I smoke and I drink Nightly and daily to me it's like prayer But there's a difference between what I do and what the preachers do For one what I do accomplishes something another is that it is killing me slowly All the warning labels and predictable ads say that I'll be dead by 40. But why would I ever want to live longer than that Why would I want to see my friends fade away from me Why would I want a child when children disgust me I can't imagine anything worse than not being able to get it up when a flaxen haired Aphrodite sits upon me Then your memory fades The only real reason we're living All those moments of the life I've lived lost to some invisible trashcan in my mind Why would I ever want to live past fourty It seems to me we should live life as much as possible while we're alive and when our time comes, we let it come rather than cling on to something that wasn't there in the first place Live life then die That's my philosophy.
There are no new things you're allowed to experience. They all have to conform to what is useful Do you want to write or can't you decide? Do you wan to study physics Or mathematics or philosophy or something else You can't You made your decision when you were fifteen. And that's what you'll stick to Unless you want to learn something useless Philosophy, literature, science choose one and proceed. You can't learn anything else any more it's useless to us The people who you belong to Learn what you must and nothing more Thinking is pointless So think no more.
Just smile and everything will be okay That's what they tell you everyday Happiness isn't a feeling it's a choice Why do I have to decide to be happy today? Why do I have to decide to be happy everyday? Is it not sick that despite everything being wrong my unhappiness is what concerns you most? Why do I have to be happy? To help you move along? With your pathetic life as if you've helped me? Or do I need to help you? Smile, it'll make life better But it won't It doesn't solve how little I think of myself How little others think of me How little I think of the world How little the world thinks. It's okay to not smile to not care to give up to be unhappy. That's the problem with us today and I know that gets said a lot but I'm just throwing my opinion in We care too much about being happy that we can't ever let us be ourselves and we can't ever react the real way someone is feeling and we cant ever feel the way we are feeling. But we also can't ever be happy truly happy. If we jump for joy or dance on the street we're judged just as much as if we sulked and drank and stumbled Don't let the world control your emotions Don't let them tell you who you should be You are who you are If you let them tell you when to celebrate or how to celebrate then you'll just become another them rather than a you. And you'll be dead from hemlock. Sob, weep, cry if you need to. Dance in a fountain if you want to. Don't let their failure of emotion control you. Because they can only hate. And their hate kills. Slowly. All joy leaves and you are sucked dry of any emotion. And then you are left like them Dead. Don't die. Live.
I try to keep my conversations to a minimum so that I can limit the amount of time I have to interact with others My usual response hour is at about two in the morning. This is generally when I am on the verge of lucidness and drunkeness and it makes to the most honest replies. But everyone else is asleep And so I don't have to deal with replies or conversations. That's one of the things I love about modern technology I can talk to anyone in the world and ignore them. Conversations bore me. People tire me. And at 2am I am free of either of these things Free to be me Free to be free.
The next scene I remember was a bar. A familiar sight within or without a dream. A short drink stood before me, begging me to end its existence. But I was abnormally reticent to do so. Even within a world of my own creation I was scared to lose too much money too quickly. So I drank it down slowly.
Next to me sat a shade of a woman. Dark and mysterious she was. Her eyes were clouded in darkness and only the slightest glimpses of green flashed through whenever the light struck her just right. Her hair was the shade of the desert when the sun was just setting – a deep dark brown.
But now the background of this absurd interaction was starting to break down. The liquor wall collapsed and behind it there was a rushing stampede of wild boars. The liquid in my glass shook with the impact of each of their hooves. But still I persisted. ‘Could I get you something to drink?’ I asked the strange woman who came in under the cover of night and never left it.
‘Sure,’ she replied. ‘I’m just having a Martini. Dry. Very dry.’
I waved to the bartender, who I felt I had known my entire life, but who in reality I had only known this night. He made the drink specified and she began to gulp it down. But I felt my own throat begin to grow dry as I watched her drink her own blessed drink. And those damn buffalo wouldn’t stop stampeding. Or were they bison? Fuck it, I couldn’t remember. Something kept running in the background and ruining everything.
