Thursday, June 11, 2009

Things Are Different

-Marsellus Wallace, Pulp Fiction

April 27th 2025 – Perth CBD – 2 weeks before Osric Dangerfield is found dead.

The fluorescent lights of the large open planned office level shimmers and saturates every last drop of surface area. The building itself was built mid 10s and it’s once trendy hip design was now betraying its fast, affordable construction. Tarquin sits, imagining the two pens that he is holding horizontally towards each other in the air are actually large airships preparing to do battle in epic naval proportions. Just as his red pen was about to unleash a tide of pain onto the blue opposition Denise caught him in her eye “Are you in idle? Check your time Quin!” her oily face and peroxide blonde and light perm caught the fluorescents and danced in the electric light. “Here’s your weekly report” she said, barely moving her massive lips and slapping down Tarquin’s weekly productivity report. This was the day, the day he was going to walk out of this hive of wasps. There were many reasons for his decision to leave, but the deciding was that he felt that if he didn’t leave soon, he would break his rule of never hitting women. That woman would be Denise; for some reason his manager inspired a rage in him, he wasn’t sure why. Tarquin was always aware of the rage in him, it seemed to sit there like a giant sea creature and upon awakening would lay siege to the city of Tokyo and its denizens. Who knows why the creature came, perhaps because of over fishing or mining had awoken its mighty deep sea slumber. Denise was over fishing Tarquin’s waters and for Tarquin, it was time to move to calmer ones. “You need to pick up your overall call duration”,

July 4th 2025 – Stirling st, North Perth – 2 months and 18 days before Tarquin Dangerfield is found dead.

Tarquin stepped on his cigarette, recently he had taken up smoking; it helped keep him awake and the lighter had come in handy a few times already, plus it made him look cooler. He took a hit from his inhaler and studied the outside of the brothel. This was the last one in the area, Stephanie had hinted that she had a feeling the girl in the Polaroid had worked or was working at a brothel in this area. It turned out that checking every brothel in the area of North Perth was easier said than done, with rope lights and multi-coloured party bulbs strung outside half the houses in each block. The street was littered with idling cars with darkly lit individuals, sitting, waiting, thinking. The police had seen fit to turn a blind eye to this part of town as long as there was order, so the small niche of streets were left dark and alone, as long as they were quiet, dark and alone. Tarquin pushed the door open; a desk, some chairs to wait in, some fake pot plants, the light was all reds, yellows and ambers like a sunset after a bushfire. A portly woman sat at the desk, her face caked in dry, heavy layers of makeup, she had everything, foundation, rouge, eyeliner, blush, mascara, lipstick with the liner on the outside, making her gargantuan lips look filter feeding marine life. There was something about her that made Tarquin uneasy, he smiled as he realised why “Denise?". The clown face looked up in horror "Oh Fuck!" Denise screamed "What the fuck are you doing here you little dipshit?" Tarquin takes out the photo and shoves it in her stupid face "This woman? Who is she?" Denise stops and looks at the photo "I can't help you, now fuck off" she lies. Tarquin saw the look, she was surprised to see Ozzie with her, she knows who it is and she's too stupid to hide it. "Still work in insurance?" Tarquin asks, as she pushes him to the door "None of your business fuck ass I..." Tarquin stops her mid-insult "I know what your thinking. There is no way Quin from First Assist could do anything, but believe me when I tell you that I am not the same man you gave weekly productivity reports to..."

" I have a gun"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

By Definition, A Crush Must Hurt 7

"...if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire..."
- Milton Waddams, Office Space

September 23rd 2025 Perth, Highgate – Ophelia Lang’s Resident – 3:00am

Tarquin breaths, the thick rain pelted on his back, his body like a dog’s, his hands burn, everything burns. He puts his hand on his stomach; it itches to the point of pain. His brings his oily fingers to his eye; it’s dark, black even. “Tarquin!” she yells, through the sound of the fire and rain. “Tarquin!” her hands grab him pushing him off balance, she yells at him, ordering him, Tarquin wonders who she is. Tarquin is so tired; he’s been through a lot. Things you haven’t seen yet. Soon Tarquin will stop feeling the heat of the fire and the cold of the thick rain. He will die. “Tarquin! Somebody! Please! Fuck you Tarquin you can’t...” He can see her. She is crying, she touches him and screams at him, he can no longer hear her words, she lingers then fades. He is dead. She still screams but no one comes.

