Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 15. No Master for Margarita


The Tale of the Eternal Breakfast

Dangling booze puppets hanging on tangled strings, as can well be imagined, the Swedes and I arose hungover and hobbling.
Ringing through our heads, the strobe-like recollections of misspent nocturnal mischief; returning to haunt us from the eve now gone.
Our lives were reverberating on thin and shaky lines, though somehow, our general demeanour was cheery, rambunctious, and above all, hungry.
We had awoken collectively, though in far separate beds, in our home away from homeless;
Paid-for, ready made for the brain to lay beds, at the sleepy hostel with the princely moniker of The Trouble You’re Inn, or something equally ominous.
The bunks, steel soldered to the walls in rows, were lined like army barracks; and the resemblance brought something of the psychotic soldier to Broken Bjorn’s behaviour.
“Come on, you cretinous creek walkers!” he marched the aisles wearing half a full metal jacket. I slid back under the womb of my covers as he continued his bombardment, “Let’s go get some breakfast! This ain’t no Mickey Mouse show!”
“Those Swedish certainly aren’t neutral.” I decided as the bombs went off in the basement. “Those bastards are hooking me into their own holocaust.”
And I was right.
In a seizure of synchronous teeth shaving, pant putting, and combing the lice from our eyelashes, the trio were instantly ready to hit the hub for breakfast.
Two Swedes and a Seed.
But we had to start somewhere, and the reception bar seemed the likely outlet for any advice opportunities.
“I know a great place.” Our hostelian suggested optimistically. “Margarita works there this morning. Remember her?”
In a flash of red hair, sparkly teeth and summertime all over, we all recalled in bliss.
“Yeh, yeh, I think we do. So how do we get there??”
Without a hint of the doom she was encasing us in, our master of disaster drew a line for us on a hostel map. It appeared to be a normal map.
It was more technical than a winding, gaping freeway leading beyond the crust of the earth, but it may as well have been- or just a spiralling arrow which looped around and around and a-yep, you guessed it-round.
Because that was the destination we were heading to.
And man, were we getting hungry.

Finding the restaurant was no real issue. A couple of backward steps, a mountain of Swedish slurs, but nothing abnormal in a mid-morning fast breaking search party.

And there it stood, beckoning: sucking us in, the gravitational beacon of the black hole of an art gallery limb, which sprouted flower-potted tables and lulling Lithuanian music, all in the guise of a friendly, folky establishment.
It didn’t SEEM like a bad decision. Just yet.
We took our place between the corpses and the sky, scraping out chairs to wait for a waitress. Waiting for a waitress. Waiting. Waiting.
And the clock hands began to crumble.

“What outta earth is Margarita doing? I asked for the coffee twenty minutes ago, I’m about to disintegrate!” The Swedes had already begun to combust.
And then she materialised; robed in a backless dress, and harbouring a mindless smile, Miss Margarita shot us a sorry.
“I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I’m making up for it now.”
A stunner on regular occasions today something appeared askew.
She was pretty in a clueless way, clueless in a demented form, and demented in a format which made me wonder if the menu I was reading was not my own last will and testament. For to ask Margarita for an omelette this morning, seemed like offering her all I had left.
And the numbers spilled from the face of the clock, splitting in a racket against the linoleum.
“Pleeeeease Margarita, could we get our juice now? And where are those omlettes? We’ve been sitting here an hour!”
Margarita filled our gullets from strawberry juice, to help sweeten our raw deal.
But it was all too late.
The atmosphere had solidified. We could pick at it, fumble it around and reassemble bits of the thickened air.
The Swedes were swapping heads to wile away the infinite.
“LOOK! I CAN SEE MY WORDS!” They floated stagnant in front of my frightened brow, as I tried to pick at them from dire starvation.
A distant amplifier droned an endless single cymbal crash.
The Swede had kept his promise and was inhaling toxic vapours while in mid-disintegration…when the rebel red-head burst her head back in the bubble.
“Hey! Your salad’s ready-edy-edy….” her echo sent the mystifying statement bouncing around the walls of our time cavern.
“Salads?? Margarita, we ordered omlettes!”
“It’s all part of the procedure-edure-edure…” and she faded to invisibility, all but for her off-centred smile, a cheeky Cheshire kitten.
“This is ridiculous! We’re going to miss the pig racing!” Of course, it was my complaining which was ludicrous, as a thousand hogs painted in the Flags of the World glided past, whimpering Napoleon bareback jockeying the leader.
A giant clam pulled them into its jaws like a succubus.
“Wow.”
The Swedes had completely disassembled now, their goatees wavering on parched brick, while their arms smoked cigarettes in puddles by their panting tongues.
“Oh, birds.”
I too had succumbed, shattering into lego blocks, levitating one by one in the image of an arc.
The clock was but spew dripping down the window now, burping out spontaneous ticks and colossal tocks at random intervals which each made our molecules quiver.
“Hey, sorry it’s taking so long!” Margarita stuck her embarrassed features in through the time curtain.
One of the Swedish issued a squelch of his ear against cement in retort.
I simply started bleeding from my belly button.
“It’ll be here in a minute! It’s taking so long because it’s made with love.”
At this comment, a Swede burst into flames. I was seeping at the sockets, and a feather boa was all that remained of our third.
Suddenly, a tiny door upon the ceiling creaked open. In a shudder, a vacuuming cave wrenched everything off its bolsters, tables, legs, fur coats, underwear, it all flew into the doorway like confetti, the universe swept into it, suck, suck. And spat it all out to nowhere, the middle of vacant space, the twinkling void- all there which could be distinguished was a laughing mouth, and red hair, all else gone and twisted into obscurity…
“Here are your omlettes! Sorry they took so long.” She thrust the circles with the food lying on them upon the rectangle carpet zones nearest to each of us, equipped with cutting utensils, to which we could reach from the stools we were perched on at a restaurant.
Omlettes.
Well, they don’t look so great…but it’s alright Margarita. Just keep up that summertime smile and I swear the universe will restore itself after all.
But do you have any salt?
”Yeh, of course, I’ll bring some back in a second.”
And the clock hands curved into caterpillars, and snuck off together through a crack in the concrete.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 14. Back to the Boogaloo- Devil Days in Kaunas


In Lithuania, the Devil is a symbol of luck.
They even have a museum dedicated to the pointy-tailed little trouble-makers.
In living rooms of hamlet homes across the countryside, you might find the common crucifix, or painted icons of the Big J-fish shafted to make room for his tireless enemy-
The Diabolical El Diablo.
Surrounding yourself with demons is believed to actually defend you from evil forces, protect you and bring you prosperity through your toils.
If so, after last weekend, I must be the luckiest man alive.


Wandering neck-deep through the maze of a medieval circus, the festival known as Hansa Days, wading through the mayhem to grab a snapshot of this silversmith, or that gallows slave, relishing it in raucous fun, I suddenly realised it was all too much.
It was time to get serious.
Or, at least get down to some serious paint gargling.
Turps tasting.
Tipping down the slippery cylindrical sewers.
Time to get rockin’ down to rock bottom.
So I hid the camera and wiped away any stains of professionalism from my lips, and sauntered out to take-on the sins of the city.
And who else to help me, I figured, than a couple of Swedes I had recently acquainted.
“We just flew here from Stockholm. We came to watch a football game. We know nothing of this country.”
“Is that so?” I questioned the couplet, Swedish to their stereotypical goatees, “well, we’d better get started then.”

Cleaning our brains free of memory, we began the bender in the afternoon.
Moods were perky, each of us an island, soaking in the sights, solitary though collectively enjoying the scenes passing by.
Two beers sank in like massage oil.
Four slipped in like sandals on butter.
Ten crashed in tolling like the Titanic.
Speech patterns were speeding, slowing, ebbing, rowing, as the Swedes began conversing in what appeared to be Tongues.
Nightfall was whipping upon us, and we could hear the panpipes picking up from the park.
Busy digesting a mixture of potatoes, bacon, sour cream and mystery mush, the neat meat ovals of the national dish, known as ‘Cepelinai’

(which translates roughly as Ded Zeppelins) we lost count of the beer tally as it juggernauted into double digits.
Already by this point, I was becoming aware of those pitchforked little dragonflies buzzing around my scalp, whispering, waiting…
But I didn’t care.
“Come on, let’s find out where this music’s comin’ from”
We skedaddled our sloppy selves out to the park.
Orienteering past pods of Middle Ages maidens, safely cushioned by our own Age of Darkness, we found our way to an opening.
Fairylights or fireflies, stage lights and cigarettes, wheeled through our vistas as if from a long-exposure photo.
We focused our three dououblle viiiisions upon the centre stage.

Spiders in your eyes
Plotting to catch the flies
Build a bed
Of wicker net
And catch them by surprise


“what was that??” I span to ask the Swedes- I forgot they had left to discover the country one portaloo at a time.
I was alone.

Bouncing on the trampoline
Trying to see above your dreams
Rip the net
Break the bed
And douse it all in gasoline


“WHO IN THE HELL KEEPS SAYING ALL THIS??”
I was teetering, wavering from angle to gangly angle, with not a soul in my periphery.
Suddenly, the Swedes swept in out of the night. Bjorn was shaking his hands in disgust of the amenities, and the other laughing at something else entirely.
“Man, are you watching this band?? They’re incredible!”

Medieval Rammstein were hammering away upon a gong. Four tattooed bagpipers couldn’t work together to make the instrument look tough. But yet, somehow, their screeching hornet cacophony wielded some kind of eerie semblance to the Darth Vader death march...
I scoffed, about to resound some no-doubt redundant commentary, when-

The desperate silent chants
Of the drowning, helpless man
Breathe the bubbles
Curse your troubles
And reincarnate as an ant


My eyes roamed around savagely, searching for any enemies.
“Dude, you look concerned about something.” My friend Bjorn consoled me. “Have summa this whiskey and shut up.”
Ahh, whiskey. The devils maple syrup.
Splashed upon the pancakes of my mind, I figured it was worth it, if only to let HIM worry about anything else tonight.
Ggggglug…
I went to pass back the bottle, but horny Bjorn, the greedy Swede, had begun serenading another maiden.
Well, another sip should stop these badly written sonnets shooting round my skull.
Ahhh. And as I held the bottle up to my pursing lips, draining a slug, all was okay, then—slip a dee do da, turning, spiralling, what, sinking, PUSHED BACK INTO MY SELF, consciousness changing, ripping off into nowhere, out unto the backroads, WHA- AAAAAhhhhhHHHHHH….*

(A ream of technicolour puke burst from his oesophagus. He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his flannelette shirt. When he craned his neck back into normal position, a ghastly glow had come over what used to be his face. He had left the building. Jimmy Blue smiled and struck a match)

“Dude, pass that whiskey up!” Horny Bjorn demanded. “Dude, what’s goin’ on?”

