stinks!” he said again.
“I don't think so,” I said, inhaling deeply through my nostrils. It did smell pretty bad. “It's like a natural smell. Sharks smell everything different to people,” I added. He gathered up his dogs and crossed over the door.
“Leave you here in your own filth,” he muttered. “Rotting,” he said as he went down the hallway.
On Monday morning I was woken up very early by the landlord.
“Heard you had a little accident,” he said. He had a bucket of water and some cleaning things with him. “Thought you might want help cleaning it up.” He started cleaning up after we'd poured some juice. “Sorry for coming so early but it's another busy day for me,” he said while down on his knees, scrubbing the carpet. “I actually smelled it on Saturday but I thought you'd been cooking again.” This would have been a joke on TV but it wasn't a joke here. When he was finished cleaning he got more sad / serious that usual. “Listen,” he said and he touched my back while he said it. “Soon we'll get someone to come by and check on you from time to time to see how you're doing while we're away, okay? In case David's dog comes back or you fall or -”
“I want Sarah,” I said. “Or Francois.”
“Which one is Francois?” he asked. I'd surprised him.
“Francois is Sarah's boyfriend. They could both come round at once,” I said.
“Ah, so Sarah's got a boyfriend,” he said and he nodded his head.
“Is that okay?” I asked.
“Yes. I mean, it's good. You talk to her and we'll sort something out,” he said. He stood, then he sort of caught his body on his knees as though he had fallen. “Oh, I nearly forgot. Die kind has booked his flight. He gets in Friday morning. We'll come in and help you move all your things out then,” he finished. I smiled and nodded and said I understood. Then he left and all I had to do was wait for Tuesday morning – early, early in the morning – for Celene's visit. Then we made plans.
She'd brought a list of all the people who'd lived here until just the other day. They were gone but you could bring them back by calling them. I'd asked her specially for this list, which is normally taped up above the landlord's phone, and she'd specially brought it.
“We'll bring them all here this weekend, then we'll tell the guys that the move isn't happening, right in front of everyone,” I planned. “Maybe the developers will even be there,” Celene aimed her smile at me while I spoke and when I'd finished, she raised her eyebrows and opened her mouth into a '?' shape. I tried saying the whole plan again in Japanese and a bit of Afrikanns and after a while she got the gist. I also told her to come over on Saturday before our son got here so we could surprise him early with the news that we weren't going anywhere.
“I don't want to move to Greyton,” Celene said after we'd made sure she understood. Then she cleaned up the patch around the door that the landlord had already cleaned. She said that he hadn't cleaned it very well.
But today nobody came to visit. It was just me. I wasn't feeling the internet today either, so I just lay on my bed with Sarah's music playing. I got thinking pretty hard about my sitcom. I had a lot of ideas for the second season and what happens after the last episode with the wedding. I figure that, by then, people might be bored of seeing Ric in his house all the time, doing the same jokes with the same characters. I'd like to shake things up and get into a new groove. I think the second season should be all set in space. In the opening credits of each episode we would get the story update: One of Ric's kids, maybe the mean one, would accidentally press the secret button while cleaning under the sink in the kitchen or someplace and that button makes the front part of the house detach from the main part, then all the doors and windows in the main part lock down and the house launches off into space. Ric was out buying groceries at the time, so he gets left behind. Maybe there was a party or a big sports game going on, so the Great Uncle and David might be in the main section of the house when it takes off, too. The house flies far into space, past the sun, and the whole time they are trying to get back to Ric and home, and Ric's left all alone in the front part of the house, which stayed behind and turned into a granny flat. The jokes can come from Ric's family visiting all the different planets and getting to grips with the weird cultres and technology that there is out in space. We'll also check on Ric from time to time while his family's away to see how he's doing. There'll be lots of new characters out there and some old ones (like maybe the Great Uncle's wife) won't be around as much.
Having adventures out in space might seem fun at first, but pretty soon they'll start to miss Ric and once they realise that he once through the exact same thing, only all on his own, they'll come to understand him a lot better and do their best to get back home.
Pizza punks lose it.
Friday, May 22nd 2009
I ordered my usual load of pizza today. I asked for Francois to keep it usual. I see him as my usual guy. He's no Moe, but I guess I thought he could become close to one. He took a step back from Moe-ness tonight though. He didn't trust me when I asked him to.
Basically, he came round to give me my pizza and everything was fine at first. We got talking. He actually started the conversation. I would have been fine if it had just been a 'hi-then-bye' kind of relationship tonight. To be honest, I wasn't really in the mood for a chat right then. He started it by telling me about my building.
“It's really dark in here, bru. All the lights are off. Where is everyone, hey?”
“Oh, they're just out right now. It's okay,” I said. I didn't want to get into all the details. If I told him about everyone moving out, I'd have to tell him a whole other story when they move back in a few weeks or so. It's really too much to explain.
“I almost broke my neck coming up the stairs, hey. You should put some lights on, you know,” he said.
