Wednesday, July 4


THE OFFICE MANAGER was walking past when she called out to me – ‘You need to book a holiday! You haven’t been away all year!’ She was trying to ensure that I did not rush all of my holiday at the end of the year – which I always do – but I convinced myself that she was looking out for my wellbeing. The contractor on one of my jobs told me the same thing – ‘You need a holiday.’ That was when we were stood next to the cash machine, in the drizzle.
‘Where would you go?’ he asked me.
‘Somewhere with some sun; some nice things to look at; architecture; old things; sights; somewhere with good wine.’ And on we walked in the drizzle.
I need a holiday. There is no doubt of that. I haven’t left this miserable grey slab in over two years. I must be dying at a rate that is unforgiveable. It is not that easy. I need to choose somewhere and to not go there alone, but who to go with? So, instead, I just dream occasionally of someplace that fulfils all of my romantic fancies. Sun would be good for me; just to lie in sand with some tobacco and beer and enough sunshine to make me squint and to turn my skin less pale. Meanwhile the weather here fails to acknowledge the season. And we walk on in the drizzle.
Flies fill my room. They buzz around noisily and tap against the window. One landed next to me while I was masturbating, so I stopped and flicked it off of my mattress. I heard its heavy body ping against my bin made of tin. The noise echoed. The buzzing stopped. When I roll down my blinds at night the bodies of flies fall from it, disturbed. They lay there on the floor, perfectly crisp, but I don’t sweep them up because, ultimately, I am indifferent to their presence, as long as they don’t make any noise. It is their noise as I am trying to sleep that troubles me the most, without reason or respite. I lie there and think of things to fall asleep to. My spine is a liquid – that is what I imagine – and the liquid is warm and is being stirred. And then a fly shoots past my ear. It all goes back to when I was in France attempting to write and simultaneously drinking myself to death. Every morning I woke up to flies waltzing on my cheeks, dozens of them, sucking up the sweat I brewed at night. We never got along.
The seagulls don’t like me much, either. The other day one of them swooped down and pecked my head. This happened after a rotten day and a rotten journey home and all I wanted to do was sleep or write into a stupor, but, no, a seagull swooped down and pecked my head, to the left of my crown. It startled me. I dashed home and stood in the shower, scrubbing my hair. I thought of all the fish guts the thing had spewed up for its brats.
It was those train station gulls that encircled my father’s friend when he came to dinner a couple of Sundays ago. He was a Scottish man who did not drink. Just tea. He worked his way through cup after cup of tea. A saint, I reasoned. I was just minding my own business with a beer. Sundays are good for drinking without meaning to get drunk. He didn’t drink, though. When I sat down for dinner, he and I started to talk. He was full of knowledge and, packing paella into my mouth, I christened him the most intelligent man I had ever met. His accent made listening to him even more charming. I was full of wonder of him! The first person in years whom I considered intelligent to the full! Aware of history and art! I even quoted Joyce to him and he ignored my father and asked me what I read then proceeded to recommend book after book to me. I wrote them all down. I never said hello to him but I made sure to say good-by, gripping his hand warmly as I could.
None of that matters when I am drinking in the city at night. Then I am fending for myself. Such effort is required for me to avoid – as my friend calls it – my ‘dark place’ and yet to move as part of the crowd.
She put her hands into my pockets and grabbed my prick. I tried not to pay her any mind. Like the flies I could ignore her presence as long as she didn’t make any noise. I had been sucked into talking to her and now could not escape. She continued to stroke me where nobody could see.
‘Don’t go home tonight,’ she told me.
‘Stay with me. Let’s fuck.’
‘Don’t worry about that.’
I did worry about that. It was a matter that I wanted cleared up immediately.
‘I will worry about that. Where?’
‘It doesn’t matter. Leave it to me. I’ll sort it out. I want you to fuck me.’
‘Hmm, well in that case we should go now because I don’t want to drink anymore.’
‘No. Drink with me.’
I did not feel like it. She excused herself for the toilet and asked me to get her another drink; whatever I was having, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to get another beer. I picked up my bag, tossed my cigarette and ran out.
It felt good to be out of the club. The breeze was fresh. I was worried that she might come after me. She did not. The night was mine alone again. The train would leave soon. And off I walked in the drizzle, again.

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