Lucky Strikes #1

I tried to quit smoking in Japan. I mean I’ve been trying for like five years, can’t count the amount of times I’ve had a last cigarette, still smoking way too much. I didn’t quit smoking in Japan.

Japan was three weeks I wouldn’t be around smoking housemates or pouches of tobacco. I smoked right up until the day I left. Smoked while I was there but I tried.

My fiancé passed out in a hotel in Tokyo after getting a Japanese cold on the arse end of a Brisbane one. I sat in bed next to her, she radiated heat and I was sweating. I watched a Japanese tv show where a group of comedians went to restaurants, sat around big tables and just talked to each other over meals. I couldn’t understand a word of it and no one got hit in the balls. I turned the tv off, tried to sleep, sweated, got dressed and walked outside.

I walked up the road deserted street that my hotel was on looking for a bar. Ambulances drove past every twenty minutes or so, loudspeakers blaring in Japanese “Please something”.

Raindrops sparked through the light of neon signs, felt like little bites on my scalp and cheeks where they splashed from the collar of my jacket. I passed a vending machine that sold cigarettes, doubled back and stood in front of it. Thought about god and the devil. Thought about dying and satisfaction. Thought about whether or not to tell my fiancé that I had a cigarette. I had a moment and kept walking.

I started to get out of the zone I could comfortably return from without risking getting lost in the biggest city in the world. Saw a bar called “Cantina”, sign written in English. The stairs leading up from the front door were lined with bottles of my favourite beers. Pictured a smoky bar with assorted Japanese Sci-Fi characters, maybe aliens. The bar was empty except for a manly looking Japanese guy wiping the counter and a Japanese girl smoking a cigarette and talking to him.

The bartender looked up as I entered, said “Not Open”. I left, checked the sign on the way out, the bar didn’t open for twenty minutes. I looked up the street towards the centre of batshit Shinjuku, made back for the hotel.

I passed the cigarette machine on the way back, doubled back and stood in front of it. Thought about god and the devil. Wanted my last cigarette to be a Lucky Strike in the rain in Tokyo and not one I salvaged from the dregs of a pouch of Port Royal, Winfield Gold and JPS Red.

I put in my money, pressed Lucky Strikes. A Japanese Lady’s voice blared at me from the machine, a light flashed. I checked the tray, no cigarettes. I pressed the button again, swore, looked around. An old Japanese man stared at me from a warm and comfortable looking bar. He looked neutral, stared at me blankly and lifted a cigarette to his mouth. Could have been looking at a reflection. Freezing rain dripped from my mess of hair. I hit cancel and made back for the hotel.

I ducked into the convenience store next to my hotel, dripped all over the floor next to plastic wrapped umbrellas. I stood in line in front of an old lady half my height. Said two words to the attendant, “Lucky Strikes”. He nodded and handed me a pack.

I paid and went to walk off, checked my pocked, swore. I got back in line and waited again. Said “Lighter” to the attendant, made a lighter action with my thumb. The store attendant motioned to the shelves behind me, said something in Japanese. I turned and searched the shelves. Frowned.

A friendly looking man in a business suit led me around the corner of the shelves and pointed at the lighters. I grabbed one, said sorry to the built up line. I couldn’t tell if they were angry or just from Tokyo.

I tried to find a place to smoke, there were no smoking signs plastered all over the streets. I walked down the alley beside my hotel, past two ladies who glanced up at me warily as they walked, past broken vending machines. Found a strange park, very small with a shrine and a street sign in the middle, surrounded by high-rise buildings. It was lit with a pale light like glow worms or if an elf did it.

I pulled out a Lucky Strike, got a fat drop of water on it from my hair. Covered it and lit. Breathed in and felt like a different version of me, like I switched personalities to something equally as familiar. Stood in the rain in Tokyo and watched the raindrops flash through pale light, watched my cigarette burn down.

I grabbed a coffee so I could smoke a second one without gagging.

When I walked back into the hotel room my fiancé was awake. She said she was proud of me for heading out and exploring on my own. I told her I smoked two cigarettes and then I threw the pack of Lucky Strikes into the small hotel bin. They sat there on top of mucus drenched tissues, label facing up and burning itself into my brain.

They sat there all night, and through the day as we dragged our suitcases through batshit crowded Shinjuku, headed for the shinkansen and South to Kyoto. Somewhere in the back of my head is still making plans to return and find them. To smoke those bastards with an expensive shitty coffee or a cheap amazing whiskey.

