Clouds In The Head

from the night novel … part two
30 December, 2008, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Nobody Loves A Thinker

(don’t read this until you’ve read part one, OK?)


An even worse bar where I meet the man with the stolen riff. Vengeance kisses me on the mouth just to see how I taste and likes the flavour. Drole things to say when staring death in the face. Someone dies, I hope it isn’t me. My season in purgatory. The comeback kid comes back. Chase scene through seedy pulp writer’s fevered imagination. Integument, ligature and we all land safely again.

Welcome to further light night novel. A tale judged with high confidence until my early departure by drink.


At the Erko, where I once nearly got strangled on my own necktie, I found out the blonde’s real name.

In the back streets of the Cross, where seven guys once chased me round the same block for an hour, I found out that the dead guy used to deal in the area.

At the Cricketer’s Arms, where a friend once pointed out Abe Saffron and the old geezer smiled at me, I discovered the Cricketer’s Arms has gone up market.

At Abdul’s in Auburn, where I once bought a man have a spiked falafel, I met the brunette.

On the phone to the container terminal where Detective Rogerson once reminded me where my true loyalties lay, I found out the address where the Bobsy twins helped plan and execute the operation.

In a dive hotel in the city with no locks on the doors, where I’d taken many another brunette, the new brunette told me there was a contract out on me.

At a low-key jazz bar in Redfern, where I’d once returned some stolen property to its rightful owner, I met the man with the stolen riff.


He was a musician. He said:

She stole my riff.

And I want it back.

Don’t tell me it’s everybody’s now.

I can’t even play that riff the same.

It used to be pure. Now it’s screwed.

I couldn’t help him. Intellectual property is outside my area. But he did lead me back to the blonde.


I said: So it comes to this?

He said: Was that a rhetorical question?

She said: I think he was talking to me.

He said: Bobsy works for me.

I said: I love her.

She said: Not that Bobsy, the other one.

She said: Thanks for the work.

He said: Thanks for the work.

I said: You’re going to kill me now, aren’t you?


I thought fast, but all I came up with was funnies.

Can I just see that bullet, the one with my name on it? I want to see if they’ve spelt it right.

Of course I’m not scared. Thanks to my early onset Alzheimer’s.

Here’s the deal. You let me go. You disarm all your guys. You march yourselves down to the station and turn yourselves in, and I’ll – return the favour some day, I’ll be forever in your debt, you’ll be on my Christmas card list and I’ll introduce you round town, make you some more friends, maybe someone who isn’t in the racing industry.

Look up there! Is it a black cockatoo? I didn’t think so.

You know what I’m thinking, did you fire five bullets or six? Do I feel lucky? Well do I, punk? I don’t know, do I look lucky?

What do you mean, shaking? You should have been here yesterday, the cowards were this high.

Go on, kill me, I’ll see you in – limbo.

I’m not stalling, I’m bunny-hopping down the road.

Will you marry me?


I was dead. I guess that’s what you get for having an inappropriate sense of humour.


Purgatory is like the countryside. There’s less to do there. You have to make your own fun. You can’t drink and drive. You get to know your neighbours. They’re usually nice people. It’s quiet and you can hear bird noise in the morning. Mist rises slowly. You can’t always get your favourite radio station. A distant chainsaw is like music. You have to drive a long way just to get milk, and the shops close early and some nights there’s nowhere to eat. You dig your own garden but it never rains but it pours. You find yourself liking married women and have no designs on them at all, not really, not given the circumstances. Someone took out too many trees. No one votes the same way you do. You have to be able to change a tyre. Petrol is expensive. Everyone offers you free lemons at the same time of the year. There’s no nightclubs. People kill animals themselves. You find yourself staring for long periods at the dawn light. You see the dawn light without staying up all night. You sleep well. You miss things.

Things like insurance, broads, violence. The goodness of beer, the truthfulness of whiskey.


I found myself praying for something impossible to a God I don’t believe in on a night that never existed with a brain that had just been pronounced dead. Next time I’ll do it your way, I cried with high confidence. Next time I’ll do it right. Next time there’ll be another next time and another and another. No more stupid risks, but I’m missing the goodness of beer et cetera.

The Doc brought me back. And I heal fast.


I was back. There was a chase scene in Afghanistan or was it Paris?

Two walked in, fewer than two walked out alive.


