Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An excerpt (from Chapter 5 of my memoirs)

I have been waking early every morning and spewing my life onto the page. It has been painful and enlightening. Why do we do such things?

It is a first draft. I apologize for the formatting--it is difficult to adapt a novel for Blogger.


The next day I received a phone call. It was Reginald.

"Let's do some trespassing," he said, dispensing with the standard greeting.

"Of course."

"Don't worry Nigel, we shall be forgiven in the end."

"Well Reginald that all depends."

"Are you high right now?"


"You should be."


We planned to meet at the railroad tracks. I wanted to feel the thrill of trespassing but I was too afraid to do it alone. I had begun to hate Reginald but I was not ready to strike out alone. I still did not have the courage of a true rogue and Reginald is as roguish as they come. As I say, I hate him, but, I must admit, I have learned and stolen a great deal from him. I have stolen from many people and it has made me what I am. I am not original; I am a thief of influence.

We drove to a quiet portion of the tracks. Rocks, grass, wood, silence. It was all land and no people. We wore only earth tones and as a ritual we smeared dirt on our faces imagining it was primordial ooze. Reginald climbed the wire fence and I followed him over. Initially I worried about tearing my clothes, and then I realized, These are the things that hold me back, so I sucked up the courage and tore my lovely shirt so it would be done and out of mind. Once we were over, we realized we had stumbled on the flotsam of the world: pants, shirts, and bras all caked in mud. I wondered, Why put these here? This is not a place for lovers. Are these the clothes of the underground people? Of the hobos and of the homeless? Is this what I would become if I stayed on this trajectory of drugs and trespassing? I have a feeling that having a hobo bride is not as Romantic as it seems.

"This is fucking brilliant," said Reginald, wearing an Old Navy baseball cap and acting like a cad. He puffed out his chest and spat at a squirrel.

I laughed, out of shock, not out of humour. I knew I would follow.

"Incredible Reg." I kicked at the objects and wondered to whom they once belonged. Why not just bung them in the closet? Or you could give them to Oxfam, I suppose. Fuck we are all so lazy.

"Let's follow the tracks and see where they go."

Reginald here opened his khaki rucksack and pulled out his Spanish wineskin and poured a stream of deep red liquid into his mouth. He looked like a maniac as it ran down his cheeks and chin.

"Have some blood my friend, my brother."

Was it? It is hard to tell with Reg. I drank it sheepishly. Reginald watched me with wide eyes. It was wine.

"Bloody good, eh?"

"Let's get drunk in hobo village," I said, suddenly infused.


We drank the wine, all of it. It's brilliant how being drunk changes everything and how the world shifts from prison to carnival. We were in the hobo village and imagined what it would be like to sleep here and wait for the next train to hop. I imagined all the hobos making love here out of boredom. Hiding in the rubbish I saw the grubby faeries that must guide the misguided transient—dirty hair and dressed in torn brown rags—beautiful in a way—the outcasts of the faerie world. Like us, they were drunk, oblivious to responsibility and to consequence. Was this the way to live? To live clean is to live a lie. I wanted to be dirty forever but to have a good heart.

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