Free short stories about Generation End

Archive for the ‘Jamie’ Category

EVERYTHING ALWAYS ENDS UP IN YOUR BATHROOM

Girl on couch red

Life has been stupid lately. I was hired by the luxury car dealership to be their copywriter/designer/marketing person/driver, and as I happily accepted their offer and happily accepted their stable pay slips everything else outside my working life began to deteriorate: I wrote less, I saw friends less, I boxed less, I woke up at five in the morning every day and slept at nine in the evening every day. I became the type of person I never wanted to become. But the money was amazing, and for the first time in a long time it was actually present in my life. Who the hell doesn’t like money?

It was also time to end whatever I was doing with Jamie. There were plenty of things I was growing to greatly dislike about Jamie. Her hair. The way she constantly ate. Her healthy drug addiction. Her face. Once, she sent me a video of her drunk and dirty dancing with a female friend, but it just didn’t look right. So I planned to end things once and for all the day after we went to her friend’s house warming.

“You’ll really get along with her crowd,” Jamie said as we drove there. “They’re all artist types. Your kind of people.”

The house warming was up north. The house was a big house, an old house, and every room smelt like their ugly dog: this big grey thing that fucked everything it looked at.

“You know what?” I asked Jamie. “Dogs hump everything but I never see them come. When do they come?”

After a bit of walking around, Jamie introduced me to her friend, Amy. Amy was wearing a bikini made out of garbage bags and staples. The words FUCK RU$$IA were painted again and again all over her legs. I looked at her, and then at Jamie. “I bet you guys are best friends because your names rhyme.”

“You’re absolutely right,” Amy said without smiling.

With the exception of Amy and a guy in a Hawaiian shirt, everyone else in that party wore extremely tight jeans, thick-rimmed glasses and either a piercing on their nose or multiple piercings on their ears, or both. Most of them were freelance graphic designers, freelance web designers, freelance copywriters, baristas, interns, drama students or painters who haven’t painted anything yet.  The guy in the Hawaiian shirt turned out to be a writer.

“So I hear you’re a writer, too,” he said.

“Sometimes I think I am.”

“You should read my book,” he said. “It’s about these two characters trapped on an island. I’m going to submit it for a Vogel award.”

“Really?”

“Yeah I presented it at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival last year. It’s just gripping, you know? Well, more shocking than gripping, because you see the breaking of innocence. These two characters, they’re this innocent older couple, married a few years, just wanting to have a vacation in an exotic island they saw advertised online. But then, the horrors that happen to them… as I was telling my friends in my writer’s meetup… it’s quite a literary experience. Because every assumption you, the reader, will have, will be broken.”

“I’ll be sure to Google you.”

“I have a copy of the book over there,” he said, “you know, if you want to buy it now.”

“I don’t have money,” I said. “But I’ll look you up.”

“Jamie told me you had money.”

“Jamie’s a liar.”

You’re a liar,” he hissed before walking off.

“Hey.”

I turned around. It was Amy. “You scared the shit out of me.”

“Let me show you something,” she said, her eyes wide. She was high. She brought me to her bathroom, which was crammed with about four other people. She opened her mouth and showed me her tongue, which had a pill on it, and kissed me before grabbing a bottle of beer and pouring its contents down my throat. She kissed me again, grabbed another pill, pulled her garbage bag bottoms down, and forced it up her anus. Her eyes fluttered; she smiled.

She placed another pill on my index finger. “Your turn.”

“What is it?” I looked around at the four other people in her bathroom: one was passed out, two were making out, one was just wide-eyed, staring at me, smiling, drooling.

“All that matters is that you swallow one, and push the other one up yourself. It’s like, so much better than meditating.”

