A Few Good Conversations (Well, At Least 10)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 5 (v.1) - May

Submitted: April 29, 2018

Reads: 78

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 29, 2018

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On the 2nd of May I was called into Myars’ office as soon as Giacci and I stepped foot on campus. My mind raced through every minor misdemeanor I had committed over the past few months. My fingers ran over  the cigarettes in the inside pocket of my blazer, and I thought about the Stallion wonderfully parked in the NO STUDENT PARKING spot. It then occurred to me that I couldn’t have been doing a particularly good job of acting like a responsible student. I was rather worried about the fact that this spontaneous meeting could end quite negatively for me. The school charter probably included several clauses against drinking on campus. So, naturally, I forced Giacci to accompany me (though he probably would have done so anyway), and on the way to Pally Hall I took several sneaky sips from his hip flask. The thought of removing the smell of alcohol from my breath by smoking a cigarette crossed my mind, but it then occurred to me how staggeringly stupid that was.

My time at Swanway had not made the hall any more welcoming. It still loomed menacingly over us, like an ancient giant ready to crush us with its might. The too-smooth floor shivered at the touch of my heel and the sound echoed hauntingly through the building.

“I got it from here.” I hesitantly murmured to Giacci when we made it to red carpeted hall.

“Don't squeeze,” he said “just let it slide.” We both chuckled at the crude humour. My laugh was nervous, his was honest.

I stepped lightly towards the door with the smallest strides I could manage (they were still quite large). I was so desperate to maximise the distance between Myars and I. Eventually though, I took a seat one chair away from the door. It opened lethargically seconds after I sat.

“Edward.” Said Myars with an exhausted smile on his face.

“Sir.”

“That typically means come in.” He said. I quickly came to my feet and stumbled inside. I relished once more in the delightful warmth of Myars’ office. I looked at him, and I realised that he must have read every single book that haunted his walls. The knowledge he must have acquired over the years suddenly struck me as supremely respectable.

“How has your first term been?”

“It would not be erroneous to say that it has been profoundly enjoyable.”

“I am so glad to hear it.” He said with that same smile. I noticed that his eyes were incredibly red, like he’d been crying or hotboxing his office. “I was wondering if you had succeeded in answering my earlier question.”

“Question?”

“What do you want to be remembered for, Edward?”

“Right.” I said, feeling somewhat relieved. “Well, I haven’t been able to commit all that much thought to that particular question.” I’m not entirely sure that that was necessarily true. The threat of my dream, or perhaps what it represented, had been looming over me ever since I’d started thinking about it in a more concrete sense.

“Too much study, I presume.”

“Sure.”

“How have you found the teachers?”

“Sir, they are exceptional.” I commented.” Banni in particular is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.”

“Yes,” he said “I have heard that. Have the other students been treating you well?”

I thought back to Jared rolling me a cigarette under a summer patio.

“You have no idea.” I said, a discrete grin creeping to my lips.



 

***



 

“May the 4th be with you.” I said offhandedly.

“What are you on about?” Replied Giacci

“Like, the Star Wars thing. May the force be with you.”

“Take a drink for that, nerd.” He retaliated.

“Fair enough.” I took the requisite sip from his hip flask.

“Fuck, we should watch Star Wars.” Said Immy, lying over Jared’s lap in the back seats.

“Nerds.” Said Giacci. Jared took a drink, though I’m not sure that’s where Giacci was going with that. Odds were he wasn’t going anywhere with it.

“I really fucking hate this intersection.” Said Giacci with a slam of the steering wheel. His impatience was most likely caused by his eagerness to get blind drunk.

“Light’s only three minutes.” I said

“You’ve actually counted?” Inquired Jared.

“Of course!”

“Nerd.” Said Giacci. By my count, we’d only been waiting for 2 and a half minutes. So the lights couldn’t have been far from turning green.

When they turned, Giacci floored it and we felt the full thrust of the Range Rover sport.

“250!” He exclaimed as he slammed the breaks. Giacci was an avid fan of speeding for extremely brief periods of time and then bragging about the speeds he’d reached.

“I don’t think it really counts if you immediately slow down.” Said Immy.

