Sunday, June 24, 2012

Act locally.

An attempt to write in the old AAYL style, an odd seven, eight - whatever - years later. 

Please note : The following contains a language warning. Say it quick and it washes down smooth.


The Bentley Turbo was being serviced. I’m at the Subiaco train station, on the platform, waiting for the 10 to 6, sitting on one of the trendy, terrible metal benches. Out of a range of options and empty seats, a guy comes up to me on the platform. He says, hi, in a dull voice, and sits down on the seat next to me. I’m sitting aloof yet tense. The dull voice man shouts to someone on the opposite platform. He holds up his hands and screams what. I’m less aloof, tenser now. Hey, he says. I can understand this. Hello, I say. He shouts again. I turn in my seat; guess which direction. Vis-à-vis: a Perspex security booth overlooks the tracks. There’s movement from the guards in orange jackets. They exit their booth and head for the escalator. Uh-oh, says dull voice. We’re in for it now. I’m still looking away, praying for train. He screams again, I’m not sure what. He touches me on the arm. Hey. Is he going to ask me about my pool cue? Look at this. I’m going to be busted for this. He has a bullet in his hand. Look at this. He pushes the head of the bullet. The head opens and flame comes out. It’s a lighter, he tells me. Wow, is my reply. Here come the guards along the platform. I guess they’re doing a sort of creep, a security creep. It’s standard stuff: one guard in front, the other guard ready to flank. Dull voice talks first. You’ve already told me about this! You can’t bust me for this! It’s a lighter! He waves the bullet. That’s a .762, says the guard in front. You can’t bust me for this! He pulls on the head and the flame comes out. Show me how it works? Dull voice pulls the head again. The guards both nod. They walk for a little, down the platform. Dull voice stands and walks in the opposite direction. I’m still sitting. The train pulls into the station. The guards are at one end. Dull voice is at the other. They’re eyeing each other. The train is only two cars long and it is packed. The doors open. Out come the commuters. In go the new passengers. Dull voice goes with them. I stand up. I’m waiting on the platform. So are the guards. The doors shut. The train leaves. The guards watch it go. They walk back up the stairs. The next train is set to arrive in four minutes. The minutes and hours pass. It’s inevitable. I’m walking to the Fremantle train station. South Terrace is empty and every shop is shut. There’s a girl in front of me. The train leaves in four minutes. I’ve got a few blocks to go. I try to overtake her on the left; she moves left. I try the right; she moves right. Before I know it, I’m stalking. I manage to overtake her. I am going to make the train? Outside the historic Fremantle train station, there is shouting. There’s the security in their ubiquitous orange jackets. Two young men? Three young men? Two men. One is pushing away the other. The other is very irate. The guards are trying to get them out of the station. They disentangle. There’s no traffic, I’m quick walking over the zebra crossing. They’re coming the other way. I’m going to smash those cunts, he proclaims. Nah man, don’t. There’s no other entrance to the station, here I come. The guards are walking back. The other third man is still shouting his dissatisfaction. The man drops a comforting arm from the other’s shoulders. Time to avoid eye contact. They pass. Fuck you, screams the third man to the guards. The guards aren’t smiling. They aren’t doing much of anything. There’s more pandemonium inside the station. There are more guards – they must be breeding – and more young men. These men are another group. I pick the gaps and walk through them. It seems some of the men know the men from outside. The guards are trying to figure who to let on the train and who not to. Someone with coiffed hair is shouting that they didn’t have no alcohol. 1 minute before the train leaves the station. I buy a ticket. All aboard! No one says that. The real guards are on the train: the railway patrol guards. The railway patrol guards are both white. Graham is massive. Easy a 6’3. Cassie is 5’2. They’re the yin and yang of train security. Graham has a high, effeminate voice. Maybe he has a thyroid problem. When Cassie opens her mouth, I’m disappointed to find she has a high, effeminate voice. I sit where I sit. The young men are allowed on the train. Cassie and Graham tell them to sit at the end of the carriage. There’s a whole carriage length between us. When’s the train leaving? Thirty seconds. Ok, I’m counting – it’s now twenty seconds. Yeah, the train leaves now! The doors shut. Oh good, I got to twenty and I couldn’t count any higher. I’m now talking to Block. Nicknamed after a block of wood. Or a fucking Chevy bloc or fucking something. Like always, he asks me what is that? I tell him that it's my pool cue. But it has a strap so I can wear it over my shoulder. He tells me the case is shorter than his guitar case. He’s tells me about guitars and heavy metal. I’m going yep, and nodding, and mmhmm and oh, yeah. Block has to take out his headphones whenever I say anything. Which isn’t often. He’s telling me