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Month: April, 2012

page 21

I walk up to one of the ten or so taxis lined up on the street waiting to chauffer drunk brats home from their night of un-supervised sin.  Who knows, maybe some of them will be drunk enough to leave a decent tip.  Doubtful.  I sink into the back of the cab and lean against the window while I tell the extremely foreign driver where I’m headed—where home is.  He turns out onto the street and almost runs over two blonds who have drunkenly stumbled out of the club, most likely for a cigarette.  I suppose they’ll find one in the street somewhere.  One of them puts both her hands on the hood of the cab and looks directly into the eyes of the driver and then with that teenaged Pfffst spitting sound, bursts out laughing.  The other yells out “Pak attack! It’s a 7/11 samosa Jihad!”  I lean forward:

“Feel free to run over them.  I promise I’ll tell the cops that it wasn’t you.”  The driver turns and looks at me smiling.  I’m not sure if he totally understood me, or them, but at least I attempted to make a sort of connection.  He drives past the two date rape statistics toward my home across the bridge.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine Vancouver flooding entirely in this weather.  The little yellow taxi puttarup-pupping across the large concrete bridge, then suddenly out of nowhere, the bridge supports disintegrate with the throb of the surging water and the bridge would crumble into the marina.  The Israeli taxi driver would be crushed in the fall, his arm extended and broken in the berserk spinning of the steering wheel.  The early model Chrysler wouldn’t have airbags, but the impact with the jaundiced waters below will be surprisingly sympathetic.  I’d stare at the darkening window as the taxi sinks into the deep pollution—bubbles peppering the cab’s windshield with yellow light and, because I’d be so relaxed, I wouldn’t claw at the door handle or try to break out. Nah, not tonight.  Instead I’d unbuckle my seat belt and close my eyes, the city above me swelling with tepid torrents of rain.  A state of emergency, a province in despair.  F list Celebrities will lend their names to the cause, and evil companies will send money to the “Repair Vancouver” fund.  In time my name would appear on a memorial sculpture in the downtown of the diminished city, the cab driver’s of course would not.  That would be something to write about for sure.  I look at the driver as I consider his character for a novel and he glances at me in the mirror, unnerved.

page 20

Seeing this makes me think I will be alone forever and I feel that these pricks are doing this public display on purpose to make chumps like me feel idiotic.

The handsome Armenian (I think) and the dumb redhead make their way to the V.I.P rooms.  DJ spins some Kate Bush, Running Up That Hill and I think I might actually be enjoying it but lately I’ve been getting increasingly pretentious even with myself, even when nobody is around to witness it so I probably won’t allow myself to dance to it.  The song brings to mind some films I saw as a kid.  I think a lot of 80’s glam rockers were in them, sporting fright hair, orange lip-gloss and multi-shaded drugstore make-up eyes.  There were lots of puppets and strange creatures and everything was like a dream inside an acid trip.  I feel old all of a sudden.

I look around and realize I have no idea where Estelle is.  I think she and Berlin scuttled off to some scummy corner of some bathroom, no doubt snorting white gold off piss-rank porcelain.  I need my bed and so I exit without telling anyone (Estelle is the only person I know so it’s a ridiculous idea that I’d need to inform anybody else here of my departure).  They won’t notice anyway, at least I think they won’t.  I scale the wall of Moss to get to the door, green flashes still strobe behind me onto the seizuring crowd.  I bust out the front door without a stamp to get back in.  Rhi and the bouncer are still there checking the huddled line of people standing in the ridiculous downpour—they’re talking to some hipsters at the front and one of them gives Rhi a big hug.  They’re allowed in and walk right through me into the club.  Rhi looks at me as I leave but she doesn’t smile and instead just takes a drag from her cigarette and goes back to her list.

pages 17 and 18

This music is making my ears rattle.

Miss Kitten comes on.  The DJ is obviously a little new and is shaky with the song transitions.  He’s train-wrecking severely over and over again making obvious the change in songs but the bass is heavy and the pulse is thick so I’m still “down.”

Apparently I’m dancing and also good at it.  I can rock this dance floor.  I am so in love with my outfit.  My outfit kills this song.  People are really watching my outfit and me.  My high-tops are a nice touch.  Who would have thought to put high tops, a skirt and ripped tee shirt together?  I’m a trendsetter.  People are going to copy me.  How flattering.  My stomach is a little churney and my jaw is killing me.

I lock my eyes on to a couple standing in the corner near the bar.  They haven’t started talking and I haven’t quite stopped dancing enough to watch them fully.

