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April 18th, 2012, 08:38 PM
Cleaning out a dusty and long-neglected (perhaps ten or fifteen years!) corner of a storage room in my home just now I found a piece I had started quite a few years ago. I have a vague recollection of where this was heading, but not enough to finish it at this time; however it's been so long since I've last shared with this lovely forum that I thought this was an excellent opportunity. And so...
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Timing is everything, he had said, on many occasions. The Time, the Place, and the People, he would always emphasise. Indeed, his own timing was tantamount to what transpired, what I am about to relate, for if he had arrived on any other night I surely would have been much more guarded in my considerations of his proposition.

It had been something of a long year for me, as I reached my mid-twenties, and had finally attained that which I thought (or had been convinced) I sought after; a steady job. I was content for some time, set myself to schedule and budget, afforded myself ample socialising, and collected unto myself various and nearly plentiful personal comforts. My return home was always a pleasure, for I was a bachelor, so to speak, and lived alone in a familiar haven of my own creation. Furniture to my taste, music of my choice in the air, complex aromas of my own culinary expeditions greeted my each return, and I dare say that there were not a few early mornings when I would sit up, hiccoughing and smoking at my table in a blissful state of pride. Yes, I was very proud of how well I was looking after myself.

To be fair, I did have some help, in the forms of two ladyfriends whom graced me with their company now and then. From my earliest memories I have always been clumsily in awe of the beautiful female enigma, I have always noticed a near-tangible glow that radiates from their eyes and shining skin, and tho this day my involuntary systems absolutely race in the presence of comely women. It is no matter whether I am seeing a lady for the first or the four-thousandth time; I find myself endlessly excited, intimidated, and, as I say, in awe. Because of these feelings, and the ever-present possibility of an unexpected visit from one of my ladyfriends, I kept my home and person presentable.

After nine months or so, incubating in such a state, I experienced my first sensations of doubt. I remember clearly, retuning home from a visit with a ladyfriend, and being very bored with the sight of my home. I stood, or rather swayed, in the apartment doorway, noticing for the first time how damned tacky the place looked. All of my little ornaments and mementos and decorations seemed so homogenised, so exemplary of global free trade, so very indicative of how I had been duped by clever advertising without even realising!

In my usual way I calmed myself with a drink, told myself evenly and confidently that a lifetime awaits me, and that I was doing very well for myself, after a quarter of a century. With a dismissive chuckle I would set myself to a satisfying endeavour, thus quenching any suspicions that my existence had petered out to a thinly disguised regularity prematurely.

Back to work I went, collected my checks, further expanded my belongings, and enjoyed electric, romantic nights with my ladyfriends. For weeks, months, I would walk on air, exuding the loud confidence of a happy man. For what was I wont? That which I desired I purchased. When I needed affection it was there for me. As the news-agencies reported recession and hard times I was steadily at work for a decent wage.

Still, from time to time, as I slouched on the couch, sucking down vodka as a bee taps flowers for nectar, making mental agendas for approaching months, I realised, again, how stagnant and cyclical my ways had grown.

I am an artist, you see. Since my youth, several forms of expression have called to me, and given me great pleasure and fulfillment, and I have never stopped believing that I could someday make a living as an artist. What has changed since the carefree days is the amount of time, energy, and effort I reserve for such pursuits. Rather than the bulk of my time and strategies aimed at said creations, I found myself driven by the Job, a marionette controlled by the nimble and talented fingers of young women, a tamed lion leaping through hoops of rent, and taxes, and credit, and an implanted notion of "success".

I say the notion was implanted because my instinctive ideas, as a developing young man, were vastly different. My youthful mind expected nothing less than throngs of swooning fandom, special appearances in the most illuminated of places, private extravagant parties of the martini-swilling creme de le creme, and endless interviews from young, artsy, eager journalists. I was sure that in history books to come my name would be there, alongside Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Beethoven...one of the inexplicable, incomparable, induplicable Greats!

Yet there I sat, upon my couch, sucking down Smirnoff, content to have one and a half weeks' pay to spend at my leisure. Family and friends -- all rats at the tracks themselves -- would pat me on the back, and say, "Ah, you're doing so well, Billy!" , "Proud of you, Billy-boy." , and "Why, you could even afford a car, my son!"

