PART 2
2o09
October
1
Int. Neither very fashionable nor very expensive loft-styled photo studio. Well-lit room with three wall tall windows and a couple of 400 Watt monolights. London outskirts. Late morning
BRIGHT LIGHTS, BRIGHT LIGHTS, TOO FUCKING BRIGHT IN HERE, I squint my eyes, and since it's not helping, I start squeezing the bridge of my noise just to occupy my hands, I wish I hadn't forgotten to put sunglasses on. Oh how I wish to disappear, I think to myself leaning my back to a brick wall. DISAPPEAR disappear disappear disappear disappear disappear disappear disappear FUCKING DISAPPEAR OUT OF HERE, BRIGHT LIGHTS LIGHTS LIGHTS LIGHTSLIGHTSLIGHTSLIGHTS. Bright white 11-0601 TCX
'How's a bloody fucking assistant here?' Max, a photographer, all dressed in black leather, holding a new Canon 5D mark ii, inquires crossly. And though he's speaking in a normal voice, for me it sounds like a thunderstorm, but I compose myself and enthusiastically shout out 'I am!'
'So where's the fucking 32 inch octagon softbox I requested like half an hour ago?!' He inquires being pissed off with the fact that such an incompetent little shit as a studio assistant hasn't heard him from the first time. Actually, I've heard him all right, however I couldn't resist not to arse around and make him throw his toys out of the pram.
'You demanded it?' I ask innocently raising my eyebrows.
'Yes, you berk, I did.'
'You did?' I pretend to be surprised, putting on an idiotic smile instead of the sunglasses.
'Oh for fuck's sake!' A model, waving her arms up in the air, exclaims and steps out from a white background, dirty and trampled from the bottom, and putting a leopard bathrobe against her fluorescent purple V necklined swimsuit with crystals, she moves to a small table, grabs a mobile phone firstly and a cigarette secondly. Her silver high heels glistening, my brain explodes from the collision with flecks of light. Yvette is a tall blond cheap cliche. Both of them are. Pale, extremely underfed, resembling a couple of vampires who had been eating out in vegan restaurants for too long, but it must be just cocaine.
'Yes, I did!' Max flares up angrily, interrupting my thoughts and I apologise, the idiotic smile won't disappear.
'All right, all right, no need to worry!' I dash out from a door way and enter the second studio, which is very much alike to the first one. Only the furniture makes the difference, but the studio manager sees it from the other perspective, explaining, that the first studio goes for fashion shoots, the second is for family portraits and the third... Oh wait, the second is for fashion and it's the third room which goes for family shootings or probably, vice versa or vice versa vice versa, I don't give a fuck, and nevertheless, there're only two rooms in the studio, but the trick is to move furniture from one room to another making clients think that there're four special studios. If curious bastards, I mean curious clients, ask about the other rooms, we just tell them that the other rooms are occupied by a very fashionable photographer, who doesn't tolerate being bothered. So a day shift duty is to help with occasional photo sessions, while night shifts include dragging a bed, a chair, a mirror, a coach, a not functioning bath tub, and a few backgrounds from one room to another, taking pictures of so-called new interiors and uploading them to the studio web page. It's a miracle how many interior design versions you're able to create only with five pieces of furniture. I spot the desirable 32 inch soft octagon and the gold reflector, but instead of immediately grabbing the equipment, and returning back, I stroll along the room kicking cables, snaked on the wooden floor, and trying not to bump into the fucking bed sharp angle as I've done before many times. Then I take a barndoor and a silver reflector and march to the first room. A freelance make up stylist, who's name I don't remember, Catherine? Yoyo? Amanda? Eliza? is readjusting a makeup on Yvette's face, and noticing me, she gives me that smile which I never know how to interpret. Max raises his head from his blower and his small jaw with small teeth drops down and his face twists with resentment.
'What the fuck? Are you retarded?'
'You can't say retarded nowadays, it's judgemental and offensive, it's called mentally challenged...' I begin rather seriously.
'I don't fucking care how it's called, I've demanded the fucking softbox and the golden reflector, it's impossible to work here!' He spatters as the studio manager enters the room from the first glance figuring out what's the problem or, rather, who's the problem.
'Darry, bring Max what he needs.'
'Right ho, sir!' I try to leak out between the door frame and the manager's beer-belly, but the manager, who's name I don't remember either, doesn't let me hissing 'stop your games at once' and then declaring loudly that soon Max is running a workshop on fashion photography and by the next week I have to make an advertising poster, good enough to be even printed.
'Where did you get him?' Max asks with a slight disgust, but immediately goes back into his phone, probably feeling too big to care, Yvette hasn't even raised her head, her fingers moving fast texting, and I wonder if I'm the only person here who doesn't know what people doing online 24/7, the only one with no mates to chat with? I return with the 32 inch octagon softlight and the 32 inch golden reflector.
Ext. Street view. Early afternoon
An extreme close up of a cigarette squeezed between an index finger, red teeth marks on it, and a thumb, then the tab goes out of focus and the image is blurred, a jump cut to an extreme long shot of Darry leaning his back to an ordinary building, he's showed from the other side of the street, a few cars slowly pass by.
I carefully examine goose bumps covering my bare shoulders, no jacket upon my white t-shirt. It's cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass and I'm shivering, the precise physical experience I need to start perceiving the presence of my own body. Cold, pain, including vomiting, help to deal with detachment. How can you feel not real and overloaded with the reality at the same time?
There's too much of the reality around me, and it's hard to say, if it's fake or if it's real, too much noises, too much echoes, too much lights, too much objects, too much shadows, too much visual data, data data data data data data data datadatadatadatadatadata, that become imprinted onto my brain, and I can't get rid of those pictures, pictures, picturespicturespicturespictures inside my head, I close my eyes, but still see the street, only the colours have changed to some sort of a film negative, but with the same clear details. I need to get those pictures out. There's not enough storage for all of them. I open my eyes again, wishing to run back to my flat and shut myself there for a week, then I take a deep drag and check my mobile, no news updates since morning, but a lot of popping ads, no unread messages, no surprise, a spam filter is working well, and Mike never writes when he's out of the city. What an arsehole! He tells me he has a serious business to do and I'm not the fucking centre of the Earth, which I don't even deny, thankfully, I'm not, but I don't believe he doesn't have a couple of minutes once a week for a chat, I don't need more, only two minutes to feel less isolated. That's not a question of time, but a question of motivation. Well, It's my fucking problem that I'm unable to make friends, that any communication wears me out, that I'm overwhelmed and bored with people and my job, even if it doesn't require any professional skills.
