The Weak End

The Weak End

by McCutcheon
I’m fucked up. I don’t have any money, job, girlfriend, cool clothes, or good drugs. I do have gas from too much beer in the afternoon. I’m with my best mate Larry which is some consolation. Larry looks like a drug dealer without really trying. I think it comes from his love of all things Shaun Ryder and that he is Greek. I’m trying not to fart because we just picked up a girl. Larry is driving like usual. Larry always drives.

Kim gets in the front seat and I climb in the back. I clench my arse together.

Kim is cute and young. Last weekend we worked together at a party selling rave culture books. Larry owns the company. It was the first time I hung out with Kim. She was wearing a shirt that only went down an inch past her ample breasts. Her stomach was white and plump. Larry grabbed my arm, I knew he was in heaven. Larry loves full tummies. Kim has very sexy baby fat. She looks like Miranda from BIS. Her cherubic world is all butterflies and lollypops. She’s never been drunk. She says, "So where are we going?"

"We’re going to Delicious to get tickets for the party tonight," Larry says as he steers his Jeep with his knees and takes a big hit on his small pipe.

Kim looks surprised. "I don’t think there is a party tonight. I mean I would of heard of it."

"Larry told me you told him where to get the tickets."

Kim takes the pipe. She inhales. "No."

I look at Larry. Kim exhales and hands me the pipe. I take a hit hoping it will help my stomach. Larry drives around looking for a spot.

Kim is pointing out places Larry can park. "There, there."

Larry ignores her.

Kim is really trying to help. "I used to work down that street. Take a right we can park there."

Larry takes a left and pulls into a spot.

We pile out of the car. Kim closes the door on me. I think she forgot I was there. I let them walk down the street in front of me. I fart and it smells bad. It’s a good thing I held it in the car. Larry wouldn’t of minded so much but Kim would have. I catch up to them and we walk into the store.

Delicious is cool. It has a minimal look to it. Ambient drifts over the speakers. There are two decks set up in the back next to the vinyl. A few CDs sit under florescent lamps. The place is deserted except a delicate girl wearing a tight T-shirt and baggy pants. The delicate girl works there. She tells us that there is no party tonight. Kim starts to flirt with her. Larry and I walk around the store and look at records. I see a magazine called Jockey Slut. I usually buy Muzik or Mixmag.

Jockey Slut has a picture of Bobby Gillespie on the cover. He is the singer of my favorite band Primal Scream. The magazine also comes with a free CD. I buy the magazine and the delicate girl smiles at me and says "Thank You."

I like her smile. I sit down on a couch and open the magazine to an article titled ‘Is the Dance shop dead?’

I look at the delicate girl playing with Kim’s barrette. I hope the dance shop stays alive. I read the article and listen to the music. The couch is very relaxing. I’m high from the marijuana and feel good.

"Let’s go" Larry is standing over me. "You buy that?"

"Yes."

"I thought you didn’t have any money."

"I don’t. It comes with a free CD."

Larry walks away.

I don’t want to get up. I just want to sit here until the store closes listening to the music and reading about Primal Scream. When the store closes I want to go home to the delicate girls house, put on the CD, take Ecstasy and lay in bed with her. It wouldn’t be love, I love someone else.

I get up and walk out of the store. As I pass the delicate girl I try to give her a smile to get some kind of recognition. She is on the phone and doesn’t acknowledge me.

We go to a café. Larry gets a scone and coffee. Kim gets pizza, a cookie, and German cola. I get free water.

We go upstairs. Larry eats his scone. Kim’s pizza is not ready and she waits for it impatiently. I drink the water fast trying to drown out my hunger pains. Larry reads a book on racism. I open my magazine. Kim doesn’t like to read, but likes looking at the pictures. She leans over my shoulder.

What’s the name of this zine," she asks.

"Jockey Slut."

"Are you in it?," she asks.

"No."

"Don’t you have a problem with that name?," She demands.

