WELLY STORY 2 - FEB ‘14
For the month FEB ‘14, the streets WELLY become the canvass for an enchanting tale of characters that come to life in a GUIOPERA. Aleisha has adopted the artful ways of the capital, building herself a successful consulting business. Hone takes time out from pursuing a music career to revaluate his options. Lunar Bois has his own ad agency and is content for now. John Reyer a Metafiction writer who tells the tale still has plenty more about his characters that he believes they should be made aware of. Mirah a police woman and avid reader of the GUIOPERA links elements of the story to a cold case…
ALEISHA: A rising star in business, things weren't always that way though.
HONE: A musical talent looking for a break.
SKYLAH: Someone Hone meets in the month of FEB.
LUNA BOIS: Has his own agency now.
JOHN REYER: Metafiction writer of WELLY STORY checks in on his characters two years on.
MIRAH: Someone who reads between the lines.
Everything has its price even your imagination.
CHAPTER: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21
WELLY STORY 2 FEB ‘14
(FRIDAY 7th FEB ’14)
Pacifican persuasions, passive and percussive, punctuate the Friday morning bustle. The streets of Wellington New Zealand, coloured in locals, tourists, Rugby sports stars and their fans, come to life as a roaring saxophone from “Watching You” by Ardijah soars ski-high like the people’s spirits when the Cut-Throat-Creative launches the sequel to WELLY STORY in the LATEST UPLOAD!
WELLY STORY FEB ’12 seems like it was only yesterday. The prelude to his current caper in which JRA blew into town and exposed a past for a bunch of characters, seemingly normal like you and me, had taken its toll on Lunar Bois especially. Bois a free spirit suddenly found himself with a transcript of his life thrown in his face. It took Lunar a while to make something out of the bedlam that served as fine reading for many.
Bois or Lunar to his friends has a full head of hair, and a smile that his grey hairs can be proud of. The coffee in hand is the only substance Bois abuses nowadays.
Sounds of the coolest little capital in the world swirl around in the atmos as Lunar decides to step out of his head one more time and into the real world for the last day of the working week.
Ardijah, one of the Kiwi All Stars line up which include NZ’s latest and probably greatest export LORDE, drum up the fiesta feel down on the Golden Mile as WELLY heads into another block buster month of FEB starting with the IRB Rugby Sevens.
Lunar swirls his stronger than strong coffee as he steels himself for what his good friend JRA AKA The Cut-Throat-Creative has installed for him this time.
“Ooh I’ve been watching you baby / watching every move you make...”
Aleisha sings along with Betty Anne. Oriental Parade sparkles in whatever weather. The crisp clean air touches her skin like it conjures wee ripples on the sea. The Embassy end of the Golden Mile is mild by red carpet standards right now but over the next 48 hours thousands of stars in their own right will descend on Courtney Place flaunting enough swagger to upstage anyone.
Aleisha waves to one of her clients. It’s Lunar, who’s picked himself up of the ground and dusted himself off. Last year he opened his own ad agency after twenty years working for someone else.
Up on the balcony of his new offices Lunar stands ready to take in an impeccable blend of craziness and civility as troupes roll into town for the world’s biggest fancy dress party that renders the capital city a party zone for the weekend.
For Aleisha the first WELLY STORY was the revelation she needed. Like deep tissue massage, it hurt like hell but it worked. Therapy with benefits is how Aleisha describes it. The purging which took place in public became an irresistible itch for the former stripper who had managed to get her act together and now had an almost thriving consultancy which offered clients the opportunity to streamline their processes, books and vision amongst other things. Other than a keen eye for detail, being good with figures, and a talent for telling the client the truth, Aleisha had no qualifications or experience when she first started out.
The LATEST UPLOAD propagated by servers on the world-wide-web hits mobile devices and the internal workings of a woman right on time. Goose bumps confirm JRA’s touch, which Aleisha still hasn’t made up her mind about…
Hone clicks on the photo again for it to open full screen. “Skylah” from America wants to hangout. To be honest he could do with a decent fling right now. Hone remembers what JRA told him about these types of liaisons: “Easy come, easy glow, long, hard and terrible aftermath.”
Hone decides to play hard to get, to heed JRA’s advice.
“How old did you say you were?”
In her pic which Hone is not sure if he should like, there’s someone’s arm around the woman who looks, two maybe three years older than he is.
“Tell me how old for cup of coffee.”
“Dangerous game that one, want no part of it…”
“ok then, tell me for a free dinner.”
“ALL WILL BE REVEALED AT DINNER!” SKY-HI!
Hone goes over what he’d written. It looked clean enough. Spelling, grammar and punctuation were pretty good, and Skylah had responded in kind. It was vastly different from the last hangout he had, which took him just a one single syllable, four letter word to hook up.
The Facebook notification of the LATEST UPLOAD appears on a browser tab…Hone sees that one of his favourite old school bands, Ardijah, has been awarded the sound track for the chapter.
Since Hone’s inauguration as a character in a GUIOPERA, in the first WELLY STORY, the world hadn’t exactly fallen on its knees in front of him. In fact, it had lamented JRA’s warning: “Opportunity raises the pressure on you. Those offering have seen it all before, they’re looking for their vision of success, not yours….”
After a stint in LA and London where Hone did session work as a singer and some bit parts in film, the allure of being in WELLY STORY FEB ’14 has lured him back to Welly, the place Hone now calls home.
(SATURDAY 8th FEB ’14)
A bird’s eye of WELLY gives a heat seeking tourist an array of spots where they are able to indulge in any form of excess. Nelly’s Funk rains down hard on souls in and around the Golden Mile on a Saturday night. The cake tin or the WESTPAC Stadium is a luminous hot spot for the many from afar that swell the size of the city in the name of sport.
Lunar shunts his way through the crowds to the gates of the stadium. Green bearded Leprechauns male and female in leotards cross his path tossing limerick in his face, “ye be jolly, or ye be gay…” A band of Dan Carters in their All Black strip with their jockeys on the outside blow by, followed by Wonder Women, and a brace of slutty looking Lordes. Super Man, Spider Man, Bat Man and the Joker necking with Cat Women look like they won’t get out the way so Lunar stops and looks for a cigarette. “Fucking freaks!”
“Love the freaks,” a voice comes. It’s JRA’s.
Lunar is pleased but also curios as to what the private writer would be doing out in this wonderful chaos.
“Shit, thought I was hearing voices.”
“Nah mate, jus me.”
The two mates from way back relax for a moment in the superb pandemonium of fantastical attire that causes the bodies beneath their fanciful skin to exude their costume’s persona in copious doses.
“Imagine this in ‘80’s”
“Nah, wouldn’t work mate. We didn’t have $2 shops back then. The Kiwi dollar is now one of the most traded currencies. Once we were green and clean, now we’re nice and dirty.”
Lunar looks around to see if JRA the socialist has a smirk on his face to go with his comment, but there’s no one there. In the distance someone resembling his pal who was closing in on a half century disappears into the crowd.
Lunar looks at the cigarette he’d forgotten about and heads for a trash can. Maybe JRA will elaborate on his statement in the LATEST UPLOAD?
The roar of the crowd inside the cake tin raises hairs on the back of Lunar a sports fanatic’s neck.
Aleisha waits at a table she chose for the wide view of Courtney Place. Nelly’s pulsing bass is so infectious. It makes Aleisha want to jump up on a pole. Sensibilities slowly subside to the flow of another margarita.
Aleisha is here on a blind date, one of clients set her up on. “Tall, decent, and handsome…” was her client’s description of who she waits for. His Facebook profile and pics said otherwise, but what the heck. It was Saturday night and the neighbours would keep her up till the morning. She might as well fill in the hours somehow.
The text from Hone earlier in the evening says he too has a date, “American Girl. SKYLAH. Cant get more yank than that?” Aleisha responds, “skylah is english hon. means scholar. hv fun times.PS, u shld google these things darl…lol”
On the pavement robbers dragging their shackles brings a cheer from people around her. Playboy bunnies welcome wolf whistles and calls to “show us ya tail!” But still there was no sign of a John Lazoo, a Metofeaz, or Le Mac for Aleisha.
Lunar who can spot batting eyelashes a mile off, just like he can counter a left hook with an overhand right sending his opponent on their merry way to the canvass, which he credits his years hanging with JRA as a youngster, sees Aleisha at the sidewalk bar up ahead.
Hone steps down the GM to the funk theme. Winkle pickers and designer skinnies kick low lying dreams to the curb. Luminous spheres in the air from neon lights and illicit memes float around Hone’s head like a filthy halo. The young player turns heads, something the mild mannered kid from the bush has learnt to deal with. A group of girls check him out but then he spots someone who might be Skylah outside the Reading Cinemas, and the good boy who landed in WELLY straight out of school in ’12 calms his strut right down to a shy, almost timid amble.
