This will serve as the first post of my of my novel. I may continue updating this, though this is the first draft and only roughly edited. Enjoy the intro of Harley the displaced pessimist.
Certain music can make you feel more than just emotions. It can make you feel a setting, and can stimulate the brain more than plain words ever could. With the songs mentioned in each chapter, it is highly recommended to listen to them as the characters do.
A jolt is what wakes me from my sleep, calling me to reality, and reeling me away from my imaginative joy. Third night in a row, I realise as I check my phone to see it’s barely scrapped past midnight. I roll back over and lie staring at the ceiling, as I no longer feel capable of sleep, I come to accepting that I will only be functioning on 3 hours sleep tomorrow. No today. Oh well, I believe that the most intriguing thoughts are discovered at this time in the day, where the suburban towns stand still and all the docile families with their cowardly children doze into their dreams. This is the hour where so many teenager’s drunken hopes and dreams have come crashing down with the retching that was following them from when they started drinking their 80 proof or over liquor straight. Even I had had great thoughts at this hour, two nights prior I recall I had rushed out of bed as I found myself discovering a perfect plot idea for my creative task, three seconds a panic had stricken me as I needed to find a pen and write it down in the dark, but as I grasped the pen I found my head lost in the dark, and wishing to finally crawl back into my sleep. I guess that would be the plan for this night, to allow my mind to wander for however long it pleased, to whatever crevice of my conscious it desired, and to eventually have it allow me to sleep. Of course, I have dealt with sleeplessness before, not just during this period of desired consciousness that haunted my mind when it most vulnerable. I had found myself theorising that perhaps I only awoke because my mind did not want to journey deeper into the dreams that held all my fantasies, as even my own brain knew how dangerous they were to the heart and soul. Or maybe I was so unhappy with my miserable existence that my self-loathing had leaked into my subconscious and found escape to be an unlawful exercise. The only cure for these sleepless nights I had found was the grog, booze, liquor. The liquid escape. For now was Wednesday, and I had found that last Thursday sleeplessness had struck at 2am and that was a hell of a Friday. But that Friday night was a simple night spent with simple people, doing simple things, drinking and sex. I was only participating in one of that activities, and to my benefit the fiends were all busy being coital that they took barely any notice into the liquor which was left for my grasp. The Saturday hangover sure hurt, and my throat resembled the ache and smell of a skunk’s asshole, but it sure was the best sleep of my life. Though, of course, at 12am on a Wednesday night, or should I say Thursday morning, liquor was not a viable option, merely a consideration, an applicant for the job. But hey, school’s school, and if I fall asleep in business studies tomorrow it would be a better allocation of my time. So now I must ask myself a simple question. What to think about? What to ponder until all is pondered and the mind can work no more. Could try to list all the poets of the 20th century in order of who had the most poetic death, and we already know that Sylvia Plath would be at the bottom of that list. But why? What’s the point of that? Instead I’ll do what all young men filled with stupid brains and high hopes do, I’ll worry and fantasize and analyse all that has to do with a girl. Well not just any girl, as all high school boys would say, but my best friend. Fuck I hate how cliché my life has become, angsty teen who hates his damn life, family, school, and of course the only close friend I have is also my love interest. Thinking about clichés is certainly not what I want to spend my sleepless nights doing, instead I’ll focus on the non-cliché parts. Such as her being a dysfunctional idiot like me, who turns up to parties just to make sure she doesn’t pull attention to herself by trying not to pull any attention, how she isn’t some prude girl who pines for a guy to love her and instead gets on with her own shit, how she isn’t Hillary Duff, and oh how she’s also my dealer. The first time we met was when I decided to buy off her, and she decided as a treat to get high with me. It was beautiful start to an abysmal friendship, and the hazed vision of her mellow green eyes covered by smoke still haunt my hollow ribcage. It’s odd how eyes may be so intricate but I can still see an image of hers from two years ago so clearly. But what of Elise to contemplate, the girl I value so much to decide to spend my valuable sleepless ponderings on. Well a basic recap is, I can never make my intentions clear mainly due to a lack of confidence on my behalf, and mainly because of the current status which we hold. Whenever I take a step back to look at my wretched existence, I notice how feeble I truly am, and of course I am only capable of such a process when midnight is struck and this dismal town decides to shut down. With all present in my life (which isn’t much really), it seems as if the only healthy and long-term thing present is Elise, and I guess the average teenage interest into sex isn’t as important as that. So no matter how much she may make my heart swell with a simple smile, it’s not worth it. No matter how much improbable virtues and situational perfection I create in my head, I have to refrain. At least for now. At least for when I sit here staring at my ceiling, wishing for glassy dreams to wash over my distant mind. I decide to just roll over, and hopefully sleep will fill my mind in an alternate position. I feel dozy, and my body is going in and out of function as my limbs fall asleep on me. Except, once in a comfortable position, with the only objective of sleep on my mind, I find my brain tracing back, to her. Always fucking her, honestly I just want to sleep not think about a fucking girl. Why the hell am I like this. A sigh escapes me and I set myself free of comfort to check my phone, this time not for just the hour. I see a couple messages, but brush my eyes over them as I search for what I know is probably there, a message from Elise. And of course, there isn’t. This time I force the sigh, and almost slam my phone back on the counter as I drive my head into my pillow. All I feel at this unholy hour on a Thursday, is a bundle of emotions that could only be classified as “Fuck”, fuck this, fuck you, fuck me, and fuck it. ‘Hope is a wounded bird, that soars through the sky headed for the ground, and faith is the wind that gushes that wounded bird up, delaying its fall.’ Something I remember reading, but not from where, pops into my mind, as if someone had said something and sent my mind into a frenzy. I contemplate the phrase like a disabled child would contemplate a simple math equation, unable to get the point or any aspect of it. But perhaps there is no point. What’s the point? To anything. For every time I bother with anything, especially in the case of my pitiful love life, which the quote seems to obviously be referring to; every time I bother it’s as if my efforts are being pressed down by natural occurrences. And every time my arrogant ass gets rejected in some shape or form, and rejection is the most painful of interactions. Every time my faith gets beaten to a pulp, ruined until wretched in state, but if a chance ever arrives that aspires that fucking hope, that fucking faith, it raises out of the pool of its own blood and gets beaten down again and again, worse than before. It’s all so fucking meaningless, cyclical and unbeatable; even in the long run, nothing truly lasts. What makes these pitiful thoughts even worse is that even now, I know that my stupid fucking ass, that may be making sense sitting all alone, walling in self-pity and lack of faith will just get back up again, have his heart swell and hope become fearless as soon as that fucking girls smiles at me the way she does. The good thing is, that in my state, tired and shrouded by darkness it’s as if all my thoughts are visual, and all my virtues are played by famous actors in my head. Faith by Willam Dafoe and hope by Tom Cruise in his short stature with a gleaming smile ready to take to the sky. But what’s even better than my own private show from professional actors, is that I can see her in all her subjective glory. Her sleek black hair that reaches down to her shoulder blades, coupled with a fringe that cuts off just before her eyebrows, which never fail to drag your eyes to her stormy hazel green eyes, and the matte red lipstick she always wears to pop out from the darkness of her hair and paleness of her skin. In my mind, her face isn’t the only feature present, as her lightly freckled neck connects to her not so broad shoulders and the only sense of femineity accentuated by her petite frame are her hips that cut away from the rest of her slender frame. A sudden realisation hits me, I can barely remember the features of my own mother’s face but I can remember (with distinct detail) Elise’s body frame. Fucking hell, I need to stop staring so much. Before I know it. my mind has cleared, for some reason it becomes empty and sleep finally washes over me. But of course, not for long, I wake up again in the night, and after checking my phone I’m delighted to see it’s barely passed 5.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” I whisper, with every word scraping against my throat. Oh, what my life has become, the existence I don’t even like enough during the day is forcing me to remain awake during the night, stealing me from the pleasantry of sleep. Not even sleep to release me from the boring life which I’m trapped in. The mildly depressing home life of a single child with working parents, whose only real interest in their child is materialistic gain and the hope of career success as a business man. Ever since I was 12 I was almost forced into commerce studies, and advanced economics was my tutored subject ever fucking Sunday. But my parents, who both had major roles in a big bank were barely around to see whether the tutoring was even working. But hey I guess it did, I topped economics and came in the top 10 for business studies last year. Real sob story isn’t it? Rich parents don’t pay attention to their son and only give support through bills. Well it wasn’t, for a long time there was a sense of freedom with distant parents which I sure as hell abused. Every weekend would be a sort of bender, and I would turn up to those tutoring classes every Sunday hung over to shit, so eventually my parents were informed and decided to be not so distant. “Bed at 10pm, you’re allowed to go out and do whatever the fuck you want, because we know you’ll do it anyway, only once a fortnight. This next year Harley, it’s important, we need you to do well, and you don’t want to fail yourself.” Now I’m not the type of kid to complain that “Oh my life is so shit now cause I can only go out a quarter of what I used to.” But honestly, the drinking and the smoking was the only shit getting me through this bullshit year of school, I was still functioning, and getting all my work done (somehow). So once I was cut off, well more not allowed to keep up with the rate I once was, I was forced to start thinking about shit. There were no more distractions, my future would pop into my head, and there wouldn’t be a bottle there to push back the answer. And the thing was, pushing back the answer was the only sense of relief I could find. Because the thing about the final year of school is, is you don’t know how its going to turn out, and thinking about your future is a one way lane down to stress. And I am again at a state where emotions and thoughts are visual and stress is played by Brittany Spears, and not any Brittany Spears, but 2007 Brittany spears. But what truly makes my life so dreary, dull and depressing, is I have no idea what I’m fucking doing. I don’t get along with anyone, other than Elise who tolerates my shitty self, but none of her other “friends” do. At times I question whether she just puts up with me, and I know that that’s just anxiety speaking (played by Michael Cera), because Elise has dealt with me after smoking too much and becoming a vegetable as I have with her. But at times it does seem as if the people she states she only deals with because it’s easier are her true friends and I am the one she only deals with. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life. Like, sure I could go into commerce or some shit but I’m not willing to study my ass of in such a way, maybe I could start a small business, or maybe I should do something literary. The only interest my parents condoned was interest in literature, mainly post-modernist literature filled with varying levels of existentialism. The idea of being an editor, or even a part of a writing firm really sparks my interest. But getting from where I am to there seems almost impossible, and any sort of interest is just that, an interest, not an opportunity. I feel lost in this dismal world, with Elise being my only benefactor and time being the only escape.
But at least now the morning has reached my dome of unpleasant thoughts, and my cluttered mess of my room is finally illuminated, and even now I still wish for sleep, more for the point that a day of rest sounds much more appealing than a day at school. This early in the morning, time seems to be at a stand still. The families that decorate the ditto houses, in their boring lives, waking at 6 on the hour to prepare for their worthless job feeding into some leech of a corporation, only to come home 12 hours from their wake happy to see their own children, day in and day out. But as the sun rises over the layers of replicated houses, there is no commotion from these obnoxiously pathetic habitats, only the waking chirps of birds, and even a dog who begs for attention a few streets over. At 6.30 hits my alarm begins to go off, and I allow “Tubthumping” to play out a little, and as the music rings on I even start mouthing the lyrics. Some songs lift your mood no matter what. I begrudgingly leave the cocoon of my bed, and get ready to waste away my day. I can hear mumbles coming from my parent’s room, who rely solely on my alarm as their own wake up call. I take no notice and file downstairs. Making myself a long-awaited breakfast of simple butter on toast and a glass of milk and juice. But as I take the toast out of the toaster my father who I had not heard come downstairs, takes the plate away from me.
“Harley, come on. Dentists today.”
A sense of reasoning meddles with my instinctive anger that compliments hunger. At least I get out of school.
“Just go to school until second period, get whatever you need to do for homework, and then I’ll pick you up.”
That lingering feeling of instinctive hunger seems to take over the reasoning, as my father then leaves the room, grabbing a bottle of whiskey on the way out. I storm over to my bag, feeling the empty cavern that is my stomach, tearing itself apart begging for sustenance. Slugging my bag over my shoulder, it I make for the door, and hear no responses to the slam of it. Once outside I can feel the sounds I was identifying during the sleepless time overwhelming, as the dog a few streets over is still barking, but is now more audible whilst contesting with the sounds of families starting their days, and parents rolling off in their safety cars to work. At least on the walk to school there are couple of service stations, I’ll probably just pop into one of them, grab a bite to eat and make my way to hell. The walk is tedious and painstakingly mundane, a 4km walk to school, which isn’t long enough to catch a bus but is long enough to be tiring. Numerous kids that commute to my school also walk the same path I do, which always leads to run ins. A couple times, when I would be walking back from Elise’s (which is the same distance from the school for me but in the opposite direction to me) I’ve run into Tommy Newick, this kid in the lower grade. It was only when I’d go to Elise’s after early leave and smoke, that when walking back he would be leaving school. He would incessantly pester me, as the first time we talked I was so high I allowed him to conversate with me, and to him that must’ve seemed like an invitation to friendship. I can barely remember the topics he talks about, something about how Twinkies never expire, or how the canteen was subtly ripping everyone at the school off. Not to be mean to the pest, but Tommy is quite a round fellow, almost a ball, with him being so short as well. But at least, with me leaving the house early I would not run into any sort of “school pal”. In hindsight, leaving the house early wasn’t the greatest decision. School starts in almost an hour and a half. I stop in the middle of an empty road, and contemplate going back home. Almost as soon as the thought enters my mind my stomach grumbles and I get off the road and start speed walking in the direction of the nearest servo. My dad thought, as I would have my braces removed today, it would just be easier for the dentist if there was no food stuck my teeth or anything to discomfort the dentist, and of course the best way to do that would be to fast. Which made no fucking sense to me, but he would have gone off if I had eaten at home, the fucking worthless drunkard. I made my way down the streets, paying barely attention to the houses that all looked the same. After around 500 metres, I had my sights on a service station, and I crossed the road that was normally busy in the afternoon but was practically empty at this time in the morning. I rushed in, almost tripping on my own feet, and went straight to the coffee station and found some warm baked items. I scoured my gaze through the display of pies and sandwiches, before laying my eyes on a sausage roll. The guy behind the counter has his eyes locking on me, shockingly he’s not exhausted at this hour. I keep my eyes away from his as I walk up to the counter, my focus scrolling through the aisles. I get up to the counter and place the sausage roll down. And then he states, as monotone as possible “Is that all?”
