Seething since 2000*
Hello, possum. I’m trying to write a story that’ll take you a day to read, or just less than four weeks. The kind of story that’s full of description, dialogue, character development and unexpected polka dots. Benny grabbed the knife. I’m trying to write an untold story. Sounds hard, doesn’t it? The kind of story I used to go to bookshops to find, until they made me want to start smoking crack. That’s the opposite of untold, ie, told. I’d blame it on Beck but you’re not really into him. The kind of story you know has been written just for you and nobody else. Gucci. The kind of story that’s hard to continue believing in, real world, when you’re in a bookshop lining up for that special book that you alone understand along with all the other people who feel like that. No, forget it. Bookshops bad. Stories on a screen, good. You see, I’d like to get you sacked from your job for reading my stories during working hours. I want them to be that good. The look on your face. The look on your face in the dark – I could feel it with my hands. The story of how I tried to rid the world of the word fall. It’s the kind of story that keeps on getting longer and more complicated. A Magic Pudding kind of story. What a grump. “Turn left!” she screamed. I slammed on the brakes and started shouting something about bookshops and writers’ festivals and how they’re just orgasmic for middle class death merchants on crack. The kind of story that I could go on churning out for years and years, if not for RSI, who remain a great band. I saw them in concert for the first time yesterday. Tight, very tight. Reminded me of The Avian Sars. Adam said it first: “There was an explosion”. To reach a point in a story where you no longer have any readers – ie, that point beyond which no reader can be bothered continuing. I may well have reached it already. Nothing’s even happened yet. The cold steel of the gun barrell in my mouth. I started screaming something about bookshops and how I just can’t bring myself to go in them anymore, having given up on reading books. I’d like to read a story that no one will ever write. Here it is. Lekker ding. “Your witness,” he beamed. I shook my head and asked her whether anyone ever went to her bookshop anymore. She just smiled in a kind of sad way and said, “No, not since the whole town started using crack.” The kind of story that comes fully equipped with hidden clues, puzzles, secret references and a complete garbage and recycling service. Together, threegether. Do you want to die? Jippie! Buddha. The kind of story you could land on the Moon, with heaps of legroom. I want to write a story that’ll cure cancer, but I think that’s a bit beyond me at the moment. The story of crack cocaine and how it ruined the minds of an entire generation of bookish types. The generations who do not know books. The stories they might tell. Object of future research. Discuss. Benny was a model aeroplane but I’ve told that story before. I was down on hands and knees, looking for the ring. “I can’t find it!” She looked at me then with – . And that’s why you never go swimming while talking on the phone. The story of that guy who walked in front of a moving tram. That’s the kind of story I want to write, just so that it doesn’t happen in real life. A story whose beginning is interrupted by the arrival of another story from the future! You’d better run, squirrel. “Turn right!” she screamed. I just wanted to flee. It was too late to save the daisies. Monica began reading up on ice and how it is made. “I hear nothing”. I could tell her a thing about crack cocaine but she doesn’t believe the stories she’s heard and, besides, she’s Monica. Leave her to it. “Hi Dad, how’s the hearing?” The story of a shuttle on a launch pad, and the kama sutra expert who saw the shuttle on the launch pad, just like that, and thought of a new sexual position. “For the last time, Karin, I -” Stories of wiped-out animal species and blasted rafts. Their happy endings. On and on and on. Blindfolded! Our happy endings. Hey, you want one? Here. “Turn, turn!” she yelled but it was too late, of course. I’d jack-knifed the caravan into a perfect parallel parking spot outside the supermarket. “No further questions.” I’d love to write a story like that. I’d leave out the awful details of my sexual coming-of-age, in the belief that no one’s interested in that kind of thing, and concentrate on describing my love dumplings. Reading sex scenes in books – what’s up with that. Kind of retail. In fact, the whole story would climax with my decision to stop having sex altogether, at the age of fity-nine. “Centlemen, my chambers, now!” “I owe you something of an apology.” I’m trying to write a story about REM’s “Gardening At Night”, and the ways in which the vocals might be interpreted by dancers, jugglers and strippers. Yawn! Trying to sell my story about the crack-addicted bookshop owner to the BBC proved far more difficult than I had at first anticipated. The receptionist wrote down the words “Dylan” and “Moran” and left it at that. I mistook “Moran” for “Moron” and got pissed off, knocked over the odd photocopier, blackening an eye I later realised was my own. Water dispensers and their affect. In the dream where I met imaginary Mao in a dream – that is, my recurring dream of Mao. I shivered in the post-natal breeze, then turned up my collar and ran for the trolley car. It wasn’t there. “Don’t turn here!” she cried but of course I already had. And that was how we found ourselves inside the crack-addicted bookshop-owner’s head. I’m thinking of a story that starts out funny, gets sad and then cryptic within the space of a few pages, and then descends into self-referential drivel. “How much for this bandanna?” I’m trying to write a story long enough to slip in all those coded messages we talked about it. A story featuring a meeting, a drunken separation and a joyous reunion. That’s when I knew I was a woman inside. So we went straight to Starbucks. The place is so fake; I don’t get it. “Driver – stop here, please”. A red lantern. Maybe Dame Edna. Those signals from the other side of the coin, the ones we turned into sovereigns. It grew colder in my mind but warmer in my ears. I have you to think of. Turning me into a superhero. I’ve been counting zeroes, ones, twos, threes. That’s her power. I’m trying to write her story but what right have I got? The kind of right a storyteller has to tell stories? The lantana whipped my face mercilessly as we tumbled down the escarpment towards the waiting mobile library. I’m trying to write a story that’ll take you a day to read, or just less than four weeks. Actually, three and a half weeks. The problem is, I don’t know where to start, and there’s just so much to say. For example: how I woke up this morning with a smile on my face. How the smile lifted me up onto my feet and walked me out into the world. How my shoes traced the impact of your shining tracks. How there’s never enough time. How long it seems until I will see you again! How short it seems. I’m confused. I’m wandering around in a post-industrial fug. None of this makes sense, I don’t think. It doesn’t matter, as no one will notice. Scripts, cut-up and re-assembled, our lines jumbled and out of time. Or in a new time. A time for crazy futures and busting rhymes. Which season is it anyway? Solly. Are you ready? Kus.