July 3rd 2025 – Gin Gin – Pine plantation – 3:00am

The flames rose high, nearly reaching the crown of the tall pines. Tarquin stands, a bottle of cheap whiskey in hand, the heat irradiating the thick darkness of the pine plantation. He takes a swig and feels something in his pocket; a photo; the one from Ozzie’s house. Tarquin pulls it out, and has a mouthful as he stares into the frame. Ozzie seemed different than what he remembered growing up; the smarmy mommy’s boy grin had frayed, heavy, sad. The woman looking at the photo, red haired, smiling. “You were the last person to be with Ozric” he whispered to the girl in the photo with the fiery hair. Throwing the bottle into the dying fire Tarquin got back into the car “What do we do now?” she asked, starting the old Chrysler.

To be continued...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Corner Shop Jockey

"You know, that's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere."
- Sam Spade, The Maltese Falcon.

The quiet inner city street slept, dark and forgotten. A remnant of when the city was smaller and the sprawl not so merciless and destructive. The city centre, while large and bustling during business hours, was a wasteland of underground parking lots and lost souls outside of these times. The sprawl made the city hard to manage, thousands upon thousands of square kilometres of housing projects and fibro homes, gated communities, hate factories.

Lying on a corner in the middle of the misplaced suburb there was a corner shop. It had been built there and used by a family. Catering to locals and children on their walk to and from school. On hotter days a refuge for neighbourhood kids. Icecreams and chocolate milk. Newspapers and tabloid magazines. As with the passing of time the family grew older, the kids grew up andmoved away. More conveniences moved in around the area, lower prices, longer hours, and like many of it's kind the corner shop closed. The parents grew old together and died together, and the land sold.

Emily Ticonderoga Jones lived on the corner of Halls and Peach st in an old corner shop convenience. Attached to the shop front was a small two bedroom one bathroom flat. The corner shop itself was converted into a studio, half finished oils and breif experimentations with watercolours hang and rest on paint spattered easles, calico, horse hair, the smell of oil and solvents. Emily was a military brat but worked hard and now had a comfortable house with a comfortable mortgage. A rich ex-boyfriend had bought three of her paintings and set her up with a few clientel who kept her busy buying her work. Emily sat in her small but comfortable living room, watching trashy television, nursing a joint and pampering a large maltese tabby named Chairman Meow. Her malaise was broken by the screech of brakes outside, a car door slam then a feirce, panicked rap on the studio door. Emily jumped at the sound, distubing the Chairman and dropping the hot roach. "Who is it?!" she asked, furiously fishing for the red hot remains. A voice responded that sounded suspiciously familiar. "Just a sec!" Emily grabbed the butt, dousing it in an empty wine bottle. "This better not be who I think it is be..." she stopped, having opened the door to a suspiciously familiar face with an unfamiliar expression, unfamiliar breathing, bleeding, bent over. "Tarquin, what the fuck?" Emily yelped, taking the battered Tarquin in, a quick scan to catch prying eyes.

Light streams into the homely lounge room, corridors of sunlight invade through the gaps of the curtains and catch the dust and floating detritus. Tarquin, groggy, strains to remember where he is, how he got there. The events of last night flow back, the darkness, the oily blood and cold steel. Tarquin groans, his hands on his head, trying to stem the tide of anxiety, the feeling of chaos, his life had been inexorably changed and Tarquin couldn't help but think for the worse. He struggled to remember how the ride had started, his original intention, his mission. Whatever it was it was no more, enveloping, changing, perverting, consuming. Osric's face seemed distant, obscured, being slowly forgotten. Tarquin, pulled his inhaler from a sandy pocket, using it, his mouth instantly showered in sand and dirt amongst the gas and wind of the medication. "Oh God!"