“Try again for some desert.” Hone hears his cocksure tone, and quickly rectifies his approach. “Horny but with an “eh” as in egg.” That didn’t come out right either.
“I bet you say that to all the girls?” Skylah less precious and precocious than her photo and profile depicted her as, still looked snobby and stuck up enough for Hone. Those sort of girls had an air about them that presented a challenge for him.
“You feeling hungry or thirsty?” Hone waits to see if she’s the type of girl that aims to please, or someone who knows what she wants?
“She’s a nice girl mate.” Hone looks around to see where the voice came from. A group of highway cops pissed to beat the band pass by blocking his view of a man standing at the curb facing in Hone’s direction but looking down. And then a dozen Pocahontas blur Hone’s vision. And when they pass the man who he swore was JRA is gone. Hone feels someone touch him, he looks the other way and it’s Skylah. “You look like you’ve just seen a ghost?”
“Nah, just some random old dude.” Hone, still unsure what to think about what just happened looks at Skylah. “I’ve made up my mind, I’m peckish…”
“So it’s definitely Skylah ah? Don’t exactly wanna be forking out for some Skylah imposter who caught my eye.”
Hone checks his phone, “my mum or mom in your tongue, she says Skylah means scholar.”
(SUNDAY 9th FEB ’14)
The sun seeking its way above the horizon, like a deadline as Lunar keeps still. Aleisha’s head on his shoulder has numbed it and he has to say something.
“Can you here that?” “What?” It’s enough for Aleisha to raise her head and look around the lounge of her Oriental Parade apartment.
Lunar yawns and stretches as Aleisha, still dressed in what she went out in last night, gets up and walks towards the front window, a glass wall that spans the entire front of the seaside townhouse.
“Thanks for last night.” Aleisha sounds like she’s in between two places right now, giving Lunar his cue, “‘s all good.”
“Would you like some brekky?” Aleisha offers, but a second too late as Lunar’s mind is already set on his bed. “Maybe lunch later, if that’s cool with you?”
“Sure,” Aleisha sounds keen.
Lunar hears his knees creak from sitting in the same position for the last few hours as he gets up from the couch.
Outside on the parade the fresh breeze breathes life into Lunar, or was it the great company he just left standing behind the window looking out at him. Aleisha waves, her smile looks like one of relief from seeing him go, maybe?
The LATEST UPLOAD doesn’t go into details, nor does it suggest anything that didn’t happen…Aleisha reads the SASBWAH, or the story-about-the-story—being-written on her HUAWEI phone, as she waits for Hone and Lunar to arrive at the inner-city café.
She almost feels left out, when both Lunar and Hone claim in their threads or parts that they each had an encounter with JRA.
A couple of women, late twenties to early thirties take seats at the next table. They look like Aleisha, attractive, confident but weary. Not in alarming sense that would cause one to suspect a serious case of neurosis or any kind of OCD, just an accurate, stealthy radar that scans for bullshit.
Like most women, Aleisha had a say in how prosperous her sex life was. And it wasn’t for a lack of willing partners. Nor was she waiting for Mr Right. The kick she got from her success in her business surpassed what she has experienced in her relationships to date. In fact the high from business eclipsed the one she received from flying through the air in next to nothing, clinging to a pole as a stripper. Only the creeps watching her dance marred Aleisha’s near perfect high.
A txt from Hone arrives as Lunar, who anyone can see coming from a mile away shows his face down the street. Hone sends his apologises that he won’t be able to make it, but he will drop by her place later.
It was by chance that she and Lunar met up last night, or was it? The client who hooked Aleisha up on the no show blind date, was in competition with Lunar. It was Lunar’s and her former boss from the biggest agency in town. Coincidence? Or, a counter punch from Lunar when he saved the day, or night as it were? Lunar, still in his prime pulls up a chair.
“You know who arranged the no show last night don’t you? Aleisha is even more curious now, when she says out loud what’s been nagging at her all morning.
“That guy? From that hole?” Lunar takes advantage of the situation to vent.
“How did you know?”
“You mentioned a client was responsible. If it was any other client you would’ve said. I know how much you like to talk shop. Hell that’s all we talked about last night, and not one single time did his name come up...”
“So what ya feel like? My shout.” Still not satisfied Aleisha changes the subject.
“Hear that?” Hone’s smile is indicative of his mood. “Stop it,” Skylah elbows him in the ribs. The likely couple sit on the water’s edge on the seats made of stone slabs with their feet in the water. “In exactly thirty minutes we’ve been awake twenty-four hours.” Hone sounds proud.
“Tell me what it was like in the last story.” Skylah leans into him resting her head on his shoulder.
“I don't wanna say I love you…” Hone sings the first line of the Split Enz classic “Message to My Girl,” one of the themes of the last WELLY STORY. It comes out soft and pitch perfect. It sounds so sweet, that it shocks Skylah.
“I definitely heard that. Please go on.” Skylah slides her arm under his as encouragement.
“That would give away…way too much,” Hone, who one international producer likened to a cross between Marvin Gaye and Bublé doesn’t need much of a push as he extends himself just enough, without straining his vocal chords (still cold) for his new girl.
“Hip…to be detached…and so precious…”
“Message to My Girl.”
(MONDAY 10th FEB ’14)
From the kings of the WELLY Universe, Fat Freddy’s Drop, “Wandering Eye.” The song circumnavigates the gates of hell—hangovers from stunning tales of the weekend…Monday morning and Lunar waits in the coffee cue. In front of him and up his ass, mere mortals in their normal skins lining up for their mana, mojo, manhood and mantle in a cup.
Out on the streets of WELLY the LATEST UPLOAD hits the broadband. It’s a much finer blend this time. Broader and mellower than before, The Cut-Throat-Creative somehow survives the start of another GUIOPERA to take the story by its tail, shaking would be writers from the fabric he’s weaved with his bare hands, live and online.
Coffee in hand, Lunar heads into the southerly, people and their game faces everywhere, hindering the humility Lunar searches for in his coffee—the marauding Monday blues and its sombre hue. The faces on em range from morose remorse from decadence, to somnolent when Monday arrived without notice waking them from rest and recreation. It looks like Monday scared the living daylights out of them. One eye plastered closed with sleep while the other one peers around franticly looking for something to growl at.
“Transmutation, sourer than sweet at first mate,” Lunar maintains his stride as he crosses the intersection of Taranaki and Courtney Place. Bearing down on him the Saatchi & Saatchi building. It’s a reminder of what lays ahead of him. The voice next to him is JRA’s but Lunar aint gonna acknowledge his pal, not right now in fear of losing his stride, even though it was JRA who is responsible for Lunar’s awakening. Instead Lunar searches for his game face, tough as old leather, for the coming week.
Mirah sits in traffic. Studying for a law degree was hard enough, add to that her day job as a cop, and things get hectic to put it mildly.
“Come on!” Mirah forgets she’s in her own vehicle, off duty. Her therapist’s words about “her time” muddle themselves with other messages that go round and round, “up there in that myriad of information, data that all needs to be sorted into some order….”
A woman at the crossing looks familiar, maybe that’s what Aleisha looks like? Mirah sneaks a peak at herself in the mirror, and for a second imagines herself in an undercover operation as a stripper, which in real life she passed up the opportunity to study for her degree.
The lights turn green. “What the?” some chick, one of them ones who stops traffic, decides to do her stuff at the wrong time. Mirah blasts the horn and the woman stops right in front of the car and turns to her. A closer look says she isn’t as young as Mirah thought. Now Mirah isn’t quite sure whether to shout at the woman or to give her another blast of her horn. Cars on either side of Mirah take off leaving her at the lights. “She’s Aleisha!” The woman is Aleisha, Mirah decides. That’s the only way Mirah can keep calm, by imaging that this crazy chick who now looks to cross the road in oncoming traffic has no say in what she’s doing and cannot be blamed for her bizarre behaviour….
John Reyer a novice writer surveys the effects of weekend. Spirits were still high from New Zealand’s biggest party. The wind only serves to cool hangovers, as the coffee vendors serve up caffeine to kick start the week. Fat Freddy’s Drop carefully layered sound and lyric picks the soul up and drives the city forward, never looking back—what happens at the Sevens stays at the sevens.
Across the street Lunar with coffee, he must be on his way back from Memphis Belle. Lunar walks past the Saatchi building. It would make a great photo, whether or not Lunar was aware of it. The important thing was, he looked fine, well, in touch and in control.
He must be that focused, he walked straight past Aleisha at the crossing, who by the way looks as stunning as ever.
The green man appears and the crowd waiting at the crossing move forward, but Aleisha doesn’t. It’s not till they’ve made it across the road that Aleisha steps down onto the road.
“What the fuck?” JRA looks at the lights which have definitely turned green. For a second it looks like his heroine has spotted him, and she walks towards him and may not make it if she’s not careful. Normally a cool character, the author has no place to hide. But then Aleisha stops in the middle of the road in front of car. Aleisha turns and faces the car, in which a woman around the same age blasts her horn then she grips the steering wheel to stay in control, by the looks of things. There’s nothing odd or spectacular about the car or woman, apart from a police uniform hanging in the back.
