So we says to the guy...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

a timely change of pace: FINAL ACT

The rest of the night has absolutely no consistency. It involves a series of memory lapses, chemical imbalances and mild brain damage.

Judging from Jeff’s slanty walk and his sporadic and incoherent mumblings about the nature of humankind or something to that effect, I can see that our little drinking sesh in the back of Chris’s truck has more than adequately redirected us up the road that lies perpendicular to Sobriety Avenue. I figured our next pit stop would successfully steer us onto Inebriated Highway, and, after a quick left at the traffic lights, we’d hitchhike the rest of the way to our final destination at Wankered cul-de-sac.

I don’t have much sensation at this point but I do feel the motions of walking. It is now up to me to find our way back as Ross has difficulty with the simple task of comprehending the names of streets in Victoria. I know for certain that I couldn’t find our way back to the bar if I was sober. We find ourselves now gifted with the basic animal instincts that have been lost to mankind through years of rational thinking and responsibility. Such instincts include the instinct of direction and the instinct to talk in tongues. Ross is fluent tonight.
“Who says they’re never before find it to ways of my lost who? No! Victoria! Headlights fast come near, but why me so just fine? Good shoes, that’s why! ”

“My thoughts exactly, my friend!” I reassure Ross. I’m just glad he’s not swallowing his tongue at this point.

I make the time pass by quicker by fucking with Jeff a bit. Mimicking his intermittent ramblings, and at times taking it to a whole new level by making full sentences with random words, I do my best not to giggle when I see confusion darken his face. As I suspect, he doesn’t call me on it, probably for fear that I’d tell him he was too hammered to understand words and mock him for the rest of the night. Instead, he complacently agrees with anything I say. Just the right time to bring the Queen back into the mix, I reflect, but suddenly the staggering silhouette beside me bursts into song and I lose my train of thought.

As we weave our way through the city streets of Victoria I feel the third and final instinct come over me: The instinct of melody. This is perfect because AM gold is my speciality. As I’m reaching the tenth and only line of “I Got a Feeling,” I realize that the wind is burning my eyes. To my astonishment, it’s because I’m now running.

After at least half a dozen verses of his ditty, wherein all the lines seem very similar, I think for one glorious moment that Jeff’s face is about to get a lot more familiar with the pavement. To my astonishment, he manages not only to keep his balance following the initial lurch, but also to continue his forward motion into a run, or something of the like.

Ross’s voice recedes into the distance as the scenery flashes into a neon blur. I can no longer see clearly as the wind becomes so intense. I must be running like 60 km per hour I figure, and there’s no sign of stopping. This is only going to lead to disaster. I throw up my arms and yell. Then all of a sudden, there’s calm. I lower my arms to realize that I’m just outside of the coat check. Three seconds later Ross is besides me.
Trying to catch my breath I say, “I think I better slow down with the drinking from here on in, Ross.”
“No I’m not!” Ross explains.

Imagine if you will, a toddler…a female toddler…who, brimming with ecstatic pleasure at not having fallen flat on her arse within the initial three seconds of her first time standing upright, decides to have a go at the 100 metre hurdles at the Olympics. Now imagine her being chased by a small pony with opposable thumbs and a gun and you’ll have some concept of the image that now meets my eyes. All wavy arms, screeching, and alternating expressions of terror and glee. I reluctantly give chase as I know we’ll never be let back into the pub, should the bouncers catch a glimpse of my compadre. I’m well ready for a beer.

Four Hours Later
I wander into Chris’s front room and am taken aback at the sight of the most glorious Christmas tree you can imagine, glittering in all its splendour and towering over a wooden coffee table littered with at least two dozen statuettes of St. Nick. The slow realization that it’s now February dispels my panic that I had forgotten to bring any gifts, though the resulting relief soon gives way to a deep perplexity and a burning desire not to meet Chris’s possibly deranged kinfolk. He explains that his mother has been busy and has not yet had time to disassemble the festive decorations. Relief again.
As we adjourn to the living room, I cringe at the unwelcome sensation of the wet sand inside my sock grating against the ball of my foot. I make a mental note: Must remember to invest in a better pair of shoes, just in case, as had happened at some point in the last few hours, I end up on a beach in the middle of nowhere. Maybe taking my flip-flops with me wherever I go would be cheaper, but I’d probably try to sell them to Jeff at some point if I did. He’d buy them. And he’d eat them. And I need them.
Always the most hospitable host, Chris lets us recline in the warmth of his living room and, even though our McDonald’s mission on the way home from the pub had been a complete success, he brings a wealth of delectable dishes and bountiful beverages for our gluttonous pleasure. Now on our sixth gallon or so of blueberry juice, and munching happily on more pepperoni sticks you’ve seen in your wildest dreams, Jeff and I try to convey how much we appreciate seeing our former school friends again and of our gratefulness of their entertaining us in Victoria. Then Jeff apparently decides to see if he can get us kicked out.
Praying that Chris has managed to imbibe enough to keep his spirits high throughout the onslaught, I watch anxiously as Jeff bombards him with questions about his sister and her whereabouts. I am mildly impressed at Jeff’s optimism and perseverance, as he remains undeterred even after Chris tells him for the umpteenth time that he has four brothers and no sisters. Fortunately, Jeff becomes momentarily distracted by Chris’s dog, who chooses this point to nuzzle the former’s leg; the latter obviously still on the hunt for pepperoni sticks. A reversal of roles would not have astounded me. Either way, seeing that the human no longer has any pepperoni treats on his person, and is rather being encouraged to partake of a suspicious stain on his jacket, the K-9 wisely declines the offer and goes on his way. All I’ll add is that a creature who spends a good portion of his life with his nose wedged either up his own or other creatures’ arses, refuses to let his tongue touch Jeff’s clothes, even when they’re smeared in food. ‘Nuff said.

