Tag Archives: depression

Mental Breakdown #4 – Actress




Date: 3/14/2013

To whom it may concern,

I took money from a guy I slept with a few days ago. I still have it all. It’s sitting in a drawer next to me. I thought about throwing it away. But I couldn’t.

I don’t know if this is a confession, or just some way that I can push everything I have away from me and breathe, but I need this. I need you to listen to me and I need to pretend that you understand, and that the same problem befell you, or someone you know. I need to think that this landed in the hands of someone that at one time felt like they needed something as badly as I need you. When I got home I opened this bottle of wine, sobbed in bed and looked through my entire phone book for someone to talk to. I hadn’t a single a name that would be able to hear me without judging me. Scores of acquaintances, taking and giving, but no friends that I can share with. That made me feel like I’d completely wasted the last ten years of my life.

I met the guy about a month ago. He came in one night when I was cocktailing. We got to chatting and he said he was a producer for some reality show. I said I was out here doing my thing. He asked how it was going. I looked at him before I answered. I could see he wasn’t judging me. He understood. He saw me, and my dreams, and not the tray with his drink on it. I said it was going well. He smiled, and said ‘Good, I’m pleased’. But we all knew it could have been better. In the eight years I’ve been here I’ve realized that LA loves nothing more than reminding most of us of that very fact.

We exchanged numbers. He said he would introduce me to a few people that could help me. He tipped me really well, like 40%, and that was that. I texted him that night and thanked him. The texts kept going back and forth casually for a few weeks before we found time to go out.

The night out itself was really nice. We had a great meal in West Hollywood then went to a bar nearby, before going back to his place downtown. All night he’d been talking about his job, telling stories, name dropping. He talked about how he would make some calls and get me some parts. I just listened, taking it all in. At his place we talked over Jazz and stayed up drinking and taking blow, and eventually started making out on his couch.

When I came out of his bedroom the next morning there was this little pile of hundred dollar bills sitting on the kitchen work surface. There was a note on top of it.

“I had fun! Text me.”

I heard him in the shower, whistling. I looked behind, out of the huge windows at the tops of the bank buildings, and the hills behind them in the distance. I’d never seen the city from that height before. I looked back at the money. I put my hand down slowly on the bills, and took it off again as soon as I felt them. I counted them. Ten fresh hundred dollar bills.

It was like the air rushed from the elevator as it started to drop. I felt disorientated. My organs thumped inside my body, and I felt them working like they were dying. As soon as the doors opened I wanted to press the 35th floor button and go straight back up and leave the money where I’d left it. But I couldn’t. I walked quickly through the lobby and felt the cunt hostess at the front door eyeing me up and down, like I was someone else’s stain. I was dragged along, trailing, pulled by every negative emotion I could feel.

Truth is, I’ve been partying really hard over the last year. It’s gotten to be something that I no longer do because I’m happy. I wouldn’t have been in the situation I was in were it not for the fact that I’m deep in debt, deeply depressed and almost certainly an addict. In the last few months I’ve been dating a lot of guys, not because I want a relationship, but because I need to have someone to pay for me to drink, and then fall in love with me, for that night at least. And reading back over that I really feel like the sad, pathetic little Hollywood casualty I never wanted to become. But I’m scared now, because I don’t know who to call, and aside from the ten fresh hundred dollar bills in my drawer, I’m completely broke, lost and miserable.

Please, I need help. I need you to understand that I’m not a bad person. I’m just going through some stuff.

Kindest regards,





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Mental Breakdown #3 – Student



Date: 03/14/2013

Dear whoever you are,

It’s 3:45 in the morning and I’m upset and tired and alone and drunk in LA. I tried to get some sleep but between my own crying and the echo of those little boys screaming in my head I couldn’t catch a moment. That awful, awful noise has been going round and round for hours and hours. I can still hear them crying, and that woman shouting, and Donny sounding so scary, all threatening. Its kept me awake all night, torturing me.

I feel so awful. I had no idea who they were. I thought she was just another crazy person. I mean, this is downtown LA, and we were outside Ralph’s. But she just started screaming, dragging her crying kids towards us. “Look at us you bastard! Look at your family!”. At first I laughed and shook my head, thinking she was someone else’s problem. But when I looked to Donny to say something about her I saw his jaw clenched shut and felt him go all stiff next to me. I fell down a big hole. I just ran away.

It’d be pretty naive of me to say that I didn’t suspect that he might have been married. I mean, he’s like forty years old! Maybe it was just the way he was, all youthful and free-spirited. More like a renaissance, less like a crisis. It honestly felt like we met somewhere between nineteen and forty. He didn’t look like he’d had kids. You know that way sometimes you can just tell. It’s not a physical trait, more the way they view the world. But maybe I saw all of that but didn’t want to acknowledge it. Maybe I figured that I was in love with him, so why jeopardize this over something like that? Or maybe I saw it and didn’t care because I’m a terrible person like that.