JRA, takes the moment as an opportunity to flee the unexpected scene. Enigma café is just a few doors down. Inside he orders coffee and heads out back into the courtyard where he meets Blossom, proud mother of rising Kiwi NBA star Steve Adams. The anxious mother is trying to connect to the café’s wifi so she can watch her son play for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the U.S.
“I Got the Wandering Eye” is in the air. Fat Freddy’s Drop leading citizens and tourists into another week of WELLY STORY 2….
(THURSDAY 13th FEB ’14)
Lunar reads through the LATEST UPLOAD. The theme song “Jezebel” belongs to local lad Jon Stevens. Lunar’s black book is thick with women who’d gladly loop their arm with his. Problem was, most of them only knew who Lunar used to be. Lunar wasn’t ready to settle just yet, he was just going through an important phase of his life that he had to get right, on his own.
Down on the GM, Wellingtonians passby on their way to the office or an auditorium where lecturers lament the system’s solutions to societal problems, while the rest of us try and figure out a feasible equation to making ends meet.
Lunar reminisces about a time when soluble issues were all there were. Times, when if someone needed a car, you suggested Holden and when they asked for something exotic you merely added a few more zeroes to the budget.
Lunar’s mid-day meeting with a potential client burns holes in his morning routine in which Lunar clears his mind so he’s ready to deal with the small details of his day rather than just the big picture. The practise is one of the exercises JRA did in his transition from former self to “authentic you.”
Lunar turns up the volume on the SONY Sound System, as a group of likely candidates for “Jezebel” cross the street. Then the real reason why he comes out here in the mornings appears down at the corner of Tory and Courtney Place. He looks back down at the women that pass under his balcony and then at Aleisha who has someone next to her that brings Lunar down….
Aleisha waits inline at Memphis Belle coffee house. The wooden floors and antiquish décor in a satirical tribute to all things expressionist, is probably how a café looked a century or so ago. Worn from the heavy traffic and frayed from rubbing of thread while tit for tat tales were splayed, shared then elaborated upon….
“So how was the date?” The voice belongs to someone she knows, but then she realises who it is.
“It was fine.” “So he showed up did he?”
Aleisha fumbles for an answer and then decides to take the high ground in the face of what she realises is a farce by the man she gave her best years to. First, as a teenager when they met at a party in the ‘80’s. Then more recently as a receptionist and somewhere in between, as a live in nanny and lover under his wive’s noses. “Yes, and he was a gentleman.”
The woman in front of her finishes handing over her order and Aleisha goes to step forward, but the woman stops when her mobile device goes “ding.’ The notification reverberates in and outside Memphis, sending signals to all parts of the body. The sensation, an experience shared by many around the globe, as part of what’s known as the planet’s cerebral cortex, the output, a not-so artificial intelligence, is organic to JRA’s work….
Hone wakes, alone on his couch to a familiar sound that takes him back to his childhood. His bedroom door ajar, so he lays back a listens to the track streaming from YouTube.
“Over here,” Hone raises his head above the back of the couch to see Skylah out on the balcony with two coffees on the table. Behind her a splendid day in capital unfolds in the LATEST UPLOAD which Skylah holds in both hands.
“I can’t believe it.” Skylah stares at her black Ascend G510 HUAWEI.
“It’s as close to magic as it gets,” Hone smiles at how things had fallen into place for him at the start of this story. Looking back, it was as if the first story was an initiation.
“My mom and sisters love it,” Skylah waves their Facebook comments to her post.
Being a character in a GUIOPERA isn’t as straight forward as being written into the story by the author, who some say is not the actual writer of the story, and that the story writes itself, creating everything that appears in the LATEST UPLOAD including the author of what’s written in the Metafiction genre.
(FRIDAY 14th FEB ’14)
Lunar throws the rope over the beam and then catches it on its way down and begins to pull as he hauls up into the air his 100 kilogram Everlast punching bag.
SHIHAD’s “Comfort Me,” in the air…angst and disgust, aghast—the shock remedy that jolts one—out of oblivion they fell into some time ago. Lunar heeds the hard edged guitars that propagate jagged edges of his recovery. Jon Toogood and the recovery of Shihad from Pacifier to old school enforcer of the electric guitar distributes disdain on the streets of WELLY about the state of affairs while they were away doing time for the War on Terrorism.
Lunar circles the bag that swings in time with the ecclesiastical sound of SHIHAD conceived on the streets beneath him.
Lunar steps to his right as he clenches his fist and readies his wrist for the jarring, his doctor warned him about. He lets one go to see what sound he is able to make. The low thud, good enough to put a dent in the bag. “Thwack” Lunar bobs and then he weaves his body like Tyson and comes up to deliver a deafening left cross. “Whack,” the right hand is for his former boss, which sends the back sailing through the air.
The offices which he spent plenty on decorating has a familiar feel about it as Lunar circles the ornament hanging in the middle of the minimalist space, which his designer strongly advised against.
Aleisha lays in a lull in her king size bed, the girth of a sound fills the room. The LATEST UPLOAD sequesters breathe and time when it offers up nostalgia in raw guitars and unequivocal lyrics about insecurities.
Aleisha rereads the SASBWAH on her phone and realises that her spur of the moment act or loser move the other day at the lights wasn’t part of the original story line. She lays still, trying to hear herself breathe in the loud atmos that beckons her to pull another move, to test her powers if they are real….
Down on the parade, the joggers and morning dwellers against a backdrop of calm waters and a fair blue sky reminds Aleisha of her contract with JRA all those years ago, swearing her to secrecy and a life of anonymity, “for the cause,” is how the kid a few years but not much more than she was at the time proposed to her.
A car passes by, the same make and model as the one Mirah was in the other day. Aleisha quickly erases any thoughts of any further stunts in an effort to focus on her day as an aspiring business woman, and not some lunatic for the wannabe characters in JRA’s GAME.
Hone watches on YouTube the video of “Comfort Me” by one of his heroes as a kid. In the shower, is Skylah. The amalgamated sound of cars, guitars, Toogood’s vocal, water—talented and gifted enough to touch places he’s yet to touch is deafening.
Hone clicks pause, and the sound of the shower, water flowing innocently is restored. He clicks play and the sordid collaboration festers deeper than before.
Forgivable for having to use the toilet in his own apartment, Hone lets the music play, hoping Skylah can hear it and it has the same effect on her.
Outside the bathroom door, Hone knocks. “Need to use the loo, is that cool?” Hone hears a waver in his voice, but it was too late.
“Sure!” comes the reply.
Hone opens the door. Standing in front of him is Skylah with a towel wrapped around her. In the corner, the shower is still running.
“Go ahead, I’m done.” Skylah smiles, then she steps forward and places a kiss on his quivering lips. “I left the shower on for you.”
(SATURDAY 15th FEB ’14)
Poignant songstress and poetess, LORDE, provides a ditty to watch people in Cuba Mall to. Odd, awkward, slightly out of breathe, and fabulous Wellingtonians sway to the sly pop tune, as they meander, gawk, chill and fantasise about the times they were abroad and were homesick for the cobbled stone walkway with the bucket fountain.
Lunar feels a sense of relief from having made it through another week without a sip or scare of wanting to sniff fumes from a bottle. His reward, a session of unadulterated perving in the world’s best fishing spot for the bizarre and demure as they go about their lives, intersecting each other’s on catwalk made for all body types, dispositions and inclinations, all of them members of the exclusive “Love Club.” Cuba Mall is a casting agent, a writer or creative director who has fallen on lean time’s dream.
Lunar finds a vacant wooden seat in the middle of the cosy conundrum, which the forgiving sun has blessed and warmed for his sorry ass. The LATEST UPLOAD beeps to be excused or eaten alive, and Lunar casually, so as to not tempt fate, finds his HUAWEI so he can play a joke on the inhabitants of this marvellous habitat, when he reads about him, them on the hallowed ground which he and JRA used to beat as teenagers, looking for the meaning of life….
Aleisha can see the tops of the stages down on the waterfront. In her hand, free tickets to the Jim Beam Homegrown waterfront festival. The LATEST UPLOAD permeates in the streets. LORDE’s “Love Club” pieces the passive and the needy together. The sun, scintillating on the humbled waters of Oriental bay, as people gravitate towards the centre of the city….
Down on the corner of Manners and Cuba Streets, Mirah surveys the action. Being in uniform is different than in her own skin. Visions of Aleisha standing in front of her car pepper Mirah’s view of the citizens and tourists as they disperse in all directions. Homegrown swells numbers in the Capital for a second week in a row, while the WELLY STORY, a GUIOPERA gives people a sense of confidence that consumes them somewhat.
