So we says to the guy...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

(Ross) SCENE 4: in the middle of something?

Day 4

A wise man once reasoned that when you are at the bottom, the only way you can go is up. There was a time in the not too distant past when I said this wise man may be wrong; that a man at the bottom could be still, could look deep into his own soul and meditate on the multifarious facets of his very being and moreover, that the fallen simply must do so in order to appreciate fully where they are and where they want to end up.
With a profound sigh, the wise man told me to get on the fucking elevator or he would push the door-close button.
‘Shutting yourself in only makes matters worse!’ I cried through the ever-diminishing gap between us. I don’t think my efforts to touch him were wholly in vain and my bloody, fractured finger that got caught between the doors will be a perpetual reminder that, if nothing else, I tried my best. My only wish is that he takes time to contemplate the symbolic undertones of how our encounter came to an end as he wipes my blood from his glasses. See, my friend, see.
My hitting bottom and being touched by Jeff’s plight in my sleep preceded this event from last night. It was quite the night. So many people touched and roused in so many different ways. Then writhing in the depths of nothingness and garbage, little did I know that I would soon be meaningfully disturbed like never before.
My personal rude awakening reared its head at 21.06 (a time significant in itself, since 2, 10 and 6 are the ages of the children whose mother Jeff is no longer allowed to contact) and in the form of a faceless and possibly one-armed girl wielding a shovel. Admittedly, some of the finer details of description are nothing more than supposition, but judging by the high-pitched squeals and distinct lack of physical prowess of the silhouette-shrouded perpetrator, they stand to reason. Of course, she may have been no more than an hallucinogenic vision induced by my scrumptiously psychotomimetic brew of Pledge and oven cleaner, but either way, she helped to open mine eyes.
And when they did open, Jeff was standing over me, pitifully lost, drunk on Champagne and incoherently babbling some nonsense about pork chops, two adults getting a stew on and new pants. I think I heard mention of a small pony and picket fences too. He needed my help and fast.
This is how I came to set aside childish things—things like deep-rooted grudges and mouthwatering carcinogenic tonics—and once again take up residence indoors. By being so pathetic, malodorous and hopeless, Jeff gave me reason to turn myself around and I can only hope I can return the favour one day.
Progress has been only slight since I re-assumed my role as guide/teacher/nanny. Aside from Jeff’s unpredictable bladder functions, our greatest hindrance has thus far been communication. The unintelligible volleys of gibberish that spew forth from his mouth the minute it opens are a clear indication of a man in the throes of distress, but I think our recent mutual decision to communicate only by way of written word will soon work to successfully circumvent the problem. There are times, however, when I am reminded how far we’ve yet to go.
Adamant that we partition the flat with duct tape (on account of his suspicions that I might yet be one of ‘them’ and ‘out to get’ him), Jeff still at times resists my help. Worse than that, he is sometimes taken by the urge to lash out at the one person who has nothing but his welfare in mind, as was the case when I woke in the wee hours to see him trying to piss over the line. It broke my heart to watch him do up his fly and stand motionless, a single tear snaking over his cheek as the dawning realisation that he was facing the wrong way crept upon him.

Other things Jeff has done to hinder our progress:

-After writing an official declaration of war on one of my walls, Jeff has since been obsessed with making territorial gains, his most recent acquisition being a two foot-squared patch at the foot of my bed. He posts himself on sentry duty every night and his chilling gaze, along with his ice-cold breath on my feet, makes sleeping all the more challenging.

-Perturbed by my refusal to wear a tinfoil, “telepathy-blocking” hat, Jeff wears a wet tea towel around his head at all times and sporadically swats the air with a stringless badminton racquet when he thinks I’m trying to read his thoughts.

-Completely disregarding my telling him that he can use the washroom whenever he pleases, just not while I’m in there, Jeff has taken to sneaking through the window to make sure I’m not flushing secret messages to his enemies in the sewers.