“It definitely counts.” I cut in.

 

At 5 o’clock we arrived at the mall nearest to mine. It wasn’t much of a mall, in that it featured two tiny stories filled with mediocre shops. It also wasn’t all that near to my place, because it took a 20 minute drive to arrive there. However, it did feature one of the best Mexican restaurants in Perth (according to Giacci). We ordered four burritos, and Giacci and I both opted for the “1 kg burrito” (though neither of them were anywhere near the kilo), and a bucket of coronas. We sat outside (so that we could smoke), and immediately started tearing through our meal.

“You know burritos aren’t technically Mexican.” Said Immy.

“Delicious though.”

Giacci  started aggressively tapping me on the shoulder.

“Ed, act like I said something funny!” He whispered excitedly. I broke into the fakest laugh I could managed.

“Giacci, you are the funniest person in the world.” I said with as much dishonesty as it was humanly possible to achieve. This went on until Giacci tapped the table.

“Nailed it.” He said, seemingly fully satisfied.

“What was that about?” Said a confused Jared.

“A super hot chick just walked by.” I answered for Giacci. He nodded in the background.

 

Immy was taking a veritable eternity to finish her burrito, and all of us found that strangely fascinating. We were completely captivated by her sporadic tiny bites that we were unable to talk.

“So I’ve been thinking about Annie Rose.” I said hesitantly. I saw Immy cringe out of the corner of my eye.

“I need the bathroom.” Said Giacci before quickly departing.

“Alright then. Get it out.” Said Immy.

“Well, I’m not sure that I know how to trump our previous encounter.” I removed my hands from the table, and started nervously rubbing them together underneath.

“And you need to do this why?” She inquired.

“Well, to make her fall in love with me.” I said. Immy tutted violently. Jared looked pretty done with my shit as well.

“Look, mate,” said Jared “what does she like?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s not how relationships work.” Immy cut in.

“Yeah, but, she’s not like that.”

“Then what’s she like?”

“I don’t know.”

“Not to discredit your situation, but last I checked a relationship is born out of genuine interest in the other.”

“What about good conversations?”

“Fine, that too.” She conceded.

“But I am interested in her, nonetheless!”

“And is she into you?” Jared questioned. He’d started wrapping the foil from his burrito into a ball that was getting tighter and tighter.

“She must be.”

“Must she? Ed, don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re kind of a dweeb.”
“Aren’t we all?”

“Yes, but that’s not the point. She’s your Annie Rose, but you might not be hers.”

“I must be!”

“Come on, Ed, you don’t know anything about this girl.”

“You should invite her over.” Said Giacci promptly as he stepped back to the table, though he was locked in eye contact with his smartphone. That put a pretty decent end to the conversation, and we all went about observing Immy finishing her mexican food.

 

“The foreshore where we first met, 6PM.” I texted Annie after that discussion. I’d decided it would be wise to not outright inform her of the location of my residence. Then Giacci drove all of us home, and he was unusually quiet through it all.

 

By 6PM, I was sat with my shoes sinking into my portion of the shitty Swan river beach. They were allowing passage to an uncomfortable amount of sand. My Swanway bag was resting between my legs, it was filled with wine and whiskey. The decision to invite Annie to the river was one that was motivated entirely by the desire to prolong her inevitable discovery of the extent of my preppiness. It didn’t strike me as particularly effective though, as it was fairly clear that she was already onto me. The thing I enjoyed most about the Swan river was its ability to remain calm independent of the weather. The light evening breeze had no effect on it, and I could see the reflection of the Perth city lights in it with immaculate clarity. I breathed in the wet fishy stench, and the illusion was almost broken. The more I looked at those evening lights, the less I hated them.

“I brought dinner.” I heard Annie’s warm voice say from outside my field of view. She was carrying a baguette and a wheel of brie.

“That seems particularly nutritious.”

“Nutritious and delicious.” She took a bite off the top of the baguette. Then she sat next to me on the sandy bay that was so much like the one where we’d first met. She was wearing a Johnny Cash t-shirt, and it was the traditional one size too small. The blue jeans and snakeskin boots were a given.

