Free short stories about Generation End

Archive for the ‘Nights Out’ Category

LOVE CHECKLIST

love checklist are we free

“Being in a relationship is an easy yet complicated process.” This is what Christie started our conversation with.

“Really now.”

“At first it’s easy because there’s no checklist yet. There are no rules – you’re soaked in this, this unshakeable high. But then, once you get comfortable with the other person, a checklist emerges, and all of a sudden you find yourself looking at your lover and asking, ‘Do they fulfill my checklist?’ and in turn, they’re looking straight back at you and asking the exact same thing.” She played with her fork a little bit. “But then, but then it gets much more complicated. Because the checklist changes, because people change.”

“So when it comes to love or any kind of relationship, checklists can like, come and ruin everything.”

“That’s an odd way of seeing things.”

“So what’s your checklist of me?” I asked her.

“Are we in a relationship?” She smiled.

“Once upon a time I wrote down exactly who I wanted to be with on a piece of paper.”

“So did I.”

This amused me. “So we both have checklists.”

“I guess so.”

“Can’t you say these checklists are ruining our lives?”

“I wouldn’t say ‘ruin’.”

“Is your checklist different now?”

Christie took my hand and then took me to a church. The church wasn’t the same as the types of churches I grew up seeing in the movies. The church had rock music, and people would sing for long stretches of time, some speaking in tongues, and the guy in the middle, the pastor, would speak in the same way Obama would speak. I looked at Christie singing with the other people. Her eyes were closed and her hands were high and she was smiling and she reminded me of someone I was once in love with.

On the drive to Christie’s, at a red light, I asked her something I suddenly thought about: “Why do women say ‘Oh my God’ during orgasms?”

 

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Book I’m reading: Love in the Time of Cholera

THE END OF EVERYTHING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD

life after death - the end of everything in the entire world

Are there two Christians with the exact same ideals? Are there two atheists who believe in exactly the same things? I wonder how Jesus meditated. I wonder how he prayed and what he asked for on a daily basis. I wonder what Buddha would’ve looked like, if he would’ve been taller than me, and if he was bald and always laughing in the same way he does on all of those statues. What did the Prophet Muhammad do in his spare time? Einstein said that science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind.

“When the universe ends – when my life ends, what will I see?” This is what I texted Christie.

“You’ll see me.” This is what she texted back.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because I know everything.”

“I don’t believe I’ll see you.”

“Ouch,” she replied with a frowney face. “lol.”

“I don’t believe I’ll see anybody.”

“You don’t believe in heaven?”

“I do and don’t. Sometimes I hope for eternal happiness, sometimes I hope for an immediate end. I mean, if heaven were real, we’d have to live FOREVER.” I paused, then added: “Do you really want to be living forever?”

I watched my phone say, “Christie is typing” for a while until her message finally appeared: “If it means being happy forever, if it means being with God forever, then yes. I’d be with my God and I’d be with my love, whoever it may be. It’ll be wonderful.”

I deleted Christie’s message and put my phone away. It took me four hours (and thoughts of her naked) to reply to her with a completely different subject: “Want to hang out? I’m bored.” And we went to this place in the city that served interesting ramen.

 

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Book I’m reading: Seduction

LOVE IN EVERY LINE

love in every line

“He loved her,” she insisted.

“No, he’s in love with her.”

“No, no, no.” She still wasn’t listening to me. “This is what he said: ‘I loved her.’ It was love in the past tense.”

“People don’t say things like that unless they still love them. Once you stop loving someone, you never mention them again. They’re not even a memory.”

She scoffed at this. “You out of all people know this isn’t true. People talk about people they don’t love anymore all the time, but it doesn’t mean they’re still in love them. What part of past tense don’t you understand? He. Loved –”

“I understand everything about the past tense” – I lowered the stereo volume just to make sure the entire world heard my point – “but I understand nothing about what you’re saying. Don’t you know love? Haven’t you ever held it in your hand?”

“I held love in my hand whenever I held his.”

“That’s so corny. Can you see my ears bleed from the corniness? It’s corniness like that that gives love a bad name.” Her speaking about him, or even the thought that she was thinking about him, or even the fact that we were dedicating an entire moment of our temporary lives talking about him, that we were associating “love” and his terrible name in the same sentence – it all made me delirious with envy, but the envy was a secret even I didn’t want to admit. Why couldn’t I throw my envy away and burn it and then piss on the ashes? He didn’t love her. There was no way he loved her. I didn’t want to know her anymore.