Not willing to go back inside so soon, I light the second cigarette, but don't take it into my mouth, just watch it burn slowly.
It's my problem that Mike is the only close person I have, nevertheless, I believe he could have done some effort to pretend he cares about me, not only about himself. He doesn't get in touch, because he's afraid someone finds out that we're not just flatmates. He always tells me that, unlike me, he has a real job, and thus can't be in an open relation. I desperately want to write to him, but I force myself from it, and reload a messenger box a couple of times, experiencing a stupid mixture of feelings, hope, sadness, anger, loneliness and everlasting emptiness. Oh what the hell. Semiconsciously, I go through online newspapers, then put the phone back inside the pocket of my jeans, the studio front door opens wide, and the make up girl, what's her name? Cassy? Claire? Charlotte? Natalie? walks out, dressed in a wool coat and ankle boots, her long ginger hair fluttering. All I remember is that she's studying graphic design at college, and I envy her terribly, even knowing I could never handle attending university myself, even if I could.
'What a wonderful autumn weather' She comments with what must be counted as a heartwarming smile, though it doesn't warm either my heart, or my body, shitty metaphors, and I just reply hm, yeah, and avoiding to look into her face, I fasten my gaze on my sneakers and pavement stones. Gosh, how I hate those small talks.
'I believe you have ruined Max's self esteem.' She chuckles.
'Oh no, no, no, on the contrary, now he thinks he's even greater than he considered himself before, with such wankers like me working for him.'
'Why do you always need to rattle his cage?'
Because I'm vulnerable and afraid of showing my vulnerability. I don't say it aloud.
'Always? Nah, just occasionally.' I bite my lip hard. I'm afraid of people, I don't know how to communicate with them and sarcasm and misbehaving are the only affordable strategies, you cannot not communicate (not), I don't communicate therefore I am, a shitty metaphor, I'm so irritated by people I'm working with because all of them are fucking sure they're doing something important while they don't. Mediocre people take mediocre crappy pictures and sell them to mediocre people who are happy to buy mediocre shit. Why the fuck do I care? Because I think that photographers and artist are responsible for implanting a good taste? Because I'm certain that art can change the world? Wrong. Fucking wrong. Art changes nothing. I'm so irritated because I believe I'm not mediocre, my works are better than many others' I've seen, and yet, nobody wants to buy them. Fucking nobody. This job, it's getting me nowhere. When you're at school, you believe that once you grow up things will get easier, but they don't, you switch jobs, and it's still all the fucking same. Nothing becomes easier. All my life is about going from one nowhere-fucking-near-to-something-I-really-want-to-do point to the next point even further away. And who's in charge for that circling around? I am. It's arrogance, snobbism, stupidity and probably even schizo, with all those pictures in my head, probably I'm not even real, probably I'm a dead pixel in a .psd file. Can a dead pixel be fixed? Another shitty metaphor.
Then indistinctly I hear the girl saying something and slowly return to what is supposed to be the reality.
'Huh?'
'Do you have any plans for Saturday?' She repeats. There's a small uncomfortable pause.
Anxiety. Small talks anxiety. Incoming call anxiety. Missed call anxiety. Unread messages anxiety. Taking public transport anxiety. Going out anxiety. Not going out anxiety. Having sex anxiety. Not having sex anxiety.
'Yeah, to stay home, draw sketches, then immediately start hating them, tear them apart and roll down on a floor crying.' She laughs. The truth is easily mistaken for a joke. Then I notice that she stares at my arms and she notices that I've noticed, and she turns her face away from my fresh pink scars very fast, stops laughing and remarks.
'Look, I'm going to hang out with my pals, it would be nice if you join us, text me if you change your mind.'
'Sure. Probably, I'll come and take some snaps.'
'You're not going anywhere without your camera, are you?' Finally, she departs and I breathe out. What's her name? Ruth. It's Ruth.
[Darry Voice over]
I actually do go out on Saturday and yes, I never go out without my Polaroid. The whole Saturday night is a black out, to onlookers I'm absolutely normal, from time to time I'm even engaged in conversations, but I never remember anything afterwards, Polaroid snaps are evidence that the surrounding reality is real. If it's real hypothetically, of course. What if we are not real at all? There's no evidence that god exists or doesn't. What is the evidence that we do exist? Seeing is not believing. What if we're all just hallucinating? Well, this concept is not new. Which pill would I take? A red pill or a blue pill? No fucking clue. I don't remember which pill is the correct one to escape from illusions. Why I'm not able just to enjoy living my life, without doubting every step I take. Also, I have no idea how the film ended, could have never made myself watch it till the final credits.
Int. Photo studio. Early afternoon
New people arrive, two models and a woman, who claims she's a screenwriter, and they're making an underground indie film. One girl, if not her dress and her make-up, I'd never distinguish her from Yvette. Well, I'm actually bad at memorising faces. The second one is different, short, not tall, with a flat face, though pale and with the same haughty expression. No heavy make up, she's wearing golden glitters and temporary tattoos in a shape of stars, and an oversized satin jumpsuit.
The first model, dressed in a bright code-red dress with a full skirt and bear shoulders, and a pair of green leather knee high heel boots, her cheeks are round and pink, in this photo shoot she plays a flower. Max switches from recording video to taking stills and is running from his camera, now on a tripod, to his MacBook, cursing, that a cord is too short and a socket is too far away, and all the extension poles are occupied by a lighting system. Not waiting for him to give me an order, I go to the other room and return with another extension pole. Instead of a thank you, I get 'what the fuck has taken you so long to bring me this piece of shit?'