She unwrapped the cheese, and proceeded to take a diagonal bite out of it. Then she took another bite from the baguette.

“That’s a very interesting way to have a sandwich.”

“You haven’t lived until you try this!” She forced the brie into my mouth, and I took a disgustingly large portion of it. Then she shoved the baguette into my face, and I took a bite of that too. It was admittedly delicious. We shared the remainder of the ‘meal’, but I’m pretty convinced she had the majority of the cheese.

“Come on, let’s go swim.” She said with a mouthful of bread.

“But I don’t have boardies!” I protested.  

“So?” She said, and then she ran into the murky waters of the Swan river without removing so much as her snakeskin boots. I don’t think I could even see a splash when she dove in. I slid off my loafers, and ran after her. I didn’t fancy the idea of ruining my skinny jeans, but I fancied even less the idea of ruining the moment. I threw my smartphone and wallet out of my back pocket just as I was approaching the water. My feet thrashed violently against the water’s resistance with every stride, and I eventually face planted rather pathetically.

“Not a very good swimmer are we, Mr. Edward.”

“I’m a perfectly good swimmer, I’m not a very good runner.” I spat while laughing. “And the jeans don’t help much.”

“We’ll fix that soon, don’t worry.” We laughed again.

“I shan’t lie, Annie Rose, it’s absolutely freezing in here.”

“Really? I love it.” She dove backwards into the water, and it welcomed her like it was her own.

Eventually, she got bored of the water, and she dragged me to shore. She slid Johnny Cash off her chest, exposing her plain black bra. So terribly uninteresting, but on Annie Rose it was the most fascinating thing in the world. She fell backwards and slid off her blue jeans, then she pulled the snakeskin boots back on. I joined her in the sand, I kept all my clothes on.

“You’ve had all this time to talk about what you hate,” I said, lying by her side, “I need a go.”

“Shoot.”

“I really hate television.”

“I know right? This season of Game of Thrones is a fucking joke!”

“No, I mean it! I hate what it does to us. You know, there’s just this sense of mind-numbing repetitive mundanity as we’re spoon fed the same content day in, day out. I miss good books on Sunday mornings.”

“Hateable indeed.”

“And if I’m honest, I think that we all suffer from this addiction…”

“Don’t ever use that word around me.” She snapped.

“Addiction?”

“Yes, never again.” She said. I wanted to inquire further, but I quickly decided it wouldn’t be wise to do so. The silence hung in the air for a moment, and I could almost hear the tired autumn leaves screaming in the trees. I looked to her Johnny Cash t-shirt dusted with sand.

“So, you’ve paraded all these band t-shirts in front of me.” I said. “Which is your favourite?”

“Probably Johnny Cash.” She revealed.

“I think my favourite Cash song is probably Folsom Prison Blues.”

“Never heard it.”

“Really?” I said. “It’s like his most famous.”

“Oh, then I must know it!” She said, and I saw the hint of a knowing smile in her eyes.

“I don’t know how you expect me to believe you.” She looked at me with a mix of surprise and relief. That was the first lie that I had decrypted, and I couldn’t tell whether she was pleased about it.

“Fine, it’s Third Eye Blind.” She said dryly.

“I haven’t seen that one on you.” I quipped.

“You were probably too distracted by my tits.” I could hardly argue with that.

“Alright fine, why Third Eye Blind then?” I’d never actually heard of Third Eye Blind, but I couldn’t have Annie knowing that.

“There’s just something endearing about a formerly world famous band.” She sighed. “A brief taste of glory only to be shot down by a world who doesn’t want you anymore. It’s almost beautiful.”

“Like Icarus.” I said thoughtfully.

“Like Icarus.” She repeated. “I’ll play them for you tonight.”

“You better.” I said with a smile.

Annie pulled a cigarette from her pocket. I watched her try to figure out which side the filter was on. I smirked, and I hoped she didn’t notice. She reminded me of songs with mumbled lyrics that compel you to search them up, and when you finally do - they’re never as good as you’d imagined. I don’t think Annie Rose knew that she was projecting an image with so many blanks. She was probably convinced of the wholeness of the character she’d engineered. But the thematic inconsistencies in her personality and potholes in her character were what defined her, I think.