I did it, and then I smiled at Amy, and she smiled back at me, and I told her that I’m going to be afraid to sniff my finger or scratch my eye for the entire night. She ignored me and began telling me about Buddhism. About veganism. About capitalism. About how we need to change our ways. About this book called The China Study. She squeezed my balls, and I screamed, and then she laughed. She took my hand and guided me to her bedroom and we drank things, lots and lots of things, and then we took turns with her fancy looking bong, and then we argued about something I no longer remember – all I remember was that the argument quickly became a horrific one. I began to strangle her, and then she began to strangle me, and as our faces turned red and as our eyes began bulging we both let go and laughed. I ran to the bathroom and washed my hands and then got the fuck out of there. I saw Jamie on the way out and I gave her the finger and told her that I hated her before running – sprinting – out of the house. I saw my car and I ran on top of it, and I kept running. I wanted to run home. I knew it would take days to run home, but I wanted to run home. I was so happy. I texted some people. I hadn’t been that happy in months, years, ever. I looked up, at how clear things were and decided, then and there, that I wanted to be a fireman, because firemen got the girls. I sat down, crossed my legs, and began listening to something by Buddy DeFranco, whoever the hell he was. For some reason Jamie was behind me again, and her eyeliner was just so pretty and so perfect, and we were in her bathroom and she was giggling and beautiful warm water was running down both of us. I was also giggling. I asked her if I pissed my pants and she said Yes, you prick! You pissed all over me. I told her that she was my best friend, and that I loved her and that I wanted to impregnate her, twice. She was turning transparent. She pulled out the razor blade she used to shave her legs and began shaving my pubic hairs, and I told her not to, but she did, and I kissed her, and then I suddenly died and I saw blood everywhere and Jamie screamed, but then I came back to life! I came back to life! I woke up to my phone buzzing.

Everything was dark. I fumbled around and eventually managed to pick it up – my head was spinning and everything was throbbing, and I could barely make out what the person was saying so I kept asking them, “What?” until I was finally able to comprehend a tiny piece of it: the person, a sobbing young girl, kept saying again and again and again, “Ariel is dead. She killed herself, we need some money to pay for…” and everything shrank, and the darkness of the room kind of crumbled and gave way to even more darkness, and I yelled and I cried and Jamie asked me what was wrong and I kept yelling and screaming until I fell back to sleep.

AMBITIOUS KIDS

Girl in bed with mobile phoneI was in a bad mood about something and I found myself sitting at the RE with two guys and two girls. One guy was working, the other guy was unemployed. The two girls were studying at uni or design college or something. None of them were smokers.

“So?” One of the guys, the fat one, asked everyone.

“So what?” One of the girls giggled.

“Who wants to be rich?”

“I think we all want to be rich.” I shrugged. “The hell’s your point?”

“You know, like, I’m sick of how corporations operate,” the unemployed guy said. “I’m sick of how we have to work for people, you know? And in the end we get nothing while they get to sleep in beds of money. Plus, no matter how much work we do for a company, they won’t even remember us when we leave. And that’s not if they make us redundant beforehand.”

“You’re absolutely right,” one of the girls said after putting down her phone. “I don’t even know why I’m studying. It’s not like we’ll be using what we learn in real life anyway.”

The other girl nodded. “Do you know how many of my sister’s ex-classmates are still unemployed? They graduated a year ago.”

“You know what?” The fat guy asked everyone. “Why don’t we fucking start a business?”

The other guy nodded. “We should,” he said, looking around at all of us. “Us five. We’ve all got our talents. We totally should. It’s time that we make a difference.”

“Steve Jobs started in the garage.”

“I don’t want to start in a garage,” one of the girls complained. “There’s five of us, we can all chip in for some place a bit nicer than that.”

“Yup,” one of the guys agreed.

“What kind of business shall we do?” One of the girls asked. “My aunt, she–”

“We need to do something that’s important,” the fat guy said. His beard was moist from his beer. “Something that’ll change the world, but will make us lots of money at the same time. Something that will make us passive income, so after we build it, we don’t have to put much work into it after it’s all set up. It has to be online. We need to revolutionise the internet.”

“How about something to do with memes?”

“I know a guy who’s really good at making memes. He has this meme Facebook page that has like, five hundred thousand followers on it because he just keeps spamming it with funny memes about banking. Some company offered him thirty thousand dollars for it but he wants to build his followers up even more so he can sell it for like, a hundred thousand dollars.”

“This friend of a friend of mine,” one of the girls, the one who was sober, said, “he started this website full of just these terms that everyone searches for on Google, and he just filled it with these memes and put Google ads in there and now he makes like ten thousand a day from Google ads. Then he like gets people’s email addresses, puts them in a database, and sells those email addresses for thousands of dollars each. It’s fuckin’ easy money. Then all you have to do is put that money into real estate and bitcoin and you’re set for life.”