Sitting on her haunches on a plastic glossy chair, stylish, but not even close to Dieter Rams' design, the first girl is reading aloud her lines, which she has supposed to know by heart, the screenwriter woman is behind the camera, checking the text, printed pieces of paper in her hands, her fingers with long nails.
And I was born at the same moment as the sun. I think it is time for breakfast. If you would have... Oh fuck, shit, crap, son of a bitch, cocksuckers, bugger it! I'm always forgetting this fucking line!' Flinging up her hands, the flower interrupts herself, and her sweet voice becomes harsh and high. The second model, standing on the floor, and thus looking almost the same height with the flower, yawns.
'Ifyouwouldhavethekindnesstothinkofmyneedsletthetigerscomewiththeirclawstherearenotigers
onmyplanetandanywaytigersdonoteatweeds.' The screenwriter reads from her notes in a flat voice, without making pauses between the words.
'Is it the Little Prince?' I ask with a surprise.
'It is.' The girl, who, I now understand, plays the Little Prince, confirms.
'How this film is indie? Is there a new interpretation of the original novel?'
'It's not a novel, it's a novella.' The screenwriter woman corrects me.
'Yet it doesn't answer my question.'
'The Prince is a girl.' She nods importantly.
'So there were only male performers in the Ancient Greece theatre, and now underground indie film producers gonna use only asexuals, transgenders and women?'
'Shut up.' Max cuts me off. 'And go get me something to drink.'
'Tigers do not eat weeds.' I repeat to him.

***


During the next break, the flower forgetting the next line and swearing like a sailor again, I take a bunch of backstage snaps with my old Polaroid, backstage being much more alive than the house of wax which you see as a final result printed on centrefolds.
'What is it? Film?' Max snorts from over my shoulder.
'Mm-hmm'.
'Not even Mamiya?' I show him the camera and he snorts again.
'Oh, I'm surprised you've heard of this company. But no, it's not even Mamiya, Leica or Contax, not even an SX-70, it's a very cheap Polaroid 600.'
'You can't even retouch pictures!'
'You know, Helmut Newton didn't use a lot of retouching or many additional sources of light to create his masterpieces.' I grin and continue. 'What's the point of taking photographs and making them look like cheap vector drawings, you swipe the whole life out of those portraits by retouching.'
'Open your eyes, it's called beauty industry, it fucking sells.'
'Then why beauty is so ugly today?'
'You don't get payed. And I do.' He observes.
True. I go to a small staff room and steal some cheese from the manager's lunchbox.

***

I catch the manager in a narrow corridor, the walls are all covered with boring pictures taken in the studio, anxious models and anxious families, trying to look happy.
'Landberg!' He barks at me, though I haven't even opened my mouth yet. Fuck, it can't be about the cheese. 'What is it now?'
'Eh, the advertising poster...' I remind him, showing some printed drafts, pondering over the cheese. The cheese was fine, I wonder was it Brie or Camembert.
'Yes, what's with poster? No, no, no, those are terrible, okay, this one will do, use other colours and fonts.'
'What's wrong with Frutiger?'
'With what? Don't try to be clever, boy, I'm telling you to use a different font, with those lines.'
'Serif?'
'What have I just said about being clever? Be grateful that I allow you to work for me.'
True. I wouldn't allow myself work for myself.
Int. Tube. Late evening
[Tube sounds, trains arriving and departing, indistinct chatter]
A bird eye view of Darry in a crowded train. His hood on, earphones playing music on top volume, I don't even hear when I think aloud, so that people around can hear the lyrics.
But the music doesn't entirely block the train noises, and Darry's tensed, a book in his hands, and he's making an effort to concentrate on it, blinking constantly, turning over the pages, his hands are slightly trembling, because of low blood sugar, as he tends not to eat if not home alone. In the end, after the next song starts playing, Sitting in a club with so many fools, playing to rules, trying to impress, but feeling rather empty, he's able to focus on the book.
[This is Barking. The next station is...]
'Fuck.' Darry mutters, as he misses his station.
Ext. Street views. Barking. Late evening
Walking out from the Upney station, Darry loosens up, it's dark already, and street lighting isn't that bright, he takes the longest way to his home, smoking, observing parked cars and reading plate signs, and once he reaches a bridge across a railway, he stops to look down from it, fixing his eyes on a spot where rails criss cross each other. A match cut, an extreme close up of the rails criss crossing, an extreme close up of the scars running across Darry's back, criss crossing and emphasising his sharp shoulder blades.
[A soft sound of rain drops falling down]
Int. Small grocery store. Barking. Late evening
Darry zigzagging from one shelf to another, scrutinising colourful boxes and packages, putting some of them into a basket. Then he glances down at the basket and leaves it on a floor, going to a cashier desk with only a box of milk, a bottle of water and a bunch of bananas in his folded arms. Outside a homeless man pleads him for a cigarette, and Darry gives him the whole pack.
Int. Ordinary two bedroom flat in a depressing cheap nine floor building, windows facing A124 Rd. Barking. Night
Not taking off his shoes and not switching on the lights, Darry proceeds to a kitchen, finds a hard piece of a baguette, knocks it over a table, then taps a rhythm with it. Adding two slices of cheese onto the baguette, he puts it into a microwave, and for the entire two minutes he watches the cheese swelling out. The baguette is now looking like a grilled SpongeBob, Pants! Darry exclaims and throws it away in a litter bin under a sink. He opens a refrigerator, and there's only a peanut butter jar, he takes it out, and sitting on the floor, eats peanut butter straight from the jar, washes it down with milk, and afterwards he's bending over a toilet bowl honking, two fingers are deep down inside his throat, the food comes out easily, almost without pain. His red eyes are watering, and his pale face is ugly at the moment. He double flashes, washes his mouth, brushes the teeth, he removes his tee, a few stains of vomit under the collar.
[A sharp sound of water running from a tap]
Darry puts his head under a cold water tap.