‘So what brings you here?’ I asked rather cliche-ly.
‘Nothing much. Just looking for an escape. You?’
I stirred my drink with my index finger and stared contemplatively out at what used to be the back wall of the bar.
‘Drinks. I guess. I’ve given up on escaping anything.’
‘You really ought to escape, you know. It could be good for you.’
I turned to her. She was sitting on my left. At that moment the left wall flew inwards and a clumsily put together rocket was about to take off. I knew it was clumsily put together because there were about twenty people still on it welding things together. And also it was taking off about fifty feet away from a bar.
‘What the hell do you know about what I should do?’ I asked, ignoring the imminent distraction.
‘Well, I don’t really know what you should do. But I know what i would do if I were in your position. That’s all the advice anyone can really give, cant they?’
‘Yeah, I guess you’re right.’ The rocket was taking off now and all the people who were adding the final touches were thrown off in a blast of fire. I gazed down at my drink and noticed it was empty. I felt that it was probably a sensible time to head home then.
‘Hey,’ I started as I got out of my chair and put on my coat, ‘you wanna hang out some time? Like on a date or something?’
‘Nah, I’m good thanks,’ replied my vision of an angel. I turned to go and then I realised one last thing.
‘Hang on a minute. Isn’t this my fucking dream? Why would I ever have someone reject me in my own fucking dream?’
‘Listen, I don’t expect you to remember this but I’m simply a drunken representation of your own subconscious. You’re so unsure of yourself that even in your wild reality you could never get a date. Well I’m here to tell you to grow the fuck up. You’re not perfect, and no one you meet will ever be perfect. Quit spending so much time finding perfect people and just try to find someone decent. You worthless sack of shit.’
Then the last thing I remember is the wild boars charging towards us and me saying ‘well that’s not exactly fair isn’t it.’
And then my sexy subconscious replied ‘nothing is.’
And then we were both stampeded by some sort of an animal.
And then I woke up. Sweating like a pig. And I wrote down as much of what I remembered as I could.
And then I had to leave for work.
Fuck, man, I had been woken up by a stampede. My usual alarm hadn’t gone off and I was awake at a point in time where if I left immediately then I’d still end up twenty minutes late to work. So I rushed into the bathroom and threw on my discarded clothes from that morning and jumped straight into the car, not bothering to make any food for then or for later. The good news was that I would probably be the first to finish lunch, since I had none, and so I would get home early enough to make some dinner if I felt like eating at that time.
I quickly checked that my tyre pressure hadn’t gone down that much during the little dream-time stint and was glad to see that they were at a perfectly acceptable pressure. Well, they were at least good enough to keep the cops off me for another night. I slammed down on the accelerator and off I drove to work.
And thus another day started just as it had twenty-four hours before. Horribly.
When I got home that night I looked at what I had written and decided that more context had to lay around the absurd dream I had had. Perhaps then it would make more sense. But, now, having reviewed everything that was happening in my life at that time I can confidently say that none of it makes any sense to me.
Why must people suffer so in order to deliver marble kitchen tops?
Why do workers always betray their fellow workers first and their managers last?
Why is alcohol and cigarettes so discouraged when they are the only ways to simulate what humans are supposed to feel when fulfilled?
Why are dreams so fucking ambiguous?
Man, I really wish I had some answers for any of these questions. But unfortunately all I have is more questions. But hey – that’s life.