“That’s awesome,” one of the guys said, leaning forward. “I’m actually really interested in selling databases to bigger marketing companies.”

“This is exciting,” squealed one of the girls.

“It sure is.”

“When shall we have a meeting?”

“How about tomorrow?”

“I’m busy tomorrow,” the drunk girl said.

“Yeah, me too.”

“Day after?”

“I’ll have to ask what my boyfriend says first.”

“Yeah, and actually, maybe I should get some real world experience by working for someone for a few years, you know? Then, like, once I’ve been hands on in a corporation, I’ll be able to know more about what works and what doesn’t. Plus, I need to pay my rent.”

“This is scary,” the fat guy said. “And I’m tired.”

“Shall we just organise the first meeting over Facebook?”

“Okay,” the girl said. “But I promised Zoe I won’t use Facebook until uni starts again.”

“How about someone just text us and we go from there?”

“Hey did any of you guys happen to watch Catching Fire?”

“Jennifer Lawrence is hot.”

“Really? I don’t think she is. She cried throughout the whole movie, too.”

Vail picked me up, drunk, at about midnight. She parked outside her home and we walked inside and went upstairs to her bedroom. I looked around. Her room always surprised me, no matter how many times I’d been there before: it was huge.

She pulled out something that was wrapped in fancy looking wrapping paper. “I know this is late, but Merry Christmas, Dean.”

I opened it. It was a book: Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. The same book that Ariel kept trying to get me to read.

“Thanks?” I flicked through it.

She hugged me quickly before pulling away. “Maybe this year, you’ll be able to afford a decent meal. I want you to start learning how to make money, Dean.”

“What is it with everyone and money nowadays?”

“Nowadays? Money’s always been important. Anyway, where’s my present?”

I pulled something out of my pocket and gave it to her. She looked at it and smiled before punching me. “A twenty dollar JB Hi Fi gift voucher?”

“You can buy a CD with it or something.”

“You still buy CDs?” She kissed me on the cheek. “Thanks, Dean.”

We walked to her balcony and she poured us both wine and we spoke and spoke and spoke and didn’t shut up. Halfway through our conversation my iPhone vibrated. I pulled it out of my pocket: it was Jamie. I looked at her name on my screen for a moment, just glowing there, before putting my phone away.  “You know in my book,” I told Vail, “I wrote a story just about you.”

Vail smiled. “I know.”

She then told me about her recent breakup and how she didn’t want another boyfriend for another fifteen hundred years. She told me about how she was thinking of starting an online business, maybe about organic recipes or something, or maybe even something about Google ads, and that her dad was going to help her with some startup money. She said she wanted to make some good passive income from it, whatever the business was. We drank some more and spoke some more, and when we both started dozing off we stood up and walked inside. She took her clothes off and just stared at me, and I stared back. We both laughed. She said good night and I slept on the couch right in front of her bed.

SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS

Black and white Christmas treeI was alone again, just sitting there in Queen Street Mall, and it was a few days before Christmas, and for some reason I was thinking about Eva when this guy – scrawny, tall, dressed like a stereotypical homeless person, kind of held his right hand like a T-Rex would – circled around in front of me before stopping to ask me, “What the fuck are you looking at?”

“Certainly not you.”

“Why the fuck not, cunt?”

“Why should I?”

“You think you’re funny, cunt?”

“Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”

“I’m gonna fuck your fuckin’ mouth!” He muttered something else and walked off. I checked my mobile phone, glancing up once in a while to see if he’d return. He did.

“Hey you know what?” he asked me.

“What is it?”

“Scientists invented this microscopic gadget that attaches to sperm. They control the gadget, which controls the sperm, which is then implanted into sick people. Using remotes to control the microscopic gadget, they maneuver the sperm around inside the person, like a boat, and then find what needs to be fixed. Then the microscopic gadget fixes the person.”

“You’re lying.”

“I’m not. Google it.”

“Maybe I will.”

“Do it, cunt.”