A case study for her law degree about an unsolved crime from the ‘80s pesters Mirah’s sensibilities. An innate sense draws certain parallels when it comes to the fine line between fact and fiction. The crime in question happened, or did it? According to insurance claims three quarters of a million dollars was stolen from ten of the city’s top hotels and clubs within a three hour period following another big weekend headlined by the Nissan Mobil 500 street race…Aleisha passes by. Mirah collects herself. Did she pass that close by her for a reason? Mirah radios comms that she needs to take a quick break….
“…I joined the club and it's all on / There are fights for being my best friend / And the girls get their claws out…”
Aleisha nonchalant about the airstream she creates, smiles at the lyric in the complementing clouds that suggests she has friends, and female ones at that. Cuba Mall laid out in front of her, through her Karen Walker Galaxy Pink sunglasses, is a kaleidoscope of artful philandering and taste to pleasure an array of palettes. As in the story, Lunar is straight ahead on a park bench in the midst of this fantastical foliage.
LORDE says “Be a part of the love club / Everything will glow for you / Go get punched for the love club / For the love club…” And Aleisha waits to see if Mirah had picked up on her scent. Out the corner of her eye, she sees blue beneath hi-vis yellow as it glides past Westpac red.
Conscious of how the story works, its devices and mechanisms and how she is capable of ruining it, by dragging her thread in a different direction from what JRA intended, Aleisha surrenders when she takes her glasses off and looks at Glassons before she heads towards the store, forcing Mirah to stop as she reaches the same spot….
Hone decides to answer the call, since it’s from Aleisha. “Hi.”
He listens, from not being in a mood to speak to anyone right this moment. Tickets to Homegrown were too expensive for Hone, so he’s going to have to go without. Skylah, got invited by some friends. And Hone, far too proud to ask anyone of the many people he knows, involved with the festival, decides that it would be a good time to do some writing, inspired by feeling left out.
“I have two tickets, thought you and Skylah might make use of them?”
“She’s already going with friends, thought I might chill and do some writing, you know?”
Hone hangs up the phone, as the LATEST UPLOAD in which he seems like an afterthought slithers its way past firewalls, and people’s preconceived ideas of fiction to take hold of their imagination.
Not one to force his hand, or make unnecessary demands on himself by implementing a loser move, Hone decides to stay put as he already senses enough conflict in the story, which he can do without, on his break back home. The theme song for the chapter says it all.
“…Your clothes are soaked and you don't know where to go / So drop your chin and take yourself back home / And roll out your maps and papers / Find out your hiding places again…”
Overhead, clouds rolling in all directions, changes the complexion of Cuba Mall. The transformation was quick and it went unnoticed by the unsuspecting people still in their stride. Only now, the place is back to how it was when Lunar was young, full of beans and stupid—pity, he’s still the same age as he is today. The morphing of time didn’t allow for the transportation of matter belonging to the pivotal characters as it were, which would’ve meant a change in location to somewhere like the Dream Dimension in the SFD. For now, the people around him are made of fractured light rebounding off the second horizon of the Dream Dimension in between the firewall of the event corridor…soon Lunar will be just a place holder too, only able to interact with named characters in a particular thread or PART in the story. The core cast will be made up of characters back in the day, who will be assigned their own thread, if Lunar has thought through his move thoroughly.
Aleisha spots him, as two Punk Rockers both with 12 inch Mohawk hair dos, one pink the other yellow sneer at the chic chick as she walks in between them to get to where she’s heading.
Lunar relaxes as the tale succumbs to his wishes, for once. The look on Aleisha’s face when she notices the changes in the mall is priceless. But she keeps it together, confirming one of the reasons why JRA picked her for a part in the SASBWAH.
Mirah watches Aleisha who has curves that she accentuates in her walk as Aleisha passes by the Bucket fountain, which responds by tipping its load instantaneously, wetting Aleisha with drops that speckle her sheer blouse.
“Constable?” Brad who Mirah shares the beat with today, calls out her name.
“What’s with the get up?” Mirah laughs, as she tries to forget about what just happened. Brad looks at his two piece suit and then up at the brim of his helmet before he dismisses Mirah. “Let’s go, we’re needed down on Custom House Quay, petrol heads trying to make like they’re on the hill at Bathurst.”
“You mean Aussies right?” Mirah careful not to let a colleague in on the fact that she’s distracted takes a look around the place. A sign that says the Oaks Tavern and Bamboo bar is open jolts her. It’s the place her parents met, which closed over a decade ago. The brim of her hat is closer to her face than usual. The shoulders of her jacket feel tight, like they’d inhibit her from grabbing someone when the time came….Up the mall Aleisha makes her way towards a guy seated on a bench. He has that Clooney thing going on, only not as smooth. It must be Lunar Bois, who if you had daddy issues, he’d fit the bill from his overly open body language. Maybe, it was just from seeing Aleisha, who together they’d make a nice couple…she, younger but looking for someone confident who’s not going to run off with a younger version of her once the honeymoon is over. And he from his looks has been there and done that. Maybe an Aleisha or two has even fucked his shit up before, which was his own doing and now he is ready to unleash all that experience from lessons in love, wisdom and power on one lucky princess?
“Come on then,” Brad reminds her of the call. “Wait, I just have to radio in, end of break.” “What?” Brad’s tone, a confirmation for Mirah that something’s definitely amiss….
Hone plucks the strings of acoustic guitar, but roaring engines down on the street drown out the sound of his nylon strings. Hone ignores what must be boy racers here for Homegrown, the place where his girl is right now. More cars, louder and faster race by outside, so Hone gets up from his computer chair to close the balcony doors.
From the balcony, people line the streets. In front of them concrete slabs fence them from speeding V8 super cars responsible for the intruding noise.
Hone searches for his HUAWEI and quickly finds Skylah’s number. The ring tone is comforting to say the least, as dudes with mullets and sleeveless jean jackets roam the skirts of the waterfront. “Hi there,” Skylah’s smile is welcome, and music in the background serves to calm Hone’s nerves. But then the call is cut short with a disconnected tone followed by a deafening electronic noise worse than an old school modem. Hone holds the phone away from his ear, as in the background the radio comes on. “Three fifteen, on a Sunday afternoon in the coolest capital on the planet. To the sound of roaring engines, computer games by Mi-Sex. Who knows, one day the two may come together?”
Hone’s mind races faster than the speeding cars down on the waterfront that curtails his ability to think….
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
Lunar pokes his head through the doors of the Royal Tavern on Lambton. The psychedelic sound of Sherbet casts a fairy dust haze on proceedings in the bar, like the wicked witch of the west had just done a tour of the place on her broomstick. The herb in Lunar’s system must be good. A Gang leader, in the corner spots Lunar and waves him over. Lunar looks around one more time, his feet still on the outside of the licenced establishment, and there’s no sign of Johnny who said he’d be here with mates of his from the Hutt. So Lunar takes another look at the ground as he steps over the line.
Upstairs, Johnny and his mates from the Hutt make the most of their time in the city before they have to catch the twelve-o-five back to the burbs.
In the corner of the Dungeon bar, a notorious figure, fearsome and almost scary for Lunar, if it weren’t for what Johnny always reminded him, “they got two legs, two arms just like you and me….” What Johnny hadn’t shared with Lunar till now, following his return from the Land of Oz, “a guy’s mind and what he thinks, is what makes him dangerous.” Lunar spins around to come face to face with his pal, who he hasn’t seen in over three years. Lunar’s elation and nervousness from making his way over to the gang leader, a dizzying cocktail which almost takes Lunar’s legs from under him. Johnny grabs the kid same age his him by the shoulders, “good to see you bro. I reckon we back out of here politely. Let me see what he wants.”
The Gang leader and another man bigger and just as mean keep looking over at Lunar by the door. The pair laugh at what Johnny tells them before Johnny hands them his pack of smokes. In no time Johnny is back. He doesn’t stop, “let’s go dude.” Lunar runs to keep up with his pal who just seems to glide in out of these situations, as Johnny climbs the stairs and waits for Lunar at the entrance of the bar on Lambton quay.
“They wanted you to get smokes for them, that’s how it all starts though bro….”
Mirah steps to the side as the door to the locker room opens. An Asian man with a bucket that he pushes using the mop handle, tries his best steer the bucket through the door. Mirah looks at her watch, and finds it odd that cleaners would be working at four pm in the afternoon. She smiles nevertheless as the cleaner’s badge on his chest is from the cleaning company that has the contract for the building.
Inside the locker room it’s empty which is bizarre for end of shift. Mirah decides that it’s time to hang up her uniform for the day. At her locker, Mirah discovers that someone has been there. The latch for a padlock which she doesn’t have, has been pushed in, something she never bothers to do. Mirah takes a step back from the locker and quickly sums up the situation, which the cleaner has to be a factor. She makes a dash for the door. Outside in the corridor, the lift has just left. So Mirah takes the stairs to the basement….