Three hours 12 minutes Before
We’re back at the club with Chris and Marybeth, but all of a sudden I find myself alone. I don’t know where Chris or Marybeth are, but Ross must be in the corner conversing with a coat rack. I hate being left alone at clubs because I’m at the age where I’m susceptible to taking on the image of being too old to be here for no reason. Back in my hometown I always thought the initial purpose of going to the bar involved being sixteen, growing a shitty moustache, and passing yourself off as a Phil spelled with a “F.” Being here now I look like someone’s dad who’s in search of his disobedient child. Women in the bar are expecting me to approach them and ask, “Have you seen my daughter Sarah? She said she’d be home before eleven… Buuuut since I’m here, can I buy you ladies a drink?" However, at this point I’ve already drowned my self-consciousness and I begin smiling at all the nice people. I have no malicious intentions, just the usual inner monologue of, “Right foot counters the left. Don’t forget to blink. No, don’t fall asleep, you don’t know where you are!”
I find myself staring at this one girl across the room—Who knows, she could have been two feet in front of me. Also, I shouldn’t really claim to be “staring” at her. If you saw me you’d think that I’ve just fallen asleep with my eyes open and I’m pointed in her general direction. All of a sudden she stares back. What is this? She attempts to challenge me to a stare-off? She fails to realize that no one can step over the line like me when it comes to staring contests. Ha! Yeah! I see that I took her to school on that one. I’m beginning to remember my middle name after she looks away, it’s “alienation.”
Marybeth comes over to talk to me because she and the rest of the bar had just witnessed me defending my title. She fails to realize the rate of my brain function at this hour.
I think she says something like, “Whatisgoingon?Doyoulikeher?Icandosomething.Sheisshot.Heysheislookingoverhere.Wave!”
“Sloooooooooooooow dooooooooooooooown,” I attempt to say, but I think it comes out as, “Daaawww.”
This girl across the room gets up to leave and Marybeth calls her over on her way out. “Hey, my friend here says he recognizes you!”
This girl stops and turns to me. As the two of them stare at me quizzically, I try to go into some kind of “smooth mode.” My mind works a mile a minute to think back to those childhood icons that have taught me the ways of smoothness. I don’t know why but the only two people who come to mind are Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield. Realizing I’m doomed, I say the first thing that comes to me, “No I don’t.” I nearly jump by surprise as my inner-monologue screams, “Fuck!”
I can’t remember the conversation these two girls were having in front of me but I know at least two of us are now uncomfortable. I don’t know how Marybeth is able to skip the icebreaker, but the next thing I know, she says the words, “Ohyouhaveatattoo!” Then she proceeds to expose this surprised girl’s chest to show us the symbol on the upper side of her once completely covered breast. Before I can let out another incoherent comment, I quickly remember that my left foot had better quickly counter my right.
To confuse matters even worse, this girl turns to me and apologises. My reply isn’t quick enough because it comes out when she’s already gone, “Daaawww.”
Ah well, I wonder if Chris has a sister?

One Hour 15 minutes Later
I remember McDonald’s and wearing no socks. It’s all coming back to me now. Chris is driving us to the beach. However, once there, the rules are no shouting or breaking glass. Where is the fun in that? I promise that Ross and I won’t terrorize the elderly, that’s all I can be certain of. We step out onto to a nice beach and the first thing I do is climb atop a bench and do a somersault off it accidentally. My scream flies through the nearby neighbourhood as I attempt to manoeuvre my beer mid-air so as not to spill a drop, and I successfully do. I yell over to Chris to tell him the good news—even though he’s right in front of me. So far it’s one solid strike against me, as Chris’s expression reflects my failure to follow his instructions. I still ask him whether I can throw my beer bottle at something. He says “no,” but just as I place the bottle down on a cement divider I see Ross coming out of the shadows. He’s running up like he’s in the World Cup and kicks my bottle. It shatters on his foot before it even gets into the air. Strike two. Chris puts us in the truck and takes us to his place.

