Dear god, what happened last night? I know there were large amounts of alcohol involved; incredible amounts, in fact. Beer and vodka, mostly. Lots of ompa- and kalinka music. Doc said it was some Norwegian band. Kaizers Orchestra, or some such bullshit. Who ever heard of a Norwegian band that isn't black metal? He must of meant Russian. Or Eastern bloc. Who cares. Vodka, kalinka, roulette and caviar what?
I roll over in my bed, making sure that it is, in fact, my bed, only to fall out of it.
I slowly rise from the clusters of my blanket. Do I smell coffee? I certainly hope so. Oh my f--k, what a horrible headache. Why is it that people never look past the bottle in front of them; into the future that will most definitely contain a killer hangover if you don't cork the booze? Hey, maybe you could use that as a metaphor to describe the environmental crisis. I'll have to mention that one to Doc, I'm sure he'll like it.
I stumble out of my bedroom. Through squinted eyes I see Tommy, making coffee.
Morning, sunshine, he says in a voice that's so frisky it makes me want to punch him in the mouth.
Typical Tommy; looking as good as ever; not a single scratch, not the slightest wisp of alcohol on his breath to indicate any amount of extravagant partying. I flop onto the sofa.
Coffee, I mumble, trying to formulate sentences, but all that comes out is: Black. Tom Waits. Now,
You've got it, he responds, turning to the stereo system.
I hear the opening of a CD case, and sure enough, Heartattack And Vine comes out through the speakers. Tommy brings two coffee cups over, setting them on the table and sitting down next to me.
Got pretty wild last night, he comments.
Ugh, is all that comes out from me.
You must of have downed a bottle and a half of vodka. At least. And more than a dozen beers.
Apparently Doc had, according to him, confiscated resources necessary for the cause from a capitalist business that exploited the working class, and therefore his actions were justified.' Of course, he continues, in my opinion, the fact that he shared the booze so willingly with us is good enough reason to steal it.
Fantastic music. Some jazz/ompa band from Norway, according to Doc. Couldn't understand a word of the lyrics of course, but still, amazing energy.
Eastern bloc. Russian. Not Norway.
Tommy thinks it over for a while; Um, no, sorry Andrew. Definitely Norwegian.
Norwegian. Black metal. Not jazz/ompa. My tongue feels particularly numb.
Well, that's a bit prejudice, he tuts.
I take a long gulp of coffee. The hot liquid sears my tongue, but I don't care. My head clears just a little bit. Something starts nagging me at the back of my aching brain. Something I forgot. Something I'm supposed to be doing, somewhere I'm supposed to be
Five seconds later I'm running down the stairs of the apartment and out on to street, jogging as fast as my wobbly legs will allow me, leaving Tommy with only three words:
Job. f--king late.
I pass an elderly gentleman, who mutters as I jog by:
Kids these days. No damn respect.
I look at myself. Thirty seconds later I'm back in my apartment putting on a pair of jeans before rushing out the door for the second time that morning, while Tommy laughs his ass off.
Now it's my turn for my feet to go tap, tap, tapity tap. I'm sitting across from my boss. His eyes are drilling a hole right through my brain, and I'm looking around the murky room he likes to call his office. My head doesn't hurt so much now, but cold sweat is running down my forehead. I'm in deep shit.
So, says my boss in a controlled yet commanding voice.
So, I parrot.
Yes, I am. Maybe if I agree with everything he says, he won't fire me.
Three hours late.
Indeed. How true. Sir. I feel like I'm going to throw up if something doesn't cut the tension soon.
Fifth time you've been late this month.
Yes sir, and I apologise for that. Be polite, smile, but make it a painful smile, don't act all cocky.
I need reliable employees, Andrew. He lights a cigarette.
I know you do. Be understanding, supportive. Make it sound like I'm on his side, like I'm not the troublemaker.
Would you consider yourself to be reliable, Andrew? He peeks out at me from behind the cigarette smoke.
Well, I fumble, that would depend on one's definition of reliable
Getting To Work On Time Might Be A F--king Start!
Ouch. Here's a tip to all you kids: When your boss' face turn the hue of a beetroot and his voice reaches a hundred-and-twenty decibels, it's not a good sign.
Again sir, I apologise
You little f--king shit! Don't play games with me!
I sigh, with all due respect sir, let's cut to the chase: am I fired?
He gets a look of slight disappointment on his face. I guess he was looking forward to yelling at me a bit more.
Yes Andrew. You are fired. Now get the f--k out of my shop.
I don't need to be told twice. All I have is the clothes on my back, so I get up and walk out of the office. I tell my co-workers that I've been fired. They all say they're sorry, I even get a hug and a kiss on the cheek from a cute girl named Stacy, which makes me feel good. Then I leave.
I come home to find Tommy watching Entourage.