Mirah takes the lift back up to ground floor, where outside the front door she finds the bucket and mop. A white Hiace van pulls out of a parking space and disappears around the corner. The number plate and distinguishing marks, let alone the driver, which she might have sketch for in her head, all a blur from where Mirah stands.
Back at her locker Mirah, contemplates whether to report the situation, which in the end she decides to….
Outside the Oaks complex, JRA, dressed for a night out in the ‘80’s. Winkle pickers, black skinnies and white Leod Hais pirate shirt that puffs out from a Skin things pig skin double breasted vest, rounds up the crew. Lunar, in his white Everlast boxing boots, orange three quarter jeans and leather jacket, somehow looks like he’s still got it. The grey hair a bit of anomaly, but overall he looks the part nearly thirty years on. Aleisha who was in her early teens, dons leg warmers over lycra tights, under a sloppy joe. Her blue hair and bright pink bow, gets a smirk from the boys. Hone, who looks like he just woke up, looks JRA up and down, as JRA tries his best to calm everyone in light of what’s happened which has forced the author to come out of the comfort of voyeur yonder to ensure his characters are okay.
“You’re not hallucinating, this is sort of real, if you know what I mean. We’re as we are today, yesterday, tomorrow…Anyways! The equinox this year has come earlier than usual….” The Cut-Throat-Creative, one of many names he is known by, not all of then complimentary pauses to see what the looks on his crew’s faces say? Lunar apart, who has a look which says he knows something about what’s happened, dismal, would be an understatement.
“Mirah!” Johnny spots the off duty police woman as she approaches the entrance.
“Sorry, do I know you?” Mirah looks as confused as Aleisha and Hone, and to some extent JRA.
“Trust me on this one. Your mum and dad are up there, alright. But you’re not looking for them. Trust me!” JRA forces himself to sell the idea, something he seldom does nowadays, tired of fighting a losing battle.
Mirah, does a once over on JRA, and keeps walking. But then she notices Aleisha and Lunar, which she pretends she didn’t as she hurries to get inside the complex….
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
“…A name the girl outgrew / The girl was never real / She stands for your abuse / The girl is no ideal…”
Scritti Politti in “The Word Girl” pave the path with electronic reggae, like a sweetener as Johnny rings the sugar cane of all the sugar when he drops metaphors to cover his tracks in lolly scramble that happened when he made the girls cry….
Lunar makes his way back to the station. His head bowed to see his sneakers, when Johnny wouldn’t let him hang with him and his mates upstairs at the Royal. He noticed Johnny’s shoes, shiny and pointed just as his suit was black and sharp, with a white shirt, whiter than any white shirt Lunar had ever seen. “Brother, you’re part of my secret life. You know what a secret means. Means that only you and me and I know about it…” Johnny’s explanation hurts even though he tried to make it sound good.
Johnny watches as his friend wanders of down the street. The Scritti script afloat in the atmos rebounds of the façades of Government buildings where good people like his mother worked hard to keep the system going.
“…It's a word for what you do / In a world of broken rules / She found a place for you / Along her chain of fools…”
Scritti Politti, who her dad mocked and her mother secretly did her chores to sets the tone as Mirah watches as her mother, around the same age as she is, as she does that submissive thing with her lips, when dad doesn’t approve, which he only has to raise an eyebrow to say.
Mirah waves the barman over, “Bourbon and coke, rum and coke. Bourbon’s for him, rum’s for the lady.”
“He’s on DB draught and she’s drinking the house dry wine,” the barman informs Mirah. It brings a lump to her throat thinking back how tough things were for them growing up. “I’m well aware of that…trust me on this one. Actually make it doubles will ya mate.”
Mirah sits back as she plans her next move. On stage the band setup, as more people float through the door on a Thursday night. Some are here to wind down from a day in the office, one or two forewent the office and made it here bright and early, while the majority look like out-of-towners here for the big race this weekend.
Mirah pays the barman then she sits back and watches him deliver the drinks. It dawns on Mirah as the barman places the drinks in front of her parents who were killed in a car crash a few years from now, that she didn’t tell the barman that she wanted to remain anonymous. What happens next leaves Mirah in no man’s land literally as far as her choice to come here, against advice from who Mirah now clicks must’ve been the Cut-Throat-Creative.
“They’re from that woman across the bar,” the barman points in Mirah’s direction. Her mother, Sharon, the one with all the personality twirls a lock of her hair. Her dad, Jason, a sourpuss at best of times becomes tight lipped. “He’s rather cute.” Mirah looks behind her to see what her mother might be referring to. A guy, who looks like he could be one of the drivers in the race waits for the barman to serve him.
Mirah slides off her seat and eases her way out of sight of the people she thought could see her.
“Did you say one room for four nights sir? You’re very lucky Sir, there’s been a last minute cancellation.” The receptionist of the hotel on Oriental Parade looks JRA in the eye, then at Lunar, Aleisha, and Hone.
JRA holds his hand out as he explains why they’re here, “we’re a theatre troupe, bunch of method actors getting ready for a play about human relationships from every angle possible, I mean every angle.”
The receptionist holds her nose up in the air, higher than before. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask that you pay up front sir, plus a deposit for the first night’s mini bar.”
“That’s cool, isn’t it Aleisha?” JRA smiles at Aleisha, then he does a quick check for security cameras that might catch him in the act, which is timely so he doesn’t catch Aleisha’s look before she searches her Oroton bag for some form of legal tender.
Inside the sea facing room with an ample balcony with curtains that flutter in the sea breeze Lunar leaps on the double bed claiming it as his. Aleisha, still silent, not quite sure of what to make about what’s happened, which includes her forking out close to two grand already, not to mention what her clients might be thinking of her whereabouts, seats herself down right in the middle on the two-seater couch, so no one else can come close to her.
JRA heads straight for the balcony as inside the room Hone begins to pace till he can’t take it anymore and joins JRA for some fresh air.
“Hear that?” JRA asks as Hone steps out onto the balcony. Hone checks his phone as a means of delaying a well dissevered vent, hoping that by the time he fumbles with his phone and then puts it away, some of the edge will be shaved from what he has to say.
In the air, music, like a fresh stream that invigorates skin and senses that seemed to roll in off the sea that lay austere but tame and picturesque in front of them. Hone is not sure whether he should admit to the fact that he can hear music, which could be from anywhere, like a car, or a party close by and not necessarily some place mystical which JRA had just conjured for the occasion.
“If I admit I can hear the music, can I see Skylah again?”
JRA nods knowingly, for whatever reason as the music grows on Hone, clearer and louder, “…The third time baby that I came to you / Oh, oh, oh, I knew / The last time baby that I came to you / Oh how your flesh and blood became the word…”
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
“Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force pulsates in the speakers, the room, the atmos and Lunar’s cranial cavity, a reminiscent bass line and serpentine synth line which abhor civility. Break dance crews from the Valley, the City—Welly, Christchurch, Dorkland and the Tron line the dance floor as they sus each other out. KOS, a relative of Johnny’s sees Lunar in the corner and uses the opportunity to break the ice, when he glides across the floor masking his face with hand signals that bring different responses from the break dancers on one knee ready to pounce on a lame move thus entering the creative rumble.
KOS reaches the edge of the floor and he bows before he makes the way through the crowd, who exchange all manner of handshakes with the kid who recently returned from the U.S where he learned his moves. KOS and Lunar embrace before Lunar introduces him to his girlfriend. “Where’s my cuz bro?” Lunar, still hurt from being snubbed by Johnny shrugs, “doin his thing.” A roar goes up and KOS looks and sees that some kid from Christchurch has taken hold of the crowd’s attention on the dance floor. “Gotta go uce, show these boondock buggers the truth…”
It’s a cue for someone to step in to the scene, timely as Lunar’s girl excuses herself to go to the ladies.
“Where’s that mate of yours?” It’s the big dude with the Gang leader from the Royal Tavern.
Lunar, still annoyed at being overlooked by Johnny for good times, “somewhere, who gives a fuck?”
“Jerry’s my name,” the baritone cuts through equalised frequencies, raw sound, feedback and feelings of neglect.
Mirah checks her watch, to confirm the time of night, the witching hour when the freaks come out. She somehow smiles, probably from knowing she doesn’t have to get up in the morning. When she handed in her report about what happened in the locker room, she also applied for annual leave, which her sergeant approved on the spot.
Mirah finds herself at a night club on Willis, when she spotted some interesting characters from Welly folklore in the street and couldn’t resist the chance to follow them. “Automatic” by the Pointer Sisters has the place bubbling with a mix of kids from suburbia, groups of chicks from the Hutt that now live in places like Mt Vic and Mt Cook, car sales men, businessmen who used to know the seedy characters that hold court in corners of the club and tanned tourists here for a good time.
