Lenin on Loons
Three times I blink.
I’m in my old high school, sitting on a cream couch in the Assembly Hall that bisects block B and block C. Somebody blares Marc Bolan’s “Ride a White Swan” from a Gramophone someplace. The hall’s clean and glistening. Everything is white. Whiter than the Klan. Whiter than heaven, if there is one? I wonder if I’m in my own self-induced hell or brinking on death? Fuck God. Fuck Satan. Fuck Aristotle and Pathos.
There’s an expensive leather-bound armchair in front of me, an egg-headed man in it too. He stops knitting his fingers and reclines in it. He was performing some act of compartmentalizing meditation, dissecting me with his gaze, looking me hard in the face.
His expression is, to best put it, stony and calculating. the bearded mouth turned down. He is Powerful: the blue-grey eyes never blink, the head gleams, polished with half a can of Mr. Sheen and the countenance is somewhat sunburnt. The skin colour of the head contrasts with the darkness from the brow downwards. He wears a brown moustache and a double-breasted jacket to match, too. The suit is of polyester. The tie in a traditional navy four-knot. His hands slap together in ecstasy, echoing like a gunshot in the dead of night, and I’m the Tsarist. He vibes executive power, left-wing radicalism and passive aggression – all of which he proudly boasts.
‘Tell me young man,’ he says.
I look to my ex-ex-girlfriend for reassurance. She’s got this puppy dog look in her eye that’s common when she’s fucked up. She’s anxious for me. Her bleach-blonde locks straighten over the next few minutes and the original brown of her scalp starts to spread like some wild flower in the blaring Amazonian sun. Her lips are dry, the rouge smeared like the night of our first drunken kiss. She had a boyfriend at the time. There’s a love bite on her neck that wasn’t caused by me. It winks conspiratorially. She takes my hand in hers and squeezes it, hard.
I look to him, bowing my head.
‘Are you depressed?’ he says. ‘You want to get strap-oned by girls with shit thigh tattoos?’
I look to Martha for reassurance. She feels motherly rather than romantically involved with me.
His words cut through me. They make the hairs on the nape of my neck curl and stand at attention. I take my spectacles off. Cleaning them with the waist of a Dries van Noten woolly jumper that I didn’t know I owned. I can feel him upon me, analysing me with the accuracy of a sniper. I wait for him to take a shot, but instead, he tosses a grenade in my mouth
‘Stop stalling and answer the question Ashley.’
He repeats my name. I’m shuddering and looking to her. I shudder again but this time with fright.
She’s gone and what I see instead is in three; Copied and pasted; Off to the left and shrinking into what artists call a vanishing point; I can make out three couples; they appear to be equidistant to one another; Glass partitions typical of a high-rise London office separate the violently sexual acts they perform.
There’s a woman with very pale skin, very dark eyes with a very cropped hairdo from the roaring twenties. She has little makeup on and is very beautiful and is very angry. Somehow, though I’ve never met her, I know her name to be Lisa.
She’s in a latex corset that makes me dribble, skimpy lace panties and horribly open-toed stilettos. The red shoes repulse me, the version of me taking the twelve-inch rubber cock, clearly doesn’t mind. For an incredibly skinny girl, she bulges at the stomach. She’s pregnant with somebody I knows child.
I watch for a few moments, he/me leans back, miracle of miracles, she holds onto him. They start moving together slowly, penetrating deeper. Then she starts to ride herself into a climax. I watch the rhythm, impressed at the quickened pace she was building. The pathetic, skinnier version of myself beats off to it. He must be around five stone lighter than I. He chews on ball gag and smokes a cigarette from each nostril. In front of him, all of them even, is a bowl of coke marked “B R U C E T H A L O O S E”. I fight an almost animalistic urge to rip off my trousers, the very skin off my thighs, too. But somehow, I manage to look the gentleman sternly in the eye. A moment goes past, and I remember that he’s Vladimir Lenin.
‘No. I’m not depressed,’ I say, unconvincingly.
Lenin reaches into his hip pocket and produces a gunmetal cigarette case, offering me one. I thank him. I taste the marijuana in his own special Balkan-Turkish admixture. There’s a beat, we smoke in silence before.
‘You still love her, don’t you?’
‘Of course, I do.’
‘You can’t live without her, can you? You’re obsessed with her…’
‘No, I’m –’
‘ – Addicted to her. You love everything about her. The way she blushes. The way she rolls her eyes during love. The way she swears. The way she calls lunch dinner. The way she covers your king-sized bed. The way she’s five-feet-two. The way you argue. The way she’s everything you’re not. The way she’s imperfect but is perfect to you. I’m right aren’t I?’
‘Fuck off,’ I say.
‘And her leaving you was far too much. That’s why you’re having this dream, that’s why we’re here. How much have you drunk today, Jordan Ashley?’
Only my father calls me Jordan Ashley, so I utter my expletive again for dramatic emphasis.
‘I’ll tell you actually.’
Out comes my Windows Surface. He deletes my novel and brings up the Sticky Notes tab.
‘Breakfast – 2 boiled eggs at 2 and 1/3 minutes precisely. 1 black coffee, 2 sweeteners. 1 triple Tennessee Honey – zilch rocks.
Lunch – 2 glasses of lemonade, 1 sausage roll, 4 pints of Stella, topped off with lime cordial. Is this meant to say snack? Alrighty then. 1 orange and lemonade. 1 bottle of Gordon’s gin and 1 bottle of bitter lemon cordial. Not bad so far…
Dinner – 1 half bottle of Stolichnaya. I approve old boy, they’ve banned it in Russia. 2 cans of Strongbow, a “swig” from your best friend’s rum, oh, and a single shot of Jägermeister. Does George’s vodka and coke count? You spilled most of this on yourself before you arrived here. What do you think?’
‘Fine!’ he says. He claps his hands together again, adding it to the list. ‘No wonder she volunteered to come with you, Martha?’
‘Would you describe your ex as bipolar? Does he want to fuck trannies or suck his Uncle’s cock? There must be one, surely?’
She coughs and vomits down herself. It sinks through the bristles in the carpet and I imagine the janitor drinking it below. ‘No,’ she manages.
‘What?’ he screams. ‘He can’t be normal! Look at him! He’s a fucking alcoholic! An ex-fucking-junkie! He couldn’t be normal if he tried. Friibiib’
A Pennsylvania Railroad Class M1A locomotive smashes through the hall and kills him. It blows his teeth through his gums and they land in my lap. I try to play marbles with them when Martha invites me to shower.
We do so, clothed, getting the smell of smoke and blood off our faces. I love her intensely but its futile. I will kill myself over her if this goes on. I see a red Barbour jacket hanging on the shower rail. My friend had one when we were kids. I debate stealing it and his toy Green Goblin when I see her riding through the corridor on a children’s My Little Pony tricycle. She disappears through the corridor of smoke smiling at me. She had to leave, or it would be the end of me. I point my fingers and go to shoot her when the train explodes.
The floor falls out from under me.
He shaves himself in the bathroom mirror. His skin is tough and pale. His hangover worsens. He has one of those ones that worsens from excessive cigarette smoking. He takes a pull off his tea and in that instant, the tepid sweetness on his tongue, decides to sort himself out. You can’t die of liver failure if you’re sober, right? Upstairs somebody blares Kanye West’s Black Skinhead from a speaker. Shut the fuck up, he fights the urge to say and vomits into a sink of shaving foam.