When I got home I took the bottle of vodka in the refrigerator into my room, flopped onto my bed and cried. I text him, maybe seven, eight times. Phoned him twice but on the first time he cancelled the call, and the next time it went straight to his voicemail. I heard him saying his ‘Hi it’s Donald Elrich, I’m sorry I can’t take your call-’ thing. I hadn’t thought about what to say, so I just said a few sobbing words asking him to call me asap, then deleted it. I broke down. I mean, every single bit of me just fell apart as I hit the bottom of the big hole. I felt like the loneliest, stupidest little girl in the world. I couldn’t do anything but lie there and cry into my pillow.

The crying has stopped for now at least, but in a way I always felt that crying was good because I always saw tears as baggage. But cried tonight about who I’ve lost, not about the lives I’ve ruined. I can’t seem to shed a single tear over of the shame I feel. I’m trying to cry, but the tears are all blocked up. They’re in a big lump in my stomach. I’ve been sitting here for the last two hours watching the ice cubes melt in my drink and thinking about all of the people that I’ve been horrible to in my life. All the way from the mom that gave birth to me to the mom that was screaming at me. I’d never done a comprehensive overview of the casualties of my selfish behavior. Maybe if I had I would have been so ashamed with myself that I wouldn’t be here today. Because that’s how I feel right now. Not like some people who think like, ‘No one would even notice me if I was dead!’ I feel that people would notice me being dead, and they would be happier. ‘That bitch?’ they’d say, ‘Thank God for that! The air around me is that little bit fresher.’

Brandi is the only person I want to speak to. The friends I text earlier still haven’t gotten back to me, and I don’t even really want them to. Because I don’t know what I’d say to them. I want to speak to Brandi. But I really fucked that up. She’s like my best friend and my roommate, but since we moved to LA together I’ve become an even bigger bitch and we’ve grated against each other. She took school seriously, and I constantly made fun of her for it. Like bailing on class and wasting my father’s money and my own time was cool. Ugh. Anyway, we had a massive falling out a week ago and haven’t spoken since. But I feel ready to apologize for the way I’ve always treated her. I’ve kind of come to realize that I’ve always sort of bullied her. Like she was almost beneath me, in a way. I pulled myself out of bed and knocked on her door, but there was no answer. She must have been with that guy she’s been seeing. I thought about calling. But I couldn’t. I didn’t even know where to starting knowing what to say. In the end I just sent her a text saying, “I think I see it now. You’re right. I’m so sorry gurl. I love you x”. I still haven’t heard back from her yet. I hope she forgives me. I need her.

I’ve been sitting with the knife close by for about an hour and I’m thinking about it. I am. I closed my eyes put it on my forearm and felt it, all cold and straight. Maybe it’s just a childish cry for help, but why not? I need help, and I’ve proved time and time again that I’m a child. I mean, I feel like I deserve it. No one wants me. Yesterday it felt like everyone wanted to be me. Like I had one of those lives. The kind that I thought I would have when I came to Los Angeles. And today I’m toxic. No one wants to be around me. I think I love Donny but what does that even mean? To him, to me. I’m a child, and he already has two of them apparently. I thought about calling dad, but I can’t tell him about any of this. I’m his baby girl. His baby girl that thinks she’s a full-grown woman, stumbling in these big heels, crying for attention when she falls.

Someone help, please. This really hurts.








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Mental Breakdown #2 – Writer



Date: 03/14/2013

To the ceaselessly trending you,

This morning I posted a single paragraph blurb about some pop-up gluten-free cupcake store in the Arts District, and two hours later posted a 1500 word satirical essay I wrote last year about technological developments being directly proportional to the gory death of masculine identity. The cupcake scoop presently has 34 ‘likes’ and 16 comments on the magazine’s Facebook page. The essay received two ‘likes’, one of which was from our tech guy in Bangalore, and no comments. At what point can one legitimately begin to blame the audience for one’s shortcomings?

I am presently being smothered in the clutches of a hateful relationship with myself. I work in an industry I thought that I loved for people that I loathe, for an almost-negligible sum of money. I worry that my boyfriend is fucking all his skinny actress friends, but I’m possibly just being all #overlyattachedgirlfriend about everything and that he’ll realize he’s better off without me. And despite the fact that this is going to sound like such an LA-thing to say, but I’m worried that I’m just a big ball of negative energy that people want nothing to do with.

A few days ago I could barely afford to make the repayment on my enormous school debt. It’s really beginning to sink in now that I voluntarily put myself into thousands of dollars of debt to attain a qualification that does nothing but feed itself back to itself. I have an MA in Creative Writing. So in order to find work that actually pays actual money I will almost certainly have to join the education system, and start teaching more kids to be teachers in order to pay off the debt that their silly little passion lumped on them. Perhaps as a result of my extensive online fieldwork with GRIT/SHINE magazine I will one day be considered the preeminent authority on Twitter Literature (#twitlit), and will be able to explore the bowels of minimalism, teaching undiscovered Hemingways and Salingers to consider vowels implied and punctuation frivolous.