36 minutes Before
The wait at the McDonald’s drive-thru feels like an eternity. I grow bored and decide to go and investigate why the line of cars ahead of us had come to a standstill and have remained stationary for at least three minutes. The sideways glances of irritated, and probably inebriated, motorists convinces me that any kind of scene would not be welcome, so I pretend I’m merely stretching my legs by going for a wander. The drive-thru attendant looks bewildered as I nonchalantly saunter by his window, and I inwardly smile with the thought that he’ll be even moreso when he sees me in the passenger seat of a Rav-4 and ordering food in just a few minutes. Or at least hopefully sometime within the next hour. As I finish my circuit and cigarette, Chris leaps from the driver’s seat, instructs me to sit in his place until his return and bounds off into some nearby bushes to answer the call of nature. Thankfully my undoubted and imminent piling into the car in front at high speed in an effort to keep up with the now crawling traffic is preempted by his return. But where one disaster is avoided, another suddenly rears its ugly head: I hear Jeff struggling to remove his socks in the back seat.
Now everyone’s in the car and I’m dishing out more cheeseburgers than you can shake a stick at to the hungry mob. I throw Jeff and Marybeth’s share over my shoulder because I don’t want to risk losing a finger in Jeff’s mouth, which would be a danger if I passed it back. I reflect on the fact that my burgers taste like feet and look down to find the culprit stretched through the gap between the front seats and almost touching the dashboard. Reaching at least eight feet tall (my rough estimate), Jeff’s physique could provide a tribe of cannibals sustenance enough to last them through many winters. Normally, thinking about Jeff’s body and cannibals is enough to make me lose my appetite, but this late into the proceedings, I’m passed caring.
Chris pulls over on a dimly-lit and deserted street and we sit for a minute and admire the surreal but beautiful sight of a group of deer, as they stalk through the neighbourhood gardens. Unsatisfied with my obstructed view, I quietly hop out of the truck and try my Crocodile Dundee speciality, imagining how grateful the rest of my party will be to be up close and personal with these majestic creatures. Though at first wary, the head deer is reassured by my artful gestures of communication and for a moment, we become one. His eyes gaze into mine and we are linked in spirit and mind. “I mean you no harm, o great one of the forests,” I tell him through our telepathic connection. He bows to my will and consents to approach with his herd in tow. Before he can make a step, however, my mind is distracted by Marybeth, who has joined me outside the vehicle to get a closer look. The link is broken and the great stag once again fears man. I sigh inwardly.
“Aaawwww,it’ssobeautifuland soweirdtoseesomanyofthemthisclose.
Wannacatchtwo,sitonthemandhavearace?” says Marybeth, though maybe not in those exact words.
“Yeah alright,” I reply.
We chase them around for a while, realizing before long that our deer race would never come to pass, and then clamber back into the truck and make headway for the beach.

(Ross) and (Jeff)
I open my eyes. Where am I? I see Ross at the other corner of the room. As soon as I realize that I’m in Victoria and not in my own house I greet Ross, “I hate you, Ross.”

Jeff wakes me up to tell me he hates me. I roll over and go back to sleep.

Chris and Marybeth drive us back to the ferry terminal. It’s cold. My head hurts.

So does mine.

We’ve come too early. We have to wait two hours for the next ferry.


We’re both asleep on the ferry. I wake up. I’m wondering if Ross would even know I was dragging him outside and over the edge. I don’t know where these angry thoughts are coming from.

I’m dreaming about drowning Jeff.

We’ve come full circle and are at the local pub the next day having lunch and a few drinks. I’ve reimbursed Ross for the trip.

The waitress brings the check. Jeff looks at his empty wallet, then looks at me.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

a timely change of pace: ACT 2

Not two minutes in the door of the swankiest joint I think I’ve ever been allowed in, Jeff pulls the old ‘I’ve lost my wallet’ trick. I had considered the same tactic as we passed through the vestibule, but I guess he beat me to the punch. Now reeling from déjà vu, my mind is working furiously, albeit a now somewhat hampered ferocity, to establish the cause that preempted this effect. Ah yes…clarity comes with an image of myself emptying the contents of my wallet into the eager hands of the taxi driver, as Jeff was attempting to usher me out of the cab at the ferry terminal. I think about how nice it will be to plan something special for Jeff’s next birthday, as he did for me this year. By this point, however, I feel pleasantly numb to most things, and footing yet another bill on our weekend excursion to Victoria is no exception.
A few sips into the proceedings, Jeff lurches to his feet and mumbles something about his wallet. Clearly in no state to be standing up, let alone be walking anywhere near traffic, he makes moves in the general direction of the exit. It is a journey far too perilous for me to let him fly solo and since I need him to get me home again at some point, I decide to be his crutch for the mission. I roll my eyes at Chris and shout after Jeff to wait a second so I can accompany him. I accidentally put my hoody on the wrong way round, and since I hear the muffled chuckles of my company, I decide to play to them, hoping that my stunt might take Jeff’s mind off his troubles. So determined is he to recover his wallet, I begin to wonder if he’s hoping that someone might have put something in it, because I know for a fact that there existed nothing of value in there at any point in the evening.