"No."

"Well." She says.

Kim’s Pizza is not coming. This is a problem.

Larry left his cigarettes in the jeep. When he finishes his scone Larry tells Kim to go get his cigarettes. She leaves. When she comes back she says, "Here are your cigarettes. I called my boyfriend. The stupid girl didn’t even put the pizza in. I can’t believe it’s still not ready."

"It’s not a pizza joint."

"A what?", asks Kim.

"A pizza joint."

"What?", she repeats.

"A joint. A pizza restaurant."

Larry tries to help me out, "Coffee doesn’t really go with pizza, this is a café."

"What if they had good fast pizza and bad coffee?" Kim asks.

"Then it would be a pizza joint."

Kim is confused. She goes down to see if her pizza is ready. She comes back up a few minutes later with her pizza and boyfriend. The pizza doesn’t look so good. The boyfriend looks worse. He is intelligent and sensitive. I’m jealous.

"This is terrible," says Kim.

She waves the pizza in the air. She stabs her boyfriend with it.

Primal Scream come on the café’s sound system.

"This is Primal Scream."

"What ?" asks Kim.

"Primal Scream. The music. The cover."

I show her the cover of Jockey Slut.

"Oh," Kim says.

"Let’s go," says Larry.

We leave Kim and her boyfriend at the café.

"What do you want to do?" asks Larry.

"I don’t know. How do you feel?"

"OK," he says.

We get into the jeep and head home. Larry drives. We don’t talk. I think about the girl I’m in love with. She is from this city. I met her when I used to live here two and a half years ago. Then we moved to another city. She left me after three days. She gave me simple generic reasons. She is strong, independent. I loved her. After she left, the phone calls started. I would get drunk and call. I didn’t know acting pathetic was the worst thing I could do. I told her things I can never take back. I was in a bad way. I was unwell and cried at night. I still think of her about once a day. It’s a sign of my madness.

We get home to Larry’s. His seventeen year old girlfriend is sitting in her regular spot watching TV. I go upstairs to read when they start to kiss. I’ve talked to him about this.

"She’s mature for her age," Larry said.

"Yeah, but she still can’t vote. Being mature at seventeen doesn’t make her mature- mature. She’s not a woman."

"Who wants to vote? We bonded on acid," he said. "She’s got a great body and I didn’t know how old she was until after I first slept with her."

"You’re sexually immature."

"So." Was his argument.

I can’t read. I go back down stairs lured in by that evil TV that works as a sedative. It’s worse then heroin I swear to god.

The TV is on and I can feel my life being wasted. I might be afraid to live or die, I might not know my ideal for living and the idea of making a living scares several shades of shit out of me, but I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to go through the system of social expectance only because it’s expected of me. I’m afraid once I get put into the system I’ll end up fucking some women I loathe but call my wife. I could be stuck having to work to pay the bills that I accumulated an the attempt to make my life better. No- I’m not giving up that last bit of control.

I still want to experience. I try to focus on the details of my life. The nights I’ve walked alone are not like being on holiday and wishing there was someone to share the sun set with. It’s the void of immobility, the feeling of laying prone in your bed too afraid to move by the fear of life as your mind and stomach are rushing on a roller coaster ride. But it is still experience.

"Let’s take the E."

"Might as well take it tomorrow," Larry says. "The club will be good."

He nods his head knowingly. Lately he’s been into the brown.

"Let’s at least go to a bar."

We go to a pub down the street. We have a pint of cheap stout. The bar is half full but seems half empty. I smoke a cigarette. We don’t talk. Larry knows how to enjoy another persons company. After we finish the stout we go back.

Larry sits down next to his little girl. I go upstairs. I try and read but can’t. I put the book down. I think about the girl I love. I wonder if she’s here in this city. She had plans to go to St. Petersburg the same time I returned to Paris. I wonder if she’s home or stayed in Europe.