“I don’t see your ears bleeding,” she said as she moved closer to me and inspected my ears. Her breath smelt like raspberry Vodka. “And what’s a non-corny love anyway? Has love ever not been corny?”

“A non-corny love is a love that’s mixed with practicality and romanticism.”

“So love has elements of corniness.”

“You know what? Whatever. He loved her, he still loves her – does it really matter?”

“Yes. His love matters.”

“Why does what he do with his love matter? Why should –”

“Because I love him.”

Everything became silent. “So you love a guy who left you behind.” I looked at her. Her eyes were slightly teary; she was sniffling. This guy had picked her out of an ocean, broken her, then placed her back into the ocean without waving goodbye. And I was completely sober when I said what I said next: “Fuck his love. Fuck you. You hear me, you dirty shit? Fuck. You.”

She was crying now. “I still think about him. I still smell him. I still see him in people who have any characteristics that resemble anything about him. I still love him.”

I took her to bed, and in bed we laughed about things, and when she was asleep I did sit ups, push ups, checked Facebook. When she woke up, we spoke a little bit more and I drove her to a café where she was supposed to meet him for “closure”, and, before exiting my car, she turned to me and smiled and said, “he loved her,” and she said thanks to me, and I said thanks to her, and she tapped her finger on my hand before shutting the door and heading to the café.

DRINKING WINE ON A BALCONY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

balcony lookout

“Have you ever spoken to God on Christmas?”

This is what Christie asked me as we sat on my couch on my balcony. It was some time in the evening, and beyond us, beyond the railing, were buildings and trees and lights, and beyond that was the city, and beyond that was the universe, and beyond that was time, and the future and the present and the past, and beyond that was God. God who has to exist, otherwise how else will anything exist? But who made God?

“How do you speak to God?”

“How do you think?”

“I asked you first.”

“Did you?”

Christie took a sip of her wine. “Do you think you and I grew up making the wrong choices?”

“What do you mean?” I was looking at her legs.

“I mean, do you think it’s too late for us? I have this colleague, he’s this handsome guy, this built guy, and he’s married and he’s so faithful to his wife. I was speaking to him, and he’s like, this leader of his church group and he has these talks about how guys should stop watching pornography and treating woman like objects.”

I looked at her lips, thinking about the photos she used to send me. “I mean I think there’s always a chance for people to redeem themselves. No matter how terrible the things they’ve done and even continue to do. No one wants to admit this, but all it takes is one day or even one minute for someone to completely turn their lives around.”

 

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Book I’m reading: Here I am

LICKING FOR FIFTY THOUSAND

licking for fifty thousand

We ended up hanging out with this woman who cut my hair in South Bank once. She was this loud ball of fire who loved to talk about sex and dildos a lot, and that night, in the back of an Uber, she described her dildo collection like a guy would describe his sword collection: she had this proud, dazed smile on her face as she described the length of each dildo, the girth of each dildo, the texture of each dildo, the functionality of each dildo, the occasions she purchased each dildo. I pictured confetti gently trickling down her face as she said this, sparkles of starlight flashing in and out of the background. She was drunk and Jude was drunk but I was sober and completely over everything in the entire universe.

“What is a dildo, really, if you think about it?” Jude asked the Uber.

“That’s deep,” she said, “that’s really fucking deep.”

“You know the dildo was invented by a Spanish bullfighter named Ronaldildo,” I said.

We went to Hot Gossip and for a good three minutes I pretended to act like I knew what I was doing on the dance floor. I ducked out and sat somewhere, scrolling up and down my phone, trying to appear as though there was a purpose to my scrolling.

“What’s wrong?” the woman ran over, taking my phone away from me. She was sweaty. “You’re so boring, Dean. Why don’t you grab a pussy?”

“What?”

“Just be a Trump and grab a fucking pussy!”

We stayed around before heading out to have some pancakes, and bla bla bla we ended up at her place.

“You know what’s wrong with people?” The woman asked.

“What?” Jude asked back.

“Like they should just leave celebrities alone. Justin Bieber works harder than you, has more money than you, is better looking than you. Why make fun of him for? I mean, you’d totally lick his hole for fifty thousand, right?”

“That’s deep,” Jude said, “that’s really fucking deep.”