We walk up to this classy club in downtown Victoria. Now is my chance to live up to my original purpose of this trip—taking care of the expenses for the sake of Ross’s birthday/poverty.
“Prepare to let your inner-Theo out for grade-A mischief, Ross!” I explain but he still looks confused.
We enter this place and I realize that we must look like transients looking to lick a few discarded dinner plates clean at some fancy banquet. I remember that we hadn’t had time to shave or look at a reflective surface since we’d been running from one location to the next. Then again, I guess I always look like this. I wonder how Ross is handling this threat of being stereotyped? Judging by the one eye rolling in his head, I realize he’s fine with it. Reaching into my pocket I discover that I’ve lost my wallet. Panic sets in. While it’s probably sitting somewhere in Chris’s truck, I think back to how far away we’re parked. I would go back but I can’t remember what my middle name is let alone how to retrace my steps in Victoria.
Surprisingly Ross doesn’t seem to be phased by this dilemma and offers to buy a couple of rounds. Well, I’ve heard that in certain far-off tribes if you don’t accept certain offerings you’ll be beaten unconscious, so I accept.
The night moves to a crawl. I feel like should go find my wallet so I can contribute to our cause. I get up from the table we’re all sitting and announce that I’ve got to go back and find my wallet. I make it a certain distance from the table when I hear Ross.
“I’ll come help you find it,” he yells. “No it’s fine. I’ll be two seconds,” I plead. I don’t feel like losing my buzz in order to make sure Ross doesn’t jump in front of on-coming traffic. But it looks like there’s no convincing him. We all watch him stand up and put his hoody on backwards, with his face covered by the hood. We all laugh at this simple gesture but we stop as soon as we realize this gag has now gone onto minute two. I realize that if we were to help Ross remove this obstacle, we would not find an expression of drunken amusement, but one of genuine infantile fear. Oh man, this was going to be a long journey!

The way I figure, the minute we step out of the pub, we’re lost, so I think we might as well enjoy the trip. Since there’s only the slightest chance we’ll stumble onto the right street, an even slighter one that we’ll recognise Chris’s truck, and not a hope in hell of finding our way back to the pub, I resign myself to the fact that we’ll have to find a comfortable doorstep on which to rest our weary heads when tiredness hits. Jeff’s reluctance to accept this same fact is really doing a number on my buzz, so I look to the many curious and amazing things littered on the roadside, not to mention the friendly passers-by, to avoid being wholly sobered up by the experience.
Remarkably, we do indeed find the Holy Grail that is in the form of a red and muddy Rav-4, but it wouldn’t have been so, had I not first recognised where we stood by using the drummer we’d passed a while ago as a landmark. As Jeff rudely speeds passed our guiding beacon of light and hope, I stop to congratulate him on his drumming prowess and do him the courtesy of having a small chat, before rewarding him for both his talent and his accomplishment of not having moved.
Overjoyed that we have negotiated our journey successfully, and one with little or no incident to boot, I stand patiently nearby while Jeff rummages through the interior of the vehicle. My enthusiasm soon dwindles, with the dawning realization of what a pointless journey it was in the first place. He beams at me when he finds the item he seeks, and I do my best to disguise my apathy about the entire incident. My fist clenches when I see him wretch.

I’ve never guided a blindfolded circus chimp through a hedgegrove maze before, but I think I can sympathize with any acid freak who claims they have. Ross’s infatuation with shiny objects and human voices is surly beating down my buzz. Ah well, at least the passing crowds find his intrusions adorable. One homeless drummer made a new friend that night. I wonder if this guy could really connect with him, considering Ross’s side of the conversation consisted of “Yay! Drums!” I stop myself and realize that I shouldn’t be in a bad mood; Ross is the one paying the cost for my lost wallet and my lost promise.
Finally we find Chris’s truck and also what I’m looking for. I yell across the street for Ross. As he approaches I feel the intoxication flood back over my relief, and what better way to celebrate this feeling than pulling the old “fake vomit on your friend act.” Switching from joyous shouts and arm waving I quickly go to a theatrical heave on Ross. I stop laughing when I see the face of that once playful chimp turn to a cool-headed Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli.
“You’re lucky, I would have punched you in the head,” he says, more thoughtfully than threateningly. Could this be what draws the line between ballyhoo and insult?
“Really?” I test the waters. “What if I really did it, but it was an accident?”
“Of course I would, and I’d expect the same if I did that to you,” he said in an easy-going manner. This is the most calm and rational debate we’ve had all night.
“Yeah, but I wouldn’t.” I stump him and he takes a long time to contemplate this concept. We sit in the truck and have drink over the calm exchange of perspective and everything goes smoothly until the Queen of England is mentioned again.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Q and a intermission

Not many people know it, but Jeff and I are considered as nothing short of sages in some cultures. Sacred, too. Or is it scared? I can never remember. Anyhow we thought we might open a question/ answer forum on our blog in an effort to make the world a better place through wisdom and learning. So drop us a line with any question about any topic and let Jeff and I help end the ignorance that is crippling humanity’s efforts towards oneness.