“Yeah.” I mutter, handing him up 5 dollars. The guy must be having a ball, this early in the morning and in a servo. There was nothing about him I could read, so he was either still there from a very early morning shift, or had just gotten in. I normally find reading people to be quite an ease, especially women. You can tell everything about a person that would come up in a starting conversation just by looking at their apparel and face. But this guy, the local servo guy lets call him, he was in a work uniform and had a face comparable to a bar of soap. I felt that by the local servo guy being the exception to my judging skills, it was dire that I found someone else to use my talent on. As I turn out of the streets I scan the area for any soul who’s not in a car. To my luck I find a man jogging with his dog on a leash. Easy game. His dog is a Pitbull something, maybe a terrier, but he looked something fierce, with his muscles moving with each step-in front of the man. Now the man, looking like he was straight outta New York, as if he had lived there his whole life and certainly aged with the city. He had barely any hair, yet tried to make it look like he did, but he still wasn’t fooling anyone. The stringy combover only shortly distracted you from his huge nose and olive skin. He was Italian, no doubt. But his build wasn’t something he was trying to draw your attention away from. He was a big man, not skinny, not muscly and not fat, but somewhat in the middle. His body just reminds me of a rectangle, but I have to stop thinking about shapes and ask the real question. Who is he? Let’s call him… George, now George studied to be an accountant. He did alright in Uni and he certainly fulfilled his goal. His life was alright, until he was 36 and had an early midlife crisis. Now his wife supported him through this, his wife Roberta, but she secretly despised him for it. He decided to quit his job, leave the city and move to the suburbs. Knowing oh so much about economics, George decided to start his own small business after helping with the success of so many others. And it was going alright, at least until his gambling addiction came up. George was heavily in debt, his dog wasn’t even his dog it was a stray, and Roberta, his wife, knew nothing of it yet. I had to keep a smile off my face, and had to turn away from dear George so he would notice my staring, but I felt like I had hit the hammer right on the nail. I started to walk, and tore the wrapper off the sausage roll. The streets didn’t seem so depressing and everything so aggravating once I had some food in my stomach. Once I finished my sausage roll, one of my emotion actors decided to pop by ‘Boredom’, played by Vince Vaughn, and I just stopped walking. What the fuck was I to actually do with my time. The only bright idea I had was going to Elise’s, but she wouldn’t even be up yet. At least if I walked there, I could walk to school with her, and that would be a better place to wait doing nothing anyway. So I started to walk, passing through these streets that were only dull instead of painful with my hunger quenched. It was 6.45, still an hour and a bit till school would fucking start. God I had never wanted to school to start earlier, what was becoming of me. I know I’d have to sit in 2 periods of business before being pulled out as well. God I can’t fucking wait.
I guess I may as well go see Elise, wait outside of her house or something till she leaves. Fucks sake, why’d my dad make me fast?! It makes no sense to me, literally none. Some food in my teeth wasn’t even a major inconvenience to the fucking dentist, Jesus Christ. So, I start walking down the main road, with at least one car passing every minute. Now that my stomach is filled, I feel drowsiness attempt to pass over me, and it wins. I drop my head as I walk, staring down at my feet with eyelids cutting down my vision.