“You know, somewhere along here there was a thing I built with a mate a few years ago.” I said.

“A thing, that’s utterly descriptive.”

“It’s a cabin, I guess. Look, I’ll show you.” I said before standing, and extended a hand to her.

“Lead the way then, my cabinmaker.” She didn’t take the hand.

It could only have taken us a few minutes to arrive to the shoddy wooden construction that I called a cabin. That wasn’t particularly surprising since it was designed to be in close proximity to my house. We climbed the god-made stairs that led to the inside of the cabin, and a rush of memories came over me. I saw Giacci and I, so much younger than we were then, letting the day slip away. I struggled to remember what we ever did because it was a time when we didn’t drink yet. Still, the entire room filled me with nauseatingly bittersweet nostalgia

“We rarely come here now, but it’s still our secret hideaway.” I said with a dry smile.

“Why don’t you come anymore?” She asked, running her fingers along the plywood walls.

“I don’t know, I think we just kinda grew up, Giacci and I.”

“Giacci?” She asked. The name sounded foreign in her mouth.

“Yeah, probably my best friend.” I smiled.

“I think you’re both still kids.” She returned the smile.

“But the fact is that a lifetime’s worth of laughs, smiles and good conversations are locked within these shoddy walls. When we’re gone…” I coughed, “when I’m gone, who will remember this strange little world we built.”

“No one.” She replied dryly.

“No one.” I repeated.

“One day, it will be forgotten. And so will we.”

“I refuse to be forgotten.”

“That’s rather foolish.”

“I know, but that’s the point.” I smiled at her, and I relished in the fact that she looked almost disappointed that I remembered what she said weeks ago. “I want to be remembered, you want to be something more. Foolish, foolish dreams.”

“Mine’s not foolish.” She protested. I don’t know whether or not she believed it, really. She certainly wanted me to.

“Just scary.”

“Terrifying.” She conceded.

We sat against the far wall of the cabin. I could just barely see the city lights from inside. Annie stared out into the sky wide eyed and wide hearted. I slid my bag off my shoulders, and handed her the whiskey.

“I don’t know how you feel about wine,” I said “but there’s some of that anyway.”

“Brilliant.”

She lit a new cigarette, and gave me the first puff. Then something shook her, and she was suddenly very agitated. I saw the spark of an almost forgotten forced conversation light up her eyes.

“Fuck, have you seen the news lately?!” She exclaimed

“I confess that I haven’t seen the news in about 7 years.”

“They’re all talking about how many middle class white boys are going to lose their bullet wound virginity in the year to come. And all those policy makers with their pristine white collars act like their own statistics are the only thing that matter. What about the thousands dying and suffering outside of their statistical jurisdiction? Do they not care? It fucking pisses me off.”

“I, myself, personally am at least a little concerned about the number of middle class white boys who are going to get shot up. Though that’s entirely because I could very well be one of them.”

“That’s exactly the issue, there’s so much more suffering. But everyone’s only seeing themselves.”

“I think everybody suffers. It’s not fair to compare it, or to ask them to not feel their pain because someone else hurts more. Pain isn’t objective.”

“Of course it is!”

I looked at Annie Rose and I felt the depth of her cynicism. I saw a thin veneer of iron strong beliefs, and the admirable cowardice they reflected. The warmth of her voice echoed through my bones and it felt so fake. Who hurt you, Annie Rose? I thought. She was an enigma, an obvious puzzle waiting to be solved.

“You’re the only fucking one here with a sense of humour.” I finally said in response. A puzzle with a sense of humour.

 

Come the darkest part of the night, it smelled like cheap cigarettes, even cheaper wine, and seaweed. Annie Rose had put on a playlist of her favourite Third Eye Blind songs. They were all sad. There was a brief moment where she complained about the warmth I was giving off, so she kicked open the shoddy door. It let in a leak of cool air, she seemed satisfied by that. Everytime I tried to talk, she complained that I was stealing her oxygen, so I opted for a policy of silence. Though it didn’t make much sense, I think she might have been stealing mine too. She bit my lip, and for just a second I wished she’d puncture it. Because then the scar on my face would be the proof that I’d remember her if and when we both grew old.