There are lots of reasons I despise my job, but the biggest one at present seems to be that our priority has shifted from print towards the internet. This means gouging the bottom of the dried-up superlative well for more innocuous praise for ‘cool’ things we found whilst trawling Gawker, or Fader, or Hypebeast, or Pitchfork. But once we’ve declared something to be ‘super-sick’, it immediately becomes, oops, ‘super-[sic]’, and we’re, pfffft, over it. God forbid you should miss out on a ticket to today’s Super Rad Flying Lotus Circle Jerk because you were busy standing in line for yesterday’s Gnar Gnar Kendrick Lamar Pants Festival. We, the Damp Hype Journalists, armed with an ‘@vice.com’ email address and right-click button for synonyms, build careers to tear them down, and have smugly reinvented ourselves as ‘Trendspotters’. And I’m dreading the well-earned irony it would be if my work was one day fed through the ruthless system of fragile hype that I helped to facilitate for almost no reward, other than the initial weightless euphoria of my career freefalling the second after said epitaph was declared ‘of note’.

I guess it was last night’s party that really brought me to you. It was at some kitschy street art gallery in Hollywood. The art was by another purposeless stoner that found his calling in life wallowing somewhere on the surface level of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. It was a ‘VIP’ event, despite their being a large number of people in attendance that I knew to be anything but important. The all stood around, schmoozing and fawning all over one another, then moving on to the next. I watched conversations dip into awkward troughs as people blanked on names before being saved by the exchange of deceptively marked, Bateman-esque business cards. From my vantage point of the deepest corner, every single smile in the room seemed fake. I could see it in their eyes. I imagined every time someone looked at their phone they were wishing the hours away until they could be alone and curse themselves for falling for the gag again.

I slipped out of the party early. Darryl asked if I minded if he stayed. I didn’t want to say ‘yes’, but I did mind. I wanted him to come home with me. I said, ‘No. Stay, if you want to.’ He smiled, gave me a kiss, and walked off into the crowd. I left, and let the tears fall out onto the street. I took the subway most of the way home. I got off at Westlake/MacArthur Park and walked the rest. I just walked, dabbing tears, laughing and swearing at myself, looking like another crazy that came here and lost. But I didn’t care. At that moment I was far too worried about what I thought of me to worry about what anyone else thought of me. At least that’s a start.









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Mental Breakdown #1 – Comedian



Date: 03/14/2013

To the cleaner that finds this,

I’m just about ready to pop a bag of Xanax like Skittles and dive to the bottom of this bottle of Popov. Leave the world like a silent fart made from Guinness and Mexican street meat. Perhaps my legacy will burn brighter than my life ever did. Perhaps people will realize that I was too far ahead of my time to ever achieve the recognition I deserved. ‘He was like Hicks, Kauffman and Stanhope rolled into one!’’ They’ll read my Wikipedia page and lament about how young I was, how expansive my career could have been, and how it just didn’t need to be that way. But it did need to be that way. And at this point I think it probably will be.

I’ve been sitting in this dank, cavernous little motel room in Fresno for two days now. There are little blood shots on the ceiling that are either from squished mosquitoes or stabbed veins. Everything white has turned the color of smoker’s fingernails, and the pipes heave and splutter before spewing their bile into the sink. The smog that hangs over the city probably comes from the crematorium for anonymous souls that slashed their wrists in their ‘luxury motel rooms’ as they fled from abject failure in Los Angeles. It’s exactly the sort of place that a degenerate fuck up crawls to die.

I decided I would try to write my own Wikipedia page. I didn’t have time to write a book, so it would be Wikipedia, a quick Tweet and a big fat ‘Fuck yourself’ post to everyone on Facebook, and I’d be gone. Yet despite the fact that it’s widely known that anyone can make a Wikipedia page, it still manages to instill a sense of legitimacy. Like, ‘Oh shit, he’s got a Wikipedia page? He must be worth something.’ They don’t need to know that he made it in a motel room in Fresno, drunk, in yesterday’s yesterday’s underwear.

I fantasized about what I’d write. I made some notes and categorized everything. ‘Early Life’, ‘Mid-Career: Seattle to Los Angeles’, ‘Final Years: 2010 – 2013’ ‘Death’, ‘Legacy’ and everyone’s favorite, ‘Personal Life’. Once I was planned and ready to start I opened it up and realized that you need to have some knowledge of internet coding. So I gave up and here I am, writing this letter that may or may not be a suicide note. It’s certainly a cry a for attention, but I don’t know whether I want you to come and save me, or to just bring your poncho and a spoon and watch me explode like Gallagher’s watermelon.


I feel like I owe it to you to briefly explain the “Schindler’s List on Ice” that my life has become in what could amount to its final few days.

After getting on more than 400 mics a year for six years straight, my “agent” lands me a headlining spot at the Laugh Factory. There were big promoters, producers; all the spokes on Hollywood’s greasy wheel were rolling in to see me. And I bombed. I fell apart, like a cat shit sandcastle. They just didn’t get it. They just stared at me, watching the school bus crash in super slow motion. So I did what anyone would do in that situation: I go home, get fucked up, and smash stuff. Kitty comes home from work and explodes, hits me with an ashtray and bursts my head open. Tells me to get out. I leave with all my stuff flying out after me, and pass out in the car.

