Sunday, 25 August 2013

AFTERMATH: Autumn Eventually

Hello, as you may know, the first 22 episodes of this blog (Jan to April 2013), are the text of my ebook, 'How To Become A Crack Addict', which you can buy on amazon if you want to.  From then on, it's the daily emissions of your faithful blogger, Benjamin of Turnham Green, edutaining you with words, some addiction-related, some not, music, and pictures, like a child's scrapbook, with no overseer.  And here is today's emission...


Today, I am dreaming of mutilating Richard Curtis, author of films such as Love Actually, Two Weddings, Notting Hill, and the recent one, About Time.  The idea that a character in a film can time-travel to any middle-class setting in history, is a remarkably original idea, and I commend him for it.  As for mutilating Curtis, I think I'd probably do it, go back, do it again, and perhaps do this up to ten times.

I also have a film coming out this season, entitled Autumn Eventually.  In it, I, the protagonist, am seen initially kicking my way down a leafy mews somewhere in the Kensington neighbourhood, dressed in Doctor Martens, naturally, some kind of bookish jacket, the sort a librarian with attitude might wear, and probably bootcut jeans from ebay.

Later, I stop off at a coffee-shop, ask for a latte, and sit down, noticing as I do the woman with ringlets and a book, sipping a tall tea at the table in the window.  The book is probably by Hermann Hesse, or some such, and I comment on it unobtrusively.  She smiles, and tells me what she likes about it, and how she loves his use of water-related imagery.  I concur, and buy her a teacake.

When she leaves, her perfume, a non-animal-tested fairtrade fragrance from a festival, lingers in the air at my table, almost making my muffin taste slightly medicated.  I smile a goodbye, not wishing to seem too keen.  She thanks me for the teacake, and parts the scene.

Then, because I'm depressed at another too-fleeting encounter with a woman, I ring up my crack-dealer, who meets me outside and slips two-and-one into my waiting fist and shimmies away.  I return to my table, and order another latte, pretending I work in publishing, and am reading a manuscript from a possible author I'm going to represent.  Then, when it comes, I ask if I may use the gents'.  The polite waitress says 'of course', and lets me know it's just behind the counter, down the steps.

I pop to the loo, and, because I thought to bring my pipe out, I lay me a chunk of white on the gauze, and light up very nicely thank you.  I sit there on the loo, wanking for a minute, cursing the woman for leaving, and not obeying my desires, not knowing my desires, and acting in exact accordance with them.  Then, when the high subsides, I have another, but the gauze burns, and I choke badly.  Then the fire-alarm goes off, and I panic.  So I try to load up another pipe, thinking to dash...but then I remember I have to pay...I'm shaky, and I begin to sweat, and I can't load mi pipe.

I shove everything in my pocket, resentfully and flustered.  I go back into the eating-area, and offer to pay at the counter, but we all have to go outside.  I follow the herd, about eight of us, and two staff.  The chef comes out saying there's smoke in the toilet, and they all know it's me.  I'm sweating even more now, and can't think of what to say to appease them all.  I apologise profusely, and say I did light up a cigarette in there, and start crawling and fawning like a fuckwit.  There's not much sympathy, and the chef points out that there's a no smoking sign in the very toilet I was using.  I go even gaucher, and start swivelling about like some tweed-elbowed English teacher in a tizzy.

Then the lady with the book returns, a little astonished to see us assembled so.  She's forgotten her notepad, and indeed, it's there, open on the table she was sitting at.  The words on it read, 'I recognise the man who's just come in, but I'm not sure where from...'

I then realise I recognise her.  I once shared a twenty with her in a bin-chute near Acton Central.  She asks me if I'd like to go and discuss Hesse's use of the semicolon in another cafĂ©.  I say I would, and press a tenner into the clutches of the calming waitress, which she accepts.  The alarm stops, and we wander down the mews in slanting golden sun, warm, yet with a winter-crispness creeping in.

'I'm sure I know you,' she says as we meander towards the alternative tea-room.  'What's your name?'

  'Acton, I say, Acton Green.'
  'Oh,' she says, with turtle-eyelids, 'don't think I know an Acton.'
  'There aren't many of us around,' I say, and we enter the tea-room.
  We sit down, order, and I pop to the toilet.

And that is all I have to tell you today.

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