I turned on some music and allowed myself to live my own life. I allowed myself these few hours that I had before the sleep that I would only awaken from because work dictated it. Only a faint reading light was on in the room. The smoke of the cigarette curled and danced out of my fingers. I watched it rise upwards and upwards in an intricate pattern and then disperse. I placed the filtered end to my lips and sucked in. The heat burned slightly, but it was the good type of burning. Then I pulled the smoke down into the essence of my being and allowed it to circulate all throughout me before I forced the dancing smoke out of my nostrils, letting it linger there just long enough to burn as much on the way out as it did on the way in. My mind went blank. All the hatred and the anxiety about the previous day and the day that was to come washed out of me with the smoke. My naked body rested against the soft sheets and under the warm blankets and that was all.
I took a drink of the Whisky and it calmed me further. I felt as though I was flying. Finally flying. Flying away from this place, away from this job, away from all of this. I rested back into my pillow – one of the only things that I had actually saved up for in order to purchase something that a richer person would take for granted. It was a beautiful pillow, one of those memory foam ones that conformed to your body type or something. But, no matter, it felt like falling into a cloud each time I came to rest.
The smoke continued to dance from my fingers in an enticing way and the alcohol warmed me in a way neither the shower nor the blankets ever could. Slowly the chemicals of nicotine and alcohol tucked me away safely for sleep. Them each combining to add up to the chemical equivalent of living a fulfilling life with a loving partner. Who ever said smoking and drinking was bad for you has clearly never had to live an unfulfilled life alone.
And so I finally fall into a world all of my own. The one place in the entire universe where I don’t owe anyone anything – my dreams. There’s no landlord who demands payment for a roof over my head, no water company demanding cash for what is the most essential pieces of life, and no boss ordering me around so I can have the privilege to pay off these people.
Music continues to flood through my ears, and the last thing I remember before falling into slumber is The Nutcracker playing throughout the room. And then it enters my brain and embeds itself in my dreams. So much so that the first images that come to me are of a ballerina twirling on her one leg, the other held behind her at a ninety degree angle. Just constantly turning. Every now and again we make eye contact. I am the only one in the audience, and she is the only performer on stage. Slowly she lifts her leg further and further into the air. And it seems that each time she completes a rotation she keeps her gaze on me longer and longer. Finally her leg is fully upright in the air, her body spinning around in place but her eyes kept firmly on me at all times. Her gaze gradually devolves from enticing to threatening. Her unnatural form forces itself nearer me, distorting itself into ever more unnatural shapes before I eventually leave through some sort of mechanism hidden in my chair and am plunged into a deep abyss.
Further down I descended. Only darkness confronted me. Then there was some light. To be specific, there were three points of light. Within them danced three pairs of legs, twisting and moving independently of one another with no care whatsoever to form or function. Just simply dancing and existing as if to entice a being that had awareness beyond what any mortal had. They were seductive and unreasonable. One movement to the next could never be explained. But despite my protests within my own dream, I sunk still further until I found myself at my station.
I cleared my eyes and gazed around for what seemed to be a full minute. Surely this couldn’t actually be my work station. Had I really already had by allotted amount of sleep, woken up, driven here and started working without fulling being aware of any of that happening? Gazing around everything seemed in order. The floor manager was in his usual watchtower, my station partner was working his arse off and yelling at me to work at least as hard as him. Waking up here without any prior memory seemed, to me at least, no more absurd than falling asleep and ending up watching the ballet.
I began working immediately. I checked the list of which parts were on which trolleys and started stacking them up accordingly. But for some reason I was alternately far weaker and then far stronger that I had ever been. In one instance I could barely carry a cut of stone that was about a half kilo, and then in another I easily lifted a piece that was twenty. The mind plays tricks. Cruel tricks. The greatest boxers of all time can barely punch in their dreams. Rich and famous CEOs are as poor as me in theirs. In mine I was weak and useless, barely able to pick up any measly slab of marble. And so I was cast out, thrown aside and some other schmuck was chosen within seconds to take my place. In that short of time I had nothing. Nothing to use to pay for my rent or my water or my electricity or my food or my taxes. All the hands that had been greased before in order to allow me to live would now be dry, and I would simply be allowed to rot.
Read part 4 of the story here.
