Walk Me To The You
Walked along King Street. In Newtown. My town. Vibrant town. Saw crocheted bicycles, thongs glued to telegraph poles. There was the. Fire station decorated with wooden cross, stakes and nobs of garlic. The sign read ‘in case of vampires break glass.’ Advertisements said, Newtown so hip it almost hurt. Everywhere. Fashionistas and hipsters. All shopping at Holey Moley and Monkey Bizness. Streets bustled. Nobody said ‘bustled’ anymore. Maybe I did. Bustled meant mousey. Directionless. Confused. Wore square shaped glasses. Vintage denim jacket. Billowing dresses. I did. Read a poster pasted to a telegraph pole.
Let’s Keep Newtown Weird.
I said, “Yes lets.”
But. I wondered. What whoever wrote the poster did not know. That. Weirdness being weird never ceased. Weird stuff happened this month. This seen. I saw. Old man performing lewd acts on a bicycle. One hand steered his bike. Other hand pulled his pants down. Act performed three times. Last performance. Fell off the bike. Lay half-naked in agonized fetal position on footpath. Pedestrians stepped over him. Felt sorry. But still. Stepped over him. Phoned community center. Said, weirdness here. Help.
Another day. I read the Inner West Courier. Seemed the local council claimed a caller rang to complain. The sun shone in the wrong place. Could the council get sun moved.
Another week. Resident called police. Said, a cicada urinated on him. Should he get a shot?
Another month. Woman accosted garbage collectors. Demanded they dry the wet roads after rain.
Kept searching for. Weirdness being weird.
Spotted on other side of the road. My neighbor and his wife. Lanky and Skinny. His polished cranium. Her nut brown wig. They held hands to let the world know the spark was still there. But. They looked obscure. I often. Well quite often, dwelled on obscurity. Needed a secret nook. Some place. Somewhere. To be forgotten. Even by the devil. Nobody mentioned the devil. These days. Not many people knew. What nooks were. Seemed claustrophobic. A bit Scandinavian. Anyway. Obscurity involved humility. Sacrifice. As a dress rehearsal for heaven. To get into. But. I wasn’t going to heaven. I was on my way to Café Chill. Not Nippy. Not Frosty. Just Chill. On the corner of a noisy intersection. Chill served lukewarm coffee, stale blueberry muffins. Yesterday’s cakes. Sad. Not really a sample of hope. Chef dressed up hopeless muffin with dollop of cream. An optimistic effort. I didn’t protest. Got my mobile phone from bag. Phoned guy. He kind of loved me a few weeks ago. We fucked at his mother’s house. In his mother’s bed. Said it was his bed. Showed me diagrams printed in the Karma Sutra. Twisted bodies. He said,
“Do it this way.”
Our bodies. Contorted into various uncomfortable positions. I felt cold from the waist down. Today his excited voicemail. “I’m so busy and popular I couldn’t possibly answer my phone. Not to you anyway.”
Left him a message.
“Just fucking chill.”
I got a penknife out of my pocket. Scratched bastard wanker onto sticky table. In Chill. Not the sort of thing. I normally did. But I enjoyed doing it. Paid for the muffin. Waiter didn’t look at me. Waiter stuffed my dollars into cash register. Cha Ching. Waiter kept the change. I said, “Thank you. For nothing.”
Walked around a park the size of a baking tray. Tiny pink flying saucers painted all over a wooden bench bolted to pavement beside patch of grass no bigger than a placemat, next to the swings and roundabout, possibly a fairy fort too small to be seen. Filthy homeless woman lay on bench. I approached her.
“Aren’t you scared those spaceships contain unfriendly extra-terrestrials?”
She opened one eye and leered, “Whatsya name darlin?”
“My name was Racy Lacy. But now it’s not.”
I told her, “The world is a terrible place. I’d give you a sandwich if I had one.”
Gave her a packet of Fruit Tingles. I said, “There you go.”
Students sauntered past. Hair combed to one side. As if a hurricane blew over their heads the exact moment time stopped. Students sniggered smoked. Not interested in me. Staring at their hair.
Saw a natty bloke wearing an ‘I’m Fabulous’ hat, feather sticking out. Feather waved. Didn’t have a care in this indifferent world. Bloke whistled a tune. Downtown, what you see is what you get girl. His fly undone. Should I tell him? Hey Quasimodo needs to get back to his tower and put his bell away. Quasimodo’s underpants were powder blue. He stood beside a stone wall graffiti of monstrous image. Thick white lips, sharp teeth. City fangs chomped and grinned. At everyone. Except me. Stuck out my tongue. Said, “Ding dong.” Quite difficult to do. Except.
Later. Went into Faster Pussycat, the bargain store. Bought a zebra mask. Wore mask for a while. Hidden face created distinctive kind of obscureness. Wow. Everyone moved aside. I thought about avoidance, something I experienced. All the time. So asked myself, “What shall I be? Girl or zebra?”
Of course be both. Loved stripes. But still. I questioned my identity. An identifiable person survived by existing in the here and now. Here was I. In zebra mask. Now I should take it off. I anticipated ‘the reveal.’ People might ask for my autograph. Pat me on the back. Maybe applaud.
“Nice presentation. Memorable.”
That didn’t happen. I removed my mask. A boy tripped over a pram. In his haste to get away from me. Fireworks printed on his shirt. Skateboard under right arm. Pram baby squealed. Mother glared at me. I took the safest option. Put my mask back on.
I stood in front of my favorite building. Built in the Spanish mission style. I saw. Lead light windows torn out. Replaced with iron bars. This gutting. Caused the end of the world. So went into The Razor’s Edge. A bar. Not resembling Parisian bistro. More like rough working man’s pub. I ordered a Pina Colada.
Barman said, “Ain’t much good at fancy cocktails. But I’ll give it a go.”
Snake tattoo crawled up the barman’s neck. Shivered. Imagined my own tattoo. Might be illustration of erect penis with inflatable penile implants. Would get tattooist to decorate penis with edible pansies. I’d never go hungry again. Barman shook his cocktail shaker with great determination and vigor. Must be reading my mind. But probably not. Barman wasn’t interested in me. His Pina Colada tasted horrible. He disappeared into kitchen. I leaned over the bar. Quick. Threw up Pina Colada into the sink. Nobody saw.
Thought about waste. As in human beings. Squandered lives. Me. Pointless life. How flowers wasted sweetness on air. How civilizations produced unprecedented heaps of rubbish. I thought things discarded. Friends, empty bottles, wishbones. Things I collected. Blush, buttons, lip gloss, snow domes. Things ruined. Suede in the snow, self-esteem. Things stained. Petticoats, sheets, carpets. Beautiful things made out of leftovers. Hysterical laughs, soup, patchwork quilts.
All this and. I wasn’t certain about much. But I was pretty sure. It came to me. Now. That, that jolting. Especially when. Like the immediate now. I realized. Inside brain screamed. Ahhh!
Everything was about you. You stopped time. You hated a comb-over. You built me a fairy fort. You named me Racy Lacy. You lived in a spaceship. You wore a rhino mask. You asked for my autograph. You gave me a bear hug. You bought me a beer. You read my thoughts. You threw out the Karma Sutra. You touched me. You stroked my arm. You found me. You were interested in me. Everything me. Me! Everything you. You!
Judyth Emanuel has short stories published in Overland Literary Magazine, Electric Literature Recommended Reading, Intrinsick, STORGY, One Page and forthcoming in PULP Literature. Her story TARTS is a finalist in The Raven Short Story Contest. Her story Treacle Eyes has been longlisted in The Margaret River Short Story Competition.