-Being convinced that some secret messages have gotten through to “them” via the drainage system, Jeff dug up the water main, successfully flooding his own room and several rooms of the landlord’s flat upstairs.

-Having run out of lint and beans, Jeff now lives on a diet solely of Champagne and things he finds down the back of the couch. More worrying is the fact that the couch is also his “enchanted canoe,” as well as his “fun potty.”

Now, alone in his soiled territory, he is content for the time being playing with a little-green-plastic army man, though I’m not sure where he got it from since he told me just the other day that he’d lost the only one we had left. The future is uncertain, but that, as it is to a child who wears a bike helmet on the school bus, is of little concern to Jeff. At times, I feel like the blood is on my hands… I did, after all, leave Jeff all alone with his twisted thoughts while I searched for purpose and meaning during my self-imposed exile…but I soon remind myself that it’s not. Most of it is in on the wall of an elevator at the nearby skytrain station

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

(Jeff) SCENE 4 : stuck in the middle?

Day 3

Things have never been better! I feel like I’m actually getting a lot accomplished during the day…I bought a brand new pair of pants. They’re really nice pants!… Then I splurged and bought a new light bulb for the lamp, but only when I got home did I realize it was the wrong kind. While I was a little annoyed, it is no real problem; I’ll just go exchange it for another light bulb… Yup… Things are just great. No wait, things aren’t great, things are amazing. I’m Ross-free and my life is ten times more exciting for it… (cough)… Ok, I admit it. I did end up crossing paths with Ross yesterday, and it wasn’t pretty…
I go outside to settle a nagging suspicion: whether or not I was careless enough to have just thrown out a pork chop with a good portion of meat still left on the bone. Once at the trashcans, I nearly die of shock when I see it. I grab the nearest shovel and start beating what I think is a crossbreed between a barn rat and a rhesus monkey for five straight minutes. Only after I hear its meek plea of, “Please…No more hurting Ross,” do I realize this creature is in fact an old companion. Strange, I had attributed Ross’s sudden disappearance to an impulse for camping in the back yard. He looks terrible considering he has only been gone for one day, however, the irony hits me: This supposed genius has fallen so far from his pedestal without even the slightest push or shove. There is still a side of me that feels guilty. By simply standing here above him, I feel like I’m flaunting the fact that I’m doing well and my solo career is really taking off. I don’t know whether to laugh at him or give him a hug. Eventually, I decide I can’t let him live like this and insist he came back inside. Just after giving him a hand to help him off the ground I catch sight of his makeshift bathroom/corner. “Ross! How much of my soap have you been eating?” I inquire.
Well, Ross is living inside once again and he has already started to drive me insane! I must have forgotten how he constantly needs to prove himself superior in the art of writing. This blog has really gotten to his head! Lately, he’s been referring to himself as “the master of the written word.” This means he refuses to speak to me directly and will only consult me by writing elaborate Post-It notes. For example there’s one above a spill I’m getting around to cleaning up. It says, “Why must I find deviation from my unbeaten path because your appetite exceeds your dexterity?” I think he means to say, “Clean this up now.”
The other morning, the first thing I find is a note stuck on the bathroom mirror that says, “No amount of soap in this world could correct your creator’s inaptitude at mastering a steady hand.” I think that one roughly translates to, “Don’t bother washing your face. You can’t scrub off the ugly.” I stand motionless in the washroom for the next half an hour as I shed a single tear.
I find another that just reads, “Your gluttony perturbs the most desperate of creatures.” I can’t bring myself to blame him for being overzealous on that one. He must have noticed how the condiments seem to dissipate despite there being no food left in the fridge. I bet he has been marking the bottles.
Once he started writing the notes in Latin, I quit reading them.
It’s even embarrassing to hang around this pompous prick in the privacy my own home. The other evening starts out like any other: we’re in the living room watching one of Louis Anderson’s finer achievements (I guess laughter is too low-brow for Ross now because him going into hysterics consists of merely crossing his arms and nodding approvingly). Then the phone rings and Ross picks it up. Instantly I panic because no sooner after Ross’s greeting does he begin screaming into the receiver, “Do you know who I am? Do YOU know who I AM?” over and over. I recognize the fact that this is yet another poor soul who has come to discover the ramifications of calling here with the wrong number. I quickly grab the receiver away from him, hang it up and suggest he stay calm. Instantly, I fear that his eyes might fly out of his skull in sheer rage. For a second it looks like he’s going to say something, but instead he quickly grabs his pen and paper. Furiously he scribbles down his message and throws it at me.
I read the bold lettering, “FUCK OFF!”
The remainder of last night is a mess as we end up partitioning the entire flat between the two of us. While the half of the living room with the couch is on his side, I have scored the side with the TV. I hope he enjoys watching old tapes of me practicing my break-dancing moves because I sure as hell know I do. His anger is only rewarding after the 18th replay with my commentary of, “Oh… Here I go… Oh… BLAZAM!” I’m grateful when he agrees to give me the entire kitchen, but only when I hand over the rights to the entire bathroom. Initially, I think this will prove to be no real sacrifice for me because I plan on sneaking into the bathroom via the window late at night and therefore, avoid having to resort to knocking on the neighbours’ door or provoking the local raccoons. However, this sly practice comes to an abrupt end when I get stuck half way through the window during my first attempted entry.
I wake up this morning to the sound of Ross behind me outside. For this one glorious moment of his, he finally resorts to the pleasures of speaking to me, saying, “Well, well. Will you look at this Winnie the Pooh mother fucker?” Once I hear the sound of him rummaging through the nearby stash of yard tools I feel the relief of knowing that my old friend has found it in his heart to search for the most plausible device to extract me from this wooden trap.
Calling over my shoulder I begin to plead, “Thank god you showed up! I’ve managed to survive off cotton baton and aftershave for the past six hours! Try to find something to pull the frame off! I think I ca—AHHHHHH!” My own blood- curdling cries surprise even me as I realize he is beating me senseless with a steel rake.