Until then they sit in my head and wait.

Dungeons and Flagons

I been pen and paper RPing for as long as I been drinking, so like early high school. For the layman (fantasy term for n00b) it is a bunch of drunk awfuls sitting around a table pretending to be elves and pissing off the one person who actually puts effort in (Dragon Maker or DM). But ya’ll knew this because it is 2016 and nerd is cool and nobody can make teases at me for doin magic noises during my lunch times anymore. What a world.

I started making my own system when I was a teen because Dungeons and Dragons played like a microwaved quarter pounder and I was only allowed a half hour of computer time a week which I inevitably spent playing starcraft with every cheat on. I scrawled into a hundred exercise books whatever I had ripped off from videogames and Ancient History lessons about swordy stuff. The system has been goin strong now for as many of my years as it hasn’t and I am still working on it even though I am technically an adult.

I wanna do another Thing on my blog now even though I have finished exactly zero of the other ones but what you gonna do woop here is some stories from dungeons and dragons over the years with my incredibly inebriated friends. Luv ya.

 

Team Cock

 

At some point some idiot (me) decided it would be a good idea to make a Bad Guy party. I would not recommend doing this for any DM with some scrap of self respect or empathy. My system of naming my friends’ parties is to insert bad puns or innuendo until I get maximum groans and then force everyone to call it that until it becomes second nature. The winner was Team Cock.

Team Cock consisted of a cleric of the most offensive religion (which I will not name) called The Reverend, a troll monk called Duke Facepunch, a terminally high gnome illusionist called Arno Fusegadget, a Disney version of Wolf Creek called Kangaranger and a wizard called tom.

After pulling a train heist for the thieves guild the party were hired by the state to investigate a tavern fire that killed some foreign diplomats that tom started in an earlier session. The only known witnesses were two Halfling drifters called Frido and Balbo. The party was sent to ask them some questions.

The party found the Halflings smoking under a bridge in the poor district. The Halflings saw tom and started to run immediately. Frido got away but Balbo jumped into the river. Kangaranger shot him in the leg with her bow and Duke Facepunch dragged him out.

Duke asked him who started the fire. Balbo refused to answer because tom was standing near him. Duke tried to twist his arm. I reminded Duke that he was a troll and this was a Halfling. Duke broke his arm. Duke asked him who started the fire. Balbo screamed in pain. Duke tried to choke him until he answered. I reminded Duke that he was a troll and this was a Halfling. Duke broke Balbo’s neck.

The party reported back to their contact at a tavern in the docks. They said “We found the Halflings but one escaped.”

The contact said “What do you mean escaped?”

The party burned down the tavern and skipped town.

A short while after the party made a deal with some demons to hunt down Frido the Halfling and his entire family, after burning down an entire village because the The Reverend decided he had a vision. I ended the party because it made me sad.

Employment Service Provider Referral

Oh lordy babies I need me a job. The problem with gettin the bipolar disease, being on the disability pension for six(?) years and having about a year and a half work experience all up is that I don’t need to finish that sentence. I done wrote this poem after searching online for a job using the terms Creative and Writing because it is what I am good at (debatable). I got zero results. Here’s hoping kids.

 

Thumbs

 

I sit and wait

Cos my awkward gait

Steps on children, puppies

People’s dreams

 

I spill on myself

I’m not good at health

My hands are thumbs

Is what it seems

 

And I still wait for the day

That I can truly say

I did a good job

Successful schemes

 

But

 

If I gotta think

I got all, plus kitchen sink

 

And when it comes to good cheer

My smile’s always near

 

And if you wanna fight

I’ll punch keyboards all night

 

I’ll write me under the table

You bastard

Starman

2.

 

When I was very young I thought jesus was a young boy who had a moon for a head that lived on the moon and cried every time you did something bad. No idea where that came from.

My first school was an Anglican private school. We sang hymns every morning and learned about the bible in religious education. They seemed pretty good about it; not a lot of hellfire or hate. I remember most of the lessons about morality seemed right. All along the lines of do the right thing regardless of what people say or think about you or if they are different or believe in different things.

I decided I was an atheist when I was maybe ten, mainly because I prayed that I could fly and it didn’t turn out. What I had in mind was a cool pair of bat wings because I was a Dark Kid. When I didn’t get them I decided God was not real and did not look back. I learned how to fly in dreams when I was very young and now it seems second nature.