The guy walked away, and so did I. I walked to Myer, where I said I’d meet Jamie. She looked tired. We looked around at everything that was on sale. She told me that because she has an Awards Card, she can buy things with her points. She bought a cream-coloured bra, a Jamie Oliver book. She bought me a belt. I bought her an electric eggbeater. She said thanks, and we hovered over to the perfume section and she spent an hour trying on different perfumes and asking me if I liked them. In the end she bought nothing, and she thought it was funny that she bought nothing. We walked through Queen Street mall, occasionally commenting about the giant statues that were placed all over the place just for Christmas.

JUDE AND ARIEL IN MY DREAM

confetti in blue dream - short story

There’s a rumour that’s going on about the world. That it’s ending. That food is running out, that resources are running out. There’s a rumour that the government, which is more than happy to spy on people but begins arresting them if anyone reveals any of its secrets, will one day control every single thing, even our thoughts, if they aren’t already. There’s a rumour of meteors coming, of demons rising out of the earth, of aliens raping young men. There’s a rumour about the sun exploding and wars getting worse and people being racist and people being bored and people being greedy and people eventually blowing each other up until all we have left is an entire island of shit.  But none of that matters. The only thing I’ve really been caring about is where I’m going to get my money from.

I was accepted for government assistance, and the money they gave me was much more than I made while doing freelance work or from selling my books. But it didn’t feel right. I had to regularly apply for jobs, no matter what the industry and distance from home. I had to regularly drive Jude’s car to Inala and line up with a bunch of other people and meet with someone and talk about what I’d been doing with myself and if I’d been applying for jobs properly. I didn’t want to tell them anything. I didn’t want to rely on the government for money.

One morning I called Centrelink, asked them to stop sending me assistance money (they said “okay” right away) and headed to the casino. I tried to imitate what my friends did while gambling and lost about four hundred dollars. I went to the library, updated Generation End, sent some short stories to arts magazines, looked up job ads and then covered my head and slept for a while. I had this dream about Ariel and Jude, and in the dream they were flying around and Jude was naked and his eggplant shaped (and coloured) penis was massive and he was giving me the finger. Ariel was crying and so was I.

“Are you angry at me?” I asked her.

“I’ll always be angry at you, Dean. I’ll always, like, resent you.”

She hovered right in front of my eyes and held my cheeks and we almost kissed, and I watched her eyes, her battered, bruised and swollen eyes, and her pupils were glittering; pushing her warm forehead against mine, she whispered something softly, tenderly, caringly: she told me that there are things that I should still love about myself, that there are things, although miniscule, that she still loves about me, and that I should have at least one thing to show for in this world, at least one fucking thing. I told her that she was beautiful and that I was sorry. She kissed my forehead and bruised it and I woke up thinking that I pissed my pants in public.

I drove to Kangaroo Point, went for a jog and stopped and stared at the river before spitting on it. I drove to a university and found my favourite shower and showered with a bar of soap I kept in a plastic bag; afterwards I sat on a bench and watched the students for a while, waiting for something dramatic or significant to happen. When nothing happened, I drove to a luxury car dealership with my resume and asked for the marketing manager. “Listen,” I told him. “I saw your ad and thought I’d apply in person.”

“Can you do press releases?” he asked me. He was a big guy.

“Yeah.”

“Social media?”

“Yeah,” I smiled.

“Events?”

“Sure.”

“CSS and PHP?” he asked.

“Yup.”

“Media buying?”

“Yeah sure, media buying is great. Did it heaps last year.”

“SEO?”

“Did SEO this morning.”

“Dealer Socket?”

“All the time.”

He narrowed his eyes. “You’re lying about a lot of these.”

“Well, isn’t everyone a liar in their own right?”

“No,” he said. “The people I work with are generally honest, hard working people.”

“I’ll get you a coffee,” I said. “Want a coffee? Shit, please. I’m a hard worker and I can write like hell and I’m desperate. Exploit my desperation!”

He said he was too busy for coffee, but he took my resume and smiled and said he might call me again because of my sense of humour, but just maybe. I left the dealership, did the same thing to three other businesses.  I drove to Jamie’s home and we watched DVDs (This is The End, American Psycho, Notebook) and I didn’t tell her that I’d been sleeping in Jude’s BMW for the past few weeks. She put her hand on my lap, and I looked at her, and she looked at me, and I opened my mouth but decided to close it again, and she sighed, and I drank double the amount of wine that she did.