about tube and valve amps. And BC Richs and ESP and LTD and I don’t know what. His guitars are genuine as they have the proper badge. They’re not made in China. It’s my bitch. Get it? BC Rich = B-itch! If anyone touches it I’ll fucking smash them. Just like you would if someone touched that. He points at the cue case. Oh, yeah. I, uh, say. Heavy Metal changed when Dimebag was killed. He was shot on stage. More nodding, guess who? Block produces a pill case. He opens it and is picking through a range of pills. I offer up that I like heavy metal. Like, really like it. Really. We talk about Metallica. Megadeth. Sepultura. The early, brutal shit like Arise, Roots. Do I like Disturbed? No. Have I heard Bodycount? Ice-T! He’s lived it. He comes from the streets. The ghetto! Protect your fucking neck! I come from the south ghetto, too. The south of Kwinana. He empties the pill case into his hand. Oh yeah? What? Block has to take out his ear buds again. I said, oh yeah, I say. Yeah, he says. Some of the pills bounce off the floor of the train carriage. The guards start checking commuter’s tickets. I don’t see why those cunts are fucking doing that. They saw me fucking pay for a ticket. The guards walk over and ask for tickets. Cassie asks me what the case is for. Graham and Cassie open the doors to the accordion connection and go into the other carriage. The young men at the end get louder. Block looks. I manage not to. Do you know what these are? He holds out a pill. I shrug. Guess! He says. I don’t know. This is a tombstone. It’s Risperdal. It’s like Rohypnol. Like the date rape drug. It’s an anti-psychotic. I mean, not that I would date rape anyone. Take ten of those and it knocks you out. Or a few or something, depending on what you’re used to. He holds up another pill. This is a Xanax. Do you know about them? Yeah. Anti-anxiety, I get nervous and anxious and shit. This is a Valium. Another pill. This is Serax. It helps you sleep, he tells me. I was on the train the other day and I was looking through my pills. There was three Noongar. The guards re-enter through the doors to watch over the young men. They all came up to me. They said, hey bro, give me one! I said take it! They said, there is three of us. We’ll take you down! Block stands up. I said, take them, take them from me, you cunts! They said, you’re racist, you called us black cunts, you white cunt. I said, no, you are racist, I didn’t say you’re a black cunt, I just said you’re a cunt. I didn’t call you black, but you called me white. So you’re the fucking racists, you cunts. The girl next to us stops pretending to ignore what we're saying and starts to flinch. I decide not to pursue the conversation further and don’t nod or mmhmm or fucking something. Block settles down. He pulls out his headphones and, when he notices no one is talking to him, reinserts them. He looks at the guards. It’s pretty good these days. It used to be much worse. It’s ok now. It’s weird; a few days back there was Indians as guards. Like, heaps of fucking Indians. I don’t get it. Oh, yeah. Yeah, twice as many. The train stops. A young guy enters before the doors shut. He sits down and sucks in a breath. Block notes the stop. I look at the LCD display hanging from the roof but don’t catch where we are. Hey bro, did you just escape from the mental hospital? Nah, nah, I had to jump off and jump back on, when I saw the guards. I didn’t have a valid ticket. His face is pale and puffed up. His eyes are rheumy and there is a sort of red dust on the front of his shirt. His eyes get focused. What is that? It’s a pool cue case. Wow. Are you a pro? Nah, I’m not a professional, I tell them. If I was a pro, I wouldn’t be taking the train. I don’t mention that the Bentley is in the shop. Block points. What are those fucking zips? They’re for chalk. They nod. I open the pocket and show them some grey Player chalk from Chicago. You are a pro! The rheumy-eyed kid says something. I lean forward. He dials in a call on his phone. He says it again. What? Outside the windows, the view goes black. A wind roars. The noise is too great. He says it again. What? His call connects. I give up. I stand up. It’s my stop. I shake Block’s hand and tell him it’s good to meet him. He agrees. He holds eye contact and the shake for a moment too long. I wait by the doors. Hello, hello? says the rheumy-eyed kid. Cassie informs him that the signal always cuts out in the tunnel. The young men exit at the end of the carriage. I wait on the station platform. The same orange coat security guards are still on shift and shepherd the group of men onto Rokeby Road and unleash them upon Subiaco. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Everybody's crying for you

Everybody’s crying for two,
everybody’s crying for you.
Everybody’s a streetwise motherfucker
so cynical, don’t know what to do
my heart was broken at the age of two
hoped it would mend, I laid eyes on you.
The streets outside were running with blood
at the drain hole, I fell through.
God please tell me what do,
or fix my car, I’ll drive far
from the human zoo.
The day she met
the father of her child,
she was rubbing and tugging for two
And when she left me; mind, mood
black and blue.
Everybody’s crying for two,
everybody’s crying for you.