Strategically Placed Fist

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A morbid black comedy about a dysfunctional household.

Submitted: September 04, 2010

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Submitted: September 04, 2010

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Strategically Placed Fist
By David Moore
Not long off the vinegar strokes I was already contemplating my first morning cigarette. Her face was as creased as the pillow, suggesting a dull, reluctant half-sleep to avoid the reality of the dawn and of my actions. Admittedly, she probably had a migraine from last night’s alcohol binge, and that throbbing was probably taking some other image in that imprecise half-consciousness before waking: my breathing was probably imagined as a puffing train, and the thrust an emergence through a dark tunnel. Her eyes half opened, followed by a groan. I flipped off the bed - having done my ‘business’, jumped out and quickly pulled up my shorts. I climbed over the piles of magazines and heaped clothing and pushed the door open, which lead directly to the kitchen, and helped myself to a cigarette out of a nearby packet. I lit immediately.
‘Enjoy yourself?’ Joanna asked. I looked at her and took in the warm smile and her pointy, sarcastic eyebrows. She had a butterfly decoration under her right eye, which seemed to be a permanent fixture. ‘Of course I did, why do you ask? Did it sound like I wasn’t enjoying myself?’ I enquired, flicking some ash into a nearby can of 1664. ‘No, it sounded more like someone trying to wrestle an epileptic in a China shop’, she turned round and poured milk over some cereal. She hadn’t drunk the night before. ‘I think you’re psychologically abusing . . . no, taking advantage - of Laura, to put it simply, Keith’ she scowled ‘You treat her fucking disgracefully!’ – ‘Oh, shut it will you. She was blabbering on about feminism all night. You were both against me frankly, and she’s the one I decided to undermine with sex – not you. Jealous, are we?’ Joanna looked at me and laughed unbelievably. A plume of smoke puffed out of my mouth, and I stepped forward and wrapped my free arm around her back with a pat of comradeship. We both knew the score: this household embraced polygamy and the neurosis that came with it. I clicked on the CD player which immediately delivered abrasive techno, while in the background a struggling, muffled guitar solo came from Jason’s room. The contrast was horrendous, but we’d learnt to tolerate each other’s ‘tastes’.
Hazily Laura appeared; her hair a spark of rage, her eyes clouded. ‘Hel-loo’, she mumbled warmly, and collapsed into a wooden chair. I looked at her blankly and pushed an apple against my teeth. ‘Oh Keith, you are a dick’, Laura sighed. ‘Go shower, you’re like a burst colostomy bag’. Joanne shook her head. ‘You’re both as bad as each other, really. Like a marriage made in the wet dream of a coma, that’s what you are’. I laughed, ‘Oh Jesus, I couldn’t have put it more poetically! Who’d of thought a hippy like you could say such an insensitive thing – Joanna interrupted: ‘Oh, Fuck off! I’m not a hippy, just because I’m a vegetarian does not mean I fucking tit-wank trees, alright?! I hardly go to fair-trade markets or buy . . .  tie-dye!’ She lashed out and stormed off to Jason’s room. I looked at Laura, ‘Have you got work today?’ She hadn’t. ‘Let’s go to the canal. I want to walk by the canal’. I lazily opened the fridge and sighed, ‘No fucking eggs?’ Laura got up and attached herself to my back, ‘No. . . . Eggs, Keith. No eggs’, she whispered erotically with a hint of sadness, and went to butter up some malt loaf . . . Romance.
Jo and Jason emerged from their marijuana cave. ‘Hey dudes and dudettes’ he mumbled in his stereotypical fashion. ‘Heard you two were at the old game of rumpy pumpy, last night, eh?’ he giggled and punched me on the arm friendlily. ‘Say, I’ve got a gig on tonight if you two love birds want to come. What you say? Keith, you need to get out more, man. You’re a social cripple, dude. He he!’ His band is called The Cracked Reactors, they were an anti-Nuclear energy punk band, yet they were as about as politically charged as my Only Fools and Horses boxer shorts – poor sod. ‘Oh . . . yeah’, I said breezily. The cunt was best ignored, but he had his perks – generally that’s what I thought of most people. ‘Me and Laura will probably make it down afterwards; say, what about joining us for an afternoon pre-gig picnic down by the canal?’ Jason nodded, ‘Why not? Shit, I’ve not seen daylight for a while’ a grin tore across his face like a slit in fabric and a foul odour filled the room.
 