Jimmy Blue gazed absently at the brooding Swedish chops in front of him.
A smile flickered on to his hairy gob like the Grinch.
“You know what’d look good on you? One a’these!!”
Jimmy Blue threw a vagrant right fist to rendezvous with Bjorn’s golden jaw.
Bjorn staggered backward, clutching at his face.
His nose had begun to piss blood, and he called out in confusion;
“Who the fuck are you??”
Jimmy Blue tap-danced an Irish jig- then went up close to breathe his whiskey bedevilled breath into Bjorn’s defenceless nostrils.
“I’m Jimmy Blue. You know that movie, ‘The Mask’, with Jim Carrey? Well, for Jimmy Blue, the mask is booze,” he snatched the whiskey from the Swede, and hopped upon his shoulders, shouting, “AND JIMMY BLUE WANTS TO RIDE THESE SWeDISH SLOPES!!! YEEEHA!”
Here he jumped down, and bounded off into the crowd.

(For documentaries sake, the last scenes of violence and shoulder hopping did not actually take place. But Jimmy Blue did appear [for reference as to who is Jimmy Blue, and what he wants to do to you, check Day 12], and to prove it, here are snippets out of his conversations until the end of the night)

“Who’s sitting here? Your boyfriend?
“What town am I from??” spit “CZECHOSLAVAKIA!”
“How many flowers are on your blouse?”
“One thousand? You say ONE BILLION?”
”Are you calling her fat? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME??”
“Seventeen? Hell, that’s legal.”

And so on. Black spots revisited- Again.

And once again, again, again, before the dawn raised its gruesome mug, Jimmy Blue vanished, leaving me with the dirty sandpaper mouth I deal with today. The Devils I tells ya- THE DEVILS. It had absolutely nothing to do with innocent old me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 13. Hanseatic Daze


As told by the nameless, homeless coma patient, waking up years before he was born.

My eyes shoot open to a coffee-coloured ceiling.
What is this? Something smells like diarrhoea.
Around me are scattered obscene torture devices; poles, magnifiers, banners, clamps.
What year is this? The sounds of yodelling drift in through the wooden window.
My dozy eyes begin to focus, and I cast my pooling gaze round an archaic settee;
Blinds of twine, sheets of bramble, a whole gallery of hocus-pocus medicines and a glass jar of leeches blocking the door as a choc.
Is this still Lithuania?
In stiff exertion, I rip the IV from my arm, the catheter from my arse.
Blimey! Slimy.
Leeches gather, sucking squeakily on the edge of the jar closest to me like tiny tadpoles.
They are watching.

Turning myself off my side, my body creaks like the opening of an ancient sarcophagus. How long was I lying here? Crumbly, off-smelling bandage around my forehead, I lurch like a mummy over to the window frame, and lunge my head outside.

Oh dear.

Either I’m in a sanatorium for severe delusions, or I’ve awoken in a different dimension.

Skinny cattle wander by unsupervised, sun shooting between their legs like the flickers of an old movie projector. Bovine belches and permeating odours suffocate the scenery, but I can’t shut my foggy eyes. Beyond the farm animals, turrets of smoke cough their way into the air, the chaos caused by smouldering barbeques. Around these fry-ups dance a collective chimera of weirdos; battalions hiding beer-bellies in suits of armour, slaves screaming from metal stocks, pelt salesmen happily bargain hunting with the whores, jolly jesters pestering a priest.

Judging by the clothing, the headgear, the gastrointestinal drifts in the air; I’ve woken up in either the Middle Ages, World War Six, or some breed of costumed fair.
The afternoon’s shadow is stretching its way out along the cobblestones; I lean out to try and decipher the situation more fully lit, then flip! My wonky hospital bedded body flops through the frame, and plonks me out on to a scabby patch of grass between the mud and the daisies outside.
I pick up my bones and assess this new world;
The plucking of lutes, boiling pans of goose meat, coquettish damsels coveted by cocky princes, potatoes sizzling to the side, and a town drunkard yells dirty proclamations.
Some kind of village festival is turning these peasants into crazed rabble!

Arms were uplifted, clutching torches, pitchforks and digital cameras (?). The crowd were circulating around a hubbub I could only hear, but not see a wink of...
Clashes of metal on metal.
The wild cries of hogs in pain.
Squeals from the bowels of bagpipes.
Fearful bellowing in Lithuanian language.
“Maybe the euros collapsed their economy,” I thought logically, “Maybe it’s not what it seems…”

I climbed a background mound, forehead throbbing behind disintegrating bandages, to gain a proper vantage point.
“ENCHANTMENT!” I yelled it, willing the cease of my hallucinations, these unstoppable scenes before me. “NECROMANTICS!”

Not a soul from the crowd turned to look at this wacko on the hill. The vision for them, two knights in full armour, clanking it out against one another, silver sumos with swords, facing off and spraying out sand, as a jester ran amok, spitting limericks, was apparently more than enough.

Members of the rabble, hob-nosed and pecan-eared, swore unfathomable curses for the destruction of whichever valorous hero their bets were lodged against.
In a 2:1 clean sprawl, it was a clear gambit; I had to escape.
But to where?
I snuck through a sewer pipe, nostalgically reminding me of long nights in London, until grimy and slime-covered, like mornings in London, I burst unto the daylight, which streamed over the city walls as if from a waterfall of liquid quartz.
In stealth, I hurried up a makeshift path, perplexed at where to turn.
A clip-clop of horses trotted toward me, yet unseen. I slipped down a side street, the vibraphone thump of my heart nearly giving it all away.
The gutters skirting my fateful alley held me tight within them, bouncing me along like a ball in bumper bowling.
Upon the fortress wall, a giant mosaic of Medusa, or a hippogriff, or some medieval monster, face twisted in a gruesome growl, startled me to my knees.
Donk- They hit against the cobbles, ricocheting, crick-crack, like a couple of eggs, so long had they been strapped and dormant in the hospital bed.
A pained yelp burst from my guts, betraying me.
Movement sounded from both directions; I had been caught out.
The feathered codpiece of a guard appeared at one end of the alley- and as I span to run toward the river the other way, a platoon of the rat-mothers blocked me off.
I was done for.
Suddenly, I caught her reflection in Medusa’s glare;

A bountiful maiden, combing her silken hair, perched atop her second story balcony. She beckoned me to her sultry side.
Her locks of brunette unfurled, cascading down into my awaiting claws- and as the flurry of primped-up mercenaries prepared to maul me, I scrambled up the locks like a nimble squirrel, up up to her scalp upon the balcony.
Puffing gritty lungs out to the maiden, I raised my shaky digits to thank her-
And her face turned the texture of a scouring pad- she HISSSSSED; her eyes redder than the pisspots of Mars. As I felt and looked for the silken locks between my fingers, I cried;
“SNAKES!”
Cobras were stretching out around my broken body, coiling into my soiled pants and parts. In a flop and a flash I dived from the balcony, into the army of the awaiting guards.
They carried me like a corpse between their codpieces, back to the festivities; and this time, I was the central show-piece; with my neck locked into gallows.

An executioner bit down on a two-by-four, splitting the plank into a shower of splinters.
I was sweating out meatballs.
He drew closer, raising his glinting axe blade to the grimy sky; it flew toward me.
I slammed my eyes shut and dreamed of the pretty maiden, before the snakes, and of all the pretty maidens back on planet earth…
SLICE.
In movie special effects, the sluicing, juicing splitting sound, the quick click of a paper cut, of a dropped melon, of a burst balloon, is what would have been heard.
My head rolled out into the basket positioned underneath.
The crowd erupted into glee, their hungry teeth gnashing in yellow unison, as my basket was carried away.
The bandages had slipped off me now, exposing the ditches in my forehead.
Lobotomy chop-marks?
Maybe it explains it all…
Then, in a blur of colour, I could feel my basket tipped; I was tumbling, rolling headfirst, and headonly, down the rivulets of a corrugated rooftop, along with another couple of curious decapitants (Swedes, I figured), until the three skulls plopped into the compost of an animal trough.
The executioner craned his neck and exposed his malformed tonsils, cackling up to the great new moon.
He pulled back his leg, and in one final insult he kicked me like a porcupine.
I flew up through the air until finally smacking down into a pile of pig-shit.

From here I could watch what would surely be my last;
A pair of muddy piglets, racing toward me, fear in their beady eyes- as a couple of gigantic (human) beasts chased them to the pen where my head lay, waiting to be devoured.
Closer, closer they tore, until they were feasting upon my scalp, tearing it to pieces with their tiny piglet teeth, chomping and gouging and ouching every centimetre of what was left of the already banged up head… and a curtain came over my vision, ‘that’s all folks’, and off I beggared, descended into a dreamless sleeping infinity.

*
As morning rose once more, I grappled for my neck. Still connected? Yes, just! Margarita and the Swedes (of who we will hear more later.) were looking sheepish, straggling and conversing in the hostel reception.
“Did you see those pig races yesterday?” I cracked into peals of laughter, nearly splintering my jaw like the executioners two-by-four, “Damn near thought we’d travelled back in time.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 12. Press Play


The Rumours are True, about Jimmy Blue, and What he Wants to Do to You...

Wow. In Vilnius’ veritable harem, Play, you’d better get yourself a hallpass, because there is something going on. If you do, and are also equipped with proper credentials such as no sense of shame and a bad set of sideburns, then clamber down the stairs, and let the show begin.