"Are you alright?" her voice called from the door of the bathroom.
"Fine thanks" his voice gagged from the toilet.
"What happened?"
"My inhaler..."
"...Never mind" Tarquin conceded, rising from the bowl.
"You want some lemonade?"
"I'd love some, please." he sighed as she moved to the kitchen, her eye still tracking Tarquin.
"So what?" Tarquin glibly replied, wiping his mouth and walking into the kitchen area, leaning on the small breakfast bar, it's original use overridden by an avalanche of miscellaneous bills and papers. "Oh I don't know Tarquin, how about; so what the fuck were you doing bleeding on my doorstep at 3am in the morning? So where the fuck have you been since your brother's funeral, almost two weeks ago? So? So? So why don't you stop fucking lying to me for once and..." she swallowed, fighting down the urge, like hell she would let him see her tear up "...and let me help you for Christ sake". She tossed the can to Tarquin and sighed over the sink. Tarquin, thinking for a moment, tapping the top of the can with the one fingernail that had avoided being eaten away. "Ozzie was murdered Emily, this guy called Mr Niles murdered Ozzie and I still have no idea why. But he was working for someone else and I think I know who." he explained, producing a disc from his jacket pocket, placing it on the bar. "Last night I went to his apartment and I found some stuff. The guy was an contractor for someone called Ophelia"
"Tarquin, what are you telling me? How do you know all this? How did you get into this guy's apartment?"
"Because I got his wallet and keys, because he told me."
"Where did you find this guy?"
"Pete's Funland in The Beacons, he found me"
"Well where is he now?" Emily pleaded, stuggling to piece together what Tarquin was telling her.
"Still there. He's probably still there. Unless the cops have moved him" There was a cold silence as she realised what he wasn't telling her. "Why would he still be there Tarquin?" Silence. "What have you done?"
"I had no choice Emily." Silence. "He was going to kill me I... I had no choice."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

By Definition, A Crush Must Hurt 6

"You're probably pretty upset. I don't blame you"
- Frank Mercer, Matchstick Men

The heat seeped into everything, the streets, the houses, even the lights that illuminated the old amusement park nearby seemed to gleam with a hotter, more intense light. Summer had settled on the old city like an great dragon over it's treasure. It smothered and made everything hard to breath, a pillow of humidity pressed against every pore. Nights like this made Tarquin want to move east, run away from the orgy of hang ups and awkward social interactions he had made for himself during his time growing up here. Life had become more like a game of Tetris, more focused on negotiating where to place your baggage in amongst other's, trying to forget, to make it disappear.

His daze was broken by headlights turning into the neglected car park. He swallowed hard, rubbing his face he slowly got out of his car. The headlights illuminated the entrance to the old, forgotten fun park. The amber hue catching the smiling faces of the clown statues, hunched over the main gates like harlequin Gargoyles, their grins once beckoning children in, now took on a much more sinister, insidious turn. The headlights extinguished, returning the car park to in previous dark state and a small, nuggety gentleman got out. Tarquin, moved towards the man, half way between walking and running, halfway between panic and resolution. "Carmine told me you had some information about my brother..." asked Tarquin, trying to remain calm. The nuggety gentleman rubbed his palms on his jacket, sweaty, nervous "Yeah, yeah... right, uhhh. Listen, I don't really know about this man. I'm kinda deep in this shit, I don't wanna turn out like Ozzie..." Tarquin grabbed the man by the collar of his jacket and pushed him up against the door of his car "...what are you deep into?!" Tarquin demanded "What was my brother deep into?! Why are you so afrai..." his clumsy interrogation was cut short by headlights, turning into the carpark, bright, aggressive. This isn't right. The nuggety gentleman's breathing rapidly increased "Ahh Fuck man!" he squirmed, trying to get out of Tarquin's grip.
"Who the fuck is that?!" Tarquin asked "You were followed god damn it!" he cursed, punching the gentleman, the hard bone of his jaw bruising Tarquin's knuckles, the sharp pain through his fingers, the wet smack of sweat and flesh. The ominous headlights approached faster, showing no signs of slowing, showing no signs of changing direction. "Get up!" Tarquin ordered, dragging the nuggety man by the collar, the man pushed Tarquin to the ground "Fuck that, I'm gone!" he ran to get back into the car. The headlights careened towards the car, for a moment, time slowed, Tarquin looked to the car and the nuggety gentleman, then to the old forgotten amusement park gates, then at the blinding headlights. Run. Tarquin dived out of the way, narrowly missing the headlights as they ploughed into the nuggety man, then the car, a sandwich, a mixture of twisted metal and gouged meat. Run. The door to the steaming, blood washed car opened "Mr Dangerfield, I believe I told you..." Mr Niles. " let the police do their job!" Run. Mr Niles raised his arm something dull, long, matte black and metal in his blue gloved hand. Run. Tarquin, took a breathe, a beat, a long exhale, and ran towards the gates of the park, the darkness shadowing his escape, blanketing, making it hard to aim. "Tarquin!" Mr Niles sqeezed off three rounds, missing in a shower of sparks and riquochets, he ran after him.

