Confident, Stylish and Charming… (A Debonair)
Bryn McLarey, Oxford
In the very depths of mae pants is a bum… Not an arse, not a hairy artistic arse… A hobo… mixing blue anti-freeze with gin… writing words on a page thinking they have some real meaning, honesty of voice because of the state I’m in.
The Mother Black Cap…the line between pretension and sincerity… I sit in the bath, swill full of bubbles and grease, eating battered sausage and chips off the side. Moments of impulse string together, get drunk, take a lick of some white substance (must ask Geoff what that wus), attempt tu shave the word ‘debonair’ intu the side of one’s head (not sure that’s strictly staying in character but he’d appreciate the irony at least), buy 6am mutant greasy takeaway, long for the hot relaxing heat of a bath.
The bath is luke-warm. Sae are the chips. The chips taste leik they’ve been in the bath and the bath tastes leik it’s been in the chips. I have a chip in one hand and a sausage in the other, when I realise in impulse I’d bought a pack of cigarettes and lit one and there it is. It’s end was turning tu a limp penis in the soap dish. (Charlie has a soap dish, he just would). I snatch at it, desperate for its filthy stinking taste in my filthy stinking soul. I gave up smoking when I became Charlie (sounds like a sex change)… I gave up battered sausage tuu. In grabbing the fag I’d dropped the sausage. It now bobs and floats somewhere around mae dick. I drop the chip and pick up the sausage. I drag on the fag again and then bite the sausage. It tastes of bath. I think this problem of only having two hands is repeating itself.
Impulse. I want tu lick you. Nicotine lung, the inside is yellowed leik the interior of a smoky bar, full of haze and pretty women. I drag mae torso upstanding from the tub. Standing ankle deep I catch sight of maesel in the mirror. I see Bryn, the black curls crawling from mae nipples to mae arse craic. The grey-blue scar of a seven year old tattoo, the eyes which fail somewhat to focus on themselves, speak of the binge. I need tu fuck.
…But to get one I must be Charlie again. I put on deodorant and fixed breakfast, the toast rack, the cafetiere, fetching the morning paper before it’s quite ready. It wus my ritual. I put on the red sweater. (The one Juliette liked sae much which I hated because it reminded me of my Catholic school uniform.) How. How. How. To be Charlie… firstly there was the shaven words in my locks. I already had a foppish hat ready for such mistakes, but how does one keep the hat on while making the beast with two backs? She wus noo the type tu go for a fully clothed fucking down a back alley…
I cleaned the flat up…slowly I wus sobering, but how to explain the lack of presence in how long? I sullened maeself before another mirror. (They are useful to have around for my doppelganger.) The drab of depression, of self-doubt, that’s what Charlie has. Not the self-doubt that drinks itself intu the gutter. But the averted eyes, concealing enigmas. The careful murmur: ‘I just needed to be alone for a bit…’
I phoned Juliette, I sounded meek and regretful. Time passed and she came around. The evidence wus all gone, the battered dick sat greasy in an outside bin. The blinds were closed, shutting out the grey truth of the daylight. I sat with the lamp on the side of my hair not shaven.
She sat down next to me and whispered fingers across my face.
“What’s the matter?”
“I just needed to be alone is all.”
“You already said that…”
Why trust one drug and not the other? You must read that sentence and assume one drug is love and that it’s not Bryn’s shallow justification of mixing things. Convolution. Politics.
“This duality,” she said, “it fucks you… You forget which person you are with me.”
I nodded. She smirked then…
“What the fuck have you done to your hair?”
Charlie must have taken over. All I wanted now was to enrapture her next to the red sweater and sleep, feeling safe.
* * * * * * *