I don’t feel human anymore I don’t know what makes up humanity But I know that I have none of it It’s stopped hurting when she doesn’t call back I don’t want to talk to anyone I don’t want to make any money or achieve anything Fuck I don’ t want to get out of this fucking bed this fucking mattress is the only thing holding me down to this fucking world I don’ t want to fucking speak or write this fucking language anymore it doesn’t fucking mean fucking anything fucking cunt shit crap in peace tall that im reduced to is hatred thats the most human thing that i think happens to me dialy the alcohol has gotten to a point where it doesnt overcome the pain it simply adds to it and i need it to not feel worse i hate waking up human i hate falling asleep human theres too much that makes up me and too much of too many other people I want to be dead but I’m too afraid to die. And so now I am whole.
Laying here again Bright screen flashing images beamed from the other side of the world More connected than ever but feeling more lonely than ever Connected with no connection Copper wires don’t transmit emotion. Fuck it it means nothing More wine more beer another cigarette my mouth opens wide But closes for my thoughts How am I supposed to survive when everyone I know is so far away But the alcohol is so close and the loneliness looms over me constantly my constant companion The screen displays my thoughts it displays theirs it’s warm, like them But the touch is still cold I miss flesh it’s supple the give and take replaced by giving or taking and now it feels cold. Surrounded by everyone embraced by no one the warm tears that roll down my cheek are the warmest things that have touched me. Lately.
We were supposed to receive a break for ever four hours of work we did. After four hours of work we supposedly got a 15 minute break. Then after eight hours of work we got a 30 minute lunch. Then after 12 hours of work we were supposed to receive another 15 minute break. That was the state mandate. Of course, there weren’t any state officials around to enforce such a bullshit law - but there were plenty of shift managers and floor mangers who could throw you out on your arse if you took even a minute longer on your lunch break than they thought you had deserved. In reality you got no 15 minute break after four hours - you just got more work. And in reality you never got a 30 minute lunch break, you got as much time as the quickest to eat; and they ensured it was a competition. Whoever started work after the lunch bell the quickest was allowed off work 15 minutes early, while everyone else was forced to work an extra 15 minutes. So you had to work your way through enough nutrition to get you through the next few hours, while ensuring you didn’t eat too much as to ensure you suffered through the extra 15 minutes at the end of the day. For my first week the last thing on my mind was that extra 15 minutes at the end of the day, and all that I cared about was the microwaved warm meal in front of me. But that was only during the first week. After that you learned to down every morsel of food you have in front of you as fast as possible; because during the last half-an-hour of work all you can taste freedom on the edge of your tounge. But then the alarm sounds and you realise that you weren’t the first to finish lunch and you still have another fifteen minutes to work to go. Fifteen minutes doesn’t seem like much, but when you’ve worked sorting marble benches that range in weight from 10kg to 30kg for the past 8.5 hours then an extra fifteen minutes feels like an eternity. You remind yourself that a meal is only a meal, but freedom is freedom and that you’ll never forget this lesson for the rest of your life. More than life, is that fifteen minutes means at least five more kitchen benchtop parts that need to be sorted. So you look up to your supervisors tower and gaze at the time - as the only clock in this entire factory resides within his abode. It’s five past whenever you were supposed to end. Ten more minutes of this. You drag another trolley towards the conveyor belt that you’re working at and put another slab of marble or stone or whatever on it and then put the full trolley in a free position. Then you look back at the guard tower and see that only a single digit has ticket over. Nine more minutes of this. Your extra time is up. This is the time they got for free. Fifteen minutes from about ten other workers. One hundred and fifty extra free minutes of work. If anyone put down their actual finish time then they’d be thrown out on the spot, and you’d have to have a pretty fuckin expensive lawyer to get your extra three bucks back. So no one complained, and no one sued. We all just drove home. By now it was early in the morning. One of the guys who had just finished the same shift I had knocked on my car window just as I was starting her up, ‘hey mate, you’re tires flat.’ I acknowledged this with a ‘oh, cheers’ and an equally flat nod. And so I drove to the nearest petrol station. There I pulled up next to the tire pump station. ‘At the very lest,’ I thought, ‘I could just keep filling up to and from the warehouse so I can avoid the pigs.’ That was more important than my life at that time - avoiding the pigs. Those fucking leeches of society. From my experience dying was a far less excruciating experience than having to deal with our dear enforcers of order. No matter, my tire took the air well enough and I managed to get home without getting harassed or hounded by any of Melbourne’s ‘finest.’ By the time I got home it was about 6am. The only time left in my day was for a quick shower and then straight into bed to rest my sore muscles. I stripped down naked and turned the hot water on in my shower. As I waited for the water to finally heat up I looked at myself in the small shaving mirror that was held on my wall. One of the things I had purchased myself and that somehow slipped under the real-estate managers nose - probably because it improved the look of the place and there was no way I would be able to take it with me. My eyes were sunken and had dark rings all about them, my nose was red and running blue, my lips cracked and my beard was in an incredibly disheveled state. Despite working physically for more than eight hours each day for more a fair while now my body had plumped up and my joints and belly were now criss-crossed with stretch marks that represented the main areas where I would have to flex and bend unnaturally in order to lift and move benches and legs of marble and stone. Beyond this my body had started packing on fat since I never had any energy at the end of a day to actually exercise, and I especially had no time to cook anything healthy and mostly survived on fast food. My blood shot eyes gazed back at myself with nothing but hatred. If I had been paying attention I would have realised that the shower had already heated up and that I was wasting what little hot water I had for that night. But I was only paying attention to the hatred in my eyes. The hatred I had for myself - for what I had become. Finally my attention was broken when a thick gob of spit worked its way up my esophagus and I spat the mighty blob right into my sink. Then I remembered the current state throat was in and that one of the main cures was washing in warm water. So I took my sunken eyes, my stretched skin and my fat into the shower in an attempt to alleviate just one of the things that this new job had cursed my body with. Now, then, the water turned cold and reminded me that my shower time was finished. I stepped out and let my naked body drip and allowed the cold air to envelop me fully. After a while of working in such as place as I worked the only way you could be reminded that you are alive is through pain. After all, what joy could I possibly gain from living? There was no time to find a partner of any kind, no time to gather with friends or family or even people who wished me well. The only meals I had were either alone or with people who would consider conversation to be a competitive technique. The only person I had in my life was myself and that hateful spirit in the mirror. I walked to bed still completely naked. My clothes would await me on the bathroom floor tomorrow. But tonight My body was mine and mine only and I would subject it to tortures that only I could conjure. On the way to the bed I removed a bottle of Johnnie Walker from the cupboard and immediately poured a glass. Drinking at 6:30am had become a habit of mine lately. Then I pulled out a cigarette and lit it. All the while I pulled my blanket up over my chest. I was finally warm and content. The tortures that my body would endure were the ones that I made on my own. They were for myself and of myself. They weren’t dictated by the floor manager in his overlook, and they weren’t made by customers in far off places of Victoria - people I would never meet in places I would never have the privilege to go - they were made by me, with my limited funds and in my cramped room. Read Part 3 here.