We think that opening the floor to people is the best way to get the issues to the forefront. If you have any questions at all about this crazy world we live in we might be able to help you learn something new. I know that it’s usually difficult to get the ice broken and the conversation really flowing so I’ll start it off for everybody.
Hey Ross, I was just in the washroom and I had a nosebleed and almost passed out due to the horrendous stench that was coming from the litter box because some prick is too lazy to clean the thing out. Now, I’m wondering why I feel like I have toxoplasmosis and how slowly will it kill me?

Well, Jeff, thanks for your question and for phrasing it so delicately. In answer to your question, I will refer you to The Simpsons, where Ralph Wiggum solves the bleeding nose conundrum simply by keeping his fingers out of there. As for the horrendous stench, if you were a smoker and had no sense of smell, then your problem would be solved and maybe I wouldn’t have to freeze my nuts off every time I’m exiled out the backdoor and into the Vancouver gales before I spark one up. And though death may come to us all, yours might be sooner than you might imagine.
My question to you is: Is it a sign of some supernatural activity that the majority of my groceries have disappeared from the fridge? And are the munching sounds I hear late at night something I should be concerned about?

Well, Ross. Unfortunately the disappearance of your food is neither supernatural nor due to my appetite for raw onions and baby formula. I would indulge myself if it wasn’t for my chronic symptoms of vertigo and nausea, although, I have been taking your food outside and throwing it in the trash. As for the sounds at night, mind your own goddamn business.

See folks, it’s just that easy. Send us your questions in the comment section and we’ll answer them as best we can.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

a timely change of pace: ACT 1

This is how it happens. One minute Ross and I are playing pool at the pub down the street, then I blink, only to find myself giving him a cheers from underneath the adjoining bathroom stall on the ferry heading over to Victoria. Now, there has only been a time-lapse of one hour between these two periods, and thinking back to how all of this plays out, I begin to think that I have some fault to claim in the turn of events that Friday night.

I quickly grow bored of pool, as Jeff seems to be making up the rules as he goes along. Now, I fully admit that the Canadian version of pool might well lie worlds apart from game I’m familiar with, or indeed, from the version that every other country around the globe seems to accept as standard, but the way I see it, saying “scratch” after every foul should not negate any further repercussion. He explains to me that whenever he says “scratch,” which is a lot, we would normally take one of his potted balls out of the pocket as a penalty, but we can’t afford to do that here because of the dollar-a-game policy of our local. So, as I sit quietly at the tableside, he knocks my balls left, right and centre, managing more than once to launch a few across the barroom floor, and each time, being careful to exempt himself with his infernal maxim.
The afternoon had been quiet. We did a bit of sightseeing down Stanley Park way, discussing how refreshing it was going to be to write a blog that did not involve enough alcohol to kill a small pony; something that we had thus far been unable to achieve. What better way to end the day than with a friendly game of pool at the local?
The grinning bastard ricochets one of my balls into the black to sink it, and, according to his rules, wins the game. I decide to order another pitcher of beer.
Better make it two.

Ross is playing total gash at pool. But anyways, it’s Ross’s birthday coming up and I’m thinking that it would be a good idea if we head over to Victoria one of these days so he can see the sights. I had suggested this idea months ago and it seemed that Ross was reluctant to take part in this journey. I understand his tendency to resort to logic when propositioned a month ago, but now he is still worrying about money; probably because he doesn’t have any.
“No problem, man. All expenses, paid for,” I promise. “No need even to bring your wallet.”
So after eight games of pool—in which I dominated—it hits me: Why don’t we just get up and go? Ross seems even more reluctant towards the idea, especially at such short notice. It was 7:20 p.m. and the last ferry was leaving three cities away at 9:00 p.m.
“Listen to me! This is what life is about, Ross. No point in thinking about it; that’ll only slow you down. Then what do you have to look forward to? Death, that’s what!”
I was struggling to keep him convinced. I resort to my only strength in persuasion: analogy.
“It’s like… It’s kind of like the Cosby Show, Ross. Theo really wants to go to the Rick Springfield concert, but the Coz won’t let him. Now Ross, the Coz is kind of like your own self-doubts. Theo wants to go to enjoy life, but the Coz doesn’t want him to go because there’ll be copious amounts of alcohol there, and he is worried Theo will get all fucked-up. And what happens, Ross?”
Ross gives me a blank stare. I guess he’s never seen this episode.
“Theo gets fucked up, but he LIVES, goddamn it!”