Woke up covered in blood still piss drunk, still angry. I grabbed all of my stuff that lay outside, threw it into the car and started driving to Seattle. I was done with Los Angeles: The place where creativity washes up dead and bloated on the shore.

But here I am. In a motel in Fresno, out of gas, out of money, and out of everything I need to feel like things can possibly get better. I look at myself and see a worthless nobody that duped himself into thinking he was somebody for his entire life. But the game’s up. I’ve been circling the drain for years and now I’m just about ready to disappear.

But here’s the punchline of my entire life: I’m out of vodka and I have no money to buy Xanax. How much is six feet of rope?

Fuck my life. And fuck yours too.








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Messages in Bottles – Part Two

The following photographs are of a sort of literary street art project I worked on with the help of my close friend Anders Rostad. All bottles washed up onto the streets of downtown Los Angeles and contained anonymous letters from five young people struggling to cope with the pressures of their lives.



One Letter




Two Letter




Three Letter




Four Letter




Five Letter




Six Letter


Thank you for your interest. I’ll post the letters over the next couple of days.

Please feel free to share x


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Under The Wee Bridge – Part Three

Jordan Macoll moved to our school as Bates and I went into fifth year. Like I say, about a month ago. He’d come from Greenock. Some shit tip housing scheme that was falling down. His mum had sent him up here to live with his uncle. She couldn’t handle him anymore. I don’t know that for sure. But that was the way it seemed. He had this big fucking scar down his face. One of those Chelsea smiles. He was hard looking cunt. Again, I’m sorry for my language. But he was.

“Who the fuck’s that?” I remember Bates whispering to me in the canteen one day. I was standing in front of him.

“I dunno,” I said, “Must be new.”

Bates didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. I knew him well enough to know what he was thinking. He did a lot of staring at lunch that day.

I got talking to the guy before he did. He was nice enough, but like I said, I get along with most folk. I was in his P.E. class. He was a dynamite footballer. Most of the boys from these places were. He was a forward as well. We linked up pretty well. We both knew the game better than most folk so we would know roughly where the other one was. But he was no Bates. Not in my eyes anyway.

The boys were talking when we got back into the changing rooms after class.

“He’s a fucking good player isn’t he?”

“Could be better than Bates”

“Maybe, and harder too.”

“He certainly fucking looks it”

All that sort of stuff. They zipped up as soon as I came in. They knew that if I told him what they were saying, he’d beat the shite out of them. They all went quiet. There are a few drawbacks from being Bates’ cousin. The biggest one is having people go quiet when you come into a room now and again. I knew that he would enjoy that sort of power though.


They got into a fight at the first training session for the school team of that year. Bates always played lone striker, but Mr. Ross recognized how good Jordan was. He tried sticking the two of them together. If it had worked we would have had one of the best attacks in the Highlands. But it didn’t. It didn’t work at all. They wouldn’t pass to each other. Jordan would take the ball and run with it. Bates would ping shots from everywhere. On that day Bates had scored two. Jordan had a hat-trick.

Right at the end of the game I dropped a cross into the box and they both jumped for it. They ended up head butting each other. The game stopped as the two of them hit the ground. Everyone sort of knew what was going to happen. People in school had been talking about who was harder since the start of term. Bates or this new guy Jordan. The football rivalry didn’t really come into it. Most people saw Bates’ red cards instead of his goals. In the same way they saw Jordan’s scar instead of his lightening quick feet. But they were more aware of the rivalry than anyone else.

As the two of them scrambled up to get at one another I felt everyone looking at me. Like I was the only one that could stop it. Playing lighthouse again. Seeing this happen as many times as I had I instinctively ran over to pull him away. I got there as Jordan threw him to the ground and was about to stamp on his face. I reached down and pulled Bates away just as the boy brought his boot down. His foot dug hard into the wet mud at the goal mouth.

“Get the fuck off me you fucking nigger!” he shouted. I remember that so clearly. I’d only ever been called a nigger once in my life. It was Bates who made sure that I was never called it again. He knocked a guy out who was three years older than him. One punch. Knocked him out. He kept kicking the shite out of him while he was out. I had to pull him off. He didn’t hit me that time. He knew it was me.

Everyone just turned and looked at me. It was one of those things where I knew that everyone had thought it at some point, but no one had ever said it. I was the only person of mixed race in the whole village. My mother’s black. I was shocked to hear it. It wound me tighter than I’d been wound before. But when I think back, I’m not surprised he said it. He was about to get the shit kicked out of him. But he was right up in my face. I couldn’t see through that mist. I was looking right in his eyes and I couldn’t see through it.

“Come oan then ya fuckin’ wee pussy!” Jordan shouted from behind him. I looked at him. And then back to Deo. His eyes were still gone. He pushed me and stormed off towards the changing rooms. He booted the ball into the trees as he walked off.

“I’m coming for you, you fucking cunt!!!” he shouted, without looking back. Jordan just smiled and walked back towards the halfway line. I watched Deo walk away. I remember being worried.