When I first heard “Starman” it seemed synonymous with jesus. I listened to the lyrics and the picture in my head was a boy with a moon for a head that lived on the moon and watched us and wanted us to be happy.

There is a very specific hurt right in the middle of me that I get whenever I hear it.

 

1.

 

I am in the death star in star wars. I liked the new movie but it was still not that great. There is too much shit in this hangar bay. Like a million stormtroopers and an AT-ST and they are shooting a million laser guns. The lasers are shooting in every direction and there are a lot of explosions.

There is only me and David Bowie on the rebel side. We are doing okay even though there is no line-of-sight blocking terrain because the stormtroopers are mainly shooting each other. I have a laser gun but it doesn’t do anything when I pull the trigger, so I just aim it at stormtroopers and make laser noises to fight. David Bowie has a carton of eggs but he seems hesitant to throw any.

“Sam,” David Bowie says, “There are babies in these eggs, every one.”

He has a haircut like a kid who takes up smoking in grade seven.

“They are casualties of this war. Whether I throw them or not. I cannot save them sam. These babies are dead already.”

David Bowie starts crying. His lightning bolt is leaking.

“Dammit Bowie.” I say. I am angry because I am his commanding officer, but I understand. It makes me sad too. “You gotta throw those eggs son.”

David Bowie opens the carton. There are a lot of stars behind him, outside the hangar shield in space. They are beautiful and make my middle hurt. He cries more as he throw an egg, he sounds like he is singing. The throw is weak and the egg smashes just in front of him. There is a dead baby chicken on the ground, covered in yolk.

“The babies are already dead Bowie.” I say, I aim and make three short pchews, a stormtrooper falls over. I think one of his friends shot him.

 

0.

 

There is a poster for McDonalds on the inside of the Ipswich train. It is a picture of a giant burger with a thick layer of ham under the chicken patty. The words are mainly just jumbled letters and copyright symbols. The train is quiet except for the jostle of the tracks. David Bowie sits on the opposite side of the four-person seat. His hair is red this time.

“I am poor Bowie,” I say to David Bowie, “and hungry. I can’t remember the last time I bought a hamburger.”

“Sam,” David Bowie says, “I can lend you $11.60. Get that hamburger, do not worry about the commercialism.”

I am very grateful for the $11.60 but I am too tired to cry about it. The train is going down the middle of the street. We pass many McDonalds but the train is not stopping anywhere. I am very hungry. The sky is grey.

The train stops in the middle of Ipswich in the future. David Bowie left when I wasn’t looking. There is no McDonalds close so I dump the $11.60 in the coin part of my wallet and zip it up. I won’t have time to get a hamburger because I need to Be Somewhere.

I walk through the big park in the middle of town. It is mainly giant concrete rectangles but there are some nice trees and water features. I can hear frogs croaking. Normally frogs freak me out but it sounds nice this time. A ladies voice plays from speakers set up around the park.

“The frogs are croaking because they like us. They want to let us know that they want us to be happy.”

There are too many people at the party. The table with all the food at it is crowded and I can’t get to it. My girlfriend is there hanging with Someone Else. She approaches me, smiles. She asks if that instead of moving in with me she can move in with Someone Else.

“Yes of course.” I say. I look over her shoulder at the food table but there is no path to it. I am very hungry but I can’t get food because my girlfriend is breaking up with me so I leave.

When I get outside I start running. I try to look where I am going but I can’t lift my head. All I see is road. My middle hurts. I start to stumble, remember I can fly. I try to fly to a McDonalds and my feet lift off the ground, set back down.

I try again and I think I am flying.

 

69.

 

I should have been sad that Bowie is dead right

I mean the guy made me believe in aliens

That is very important to me

I was an atheist when I was young because I didn’t know how to do magic yet

I don’t identify as agnostic because I got too much proof

I like to believe that heaven is going off into space and having adventures and shit

Bowie is defs doing that so I am not sad

I mean whats the fucking point of being a cynic right

 

Weddings and Funerals

Oral presentations were my least favourite thing about high school, just above bus erections and 3am infomercials. Every time I would leave it until the absolute last minute, lose five bucks trading places in the line order, then scrape through with a C+ and a vague memory of what went on. I would tear up and shake and stutter throughout the whole thing and always run under time.

Anxiety was one of the reasons writing was my dream job; I thought you didn’t have to talk to people. I wasn’t briefed on speech duty. One heartfelt and nerve-wracking speech at somebody’s birthday/wedding/funeral and it becomes your job.