* * *
The day was warm, the sky completely crystal clear and I had decided to put on my favourite dress. It was a relatively short purple one I had bought from a vintage clothes shop. It made me look very 1960s. Sunlight glistened off the canal’s surface while we passed barges with names generally referring to retirement: ‘End of the Road’, ‘The Moribund’ and ‘The Stourbridge Titanic’. On the other side of the canal was a steep embankment with sheep lazily munching on grass, and a few kids had attached a rope swing to one of the tree branches and were dangling themselves precariously over the canal, probably as some sort of dare. I felt reasonably warm at heart, although an obscure sadness rested somewhere far back. Keith was in front of me rapidly rambling to Jason in his own caustic, violently sarcastic way; his face a permanent strain of negative intensity. I liked him, he had a future. His clothes were covered in paint and his hair a tangled mess, he looked the image of someone who’d dropped kicked themselves out into the world and didn’t give a fuck. Jason was laughing. It about the time he had beaten up a poet with a baseball bat and then whom he later saw recite a poem about being beaten up with a baseball bat. ‘Can you believe it, man?! . . . Christ, Keith! They’ll write about anything!’ he roared. Joanna was to my left and looked the perfect doll, with her hair up and hippy eccentricities. I asked her how her painting was coming along. ‘Well’, she said, ‘I’ve at least got a theme now: I’ve based it around man’s isolation from nature, and how we’re rapidly losing our connection to the oneness of . . . nature. It’s a bit like psychology, I suppose. If you ignore one thing – in this case nature – a negative aspect comes about, and that presents itself in the form of the world environmental problem. The crisis is two-sided, it is Yin and Yang. And I have presented nature as the feminine and male domination as the one which is imbalanced’. Joanna smiled her beautiful smile, and together with the butterfly she wore under her right eye it made her look like a cute little fairy princess. She was too wonderful for me, and I felt like crying.
‘Fuck-ity, fuck, fuck! You Spanish Fart Castle!’ Keith shouted at Jason. ‘Look what you’ve done; you’ve collapsed my fire structure you stupid prick!’ We’d found an alcove just off the canal where we could have a fire and a picnic. I had chosen to sit on a fallen tree next to Joanna, while we watched Keith and Jason bicker like brutes over the fire. The sun was coming down and it was almost twilight, we had to be back within two hours so Jason could do the sound check for The Cracked Reactors. Eventually they managed to put together a small fire and we unpacked our portable barbeque, and Keith knelt down to tend to the sausages. Jason came to sit next to us, and said ‘How are you two lovely ladies? You seem to be quiet tonight Laura, is something wrong? Surely nothing a sausage could not fix!’ Joanna was eating a Linda McCartney burger she’d brought along, and then replied: ‘Leave Laura alone, will you? You can be so condescending sometimes, you know that? Go get hit by a train you stupid fucker’. Jason looked stung, then took a swig on his Carlsberg Export and silently threw sticks onto the fire. ‘It’s alright’, I said. ‘I’m just tired, that’s all’. Tiredness, that was exactly it, I told myself. The birds quietened down, the sun’s last rays fell into the horizon as it was submerged into mother earth. The fire crackled, the barbeque spat and sizzled. Joanna’s face was sombre yet stern, where warmth, strength and love poured out in quantity. Jason’s rough, sea-battered face was innocent, if simple, and was protected from the world by some sort of childish ignorance. Keith, whose face was obscured in darkness and occasionally caught light from a flame looked as if upset and angry at the world, and who couldn’t grasp responsibility or partake in any sort of ‘normality’. I felt sad, and was intimidated by them all; they were too good for me. This world was too good for me.
* * *