This is a story about a guy, if you can call an abominable creature a ‘guy’, I can claim to know, named Jimmy Blue.
Jimmy Blue is a late-night howler, who storms around the valleys of vice with a brainfull of mixed nuts.
Jimmy Blue walks, gawks and spaces out just like I do. But he is not me.
Jimmy Blue occupies the hours when I am sleeping, shelved away in the backroads of consciousness, where my jars of morals, routines and sensibilities stand collecting dust on the bedside table.
Jimmy Blue likes to smash these jars when I am not watching.
Jimmy Blue is a vandal.
The things which Jimmy Blue says and does cannot be repeated in the presence of God-fearing folks- so that’s why I need to tell you.
Jimmy Blue is a viper.
The only times I meet Jimmy Blue is when I awake with the headache he left me. Here we have crossed over; he passes the baton and expects I can carry on a productive day, after our rendezvous has levelled me to the mattress.
Jimmy Blue has a sickness which cannot, by means of medical science, be cured.
His symptoms are as such; a rising feeling of frenzy when guitar lines begin to grind. A loss of inhibitions, motor functions and wallet inhabitants once green lights start to lume. A giddy greed for sipping Sooey Ciders as the midnight moon dips into tomorrow.
Jimmy Blue is a masochist.
And Jimmy Blue likes to say, “The party’s jeeest getting started…”

Last night, Jimmy Blue went out walking underneath the neon rainbow. His jacket, leather, was zipped up to his dingo’s grin and his beady, iridescent eyeballs.
Jimmy slowed his pace- what was this sound he was hearing?

Bump, bump, bump.

Jimmy covered his mouth with his putrid palms. His sickness was coming on.

Bump, bump, bump.

The bassline was as heavy as a slave’s iron chains. Jimmy started to writhe and giggle.
Suddenly, the doors flew open! Out paraded a bevy of exquisite Baltic booties, all gung-ho on turning Jimmy’s mind to liquid.
His mortal enemies.
Jimmy knew fate was against him. His teeth were chattering.
He outstretched his quivering hand-
“Do you mind if I bum a cigarette?”
“Sure!” Her grape-lacquered fingernails were decorated with tiny fish.
Pulsating fantasies were swimming through Jimmy’s skull.
“And what do you do with yourself?” He managed to spit out in a moment of lucidity.
“I’m studying to be an interior designer.”
“Oh!” -started a shell-shocked Jimmy, doing his best to block himself from mentioning anything to do with designing her interior.
He hurried away from the subject.
“I like your earrings.”
“Thanks! My friend made them for me. See, one’s a boy, and this one’s a girl. They’re sheep!”
They were indeed, the shepherd’s boon themselves.
“Remarkable…” Jimmy Blue had transformed into an astro-physicist, so deeply was he entranced in studying the two sheep, and the quizzical blonde brow which lay pleasantly stretched between them.

Bump, bump, bump.

“Say, that sounds like my song!” -lied Jimmy Blue. “Shall we? Let’s go deck out this interior.” He held out his bony arm, breathing heavily.
“Okay!” She grabbed his outstretched appendage and guided him through the pinball machine maze of black stockings, knee-high boots and tank-tops, and in through the flapping door- a couple of moth monsters to the dance-floor flame.

Bump, bump, bump.

The door swung shut behind them, nearly smacking Jimmy’s arse as he entered- and the less said about what went on behind closed doors, the better.

All I know is this; Jimmy Blue stumbled outta there at dawn, dejected and depressed as his name suggests, and hobbled on up the long lonely hill home.
I haven’t caught a glimpse of him today, but if I do, I’ll beat the bedbugs outta him, for leaving me with this horrible hell of a hangover.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 11. Kalvariju Markets (as Captured by the Eye of the Fly)


Out front the crumbled yellow gates, a haggard old lady stands bagging radishes from a bucket. Her offsider, a narrow, coily character suckles on a thin cigar.
A wheelchaired cripple, legs vamoosed, stumps before the kneecaps, tries his chances on the charity of passers by.
Upon entering Kalvariju, an odour of raw meat slaps you in the jaw like a fish.
A multicoloured umbrella shading a dispute over a bag of onions nearly falls, and in a tsunami the bulbs tumble out on to the asphalt, and roll their way to pooling puddles.
An ancient face carved into rivers of wrinkles approaches you, begging incomprehensible, or asking inane queries, and another, a Roma, smile gilded by a golden tooth, selling plastic bags, begins searching for a surcharge.
Beastern European men, shotgun blasts resonate from out their stares, wily fashion criminals, coated in army camouflage, stained shorts, questionable morals, storm troop around the edges.

Pumpkin salesmen and shoe repairers quibble, to sell or to fix, which?
The elderly women in headdresses- headscarves of electric pinks, plum purples, fresh painted fence whites, tied tight around melancholic expressions, hiding the crops of grey follicles underneath, sell fruits of various qualities and ancestry.
Leather jacketed couples meander by, sniffing at the pastries cooking on the boiling hot plates, tempted, suspicious, onwards.
The clouds are pestering, thumping a passage of rain on the ramshackle tin, a raisin coloured dog snuffles around footfalls, and ponds of water splash in a sloppy symphony.
Hooded raincoats of luminescent green appear. Slapdash baskets filled with plants and potted meat swing about all over, held tight in clasped grips.
Mouths masticate bargaining chips, down tambourine alley, teeth stained, but symbolically happy, curved into crescents.
The broom salesman stands tired, her arms unmoving, her face an old butter mill, always churning what’s inside.

Housing block homesteads filled from these possessions; mouldy computer keyboards, Russian records, Snoopy dolls, wooden spoons, candlabras, Albanian push-up bras, plastic toy racecars, race-tracks, fish tanks, cups with cracks, a beard, two curious eyes peering out, filled to the brim with a portion o’ port, which hovers forcefully by his side, guiding him, claiming reason with a clamp.
Dangling strings of mushrooms tied one by one like necklaces of Arabic jewels, sapphires, emeralds, fungus, hang spooling from stall lattice, all swaying in unison to the weather, as if shuffling to a samba.
Bundles of flower buds- and a deflowered darkness; a heavy-built man shouldering a heavier-built sack, hearty scars indenting his brow, hard-luck stories one over his nose, two on his chin, tales of blood and deceit. Walking laps, one, three; stops; now inter-coursing with a thin, long-haired sheepherder, a rustic, biblical one, riding a rusted bike.
A meeting of brown shoes and grey jacket- He picks up her shopping bags and plants a kiss unto her furry cheek. Another pair- A hug- One carries candles, the other pink violets. Combed wig wanders past, silver Elvis in a plaid spangled sports jumper. Overweight straw seller giving the crow’s eye to a creepy couple, still the broom salesman stands dormant, shade falling over her features- maybe she is wandering into slumber.
Colourful Chinese spinning wheels turning at velocity as the wind rises a gear, long legs upon high-heels, dimples, a sea of denim flashes by, whoosh, jars of beetroot, the smell of cooked chicken, an argument, the fish salesman and his protegee discuss sturgeon over sandwiches.
World’s Biggest Melon for loan, 200 percent off, skin sagging over the eyes of the depleted.
Brown leather- all the rage, perhaps machine-gun warehouses nearby?
Toothless grin, lettuce leaves flutter as a jet roars above, the frau with the tickling ponytail, swish in pink headband and blue umbrella, pointy as a sickle, the pigeons, feeding, the puddles, breeding, cigarette butts like boats in their floating quietness. And there! The meeting place of the equally disenfranchised, a collective lighter lit, laughter, but no photos.
The purple parka bursts through the mob, pummelling along to the meat man. Who will finally buy this huge pumpkin? She looks shocked nobody wants to fork out for her phoney merchandise, her lumps of lacy undergarments, people want radishes, potatoes, not randy robes, the pastry chef smokes fat cigars, coughing throughout, a Roma woman bellows ‘PRIMADONNA’ and her sidekick in woollen vest giggles approvingly.
All the sunglasses on the shaky rack reflect grey skies through their missing pupils, a fart like a warthogs honk, licks upon the air, women are gathering faster than the pigeons now, squawking, the man in a cream cap pulls out a fresh Soviet-style smoke, sucks it down, embers redhot, matching the caskets of tomatoes marching past, the multicoloured umbrella folded now, put away in tight tarpaulins, the stick salesman, her headware purple, plump cheeks a similar shade, sold not a stick today, the pumpkin, unbought? Crates of strawberries shoved into bigger boxes and into trucks off to feed granny’s grateful children by dinner tables under low wooden rooves, as daddy accepts the thought of getting back up early to hock the potates, to waver out underneath the bonnet, tomorrow dawning, beat the rush before eight, never too late, and the smoke from his quietly noble cigarette leaps to the evening like an exhalation of phantoms, out to meet their fate.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 10. Unkl John and the Soviet Saddle


Today, let us toast a man who throughout his already long history has dived far deeper into the kaleidoscopic flies eye of the Universal Questions than many can or ever will; one who trekked through the deserts on literary ramblings; quested over hillsides as a Magpie Maniac; and headed out into blazing hemispheres if only just to knock on a door.
Well, it’s how I see him anyhow- even if this next incident, as set up by a long line of his twisting fortuities, led to my strife and near ruin.
He is my great Unkl Arunas, or John, and his ‘impact’ upon my time in Lithuania has already been quite literal…and it’s all to do with a faulty bike frame.
*
The painful procedure began at the house of a blonde Baltic cousin of mine, or perhaps she is an aunt, it is impossible to truly tell. A few weeks ago, she took me into the womb of her hospitality and home- days after the umbilical cord of my stable German existence was snapped.
Covered in the fervent placenta of my hopes and wishes, I had tossed myself blindly unto a new beginning, a fresh life, out here in Vilnius, and she, my cousin aunty, surrogated me into it slow.
Her womb stood out beside a rocky turnip farm, next to the lonely woods where tribes of homeless locals had built huts, surviving the summers on scrub mushrooms and scavenging for wildflowers which they later would sell in the city centre. Out here, between the habitats of woodpeckers, dogs and the destitute, sat the unlikely monument to comfortable lifestyle, which my cousaunt had nicknamed ‘home’.

I arrived one chilly April afternoon, treading through the trapdoors awaiting me in her treacherous parking station, and glided gradually to her glowing sill.
I sprang my pinky upon the buzzing clitoris beside her doorway. Ringaling! In a gush of movement, the labial curtains of the manor were thrust open, and this filthy baby, clutching his breast and his backpack, was guided into the peace and security of the inner sanctum.
It was white washed- like the interior of a freezer- though planted with tasteful throw-rugs, flower pots and picture frames, Atlases and brickish novels on mountaineering (the co-owner of the womb room, her husband, was a daredevil mountain climber, set upon the goal of climbing the five highest peaks of the former Soviet Republic).
Being here, I echoed the feeling of having scaled massive heights.
Here in the womb, I was sweating.
Either the heating was at volcanic temps, or I was simply longing for freedom from this chamber, suffocating.
My cousaunt lathered upon me glistening meats, syrupy wines, a smorgasbord of dripping tapas and temptations, and I thought I was lost in the gullies of comfort for a thousand years.
The heating in the room, mixed with the influx of wine, caused a schism in my system- booze going in, sweat flowing out- and it became necessary to flee, for me to travail out to the natural light, away from inside my warm cradle-
To be reborn and find my floppy feet in this new world alone.