To be continued...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Man of Salt and Shadow

"The Sphinxes eyes stay closed, until someone who does not feel his own worth tries to pass by."
- Engywook, The Neverending Story.

"In the old house we had a shitty, half built garage attached to the side. The owners before had converted the downstairs three car garage into a basement and had been in the process of building an exterior garage before the events that led to them selling it. The was a small gap in between the garage and the house, about a metre and a half wide. Due to the garden being on a higher level and poor knowledge in retaining wall construction, soil and detritus would fill the meter and a half wide, house deep alleyway. A tattered shade cloth made the sun into blotched patterns of whites, greys and charcoal which added a certain eeriness to the alley even in the sunniest of days. That side of the house was avoided as much as possible when chasing friends and brothers around the large block with water balloons and toy guns. Only ever seen once at night.

The summer moon was full and beat down from the twilight sky with almost as much ferocity as it's daytime counterpart. It was the end of the week and Dad was away, being teenagers we took advantage of the situation with zeal and alcohol. Wes had left his bike by the garage. Drunk, dazed, stupid I jokingly ran around the side of the house to get steal it. That's when I saw him. Leaning on the brick in the small alley between the house and the disused garage. A stranger. I remember him perfectly. He was complete darkness, as if no light could escape. He lifted a cigarette up to his lips and pulled, a long, dull inhale. The smoldering cigarette breifly lighting his upper lip, a dim sanguine glint in porcelain black eyes. They catch me. I stand, still, not even breathing, trying to comprehend what I am looking at. He looks at me front on, smiles, the white of his teeth luminous and vivid. I am frozen, hypnotised, a self imposed paralysis. He shows me his knife, it's clean and cool, a lime green in the moonlight. He takes another drag, ponders, then walks off. I shake. I wipe the tears and eventually compose myself. When I return everyone else has gone to bed. I tell no one what I saw. What I felt. Pure, beautiful fear."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

By Definition, A Crush Must Hurt 5

"If this world were to end, there would only be you... and him... and no one else."
-Dr Lilian Thurman, Donnie Darko

"Come on Tarquin..." Emily spoke gently, the pale, cloud filtered light filling the gaps between the door that framed her. Tarquin slipped on his musty grey suit and looked toward her, unable to see her backlit face. "...Tarquin"
"I'm coming" he replied, getting used to the smooth leather soles of his father's shoes and walking to the backlit girl.

The two walked to the car, the gravel of his parent's poorly sealed driveway announcing the start of their journey to the funeral home. Tarquin opened the door to Emily's car "Thank you..." he said, Emily stopped, looking up at the awkward man child "For coming with me... I appreciate it." Emily gave a smile, he hadn't seen that smile in a long time. Tarquin missed that smile and replied with the same. Emily had not seen his for longer, she too missed it.

The pale ghostly white light that shone through the overcast sky seemed to wash out the city, bringing out the greys and silvers for all to see. The moisture in the air could be felt in the sinuses and between the joints. The atmosphere was heavy, low and distant, clouds rubbing together in the horizon, creating static to be held and discharged at a later time and place. The old Chrysler moved slowly between the early Saturday traffic, the two sat, their silences rubbing together, creating static.