Feeling slightly dizzy, but the brain fog has almost gone, hello guilt, I enter my room, and taking my old G3, I fall down onto a couch situated in a dark corner, and check my Inbox. One unread message, and I hope it's Mike. We've been renting this cheap gaff with him for about five years, and he insisted that we needed two separate rooms to successfully pretend that we're just flat mates. Although I have no idea who could possibly give a fuck about the number of the rooms since no one visits us whatsoever. I fucking miss him, when he trains service dogs outside London, oh gosh, I want to have a dog so much, two dreams that will never come true, to have a dog and to become an artist, I wouldn't feel so lonely if I have a dog, but dogs are prohibited by a landlord, I click the tab, and no, it's not Mike, it's Sean, asking how I am doing. What shall I tell him? That I'm lonely, full of self-hatred, secretly screw his best friend, or more precisely, his best friend secretly screws me, and I cut my arms, move furniture and obviously develop an eating disorder which is known to be a girl's issue. He doesn't want to know how I'm doing anyway, he's just bored wherever he's serving now. I look through a folder with scanned Polaroids and attach a bunch of railway road snaps calculating whether it's enough traffic to send them, and whether it'll be enough traffic left to watch porn. I don't answer how I'm doing, instead I ask to send me pictures of the B-d city in ruins. Most likely, he's not even in B-d. Fuck, I miss him, too. I shut down the G3. I close my eyes. I could have written a letter to James. He claimed we had been pals. But he hasn't written me a line since 2005, and no, of course we had never been friends, he probably only felt sorry for me, that's all. I open my eyes, blink twice, and stand up, I come by a wardrobe and get out a shoe box, and sitting on the floor, my legs crossed, look through old Polaroids. Sean in Berlin, laughing and making grimaces. Potsdamer Platz, Alexander Platz, Frank at HBH, grinning, not impressed, annoyed by a flash. James sprawling on a grass at a cemetery, relaxed. Mike and Sean getting hammered in our kitchen. Chris in his yard with his GSD, I wonder if this dog is still alive, unlikely, Frank's car, has he bought a new one? I should stop looking at my past.
An extreme close up of Darry's hands, putting the pictures back and closing the box.
[Cut to black]
2
A few days later
Int. Mike's & Darry's flat. Barking. Evening
[Footsteps]
The lift not working again, panting, I march up the apples to the ninth floor, I'm getting out of my shape, training too many dogs for detection, not for protection. I twist a key in a lock and dive into the gaff covered in darkness, though I notice a line of light coming from under Darry's room door, closed. It's either he hasn't' heard me enter, listening to music in his earphones, or he doesn't want to talk to me again. I knock and, not receiving any answer, open the door, Darry sitting in silence on the coach, a book on his laps, his legs crossed. What the fuck does he find in those books? I've never read anything for entertainment, films are made for entertainment, and I get irritated by not understanding him.
'Hey ya!' I greet him cheerfully nevertheless, and he replies 'hey' unenthusiastically, not inclining his head, pretending he continues reading. My frolic attitude vanishes away, but I make an effort and step closer willing to kiss him and mentioning that I missed him.
'Hey, the flatmates don't kiss each other.' Backing off, he intones sarcastically.
'Oh, you're in a mood for a fight.' I accuse him and feel a pinch of guilt. I know what's going on, but he drives me nuts, I've fucking explained a fucking hundred of times why I can't be in touch with him outside London, I tell my work fellas that I go to the city to entertain myself, and it's a perfect excuse, and I can leave my dogs at the kennel, I've even introduced Darry to some of my mates as a laddie who is up to get a dog and wants to learn the ropes first. Why people are always so unsatisfied with what they already have, why Darry needs more, why it's never not enough? He insists he doesn't like to hide and wants to live a normal life, but it's not normal to be a queer anyway, bollocks, I'm so pissed with him, why can't he be happy that I'm here, but decide it's better to make the second attempt, so we're cool again. I doubt though that the things have ever been right between us.
'How was your week?' My voice casual, I try to sound not mad. I assume 'I'm sorry' would be a more eligible phrase for Darry, but it's his problem that he cannot comprehend my circumstances.
'Fine.' He shrugs his shoulders still not looking at me, turning his head to the window. 'How was yours.' He intones blankly.
'Quite productive'.
He stands up, not asking for any details, which he usually likes to hear about, and not letting me to hug him, I catch him by his thin wrist, forgetting how much he hates this gesture, but he gently withdraws his arm from my hand, and lights a cigarette, being thoroughly aware how much I hate this smell. Anger and guilt mixing up somewhere in my chest, I need to find a moment and inform him, that I have a new cover up story now, and I'm not quite sure how he'll take it. But it's a right thing to do. I hope it is. That lassie, I'd accidentally met her, and we'd got totally smashed, and now she's up the duff and... and it's a clear opportunity, I'm thirty next year, and it's time to get married, and it seems she's into me and... Will he stay with me? I'm looking at his slim body, blue jeans, a white tee, he always dresses the same, and I certainly don't want to lose him, he's witty, hot and annoying, he gives me a glance and finally walks out to the balcony to finish his cigarette, probably not really willing to piss me off. I follow him, and I don't mention that I've asked him not to wear the same street pair of shoes at home. I embrace him from the back and this time it seems he doesn't mind, though I feel his muscles tensing.
'You're having a day-off tomorrow, ain't you?' I hope my voice sounds soft.
'Mmm hmm.'
'Would you like to accompany me to the kennel club? A weather forecast is promising.' I murmur into his ear.
'Okay.' He nods looking less upset.
'I'm hungry' I press my body more tightly to his, and he says that certainly I know where the grocery's store is.
'Nah, not in that way.' I protest playfully. 'But you have to eat more, I'd like your body more if you gain a few pounds.'
He tosses his head, answering that his body is his business and that I'm absolutely fucking free to find someone with a more desirable body.
'And if you want to fuck, just say it, Mike.' He turns over to me and smiles.
I decide it's better not to get into arguing and rather get into a bed, and I drag him to my room aka our bedroom, and though he doesn't actually protest, he's not as active as usual, being silent, refusing to take off his tee, and after I fuck him fast and hard, he doesn't even try to come in front of me, and without providing any explanation or making any excuse, he moves to his room, closing the door, and I occupy the double bed alone, missing his body next to mine, though I always complain about him pushing me unconsciously in his sleep, why does he always sleep so restlessly?