Mirah spots one of the chicks who moved into town, before mid-year exams in the fifth form year to live with her Greek boyfriend, who ended moving into a concrete cell not long after they moved into a flat on Brougham street. The bottle blonde saunters over to one of the characters who Mirah, out of curiosity, and because there was little to lose in this—contrived world, a faux pas even in the race for raspberry of the year award—tailed out of fun. The slutty tart, raised Brethren, but then her dad got done for molesting her church friends does what she does best, to her future boyfriend’s cousin. It’s enough to make Mirah leave the club.
Out on the street citizens and tourists are intoxicated by the WELLY ether. The air is made of music and a unique blend of passive aggression from public servants and their children— advocates for anarchy—too young to speak their minds, their rebellion is in the way that they dress and what they smoke, snort, inject and imagine. Across the road Mirah sees that Armadillos is still open, a steak would go down well. She goes to cross the street when she hears the scraping sound of her friend from school’s voice….
JRA followed by Aleisha, Luna and Hone walk through the doors of the small club on a side street off Cuba. The doormen nod to let JRA and his crew through. Upstairs in the different milieu made of models, stylists, ad men, film people, famous faces now and again and guys like Johnny who give the place an edge for the aforementioned, so the experience feels like somewhere else and not here and now, Johnny finds a table in the corner.
Shoulder to shoulder, Madonna’s “Everybody” causes fever. The wall of mirrors misted from bodies and breathe entwined in a rhyme and rhythm that forsakes tomorrow and day time sensibilities. The WELLY atmos is most concentrated up in here, where one can round up the top ten most wanted in the city in one foul swoop. NZ’s top ad agency head, Press secretary for the PM, Restaurateur of the year, the creator of country’s foremost hairdressing chain, one of Australasia’s most successful property developers, booking agent for the likes of Bowie, Stevie Wonder…the list is far too expensive to pen for frivolous rights like fiction.
JRA looks out over the crowd before he pulls out his seat and sinks in to it, still no wiser at how he and the cast from WELLY STORY 2 have ended up back in the ‘80s.
Down on Ghuznee, Mirah, feeling somewhat free, walks in front of the girl from school and the three guys she’s meant to be following. “This way,” the cousin of the Hutt chick’s future boyfriend leads them into the park where homeless people will congregate in years to come. Mirah finds herself in tow as the four people hit the gravel path that ends at the front door of the exclusive club.
Outside the door, well versed bouncers refuse entry to those who Mirah was following, but beckon her to enter into the place Mirah’s studies and her Sargent talked about….
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
Standing behind the door of the cab, Lunar waves goodbye to the woman he’s told that he has an urgent family matter to tend to at three in the morning as she disappears inside her flat. Inside the cab, “just pull up over there please driver,” Lunar pulls rumpled notes from two pockets to pay the driver less than a hundred metres from where he hopped in.
Across the street, Jerry winds down the window of his Cadillac, which he had imported. Lunar walks around to the cabbie’s door and shoves more money through the window.
On Jerry’s stereo, DLT and Che Fu in “Chains” drag Lunar to his fate, a destiny that he doesn’t foresee, let alone have any say in.
Inside Jerry’s Cadillac that stinks of lilac air fresher, Lunar feels like he’s someone.
“That mate of yours…” “He’s like a brother, you know?” “Let me finish. As I was saying, that brother of yours is pretty slick. Too slick, if you ask me. But hey, it’s what the makes the world go round, slick fuckers and dumb cunts.” Jerry part something but mostly white offers Lunar a smoke.
“He’s going to be a rock star I reckon,” Lunar forgets his beef with his mate.
“We’re looking for someone to do something. We think he can do it.”
“Drive a car.”
Mirah hurries down the stairs of the club, as Hone disappears out the front door. Upstairs was quite an eye opener for Mirah. Maybe the advent of the internet had something to do with it? Or, all the city’s flamboyant players had merely grown up and faded into the woodwork, gone away or died? The eclectic mix of power, its undercurrent, and their minions, was like a safari expedition for Mirah. In a corner, JRA was deep in thought, obviously trying to hatch a plan, Aleisha and the kid who must be Hone had blank looks, while Lunar made the most of his time in one of Johnny’s haunt where he didn’t take Lunar back in the day.
Down Cuba and onto the Golden Mile, JRA and his characters, which Mirah has to admit she’s one of them now provide light entertainment for what has been a dramatic evening even if Mirah hadn’t actually gotten involved in any action as a WELLY tourist from the future.
“I would own this town, with what I know now,” Lunar sounds like he’s had a drink.
“Presents the question whether we end up where we are due to fate, or by trial and error?” Aleisha finds something to say.
“Use “destiny” I hate that word “fate,” JRA chimes in.
“You would own town after you blew it up mate. Then what good’s that?” Hone finds something to smile about.
“Exactly my point, Lunar would still have to go through a process,” Aleisha smarts.
“You saying my destiny is a Unabomber?”
“They’re saying if you were meant to be the mayor, then you would run for office.” JRA reminds the crew to keep things simple.
“We’re in hypothetical mode here guys, give a guy a fucking break will ya.” Lunar now sounds like he’s had a snort to go with his champagne. “Plus, none of you factored in the time warp you dumbasses…the context! I win, first time travelling, Unabomber mayor of WELLY.
JRA looks at his friend sideways. Lunar, more of a psychological thriller type of guy rather than a Fantasy/sci-fi/psychological/crime/action-drama/black-comedy all wrapped up in prose proposed Metafiction freak, which Cut-Throat is, sounds auspiciously suspect to JRA.
Mirah conceals her amusement when she occasionally stops to look in a shop window or steps down onto the road to hail a cab with someone inside.
JRA who changed his ways by becoming a DJ was by no means a good guy, but he meant well and displayed enough character to change his career path when it mattered. He worked for and knew some shady characters but by all accounts had kept his nose clean for long enough to realise what he wanted to do. One of the reasons why he was probably able to make the change, was he took the heat several times, when he could’ve grassed on those he was involved with back then, so when the time came for him to move on, no one stood in his way. A deceptive but honest character, he pleaded guilty quickly to charges that carried no jail time and earned himself a name as petty crim, which meant most people saw the wily operator as nothing more than a loser back then.
JRA presses the button for the lift as the front door to the hotel closes behind Lunar. The lift opens and lounge music, and the smell of cleaning agents remind the Cut-Throat-Creative that he’s on borrowed time, from whom he doesn’t really care. He lets Aleisha followed by Hone enter and then waits for a wayward Lunar to catch up. Once his characters are safely inside the cabin, he pops his head inside the lift to see the panel and selects their room floor, and then the close button. The doors shut on him on the outside, “get some sleep, I’ll see you on the morrow.”
JRA uses the side door to exit the hotel. Around the front, Mirah looking through the front windows of the hotel gets the shock of her life when she hears JRA’s voice.
“Hey, you looking for me?” Mirah pretends she didn’t hear him as she decides to maintain her composure by continuing to look through the window, now using her hands to shield the sides of her face.
“My mum and dad couldn’t see me,” Mirah finds herself play acting.
JRA decides he’s fighting a losing battle and tucks his hands in his vest pockets and heads of down the parade towards Courtney Place.
Footsteps behind him belonging to someone who walks a lot, from how well paced each stride is speed up until their next to his.
“This is more about redemption rather than looking good,” JRA who didn’t figure on getting an opportunity to parléz with Mirah this early on in the piece gives it his best shot.
“Something big’s going down this weekend. Don’t ask me what it is. I just have that feeling from how we’ve all ended up here one big sorry-ass family.” JRA speeds up for Mirah to keep up as he passes the Fire station.
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
Lunar looks down at his chest, he smiles at his pit lane pass that hangs around his neck like a medallion which Jerry a spanner hand for one of Aussie teams got him.
Lunar is star struck by the famous faces he can almost reach out and touch as they line up for the celebrity race. A former All Black now league star waves to the crowd, lead singer from a chart topping band, followed by a radio show host. Lunar is sure Johnny could foot it with these guys at least. But the sort of driving Jerry had in mind for his mate was of a totally different nature, on a track where there were no barriers, in a race you had to win. There was no second place.
Lunar turns his baseball cap backwards, a sign that he’s thought of something, which for Lunar could be as simple as spotting a chance to make a quick buck or two by borrowing something from someone and selling it to someone else, a transaction in which the former is none the wiser. Or, it could be as convoluted as changing the world with concepts borrowed from Johnny, which Lunar wishes he had his mate’s talent of explaining in a story.
Lunar’s idea is so brilliant he has to share it with someone, right away. Lunar forgets about the stars and their fanfare as he has to find Jerry immediately.
Inside a shed, Jerry’s legs stick out from beneath a car. Over by the work bench is a woman, with the body and face of Raquel Welch, in a Hutt kinda way. The thirty something babe has split ends, regrowth, tight jeans which pronounce a perfect camel toe, healthy curves that say she’s carefree in every way, nice and well-rounded in the ways of manhood, basically your classic MILF, and proud of it. Lunar, is startled by the blinding vision, which he normally has to pay $6 at the video store for.