I was struggling along the motorway around about midnight, drunk out of my mind. The gig had been marginally successful, and I had decided to head home early and left Jason and Joanna at the venue. Joanna had struck up conversation with a guy who made music using modified children’s toys, and Jason was packing away all the gear. Although I was walking I could’ve afforded to get a taxi, but for some reason I had decided to soldier the 8 miles back. Laura decided to stay at home, and I presumed she was on her period because of her insular, uncommunicative mood that day. The sky was clear and the light pollution low so I stood on the silent motorway admiring the vastness of space. I started crying and wanted to get home and embrace Laura, she was so beautiful and sensitive, and she made me feel like a monster by comparison. ‘Cheer up, you fucking poetic bastard. You’re not French!’ I told myself. Walking further down the motorway I managed to fall into a ditch and twist my ankle, so I hobbled the rest of the way giggling to myself like an idiot. ‘Here I come, Laura! Big boy’s coming home. Big Keith!’ I needed to drop an ethnic baby.
I struggled up the stairs to our apartment and clumsily tried to open the door with the wrong key. For about 10 minutes I leant against the door mumbling, ‘Laura, Laura. La-u-r-a-a. I’m sick, help!’ No answer. ‘Help me, Laura. I can’t open the door, let me in. I’m a sick man, an old man. I’m dying!’ For the second time . . . no answer. ‘Fuck!’ I shouted into the night. A dog started barking deep in suburbia. A milk van drove past with a hum, and I felt lonely. The moon was high up, and was glowing like a mushroom cloud, and it felt like a metaphor for the desolation of my soul. ‘Christ’, I whispered to myself while sitting on the doorstep. Then I remembered that I had hidden a key in a paracetamol box under a loose cobblestone. When I had found it I pushed against the door and fell into the hallway moaning and then vomited on the floor. I mopped it up with Joanna’s rabbit slippers. She’ll like that. I managed to get myself up and headed towards the kitchen-cum-living room and looked into the fridge, then placed two slices of slimy ham into my mouth. I hadn’t bothered to turn any lights on, so the only thing illuminating the room was the fridge. In darkness I wondered towards the toilet, and then stopped. ‘Laura!’ I shouted. ‘Laura?’ I shrugged, and hobbled on, the pain in my ankle growing.
The door creaked open, and I struggled to find the light chord. I walked forward and tripped over some heavy object on the floor and hit my bottom lip off the porcelain washbasin. ‘Jesus Christ’, I muttered. ‘What a fucking state’. After struggling to get back up, I managed to pull myself to standing position thanks to the bath. Then I yanked down on the light cord and the strip light fluttered into action. It was at that moment I saw a purple mass on the floor, a deadweight, that which I tripped over upon entry. It was Laura. Her hair was fanned across the tiled floor and her eyes were closed, her skin pale. The purple dress was lifted just above her waist and her legs tangled in an awkward position. She had one shoe on; the other had fallen off and was the other side of the room. Blood was coming from her nose. I knelt down and whispered to her, ‘Are you alright? What happened?’ No response. I put my hand on her face and then my heart tugged, I yelped in despair. She was still warm, but only slightly – she was unconscious. ‘No!’ I gasped. My heart was dropping, was vanishing. I was shaking violently. She wasn’t breathing, so I pressed my ear to her chest. No heartbeat. She was dead. On the floor were dropped pills and an empty bottle. I stood up sharply, still shaking with fear and despair. It was then I saw that she had written something, it was on the toilet seat – her suicide note was scrawled on the toilet seat with what seemed to be lipstick – it said: ‘Keith, I was pregnant with your baby. Sorry’, Followed by three kisses.That’s all it said. I rushed out of the bathroom and screamed incoherently with fear. I rushed violently towards the fridge and pulled out a can of Kronenburg 1664 and poured the whole can into my mouth until I gagged. I collapsed into a wooden chair, my eyes glazed over, staring straight forward at nothing. I was pregnant with your baby. Sorry. In my hand was a Gameboy I had unconsciously picked up, and I looked down and watched Tetris load up. Colourless blocks falling from nowhere into colourless space. Nothing connecting into nothingness and vanishing. Tears fell from my face. I pulled out a cigarette and chained smoked an entire pack of Moloboro until Jason and Joanna returned.
Tetris. Tetris. Tetris.
 
TO BE CONTINUED. . .
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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