Sorry, though not sad to see me go, my cousaunt first helped alleviate my fears of tramping down the long road out of the forest by foot.
“Come, you must borrow, borrow, borrow.”
Unknown relatives are some of the friendliest family you can ever know. Or never know.
Either way, it was all happening.
Taking me down to the bunker of her garage, she introduced me to the family slut; Loose Lucy. The bicycle.
My heroine on two-wheels.
The reason I tack to her these most unfortunate and insulting moniker had to do with her absolute usefulness rather than any lack of moral fortitude. She was a loyal, fierce force of metal, and she had done many family members before me proud, the last of whom was Unkl John.

During travels some time ago, accompanied not by his lovely wife, but with the sterling spokes of Loose Lucy, Unkl John had disappeared into the sparse green countryside of Lithuania, for many months without a sighting.
It was rumoured he had moved in with moose-men.
Upon his eventual return, my Unkl, now skirting 70, was asked by nosy relatives in angst as to his whereabouts, to which his prompt response had been,
“I swallowed a wasp and was struck by lightening, twice.”
Fair enough.
And a feasible answer; much politer than “Mind your own business.”
And all this time- whether it was her steely handlebars which had attracted the fateful electrical bolts, or if she had SAVED him from further strife- Loose Lucy had been by his side.

Now she by mine, as I sat upon her saddle.
"Woooahh, little doggy."
I waved adieu to my kindly cousaunt, and took to the pebbly roadways.
At first, Loosey was a breeze; a kindly waif, not making me peddle faster than necessary, so I could still sample the scenery, and make my way untempered.
But then I felt it; The planets were not aligned, between this bike and I.
Something was awry in the workings of Lucy- my tailbone was being tampered with.
I realised I was rocking a lot more than I should, even for riding on a path carved from dry rye bread. I tried to ignore it, this rraaattttetttt-alin’ in my brrrrrrrr-a—aaaaaaaaaaaain.
I tried by standing, to keep myself raised- then after a kilometre, like a feisty mule, she bit back-
The seat of Loose Lucy began to wobble, then to circumnavigate itself sideways, then to rock and rumble like a mechanical bullock, and I, the wobbly rodeo rider, slumped over the handlebars, and tried to steer onwards.
"WOOOOOAAAAAHH LITL DOGGY!!!"
Panic sank in. What was wrong with this accursed invention?
Lucy was behaving erratic as a teeny on tablets, spitting gravel whichever way she pleased, and making her saddled rider lunge about, wuh, wooo, wah, performing the hooplah of a spastic circus spider.
And then the bullock hopped it up a gear.
Her seat spinning wildly now, round like a helicopter rotor, flipping and flopping- she finally gave up the ghost.
The seat snapped forward in an almighty slap, the bucking of the stubborn bitches last battle, and I brayed to the trees and to kingdom come, flew through the air, and came down amid the steam of intersection exhaust, on to my temple.
CRUNCH.
Splayed over the zebra crossing like roadkill, dazed, somewhere in the foggy distance I could hear them; the haunting calls of the moose-men.
meeeeep, meeeeep, meeeeeeeep...
Like flies around me, they bleeped and blared. But as I raised myself to haunches I relaised, the moosemen were nothing but the angry bleatings of automobiles.
I grabbed the squeaky slut, and wheeled her from the roadway.
“What in the hell is wrong with you, Lucy, you stressed out mamma?” I called out in vexation at her rough treatment.
I came up close, my red flag raised. What could be the problem?
I focused my eyes; the bolts beneath her seat springs were truly, as her namesake suggests, terribly loose. Who would leave a contraption in such a dangerous state?
And the answer stared back at me in vague recollection.
Unkl John.

As my fine Unkle is a stringent anti-copyrighter writer, offering up the marvels of his mind without asking warrant or a license, I think he will not mind me sampling a few of his words here; used only to explain the ORIGIN of all these problems with Loose old Lucy.

After a week of wondering what the hell had happened to this claptraption, by fate of forwarding I discovered THIS email, linking the troubles back to my fabled Unkl. Then I realised! It wasn't I who Lucy had bitten, but he, and right on the arse as well:

Subject: Bike trip – by Arunas Zizys

“We have found an internet point in this rather small (but with cultural pretentions) town - Sirvintos. Here is the log of the trip so far. Im sending this report to Aiste (its her bike) & to Vaidas (we are only 20k south of Rimeisiai) too. Yesterday about 20kz out of Vilnius it became apparent that the bicycle seat wasnt suitable for me & my BUM was getting progressively more painfull. Before doing a longer ride you should always do a shorter one of about 20kz befor you can know if the seat is suitable but i didnt have the opportunity to have done so. I knew from previous experience that if I get deep seated bruising ON THE BUM thats the end of the trip but we had no alternative except to go on to Maisegala where I hoped to find a bike service place to buy a new seat:instead we found a depressing small town with the only cafe closed down and derelict and plenty of unemployed youths with, apparently nothing to do other than stand about looking vacant and sometimes drinking beer. There was no bike service available so we had to continue on to here with my ARSE too painfull to allow me to apreciate the scenery along the Senaji (old) Ukmerges road. With diversions weve ridden about 60ks in my case most of it in pain. Fortunately we found a bike shop here where I was able to replace my seat with a cheap (15Lt) old soviet style seat which I was warned could fall apart at any time but at least its soft and on springs. However I find this morning after a sleapless night that i have two swellings on either side of me BUM about the size of chook eggs and I can feel a degree of deeper bone bruising. So we are trapped here 20ks short of Rimeisiai hoping that by tomorrow or the next day the swelling subsides and the bruising is only superficial. Another serious problem: Ive discovered that Andrius, having led a blameless life and therefor in possession of a clear conscience, sleeps like an innocent child except that he snores continuously, loudly, and in an extraordinary variety of ways always unpredictable. Under even the most favourable conditions I am a light sleeper and once awake find it difficult to fall asleep again. It is clear to me I cannot share a room with Andrius ever again. It took much negotiating skill to find another place for tonight without PAYING THROUGH THE NOSE (Andrius has agreed to sleep on a sofa on a DIFFERENT FLOOR) so we still pay for only one overprised (80Lt:40 OZ $$: approx 24euros) room. However the new accomodation is beutifully situated by the side of the lake & a park with much statuary. Incidently there is a bar here which operates 24 hours a day ('GERIMAY VISA PARA - 24 VALANDAS')! Im going to visit the collingwoodfc.com.au site to gloat over the 1point victory over THE DOGGIES - might help fix me arse up quicker.”

Thank you my dear Unkl. For futures sake, I pray there is never a moment where I must borrow your car- as it will no doubt ricket the already ruptured radiator of my insides into a messy pulp- but it would always make for some damn fun stories.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 9. Euro(Blurred)Vision


(The song contest, as called by a World War Two era horse race commentator, messed up on memories and blind from staring into the sun).

The starting gates were loaded, (just like the pistols pointed at the skulls of the lads down in Luxembourg), the sirens were about to wail (Just like the wanton cries of the sleeping children awakened by the air raid sCREAMS) and every independent nation and his six-legged dog was out here tonight, to claim VICTORY (just like the masked MAdonnas in the Warsaw windows)…YESIREE, any cat with a bad case a clap and a tent fulla talent was waiting for the whistle to shovel their home soil into the backa the winnin' bulldozer...
AND THEY’RE OFF!! Serbia, in all her sixties swing was seeming sturdy, built like an iron maiden and rousing the dead like Iron Madchen, while Slovenia, oh, they’re on the return with a crate full of unchecked cargo, could be machine guns? Pharmaceuticals? No, it’s just a grab-bag a good solid strangeness! A late scratch from Scotland meant all the kilted bets were CANCELLED, folks, sent off to the bleedin’ Moors...
The faggot from Finland has taken a breezy lead, bursting into first, a jarring spectacle for all audience members with less than three beers underneath their belts- an underwhelming ode to protection of the planet, which makes you wonder why we should bother at all, but LOOK! Coming up the side, sidling along like a Siamese nightmare, the Irish midget twins are running in fast as the streams outta old Kilkenny! A bonafied couple of Oompa Loompa spawn, making a break, checking their make-up, sprinting and splashing their way free from oblivion, but OOHH, they didn’t quite make it… wot’s THIS? A series of skeletons from Sweden, parading out as the repetitive soundtrack to the end of the Mayan calendar, 12, 11, 10, nine, NOW, the end, THE END, the FINALE of taste as we know it, annnnd they’re angled outta there, bundled to the bottom by Brits with better haircuts, toupees torn from the feathers of the fabled Phoenix herself, singing forgettable boy-band bland sandpaper grating this ol’ commentators weary wrinkles RIGHT OFF the side-a his gob. Touching television viewers in places cold enough to earn them arrest warrants, HERE COMES LITHUANIA! On their biggest break since the clattering fall of the iron curtain rods, there she goes! Her viking flavoured, smelting pots of opera shooting UP into the moon and promptly EXPLODING upon impact, sending out the shards to anyone at home, anyone still hoping to hear, OH, causing cataclysms to earthly ear-drums, but never to worry! Affected badly by nuclear radiation, Moldavian lawn gnomes, now unshrinking, have launched ahead, hats the size of human children, a white fairy peddling a unicycle, the best use of a woman on one-wheel since Rollerskate Annie, the one-legged pornstar, rolled her way into the record books nearly twenty years ago…but it’s not over yet folks, because here comes ITALY! The spaghetti sucking saxophonists are lulling their way into poll position, but NO!! It’s CAAN’T BE!!
By a nostril, edging the twenty-four remaining countries back to the brink of bloodshed, the WINNER! First place, the memorable performance by J-Lo's gypsy cousin, straight outta the grenadine gutters of downtown…(what the hell is the capital of Azerbaijan?) and straight on to the commercial radio of our fruitless hearts, to spin and spin on and on and on and on and off into the night……….