Perhaps an eternity later, we have laid down our cues and are in deep discussion—or maybe it could be more aptly described as a one-sided conversation—about the Cosby Show.
As he so often does while Jeff and I enjoy a few pints together, Bill Cosby has once again entered the fray. I can’t help but feel he is somewhat early today; his arrival is usually heralded by Jeff’s desperate attempts to stop the room from spinning by clutching onto stools, tables or whatever stationary object lies within reach. Incidentally, this is also the reason that many people think I have a nervous condition, but they learn soon enough why I like to keep in motion. Regardless, here stands the Coz in all his glory, even though Jeff is yet demonstrating partial lucidity. I know there is to follow another valuable moral lesson, the point of which will be totally lost on me because I haven’t seen the show since I was knee-high to a small pony. Jeff knows this only too well and yet never seems to get discouraged. I think he also knows that resorting to the Coz and his wondrous insights is a sure way to get me to agree to anything. After the neverending farce that some disturbed individuals might call pool, followed closely by the introduction to another riveting morality tale, courtesy of Jeff’s idol, I’m up for lying in traffic, as long as it involves a change of scenery.

Ross is taking his sweet time handing over a beer from his bathroom stall. I guess I shouldn’t hassle him, considering I didn’t have any cash on me for the ferry tickets or the cab ride we had to take to get to the ferry, after missing the bus. I just reach under, grab his bag and help myself. My can explodes everywhere in my stall. Damn, I forgot that we had done a lot of running to get here. The both of us stand up so we can talk over the divide. Some older guy comes in to piss and he sees us standing and talking over two stalls and drinking. We needed a new strategy.

Armed with our brimming paper coke cups recently commandeered from the ferry cafeteria, we perch ourselves on the comfortable lounge seats and have a pleasant chat. Before long, the nervous glances from concerned passengers make us relocate to the blustery decks, where we can continue our argument about the queen as loud as we want.

Ross says something along the lines of: Scotland has more independence from the English monarchy than Canada does. I don’t know whether he’s right or wrong, but I do know for certain THAT’S what he originally said. Everyone on the ferry has now disembarked and the two of us, each holding a Coke with a perfect head on it, continue to yell at each other, unaware of our trip’s progress.

I reach the stage where I slag off every country that’s not Scotland and Jeff’s telling me to take back what I’m saying about his beloved homeland. Not too sure what I’m saying, but I have no choice but to stand by it at this point; I’m probably right anyways. And so continues the shouting match down the ramp and into the welcoming warmth of Chris’s truck. I don’t know if Chris and Marybeth were looking forward to seeing us, but I can imagine their excitement was considerably doused when they saw us approach.


We’re speeding along with Chris and Marybeth and I can see that Ross is quite content on settling the argument on something about a “beloved homeland.” I realize I shouldn’t continue this blinded banter any longer because I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore. “You guys are loaded,” Chris chirps up.


For a moment, I think I should be offended at Chris’s assertion that Jeff and I aren’t of sober mind, but I soon forget that as I struggle to remember whether I’d won the homeland argument with Jeff. I think I must’ve because though I don’t know exactly what was said, I definitely remember thinking how I didn’t know what he was talking about anymore. No sooner am I in the truck than I have to get out, as we reach our destination. I’ve somehow managed to accumulate two more empties in the process.


Friday, February 03, 2006

disclaim this!

Since we've been asked a couple of times, I'd like to take the opportunity to assure everyone that we here at Jeff and Ross Industries have strict rules about truth when it comes to publishing. You'll find nothing but real events, real people and real badgers at this site. Incidentally, though no badgers were harmed in the creative process, I might have inadvertantly hurt one's feelings one time.

that cross, we bare

After stumbling with considerable style over the thresholds of both our apartment and our alcohol tolerance, Jeff and I finally came to rest on our attractive and somewhat soiled beige couch. It is a furniture piece unparalleled in its blandness and was clearly fashioned in the 1980s by a fellow of questionable judgment, its one saving grace being the interesting array of colours only countless years of abuse and spillage can duplicate. But thank the Lord, we’d made it home.
Yes indeed, our job-hunting expedition that began and ended at the Cambie had taken its toll, reducing our language skills to a point near total inarticulacy and quite possibly causing irreparable damage to some higher-brain functions. We now had to rely on our base instincts to tell us what to do next; that same kind of primal impulse that has ensured man’s survival for thousands of years, and that will guarantee his dominance in the world for many years to come. And so, no longer shackled by reason or acumen, and having long ago succumbed to allure of the hunched-over stagger of the Neanderthal, we did what we knew best: Jeff ate; I smoked.