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Weighin’ Up the Colors – Part Two

“Bitch tried to take everythin’ I had. Kids, house, car. She even tried to take my dog! Man’s best friend! But I guess it makes sense…She’s a bitch right!” he started to laugh and slap his hand down on the bar surface. I saw the different colored drinks ripple and shake every time he smacked the bar.

“But it don’t matter” he says, pointin’ at the yellow drink. Somethin’ with lemon, I can’t remember. I slide it along to him and go to note it down. “The way I look at it, I traded her in. Got ma freedom back. I’m forty-eight and I’m a free single man! Single and ready to mingle. Do you think I look forty-eight?” he asked me. I remember thinkin’ no, he looked forty-nine. But I couldn’t say that. So I just said no.

“Yup, forty-eight.” He took a big greedy gulp and looked into the glass. “Twenty-four years I was with that cunt.” I never heard nobody refer to their wife with that word before. But I guess she wasn’t his wife no more. “But think about all the things I can do now! There any places where divorcees go in this town?” he asks me. I say I dunno. I ain’t been here long.

“Hmmmm,” he says. Well not says, but you know what I mean. He lets out this big burp and looks over at the empty glasses next to him. All the little bits of soggy fruit lyin’ at the bottom in a pool from the melted cubes. Couple of them glasses still had cubes in them.

“Lemme see that menu” he says, reachin’ out towards me. He don’t make eye contact. He just stares at the bar. His tie was draped across the bar top, gettin’ all wet from the booze he’d spilled. I looked down at the menu, hopin’ he wouldn’t ask for somethin’ weird I don’t know how to make.

“Menu” he says, snappin’ his fingers. I hate it when mother fuckers snap they fingers at me. Used to happen when I worked in Dennys. I spat underneath a guy’s eggs once. Couldn’t really spit in this guy’s drink though. But he was probably so drunk he wouldn’t notice. I didn’t want to do that with him. Didn’t seem right. I handed him the menu and smiled. Forced it a little to tell the truth.

“Let me see” he says, lickin’ his orange lips. That red’d gone a little orange  since drinkin’ that yellow drink. “Gimme some Sex on the Beach! I could do with some of that!” he shouts, laughin’ to himself. I told him I’s never made one of those.

“You’ve got me nice and drunk so far boy. You just keep doin’ whatchu doin.” I shrugged and looked down at the menu. I started pourin’ the vodka into the little measure.

“How many of them you puttin’ in there?” he asks, closin’ one eye to focus on what I was doin’. One I tell him.

“Put in three” he says. I told him it would cost him more.

“I don’t give a shit! I’m spendin’ as much as I can spend before that cunt takes half of what I got!” he laughed again. There was that word again. I shrugged. I poured in some of the peach booze. Some cranberry and then some OJ. I’d never seen or tasted or smelt one of them Sex on the Beach’s before, but it seemed about right. For him anyway. Rex would’ve sure as shit told me it was too strong.

“Cheers!” he shouted to no one. Well, no one except me. But I wasn’t drinkin’. You couldn’t pay me enough to drink one of them things. Specially if I’d made it.

“You get yourself a cocktail boy. Stick it on my tab.” I told him I was all good. Said I had class in the mornin’. I didn’t really. Just didn’t feel like drinkin’. “Just make yourself a quick one. I won’t tell the manager.” He smiled and started to sway a little. He was puttin’ the glass to his lips slowly and wrappin’ those multi-colored things around the rim. He slurped at the cocktail and sat it back down.

“Mmmmm. Sex on the Beach! I ain’t had Sex on the Beach before” he says, lookin’ down at the glass, little smile on them lips. “I ain’t had sex in almost two years.” I see the air come outta him a bit after he said that. His shoulders slumped down and his nose got a little closer to the red stuff in the glass. I turned back towards the bottles. I wrote down ‘Sex on the Beach – $5’ on his big tab. He had seven big strong cocktails on there. I remember thinkin’ I probably wouldn’t sell him anymore if he asked. He’d had enough for one day.


I heard him sniff from behind me. I didn’t want to turn around. I couldn’t help look at him in the mirror. It felt like I was spyin’ or somethin’. And yup, he was cryin’ alright. I guess you would be too if you was as drunk as an injin at his mamma’s funeral and your wife’s just divorced you.

“I gotta go see my kids tomorrow” he muttered, sniffin’ some of they tears back down his boozed throat. Maybe they’ll help sober him up, I remember thinkin’. “Tomorrow is the only day I get to see them. One day a week. My fucking kids only get to see their daddy one day a week. That cold fucking bitch.” He wiped his face again. I looked at his sleeve. It had all different colors on it. It looked pretty damp. That was the only sad rainbow I ever seen.

“Maybe this’ll be your last one” I says sympathetically. Didn’t really want to tell him to not to do things. This probably wasn’t the day to tell him he couldn’t have somethin’ he wanted. But it didn’t sound like he wanted any more anyway. He looked up and smiled. His nose was a little more purple than when he’d come in. His eyes was red, matchin’ the rest of his face and half the drinks he’d dipped it in.