(Our ancient commentator hyperventilates; his aides slap him back into reality, and the bets are tabulated while an advertisement break blares. A couple of Valium later he returns to recap the events gone by).

Ah, yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
What a breath-stealing performance to be sure, out here under the Düsseldorf smoggggg tonight. A more terrible waste of talent was not found during the Japanese tsunami, or outta a bag of sliced salami, or down the rivers of ol’ Killarny. But at least it would've been a stomping-good party for the three people who live in Ajebaijan or whichever was the damned no-good kraut crackin’ country who won.
(He drags upon a Cuban).
So much politics, so little reason.
(His brow grows shaded, as if clouds are passing above him).
You don’t know what I’ve seen, out by the fields of Dresden…Women BURNT into plastic chairs, melted to the sidewalk, I RAKED OFF THEIR BONES…but, the battle is over now, the war has subsided, the winners set sail on their sea of victory, out here under the storms of eurovision….
(He transforms cheerful, suddenly, mechanically, his head lifting upwards at superhuman speed, displaying a smile ghostly for the ages, scaring all those in reaching vicinity to his mic).
As for Lithuania, what a ride hey folks? If Poland hadn't given Lithuania those twelve lil votes, there would have been blood poured in these city streets. But thankfully, they did, and the only thing poured out HHEEEERE tonight, was way too many beverages.
(Here he became thoughtful. Not sure if he was slipping into a spasm or a stroke, his aides ran out with fresh water. He jolted the well-wanters aside, splashing his H2o over the console, and began to hum melodically, soft, as sparks of electricity circled him, radiated him, like a halo, and then his voice slipped into the wave rhythms of late-night love song dedication hosts, and his arms raised to the ceiling).
Whoever won the race, whichever country they may have hailed from, wartorn, corrupt or backwards as they might well be, the real winners were found, not in the bottom of cereal boxes, not in the neon grandstands, no. But here, (he taps at his chest with a fist) out in the squares of Vilnius old town. There they waltzed, the real winning performers, out by the fountains, staring into hazel coloured eyes as the sun rose rudely up over the parched hills, a grinning gaggle of anonymous heroes, members of the USSR- the Universal Self-Annihilating Shitheads Republic- And may their gods have mercy on us all.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 8. Surfing Out to See the Sharks

*A buoy bouncing out on the sleazy seas to the Expo Centre (of the Universe)

Already an emotional wasteland after a long-distance feud, over the intangible battleground of skype, I was running late to attend the grey suit and sharp teeth event of the month; the 2011 Baltic Real Estate Forum.
As business writer for a regional rag (potty training puppies from Tallinn to Trakai), it is occasionally expected I suck in my downtroddy demeanour and sock out my sunken peepers to don a blazer and attend these rallies intended for the stock-market-hearted. These events are usually social soirees, chin-wag and chick-chat opportunities for members of similar shit-talking sectors. Here they can meet and greet and gossip and glow in the gloss of next week’s funny papers, after the jerk from the local press immortalises them squinting, hungover or with frosty coffee remnants hanging from the corners of their lips. (Jerks, eg, me, or any other of those corrupt press cronies I call my comrades, who will attend myriad of these listless and boring events to score a cheap angle and a free lunch).

So I was late, and owning neither tie nor car tires, I made do with my second-hand scraps and dressed in a frenzy. Even the iron was hurriedly busted out- a sighting in my household as exotic as seeing the Aurora Borealis in the bathroom- to perform miracles on a musty blue workshirt in seconds.
Evil magnets were spiralling to extend my delay, hiding my socks, toothbrush, and seemingly sucking my sunglasses into some far-reaching dimension.

The real estate conference, the shark tank of tip traders, had begun @ nine, and the clock’s hands were climbing well into the north-west of the hour.
I somehow gathered the skerricks of My Personal Wasteland together, and bustled my squeaking bike out the squealing door. The conference would be on the outlying reaches of Vilnius city, an area where bicycle paths descend into irrigation ditches.
The event was to be held at the Lithuanian Expo Centre, or as it is sometimes called, the Cultural Centre of the Known Universe. Having previously never needed to travel to this pinnacle of creation, used to my happiness in the Periphery of the Known Universe, flying like a rabid flamingo on my 4-speed, I managed to, with difficulty, find myself in a completely different universe than the one I was aiming for.

I was lost- yet somehow not far from the track. Circumvented by daffodil speckled grass knolls- a cute garden piece to the roaring concrete backdrop of highway abutments, bridges and an industrial landscape stretching to Italy- I stared in defeat at my hand-drawn sketch from Google-maps, which could have easily been an extract from Mr Squiggles experiments with methadrone. Groan.
It was time to play the, “Hello, any English,” pathetic non-native game, and try to scramble back on to the trail.
Scanning the settee, I was up the garden path with no prospect. There was nobody to ask for directions. An urgency was filling my insides and I could feel hope starting to wane.
Suddenly! A toothless fatamorgana appeared on the bike paths horizon.
There he was, my decrepit saviour;
Wrapped in a faded ‘MIAMI’ t-shirt and pulling off the best ‘I just woke up under this same bridge’ impression I had seen in hours, he seemed up to the job. Caution to the wind, I screeched my tires halted by his shadow.
“Labas! Sorry, any English?” I bared my teeth so he could see I was serious.
He started backward, and then peered into me; as if at some obscene or disturbing object.
“Where you come from?” he demanded, his shadow encroaching.
I didn’t have the timeaday for pleasantries, but I abated.
“Uh, I’m from Australia.”
“AUSTRALIA??”
“Yes, and I’m really looking for this road…”
“Yes, yes, this is road.”
“Which road is it exactly??” My discomfiture was working its way to a peak.
Mr Miami shifted his stance.
“Do you have paper?” He quizzed me.
I blurred then quickly refocussed,
“A cigarette paper? No, I’m sorry, I don’t think…” I flummoxed around in my pockets with the full knowledge I had none.
“No paper? You are not Australian.” Curt. He began shuffling away into the gassy miasma rising from the melting road tar. Then, in his final triumph, he turned around and in a fiery Litho drawl (remember to accentuate the ‘rrrrrr’ sound) he yelled out,
“Faarrrk you!”
I had no response. I had been told. I didn’t know whether to burst a kidney or into laughter.

So, with no compassionate compass to guide me, I fled off in whichever direction was deemed less deadly at the moment. I peddled the bike down into the irrigation ditches, spinning through sprinkler systems until I stumbled upon the Centre of the Universe.
As for the convention, the free lunch surpassed all expectations a free lunch can have, and served me well into the afternoon. As for anything to do with real estate, or how the event proceedings unfurled, just check the local Baltic paper, and look out for the photos of the grey-suited sharks; squinting, hungover, and with greasy hunks of chicken skin falling down their chins.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 7. The Boogaloo.



According to wise and omniscient online portals, ‘The Boogaloo’ or when fully amped, ‘The Electric Boogaloo,’ was a kind of bizarre human mating ritual, swung by teenage Cubans and tall-talkin' New Yorkers, enacted and originated between the colourful décor of gay Brooklyn dance-floors during the 1960s.
Among the many names and guises The Boogaloo still continues to hide under (including Electrified Eel Belt-Banger and Persian Pack-Rape) it is also, as I realised today, the title scribbled on the front of a scrunched and crumpled napkin, discovered in luck before laundry, lining the grizzly depths of my unwashed brown blazer.
Sentenced to the boondocks of my dresser drawer due to elaborate cloud formations of whiskey, ash and unknowables donning its lapel, the said threads had been nary touched for a month. Not since it last coathangered itself upon my shoulders, to join the invisible posse to where my cousin falsely advertised as “the best club in Lithuania,” on my first ambitious night in the country.
Today, peeling open the corners of the crusty kerchief, amazement hit me as I found a letter within, written to myself; one of those rare bursts of calculated memory, placed in secret to later piece together the panorama of this whole eclectic escapade- from the date of its origins, just over one month ago.
So here ahead, weathered reader, lies the pocket entrails detailing a split second interlude between bad dancing and beer crimes, on a muddy night amid the pleasant concrete playground of the country’s second biggest city. Somehow I squeezed in uninvited by the side of my stork statured cousin, blonde and basketbally, and her two dazed and dazzling comrades. As the three storklets shook their Baltic booties to the beat of bad club favourites from 1997, ‘The Boogaloo’ was born, as this little piggy leant dribbling and visually vomiting over the bar. So here now...

THE BOOGALOO: FIRST NIGHT IN LITHUANIA

"After the bumpiest flight since Apollo 13, I have awakened in new surroundings. Statues of dead poets. High crime rates. The birthplace of my grandmother!
The wind howls Mary outside this Euro tra-chic nightclub here in Kaunas while I, dressed inadequately in soiled Bulgarian dinner jacket and hat made from STRANGE HAIR, hunch over the bar leering (unintentionally) at the bar wenches dressed down in pantless commie soldier duds.
Wait, unintentionally? This is 2011! I leer out of pure wayward curiousity.
How has time passed since the fall of the soviet empire?
Society is now free from the shackles of pants!
Long live the Stalinist slurries. No counter-revolutionary offence meant.
Anyway, back to my lovely grandmother.
(indesiphable mush, then-)
I left, waving in the Frankfurt dawn as the bus exhaust spat fumes into the ripping cavern between us.
Oh why say “Goodbye?”
In Hungarian, “Hello” means goodbye.
If I was Hungarian, and could forever say hello, life would be a continual embracing reunion, rather than the ever-approaching fearful tearful farewells.
…It was imminent, but now over, sweet eyes dripping salt of togetherness out on to the asphalt as we set apart…
(Again, intangible jibber, slowly descending into weepy garbage, then the last line read…)
THE SOVIET BARMAID IS WATCHING… KGB??”