The next morning
Choking. Water flowing over my head, black, no colours except for black, black water surface with black waves. Black 7C, Black 3C, Black 6C over my head, choking, scared, choking, can't breathe, wake up, can't breathe, fear, terror, water, everything is black, everything is falling apart, can't breathe, can't wake myself up, asphyxiating, wake up, wakeupwakeupwakeup, WAKE THE FUCK UUUUUUUP!
[A short, but loud yelp]
I leap on my coach greedily soaking air, fuuuuuck, I rub my eyes, my t-shirt wet, the cold sweat running down along my spine, I'm shivering, and though I'm used to nightmares, I'm still scared, and everything is still black. I rub my eyes again, and the colour vision is slowly coming back to me. I always dream in Technicolour, and the absence of colour bothers me more than the nightmare.
'What's wrong?' Mike opens the door, and I tell him it was just a bad dream. Casting me an irritated and discontent look, he shrugs his shoulders mentioning, that it's time to go to the kennel, and disappears into semi-darkness, I embrace myself tightly, no one deserves a hug after a bad dream, right? But then I hear Mike making coffee, and I move my hands to my ears, covering them, a squeaking noise of the coffee machine steaming milk literally hurts my ears. I stretch my numb limbs and stand up with tensed muscles and stomach ache, a familiar feeling, I glance at a bed sheet, and it's all covered in blood, the skin under my knees is torn, scratched.
I walk out onto the balcony, fresh and chill air, dim cold blue light, 14-4317 TCX and cool grey 427 CP. From the ninth floor I can view airplanes in the grey sky, their bright lights flickering, the LCY is not far away. And this scenery makes me feel good, probably it's the only reason that halts me from moving out of the gaff, from breaking down with Mike right away. Airports, railway and petroleum stations are a gate to heaven, there you feel as if you can go anywhere you like, that nothing can stop you, that you can run away from yourself.
[A cigarette lighter clicking sound, a seagull screaming sharply]
Int. Mike's car. Empty by-road with almost no traffic, fields are seen through out a windscreen. Early morning
[Car stereo playing]
An extreme close up of Darry's fingers switching radio stations.
[Shot reverse shot]
Mike [Cheerfully]
Please, stop doing this.
Darry [Playfully]
I'm trying to find a station which doesn't make my ears bleed. Oh, that's not bad.
[Turning up the volume. How much is the fish playing]
Mike [Laughing]
The chase is better than the catch, that's about dogs! You remember, when a puppy grows up, its prey drive increases and...
Darry [Interrupting]
... and the dog wants to chase a prey more than it wants to eat it. I do remember. But not everything in this life is about dogs, Mike. That's a paraphrase of Eduard Bernstein's statement, the final goal is nothing, the movement is everything, he was speaking of socialism, so dogs are social-democrats.
Mike [Glancing at Darry with a smile]
You do like to sound clever, don't ya?
Darry [Switching radio stations again]
Well, I'm clever.
Mike [Frowning]
Okay, stop it. I mean it.
Darry [Becoming gloomy, too]
Could we please listen to something else instead of this pop junk?
Mike
It's my car and in my car we listen to what I choose.
Darry [Rolling his eyes up and then opening a book, a heavy paperback edition lying on his knees, and starting reading]
Mike [Smiling uncomfortably and trying to resume a conversation, turning music off]
Hey, it's not good for your eyes to read in a moving car.
Darry [remaining silent, not lifting his head up from the book]
Mike
Why are you so grumpy and... sad?
Darry [Still looking into the book and replying fast in a very serious tone]
Because Yossarian has to make more flights, you see, firstly it's been only ten missions, but Colonel Cathcart keeps increasing the number of required missions, and can you imagine, now it's fifty-five, and Yossarian can't go back home, and I feel for him, I'm deadly in love with him, although I know we are not a match, he's into girls...
Mike [Blowing up]
What?! Who's the fuck is Yo-what?
Darry [Finally glancing at Mike, smiling with a corner of his lips]
That's a character from the book, Mike.
Mike [Insulted]
Stop taking the Mickey out of me, okay?
Darry [calmly]
Books are very real, Mike. Reality is fake, books ain't.
Mike [Composing himself]
You should stop living in your dreams.
Darry [Annoyed]
Yeah, yeah, choose a career, choose a fucking big television, oh, I beg my pardon, you don't know this quote, too. Never mind. But seriously, you don't get it? Why I'm sad? It's been more than a fucking week, you could have texted just once, couldn't you? Just you know, to pretend you care about my feelings.
Mike [Calming down, his voice is weary]
Blimey, don't start again. Adriel, you're an adult, it's not my job to care about you, it's your job to care about yourself.
Darry [Flaring up]
Don't call me Adriel, you sound like my father. Well, you do sound just like him, no matter how you call me. I always not good enough for everyone.
[With bitterness]
You told me you loved me.
Mike [Pissed off]
I told you that, only because you wanted to hear it.
Darry [Gulping back tears and turning his head to a passenger window, though speaking sarcastically]
Okay. Good to know. Thank you for your honesty.
Mike [Hissing]
Yeah, c'mon, start crying, c'mon, cut yourself, do you need a knife, there's one in the glove compartment.
Darry [Not replying, looking through out of the window, holding himself from crying]
Mike
Is there a new cut under a band aid on your hand?
Darry [With sarcasm]
No, no, I feed kitties in a shelter, they've scratched me. Why the fuck are you asking if you know the answer? To do my head in again? That's not helping, if you haven't noticed yet.
Mike
Well, you've started this.
Darry
If you like to think that way, okay, I agree, I have.
[A long pause, a sound of tyres, Darry's heard breath]
Mike [More cheerfully]
Wanna drive?
Darry [Calmly, but sadly]
Nah, not really.