It was bad. I had just finished approximately 17 drumsticks I found in the fridge. It seemed that I had eaten myself blind once again. Usually I call the poison control hotline but I couldn’t find the phone this time. The best option was to lay down on the couch and dream about the finest stomach pump. I had just gotten back from the Cambie with Ross and we were feeling the effects. Just as I started falling in that sweet phase of forgetting my name, I heard a serious call from Ross.
“Jeff, get out here if you want to see something truly freaky.”
Whoa! Our coked-out neighbours were burying some local in his back yard, I figured. Sprinting outside, I began looking where Ross was. Nothing was happening, and he looked really concerned.
“Whaaaaaaaaat?” I asked slowly.
He started his strange tale by reminding me how he couldn’t use his pants’ pockets that night because they were far too tight. Of course, I remembered his incessant complaining about this throughout the night, almost to the point where I was embarrassed to be around him. This wasn’t the only foundation he gave me about the story. He was wearing a coat that was really long, so he couldn’t easily access them if he wanted to. Ok. Well, I didn’t know whether to sympathize with him or just congratulate him on being able to dress himself that morning.

I knew I had to be careful how I brought it to Jeff’s attention, and figured building up to it to be the key. Personally, I was too far gone to try to deal with it, and I reckoned tact was the only sure way to shield him from the initial terror and confusion that had beset me.
To make the matters worse, my three months of living in this apartment had taught me the dangers involved in disrupting his eating habits, and that was the kind of lesson you only needed to learn once. True, Jeff would never bite the hand that feeds him, but if that hand were to try to take the food away, he might rip the whole arm right out of the socket, beat you to death with it, and then eat you, it, and whatever he finds in your pockets. He sometimes reminds me of a hyena with baby-soft hands and a strong sense of irony.
The two dozen chicken legs from the fridge wouldn’t keep him occupied for long, but I felt that this couldn’t wait. I called for him to join me outside.
Starting light, I began by telling him about the tightness of my trousers, a story he had seemed to appreciate when I’d mentioned it earlier in the proceedings, but his incessant glancing around the neighbourhood convinced me that I didn’t have his full attention.
I persisted.
I was surprised that when I shared with him the details of my coat being too long for myself or anyone else to have easy access to my trousers, he seemed less impressed with my logical thought and deductive reasoning, than incredulous, though about what, I could only guess. I went in for the kill:
“I found this in my trouser pocket,” I whispered uneasily, and opened my outstretched palm.

“I found this in my pants pocket,” he slurred, almost falling on me.
He opened his hand to a bloody crucifix. I was too far gone to deal with this. I took it from his hand and inspected it.
“I didn’t put it there. This really isn’t mine,” he pleaded.
I sure hoped the hell it wasn’t. Looking closer at it I could see it was a latex cross that had been intricately burned and painted as to look like it was made out of human flesh. Hmmmmmmm. I think I stared and poked it the rest of the night.
Ross was truly worried. I couldn’t blame him either. I would be too. We started going over the possibilities of how it could have gotten in his pocket. Well, we were hanging around a strange crowd that night. But they were a bit too strange to get close enough to Ross where they could slip it in his tight pants. I could see he was worried about some other possibilities about how and why he found it. We both instantly thought back to the earlier ramblings we had that night. The controversial topics we covered. “Who is God? Does he exist? How tall would he be? If he were David Caruso, wouldn’t he be ‘too good for television?’” But I couldn’t see anything truly sacrilegious.

He grabbed it off me, and for a moment it looked as though he were contemplating eating it. Part of me wished he would, and then I could consider the matter closed, but realizing that this same part of me was adamant that he should share it with me was a sobering experience. Sobering enough, at least, to make me realize that my intoxication had thus far impaired any real conception of the psychological depths of this little gift left on my person, and that despite my current anguish, things would be a lot worse when I was actually sober. My head began to hurt and I couldn’t remember if I was sober or not, or, for that matter, whether I wanted to be. The perfect time for a smoke.
As we pieced together the events of the night and drew up a list of possible culprits, concentrating on the who and disregarding the why brought me solace. For some reason, David Caruso figured prominently on my list, occupying numbers two and five, but though I couldn’t be certain, I remained unconvinced that he had anything to do with it. After a while, the why seemed neither daunting nor important, and I came to realize that how I let it affect me was the significant factor. If one man’s blessing is another man’s curse, then I’ll put on Jeff’s floral skirt, change my name to Shirley, and try to view things from a different perspective.

I told him I didn’t think it was a curse, sympathizing that he wouldn’t have deserved it if it was. Then again, the guy leaves the fridge door wide open when he’s done in there. Who the fuck does that? Someone I’d surely tell to go to hell. Well, the thing is in our flat because we decided to keep it. Every morning I wake up having forgotten about the thing. Then I nearly soil myself every time I run into it. It is truly creepy. This is a picture of it and if you like it, we’ll sell it for the best bidding price. If you act now, we’ll send complimentary crucifix ginger snaps.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

poets with their minds in the gutter

The other Monday I thought that I’d get up at the crack of noon and help Ross with his job hunt. Little did I know that the day would entail 15 hours drinking our faces off at the Cambie Inn and lamenting on how we are two whole-hearted lazy pricks. While he did have a valid point I still felt that I just ended up humouring him. He doesn’t realize how many push-ups I can actually do. The night got messy as Ross began to barter his last remaining possessions for poetry from a homeless man. Personally I now regret not paying this one guy who wanted to show us his lamppost climbing abilities for two dollars. I wonder if he could have actually done it.