Jude told her to take off her top, so in response she took all of her clothes off. She had freckles around her chest. She tried to suck her stomach in to hide her pear shape before giving up and cackling loudly. We all laughed with her and took turns slapping her stomach. Jude took off his pants and I watched them go at it for a while, taking photos at random times. Sometimes, on Instagram, I see good looking couples share photos of themselves in beaches, having fun, smiling, laughing, and as I looked at the scene in front of me I wondered: is this what’s in store for those of us without the looks, or the money, or the six packs? Are we doomed to this fucked up depravity?

The woman sat down next to me when it was all over. “I caught this Uber once, and I complained to this Uber driver about my day, and I asked him, ‘What do you do to feel better?’ He said, ‘My life is tough, so I sleep.’ I asked him, ‘Why is your life tough?’ And he told me his family is still in Afghanistan, and he’s worried that they can get bombed any day. I didn’t know what to say, but when I got home, I had some red and I cried, then I put Neighbors 2 on and rubbed myself dry for the entire movie. I’ll tell you what, I really wanted to suck a dick that night.”

“That’s deep,” I said, “that’s really fucking deep.”

 

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Book I’m reading: Mastery

I KNOW THIS IS A TYPICAL THING TO SAY, BUT…

1795 james beam

I know this is a typical thing to say, but I like to look out at the stars. I look at them when I arrive home at night. Some nights they’re barely visible, and other nights they’re like ash tapped from the tip of a cigarette. I stare out at them while not really thinking anything. Some people tell me that if you think of the bigger picture, we’re really not that much. We’re a speck of a speck in the entire history of time, in the entire expanse of the universe. There are more dead people than there are living, and heaven’s eternity has much more value than our brief life on earth. But then I heard somewhere that every human being is a unique phenomenon, with its own DNA, with its own fingerprint – shouldn’t that account for something? In my search for happiness this year this is what I’ve learnt: to be happy, you need to be healthy, you need to have purpose, you need to detach yourself from the pains of the past and anxieties of the future, you need to pull on the silver lining, you need a steady income, you need to be generous, you need to be in a healthy relationship and you need music just as much as you need people. To be sad, all you need to do is think about what’s wrong.

James came over in the evening and brought some expensive bourbon. We drank it, and we laughed, and I watched him cut some weed. “It’s old,” he warned me, handing me a pipe. “You’re not doing it right,” he said again when I lit it. “You need to breathe in and bake it!” “I have big visions,” I told him in between coughing. “I’m going to make my own cartoon series.” There’s something about weed that makes me happy, makes me sad. I wanted to say more, but I didn’t know what exactly what I wanted to say. We watched Pulp Fiction, and the next afternoon I watched Luke Cage.

 

Book I’m reading: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

LAST DINNER WITH CAROL

last dinner with carol - trees in distance

I’ve been writing about Carol for thousands of years now, and tonight will be the last time you hear about her. I’d only promised to write about eight dinners, you see, and you’re probably sick of her by now, and you’re probably wondering what the hell I’ve been up to. What the hell have I been up to?

The last dinner I had with Carol was at her place. She was in a soft blue robe and her hair was tied in a ponytail and I didn’t realise how big her ears were. They weren’t abnormally big, but they were large enough to notice.

“I didn’t realise how big your ears were,” I told her.

“I didn’t realise how small your hands were,” she said back.

The dinner wasn’t really a dinner: it was a few pieces of sweet bread she bought from Sunnybank and some tea. She leant on her elbows, looking at me and smiling.

“What?” I asked her.

“What?” she asked back.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Why not?”

“Why not anything?”

“Let’s go somewhere tonight,” she said.

“I’m tired. It’s eleven.”

“You told me you used to start your evenings at eleven.”

“That was back in the day, when I wasn’t running out of time yet.”

“I’m picturing us,” she said, “driving in the snow.”

“There’s no snow in Brisbane.”

“We’re driving in the snow, and we park at some shopping mall, and we walk inside and we watch a movie and afterwards, we drive back to my place, and you make me wet, and then we argue and you make me wetter.”

“That’s a horrible story,” I said.

“Why is that a horrible story?”

“What’s the point of the snow in your fantasy? All we did was go to the movies. We could’ve built snowmen.”

“The snow just makes the background better.”

“Have you even seen snow?” I asked her.

“No. But I know you have.”

“How do you know? You don’t know.”

