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