My room, I am a man in a room that hums of socks and weed and cig smoke.
I keyed open the bathroom cabinet. Put in two boxes of buprenorphine. And once I’d had a pee it was anorak off and kettle on and the water was boiling and I was thinking about Kurt Cobain again, about his death, which I don’t remember, and I was thinking about my death, and other people’s. I grabbed the phone.
There was a text, a birthday greeting from whatsit the telecoms company. I didn’t delete but sneezed and cracks I felt in my eyelids.
With the handset at my right earlobe I lurked over a cobweb in which casting a leggy shadow on the wallpaper a spider crouched. Up close eight tiny lightbulbs shone in its eight tiny beads glazed with arachnid indifference. We had no kinship. No understanding. When I sneezed again it did his pretend-to-be-a-dead-spider clenching routine.
A computer woman’s voice said the mobile number you are calling is engaged.
I pulled on jeans and a sweater. Then I scanned the wall and found last night’s scribble. It was a description about when there was a powercut and I sat in the dark arguing with Soup. I reread it. I looked for my pencil, turning to the shelf of ÷BOX games, CDs and DVDs - entertainments completed, listened to, all seen. The books were a Killing for Company, a bible, and my paperbacks of prose about men in rooms. I yawned. I saw The Dwarfs then a pencil.
The mope in me though, eyelid-sore, switched on the telly and made that cuppa and I plonked on the bed rolling, smoking a one skinner and the computer woman said engaged. A documentary on channel god knows had a troop of kangaroos leaping over grassland in slowed motion. A male pushed another, began boxing, forepaws kicking up dust as my eyes went out of focus on a dry splat of toothpaste on the carpet.
Then signed in as Peppy Ooze on TWITTER I posted three words: No flow tonight. In the search I typed: Alone on 37th birthday. The one result was from a KK Johnson and it said: Kraig, a workaholic lawyer, never made time for relationships. Alone and depressed on his 37th birthday he http://url4.eu/L5K . . . The link was dead. So I went on WIKI, typing in Lee Hazlewood. And there was a jpeg of him, those strong teeth, which I enlarged and stared at reading a kind of dialogue between his eyebrows and the walrus fur on his top lip. When I noticed his safari suit my eyes zoomed again out of focus and I clicked and clicked and clicked from Rockabilly to the Murray Gell-Mann page. Then I was on ASK. Kathy Reich had answered three questions an hour ago but not mine and I typed: I’ll buy ten of your new chapbook. But can you upload pics not of your bare ass but just the shape plz?
After, the computer woman said the EE number you are calling is unobtainable.
I went to the bathroom, twisted the cold tap, looking in the mirror at my hellmouth. There was a Hollin Brown Knoll inside: the bottom arch made of tobacco-dyed stumps, rusting snags, moss in the crevices. Prizing the plate and washing it, dropping it in a glass of water, I heard myself saying: How you see your teeth reflects in other people how you see yourself - who you are, who you were, who they want you to be.
With a dinner plate of beans-on-toast on a tray on my knees I watched ITV3, a pack of Shih Tzu round a heart-shaped swimming pool. Each had like a bouffant. Some were sprayed pink. Some in bridal gowns. I chewed and I counted four top-hats. A Great Dane was struggling in a clerical collar and in a bowtie a poodle and when the Shih Tzu groom gave a diamonded bone to his Shih Tzu bride the poodle toddled up the altar and began mounting the bride and the Dane spiked his hackles and the groom snarled and it was Shih Tzu on Shih Tzu fighting. The bride and Dane and poodle were in the pool.
Suddenly the ceiling went b-whack and b-whack and b-whack and I looked up and it sounded as if they were dropping furniture. Trolls, I said. On each thump I could feel in my arse-bones a vibration and I put down my knife and snatched the remote, zapping the Shih Tzu off of the screen. Then gazing, my eyes resting in blankness, I don’t know for how long I heard but only half-registered the Styrofoam family’s noise while my gaze panned to a clod of baked beans and the sauce in between the beans and I breathed in regarding a husk and breathed out regarding another husk. I looked at the wall where it said: Everyone I’ve ever known is like a flesh-eater.