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?
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.
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.