“Lunar, Lunar Bois. People call me Lunar.” Lunar walks towards the vision in a white t-shirt, almost helpless in its effort to contain what can only be a double-D-rack.
“So you’re the bad little boy Jerry’s been telling me about.”
Lunar almost has to bite his hand and bend in two to conceal his arousal.
“What do animals call you Lunar?”
“Depends, if they’re a domesticated animal like a pet, they usually just do as I say. If they’re a Lion or Tiger, or something wild like a cougar, then to be honest, come to think about, I haven’t actually had the opportunity to conversate, is that the right word?”
“Yeah, not sure what I’d say, or what a cougar would call me. Probably something like Moooooooooon boy,” Lunar finds himself bent over backwards with hands on hips as he moos like a cow.
“Connie, that’s what bad little boys call me Moon Boy….”
Aleisha lights up a cigarette from a pack she found in her handbag, as Hone brings her coffee.
“It’s not that bad is it?” Hone thinks about his situation with Skylah out there somewhere in the future.
“Yeah you’re right, how you doing?” Aleisha thinks about Hone’s situation, and suddenly feels sad for him rather than pitying herself. But then Lunar, happy as Larry, exits the bathroom. Obviously his mind is elsewhere, as only a bit of towel that he dries his hair with covers what no one wants to see right this minute, or other time for that matter.
“Bloody males, no thought of anyone else but yourselves,” Aleisha who was about to stub out the smoke, takes another drag, deep, producing enough hanging smoke to cover her face.
“Shit, where did that come from?” Hone bends down to place Aleisha’s coffee on the table.
“I’m sorry,” Aleisha apologises when her and Hone come face to face. Then she repeats herself for Lunar’s sake, who’s disappeared back into the bathroom. “SORRY MATE!”
“No I’m sorry, won’t happen again,” Lunar calls out.
“Steak, egg and chips, coleslaw, and piece of fish…what you feel like?” JRA places his order and then he turns to Mirah. “I’ll have 10 cheese burgers, 300 fries and 13 cokes please…”
JRA smiles to himself before he turns away and finds a table at the window.
“How come the barman took my order then?”
“If you wanted to, you could’ve eaten your 300 burgers and a million fries, but where does that leave us?” JRA tries not sound condescending.
“Are saying that I could’ve spent time with my parents?
“You could’ve, but for what? In the context of what you, me and the crew are doing here? I don’t mean to sound selfish and like it’s all about me, but think about it? Without a plot, there is no reason, or meaning, and for that matter a moral of the story.”
“How do you know it’s not about me?”
“None of the rest of us know you. The only explanation is that you’re here following us. Weren’t you doing just that? Like in the movies, do they show picking their noses, flossing their teeth, pulling pants out of their arse cracks? Or for that matter, when people are out and about? We’re out and about Mirah, in a story, yes. But we’re out and about, nonetheless!”
“I get it.”
“Unless of course it’s pivotal to the storyline, then we have a story about OCD most likely, or about up close and personal with Ms Undesirable.”
“Hey, more often than not those habits come with a male.”
“So you don’t floss, pick your nose, relieve the crutch…just joking, but you catch my meaning don’t you?”
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
KORA funk from somewhere in the time fold, escapes. The smoke filled room in which colours from a lighting rig, a disco ball and other night club paraphernalia including a malfunctioning smoke machine forms a porous haze of here and then for Lunar, who’s already on another planet. The PA and lighting equipment from one of Jerry’s failed ventures, a night club, leaves just enough room in the lounge for a couch and box TV set that sits on top of one of the bass bins. On a couch made for two a bit normal sized humans—thin Lunar, voluptuous Connie and big Jerry—crammed together in sloth as they surf the abyss made of lavender flavoured smoke that chokes and unthought-of hues from the disco era.
“You like lavender, I take it?” Chinese eyed Lunar makes a bold assertion.
“Jerry loves Lavender. His mother used to massage him with Lavender oil when he was a baby, didn’t she boo?”
“Remember my first memory in Lavender,” Jerry a mean looking dude, is articulate especially when he’s had a smoke or two.
“She do the deep tissue, or the body slide on you? Just jokes bro,” Lunar cracks up laughing. “Fuck,” Lunar tries to contain himself, “just came out Jerry, sorry bro, must be the lavender, fuck!” Lunar laughs even louder than before. Connie begins to laugh, and soon all three best buddies are in fits of laughter.
Lunar never got around to telling Jerry about his fantastic new idea, which incorporated Jerry’s grand plan for Johnny. When Lunar met Connie in the workshop for the first time it momentarily wiped Lunar’s rapid access memory, his processing power and storage.
Aleisha finds it hard to face up to certain truths. It’s probably why, once she made a break for herself back in the future, she never lost sight of her goal which was to get as far away from her past as she could. She still walked past places she worked and hung out in, and bumped into people she once knew, but that was it, she just kept on walking, right past them and towards her goal.
Seated across from her is Mirah, whom JRA brought back with him when he returned from his early morning excursion.
When Aleisha j-walked and stopped in front of Mirah’s car, she never thought she would have to explain herself. It was a simple case of too much oxygen flowing to the brain. It was in the early chapters of a GUIOPERA and Aleisha was feeling like an orphan, not even sure if she was Aleisha anymore. Time spent with Lunar on the Saturday night was great as it let her know that she was still involved, but Aleisha had to know for sure that she was still the leading lady. Aleisha was well aware of one of two places where the Cut-Throat-Creative would be on a Monday morning at that time. She was merely trying to stake her claim as the story’s leading lady….
“Mirah, this is Aleisha, that’s Hone and that guy,” JRA, a stirrer of note, exclaims Lunar’s presence, “is the foremost creative in this town, the one and only Lunar Bois.”
Lunar feeling great, “Mirah, he has creative license. Please to meet you.”
Mirah looks around the room in which she sits with people she barely knows but loves from reading about them in the first WELLY STORY is a bit overcome by the occasion.
“Nice to meet you guys,” Mirah says, and then the ridiculousness of the situation sets in. “Hey, nice meeting you all. But I got to go.”
JRA starts walking for the balcony, “Can I see you out here,” he glances at Mirah as he passes by her.
Aleisha waits till Mirah has disappeared from sight before her plastered on smile turns into a look.
Out on the balcony JRA sums up his options, which all involve dealing with deep seated resentment from Lunar he summarises from Lunar’s odd cool and calm behaviour throughout an unsuspected situation. Mirah appears to his left, some distance from him, but her body language from how she leans on her elbow facing him allows him to propose the unthinkable.
“I want you to go out and spend time with your folks,” JRA then waits for a response.
Without saying a word Mirah backs out of the balcony till she reaches the sliding then she turns and exits, “I hope you know what you’re doing.” Mirah sounds as if she just issued a warning to the Cut-Throat-Creative.
Annah Mac, “Girl In Stilettos” gets the heads nodding on the principality of the well versed, the weary but not yet dreary.
“Powerlines, Pohutukawa trees / Make an in-between for everything I own / Got my license on the third time…”
Saturday afternoon, and when the night comes the chances of meeting up with themselves from the past becomes dangerously high, so JRA decides on a bowling club in the burbs as a place to take the characters, who were showing signs of cabin fever as he still struggles to make sense of what’s happened.
It’s too late, Lunar’s already walking across the green, followed by Hone who claps his hands to the beat of song that snuck through the thin contours of the warp, Aleisha who somehow manages not to penetrate the pristine turf with her nine inch stilettos…the poor regulars who hide in the shade of the club house must be checking their pulses when etiquette is defied in front of their eyes.
JRA spans the parameter of the lawn before the cast make it to the steps of the club rooms.
“Ladies, Sirs….” JRA hears his intro, and begins to chuckle. “Let me start again, we’re from the future, weird as it may sound it’s the truth. And no we haven’t escaped from Porirua, we’re the entertainment for the evening….”
Lunar steps onto the concrete, then Hone and Aleisha.
“Can they hear us?” Lunar asks.
A roar of laughter from the club’s patrons goes up.
“We can definitely see ya in those outfits,” an old fella shouts.
“Our first heckler for the evening, good to see,” JRA is quick to capitalise. “We’ll be on stage, by your side in no time….” JRA points to the door to the club rooms for the crew to enter.
Inside, puzzled looks from the crew add to JRA’s woes. “We’re the entertainment?” Aleisha demands answers from him.
“You clowns trampled their hallowed turf,”
“Thought you said they wouldn’t be able to see us?” Hone presents a viable argument.
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
Lunar waits for nine-thirty-five from Woburn to the city. Break dancers on the platform, to Delegation’s “It's Your Turn” from their Sanyo ghetto blaster, break and bop as they express themselves. The crew of six, slide in and out of passengers that includes families who happily become living props in the scene that has everyone feeling like they’re in some sort of music video.