“I will, I will. You're right. How're things with you?”
“Ja, they're alright, bru,” he said. I saw an opening.
“How's Sarah doing?”
“What's that, my bru?” he said, but he said it in a way that was more like a dare.
“How's your girl? How's Sarah?”
“No, she's not my girl. You must be mistaken.”
“Oh, I thought she was,” I said. He was getting confusing, but then came the next part.
“We had a hectic fight, she was crying and shouting and all sorts, bru.”
“Oh,” I said again. He didn't stop. He just went on hitting me with information.
“She wanted to go to England, but I said she shouldn't. England's kak, bru. It's full of moffies. You'd like it there, hey?” he said.
“Is she not going to go now?” I said. I tried not to sound too interested. I didn't want him to get territorial right outside my door.
“Who knows, hey? She said she bought the ticket already but you know how she lies. She needs to grow up, bru. Jassis.” I nodded at this hard enough so he could feel it through the door. I tried to think of a way to comfort him. I know how Sarah can get at your emotions sometimes.
“Hey, do you remember the bird?” I asked.
“The bird that walked down the corridor last time.”
“I don't remember a bird walking down the corridor, bru. You're thinking of someone else,” he said, strangely and slowly.
“No, I'm sure it was you. Francois.” I reminded him that I knew his name. It was on the bill.
“Listen bru, there was no bird, all right? You're thinking of someone else.”
“The bird meant that everything is okay.”
“What? What are you on, bru? You're not thinking straight.”
“No, it's okay.” I said. I laughed. I was just being silly again. There was a silence.
“Okay, well you owe me for the pizza,” he said after a while.
“Oh yeah,” I said. That's all I said. He moved around out there.
“I've put the bill under the door already, did you see? Or are you too confused in your head to do that even?”
“No, about that...” I said and I sucked in a lot of air through my teeth to show that I was in a lot of pain, morally.
“I don't have the money today.” I said.
“No, you see, the landlord's been really busy,” I explained. This was true.
“I'm sorry, I didn't hear that, here's another chance – can you give me the money now?”
“You guys know me, I'll bring the money next time.” I tried to make him be cool about it. There was lots of cool in my voice.
“No, that's not how it works, bru. I know you've got your money in there.”
“He took it all!” I said. He didn't say anything for at least a minute after that. He was thinking.
“You can get the money though. You can call your landlord and he can give you money.”
“Yes, I can call him. I'll give you the money just now. It won't even take that long. I just can't give it to you now.” I said quickly.
“I'm coming back, bru. I'll be back in an hour. You'd better have the money then. I know where you live, bru. Remember that. I know where you live.”
“Thank you. Just leave the pizzas there. When you come back I'll have the money.” I said. I said it a few times actually. He swore a lot and ran away with a lot of noise but he did leave the pizza there.
I ate the pizza and I made myself promise that I would call the landlord right away. I did entirely plan to do it, but it just never seemed like the thing to do at that moment. I did a few things on the internet and I brushed my teeth and, before I knew it, Francois was back. He knocked on the door and the door was scared of him. I froze and I didn't make a sound. I slowly got up and turned off the lights. If I waited long enough, he'd think I'd gone out. I've done this before. I waited but the knocking only became louder. It stopped being a knocking and became a pounding. There was shouting then but I won't even bother to write what he said because it was just crazy words. It was pure anger. The worst part was when he stopped. That's when I got in the cupboard. There was silence out there for quite a long time so I opened the cupboard door just a crack so I could see the door to my room. My plan was that if he broke down the door and came looking for me, he wouldn't check the cupboard right away. He'd check the other rooms, like the bathroom or the kitchen. When he did that, I could run out the door and hide in the landlord's place. It's cool there. He has a lot more lights than I do.
While I watched the door, I noticed a noise. It wasn't a big noise, it was just one of those long, continuous noises that means that something is about to happen. While I watched, I saw a puddle of water come in from under the door. It crept in like it was welcome. It went right over the threshold and ran over the carpet. It hit a pizza box and went around to check out the bed. I had no idea that urine would act like that if it came into my room. Now I know. I stayed there into the cupboard until the noise stopped and the urine lost its nerve. I waited for longer than that, just in case. In time, I heard the noise of broken glass, and then there wasn't really any noise at all. When I came out of the cupboard, the carpet in front of my door was wet. I put my bed in front of the door. I did this for two reasons – one was to provide reinforcements to the door in case of emergency, the second was to cover up the urine until it dried.
I don't blame Francois for what happened. It's tough when a girl breaks up with you, especially if there's a fight. It's also tough if you think that you're going to lose something that you thought was always going to be there. I'm talking about me. Francois thought I was dumping him too, which is why he tried to claim me and my room. That may seem pretty weird, but people are really doing that sort of thing all the time, but instead of piss, they are using words and thoughts and their faces to do it. Francois' way is pure. I'll tell him this next time I do pizza. Maybe the bird will come again. I don't see why it won't.
:: Next Page >>