Now despite all this ugliness I still feel I should put an end to my unruly complaining. Nothing gets solved this way, so I’ll remain calm, collected and resort to something more productive. I have decided to dedicate an objective column to the end of each of my postings; one where I can simply give the facts and let the readers decide for them selves. I call it, “Things Ross has done to piss me off.”

– Ross stole the TV remote from my side of the room. Now I get a healthy dose of monster truck rallies and Oprah.

– After buying groceries, Ross turned off the power to my fridge. I forgot the fuse box was on his side. Everything spoiled.

- I found a mysterious stain on my rug. My suspicion is that Ross had pissed over the line.

- I found a chocolate bar attached to the end of string on my floor. After following it for several minutes, I stopped when it crossed into Ross’s side of the room. Looking up I saw him standing there with a baseball bat.

- Somehow obtaining my password, Ross logged onto my e-mail account. Posing as me, he sent spam-mail about penis enhancement pills to all my contacts; however, the gist of it wasn’t about selling the product to anyone but asking whether anyone could give me some.

-Out of what I thought was the kindness of his heart, Ross offered me a can of mixed salted nuts. Upon opening the can and looking in the bottom I saw it merely contained a spring snake that remained coiled. Looking up at Ross I could see he was losing all patience. He then resorted to punching me in the head.

- Thinking Ross was trying to make a truce, he gave me a flat of what was supposedly an imported beverage called “Del Rosco’s Brew.” Only after finishing the lot did I check the back of the bottle to see the two main ingredients: horse tranquilizer and bathwater from the YMCA.

- Ross phoned all my friends and relatives and informed them I was dead. While at the funeral Ross’s eulogy simply consisted of, “He sure loved the granny porn…” Perfectly timed, I walked in at that moment, thinking I was meeting Ross to go see a movie. Everyone was staring in disgusted awe. At that moment I wished I were dead.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

(Ross) SCENE 3: the beginnings of the end?