Tell Drama he's on my to-do list right after inserting needles in my cock, comes out of the TV.
Tommy looks up at me.
Andrew? What are you doing home so early?
I stare at the roof, not saying anything.
Oh, by the way, he continues, Michael Jackson is dead. And again, why are you home so early?
I sigh, My condolences. I got fired.
You heard me: Fired. Too late too many times. Didn't help having a fascist boss.
I sit down next to him, and he mutes the TV. I feel slightly spaced out, sort of a world-falling-apart-around-you sensation. My headache is gone. I don't have an urge to throw up. I just feel really bummed.
Tommy looks at me. Do you have any other source of income?
No, do you?
My mom and dad told me yesterday that since I wasn't going to university, they won't be giving me any more money.
Don't you have a job?
He sighs. Gave that up a long time ago. Too much work.
I snort, That's what a job is all about, dipstick: You work, you get paid.
Yeah, whatever. So, how are we going to pay the rent?
F--k me if I know.
I rise slowly, moving over to the fridge and take out my last three beers. I put them down on the coffee table, handing one to Tommy and taking one myself. We watch the rest of Entourage.
We share the last beer as the credits roll, when there's a knock on the door. I don't move.
Tommy looks at me, You going to get that?
Why? Everything is f--ked anyway.
F--ked? He grabs my jaw with one hand and waves the bottle of beer in front of me with his other hand.
Snap out of it Andrew! We have the best band from here to Helsinki and we're going take over this f--king town, so we are not f--ked.
I just feel miserable. I just want to hide in a corner and cry like a brat who didn't get any ice cream and jerk off to porn mags and just be left alone. I can't look Tommy in the eyes; I don't want this ridiculous pep talk. Can't he understand that? Instead he just keeps ranting on.
You lost your job? I lost my damn apartment! How do you think that feels? So get your act together! Answer the f--king door!
I blink a few times, trying to hide the tears that are welling up.
You're right, Tommy, I say in a shaky voice, I'm sorry, you're right.
He grins. I'm Tommy, the handsome devil-of-a-frontman for the soon to be named band with bassmaestro Andrew, guitargod Sam and drumdevil Doc: of course I'm right.
I smile, and the knocking on the door continues: Andrew? Tommy? It's Sam. What's going on in there? Let me the f--k in!
I laugh, getting up and opening the door. Sam walks in, brushing past me while stating:
Thought I was going to have to stand there until the f--king apocalypse listening to you two lovebirds. Oh, and have you hear the news? Michael Jackson is dead.
Just having a little heart-to-heart, and yeah, we heard, Tommy remarks. Sucks, doesn't it?
Sure does, says Sam, Just thought I'd check in after last night, and fill you in on current events: Doc is ready to roll. He says he's found us a gig.
I look at him. But we played for the first time yesterday. We haven't even written any songs.
We all sit down around the table. Tommy has started noodling on my crappy acoustic guitar.
Well, the gig's not for another two weeks, Sam explains, We do a pretty good job with the covers, and I figure we can write three or four songs by then. They don't have to be ready for studio recording, just something to call our own.
Tommy looks up from a diminished seventh chord. I'm not good at writing lyrics under pressure.
Sam gets up. Well, get used to it, pretty-boy. Doc has already written a song, I'm working on adding some melody to it.
Oh, what's that? Tommy smirks, An Ode to Fidel?
Funny, Sam remarks snidely. Anyway, I have to go to work. He gets ready to leave.
Oh, um, about work My voice trails off.
Sam waits. Yeah?
I got fired.
I grind my teeth; Look, I've already said it quite a few times today, and I'm getting pretty f--king tired of repeating it. Just get the f--king message.
Sam keeps quiet for a moment. I have to go. We'll talk about this later.
He walks out the door, and a few seconds later I hear the sound of a Vespa speeding off.
That was a little harsh, don't you think? Tommy comments.
I don't say anything, instead I grab my acoustic bass and jam with Tommy. Just Like Heaven, The One I Love, Julia, Better Together, Karma Police, You And Whose Army, finally ending it with Hey Joe.
The rest of the day is spent watching TV, playing videogames, and basically doing what unemployed losers like us enjoy doing. We have a good time, not thinking about the shaky future, but instead idolizing our performance at the gig in two weeks. We start picking out more and more songs to cover, Tommy gets a sudden inspiration and starts scribbling down lines on an old newspaper. I work out basslines and try to find new and improved scales. After a few hours we're as giddy as a pervert in a strip club. This gig is going to kick ass.
I can't wait.
Robert Ippolito, July 2009
Note from the author to the reader: Most likely in the next episode, the name of Andrew's band will be decided. So instead of coming up with something half-assed myself, I thought I'd let my faithful readers throw out some suggestions. If you have a good idea or two that you don't feel very protective about, write it down as a comment and I'll be eternally grateful!