“This isn’t so bad.” She remarked with a deep, and (hopefully) satisfied sigh.

“You serious?”

“Like a heart attack.” She whispered, and I closed my eyes.



 

***



 

I must have fallen asleep, because when I opened my eyes Annie Rose was gone. Other than the realisation of her unceremonious departure, I was also struck by the fact that I was alone in a cabin, and quite intoxicated. I pulled my phone out of my back pocket, and dialled the only number  in it worth calling.

“Nicholas Giacci,” I said “I don’t feel well.”

“You alright mate?” He chortled.

“I require picking up.”

“Easy. Where are you?”

“Yes.”

“What?”

“Oh, where!”

“Yes.”

“What?”

“Ed, where are you?” He pleaded.

“I have no idea.” I said. “A cabin of some sort?”

“Fuck, are you serious?”

“I wouldn’t lie about a cabin.” I reassured him.

“Walk up to the road dumbass. I’ll be there in 5 then.” He said with a little laugh.

The road was unexpectedly hard to find. Unexpected because there was only one path to follow. I eventually made it though, and I decided to lie down on the sidewalk. The morning (it must have been morning) air was profoundly sobering. That was particularly convenient, as I was in great need of sobriety. Eventually a black Range Rover pulled up besides me, I felt so terribly glad to see the Stallion.

“My savior.” I said, reaching towards the doors.

“You drunk fuck, get in the car.” Giacci declared, with a slight smirk.

 

After some time, it occurred to me that we drove for what I estimated was longer than was necessary to get to my place.

“Where are we going?”

“You need a kebab.” He postulated. I was desperate for a kebab, and so marvelously glad for Giacci’s brilliant insight.

 

Kebabs in hand (double meat with the lot, it’s never too early to start combatting a hangover), we finally headed home. “Do I Wanna Know?” by the Arctic Monkeys was playing, loud as ever, and Giacci and I were rocking out hard to the heavy bass line. The song ended, but Giacci didn’t reach for his iPod Classic to queue a new set of songs.

“Ed,” he said instead “why don’t we ever talk?”

“What are we doing right now?” I said wryly (and drunkenly).

“I mean, really talk.” I felt a profound emptiness the minute he said that. The type of emptiness you get right before someone catches onto your lie.

“I mean, like how you and Immy talk. And sometimes it’s with Jared too. You talk about real stuff, like you really feel it.”

I considered then for what must have been the first time that the convenient mutual agreement that Giacci and I shared was probably more mine than his.

“I guess we do. But I think we’ve never really been like that.”

“I know that, but I was just wondering why.”

“I guess because I want to forget and not slow down.” I tried to articulate.

“Doesn’t that hurt?”

A wave of guilt came over me. I’d always assumed that Giacci was as happy as I was to push thoughts beneath the surface. There were days where I even suspected that Giacci didn’t care enough to inquire. I think up to that point I’d only nominally referred to Nicholas Giacci as my best friend, mostly as a result of the absence of other companions.

“Sure it hurts, but I’m never lonely.”

“Can we do it,” he pleaded, “just this one time?”

“Talk?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.”

We were both dead silent. I could only hear the wheels spinning awkwardly beneath the Stallion. I wasn’t paying all that much attention, but I think he might have run a red light. From time to time, I think I saw him nervously scratching the pit of his elbow. It suddenly struck me that he was wearing a jumper (not the sports jacket, either), something he never did.

“What should we talk about?” I finally asked.

“What happened between you and Kacey?”

“New Years Eve?”

“Yeah.”

“That was a great party.”

“Really?”

“Absolutely not, I had a fucking mare of a time.” I said, and we both laughed nervously.

“She’s got some shit friends, don’t she.”

“Oh you have no idea, they’re awful.” Another nervous laugh.

“So what happened.” He said, abruptly ending the pleasantries.

“Oh, you know, one thing led to another.” I paused. “ThenIwalkedinonherfuckingsomeotherdude.”

“That’s rough. After two years…”

“Yup.”

“Was it just some random dude?”

“Yeah, but I think she might have bought groceries from him at Coles once or twice.” I said with a fake smile.