Day 2

My heart is heavy; my eyes, moist; my mysterious rash, stubborn. And yet today sees me better than I have been for a while.
Suffice it to say, I took the news of the sudden dissolution of Jeff and Ross Industries somewhat badly and shunned the extravagant lifestyle that Jeff and I had grown accustomed to in an effort to re-find myself. No more eating no-name baked beans off fancy paper plates, drinking out of elegant measuring jugs, or simply flicking a switch on the kettle whenever I wanted to bathe; I needed to get out altogether.
So outside I went, taking up residence amid the rubbish bins. I have to admit that despite my desire to bid farewell to our lavish existence in its entirety, I am yet afforded a few luxuries: the dustbin lids prove handy when it comes to fending off curious neighbours or ravenous badgers and I still get to lull myself to sleep with the soothing melodies of intermittent screams and random gunfire from downtown New Westminster. But some things no man can give up, no matter how dedicated he may be.
I am still in mourning. Not because I miss Jeff’s night squeals, or for that matter his baffling ability to get crumbs over every piece of furniture we own, but because I lament the demise of my, I mean our, so very precious creation.
In the fires of our collective imaginations was it forged and then, the efforts of one alone amounted to its doom. The circle is complete, but I am no longer. I feel more like a Triangle, a triangle that someone with a voracious appetite and baby-soft hands has put on the hob and bit; just burned and consumed. Like the triangle, it is now quite pointless to dwell on how such things came to pass, to gaze into the void or to be sour on the many filthy orchestrations of one with an eye to rule all under his lordship. So I dust myself off, find a potent balm and be glad, real glad, that although I still hear the lingering echo of the bell ringing its toll, I yet endure.
I am covered in crap, mind you, but I guess it could’ve been worse…the only things Jeff’s thrown in the trash in the last three weeks are: several bars of soap—untouched, save a few teeth marks…in all of them; a misshapen Kleenex box—which he shortly thereafter dashed out to reclaim; and a tattered book by some Tolkien guy. None held my interest for long. None, that is, except for the Kleenex box, which came in handy as a makeshift spittoon-cum-latrine for the few moments we shared together. I think we have a bond, the box and I. We both know what it feels like to be cast down and trodden upon and my only hope is that neither of us is subject to it again.
But rather than pitying myself and my predicament, I find that I’m often more concerned with the path Jeff seems to be precariously staggering down. It is true that in the last few weeks I’ve managed to develop a somewhat heavy addiction to my homemade and delightfully hallucinogenic concoction of lighter fluid and Toilet Duck, but my concerns lie with Jeff and his seemingly unending thirst for power and Champagne.
Every night, as I’m peering through the grimy kitchen window, I see Jeff rocking back and forth in the fetal position, as he likes to do, cradling a new variation on an old recipe: Champagne, no-name baked beans and lint broth; Champagne and lint pie, basted with no-name baked beans; no-name baked beans and Champagne flambé with a side of lint; Champagne and lint surprise (the surprise being that there are no-name baked beans hidden in the lint); and prime rib with a lobster garnish. I’m pretty sure I was looking in the neighbour’s window on that last one.
At home, he often seems quite lucid and acts the way he always has. I sometimes feel a pang of longing when I listen to him muttering curses at the lamp or unleashing hours-long tirades at the Hoover, sad that there is a gulf, two doors and a few bins between us, but happy in the knowledge that the old Jeff has not yet completely gone. It’s when we go out in public that my concern finds cause to grow.
The other day, on a routine trip to the supermarket for some essentials and microwave cleaner, I came to realize how desperate the situation had become. Adamant that the security personnel would have to pry his Champagne-brimming traffic cone from his hyena-like grip before he would ever relinquish it, Jeff took to relieving himself in the bread section when they did. It’s not important that we were in the heart of New Westminster and someone had already beaten him to it, only that this was no longer the Jeff I knew; the old Jeff would’ve gone straight for the fresh fruit section without a moment of hesitation.
Perhaps we are both lost indeed.