The funeral home was of the usual garish limestone brickwork reminiscent of the Nineties. The glare of the clouds reflecting the sun was no more evident and damaging to the eyes than here. Squinting, Tarquin stepped out of the old Chrysler cursing the fact the he was doomed to wander the Earth with a head that would make the trendiest sunglasses look awkward and misplaced. His father waited for them by the entrance "Emily, it's great to see you girl" he greeted her with a kiss to the cheek, then looking to Tarquin's feet "Nice shoes"
"Where's Sylvia?" Tarquin asked, ignoring the shoes comment
"Tark, please" Tarquin's father placed his hand on his son's shoulder "Today, you will call her mother...please" Tarquin replied with a nod "Thanks boy. I appreciate it..." he rubbed Tarquin's hair "Go say hello to your Mother" he ordered with a slap on Tarquin's back.

Five hours later

Tarquin's head leant against the car window, looking at a bubble in the tint, the trees of his parent's neighbourhood distorting as they pass through it. Tarquin; drunk, tired, looks at Emily. He hadn't seen her in years but it was really only months, exactly three months to the day. Three months to the day she had broken up with him in a shitty chain coffee shop in a shitty chain mall. Three months to the day he had his nose broke.
Three months and one day ago she was his. She catches him looking "What?" she inquired, her eyes frustrated. "That man knows who killed Osric."

Three hours earlier.

The old Chrysler pulled back into the poorly sealed driveway, joining the ranks of other cars now parked at the charming character house in a charming character suburb. Two older gentlemen in silvered moustaches were slouched on the cedar railing of the balcony, smoking, drinking, chewing. Tarquin stepped out of his ex girlfriend's vehicle, the smell of pipe and cigar, gin and rye, cheese and frankfurts. They give Tarquin a friendly nod and light pat on the shoulder, their mouths dry with ashen tongues. His father hears Tarquin enter and calls from the kitchen "Tark!" summoned, the son walks down the jarrah floored corridor. "What took ya?" the older Dangerfield asked. "There was an accident on Seville, traffic took for ever" the younger replied
"Typical, all those nosey bastards rubber necking. Should'a took Chelmsford"
"Yeah... well... we're here now"
"hmmm" the father drained the rest of the Glenmorangie and slapped Tarquin on the back, Tarquin not letting the sting show. "You did a great job back there kid!" the father moving to Emily, "...and you. You're beautiful, come here!" the large, portly man embracing Emily "This one is a good one Tarquin! I like this one, you look after this one!"
"He does, don't worry" she replied, going along with it.

One hour earlier.

"The wake shall be held at Mr and Mrs Dangerfield's residence. They invite you all to join them there. Thankyou and may God be with you" the Chaplain preached as the gaggle went their seperate ways. Tarquin looked around the maudlin crowd, the cemetery; a beautiful green, shaded by ancient oaks gave a surreal hue. On a small mound, beside one of the old oaks Tarquin spotted a man. He stood by the trunk, cigarette smoking, black suit. blonde hair, thick black glasses. Tarquin squinted through the glare as the black figure sipped at a takeaway coffee mug. "Tarquin!" a hand broke his curious gaze, Emily "You did good Tarquin" she said with a punch to the arms, her soft smile almost wiping his memory of everything but. "Whatchya lookin' at?" Emily asked, wrapping her arm into his. Tarquin looked back at the old oak on the hill "Nothing".

Four hours later.