“I think you’re right. I’m gonna go pee. I’ll be back in a minute” he says. As he picked up his hat I noticed he was still wearin’ his wedding band. I wondered whether she was still wearin’ hers. I doubted it. He picked up his coat as well and took a little stumble.

“Thanks boy. You fix a fine cocktail.” I remember doubting that as well.

He staggered round the corner to where the bathroom was. I turned back to the register. Rex came out and asked me how I was doin’ with they cocktails. I told him, fine I guess. That old boy been seemed to be happy enough with them. Rex looked at the empty glasses on the bar and said the boy must be smashed. I said he was a bit of a mess. Rex told me to clean up and said I could go when I was done. One customer in the night ain’t what you could call a reason to stay open. When I tallied up the boy’s drinks I realized that he had pretty much paid my wages for the night. I reckoned he’d give me a fat tip as well for listenin’ to his ass ramble on and on. No, I don’t mean it like that really. It probably helped him to get it out of his mind and into the air. I didn’t mind really. It gave me somethin’ to do.

Five minutes passed and the old boy was nowhere to be seen. I remember thinkin’ the bar had got a little colder again. Sorta like when he came, but not as cold. I went out from behind the bar and into the bathroom, expectin’ to find him passed out on the john, with his pants at his ankles. But he wasn’t in there. I came back out and looked around the corner. The fire escape door was wide open. I walked towards the door and stepped outside. The light sensor kicked in and the parking lot lit up. The air was so cold There was snow falling down gently. Some of them big fat flakes. The snow was thick on the ground, bout two inches or so. I looked around. Lotta darkness after that light. But I couldn’t see the old boy. In front of me were all these footsteps leading to the start of some tire tracks. The tracks in the snow sorta curved and skidded outta the car park and onto the street. I remember thinkin’ that they poor kids probably wouldn’t be seein’ they daddy tomorrow.

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No Day for Shakespeare – Part Four

          As soon as I put the phone down I jumped into the shower. I needed to make it quick because I wanted to clean up the shit tip I had been dwelling in for the last couple of weeks. I stared myself down in the mirror as the lukewarm water rained down on me.

“This is the right thing to do” I said aloud.

          I shaved off the beard I had been growing. It seemed strange to see my face back to normal again. It was better I think. I thought that I could see a few more wrinkles than before. But I was probably just imagining it. My eyes looked a little bloodshot. Sleeping drunk with my contacts in every night hadn’t helped I’m sure. I wiped all of the dried blobs of toothpaste from the edges of the sink and moved some of my cosmetics around. I stood back and looked at the organized space that framed me in the mirror. I had gained a bit of weight recently. My six-pack was now a two pack and I had none of that definition she used to love. There was something about my stance as well. My shoulders never used to slump as much as they did now. It was as if the extra weight I had was pulling them down a bit. I grabbed the towel and wrapped it around my shoulders, covering myself. As much as I wanted to, a part of me hoped that the night wouldn’t end in sex. I didn’t want her to see what I had become in her absence.

          As I dried myself off and grabbed some fresh clothes, I put on my “on-the-go” playlist. I laughed to myself when “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan started up. Grabbing a white recycling trash bag and puffing a cigarette, I started to clean the sty that I was living in. Makeshift ashtrays, coke bottles, beer cans, takeaway boxes, receipts for bar tabs on my credit card. They were all ruthlessly stuffed into the bag. I threw all of my dirty laundry into the washing machine and left it there, hiding.

“You’re the reason I’m travelin’ on, don’t think twice it’s alright” sang Bob.


          The rain thrashed down heavily on my window pane as I did my hair in the mirror and sang along to Lou Reed. My hair had started to grow back to the way I liked it. I splashed on a little aftershave and sparked another cigarette. I looked out at the grim apartment complex I lived in. Everything in this bastard city looked awful in the rain. Not like home. There’s something beautiful about the countryside in the rain. I grabbed my keys and phone and walked towards the door. I decided to leave the music playing quietly while I was out. I hated the thought of coming home to silence again.


          “Hi Julie” he said as she approached him. She walked carefully, tip toeing over the puddles. She didn’t hear him. The rain was beating down on her little umbrella, deafening all but the noise of the traffic as it splashed through the water.

         “Hi Nick” she said as she came in closer. His hair had grown longer since they had last seen one another. The short style she had suggested he wear had started to grow out. It looked a little closer to when they had first met.

         “How about this rain eh?” he said. Julie smiled and looked up at her umbrella. A big drip of water seeped through the fabric and dripped onto her forehead.

         “Horrible. But sometimes, I think that rain like this is quite nice. It’s good for thinking.”

         “What?” he shouted, straining to hear her over the drumming sound of the rain and the faint noise of the traffic.

         “It’s horrible!” she shouted. He nodded. He looked to his feet and saw that the water had climbed up to his knees already. His sneakers had squelched with ever step to get here.

         “Let’s walk!”

She smiled and nodded.