Back when we were a couple living in this city, Larry, her and I tried to get a flight to Paris after drinking sweet Port wine all day. When we got to the airport they wouldn’t let us on the plane. When I called her after she left me I told her I really wish we would have got on that plane. She said ‘Thank God we didn’t.’

I think about the cliché you see on T-shirts and bumper stickers, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ I wonder why this Nietzscheian paraphrase doesn’t work for me. It seems my feet are stuck in the mud keeping me from dancing. Larry thinks I’m crazy to have let one girl mean so much to me. He said "Individuals just add up to a collective whole. The masses are asses".

I don’t follow Larry’s logic but he doesn’t know the whole story.

I’m fucked up and I try not to cry. The last time I cried was in New York. That city does it to me all the time. I wish I was in Paris. I always wish I was there when I’m not.

There doesn’t seem to be any escape from this sadness. I want to feel clean and pure. Crying just adds salt to the wounds and the drugs don’t work. I try to sleep but can’t. The ceiling offers no solstice. I masturbate to try and feel some pleasure. I lose interest before I reach orgasm.

I look over at the little studio Larry and I have set up. The expensive Kurzweil and the fierce Korg sit next to a computer, miles of cords, a mixer, and other stuff. They lay there dormant. All we talk about is how good the bourgeois K 2000 blends with the working class Prophecy. The K 2000 is the voice of Stevie Wonder holding court. The Prophecy has Keith Flint’s Sussex accent. The little music we’ve made sounds smashing and different from the house music going today. We want to play to people out of their heads, we want to turn them on, we really want to tell all the people who’ve told us we suck to fuck off. (In this city a lot of people use the word ‘suck’.) We can’t do that until we have product. Why aren’t we making music? I lay in bed and look at the ceiling.

I wake up the next day. I don’t like coming out of the nothingness. Lately I’ve been envious of the dead. Larry is in the room working on his Raver-books web page. His little girl is in the room watching me sleep. I open my eyes and look at her pimples.

"You’re awake," she says. "I thought you were going to sleep all day."

"What time is it?"

"Ten," she smiles at me. "I made you waffles."

She works about fifteen hours a week at I Hop.

"No thanks."

There is a knocking on Larry’s door.

"Yeah?" says Larry.

‘It’s me," says Soyon from behind the closed door.

This is good. Soyon was Larry’s old girlfriend. She’s a petite Korean girl who throws up everything she swallows, both food and drugs. Soyon and Larry lived together for two years. It was tough. Larry was on anti-depressants and Soyon was depressed. Now Larry’s off and Soyon’s got it pretty well sorted with 20mgs of Prozac a day. That’s just one pill a day. Low dosage, she’s one of the lucky ones that Prozac works for. Soyon dropped out of Grad. School and now works for a magazine writing art reviews. I like her. I can’t resist.

"Come in."

Soyon comes in. The little girl scampers out. No waffles would be eaten today.

"Hi Soy Bean," says Larry. "What are you doing here?"

"Don’t call me that," says Soyon.

"What?," asks Larry.

Soyon tuns to face me. "I’m working out down the street. Then I have to do some reviews. You talk to your label today?"

"Not yet."

"We were just going to a café," says Larry.

I look at him.

"OK. I’ll meet you guys over there after," says Soyon.

Soyon and Larry leave the room. I look at the ceiling before getting out of bed. I put the same clothes on I wore yesterday, grab the backgammon board and walk down stairs. The little girl is in front of the TV.

"I’m cold," she says.

"Put some clothes on."

I walk outside. Soyon is giving Larry a hug and then walks to the gym.

Larry and I walk to the café.

"Soy doesn’t want me to call her Soy Bean anymore," says Larry.

"Maybe she found it cute when you were going out and now it’s offensive or something."