He looks at her from across the room; she smokes illegally in the corner.  Her red hair, curly and short, frames her make-up bronzed skin.  She wears champagne eye paint and clear lip gloss.  He rubs the back of his shaved head, grinning with crooked charm as he ambles over to her.  The green flashes from the dance floor paint his Armenian complexion a lethal olive brown—a tattoo merely suggested on the back of his neck.  His black sweater collar props up his neck into looking hulkier than it is and she likes this.  As he arrives at her side she bites her thumbnail, a habit she’s been meaning to break and a dead give away of the timid nature her friends told her she had.  He hands her a small lemon yellow pill, she takes it from him, filed, O.P.I polished nails placing the tab on the tip of her tongue.  She drinks from a bottle of VOSS sparkling water to wash it down—in other settings she would have used the tap.  His hand touches her abdomen and she quivers with the new contact.  A new playing field.  A new game.  She’s a virgin…sort of.  He’s had many lovers: both men and women.  Most were back in his native country.  She can’t afford tonight.  He’ll fly her to Spain.  Examining her hazel eyes, registering her emotions as best he can, he leans in to kiss her lips.  With the slightest sense of hesitation in her, he draws back. She smiles and pulls him closer, welcoming, hoping, wanting what’s to come.  He kisses her décolleté.  She leans her curled head on the warm sandalwood fragrance of his sweater.

page 16

A bouncer in a high collared black jacket holds a huge green and very noisy canvas umbrella over her as she checks her sheet of names.  Her pen is sparkly.  She waves to Estelle… plus one.

I am the coolest person alive.

Inside: how you would imagine a place called Moss would look.  It’s huge, crowded, humid, posh.  The floor lights up in certain sections, illuminating chlorophyll green video screens of 1950’s classics and 70’s slasher horror flicks.  The walls are strong, cartoon sculpted plaster—jagged and tree like.  All are colored burgundy or a gruesome teal.  DJ Ynk (I think pronounced Ink) is spinning some Ladytron, Madonna, other 80’s classics and urban industrial bands that are so obscure and new that there can’t be more than five people in total who’ve heard of them.

I have two lines of coke (my third time trying it) and a Slam City (two parts currant vodka, one part diet coke, one part sparkling wine, stirred and poured over ice) in my blood and the combination is making me feeling at once both confident and reclusive.  The music is distracting me from the movies playing on the dance floor. I realize never did see all of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I’m feeling intent on catching up on it now.

Estelle is talking to Berlin, whom I’ve met before and she smiles politely at me but doesn’t know who I am or why I’m here.  She gives Estelle more coke.  Pretending that we’re all European, they do that stupid cheek kiss thing and seeing this, I bite down on the inside of my own.  My teeth are numb and I start looking for some gum in my bag.  Only mints…no good.  All these types are Estelle’s friends and I guess I’m just her shadow.  I have no idea even why I’m here.

Why am I here?

I have always slightly detested Estelle.  She’s one of those people who believe it’s completely appropriate if she tells you exactly what to do and how to behave.

page 15

***

Rhi is exactly how I pictured her.  Part Filipino, part Czech, part Welsh, part this, part that.  She’s one of those people who when you ask them what their heritage is, just rolls their eyes and rattles off a list of obscure countries you’ve never heard of as if it were the most natural thing in the world.  Isn’t everyone this exotic?  These types of people are bored by you.

Rhi is surrounded by sycophants who are floored by how “interesting” and unconventionally gorgeous she is.  Mixed backgrounds always initiate a discussion about Brazil for some reason.  And of course Rhi managed to get only the best distillation of all her “parts”: legs up to her neck, shimmering olive skin, Aquafina bottle blue eyes, and bone straight ink black hair.  It’s parted two inches above her right ear and shellacked across her forehead with a number of different chucky layers.  She gets it cut at DevYne, or Stereo and she’s no doubt very good friends with her stylist, a hip gay who is most certainly in attendance at Moss tonight.  He’s likely snorting coke off the abs of some UFC-Tapout-juicehead-downlow-bicurious-douchebag somewhere in the corner of the club.  They met in the men’s washroom over a discussion about Axe body spray.

Rhi’s outfit is miraculous—made without a doubt by another friend.  It looks like something you’d see if Betsey Johnson was designing for the house of McQueen: it’s constructed out of a variety of vintage tee-shirts, all dyed a toxic pink and cut full through the abdomen before it splays out just above the knee in an explosion of violent magenta.  She pulls it together with a pair of John Fluevog mary-jane boots that hug her calf like an army stomper but also provide some little-girl charm.  They compliment the entire outfit with their orange buckles and pink straps.