I’m moving to the country Thursday week. With one of the women. Can you guess which? That’s love for you, it gets you going and it gets you …

from 1001 nights cast. Thanks Barbara C.


from the Night Novel … part one
18 December, 2008, 11:55 am
Filed under: Nobody Loves A Thinker


This is what the people who want things want. Immediate orgasm. They want a murder on page one, a rape on page 20, inconceivable complications throughout the first chapter, probable film rights, an author who in interviews talks good economics and social justice and sense but more importantly has that ineffable quality. I don’t know what it is, it’s ineffable. Effing ineffable. But we’re not going to start that way. We’re starting this way.

 Theme blonde. Hair of the dog. Interior nightclub. He meets the broad and gets the job. Bad guys are somebody’s son also. One dead, two to come. We decide to intubate. I Take A Phone Call. Redheads are just matches and other rhetorical questions. A throbbingly fine sex scene.

A short intermission but no one leaves the building. And that’s just to halftime.

Welcome to a night novel. A tale told in fragments written before the hangover set in.


The old crowd, all the losers and hangers-on and I don’t exclude myself from either category. The old scenes redound and repeat. Interior bar London, interior diner Baltimore, interior soup kitchen Sydney, exterior hot-dog stand Boise Idaho or maybe I just dreamt that one. Interior blonde, Marrickville, that was a fine establishment. Old memories are full of pain, like women.


 Blondes are the ones you notice first and you sell your soul for or rent it to them on a lease-buy basis where the terms are in their favour not yours – and somehow it’s not just your soul you’ve sold them it’s all the souls around you, anyone you ever loved and meant to say I love you to.

 Brunettes are the clichés of womankind, they’ve got the full package and they usually mean well and some of them have bedroom eyes but some of them will do it anywhere. And they help you with your dreams and they make them come true and you hate letting them down but you do.

 Black-tressed gypsy women sit in the corner and make you come to them and when you get there you’re a better man for it, what’s left of you.

 Gorgeous dyed-hair heroin punk chicks have music in their blood and snow in their veins and sincerity in their principles and chocolate in their mouths and shattered glass in their hearts.

 And redheads, God save me from redheads, in their powder blue dresses with necklines plunging so low you’d swear someone had just turned on an anti-gravity machine to rip the earth out from under you. Reheads know you better than you know yourself so no wonder they keep their nails so damn sharp.

 Problem with the world is, too many women, too much time.


She said: “I hear you work nights.”

 I said: I do tonight.

 “What do you do by day?”

 I don’t like to talk about it, I’m in insurance.

 “That’s what I want, insurance.”

 Life, property, personal?

 “All of the above, I want a man to suffer.”

 Well it doesn’t sound personal.

 “I need to know the truth.”

 Get a PhD.

 “Why did you have to have a really inappropriate sense of humour?”

 Why did you have to be the blonde?

 “I didn’t, they had a special on at the hairdresser’s.”

 A likely story, what’s the job?

Sober, the tick-a-tack typist talks to the others, they talk nothing, I try to glean the meaning. It’s laughter. At each other’s jokes heard 100 times. At each other’s jokes they’ll tell again tonight in the pub down the road when they’re drunk and it’ll be like hearing them from the bottom of the well. Even the bartender laughs. I laugh creepily.

“I’m sorry, Mr Smith can’t see you now. He said to come to this address tonight.” Oh well, Tom Waits for no man. Bad guys are all husbands fathers sons. Or so my mother told me.

Take two pints of blood. Make it five. Take one square metre of carpet. Soak in blood for – let me see – blod’s still warm. Using bullet, remove one eye. Add rictus of terror. Stir.

They said, “we have to intubate”. I said it was too late. They said, no, we have to intubate the woman.

 I met Bobsy. She said she had a twin brother, also named Bobsy, also a rehead. I knew there’d be a fucking redhead in here somewhere. She was in the film industry. She said she wanted to call herself The Edge in her first two films. They’d said, not American enough for this kind of film, they, the men who claimed to respect her professionally. There are more oldest professions in the world than you can imagine. I’m in one myself.

 I wanted information. She wanted to give it to me. But given that redheads are all bad, I wanted her to give it to me now, and certainly before her evil twin brother Bobsy came back from the can.

She was very good looking. We went to bed.

Bones, limbs, blood pumping through extremities, worn down after the day’s vicissitudes but still up for somebody new tonight, getting the tone right and then not bothering at all. Letting slip about the dead guy, letting slip about the case. Skin on skin soft and wet with sweat. Letting slip I loved her. Letting slip I didn’t. Letting slip the dogs of sex and by now too slippery to care. Coming up with stunts (never say THAT five times quickly.) Fingers in hair, pulling, wrenching, scratching, all desire, no mod cons, until at last I was falling falling falling, why does the best sex always end up with the girl’s brother coming in and beating me unconscious?

(first published on the 1001 Nights Cast site. Love you Barbara.)