Five milligrams. That’s all I have left. It’s not always enough to put me to sleep but it’ll have to do. Generally ten or fifteen do the trick. Problem is your body cops on quick. Means you have to keep on upping the dosage. A week and a half ago Doc took me off the Xanax. Said he couldn’t prescribe me anymore. Here’s the problem: I still can’t calm down. Doc won’t even give me sleepers, thinks I’m going to go empty bottle sunrise or something. I needed an alternative, enter Hooper Dolan. Hoop used to go out with Jess. Way back when she was a teen and I was single digits. He used to knock out some hash. Made enough to pay for his own ounce or whatever. Small scale. Now Hoop goes to Greece regularly, buys the world of prescription medicine and brings it back home. He’s got enough drugs to start his own chemist. The kind of chemist where mentally healthy students load up on anti-psychotics for the laugh.
I get a glass of water from the filter. I put the sleeper on my tongue and drop it back. I’m not so nervous indoors but my brain still won’t shut up when I try to sleep. It’s unlikely that five milligrams will take me out so I may as well just enjoy a few hours happy time. The TV in the sitting room is a HD. It really makes a difference to the picture quality. You don’t even care about watching the same shit every day. It’s late now, nothing but reality television. On one channel people are looking to work for some big business on another everyone’s living in a jungle. I flick through some more: five people try to go a week without sleep, twelve women vie for the affections of a paraplegic millionaire, tough looking guys fight each other until one is named the ultimate warrior. They could create one about people trying to make the perfect slice of toast, they’re all the same.
Or that’s what I think until I see Naked in L.A.:
“Last week Donna got kicked out of the kitten house!” Queue this physically perfect woman without a shred of clothing:
“Beep all y’all! Miss Misty don’t know beep! I beep better than any these bitches! Look at these beeping titties! Donna Domino gonn’ be back! Back with the motherbeeping hardcore!”
On a scale of one to what-the-fuck this show is doing well. The intro credits burst onto the screen. Some virtuoso shredding up an electric guitar with a montage of people having sex. Then a forty-cigarettes-a-day narrator pumps through the speakers “Who’s going to get the chance of a lifetime and win a one year contract from Milky productions? Katana Skyes, Phoenix Down or Whiskey Lopez? Join us now for Naked in L.A.” After the title drips off the screen this old chick with impossibly big boobs starts talking:
“In the industry it’s important to know what’s going to earn you money. Obviously blowjobs, hand jobs, meat shots and cum shots are a necessity. Without these you are not a porn star. Not a porn star.”
She hangs on the spaces between the words. I feel light headed. Maybe it’s the sleeper.
“Today you girls will get a card that’s going to say anal or lesbian and you’ll have to perform it in a scene that we’re going to shoot in... Las Vegas!”
Katana Skyes and Whiskey Lopez are visibly excited. Phoenix Down half smiles like she heard a joke that needed editing. Her one-to-one with the camera makes the kind of sense David Ike does when he talks about lizard people. “I can’t really do lesbian.” she holds up the silver cross around her neck “See I’m Christian and I’m pretty sure there’s something about not being gay in the bible.” I’m laughing. I can’t believe somebody gave this the green light. Imagine the pitch: Some sleazy looking guy, hair slicked as far back as it’ll go, the kind of meg you’d find on a goat.
“I’ve found a way to secure the views of teenage boys and old men...porn.”
The grey haired exec looks back at him, takes out a pen and a cheque book.
“Boy, you just got yourself a job.”
Here’s the funny thing though: This show would definitely pull in teenagers and old guys who can’t work the internet but I bet a heap load of women would watch it too. First reason: women like reality TV more than men. Do the paper work, I‘m telling you. Ice dancing, regular dancing, walking down a catwalk, bitching in a jungle, they’re all catered towards women. Second reason: the natural look. See out of the three porn stars in training only one of them isn’t plastic. Katana Skyes and Whiskey Lopez are silicon bombshells but Phoenix Down is 100 per cent natural. She’s your girl-next-door and there is nothing women like to see more than the girl-next-door taking a victory. Here’s the funnier thing: Guys don’t care one way or the other. You’re either hot or you’re not. It’s all relative. One guy’s fat chick is another guy’s platinum, glaze eyed, 32-DD. Meat and poison.