Some years have passed now, and I am inclined to think that if he, that is Alowishus, had not found me that particular night I would have passed through my malaise, numbed myself to the throes of snatching at dreams so recently real, and settled into a holding pattern of resignation and acceptance, and perhaps even pride would trickle back into my bloodstream as I received a paltry salary wage, and perhaps, further, I would feel satisfied that I had achieved, nay, that I was the American Dream!

This, though, as I have alluded, is not what came to pass, in large part on account of the timeliest of visits from Alowishus A. Wylocre. Alowishus was one of my dearest, dearest friends and inspirations from child-hood, a mad hatter from the delivery room. It is difficult to describe such a person without detailing in volumes his many misadventures, triumphs, lectures, and slapstick farces, for you see, absolutely everything he did seemed to reflect back on something premonitory which came before. Add to that that he had the quixotic chameleon effect of at times appearing regal and infinitely wise, others like a simple, rambling, stinking drunkard.

There was always something remarkable about him, that undeniable. If he were to march across a stage in a full theatre-house in a line of twenty men the crowd would immediately notice three men; the handsomest, the ugliest, and Alowishus. Why? Who's to say? Remarkably, he could also pass absolutely without trace through any black tie affair, or a smelly drinking session with the undesirables of the Bowery. Such men are not actually as rare as one might think. The difference with Alowishus -- and he would certainly swell with pride to know I said as much -- was his timing. Even as he disappeared, at age twenty-two to places unknown, in the back of my mind I fully expected him to return at any moment with the oddest, yet most spectacular achievement under his belt, and a strange trophy in a strange case in a strange home in a strange city to prove it all.

He did return, something like that, though really not at all.

In the month before his arrival a consequential chain of events had, well, unraveled in my daily routine. In early November my blonde ladyfriend somewhat matter-of-factly informed me that she would entertain me no longer, for she had acquired a boyfriend. I was a bit surprised, because she was a very honest and open woman, and had made no mention of any blossoming romance. Alas, I found myself with little to say, and so said "good-bye", and suddenly felt very lucky to know my darker-haired ladyfriend.

I should say that, without lying, I did my best to conceal the ladyfriends from each other. Women, however, have such a keen sense of smell that I am sure they knew, if for no other reason than that they both made sly hints at the presence of the other. Accordingly, when my darker-haired ladyfriend noticed the absence of the other, she perhaps felt less inclined to impress me, and soon acquired a "boyfriend" of her own.

I was returning from my favourite cafe, where the madamoiselle had just taken her final bow, feeling very empty and achy inside. I had not hitherto realised just how important the two ladies had been to my sense of confidence, and well-being. I trudged into my home heavy-hearted, and set to heavy drinking. Finally, I was truly upset with myself for slipping into such a humdrum normalcy, losing my grip upon the twine that led to grandeur in such a few short years! I thought of returning to my work, I shuddered as I considered life without lovers, and I spat on my very floor, impotently fuming with vague rage.

My telephone rang out sharply in the night, and I laughed aloud, smiling wickedly, and thought to myself, "You see, Billy? All is not lost. Here is one of those beautiful girls now, calling to beg forgiveness and to invite themselves over. You can relax."

I allowed the phone to ring many times, picturing in my mind with relish the playful eyes of the blonde round with desperation, the shining eyes of the brunette dark with regret. Finally, I answered, in a very offhanded, almost bored voice, "Hello..."


It was the voice of a monster. Warbly and cracked, deep and seemingly inhuman.


"Yes, this is he. Who's this?"

"Awishes. Isme Billy. I'm down your strit."

"I'm sorry...who?"

"Al - O - Wishus, you filthy sod! I'm on m'way. Lemme in, I'll be righ' there."

And that was all. Dead line. I was puzzled, yet excited to the teeth.

April 23rd, 2012, 08:06 AM

This short is intriguing and leaves me wondering why exactly his friend is calling, and what he wants. For me it didn't really start to grip me until he returned from the cafe. The first few sentences grabbed my attention, but I wanted to know immediately where that was headed, what the friend was like, and how he fit in with this main character. Scenes of his interaction with the friend separated by flashbacks to his old life would combine past and present well. Just an opinion, though.

I really look forward to seeing if you flesh this out because it's definitely intriguing and I wanna know what happens. Cheers!