         They walked in silence for about ten minutes. Every now and again their eyes would meet. They would look away again. The road from the subway station to the riverside was almost flooded. They were the only people on the street who weren’t running or skipping over puddles. They just walked slowly, dragging through all the water in front of them. When they arrived at the riverside, they were the only people there. The river had almost burst its banks. The brown flow moved smooth and powerful, dragging at the flowers and grass that framed the river. They each looked at the river and back at one another. Nick smiled first.

          As they walked they gradually moved closer together until his umbrella came over hers. The water streamed from Julie’s umbrella and ran onto Nick’s shoulder.

        “Ah, fuck!” shouted Nick, leaping to the side a little, pulling himself away from her.

        “Oh shit! I’m sorry Nick!”

They stood opposite one another with a small river of water running between them. They were both soaked up to their thighs. Julie’s make-up had started to smudge a little. Nick’s hair had been glued to his head from wayward drips and splashes. A drip of slid down his cheek and into the corner of his mouth. He tasted that salty moisture he had fought back earlier.

          “No, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

He dropped his head and looked back at the small stream of water between them.

          “I fucked up Julie. I love you so much. I just got scared I think.”

          “Wait, wait! I can’t hear you!” she shouted as she moved in close to him. She put her arm around his back. Sliding under the protection of his umbrella, she threw hers into the river. They both turned and watched it as it floated down stream, until it was swallowed by the driving rain.

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No Day for Shakespeare – Part Three

          I woke up to my phone ringing at about 5pm. I was caught in the daze between sleep and wake. Everything seemed to sway as my phone rang, muffled in my bag. I let it ring out as I came to. I looked out of the window and caught sight of the dripping grey buildings. I remembered that I was still in Seoul. I had dreamt that I was in my parent’s attic, trying on their old clothes and pretending to be different people. The rain still fell from the sky. But it was darker now. I almost couldn’t see the drops. But I could hear it clearly. Drumming away quietly in the background. I cursed the phone call for waking me as I lay and looked at the ceiling. I wondered what I was going to say to Mary. What excuse will I conjure this time to avoid going out? I thought. I looked over at my handbag on the floor. Aside from the furniture, it was the only thing there. I had done all of the cleaning the night before. There wasn’t much to do these days. I found it sadly easy to keep on top of.

          Craving a cup of coffee, I got up to make myself another cup of green tea. I walked across the gleaming bare floor slowly. The pajamas seemed to slow me down and remove the sense of urgency I used to have. As I waited for the water to boil, I heard my phone ringing from my bag again. I sighed. I walked over and fished it out from the bottom of the bag.


          I gasped. I hadn’t heard from him since we broke up. We had agreed not to contact one another. Well, he asked me not to contact him. He said it would be too hard. I found it awful. I didn’t see how I could cope with loss without him there to help me through it. The whole idea of it had seemed horrible.

    “Hi Nick” I said, squeezing my eyes tight to hold the tears.

    “Hi baby”

          There was a long pause on the line. I heard him sniff in the background. He was breathing heavily.

    “I miss you” he said. I heard his tears over the rain on our windowsill. I started to cry as well.

    “I miss you too Nick”

    “Can we, like, I mean, if you’re not busy tonight, could we maybe go for a walk in the rain?”

I smiled as I felt my heart rise up a little in my chest.

    “I would love to.”


          We agreed to meet at the spot where we had had one of our first dates. That was about two years ago. If I thought about it for a minute I could tell you the precise date. We just started at the subway station next to my apartment building and walked down and along the river bank. He held my hand for the first time and we talked without a break. By the time we got back to my place it was dark. We shared the only awkward moment I can remember us ever having. We were both soaked to the bone and I invited him in to dry off. He left the next morning when his clothes had dried.

          I found it hard to hang up the phone. I knew that we would see each other in an hour. But stopping that voice I wanted to hear so much seemed so hard. As soon as I put the phone down, I wiped my eyes and swallowed the last of my tea. I ran into the bathroom and turned the shower on. I put on ‘OK Computer’ and turned the volume up. As I stood under the shower and felt the scorching water run over my skin, I thought about how it would feel to be in the rain with him. I remember trying to curb my excitement, assuring myself that we would probably just talk things out and move slowly. But I just wanted things to go back to how they were a couple of months ago. Before all the fighting started. As I stood in front of the mirror drying myself, I wondered if he would hold my hand.

          I sat for half an hour putting my make-up on. It wasn’t something that I wanted to rush. But the time was ticking so loudly. I already knew what I was going to wear. I had known for weeks. I would wear my purple floral print dress with the low-cut. I had some black tights to go underneath and a pair of pumps. They would be better than heels in the rain. Also, something made me want to a good bit shorter than him. So that he could protect me more from the rain. I applied my mascara and put on just a touch of lipstick. I have quite red lips anyway so I never normally need much. I sprayed myself with a little perfume and put on my dress. I stepped back and looked at myself in the mirror. I felt beautiful again.

          Just as I was leaving the house, I looked around at the mess that had suddenly come to be. My big handbag had been emptied and tossed to one side. Most its contents lay strewn across the laminate floor. Only the necessary items had been moved into my purse. My make-up was mixing with the unnecessary handbag contents. The clothes I had moved to find my dress hand been dumped onto the couch. My pajamas had been tossed onto the unmade bed. The cinnamon candle had dripped down into the bowl it was kept in. But the rain kept drumming in the background, fading to silence as the door closed behind me.