It was five o’clock in the morning and X Gon Give It To Ya (Dirty) sounded from my phone on the bedside bench. After slapping it silent I looked around the room I found myself caught in - the windows were frosted with cold and everything outside my blankets froze caused my extremities to freeze. My uniform was hanging in my closet. I quickly put it on - blue ‘workers pants’ from Kmart, a black t-shirt from the local second hand store that was covered by a sweater my mother had purchased for me years before, and atop that was a denim jacket. At this rate and at this time I would already be late for work, so I didn’t have nearly enough time to wash, or have breakfast, or brush my teeth. All I had time for was to get into my car and drive. Down two floors of stairs I went. My legs ached from the previous days work, but it made less painful when I leaped down four steps at a time. One day I might even be able to leap down all eight stairs and maybe then I wouldn’t feel anything at all. That was all I could really hope for in the morning. All I ever hoped for each morning - to not feel pain. As I got to my car a familiar sight greeted me - one of my neighbours. We exchange the bare necessary pleasantries. I’m only more familiar with him than anyone else here because I helped him bring a washing machine into his apartment one day, and from that day onward we were forever connected in the bond of fellow labourers with no real social connections. I got in my car and started it up and waited for the engine to warm up. Breakfast wasn’t important, showering wasn’t important, teeth weren’t important - all could be lost without having actually lost anything; but an losing a job could cost you your life. Then my neighbour gave me news that would have led to an even more unfortunate situation than I was in - my tire was flat. ‘Hey wait,’ he shouted as he waved his hand and kept me from going. I wound down my window and asked him ‘what’s up?’ ‘you’re front right tire’s flat.’ At this I got out and checked. Alas, it was flat against the ground and the car had a clear tilt towards the front right side. It would only get even worse when I got inside it. But what could I do from here? I stood staring at the impossible situation that had randomly fallen before me. ‘Hey man, I’ll call an Uber for you.’ I looked at this stranger. I never even knew his name. He was just simply the man who I had helped get some electric shit into his shitty little apartment sometime before. Now here he was offering me more grace than my employer would ever give me. It would easily be $15 to get me to the factory that night, not to mention how I would get back. I couldn’t take this persons money, and I couldn’t afford to lose whatever I would end up earning that night. I got in my car with the still flat tyre and I saw that the engine was warmed up enough, so I turned to my neighbour and thanked him for his offering, but ‘I’ll just fill it up at the 7-11 nearby’ is what I said. I couldn’t get any help, I couldn’t fill it up, I couldn’t change the tire, I simply couldn’t do anything at this time except rush to work and hope that no pigs would pull me over and throw me in the slammer. For some reason losing the tyre and being involved in a massive auto accident that would cause my death was far less scary than ever having to interface with the police, and that was nothing compared to losing this job that I had been in search of for months now. Because I knew that death is unbiased, but due to my poverty I knew that any interaction with the police would either lead to my losing a days worth of work by going to visit the court house, or it would lead to my losing a days worth of work having to pay a pointless fine. It might even end in me no longer having any employment, which would lead to a fate worse than death. That’s essentially the life of a lower class worker in today’s Australia - waste all your time looking after the police, or waste all your time looking after the politicians. Well, thankfully I am extremely observant and I managed to cheat a few cop cars and I managed to make my way to work on a flat tyre and I was only ten minutes late. I tried to sneak my way in. I knew the numerical combination to get into the storage room that included all the overalls and the face masks and the glasses and other OSHA shit that the company included because they wanted to minimise any potential law suites. So I threw on a plastic overall type thing, put on a mask that, after thirty minutes of online research, I had learned actually did nothing to protect against silicosis. Then I walked onto the factory floor and signed my name in for having gotten in half-an-hour earlier. Walking to my section I attempted to act as inconspicuous as possible. After a few months of this work I had learned that this movement consisted of walking with a sort of meek determination; as if you thought you could be more than you are. But you needed to balance it out with an attitude that emanated that you weren’t worth anything. When you work in a factory your entire life consists of oxymorons. You need to work hard enough to be promoted to manager, but if you dare work that hard then you’ll be given a hard time by the current floor managed because they can’t afford to have anyone show any capability - especially if they show the same ability for less money. So if you work too hard you’ll be given a hard time, and if you don’t work hard enough you’ll also be given a hard time. And hard time means recommendation for working over the weekend - and since we were all technically contract workers then working over the weekend didn’t come with any overtime benefits. It just meant wasting your weekend because your limp dicked floor manager thought you were too big or too small or not good enough for you boots.