“You’ve seen snow once, in Japan.” She sighed impatiently. “We’ve had a conversation like this before. I always remember what we talk about but you always forget. You’re always in your own head.”

“Give me some of that bread.” I took some of the bread and ate it nervously.

We argued about going somewhere for a while until I gave in and we went for a drive. I don’t remember where we went, but I remember a lot of red lights and pancakes and a parking lot and a highway that stretched on, and on, and on, and every so often one of our mobile phones would vibrate, and every so often we’d share stories, or laugh, or argue, or simply let our thoughts drip feed themselves into our minds only to be forgotten forever. In my CD player we played a few things: The Cranberries, Drake, James Blake, Beethoven; we then let the radio take over.

We return to her room. We watch her favourite movie: this horror movie about a ventriloquist’s doll that gets possessed by an evil spirit. I fall asleep halfway through and wake up around the end. I kiss her, and she holds my hands and she asks me why I don’t love her, and I tell her, “We’ve only had eight dinners,” and in a melodic tone she says that no matter how many dinners we have, she can tell I won’t love her and I ask her why she thinks this and she says she just knows; she says she can read under the skin and she knows I’ll never love her and she cries but she tells me that she can be fine with that, as long as I stay, as long as I always come home to her at the end of the day, as long as I embrace her in the cold, in the heat, when it snows, when it doesn’t, and in return she’ll buy me things to help me: a glass lunch box, a pair of glasses when I’m old, a typewriter, a wallet whenever my old ones need replacing; she’ll tell the world about my books, she’ll swallow even when she’s not in the mood, she’ll be more consistent with her leg shaving, she’ll bleach her arsehole, she’ll learn the piano just to write me a song and she’ll find the tears in my heart and wipe them away like she’ll wipe any dirty table. I drift in and out of dreams as she says this, and I say things I’ll never remember to her while wiping her hair behind her ears. I take off her clothes and this time there’s no violence – we’re completely boring and sentimental about it, but then lately I’ve been feeling lately that sex and fucking and making love and everything in between has been mistakenly placed on a pedestal by people like me, and is it something that beautiful, is it something to go to lengths for, is it something that great compared to the great things great people have accomplished in life? Why can’t artists romanticise celibacy? Why couldn’t I stick with Carol? Had I let myself become too damaged, was I just deliberately finding fault? This will continue if I don’t stop talking to her.

In the morning I wake up Carol and tell her I have to go. She smiles and says, “Okay,” and she walks me out, and I drive home.

_

Book I’m reading: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

WATCHING CAROL SPIN

watching-carol-spin

This is my second last story about Carol. It starts off quite simply, and it ends quite simply. It starts at South Bank, during an evening, a Wednesday, with the both of us in a large Ferris wheel. I’d been with Carol since the night before, and during that time I’d made her breakfast and she’d helped me buy some shoes and we’d explored the art gallery and taken photos around the place and all that other bullshit.

“You know there’s a story in my book about this Ferris wheel.” We were right at the top when I told her this. “It was about me and an ex girlfriend, who’s kind of now a friend.”

“I don’t care about your ex girlfriends who are kind of now your friends.”

“Look out at the city,” I quickly changed the subject, peering out the window. “A hundred years from now it’ll be a completely different scene.”

“Every second is a completely different scene.”

“Have you ever considered the importance of it all? I mean, how significant are we really in this universe? We put ourselves on these pedestals, but who gave us the right to do so?”

“I think it’s all so magnificent,” Carol said, leaning against my shoulder. “I have a body and a mind that lets me be completely detached to the complexities of this universe and dedicate an entire second, an entire hour and even an entire day to simply being with you – even if I know I’ll never get this time back again. Isn’t it all so magnificent, Dean?”

The both of us were drunk on each other.

We left the Ferris wheel and entered a restaurant. For a while, she bothered me because she’d be tapping away at her phone without telling me what she was doing. In the end, I found out she was making sure there was enough money in her bank account so she could secretly pay for both of our meals.

We returned to my place and drank, and drank, and drank. She picked up my phone, deleted some photos and put on Spotify. She put on Regina Spektor, Samson, and she spun around before tripping over. I watched her, laughing, drinking, and she stood up and slurred something I’ll never, ever remember, and if I could transport myself back to that moment just to watch her again, I’d probably do it, but then I guess there’s something awfully taboo about longing for something clearly owned by the past. Carol brushed her teeth, and so did I, and she showered, and so did I, and she smiled, and so did I.