Mike
C'mon, you enjoy driving. What's the point of getting a DL and not to drive? Oh, never fucking mind. [Turns his head away from Darry who continues staring through out the window]
Ext. K-9 training club. Kent. Late afternoon
An extreme long shot of a 300 ft long training field, with six 7 ft tall polymer fabrics bright yellow cones, those are blinds, disposed over green grass. Though it's a sunny afternoon the grass is wet, a drain system not working properly. Darry is slouching around making squelching noises with his Adidas shoes, now completely drenched. He's watching Mike training a large doberman for protection work and the dog's handler, a young woman, is not able to hold it.
'Barking on a line, barking on a line, stand still, bugger, I told you to stand still, hold the dog!' As Mike yells at the handler, Darry approaches her offering help, and then he stands on the second line behind the doberman. During breaks he asks question about training dogs and takes a few snaps with the Polaroid.
When the training is over, only Darry and Mike stay at the kennel, Mike gathering his equipment and asking Darry to give him a hand with folding the blinds. Darry, sitting on his haunches, is trying hard to fold one blind, while Mike has folded four blinds already, and passing by Darry, he observes sardonically 'Crikey, you aren't even able to adjust the fucking blind, how would you train a dog yourself?' Darry ignores this comment, and after having succeeded, he approaches Mike, who's standing in front of the last blind.
Taking off his Polaroids, the lenses a bit dirty, he puts his arms on my shoulders, but I push him away immediately.
'Don't do it here.'
'There's no one around.' Darry argues.
'Someone might see.'
'Jesus fucking Christ, Mike, who's gonna see us? We're in the middle of fucking nowhere!' Smiling, he makes the second attempt to embrace me.
'I have a decent career, I can't come out around those people. I've told you that, I'm not like you, I can't come out.' I push him away again, this time more harshly.
'I haven't said anything about coming out.' Darry raises his eye brows. 'I only wanted a kiss when there's no fucking soul around, it's a fenced fucking desert inside another fucking desert.' He snaps, his fingers beside my face and I catch his thin wrist, enclasping it with my fingers, and put my other arm around his waste.
'You are an annoying and sick fuck, have anyone told you that?' I ask teasing him relieved that we're cool.
'You've mentioned it a couple of times. I believe, a dozens of times. It sounds a bit insulting actually, you know.'
'Oh, everything always sounds insulting to you!' I snap and withdraw my palms from him, why the fuck he's not even capable of taking a joke as a joke?!
'All right, all right, I am a sick fuck.' He agrees trying to kiss me, and I give him a touch-and-go kiss. But Darry is persistent, and he presses his body to mine, his hands are now on my butt cheeks and in the end I surrender, and he pushes his tongue between my teeth. He lifts up my training vest and trying to get his hands inside my loose fit trousers, and I get harder and mutter 'Stop it, not here. Someone will see.'
'You're a fucking paranoid android.' Darry smiles and thrusts me inside the blind.
'I'm not gonna do it here.'
'Okay, do nothing, just stand erect, pardon my unintentional shitty pun. It's called a blind for a reason.' He winks and kneels down. 'Um, I like when you're all sweaty and smelly.'
'Oh fuck, that's good, fuuuuuuuck, yes.'

***

I quickly pull up my trousers and carefully examine my clothes and push Darry away, who's on his feet again and trying to kiss me.
'Hey, that's disgusting! You've just had a cock in your mouth and now you want to kiss me.'
'Er, it wasn't a cock, it was your cock.' He emphasises.
'Disgusting nevertheless. Don't forget to clean your jacket.'
'It might be just ice cream.'
'Just fucking clean it.' I repeat and begin gathering the equipment.
'What about me?'
'What about you? You've told me that my job is to do nothing. Go wank in the car.' I reply firmly.
'Ooooh, what if someone sees me?' He pretends to be frightened, then laughs, rubbing his face, red and irritated with my stubble, and walks away in the direction of the parking lot. Why are we always fighting? Why he never swallows? Why he cuts himself?
He's back almost immediately, no more stains on his jacket, a paper mug of cold coffee in his hand.
'Some Jane keeps calling, you've left your dog in the car.'
My heart sinks, though I try to act calmly, I breathe out, well, he doesn't know anything, fuck, I'm such an idiot to leave the phone in the car!
Ext. Parking lot. K-9 training club. Kent. Evening
[Shot reverse shot]
Darry [Lighting a cigarette]
You know, Mike, after all, we can't hide forever. Well, I can't. I just want to have a normal family.
[Adding quickly, not letting mike to interrupt]
I understand your position, and thus I think it's better for both of us to break up.
Mike [With a smirk]
Oh please, where will you go? You don't gain enough even to rent a room. And anyway, who the fuck would want you, an anorexic boy, skint, no education, no career perspectives...
Darry [Tired of hearing this no-career-blah-blah, removing his sunglasses, squeezing the bridge of his nose, putting the Polaroids on]
That's not your business anymore who would or wouldn't want me.
Mike [suspiciously]
Is there someone else?
Darry [Yawning]
Actually, I don't have to answer this question, but no, there's no one else, but there's a place to go. So you don't have to invest your money in renting the flat with me. Though I believe it's been me doing your laundry, grocery's, cleaning, and cooking.
Mike [Frowning]
Yeah? And what is this place?
Darry
My grandfather had left a will, according to which I get a flat and some money when I'm 21.
Mike [His face twisting in exasperation]
You son of a bitch! So you used me, never told me anything about the will and now what, just leaving me, yeah?
Darry [Composedly]
I didn't use you.
Mike [exhaling angriness and aggression]
Darry [Yelling]
I didn't fucking use you! I fucking loved you.
[Kicking his right food hardly over a car wheel]
Mike
Get in the car. It starts raining.
Int. Mike's car. Evening
[Shot reverse shot]
Darry [Pensively]
I was surprised to be mentioned in the will. Sean, by the way, has got a bomb.
Mike
Why your grandpa hated you so much?
Darry
Parce que j'ai tué ma mère'.
Mike
What?
Darry
Never mind.
Mike
All right, look, I am sorry, I don't want to split up with you...
Darry
A bit too late for being sorry. It's over. Issue closed.
Mike opens his mouth to reply, but his phone starts ringing, he looks at it, and it's one of his colleagues, so he picks up, and as he's behind the wheel with no hands free, he switches a loud speaker on.