“That’s a real tight connection.”

“Tight.” I looked at Giacci. He was smiling, and I couldn’t help but do the same, honestly. “Have you heard from your father?”

“Na,” he said, wiping the smile from his face “you know how he’s with mum.”

“Still.”

“Yeah, I hope he’ll call soon. Work and all keeps him pretty busy.”

“I get that.”

“And your folks? At least they’re still together. Got that on me!”

“I feel the togetherness is somewhat less valuable when I’m not part of it.”

“It must suck.”

“I don’t know, at least I don’t have to act sober around anyone.”



 

***



 

On the 23rd of May 2014, Immy and I decided to have coffee together. Tragically, the Manny Grove cafe (the cheapest one) didn’t make theirs Irish, so I had to empty some of the contents of my water bottle turned hip flask. I very much misjudged the dosage, and mine tasted miserable. Immy didn’t let out a single word of complaint.

“Why do they call it Irish coffee?” I inquired, frowning at the terrible flavour.

“Gotta get some form of casual racism into your daily diet.”

“I feel like the whole modern concept of racism is so overplayed.”

“Why’s that?”

“People just overplay the words, and they forget about intent. I don’t get why you’d cry wolf over the simplest linguistic slip. And it’s not just racism, either, it’s all that political mumbo jumbo.”

“That’s painfully easy for a middle class white male to say.” She said and we both laughed.

“Still, though, I don’t think it makes sense. The language isn’t evil, it’s the people who use it!”

“But then doesn’t the language need to change?” Questioned Immy.

“Perhaps.” I conceded. “Shall we fuck off?”

“I would love nothing more.”

There was this slight air of awkward unease that surrounded the conversation. Though Immy and I had spent an embarrassing amount of time together, we had never done so alone. That was in no way helped by the fact the person I spent the most time with was Giacci, and time spent with him had grown to be so easy. I felt almost guilty being with Immy alone after the Stallion conversation some weeks earlier, particularly because I sought her out for the quality of hers. Though when I’d tried to bring it up, he’d insisted that it was okay and that he had his own things to do. I didn’t believe him.

 

We walked the hill that led to my place, and we talked extensively about the oxford comma.

“I still maintain that it’s necessary, highly explicative, and just plain satisfying.”

“But the whole idea that correct use of the comma could, in some way, augment your writing just seems invalid!” She complained. “It must be the words.”

“Surely the structure matters too! Otherwise it’s meaningless!”

“Yeah, but who gets to decide what the best way of portraying that is! Who makes up these fucking rules I have to follow!”

“We’re here!”
“Awesome, open the gate.”

“I can’t.”

“Fabulous.”

I squeezed through the slight opening, and Immy followed suit. We walked past my car, and I introduced her to Emmanuel. She made a very open remark about how shit it was, and I agreed. We made our way through to my back garden, and slowly walked down the stairs to my basement.

“Good christ Ed, that is a lot of alcohol.”

“Look, Immy, you’re nothing if you don’t have a shelf full of warm liquor.”

“You’re such an alcoholic!” She said. And I think it almost sounded like a good thing to me.

“Thank you.”

“Yeah, I don’t think that’s the correct response.”

“I’m sure it’s fine, I have my reasons.”

“Fine, fine, it’s fine.”

I screwed off the top of an atrociously cheap bottle of whiskey, and waved it in Immy’s general direction.

“Can I tempt you with my finest?”

“Why not the Jack Daniels?”

“Too rich for my blood.” Immy looked at the Swanway uniform that we were both still wearing, but she didn’t say anything. We sat on my lounge chairs, and drank the whiskey from the bottle. Immy refused to give me the bottlem, and she took sip after sip.

“Ed, I wish you’d stay.” Immy finally said.

“Why?” I said, snagging the whiskey from her hands.

“Because everyone leaves Perth. I think everyone hates it because it’s so unextraordinary.”

“Extraordinary people make extraordinary places.” I nodded, and took a swig of the warm malt liquor.