She smokes Silk Cut cigarettes.  You can’t buy them in Vancouver.  She’s someone who exhaustively studies ‘cool’ and by the time you catch on to one trend she’s already disposed of it and moved on.

I decide that I hate her.

pages 13 and 14

“Where would we go?” I ask her, knowing full well she doesn’t care so long as it serves alcohol.  “Anywhere good will have line ups to Surrey, and it’s pouring outside.”

“Moss has killer electro and 80’s on Fridays.  They just extended into that warehouse or whatever it is next door…” My mind runs shrieking away from the subject matter as Estelle’s yammering degrades into a dull hum.  My brain’s a generator.

The sun split through a cloud today as I was walking home from the bus stop.  It was only for a brief moment and it shot directly out onto a big salmon colored building with little rectangle windows and wrought iron balconies.  The brightness of the light made it stand out more than any other apartment building on the street.  Three people, myself included, stopped and stared.  Three people that I’m sure failed math in high school, who didn’t know how to play volleyball and who never noticed that stain on their jeans a week after it had landed there.  Three people out of the crowd of angry, busy, shop-o-holics scuttling around the district.  Pouring rain and still, the sun was intent on touching that one building for that one second.

“…And Rhi works there anyways so we’d get past the line.  I called her earlier to put us on the list so we can go right in.  Can you believe she’s dating that base player?  Oh my god, I can’t believe she’s dating a base player.  Rhi is definitely smarter than that.”

A pigeon landed on one of the flower boxes under one of the teeny little windows—the only one on the entire building with actual flowers in it.  The pigeon sunned itself, wet and warm, and it flitted around in the iridescent beam of light, twinkling with the incessant downpour creating an image that was rife with West coast symbolism.  I thought of common birds and domestic animals—the mundane.

“…so if we get there by seven Rhi will let us in through the back or something maybe.  She’s been hanging out a lot with Berlin, that chick with all the coke.  You down?  I think I am if it’s free or whatever.”

The grey plumage turned purple and green as it reflected the sunlight, morphing from drab monochrome into the opposite: something extraordinarily colorful and interesting.  It was like an ugly girl putting on make-up or an amputee wearing a prosthetic limb.  It was in costume.

“Good.  Stick with me kid and you will have fun.  I’m coming over first.  I want to give you smoky eyes and I need to borrow that red slip dress, the one with the clingy bottom and all the cool rips.  Do you have any diet coke?  We can make Slam Cities, I have currant vodka.”

It was only a second or two.  The clouds overhead sealed up again pinching away the sunlight and the three of us, the math failures and the non-athletes, were absorbed back into the frenzy of Vancouver’s bustling city streets.  At some point I must have still been talking to Estelle, and following that, I must have hung up the phone.  She still ends up at my place though, holding a tool kit full of make-up and an ice-cold bottle of currant vodka.

Unfortunately, we go out.

page 12

Estelle is on the phone, wanting or rather nagging me to join her in doing something “crazy” downtown.  I remind her that I’m not “crazy”, but she’s being fucking persistent.  We have that kind of relationship that remains perpetually in that sticky limbo between friend and acquaintance.  If we never saw each other again neither of us would likely miss the other but, since we knew each other before moving to Vancouver, we remain in contact and have sort of accepted the fact that we have nothing to really talk about.  At least I have nothing to talk about.  Estelle is never at a loss for words.

“For real girl, you need to get the hell out of your little apartment and shake your sillies out.”

My “sillies?”  She actually referenced my “sillies.”  Her God awful vocabulary allows me to feel superior to her.  Dear Diary, Estelle said “sillies” today, something about shaking them out, must not invite her to tea further hence.  P.S: calling one’s friend “girl” is lowbrow and insulting.

“Actually Estelle, I’m not really in the mood for any sort of partying.  I haven’t even begun to think of this…”

“Oh God, Katie.  This straight edging you’ve been up to is fucking me right in my ear.”