I’d been waiting for it for a while. I didn’t know where it would come from; I didn’t know when it would appear. All I could be certain of was its coming. Like the ninja, it skulked in the shadows of every corner and lurked behind every picket fence, never fully exposing itself, but always there, always a lingering threat.
It was Monday morning when it hit and I was thrust out of my bed with a thump. At least, there would’ve been a thump if my bed were more than just a mattress on the floor. “What’s this rearing its unfamiliar head? Motivation?! Surely not! Just lie back down and whatever it is will soon pass, like a small pony hurdling a picket fence. But wait….It’s relentless….Can’t fight it….” Before I know it, I’m washed, dressed, armed with an arsenal of resumés and ready to get something done. I skip my morning push-ups because I know I lose track of time and could easily do them all day.
And so began this Monday of great promise. I had waited four years for this elusive ninja-type to make his presence felt in some meaningful way, and now I found myself at the receiving end of his ethereal brass knuckles.
“Oh, you want to come after all, Jeff? Sure, why not? The more the merrier.”
Half a day and more pints than you can shake a stick at later, I realise I still have a full-complement of resumés in my backpack and consider the possibility of handing them out to the patrons of the Cambie Inn. After taking a severe beating and quite probably a considerable heckling, the mysterious ninja had thought better than to stick around, instead opting to leave me to my own devices and perhaps never to return. All that remained was for Jeff and I to Cheers each other and be excited about the many things we would be accomplishing the following day. I think tomorrow night, I’ll start my career in lamppost climbing…I hear there’s money to be made.

I knew that I shouldn’t spend any more money that I didn’t have on beer. However, I could see that Ross was now claiming to be some kind of agent or publisher of fine literature because he was proposing some kind of get rich pyramid scheme for this one homeless man – and I really wanted to see where he was going with this. We now have two of his pieces to recite to anyone willing to hear it. We did eventually come up with some constructive plan to help out one of our new friends, whose fresh Caribbean free style combination of song and comedy should be heard by the entire world. We call it the REGGIE FUND. While his talent might not have been truly appreciated in Trinidad, we were blown away by the show we got for merely a quarter – Hell, I don’t think I had a quarter to give him. He did seem pretty infatuated by my cell phone when he found out how cheap I was. If you want to send money for this fund, send it to Ross and Jeff, c/o the City of New Westminster. Anything would help. Even if you can only send loose change, that’ll help. I swear, we won’t embezzle the funds.

As the night progressed, Jeff seemed increasingly reluctant to spend any more money on beer. I thought it might sway his view if I gave him a gift, and so decided to trade what little I had on my person to a homeless guy in return for his poems. The guy had talent, too. I made him give me his name and told him we’d be back there at some point, probably in the not too distant future, and I’d see what I could do in the meantime. I think Jeff was impressed that an unemployed and an as yet untested writer/journalist/trapeze artist like myself had in one night managed to skip all the steps in-between and with neither aid nor experience, was attempting to launch my career into the publishing aspect of the industry.
Either way, I think Jeff and I were agreed on the point that someone making an effort to earn the money from passers-by is more deserving of charity than someone who doesn’t. Of course there are those unable to do so, either due to mental or physical ailments, but I don’t think it’s out of order to assert that the vast majority of homeless are capable of making some effort, regardless of how small. I know I try to butter Jeff up before asking him to spot me cash…compliment his nice new jacket or tell him how his floral skirt brings out his eyes…any small gesture that brightens his day and that pays my dues until I can pay him back. And by the way, I’m still in the hole with him, so if anyone wants to donate to the REGGIE FUND, I feel I should warn you that Jeff had no right to talk on my behalf about embezzlement and I promise nothing.

I could see the night going downhill as our thoughts became more and more disjointed. We did have a steady go at coherent debates about every touchy subject under the sun, but as soon as Ross started mentioning ninjas and picket fences I knew that there was the threat of him glassing me if I didn’t admit Chuck Norris could easily destroy the Michelin Man if put against each other in a death match.

Ground zero point seven five

This is the introduction to the blog of Ross Lockhart and Jeff Loucks. We discussed at length what we should title this blog, and Ross wants a theme of duality. While calling it Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde seems appropriate, I want it to be called Jekyll on my Hyde. I think it pays homage to the original purpose of the internet: Bitter-sweet filthy porn. After all, isn’t a blog a form of masturbation anyways?

Erm, not that mutual masturbation is wholly taboo as far as I’m concerned, it had never really occurred to me to engage in it with Jeff. Nonetheless, we came up with the idea of expanding on the notion of the Internet being the first real interactive medium and decided to run with it. We reckon it’s quite original in that respect and hopefully it’ll work. Another plus is that someone that hates one of us will at least have the other’s input to read....someone who hates us both can piss off.

If anyone here even disagrees with my point of view I will @#%! you and your #@$* then $^&@ your dog just before he #%@&# my @%#&$.