 

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Book I’m thinking of reading: Infinite Jest

 

FIRST DINNER WITH CAROL

1-i-dont-know-how-i-talked-you-into-having-dinner-with-me 2-your-hair-was-still-brown 3-what-do-you-think-of-me 4-what-do-you-think-of-anything 5-we-walked-into-a-bar 6-afterwards-in-my-car 7-wheres-your-mobile-phone 8-and-when-you-sat-up

And then I ruined it all by saying, “I don’t want a relationship”. You shrugged and said, “That’s exactly what the previous guy said,” and you told me about this guy you met on Tinder who was in a long distance relationship. You told me that he was a decent guy with a pretty good body and pretty big dick, but he always kept insisting that he didn’t want anything serious because he was moving on from his girlfriend and that he was confused and bla bla bla, and then I thought, What do I say to get out of this? How do I emerge from this to make sure neither of us are undamaged? and then I blamed you and said, “Well when we first fuckin’ spoke you said you didn’t want to get married,” and you said, “I said married, but I still want to be in a relationship,” and, tapping on the glove compartment, you said, “I shouldn’t have given so much of myself away right away. It’s what I always do wrong,” and I comforted you by saying, “Nah,” and this little debate of ours would continue for the entirety of what we had.

DINNER AT CAROL’S PLACE

dinner at carols - lights

Carol lived with a few people, so I would always enter her place through a back door. She had one of the biggest rooms in the house, and I liked it because unlike my cramped room, she had a large bed with plenty of floor space. In the dark, from her bed, a few things would lay huddled in the corner next to her desk: a large hat, some shiny shoes, empty shopping bags. In a large plastic container to her right would be some old documents, as well as a strip of Ansell condoms she kept as backup. Underneath her bed was dust, and a toilet paper roll, and a packet of pads, and a bra, and abandoned lipstick, and a box of letters and movie tickets from old boyfriends.

I arrived at Carol’s place around midnight. I’d just come from another book reading and I was hungry. Grinning, she served me a bowl of soup.

“Is the soup shit? It’s shit, isn’t it?”

I put my spoon down. “It’s good.”

“No, it’s shit.”

“It’s good.”

She watched me as I had some more.

“You’re making this whole thing awkward,” I told her. “Stop watching me.”

“I can’t help it.”

“Yes you can.”

“No I can’t.”

“How long have we known each other?” I asked her.

“Too long.”

I looked at her. “Do you believe in ghosts?”

“I believe in everything.”

“You didn’t say that yesterday.”

“I was a different person yesterday.”

“Who were you yesterday?”

“Yesterday I was the sun.”

“And today you’re the moon?”

“No.”

“Then who are you?”

“I’m Carol.”

“That’s just fucked up.”

She laughed. Her eyes creased deeply when she laughed and she looked about three years older than she was supposed to. I remember visiting her one morning and seeing her without makeup. “Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked me, and two days later, when I hadn’t contacted her, she asked, “Did something happen when you came over? What did I do wrong? Were you disgusted by how I looked like?”

I finished eating and we walked inside Carol’s room and I closed the door and turned off the light and took off her clothes. I ran my finger along one of her tattoos.

“Can I take a video of this?” I asked her. “Of when I choke you?”

“No.”

Afterwards, she turned on her laptop and we watched the Korean version of The Lake House. She fell asleep and began snoring, so I covered her mouth until she woke up. She looked irritated, but then smiled and fell asleep again. I soon followed her, and when I woke up it was six in the morning on a Sunday. She walked me out, and as we approached her gate I looked at her, and she asked me, “What?” and I said, “Nothing,” and we said bye and I stepped inside my car and drove off.

At some point while I slept Carol had gotten into my car and placed a CD in my stereo. There was only one song in the CD, and it was A Case of You, by James Blake.

This was the fifth time I had dinner with Carol. In some ways I had fallen in love with Carol, and in other ways I hadn’t. There was no doubt that she loved me, or at least wanted to pursue something beyond what we were doing. Who the hell was I not to accept someone’s love? She cooked for me and asked me how my day was. Some people seek the fiction in my writing, but Carol was a real person. I write about these people to either forget them or to hold onto them for one last time. At some point Carol was once in my hands and at some point Carol did press against my lips, and there are noons and evenings and midnights where I have thought about her and her room and the dust on her floor.

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Book I’m reading: Tender Is the Night