'Hey, Mike, how are you, pal? How's your wedding day preparation is going?'
Mike mumbles something, promising to return the call later.
[Shot reverse shot]
Darry [Being very tranquil]
Please, pull over.
Mike [Panicking]
It's not what you think it is! She's expecting a baby. I have to...
Darry
Oh, of course, I see. Anyone could forget to pull out in time, especially someone not used to doing it. Have you ever heard of an abortion?
Mike [Feeling hope, as Darry speaking very calmly]
She's been brought in a religious family...
Darry [Abruptly starting laughing]
Ahahahahahaha, you're in the soup, hahaha, fuck, it's so funny. My condolences.
[continuing laughing his head off]
Mike [Puzzled]
Darry [Still laughing, then smiling]
Let me give you some advice. I know, you haven't asked for it, but anyway, don't be a dummy, come on the tummy, easy to memorise. Okay, and now pull over.
Mike [begging]
Darry, please...
Darry [now his voice is very low, but firm, almost dangerous]
Stop the fucking car, or I'll jump out. I mean it. You know when I truly mean something, don't you, Michael?
Mike does stop the car, Darry gets out and starts walking slowly along an empty side road, visibly limping on the right foot. Mike watches him go for a minute, then drives off, and Darry doesn't look at him or at his car when he passes by.
[A soft sound of rain drops falling down]
3
Int. Photo studio. Morning
[Footsteps, a door screeching open]
'Landberg!'
'Yeah, yeah, I'm here'
'What the fuck are you doing?' The manager yells.
'Er, reading?'
'Reading? I don't pay you for reading!'
'Well, it's Zapf.'
'What?'
'Herman Zapf, a typeface designer...'
'Why I haven't fired you yet?'
'Because I don't miss deadlines, good at multitasking, and learn quick?' I remind him, and I'm not lying.
'This film lady, she liked your Polaroids, so text her.' He tells me reluctantly. 'And where's the fucking poster?'
'Oh, here it is.' I delve into papers and printed photographs scattered on a desk and fish out the poster, the very same one which I've already shown to the manager but with one update.
'What's the fuck is that?'
'The poster, revised.'
'You are shitting me, right? Do you think it's clever?'
The font is the same, but with hand-drawn serifs.
'What's wrong? It looks like Ray Gun style.'
'That's it. You don't work here anymore. You're absolutely unable to take any orders...'
'We're not in the army.' I protest. Though that's correct, I'm unable to take any orders, any normal job wears me out, and afterwards I don't have enough concentration to draw. And when I can't draw... I'm a mess. Hm, on the other hand, I'm always deranged, correlation does not mean causation.
'Move your arse, take your bloody books and get the fuck out of here.'
Ext. Millennium Mills, London. Afternoon
Keep clear. A long-angle shot of Darry's white Adidas with black stripes, toe caps dirty. He's standing on a wet asphalt with large white letters Keep clear. Jump cut to a white triangle painted on a junction and then a long shot of N Woolwhich Road, empty. A medium close up of Darry's long fingers holding the Polaroid, pressing its button, taking a snap of the keep-clear letters, carefully taking the picture when it bounces out of the camera. An extreme long shot of the whole industrial area, gloomy, deserted.
[Rain keeps falling]
Great. Just fucking great. No job, no money, no boyfriend, no family, a broken toe, and who's fault is it? I stop by a petrol station, my foot resting on a brick kerb, elbow leaning on a red post box, and light a tab. 'Hey, knobhead, are you blind?' A petrol station attendant yells at me, sawing the air with his hands. I slowly take another deep satisfying drag not moving my body and increase the volume, the music in my earphones blocking the reality, I open the door to an empty room, then I forget. I crush down the cigarette and limp away. Ignoring warning signs, I climb over a fence and carefully jump on the ground, not using my right foot to support my body weight, the fucking broken toe, and a desolate concrete building approaches me staring directly into my face, and I sense its dormant but yet threatening power. Beautiful power. The building, empty, lonely, destructed, but yet, it's still alive.
A lonely small figure of Darry standing motionless in front of the Millennium Mills.
Amplify your voice, I study the letters, the 1950s design, in my mind I split the whole text into grids, into unconnected elements, an exploded diagram, then I collect the pieces again, come very closer to the building, so that the letters are now falling down on my head.
Typefaces. I love that metaphor. Each type has a face of its own. Well, at least it's something, to be fired for choosing a wrong type face. A wrong face. I sit down leaning my back to a cold brick wall. Fonts, unlike texts, unlike people, they don't lie. Not standing up, I take another snap of the building striving to the sky, the last shot on a cassette. What happens with all those Polaroids I've taken when I die?
[A soft sound of Polaroid film packs being changed]
11/11
Int. Darry's new flat, very ordinary, small, empty, almost without furniture. Brookstone court, London. Late afternoon
A small bedroom, dim-lit, with only a table lamp on. With his legs crossed Darry's sitting at a desk drawing, sketches are all around the table and on the floor, from time to time he tears a sheet of paper and throws it into a litter bin, then he starts only crumpling sketches and throwing them on the floor. His drawings are done in black, red and blue ink, they're disturbing, letters, body parts, glitch portraits, distorted objects, letters again. Every half an hour or so Darry lights another cigarette, reloads his email box, reloads it again and again and again, checks his phone, though he knows that no one will write to him. In the end, Darry sweeps everything from the table in a rapid movement of his elbow, papers, books, pens, brushes, spray paint cans, pencils fly down on the floor, the lamp collapses with a heavy bang, and Darry remains sitting still for a moment, his face is buried in his hands, then he launches himself up, turns on music loud and begins kicking the papers with his left foot, trying not to injure his broken toe. Then he opens a drawer, takes out a pack of Polaroids, look through the pictures fast, throw them on the floor. And then freezes, transfixed.