For anybody concerned at how this night ended, you don’t need my input to regale you. It can be replayed at your own pace, in your own home.
Just follow these simple directions;
Self-digest a cauldron of whatever cleaning products line the shelves underneath your sink, blabber at the top of your voice to your cat (as he/she will understand you potentially better than Kaunas natives to a wasted Australian) and indulge in perverse hijinks, such as karate kicking your coffee table, whistling at your window panes, and washing your shoes with whatever falls out of your intestines.
Also, for added re-enactment realism, do the falling down dance to Tutti Frutti and try to digest the pillows of your couch.
In the final step toward replicating perfection, attempt to order a pizza, fail, then pass out only to wake and realise you were lying in a puddle of potato.
Lastly, wash, rinse, shave, and forget anything ever existed.
One month later, open your pocket, and search through the garbage to the goldmine. Bingo. You've done it.
Welcome to ‘The Boogaloo’ my friend.
Black spots revisited.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 6. Creature of Habit, or just a Habitual Creature


Those all-knowing philosophers dubbed ‘they’ say music makes the heart grow tender. As does a severe case of pneumonia or the shingles. Listening to the latest hit shingle from the Pneumonic Sonics, a tenderising shiver blasts not only the unhealthy divets of the pulmonary pipelines, but also sends a shuddering grind through the back annuls of the brain stem.
Groan. “country roads…take me home…” a cover of the song sung by the strumster who left on a jetplane in a fiery pile of embers, Don Jenver. When this lame wind knocks the smoke into your eyes, you really feel something is lost, more important than a kidney, less embarrassing than a shoe.
And here sits bedraggled and gangly older-than-I-should-feel I, gaze floating off into the outside dusk like a kids lost air balloon levitating into electricity wires.

The dizzying sunsets and sunrises which shot off over the plateaus of the last orbital spins gone by have brought along with them some strange and unforseen slivers of strife.
The Autowasher 16 can go fish, the mice can suck on sour worms.
Sadness can pile up upon a human tick-tocker like a soiled sack of washing by only three variables.
Three causes exist to eclipse the world’s son’s sacred hearts; and I’m guessing you could bet your butter on knowing them.

The Three Scrooges: Love, death and pimples.

Not so much pimples, but they do pour plight on any preppys promiscuous park-date promenades. No one wants to pucker up to a sack full of sausage ends pissing out puss. Except of course, freaks.
Yes, FREAKS.

Anyway, nobody died or found themselves pissed on by pimple puss. But rather, a visit from the Girl of the Frangipanis, accompanied soon by the gape of her subsequent departure, blew a few dynamite holes in the fortress of solitude this old sasquatch hides out in.
“oh, here we go, fuckin’ boring pining nonsense,” I can sense the callous crows jeering, “another whimsied wind-bag letting his load loose to the sympathetic search engine squinters.”
But, hold your clucky browser trigger finger, clever clickers!
I'm about to tell you a tale of a different gyp, a muscular spinneret of a story; of sex and survival, a fateful yarn of devils, poison, trapdoors and murder.
Yes, MURDER.

It’s a fortuitous fable of the undone underbelly belly buttons, the sunken, mishappen, ashen milkshakers, the bathrobed, robust bottlebrushed robots, the saged, the savvy, the slum-bitten and the strangled, this here is a declaration to all the sleeping snot-heads and their wrinkled flesh pants, the rocket-minds of the pillowcase philanderers, the sexy sluts of South Sydney, the rockinroll spiders underneath aftershave alley, the principal of the school of Hard Cocks, the rabbis and rabbits and stingrays with rabies, and the rickety shackles of the hard-bitten would-be emperor slaves, the dusty, blustery earthquake cavity kids, and the shoot-down hooter babes from the downtown stove chambers.
It’s a story of unrequited library books, of orgasmic fabrics and fishing hooks, of bandits throwing horseshoes and bandy horse-legged shoemakers hooked on harry and coughing up glue, of the sniffing nerdy perverts trapped between the walls and warcraft, of the suffering hungry slobs too stuffed to salivate. The following fortune-trolling is a page ripped from the remains of the unequivocal rent-a-tongue, inside-outs indicating how-to-use life in between hookahs and hokum, a plant-feeder for all the crushing variables within the pooling debris of human love, laughter, sore thumbs and cut throats, an alchemists transformation of a bluebottle to a baby tooth, a stark reminder of pickled eggs and lazy seats, ridicules, miracles, saviours, sadists, serpentine statuettes and slobbering pig-farming suffragettes.
This wayward folly I’m about to relay is full of them, this hobbly kitsch little family circle, and it’s all got to do with the chuckling, chundering, chinking, ching-a-linging, wee-willy-winking, slinking, tambourine tinking, chin-chinny-chunking, blinking, hot-bed bunking, shimmying souls of the millions before who have sunken into sand, into the spinning turbines of the day to night to daytime back to darktime turning twisting whirl, and ends with the moral of ‘send ‘em home for bread without sunshine.’

And it all began, as the merman stood bare-footed in the smoky doorway, yelling TRICKERY! while the Girl of the Frangipanis fled fleet-footed along the cobblestones, starlight immersing her tread, until upon learning the art of the air-bound damsels, she tripped over a toadstool and splayed out full-belly, flying through the moon-tinted alcove, howling like a wicked witch unto the night…

Or maybe I won’t tell you anyhow.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 5. Hymn of the Nameless Song (or vice-versa)

I’m not a big connoisseur of classical music.
In fact, I'm outta my depth even mentioning it.
The last time I met an opera singer, she told me she had a decent vibrato, so I called her a skank and she slapped me.
But this morning, oh peaceful morn, I was jagged out of sleep, from deep circadian waters, (from a dream where I was a beggar holding a walking stick, and my father was Julian Assange shovelling books on to a blazing coal fire) by the most beautific and golden, haunted strains of a piano piece which I think I had ever heard, in the acoustical abcesses of my head.
It went, da da da, da da,da dumm, dummm, da da...

I knew the sound from somewhere.

Growing up, I had lived in a house rich in the diamonds of classical music. My brother had been training as a concert pianist, always hammering away trying to channel a khachaturian or tchaikovsky, or equally unspellable composer's concerto. The household was abundant with the musk of music, piano reverberating through the chip walls as if the houses foundations were purposely sucking it in, absorbing it into its brick bastioned soul.

**As a quick side note, my ACTUAL father claims to this day that the upstairs roof tiling, on the same said house, was shingled into rhythmic sequence, bam bam bum, in cheap labour, by the drummer from sixties oz-pop square-Os, The Easybeats.**

Gravitational breaking booms shook the structure as the maestro practiced his newest rendition of some long-dead tortured genii. Plonkity tonk. The complexities of the sound structure made it near impossible for a bonobo like me to truly appreciate it, at the time.
It sounded like a buffalo herd stampeding through a windchime factory, headbutting and stomping their way to the top of the aluminium scrap heap next door where the juvenile calves would proceed to jump on every different size shard to make sure they didn’t bypass any disjointed or ear-severing sambal available.

“LUDWIG, SHUT UP!!! THE SIMPSUNS ARE ON NOW!” Was my attempted end to the talented whirlwind @ 6pm on Channel TEN!! each working weekday evening (unless the turd had some kind of examination for which to prepare. At these moments, it was time to hunker up and bunker down. Knitting needles and conductors batons are the appropriate length for severing ones own eardrums, a Bonobo professor once conferred to me).

Nowadays, as he occupies the older years of his younger twenties, Ludwig uses his piano gravitatus for party tricks, usually after being cudgelled into submission by a bottle of red. Then he’ll magnetically, majestically, let his fingers meander over the subtle and turgid time structures of the 7.30 Report opening theme, something by The Fugees, or Paul McCartney’s Yesterday.
You’ve sold out, man.

As for me, I had nothing to sell. I grew five foot eighty in this household, for eighteen odd years, hearing but not listening to the virtuosities of the dead great classical masters. Wooing to the deaf ears of the youthfully stupid and unappreciative, they sank by the wayside.
In the same household, fluent Lithuanian language was spoken on a weekly basis, and again, I heard it, it whirled around my vista, trying to locate a place to land, then finding the runways too full of teenage testosterone, trends and bratty behaviours, it spun out and crashed somewhere over by the backroads of my concentration span- near to the abandoned hangers of Latin, Religion and Math.

If I had taken heed of the Lithuanian lessons, not that they were directly at me, but if I had absorbed the words spoken around me, suckled them in, they would have been very handy for right NOW, today, as I imitate the signals of an air-traffic controller trying to explain the problems of the Autowasher 16 to Romus
(turns out, he doesn’t know what's wrong with it either).

So Lithuanian language and classical music; I know the sounds but not the names.
And I really wish I knew the name of this one, this mournful timbre tinkling between my brows.

It has lapsed into my awakened consciousness now, softly plonking a gentle atmosphere upon the morning, flooding me with warmth and depth…
“Shut UP!” I yell at my brain, “The Simpsuns are starting.”
I taped on the remains of my boots and bid good morning to the mice. Romas had left the toilet in a state of Fukushima fury, so I decided it was safer for nature t wait. I threw on my old bear-hunting jacket and lovingly transcended from darkened doorway to daylight, into the 8am air. Though there was sun streaming, a biting chill of a breeze swarmed around my neck, with the nasty reminders of a long winter.
Begone with you, scrooge!
It seemed Vladimir Pooty had turned down the thermostat, in another of Russia’s cold, cold threats upon this country.

Thinking in placid pops, I perambulate along the footpath. The piano loops and flows like a torrenting soundtrack to the changing season.
Blooms caught between roadway cracks, rustling slow. A ginger cat chases a kitten up into the branches of a cherry tree, creating a cacophony in cat-language. People walk about opening car doors in a human tapestry of tendencies, cigarette smoke, dangling key chains, mobile phone message mashing, or my personal favourite, the glazed facial ‘I didn’t sleep now I have to trudge to a job I hate’ robotic acceptance.
All the while, minor As, major Ds, crashing over these human sights, sweeping it up with its mighty suction as if the scenery is all but shells on my song's shifting tides.

What could it be? Where had I heard it?

I had reached the end of my street now, and stood beneath the neighbourhood landmark; the Russian Orthodox Church, Saint Constantine.
Its green onion domes, everyday street purveyors of sunlight, impress over the situation a certain noble statesmanship.
The masked musician of my memory had moved his fingers into the lower keys now, and his bass clefs were heavy with the indescribable volume of Russian history.
Wait a second.
I listened as the breeze stilled…
Da da da, da da, dum, dada daa…
This was not in my head. The tune was external, an actual instrument, and its notes were sifting out between gaps in the stained glass windows…As it hit the outside, I could watched its organism tumbling through the air, the bars, the treble clefs upon the chilly breeze, smiling, singing, then sucked away with the leaves as a trolley bus roared passed.