The sofa is becoming more comfortable. I let out that soft yawn and wait for the haze. I’m vaguely aware Phoenix has decided to choose a porn contract over eternal damnation before I turn off the TV and a last yawn sends me to sleep.
I’m not sure whether it’s the glass breaking or the heavy footsteps that wake me up. The taller one has a white tracksuit top and torn jeans. The little guy’s only wearing a black wife-beater vest and some Nike bottoms. Thick brown hair curls around his shoulders. I laugh before I realise what’s going on. The small one hits me with me with something. The world waltzes into a spin. I’m seeing loads of everything.
“What ya hitting him for?!”
“Sure he woke up like!”
“They’ll do the fuck out of us for battery!”
“Sure we won’t get caught then!”
My sight is getting less plural. I cough and breathe, there’s something wet on my lip. The blood comes into focus on my hand. I should feel afraid but I don’t.
“Leave the TV here. It’s only a Tevion.”
Neither of them says anything for a second. The tights move and look at one another. I didn’t think people actually wore tights when they were robbing houses.
“We’re taking whatever we want son!” the small one points at me.
“You probably won’t even get much for it. It’s all going 3D now.”
Hairy shoulders kicks me in the gut. I’ve never actually been beaten up before. Haven’t been in a fight since the early nineties or something. Now that I think of it I’ve never actually punched anyone in the face.
“Stop hitting him will ya!”
“Fuck up a second Mick!”
“Ya sure say me name in front of him why don’t you!”
“How many Mick’s do you think live in Wexford?!”
“Fuck this now. You’ll get half nothing for robbery, they’ll throw you away for assault!”
Curly shoulders pushes the big guy and then starts kicking the shins off him. I’m grasping my ribs in one hand and trying to get to my phone with the other. The big guy could totally take him but all he takes are the kicks. I dial 999 and bring the phone up to my ear. As soon as I hear a voice I start shouting.
“34 Cromwell’s Fort! Two fella’s are robbing me! Hurry they’re after attacking me!”
I don’t believe in auras or any of that but once the little guy realises I’ve rung for help I swear I see a red mist on him. I know how mental that sounds.
“Ya little cunt ya!”
The tall one runs. The front door slaps of the wall. The small one’s not ready to go yet. The first kick catches me in the side of the head. Thank god he’s wearing runners and not boots. My left ear starts ringing even though he hits me on the opposite side. I lose count after the fourth kick. That’s okay though he switches it up. He punches my back a few times. It hurts like hell but at least my face gets a breather. He stands up, breathes heavy and spits at me. I don’t know if any of the saliva hits. I feel wet everywhere. I hear him shouting when he’s outside.
“Ya little fucking cunt ya!”
It’s hard to get up. I’m shaking everywhere but can’t feel any pain. The fear starts dripping. I just got the shit kicked out me. Shit... I start breathing heavy but the breathing turns into coughing. My right hand starts shaking really bad. Not just tremors but full shakes. I try to hold it in my left hand but they both just zig-zag. I’m coughing blood into my dancing hands.
What the fuck is wrong with me? Why didn’t I just shut up?! Why the fuck did I bring that beating on? I did. It was me. My ribs start frying. It’s not a pain I’ve had before. The coughing turns into vomiting and then it feels like my face is falling in. The tears come strong and I barely notice pissing myself. Everything hurts. I lie face down against the carpet. My voice sounds like I’m speaking through a crackling, broken tube.
“Help me C.A.”
C.A.’s not real. She’s just a guinea pig. She doesn’t understand her name. She doesn’t understand what it means. Doesn’t understand me.
I get sick again and roll onto my back. Then I’m calm and I don’t know why. I think about how bad Spiderman must have felt when Goblin killed Gwen Stacey. Pretty bad I guess. I cough again and get just a little sick. There’s always carrot in your vomit. Everything gets blurry before it disappears.