We walk into the café. There are a lot of burnt out old hippies. I’m always surprised they don’t have better stories to tell. Larry gets a Mocha and I get English Tea. I don’t like this. To me tea is tea if it’s not herbal. People still look at me weird when I put in milk and sugar. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up in two different countries. You can’t fit into either. My mother always told me it was the other way around. That’s my mum, always saying things like, ‘If you only speak one language do you even know that one’ and ‘You must leave your country to truly look inside of it.’

Larry and I play backgammon until Soyon arrives. I like the heat of the tea, the smell of the cigarettes, and the sound of the dice rolling. We always play for something. 100 points equals a new CD or hit of E or something. I go up 50 points.

Soyon arrives and says she’s going to some galleries. Larry says he has to go to work at his bookstore. This leaves me with nothing to do.

"I’ll go with you."

"OK but why don’t you go home and shower and I’ll pick you up." Soyon is trying to help me out. I’ve overheard her talking to Larry about how I’ve lost my looks.

Walking back from the café a tired middle age man comes up to me.

"That’s a good game," he says.

"Yeah."

"I helped invent that game," he says.

"Uh-huh."

The guy walks away. He didn’t look Turkish and he didn’t seem that old but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean it’s not every day that you meet someone who has actually done something in their life.

Back at the flat Larry’s little girl is still not dressed. She has turned the heat up. She always tells me she is a nudist but is never fully nude. She just watches television in an oversized Spice Girls T-shirt. At the moment she’s dancing around the kitchen. I wonder who’s fault it is when someone listens to Boyz II Men. She never listens to my stuff, even when I used to spin. I gave up DJing because I like clubs too much.

I go into the bathroom and take my clothes off. The room is chilly and my nipples get hard. It makes sense the bathroom is the only cold room in the house. I start to shave and cream falls from my face onto my stomach. As I wipe off the cream I notice how my flesh quivers. I turn to look into the full length mirror. I don’t recognize myself. What I see in the mirror doesn’t look human. It’s pale, blotchy and bloated. My dick looks small and crocked, but it is the fact that I’m not circumcised that really bothers me. Why do American girls love the accent but hate the cock of an Irishman? It’s a good thing I didn’t eat those waffles, but I feel hungry.

I’m ready when Soyon comes. I get in the car. This whole time I’ve been back I’ve been looking for the girl I love. I’d be walking down a street looking into limos and shop windows. I wanted to see her in person. Not just some photograph. Now I don’t want her to see me.

We go to the first gallery but it’s closed. We go to the second one and I like it but Soyon doesn’t . She’s the critic. We go back to the first one. I think it’s OK and Soyon hates it.

Soyon has tickets to a film festival. Along with music, film is my passion. I love going into dark theaters to see other people living lives I wish I could. But in the same way film has ruined me. Few people in my reality can ever live up to the fantasies.

When we get there they’re introducing the director. He hurries off stage and the film begins. It’s a two and a half hour documentary on Ayn Rand. The director definitely liked Ayn. After seeing the film I like her too. But I see in Ayn many contradictions. Like how my mother’s philosophy back fires; the nationalism of an immigrant. Or the strong Capitalism of an artist/philosopher. The film gave me the emotion I never found in her cold writing. I really liked the part about how after you die that’s it. Game over. But I still don’t think that businessmen are the saviors of America. And like all hippie kids I was brought up with the Sesame Street version of compromise. I don’t think the audience totally got the philosophy. There was a part where they wanted to get that architect from Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright, to do the sets for the film version of Fountainhead. But he didn’t get hired because he demanded an exuberant amount of control and money. The audience laughed when they showed that he wanted to over see not only the set designs but also the casting and costumes. I think Wright understood Rand.

Soyon didn’t like the film.

I want to stay for another film but Soyon’s best friend has an art opening so we go to that. I don’t ask her what she thinks of the talent at the opening. I haven’t eaten all day. I head for the food and wine. Free drink is always a good reason to go to an opening. Then I remember the image of myself in the mirror. I have a glass of wine. I walk around and have a few more glasses. People walk around with their arms folded in front of them, with their hands clasped behind them, with their heads cocked to one side. There might be a definition of art but I don’t know what it is. Maybe it has something to do with equilibrium. I meet a teacher from San Francisco. We talk about modern literature. We talk about the American novel VOX . He is hip and I never had a teacher like that. I want to say something to show that I’m cool and hip but all I can think of is Hemmingway.