I have no clue what she’s just said.  It’s definitely rude that’s certain, but not quite offensive I don’t think.  It has reminded me though that Estelle threw out the idea of being ladylike a long time ago—residual embarrassment over her private school education maybe.  She’s rebelling, and has been since I met her. She rebels only enough to make her seem interesting to her friends but not enough to sever the financial tie she maintains with her parents.   She’s smart that way.  Good for her I guess.  Estelle’s phrases and words definitely couldn’t be considered straight English but more of a purposefully designed, upper-crust slang that has been influenced (and I don’t know how this happened) by Ebonics.  She’ll say anything to sound edgy and to come across cynical and “over it” and this is where most of her bizarre expressions stem from.  You’re left trudging your way through a sewer of country-club vernacular that’s been buggered by abbreviations and curses.  I found trying to learn German was less difficult.

page 11

***

My class is two hours long; I haven’t done the readings for today which isn’t really a first.  The bottoms of my pants are soaked from the puddles and my hands feel like wet clay.  The rain is picking up now.  I haven’t started my essay, I haven’t written any poetry in ages and I certainly haven’t thought about weird Australian animals.  My G.P.A is steady at a 2.89 and I don’t know what I’m going to do with this degree.  On my way to class I fantasize about what I’d look like if I could design myself.  Tall, slim but curvaceous, jet black hair, tawny skin, grey eyes, and a mellow voice.  I also go over again what I’d wish for if I had three wishes, then what I’d do with 10 million dollars.  I think of what an amazing philanthropist I’d be: beautiful and good.  I’d be the envy of everyone I’d meet.

Walking past the Students Union building I catch a glimpse of myself in the window: rain exposing the thinness of my hair, a complexion touched with acne and broken capillaries and burned with the harsh drug-store brand detergent cleansers I’d used through my teens, a soaking wet camo-green canvas jacket, ugly jeans, an over sized backpack.

I decide to skip class, turn around and head back toward the bus stop.  On the way I look over toward the engineering building but can hardly see it because of the heaviness of the rain, thickening mist and because my vision is so weak.  There’s a haze over my irises from either the weather or from something internal and when I realize this, I make a mental note to use one of my three wishes for perfect vision.  Yeah, I wish.

page 10

Dear God, let him talk to me.

He’s thinking.

Beautiful thoughts he’s thinking.  His calf is only six inches away from my knee.  He’s gripping the strap instead of the bar—that’s so much cooler.  He isn’t afraid to sway with the motion of the bus.  His eyes are so green—there aren’t any other eyes that green.  His hair is so black.  He must be Irish.  God let him look at me, just this one.  I’ll be happy with just this one.  This one boy, this man.  He’ll bump my leg, he’ll turn to apologize and I’ll smile.  He’ll ask me what’s playing in my headphones (SHIT!  Why don’t I have my music!?).  He’ll talk about his classes, he’s a political science major, minoring in…film studies.  He’s seen Metropolis and thinks it’s a shame that it wasn’t popular when it first came out.  He’s seen Maelstrom, and thought the talking fish was tacky but it was amazing how Canadian films are getting so sleek.  His favorite films are from Spain and Mexico.  That one where the two guys kiss is a “hot” scene according to him.  He isn’t gay, just open-minded.  His name is Isaac, no Lee.  We’d drink espresso shots out of his machine (the one he bought used) and listen to soft music all Saturday afternoon.  He’s read On The Road four times, and tells me how the 60’s couldn’t have happened without the 50’s.  I tell him about Less Than Zero and how Brett Easton Ellis has captured the 80’s ‘Me’ culture.  We’d make love and he’d be respectful and a gentleman, undressing me first and holding me against his black vintage tee shirt with the witty cartoon.  He would know exactly what he was doing because he learned with his first girlfriend—he met her in high school.  She moved to New Zealand two years ago, they’re friends now but their relationship is “in the past.”  God let him look at me, just this once, this one person please.  Please listen!  He likes dogs better than cats, but owns a tabby (with an attitude, he says).  He is a bad driver and prefers to walk.

Just this one.

Christ he’s so beautiful, but ugly too, his nose is big…no strong.  He’d want to travel with me, first to Greece, than to Thailand and Ireland.  He has family in Ireland.  I think I can’t breath, the air in here is too thick.

He’s getting off the bus.

NO! God let him drop his number on my lap.  He’s heading to the engineering building. God let him turn and say something…

page 9

***

The bus.

The express one with very few stops that’s always really fun to take on wet, rainy days.  It’s always far more crowded when it’s wet out (Vancouverites are wimps and can’t handle driving in the rain).  The windows are fogged up and the air is dense and moist.  I’m heading back to school and though I didn’t experience another speed limit incident I’m feeling irked and out of sorts.  I think I might punch this girl next to me (the one with the IPod blasting some Top 40 bullshit) if she rests her fat kneecap on my thigh again.

I’m so alternative.

I hate popular music.  If I had my music with me I’d be playing something that nobody on this bus has ever heard of: something sad-core with emo overtones and alt-country influences.  Something with feminine vocals and masculine instrumentals.  Something that would make everyone think, “boy she’s so interesting, so underground, I’ve never heard that music before…” Except himHe would know what I was listening to…