Clouds In The Head

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.)


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