Friday, 19 February 2010

The Friday Night Ordeal


It’s Friday night. You’re slumped in your squalid bedsit, dunking semi-frozen fish fingers into semi-fetid cottage cheese, your gaze flickering between some tepid sitcom and the lumpy bits on your wall.

The fish finger thing may sound like a terrible euphemism, and yet, sadly, it is not. You are alone. So very, very alone.

You can’t cut to the chase and start slitting skin as there are still loads of books huddled in the corner that you’ve yet to enjoy and/or endure. Except that you’re not reading them; inertia is all-consuming in your little vacuum of gloom. Its power is firmly and calmly in place, just like you, in your little room. Just you, the books, and the rectangular slices of mashed up fish.

Sometimes the books weep softly at night, untouched and unloved. Other times they simply watch over you, as if biding their time. They know they’ll outlive you; when your corpse is stewing in the last dregs of its untasty juices, they’ll sit tight and await their release. It may take a while before anyone finds them, but they know that. The books accept their fate and are happy to watch events play themselves out with grim predictability. They have, after all, probably seen all this before. Don’t go thinking you’re their First.

Perhaps you should go outside. What’s your local film box offering tonight? Oh. Shit. Never mind, if you’re feeling really desperate you can always trek down to Lidl and wander around in an aimless daze with an empty trolley until a concerned shelf stacker throws a tin of chickpeas in your path. It’s a futile gesture; veteran shop drones all know it takes more than tinned goods to shake the loners out of their trance.

Failing that (what if you go crazy and buy loads of ice cream like some wimpy girl? No thanks), you could pretend to be a Situationist and try your hand at Drift. Since it’s dark out, you could don a fedora and pretend to be all mysterious and up to something sexy and Noir. But none of that’s going to happen this time as, truth be told, it’s rather nippy out and you’d rather remain marooned and moronic and wrapped up in your tear-stained duvet. For now, at least.

The walls are humming your name, or someone’s name (it’s difficult to be sure; despite your best efforts to coax proper vowels from within the folds, their enunciation is still shaky). You might want to start thinking about sorting it out and bartering for some chums soon, snap up a bit of wholesome fiendish folly. It’s okay; the walls and their secrets will still be waiting for you when you return, sodden and rejected.

The cycle of desperation is almost complete. Just be glad you don’t have any yellow swirly wallpaper. We all know how that sort of thing ends. Read more by Sam.