I got a phone call from a friend I hadn’t seen in five years. I was his supervisor at a fast food joint when I moved out of home; he was a decade older than me and moved over from China after completing a degree. He would bring me meals when he was working his second job at another place in the food court. I ignored the phone call because I was nervous.

He sent me a message five minutes after asking if I wanted to be best man at his wedding because I am “good with words and handsome and a writer”. I called him back and said I would do it. I forgot to ask the name of the bride.

My friend picked me up in a shitty white sedan outside a pub on a very hot day. My suit and the speech were already soaked with sweat. I tried to read over my speech as we drove to the golf club. Looking at the words just made me more nervous. I drank three beers when we arrived.

The bride looked beautiful as she walked up the aisle, greeted me as if we had already spoken. The bride’s father said “I, do” in English when he gave her over. The celebrant made a joke he didn’t understand.  I was standing at the front with the groom. I didn’t know where to put my hands. I read my speech off the page when it was my turn to speak, didn’t look up once.

An older couple approached me after the speech. They said it was the best wedding speech they had heard.

“You could do this for a living.” The older woman said.

“I do.” I said.

The bride’s father approached me in the carpark as I was smoking after the photos. He pointed at my pouch and I nodded and handed it to him. He rolled the worst cigarette I have ever seen, half disembowelled and without a filter. He said thank, you and walked off to smoke alone.

I ate three people’s worth of food and drank one and a half bottles of champagne at the reception to get my friend’s money worth out of the buffet he had paupered himself for. I asked a girl to dance for the first time in my life and we waltzed and I managed not to burp or fart and then I did the sprinkler and some break dancing. The newlyweds left me with enough wedding cake to keep me alive until payday and then gave me a ride home.

I forgot to ask the name of the bride.

Funerals are much harder than weddings, they mean more and you feel really bad if you half arse them.

My mother called me a few days after my grandfather died to ask if I could speak at his funeral. My father called me ten minutes later to ask if I could speak at my stepmother’s, who had died the day before my grandfather. I said yes to both. The funerals were on the same day.

It was just coming out of summer and I was just coming out of my annual summer rough patch. I had been too nervous to visit either my stepmother or grandfather in a while. I cried the most in my life that week and I am bipolar so I cry a lot.

I started working on both speeches at 3am the morning of the funerals. I had worked out the process for writing and memorising a speech without using paper at previous events. First you start pacing frantically. Then you start saying the speech, start again if you mess up. You keep doing that until you make it through the whole speech, then repeat until the speech is burned into your psyche forever. I only had time to get through the first one.

I tied my hair back for my stepmother’s funeral because she liked it that way. It gave me a headache I looked like a record producer.

I told a nice story about the time my stepmother almost burned down the house with trick candles. My father got to his feet and applauded, followed by his parents and my siblings. Then everyone started clapping. One of my father’s friends spoke to me afterwards, said it was the best funeral speech he’d ever heard.

“I can see why you are writing.” He said. I tried to mourn.

I fell asleep in the car on the way to my grandfather’s funeral. I woke up when my brother honked and screamed at another driver. I was pretty sure I knew what it felt like to die.

I had a list of stories from my siblings on a crumbled and coffee-stained sheet of paper. I spoke for a very short amount of time. The place was packed. I fumbled for words. I felt the saddest I had ever been and I looked liked a record producer. I closed my eyes and leaned against the pulpit.

“You always hope for more time.” I said. I opened my eyes, looked at my uncle who I hadn’t seen in years, he was nodding. I finished the speech.

I pulled the hair tie off as I walked out of the funeral home, bee-lined through the mingling crowd so no one could give me a compliment. My sister was standing far from everyone else, smoking. I walked up to her and asked for a cigarette.

“That was a great speech.” She said, handed me a lungbleed yellow.

“Next time someone else is doing it.” I replied.

She said that she hoped there wouldn’t be a next time for a while.

(Tell Me Why) I Don’t Like Sundays

Part of being a bipolar human means that sometimes it will be a Sunday afternoon and things will have been Going Wrong for a while now and you hate yourself and you’ve forgotten your friends and it’s always gonna be this way forever. There is a knot in your chest and it rises and you know something’s gotta change soon or there is a storm of fire coming or Judgement.

Part of being a writer means sometimes all that comes outta your writing whole is shitty heartfelt poetry because deep down we all saps no matter how many adverbs you edit out or how many ex-wives you give your character.