After the show Soyon and I head back to Larry’s. Larry is in the studio working on our Pax Acidus web page. I have a little bit of a buzz from the wine. I want to keep going forward.

"Let’s take the E."

Larry agrees, "OK."

Soyon is a voice of reason, "It’s too early."

But it’s too late. Larry has gotten out the pills. He puts one in his mouth and swallows. I do the same. Soyon hesitates. She grabs the bottle of water and then swallows. I want to say something. I want to express that I love Larry. I want to let myself know that I really do want to live. I want to make it real before the ecstasy pours it out of me. I want…

I hug Larry.

Soyon lays down on the bed. Larry and I turn on our synths. He knobs down a drum beat and heavy bass. I play a piano part over that. It sounds like generic house made a little bit better by our own creation. He starts to loop the drum, he stretches out the bass. I take the sound of a brass horn and play chop stick style, speeding up and slowing down according to the loops. I close my eyes. I have visions of Duffy and Innes, Dr. Patterson, Richard d. James, Jason Spaceman, Miles Davis, Sun Ra and Chopin.

I’m not sure how long we play. I’m lost in music. Then my legs buckle from under me. I sway over to the bed and fall down in the fetal position. I’m warm. A wave of ecstasy rushes over me. Larry is there. Soyon kisses me full on the mouth. Larry laughs. I can’t speak.

There is a car outside waiting to take us to the club. I never want to get up or go outside. As soon as I do it feels good. We get in the car. People talk to me but their voices swirl around my head. A girl tells me she loved my last single. I didn’t know anyone had heard it. Soyon tells her my music is now shite but I have wicked blue eyes.

The car stops and Larry and I get out. We walk down the street ahead of the others. I have a heavy Adidas pull-over on but still feel a chill. Stacey Pullen has come across the country to play his beats for us and we are ready to receive. We are struttin’, drinking water and swaggering. A block from Electrolush I notice something from the corner of my eye. It seems like two girls hiding in the shadows of the Art Center building. I get a flash that is not chemical. The two girls walk ahead of us in a hurry.

"I think that was her."

Larry turns his head, "Yeah."

I call her name. She doesn’t turn around. It’s her.

We get in the club. The music is playing. People are dancing. It’s a proper night out. I feel like I’m coming down into a void. I want to hug her. I try finding her again without really looking. I dance trying to find a groove. I sit down when I can’t. Larry comes up to me.

" I just saw her," he says.

"What did she say?"

"Nothing. I said ‘Hi’ and she just walked away. She looks even better than she used to if that’s possible."

Larry hands me a cigarette. Larry always has cigarettes. The smoke is smooth as silk. I feel unwell. I can feel the ecstasy fighting my plummeting emotions. The music sounds just the way I wanted it to. It’s too bad I’m not the way I want to be. I am not who I am.

I remember laying in bed in Paris dreaming about her. Now I’m in the same room but it’s got the intimacy of seeing a rock band in a stadium.

I want to get out. I want to hop some jet flying through the cold black night sky. I want to float through the waters and caves of Huang Bay in Vietnam or stare at the toxic red dots back at the Rex in Paris.

Someone once told that I move around so much because I keep running from my problems. I lied and told them it was part of the music scene. They said no. I told the truth and said the problem was that I wasn’t running fast enough.

I dance with some people Larry knows. Soyon kisses me a few times. I go to the toilet. I look in the mirror. Not even the ecstasy can shape my reflection into a likable figure. I reason I’m insane. I look at it from her side. The one thing about being ugly is it gives a real insight into beauty. I want to tell her she is radiant but how do you tell a model she is beautiful. Who am I to infringe my personality on her. I’m highly embarrassed of what I’ve become. I feel like my soul is on open display, when in fact no one cares. I wonder if depression happens to people who are overly self- involved. I decide to burn the tapes of the songs I wrote for her. And I’m never looking at a magazine again.