Somewhere behind the rustic wooden doors of Saint Constantine, somewhere between Russian Jesus and the water of holes, some precious preacher was jamming my song.
I rapped on the door in quick fierce successions to the beat of the tune,
Da da da, da daaaa, dum….
A silence. Scratching. A shuffle of footsteps.
The wooden door creaked open an inch.
“Taip?” She wore a moustache, and looked about as sweet as a saucepan.
“Ah, would you mind telling me what song you were just playing? It was beautiful.”
She looked at me with the vague quizzicality I had seen before often.
I slumped a little, “Never mind.”
As I span to leave, I offered her a farewell wave; and a remarkable transformation ensued.
Her ancient lips curled into a rainforest of delight, her moustache grooming her saccharine smile so gorgeous, it could have only been her playing the song. I could see her music now, as she flicked a return wave in my direction; she carried some kind of youthful soul deep within her withered package.
I turned around and began strolling back out into the chill, one hand thrust into pocket, the other scraping the litter of leaves from my wool jacket.

Classical music and Lithuanian.

If I could turn back time for today and focus on these two titbits which had been nestled by my fingertips for so long, and learn them, I would not be in this situation at all.
Da da da, da da, dum…
On the other hand, if ever I am being held at knife point by Talibandits or Nazi skin grafters, who say they’ll only release me if I can relay to them the name of the cocktail recipe which surly sleaze-bag barkeep Moe stole, and it subsequently made him famous, I’ll be walking out of there faster than you can scream,
‘TEEVEEADDICTADOLESCENTS,” into the knitting needle puncture marks of my ear drums.
(It was the ‘Flaming Homer’ for all you octogenarians or older out there).

And if anyone can help me by naming my subconscious song, please do so.
It goes da da da da dumm da daaaaa, da da, dummm…

Or, just visit me in my dreams, where I’ll be waiting for you, the carved snake on my walking stick spiralling up your arms, as we wander off over a milky horizon, whorls of wheat like amber glowing in the paddocks by our sides, hit by wind but motionless, and we’ll play it together, you and I, two hobos singing along, blowing harmonica and following the ghosts chasing up the running river bends out and around, winding the path of the serpents and sasquatches before us, until we end up back at the place where we began.

Da da da, da da, dummm, da da, da dummmdada da daaaa…..

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 4. Are you dumber than a Bonobo Monkey?


Most people are.
Bonobo monkeys are some of the foremost forward thinking terrestrials since nameless teenager twelve hundred billion discovered the combination of the soft-serve vanilla ice-cream cone upon his MurkDonals hotcake breakfasts.
True pragmatists; Bonobo apes are able to utilise such pseudo-phenomenal human contraptions as internet blogging, browsing eyePads for porn, and urinals.
Now reader, if you still remain in the competition against Bonobos after the last round test (cataclysmic and truthful fact which it was), praise be to you and your toilet trainer.
If however, the Bonobo has beaten you; thrash yourself against the keyboard and fall to sleep in a stream of your own steaming urine, and smile in knowing, dear sir, I envy thee.
“Enjoy your outlook; enjoy your luck while you have it!” A Bonobo philosopher once warned me.
“Life is like a haemorrhoid,” he continued, “It’s painful and embarrassing, and it always goes to the wrong spot. But once you pop it, and the juice is gone, your arse always feels like its missing something. You miss it you do, like sex on a Sunday.”
Sexual miasma emitted from the heat rays of a Bonobo orgy lingers around a Bonobo colony for days. Farmers have been known to strangle themselves rather than inhalate these vapours which pollute the baron soils of their Congolese pastures.
“Just goes to show you, it’s a matter of taste,” My Congolese bongo bangin’ Bonobo brother went on. “One man’s miasma is another monkeys’ mud.”
Too true, my brain bloated bosom.

Recent research (conducted between myself, three of my least murderous Bonobo buddies, and a horny pack of llamas) has screened a cutting dichotomy of the ape and human races; it PROVED, without any measure of doubt, Bonobos are blessed in the cerebral sufficiency department at least twelve hundred billion times more than man.
At least, this is what they told me, as I walked off to buy them all another round of tasty guava nectars.

”Why?” I can hear you scratching your peeling scalp, “What does this have to do with Litho-mania?”
I bring up Bonobos, not for the enjoyment, oh no.
I bring up Bonobos, because just now I have returned from the vacuumous space station impersonating a city supermarket. Oh yes.
The Vilnius Vacuum.
The Bonobo Basilica.

Searching for rat poison, I began to hear internal trombones beggaring me to ground.
Where is it? This supermarket escapade was the longest four hours and sixteen minutes since time stood still in the Kimberley town of Derby for approximately three weeks (which was a long time, even on Derby standards).
Dripping features as I rumbled along alone, I looked like I had fallen headfirst out of a Dali drawing.
I consulted the 25 clerks of the 25 nations whose language still revolves around high-pitched gargling, angry glares and the mating calls of a mastodon.

The aisles became like rotors, a whirligig of surgery fluorescents and endless padded luxury. I was doomed.
Then! As if I had solved the last riddle set by the labyrinth’s sadistic gatekeeper, I found my sack of poisonous pellets, and made to amscray like a jackrabbit to the till.

I was almost out…but no.
A Bonobo sat gawking at me from behind the lone checkout. His beady black dots for eyes radiated one notion directly into my simple mind,
“Your level of brain function is ill-equipped to deal with the diabolical Bonobo battering I am about to subject you to.”
His stare pierced through my skull like an x-ray. I jumped, jingled my pellets, and thought nostalgically of the mouse-plague at home.
“Is it worth it to wait it out?” My futile human brain stem clunked away at the decision as the crew-cutted Bonobo began chanting rabble war-cries in my direction.
“Little bit English??” I spluttered, foolish to his gaze, and detached myself.
I started thinking about how if I quickly gobble up all this mouse poison I will get away clean.
Bonobos upper lip turned upon itself like a wave, bearing a thick set of jungle jambalaya chewing chompers in my direction.
The brainy black dots shining out from his humungous brown dome penetrated into my soul. I felt raped. Brain bashed by a Bonobo.
I gulped again, wishing it was I who had invented putting the 40 cent cone on to hotcakes. He cracked his hairy knuckles. I flinched.
The future was coming on hard and fast now, like a Bonobo broad in a banana grove.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 3. A Far Bigger (smaller) Problem


Peering out from the cloistering space of his greasy hollow- from the untouchable realm between floorboards and stove- the graveyard of fallen knives and salt shakers, where washed hands fear to reach- he snuffled his spindly nose, and launched himself into one last brave cannonball run to the light.
“AHH, ANOTHER ONE??” I leapt into the air with all the grace of a wounded zebra, and my spatula fell to the floor. In true stereotype housewife fashion, I began to tremble and squeal, as nervous dribble splashed from my mouth, as if I were a brain-zonked vegetable. The arrow of spit trembled, as if in slow motion, then drifted apart as it descended to ground, nearly hitting the mouse on his forehead.
The little rodent just stood there. He was sickly, perhaps dying of scurvy, as I hadn’t put any fruit under the oven in at least a week, and the chicken bones I’d left him were as vitamin-filled as a punk. He just sat upon the green vinyl flooring, shivering, as if he were cold, or epileptic, or about to spew or something, and my initial shock turned into jaded realisation.
“Mice die of old age in this place. This is like a Buddhist retreat for the furry vermin,” I thought it in meditative silence as I scooped him into a bucket.

I am living with a serious mouse problem. This is not funny. In previous universes I have neighboured with crack monkeys, dived head first into drunk dens, spent routine mornings brooming wolf spiders from their fertile nests behind furniture, and found renegade redbacks by the tips of my toes under the rim of the backyard kiddy pool.
But this is too much.
Not exaggerating, I have thrown three mice out of my first story window this afternoon. Count another one from yesterday, that’s four flying furballs in twenty-five hours. These are the ones I have found.
What about the unseen, the dark dwellers, the scratch, scratch, screeching at the sides of the cupboard, chewing at the chipboard of your consciousness, just as you begin to beggar into slumberland. What about them??

The first mouse I threw had appeared to be engaged in some kind of sneezing fit. The little germ bag waltzed out from his hideout beneath the refrigerator, and then he just sat, and began blowing bubbly sounds, and no doubt toxic snot, from his noisy mouse-haired nostrils. I stood transfixed from the middle of my mashing potatoes.
I mean, am I NO THREAT? When an asthmatic rodent is unintimidated by your presence, you really get a feeling as to what you equate to in the scheme of it all.
I’m actually surprised he didn’t walk over my face, or vomit on me.
I slanted up against the stove, eyes clear, wide, white, hair near catching alight on the burners, which were boiling steadily, attentively, where my potatoes were awaiting action. I raised the masher in front of my fear tangled features, protecting myself, crossed it against my scummy spatula and held it forward to act as my prayer stick, my crucifix against this brazen little demon.
And then, the ill, infested creature (not me, the mouse, you arsehole) started sneezing. Abstractedly I stared at him, wondering if I should lend him a tissue, or if he will sort himself out. THEN I remembered; the battle lines had already been etched, there were no free handouts, not today, Mickey.
Unabashed, he crawled in hay-feverish circles, ambling around the kitchenette like a doped-out don, owning the joint. I gently scooped him, with the finesse of a garbageman, into some soiled receptacle at hand.
I had captured the spook.
The little spooker of housewives, elephants, and now, he adds to the list, this Litho maniac, who runs in cold heat through the hallway. The mouse tried to clamber out of his container, but to NO AVAIL, anddddd LIFTOFF…
The fat fucker blew out into the orbit, to travail through the abyss of the afternoon.
Sniff the air, I did, in brief repose…the afternoon was accompanied by the gentle wafts of new spring shoots, I noticed as I leant out the sill, the muddy receptacle still tightly clutched in my palms. I took a far-reaching, all-endowing breath into my gullet, and gulped my fear of being entirely engulfed by pestilence away.

For five minutes.

The next feral I found, let’s call him “Big Bill”. This one, too, seemed to have a case of the willies, and was swooning spastically on the bathroom tiles. What was wrong with these things? Too many bucket billies rat features, you’re sliding all over the place. My bulging eye sockets came close to him. Ugly black-tinged hairs poked out of his back, as if he’d been misbred by a pug and a porcupine (the mouse, you dickhead). But he was in actuality, as they say in German, einen kleinen SCHMUTZIGEN mauschen, and as they say in Lithuania, it was time for him to fuckin’ fly.

Soooooaaaaaaring away into the infinite, number two went off to meet his cosmonautic fate.