“Exactly! And I think it’s just wrong to assume that you’ll become extraordinary the second you step foot in New York, when in reality you’ll barely manage to get a shitty 9 to 5 just to try and afford an apartment on the upper east side.” Immy’s aggressive hand gestures were threatening to take me out, so I moved away from her slightly.

“Fuck, that’s the truest thing I’ve ever heard.” I agreed.

“Don’t go, Ed,” she said “make Perth extraordinary.”

“What if I don’t amount to anything?”

“You will, Ed,” she whispered with a frustratingly trustworthy smile “you will.” She lay back in her chaise longue.

“I look forward to seeing what the universe has in store for me, then.” I said hesitantly.

“You know, I really hate the fact that there isn’t a line that defines growing up.” Immy sighed in her chair. “You know, I feel like I’m just gonna wake one day and I’ll have been an adult for 20 years.”

“So you’d like me to be extraordinary without growing up?”

“If at all possible yes.”

“That sounds like a great idea.” I said. “Fuck this growing up business.”

 

Immy and I then proceeded to get royally smashed. I noticed that my basement carpet had soaked in so much alcohol during its life that it had taken on the distinct smell of whiskey and coke. The awful aroma of month old cigarettes hung in the air, and I concluded that this basement couldn’t have been much different from my own body. I was inhabited by the same stench, haunted by the same chemicals.

 

At 12 past midnight Immy informed me that I had 3 missed calls and a voicemail. Deciding that I couldn’t really be fucked with listening to that, I immediately punched in Giacci’s number. Before I had the time to ring, I received a fourth call from Giacci.

“Hey man, what’s up!” I muttered drunkenly into my screen.

“Hey, can I come over?”

“Yeah, sure mate!” I threw my hand up in the air, but I’m not sure why.

“It’s just that if I’m alone for another second, I might kill myself.” He said, and I laughed.

“Too easy mate, Immy and I would more than love to have you over.”

“Oh, Immy’s there. It’s cool.”

He hung up.



 

***



 

On the 24th of May 2014 I woke up on one of the basement chaises longues. Immy was pretty squarely passed out, and a small pool of dribble was moistening the pillow next to her. I laughed at that, and at the fact we hadn’t even bothered to get to a bed. I poured some water on her head to wake her up. She complained briefly, but I thought of all the methods available, it was probably the funniest.

“Breakfast then?” I proposed.

“Marvellous.”

“I don’t have the luxury of bacon and eggs,” I said, “but we can try for pancakes.”

“I haven’t had those since I was a kid!”
“You’re still a kid, dearest.”

We set about preparing breakfast, and I realised I had no idea how to make pancakes.

“Do we need milk?”

“Typically it is essential to pancakes.” She retorted sarcastically.

“Well, this will have to do.” I said, sliding warm long life milk out of my pantry. Then I received a new phone call from Giacci.

“Hey man, did you end up dropping by last night? I can’t really remember.” I laughed.

“Ed?” I heard a thick Italian accent say.

“Miss Giacci?” I said, surprised.

“Edward,” She said solemnly, “he left a note. He wanted me to tell you that it’s not your fault.”

“Miss, what are you on about?”

“I’m so sorry, Ed.” She coughed slightly, and I think I heard a sob.

“Miss, what is going on?” I said, but she’d already hung up.

Something dark came over me, a heavy feeling of dread and weary anticipation. I stared longingly at my blank smartphone screen, hoping it would reveal something more. It came in and out of focus as my heart rate increased. Nothing. I grabbed my Swanway blazer as quickly as I could.

“Where are you going?” Inquired Immy.

“Giacci’s.” I replied hastily. I slammed the front door behind me and I forced myself through the gate. I started running.

I ran faster than I ever had before, and probably than I ever have yet. The Manny Grove streets and impasses flew by. When I finally reached his road, I could already see them. The flashing lights from two police cars were sporadically illuminating his too-small house. The Stallion was nowhere to be seen. My feet brought me to the cauldron before I was entirely conscious of what I was doing. I think someone might have tried to stop me, but I probably didn’t hear their protests. I passed the useless shower, and Giacci’s warm room. No lights were on. There were four people in the living room. Two policemen, Miss Giacci, and Annie Rose


© Copyright 2019 Hans Taylor. All rights reserved.

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