Tarquin sat on the brown couch, the test on the television, a single malt resting in his hands resting on the brown couch. "You're Tarquin aren't you?" a voice called through the commentary of the cricket. Tarquin looked to the voice interrupting his drunken malaise. The man from the hill. "It could be" he took another sip of the brown liquour "depends who's asking." The man reached into his jacket pocket, pulling out a white handkerchief and placing it over the neighbouring arm chair before sitting "My name is Niles" he added, shaking Tarquin's hand "I'm sorry for the loss of your brother Mr Dangerfield" as Niles spoke he busied himself, pulling out an alcohol wipe, opening it, cleaning his hands, he did this without thinking, feverishly, as if an outside force were compelling him "I represent my client. Now my client is not unreasonable. My client is sad for you loss and understands that it must be hard to lose a member of the family..." Tarquin's knuckles whitened around his tumbler, teeth clenched. "I've been fortunate enough to have access to the police reports Mr Dangerfield and I assure you that there was no third party involved in your brother's death..." Tarquin's heart skipped and rallied, his pulse grew faster "Your brother was a fucked up loser junkie nothing mor..." Tarquin threw the contents of his glass onto the floor, grabbing Niles' freshly pressed, crisp white shirt and pressing the glass tumbler against his face but not breaking it. "Nothing more?" Tarquin growled through teeth clenched firm.
His plan would be to watch it crack and smash into Mr Niles' face. Watching the glass burst and enter... "What the fuck is going on in my house?!" Tarquin's father boomed "Tarquin?!"
"It's alright Mr Dangerfield..." Niles replied, staring at Tarquin "... I believe I was just leaving" Niles slid slowly out of Tarquin's grip. "Thankyou for you time" he said, collecting the handkercheif from the arm chair and left, quietly, cold. Tarquin looked at his father, dropping the tumbler to the floor, the glass splintering and scattering underneath the nice furniture. "I think you should too boy. Go sleep it off..." the father said, sipping at his Glenmorangie and floating back into the other room "...Emily, take your fancy fella home".
"Who the hell was that?" Emily asked, she had heard the noise from the garden and had come, undetected by Tarquin to investigate. "Just an old friend..." Tarquin replied, walking to the long mahogoney hallway, staring down it "...nothing more."

To be continued...

Four and Twenty Black Birds

"Smokey, my friend, you are entering a world of pain."
- Walter Sobchak, The Big Lebowski.

"Thing is..." he said, lighting the cigarette and giving it to his companion "I don't mind" he continued, wiping the tears and sweat from his companion's face. "I mean what do you do for a living? You're a Businessman? A Tailor? A Waiter? Do you think twice about it? Do you ever wonder about doing something different?" His companion shook his head, his eyes winced, blood gently carressing his ears "No" he smiles and kneels down next to his companion "I didn't think so" he adds, taking the cigarette out of his companion's mouth for a drag then placing it back between the quivering lips "That's why I like you. That's why I feel like I have to explain myself" he stands and walks over to the bed "This is what I do" he turns, smiling "If I am a Tailor then you are my suit" he turns around and drains the takeaway coffee cup on the bedside table. "Who knows? Maybe in another life we could have been friends. Go drinking, picking up girls, double date, see a movie, watch the big... game." He turns back to his companion, something dull, long, matte black and metal in his blue gloved hand. He pauses for a moment, studying his companion, staring "But to be honest, I find the idea of that kind of life quite boring, replusive even. When I see those... people... cattle, I'm convinced I've made the right decision. Guidance councellor be damned. Do you know what I'm saying? No?" He points the object at the head of his companion and pulls the trigger, quickly, quietly. "No" he sighs, throwing the object back on the bed and wrapping his companion in the plastic beneath. "Nobody understands me"

The warm amber halogen lights to the apartment turn on, the large red door closes. "Baby!?" he asks, a quick loving sound of Baby replies as she bounces onto the kitchen counter and purrs to greet him. "Miss me?" he puts the matte black metal suitcase down "Daddy just has to wash his hands" he explains, walking to the bathroom, making sure to wash both sides of each hand four times and scrub his fingernails. After cleaning the mirror and the bathroom just to make sure, vacuuming his lounge room just to make sure, changing his sheets just to be sure, feeding and brushing Baby, he sits, a warm green tea in hand, opposite his computer. He waits for the computer to boot up by going through his Swedish furniture catalogue, circling what he wants, the Bëklus shelf series, the Miningrodä chaise/couch combination provided in a sophisticated brown, tan or black leather. Baby jumps up into his lap and nestles lovingly into him "I love you too" he laughs, stroking the nape of Baby's neck, she purrs. He checks his mail, discarding the advertisements and promotions for soft porn and longer erections with disdain, settling on an important email, opening it. "It looks like Daddy's finally getting a head in this industry" he smiled, tapping the desk in excitement. "Tarquin? That's a funny name."