 

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NEWS: My book of short stories, Surface Children, recently received a #1 and #2 ranking on Amazon’s Kindle store. GET A COPY.

HOW TO WRITE A BOOK AND NOT GET PUBLISHED

Rejection letter - Generation End

When I remember myself and when I remember my life it will all be portrayed in black and white. It won’t be in HD or 3D and it’ll be lower than low budget; the screen quality will be a little fuzzy and sometimes you’ll have to bang the screen to see it properly. A lot of the scenes, the scenes that weren’t really integral to the plot anyway, will be edited out. But they’ll still leave some repetitive bits and pieces in there to make it look kind of indie, like the scenes of me driving for hours, or the scenes of me just staring at the ceiling, or the scenes of me chucking a shit.

I’ve written about four or five novels, all unpublished and all repeatedly rejected by publishers and literary agents. For money, I’ve taken up a whole range of jobs.  I’ve delivered pizzas. I’ve worked in a butcher shop, a sushi shop, a noodle shop; I’ve worked as a copywriter for a major corporation. I hated them all.

Someone, I forgot who, once told me to keep writing books even if no one’s reading them. There’s a lot about what I do that I don’t often tell you about. In between all of my moments of love and loss and all that other shit are hours and hours of me sitting in front of a laptop, typing, or hours and hours of me writing things on napkins while I’m out, or several evenings when I tell people I can’t join them because I have to stay home to write or edit or work on a cover letter for a literary agent. Although I write about a lot of depressing things, I have to remain optimistic. Heartache may serve as fantastic fertiliser for good work, but all artists need optimism, no matter how unattractive it may be – our lives literally depend on it. Surface Children is the first “book” I’ll be publishing on my own. I know I keep saying this, but it’s almost done.

Anyway I only had one source of income and I fucked it up. I lost my only client – the two women who were paying me good money to write for them every week. Apparently I’d been missing all of my deadlines and had been drunkenly texting one of them, the one with the bigger ears, at four in the morning too often. They fired me via email.

“Ariel?”

“Yeah?”

“Did I wake you up?”

“You did,” she said softly. She was quiet for a while and I pictured her lying there with her eyes still closed. Eventually: “What time is it?”

“How the hell should I know?”

“Are you still coming by the bar tonight?”

I looked downwards, at me knee. “Yeah. Yeah, I’ll see you tonight.”

I picked my car keys up and drove to a shopping centre. I walked to an ATM and checked my account balance: there wasn’t much left. I just stared at the screen, at the numbers and the pixels, until someone behind me cleared their throat. I withdrew three hundred dollars to pay for Ariel for the evening and sat down in the food court somewhere and did nothing.

“Hey, stranger.”

I looked up. It was the girl from the clothing store, Jamie. “Hey.”

She looked at the empty table in front of me. “Having fun not eating lunch?”

“You can join me if you want.”

“My break’s nearly over,” she said, but sat down in front of me anyway. “You look sad.”

“Who doesn’t?”

“You’re not working today?”

I crossed my arms. “I don’t think I’m cut for work. I don’t like people baiting me with money to dictate how I spend the rest of my life.”

“You’re going to have to support a family with that mindset one day.”

I didn’t reply.

“You should start your own business,” she said finally.

“Want to have a drink with me?”

She looked at her watch. “Come get me at five? We can like, drink then.”

I drove to some kind of RSL club, went to the pokies and lost ten dollars. I went to the bar and ordered a house red, followed by a whiskey dry, followed by another house red. I drove home, went online and looked at job listings. I closed the window and went to the Centrelink website and started writing an application for income support but closed the window again. I read a book, threw it against the wall, picked it up, threw it against the wall again. I fell asleep, woke up and drove to the shopping centre and picked Jamie up at five forty. We drove, slowly, to some place near the city that she heard about. We had dinner, we had lots of drinks. In the parking lot she told me that she was going to pass out soon, and I turned my phone off, and, while looking outside my windscreen, she said, “It’s funny. It’s funny how, like, you can only see the stars when it’s dark outside,” and I put a sleeping pill in her mouth before taking one for myself and we both fell asleep in my car.

 

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SOME NEWS: I’ve almost completed editing my book of short stories, Surface Children. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe now to receive three free stories and be one of the first to find out of its release.