In this state of war, being overrun by vermin, feeling like I was drowning in the suckers, I tried to avert my thinking by delving into some work.
I retired to my computer to transcribe an interview; A Lithuanian NATO officer who had recently returned from Afghanistan, whom I had recorded last week in a cafe. With calm, though grammatically poor, breaths, he was hammering on about “Explosions in the east,” and the “Security deteriorations caused by local Mullah,” or some such recountings, and with my headphones fortifying me from the rest of my foreboding flat, I finally felt tranquil. ”Women risk their lives just to go to school,” he drivelled on, as I swam into some disconnected nirvana. Total peace. But!
Oh no.
Just as there is peace in my minds middle east, my malfunctioning bladder decides to run AWOL on me.
It began to palpitate with drastic urgency, as I shuffled around in my seat.
“#&@**!#” (as they say in the comics), and I chucked my headphones down. The thin voice still bleating on about war torn hellholes, as I pelted to the toilet through mine.

I absconded to the depository. And there. THERE, mid-flush, between the chain yank and the woosh of water, out of the corner of my evil eye I spotted number 3.
Lucky Number 3.
This one was scrambling in the bathtub, unable to climb to freedom, trapped in a porcelain prison. His pink limbs scrambled up the walls in quick bursts, then in a fit of trying, (which probably would’ve looked cute to eyes less disgusted than these), it slid down the tubs green and hard-water tinged sidings with a cacophonous rrrrrrrrrrrrr, like a window squidgee of filth.
“Enough,” I thought in the mindset of a radical religionist, “This Buddhist temple is shutting its wooden doors TONIGHT.”
I retrieved my loyal receptacle.
Somewhere inside me, as I walked to the window, a little bell chimed, a dinging nugget of truth,
“This is oblivion. This is what it looks like,” The bell-ringer whispered.
And as he went on gonging his preposterous binging triangle, I shook and sweated, and vowed to the Starlets of the Moon and the Twenty Seals which bind them, ONE DAY, yes, one day, I will get a real job.

As I opened the shutters and sent our third astronumbat into the evening sky, (pre-warning him of aviation lesson number one, primarily to land ALIVE) I noticed a pair of glinting green eyes watching from beneath my window.
Perched and purring, a fuzzy black and blue tortoiseshell buddy was winking up at me.
A cat had taken roost beneath my ever-giving sill.
“You wait the night out, Ginger. Methinks it’s just the entrée.”
And I shook out my receptacle, departed the night air, and crawled back into to my safely dimlit spot- between the oven and the floorboards, where the hands of washed men fear to reach.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 2. The Cracks are Already Starting to Speak (or: Revenge of the Autowasher 16)


(This first portion is transcribed from manic, misanthropic scrawling, pen stabs against plighted papers, words tumbling out in fateful, cryptic sequences, an undecipherable symphony of the mornings mundane misfortunes. As he bumbles the streets with a cardboard box loaded to the gutful with soggy undergarments and salvation army swag (his wardrobe), wet, grubby, stinking like bath rag, he monsoons pebbles of sweat, which drain from his head like a colander. He occasionally laughs to himself, cheery, mad, and these passages, it shall be warned, should not offend anyone, after they have realised this state of the author himself).

This may be a running theme throughout the next thirty days. Cleanliness, or lack way thereof.
I write this sitting opposite the Giant EGG (almost an Australian invention, a cousin of Queensland’s Mega Mango, a delicacy on the humungous hamburger, with chopped slivers of the Big Ram underneath).
Some Vikings argue like vultures over a vodka bottle to my right. The man appears to be crying… His face has been all but splayed into an omelette by some twisted adversary. One eye is black, his heart a matching darkness as he swigs direct from the bottomless pit… And I?
Stuck in the abyss of the unwashable.
Here I am carting around a ten kilogram box of wet, SOILED, clothing, victims of the Autowasher 16.
ARE WE MEN, OR ARE WE FLY-BIT CATTLE?
It seems after marching an endless loop around Vilnius…
(the writing begins to loop into circular patterns on the page)
…a bandaid on my near severed finger from a tussle with a tin of tuna- a finger which I would graciously raise in salute to the bastard lungfish creator of the Autowasher 16-
It seems Lithuanians do not believe in organised laundrymats.
Organised crime, fine, but laundry, fuck you in space.
WANT TO HEAR MORE OF MY WEARY WASHING BLUES?
No?
Well, then, my esteemed overlords, go home to your shining white laundrettes, and spin a curtsy in your effervescent and sparkling clean gowns, amassing FAB and NEAT and WAZZO powders like cocaine over your shelves, letting them touch, almost tango upon your fine fabrics, as your precious spin cycle turns like this planet, as it should, in unison with the seas gravitational pull, washing and slushing, around and around to a better, brighter, tomorrows underpants.
Then think of me with my sopping shirts in sadness. That’ll sully you up a little at least.

(Here the filthy villain returns his pen to his jacket pocket, heaves a sigh to the heavens and clods off with his oversized laundry box into the unkindly warm morning. Composure, like a cool tide, has washed and replenished him, as he goes about his retarded task of searching for a washer).


Near the carpark, away from the trappings of the Big Egg and the grim birds which swoop around her, here, where the smell of atrophied meat, maybe venison, Rudolph, floats upon the air like cobwebs.
Congealing puddles from stale morning mist reflect sunlight, and send me to squinting. I am prone to light sensitivity, like an anti-moth, scurrying into the unlit corners of dank and empty recreational rooms. Perhaps this is why I held like an amulet to my habit of habituating the dimlit corners of roustabout joints, frequenting the back tables of squalors like Sydney’s Hotel Hollywood for a quiet arm-to-mouth activity with myself in the mournful plateau of morning.

**
(A PAUSE IN PROCEEDINGS: A word on the Hotel Hollywood).

The Hotel Hollywood:

Where the stars shine like fading embers,
Where the lights short out, but who remembers
Where it could be June, or late September
But forget your sins! your woes! your gender
Just put your money down, big spender,
You’re in here now- enjoy the blender.

Any Sydney ciggie slinging slob who lives on the down sides of depravity, knows, and has lurked for many a fun evening, in the backrooms of the Hotel Hollywood.
Like a musty time capsule from 1953, flying through stagnant space and somehow defying all laws of physics, health and safety, this bar is like a lighthouse in the stony winter evenings, glowing from its porch out in flurried Surrey Hills.
The intergalactic patterns on the carpet, in their glowing neon retro fuzz, glide you into the palace where stars aren’t born, they come to croak and wheeze around on a packet of winfields and vine. And whispering, following the Hollywood beaming hope, you would trundle down there, on weekdays, (or Sunday mornings were preferred), as you could dwell in the wooded back corners, and sit upon the ripped purple cushions, and write away like a foolish wizard experimenting with spells.

The backroom of the Hotel Hollywood had about four poker machines, all from the times of Tetris, and between their humming electro bleeps, and the old time classic jazz, always jazz, which was trumpeting, kazooing, and whooping it up on a constant repeat through the speakers, you could really feel your body existing, between the peeling chipboards and the unvarnished tables, just tapping your feet away.

The owner was an elderly gal, always draped in floral picnic blankets, or moo moos, or stylish 1930s garb, her lips puckered and blazing a devil red, and her eye lids sagging in contented white-wine afternoon love. She would spin around to the mixture of Armstrong and Ellington, whisked any man young enough to call her granny by the arm, and always, without fail, grab their virgin arses. Not just a pinch, but a real perverted pluck.

The lighting through the bar wafted rather than rained. It illuminated where it wanted to, when it wanted to- and this was the beauty of the obviously fried circuit boards, as you could never tell if it was 3AM or four in the afternoon. The dim ambience was always the same. There were no gateways to natural light. And in the ancient days where smoking cigarettes was still permitted behind city barwalls, clouds used to hover through the halls, shifting around like spirit dancers, swoop, sweep, sliding out the open doorway to the grubby gutters of Central, as the next potential arse-grab for granny wanders in half-cut.

This was the room I received an important lesson of Entomology (the study of insex):
These horrible black bugs used to swarm around your beer unless you hatted your Carlton with a coaster. As soon as you let your guard down, glunk, dunk, your amber ale is filled with buzzing urchins out to reap their fill.
These are known as ‘fermentation flies.’
The buzzards of beer.
Barflies.

Hotel Hollywood.

Where silver screen
Was a madmans dream
Inside a padded box

A movie scene
Of dead James Dean
And then the doors were locked.
**

Anyway, we were leading to some sort of climactic solution for the raggy mans washing woes.
And his squinting eyes. As I was getting at, his eyes suffer from an apparently common, yet distractedly annoying, condition dubbed Blepharitis.
In the pangs of the ailment, vision remains “sharper than a desert eagle,” as one (no doubt drunken) Alice Springs doctor once informed me, but your eyelids have the unpleasant urgency of swelling up, and scratching the pupils as you blink or close them, sending them to water, leaving you in the purgatory of neither being able to shut them or spring them wide to alleviate the nuisance. All the same, to quote Eric Idle, “plenty of worse things happen at sea.”

Due to the glinting off the stagnant puddles, the pools by my feet, (the feet roped by disintegrating Timberlands), and due to the midday glare refracting off car chrome in all directions, like a strobe show, my vision was shuttered, and I didn’t notice the figure of fate bearing down upon me like Thor’s hammerhead.
“Hey, how are you doing!”
My cousin approaches. All I can see is a brown silhouette which looks like it has been chiselled by a butcher’s cleaver, strange, muddy offcuts surrounding my blindness.
“Good, good,” I repeated, coughing and cantankerous at being caught with my burdensome box.
“Don’t they have any laundries in Vilnius??” I plead.
She laughed, a joyful, booming bear cub curdle.
“What? No, not in Lithuania!!” Accentuate the accent- the curls on every letter, c’s with strange tufts, z’s with heads, u’s with little umbrellas above them.
“But why no laundries? I need to wash!”
“I don’t know, maybe Soviet scheme meant everybody had washing machine in own house. Why don’t you open new one? Yes, open new laundry!”
“Yeh, well, maybe…” I trail away.
“Anyvay, how vas rest of your day?”
“It stank,” I mumble.
“You don’t say…” She retorted in cutting haste, eyeing off the contents of my box.
Then politeness ensued, formalities quickly undertaken, then like a fox, a fox with a fever, off I squinted into oncoming traffic, ready to find the afternoon.