I need a fucking shredding machine, I think. Not my style. Again. Not my style
NOTMYSTYLE
NOT
MY
STYLE
And what is my style? To break down regularly while trying to develop my art style? I stopped counting how many breakdowns I've had in the last five years. Definitely more than proper shags, but probably less than proper wanks, I snort. Hah, I will never ever be able to make money with my art, my art works, they're good enough, but I can't compete when there're all those royal art academies graduates on the market. I envy them so much. More importantly, I hate showing my art works, I'm terrified with the idea of revealing myself, and each work, it's me in there, each skull I've drawn, each empty tin can, each letter I've drawn, it's me. Everything is black. Everything is falling apart. I ponder over that morning nightmare with no colours. A morning nightmare, it sound silly, a mornigmare, that's the word. Probably it is my style. Probably black and and going into pieces is my style.
Lonely, pathetic, incapable of making anything decent sick fuck who's lying to himself, but still hoping to get on the art market, idiot. Miserable, having no idea how to communicate, how to make friends, lonely, broken, insecure, rejected. It's my fault, it should have been me dead, not her, I'd messed up everything, everything twenty one year ago, so why am I complaining?
I don't deservetobehappytobeacceptedtobefuckingloved.
Broken, lonely, rejected, exhausted, overwhelmed, inadequate, insecure, nervous, frightened, alarmed, bitter, empty, lonely, not able to deal, compensating pain with either art or with more fucking pain. Mood swings, brain fog, emptiness, detachment, emptiness, loneliness, avoidance behaviours, short moments of clarity, brief awakenings, cortisol rush, insecureness, mood swings, black outs, black outs, black outs, passive aggression, loneliness, emptiness, brain fog. I cannot deal. I cannot fucking deal anymore. With reality. No, no, no, wait, I cannot fucking deal with myself. Realty is okay, it's fine, it's me who don't belong anywhere. I'm a fucking text book example of
NOT
BEING
ABLE
TO
DEAL
All right, I'm twenty fucking one today, I shall throw a party, right? Like in films? Clubbing, drinking, shagging, snorting cocaine, happy faces around, oh how it's all boring and pathetic and pointless, I am so fucking useless. Staying alive is so overrated.
I clean the mess on the floor. I take the rubbish out. I put everything in order. I do my hair, I choose an unusual outfit, a pair of chinos and a cotton slim fit white shirt, that's a birthday party, hey, everything should be fucking perfect.
CAN
NOT
DEAL
Int. Cheap crowded night club. Camden. Late evening
[Indistinct chatter]
Darry approaches a bar counter and orders Scotch on the rocks, would you please make it double? he smiles charmingly, then, not even taking a gulp, he looks around, picks a company of blokes, masculine type, and comes forward, still wearing a wide and very fake smile, a short 'hey', and he declares, still smiling, that it's his birthday and drinks are on him, and without hesitation he splashes the whiskey out into one man's face, then he hits the second man with an empty glass.
Darry has learned a lot about dogs behaviour. It's not that different from human. His expectations are totally met. Active aggression. Reactive aggression.
Darry doesn't make a sound when being beaten on the floor.
Int. Darry's flat. Brookstone Court. Night
Stages of bruise colours, haemoglobin to biliverdin to bilirubin. Pink and red, 185C and 1905 C. Blue and dark purple, 2646 C and 2063 C. Pale green, 365 C. Yellow and brown, 100 C and 125 C. Because color is life. I glance at a Montana 94 can.
Calmness. No crying, no sobbing, I'm a man after all, boys don't cry.
A black tactical Beretta knife with a 3.5 inches blade, stolen, I don't have a licence to own such a weapon. I've stolen it only because I wanted to have something that would remind me of home, of dad, once he'd even taught me how to throw a knife. But this Beretta isn't for throwing. That's a survival knife. So it's time to use it properly.
A metal handle clenched in my left hand, the metal taking away warmth from my palm. A blade folded. Unfolded. I make a fist with my right hand, a couple of times, my veins are visible.
No, no, no, wait! Everything should be done perfect. I switch on the G3 and google.
Search box: forearm anatomy
Please, proceed to the next step.
I wish I could erased only my memories, I wish I had memories to erase. But I remember null. Nothing. Rien. You can't delete what's not there. But you can erase yourself. It mustn't be difficult to disappear yourself. I slowly walk to the front door and unlock it. I don't want to cause my neighbours more troubles than it's necessary. At least police wouldn't have to break the door. Someone will surely call for cops, in a few days, a week at most, considering the cold weather, a stench of a decomposed body will be noticed. A final note? To whom? To a random stranger, to a police officer on duty on the day my body is found? To whom it may concern? h i I Ki LL EdM y s e Lf h A v e AN i C e d A y. No point.
The blade pressed tightly to the right arm. Going deeper into skin. Deeper. Slowly. Moving the blade slowly along the forearm, from the wrist down to the elbow. Slowly. Right through epidermis, dermis, right through a thin layer of fat, to the radial artery. The skin is opening up.
[Tap tap tap]
No pain. No fear. I can deal.
Then, the ulnar artery. I can deal.
[Tap tap tap]
Next. The radial nerve. No point. No reason. Being lean, I just can see it so clearly. Beautiful. Human anatomy is beautiful.
[Tap tap tap]
No pain. No fear. Blank. A blank empty mind. Emptiness. I can deal.
Drops. Bright red drops. Pantone 802 C. Blood drops are falling down. Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. Stream. The blood is streaming down. Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. And then I collapse on the floor and the hot pain switches on, tearing my forearm apart, my brain screaming that the danger has been located, pay attention to the forearm, and then comes the fear, the fucking fear, I don't want to die, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck I don't want to die, Idon'twannadieIdon'twannadieIdon'twannadie pain fear pain fear painfear painfear painfear
The pain and the fear are merging with each other in my head, so that I can't tell which is which, I'm panting, hyperventilating, ringing in my ears, where's the fucking phone, breathe in, breathe in, breathe in, the room from a low angle, sweat on my forehead. Idiot. A fucking idiot.
Insufficient power. Engine check. Low visibility. No bright lights. Being rolled up on the floor, I'm looking at a table leg, and it's getting blurry, going out of focus, darkening. Where's the fucking phone? 999 Where's the phone? Nineninenein Wheresthephone999 Darkness.
Emptiness
Nothingness
[The blood keeps running. Tap tap tap]