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No Day for Shakespeare – Part Two

          I caved in yesterday. I don’t really know why. I had a hangover that made me want to plunge my head into ice water and hold it under until I didn’t need to hold anymore. I had been drinking with Pete. It was usually the same when we went out. He was trying to get me to stop thinking about her and move on. I wanted to, in a way. But his way out of the hole was to fuck your way out of it. I’d done that before. When I was a lot younger. I didn’t think it would be all that smart. I mean, it would probably help to take the female form off the pedestal it seemed to occupy in my life at that point. But I knew that I would just end up wishing it was Julie that was lying next to me. And that would have been counter-productive.

          We went out on the Friday night. I was very much in the mood to get shit housed. I got off the subway I was met with him. He had the whole night planned out. Dinner. Drinks. Couple of bars. Club. Women. Home. Sex. I just kind of feigned enthusiasm and tried my best to sound like I felt I ought to. He was full of beans and seemed excited to have someone to act as a genuine wing man for him. I missed Julie more at that moment than I had since we had broken up. At least when it was the two of us we could be his wings and just enjoy helping the old bird take flight. We just found it funny. I guess having a genuine role in the proceedings made it all seem futile.

          We stuck to his rigid plan all night. We had been talking to a few girls in one of the bars. Well, I say ‘we’ were talking. I was listening to them talk. He had clearly found his match for the evening. She was a very pretty girl. But nothing like my type. Estelle I think her name was. A horrible name, but it seemed to suit her. The other girl kept trying to talk to me. She was pretty too. But I just didn’t want to say anything. I went to the bathroom a couple of times. I sat on the toilet seat and wrote a couple of messages to Julie. I didn’t send them though. I couldn’t bring myself to press the little green button. That tiny ejector seat for my feelings. I’d made the mistake of sending messages whilst drunk before. Thank god I was sober enough to stop myself that time. Julie’s worth more than that. I read them yesterday morning while I lay in bed listening to that torrid rain beat down. “i lov u darling. Cnm we plese work dis outr? xxx”. The rain sounded like a faint applause. Clapping down in support of my better judgment. I was so glad that I didn’t send it. Even though I meant every word.

          I don’t remember much after getting into the club. I got a text in the morning from Paul saying that he’d gone home with Estelle. He asked me where I’d gone. I vaguely remember leaving the club. I know that I just left that other girl waiting at the bar. I felt bad about leaving her there. I didn’t feel bad about leaving Paul. I was in one of those moods again. I needed to talk everything out. That would have shit all over his chances of getting laid. It would have been a bit lousy of me to wreck his chances because I hammered the self-destruct button on mine.


          I lay in bed for most of the day yesterday. My place was such a mess but I couldn’t muster the energy to clean it up. As far as I was concerned, no one was going to be coming round anytime soon. I read those messages I almost sent. I started to cry. Those were the first tears I’d shed since we broke up. I cried a little bit the night I moved out. But then it was only because I felt like I should have. They were almost forced. A couple of rogue tears coming down my cheeks after I saw the stream coming down hers. But I fought yesterday’s tears. I tried my hardest to hold them off, but they poured down like the rain outside. I read the last messages she had sent me on that day. At the time the seemed a little desperate. Like she knew something was wrong and was trying to convince me not to succumb to the inevitable. But reading them over again, they were just full of love. They were the words of someone who cared about me deeply. Not the words of someone who didn’t know how to live without a crutch to lean on. 

         I watched TV for most of the day and tried not to look at the mess that surrounded me. It made me feel like a slob. There were cigarette butts stubbed out everywhere. There was a McDonalds cup on the floor that had a little bit of Coke left in it. It had been there for a week or so. The Coke had seeped through the paper walls of the cup. My head hurt when I thought about it. My clothes from last night lay on the floor next to my bed. My jeans were in a perfect heap, like some kind of denim accordion. I had clearly just undone my belt and let them slide to the floor, stepped out of them and fallen onto my bed. The plant that Julie had bought me had died of thirst. The poor thing had been neglected since I’d started hitting the bottle. I had loved that plant as well. It brought a brightness to the room.  But I hadn’t really been in that room much recently.

          I found myself looking at photographs of her late in the afternoon. The rain was still pelting down. I clicked through the album of us when we went to our friend Carlos’s DJ night. All of our friends were there that night. It was a great night. I just quickly clicked through. Julie had the camera most of the night. But every now and again there would be a picture of the two of us. I stopped on one picture of us doing the arm-locked-wedding-drink-thing. Some of her red wine had dribbled down my chin. I laughed before I started to cry again. I immediately scrolled down and clicked on the link to her profile. I wiped my eyes and smiled to see that she hadn’t changed her relationship status. I know that sounds a bit sad. But at the time, it meant an awful lot to me. In my head I believed that she was probably doing exactly the same thing as I was right now, to the soundtrack of the driving rain.

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