I find Larry. We take another hit of E. This one sends me into space. Then I’m blinded by whiteness. It’s over. The lights are on and Pullen takes his bows. Soyon and I walk outside. People are smoking opium. I stand next to an under cover narc. I’m going in many different directions.

There are more drugs, insanity is reality, I can’t dream, I trance.

I’m shivering under a blanket. I’m watching the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers on TV.

I want to call her. I don’t know when I’ve felt worse or when I’ve felt better.

The last drunk pathetic phone call I made to her she only accepted if I promised never to call her again. I’ve pretty much kept my promise. Last Christmas I called. She answered and I hung up.

But there was another phone call. A call before I even knew her. Or fell in love with her.

We were introduced when she was working. I was in the studio to do an album cover. She was an angel. I talked to her. I told her I’d just come back from Asia but lived in Paris. I was trying to impress her with my travels since my personality was not the way to do it. A few days later I went back to the studio. She gave me her phone number. I remember the blue ink appearing on the white napkin making her name true to me.

The day I meet her was a couple of weeks after I was released from the hospital. After the second suicide attempt they got me. But Larry came to the rescue. I was hooked up to some machine. Tubes and wires were in my nose and on my chest. But I wasn’t really chained to the bed. I was naked except for my suede trousers. It was a rock and roll moment. Larry unhooked me and carried me out. We rented a film and ordered pizza. It was a short escape. I was put into a mental ward then next day. A three hundred pound woman, and she thought there were three of her, took up all my space. No freedom to die. God came over the speakers every morning to wake me up. Lights went out to make me sleep. And the three hundred pound woman would take her plastic spoon and shoot peas at me every meal. There were so many peas it must have been all three of her shooting them.

For three weeks I called her. Just once a week. I wanted to spend time with her. But I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere. I wanted to die. Three strikes you’re out.

I never got in touch with her. But I was ready. I cleaned my room. I showered and shaved. I had paper to write my note. When I was looking for a pen I found her napkin. I called her. She answered the phone. I asked what she was doing.

"Nothing," she said.

She asked what I was doing. I looked around the room.

"Nothing," I said

She asked if I wanted to meet.

I met her downtown. We walked around. The city seemed like a ghost town. It was my first time on a first date. There was no uneasiness. I felt comfortable in her presence. We went to an authentic French restaurant down by the market. We ate cheese and drank champagne and wine. I slept over at her flat. We talked and touched.

The next day I paid my phone bill and threw the gun in the lake.

For better or worse she saved my life and I ruined hers. I never did anything but love her. I mean I didn’t hit her or cheat on her or those other mundane things that come to mind when a couple breaks up. I did nothing but love her and it wasn’t good enough. It burns at my soul.

I’m fucked up. The doctors I’ve seen would tell me that. They would tell me that I don’t really love her, it’s the idea of her. You must love yourself before you can love others or they can love you. But no more doctors. One doctor was stupid. He told me to comb my hair and I’d feel better about myself. I did and it didn’t work. Another doctor was evil. He touched me when he shouldn’t have. I messed around with gender roles and kissed a boy. It didn’t work. That fucker killed something inside of me and turned my outside hideous. I remember the day it happened though I don’t remember the night. That night she had a party, I remember that much because my sister was in town and it was the first time they meet. That night I took all the pills I could find. One minute I’m talking to Courtney Love, the next minute nothing. When I woke up my sister called me an asshole. But the one I loved said nothing. I made a fool of myself in front of all her beautiful friends.

There is so much I want to tell her but the way things are now I can’t. I have a promise to keep. I just wish she knew she saved my life. I’m going through this alone. There will be no more phone calls.
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