 

Flux Capacitor

 

And if I don’t return

If I’m different, if I learn

Then I just want you to know

That I did, I loved you so

 

If it’s time for me to range

Out of earshot, if I change

Know that I still call your name

Even though I’m not the same

 

If I have to move

If I’m gone, just let me prove

I can get the things I lack

That I can make it back

 

And if I forget

The steps that brought me here

 

Let me regret

That I don’t have you near

 

If you slip away

And I don’t shed a tear

 

Let me remember the day

And the name that I held dear

The Habit

Well guys I have gone and done one hundred blog posts and I am still yet to make any kind of money from it. I have officially wrote A Lot of things and some of you been listening to the voices in my head for quite a time now. Shout out to Dean’s mum.

There is a lot of self-absorbed, meaningful bullshit on this blog so for my century I know I had to up the ante some. This site has been a journey, my development into the writer I am today, and as such I wrote about a journey that is very personal to me and has shaped how I approach writing every time I sit down at my shitty laptop. Thanks for reading guys I do it for my army of spam bot followers.

 

Film Review: Battle of Five Armies

 

Peter Jackson you piece of shit. You A+ fuckwit. You sack of assorted genitals. You grub brained greed golem. You vacuous bank account person. You computer generated image of a human being. You son of a bitch.

When I was very young my father read The Hobbit to me and my siblings, even after my parents got divorced and we saw him only every second weekend and on holidays. He is an excellent speaker and did all the voices, brought to life the characters that Tolkien wrote with such love and imagination. Even though I for some reason pictured Bilbo as a tiny lizard person and Gandalf as an elderly chinese man, that story is still the most vivid and meaningful  experience of fantasy I have had to this day.

The battle of five armies is three hours of old people in front of green screens playing dragon ball z. I walked out of a movie about elves and mountains in the comfort of my own home. How.

In case you never had a childhood and were instead born a bullshit salesman with a large budget and a maths sum that had to be a positive number at the end, here is a list of how not to suffocate the child inside everyone under the giant dump you have taken on our memories.

The Hobbit is not a videogame. Videogames are not good stories. You ever sat down and watched someone play videogames for three hours? It is at best mediocre, even if you are high as snoop dogg on his birthday. Video games are entertaining because they immerse the player in a setting by presenting themed challenges. You do not get a turn in the battle of five armies. It is a badly scripted cut scene that you can’t skip through and you don’t even get to vent your mounting frustration by pretending you are hitting all the characters you hate with your sword designed by a thirteen year old that gets erections when they draw boobs on elves.

The Hobbit is not a stoner comedy. Point me to the line in the book, you bastard, that says “Gandalf gave Radagast a hit from his weed pipe. Weed smoke puffed out of Radagast’s ears. He was high. Hilarious.” Stoner comedies are not good. Stoner comedy fantasy is a special kind of worse. Stoner comedy fantasy adaptations of beloved children’s books are about as fun as inducing an aneurism by reading comments on auspol articles while Kanye West screeches to the tune of an army of fedora wearing ukuleles. You like drugs and fantasy? Buy a caravan, pretend to be an elf in a bikini on your Xpensive box and try not to drive any motor vehicles or make any dogshit movies.

The Hobbit is not about tennis balls. Ranting about the over-reliance of CGI in modern cinema is incredibly cliché but that is because you keep fucking doing it you morons. A good story needs only a plot and characters. The plot doesn’t have to be intelligent or original as long as you can get the audience to relate, and the characters don’t need to be deep or interesting as long as they are endearing. The Hobbit was meant to be proof of that how do you fuck that up. Giving someone a fuck off CGI mount is not character development dipshit who made you. You made Ian Mckellen cry I don’t care that you threw him a party afterwards bad job.

The one achievement of that half assed fuckfight of a movie was the scene where Bilbo and Gandalf are sitting next to each other, traumatised by all the imaginary orcs they made pchew noises at and only able to provide awkward facial expressions and body language to each other as comfort after such evil times. I walked out before then but it was exactly the scene that played out between my brother and I after the film.

It’s possible that your hands were tied on this one, that my ire is misdirected. It is hard enough to get a film produced, pandering to the whim of public opinion and the stipulations of those who provide funding to heap more upon their pile of cursed gold. Just maybe next time adapt The Wheel of Time or something, that thing was already a piece of shit.

Peter Jackson if you are reading this I really loved your adaptation of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and if you or your studio(?) are hiring in any kind of capacity I am available after ten-thirty am on a good day.

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