On the ramp from the over bridge, Johnny and his trendy mates, who knew nothing about who Johnny really was, all dressed up for a night out on the town, make their way down to the platform. It was like they had just stepped out of a movie in their tapered black suits and thin leather ties. Girls who Lunar used to go to school with, almost faint as Johnny has that faraway look he does. The evening sun in his eyes casts a spell as he and his friends touch down on the platform. The break dancers react too, when they begin to gravitate towards Lunar’s best friend, he’s not allowed to speak to in public.
Lunar, dejected and obsolete in the moment, where Johnny, who Lunar knows is adverse to attention, the only reason why he keeps up appearances is because of his other life, clings to what Johnny’s mother, the only mother Lunar knows told Lunar about Johnny.
“What do you call a bunch of kiwis under a tree?” Onstage, Lunar shouts out to the crowd.
JRA looks at his mate, and then at the members of the bowling club seated at tables down on the floor in front of him, “I reckon they’d be rotten fruit?” The laughter reminds Cut-Throat what he’s really about.
“So tell me then, what’s a bunch of kiwis in a beehive?” Lunar asks and JRA points his mic at the crowd.
“POLITICIANS!” The response is unanimous.
“Special highlights reel from the future,” Lunar announces and JRA picks up on his lead, “A fat guy, a thief too, running from the FBI, shows up in Aotearoa thirty years from now and takes the Prime Minister to court—true story! That’s just the beginning ladies and gents. Then this crazy son-of-bitch who’s had his name changed to Dotcom, that’s like you changing your name to Fax machine, or Xerox, decides he’s going to run for parliament. Can you imagine it on the ballot card? Let’s see here, we have Rowling, Holyoake, Lange, Muldoon, and then Fax machine?” The crowd respond accordingly. JRA waits for the laughter to die down before he adds the punch line, “Must be a damn typo ignore that one!
Outside the clubrooms, Mirah who follows her parents into their local for everything, from recreation to therapy over a cuppa on any given afternoon to entertainment on a Saturday night, hears voices, resounding, as if they were coming from within, and she can hear them in the “atmos” too. She shakes her head to see if she can rid herself of them. Her dad opens the door and her rapid eye movement is uncontrollable for someone who is supposed to be always in control.
Mirah’s first inclination is to hide her face in case JRA onstage notices her. But then she decides to hold her head up high as she makes her way through the gathering of decent everyday folk which she is a part of, and not for another second buy into the idea she’s a character in a story written by someone she wouldn’t give the time of day, even in la-la land regardless of how far he’s come.
Onstage at the bowling club Hone on the piano delivers a memorable set of kiwi classics which include hits “Cheryl Moana Marie” by John Rowles, Hello Sailor’s “Gutter Black,” “Loyal” by Dobbin and for good measure he throws in a couple by Jerry Lee Lewis which has the members rolling in the isles.
JRA is reminded of the kid’s talents as Hone gets a standing ovation, for which he chooses an encore of Dave Dobbin’s “Loyal” a song the audience have never heard, some of them will be long gone by the time the cult song of a nation finally gets out there a few years from now.
“Thank you, this one’s for my mother, it’s from the future. Oh, and it’s also from someone else who’s out there in the future,” it brings laughter and applause from the crowd for the “Troupe from the Future’s” theme for the night, which included a stand-up routine by Lunar and JRA. “Loyal for all kiwis, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thanks again.” Hone pushes the mic back for his voice that carries naturally, so the mic picks up only notes he chooses to amplify.
JRA standing against the wall, from where he can see all exits looks at Aleisha at a table down the back. The proud mother who missed the formable years of Hone’s life has tears that swell in her eyes, till one of them escapes to set them free for a well needed release of emotion.
At a table in the middle, Mirah who sits across from her parents with her back facing the stage isn’t able to detach herself from the moment that has the room quelled in Kiwi pride as Hone begins to sign unaccompanied.
“And ca-ll me…. Loyal – I’ll say you’re loy-al too...”
By the end of the first line, there’s not a dry eye in the room. It’s as if each person in the audience knew the story of each member of the colourful and talented troupe that showed up at the suburban bowling club unannounced on a Saturday afternoon sometime in the ‘80s.
“I know you’re loyal – I feel your loyal truth / Call me loyal – I’ll hold you loyal too / And we are loyal, keep it that way….
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
Lunar looks at the dilapidated building on the outskirts of the city, the most unlikely venue for a “Higher Rollers” party as Jerry who was doing security here for one of his “clients” had put it.
There’s a break in the traffic and Lunar can hear bass, which he also can feel rising up through the ground. He walks to the side of the building where there’s a driveway down the side almost lost in unkempt trees, weeds, not to mention the graffiti on the walls. Down the decline he can see a figure standing at the end. Lunar decides to check it out, as a car slows down and turns into the drive nearly taking him out. In the front seat a woman covered in blue sequins and a feather boar wrapped around her slender neck, looks like she needs more than money from the driver of the Porsche she peers out of. Lunar locks eyes with someone’s mistress or adulteress. Lunar had a knack of finding them—women in their prime who wanted no strings attached sex. He could walk into a room and within the time it takes a normal geezer to introduce himself and find a seat, Lunar could be in the toilets with some damsel, her bent over the sink, him pounding her arse for dear life. Lunar’s record for the number of damsels in one night…to be honest he lost count after ten. A conservative average for Lunar on a night out would be three to four. Lunar didn’t think of his habit as an addiction. In comparison to what was an addiction for him, which was fighting, fucking was a leisurely activity. Both pastimes were enjoyed more often than not under the influence of drugs and alcohol. That was not to say, Lunar didn’t fuck and fight when he was sober. He fought and fucked his way through life from the age of twelve. His partners and opponents were twice his age, for the first few years. It wasn’t till Lunar figured out how to make money out of his hobbies that he slowed down and became more selective of who he engaged in pursuit of his purest highs.
Lunar watches the car drive down the path, the woman, in her mid-twenties is saying something to the driver. Normally it would be some mocking remark about Lunar to make an insecure boyfriend feel better about himself and all the money and time he had wasted on her. Or, she really did pity Lunar in which case he now made it his mission to fuck the arse of the bitch.
Jerry appears down the end, where a garage door opens in the side of the building and the Porsche enters. “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan absconds the out-of-the-way location through the fissure on the side of the multi-storey building which has been in the news of late.
“Thought you were bringing ya mate?” Are the first words that come out of Jerry’s mouth. And soon, Connie replaces the blue sequinned lady in the Porsche as the must fuck damsel for the night. In fact, right now, Lunar could take Jerry for his welcome. “The bigger a dumb motherfucker is, the harder they fall,” Lunar mumbles under a smile as Jerry holds out his hand which Lunar grips tight and doesn’t let go of, till Jerry sensing something odd steps back and Lunar decides to let go. “Where’s that lovely lady of yours, Connie?” Lunar still has that sheepish sound to his voice, but his hunger to avenge something inside him, he’s not even sure of what it is begins to growl….
Mirah begins to run as the train’s headlight hit the tracks beneath the over bridge she crosses. A silvery musical riff wanders in and out the lonesome cloud that covers the face of the moon. The consonant morsel of a tune like a metronome for Mirah’s heart as her legs pump hard to make the train that pulls into the station.
The guard raises his hand to let the driver know that all passengers were now safely on-board, till he steps back from the doors when behind him he hears footsteps and then heavy breathing.
“Thanks for that. This is going to town?” Mirah manages to ask. She can’t remember the last time she caught a train.
“Sure is,” the guard confirms and then both look for signs in the dark that could be responsible for the hypnotic hook in the atmosphere.
“Teenagers’ party,” the guard announces then he raises his arm again ushering Mirah into the carriage.
Down the end of the last carriage, JRA and his crew, who were quite the surprise at the bowling club. Mirah sinks into a seat facing them but halfway down the carriage. In all honesty she had to get away from her parents. It was her Dad’s abusive behaviour. Passive aggressive, in which he never lay a finger on her mum, but his indirect hostility tore shreds out of her every second of their life together.
It makes for an interesting scenario, running away from home to join a circus, in which the ringmaster is known crim.
The doors of the train open, the musical notation in the air, like an omen on a full moon. Aleisha pauses before she steps onto the train, she looks around her. Lunar does the same before they go inside and find a long seat against the window. JRA standing behind Hone senses the tension, precipitated by a cog in the story that still turns in the future, that whoever has dragged the story back in time, forgot about.
“Chaka Khan” Hone surmises, “Ain’t Nobody” JRA commends the kid born decades after the anthem first charted.
Inside the train, JRA and Hone sit facing Aleisha and Lunar. The transient opiate from the station mesmerises the cast and one or two passengers who glance down the aisle at them more than likely fingering JRA and co as prime suspects responsible for the eerie but funky occurrence. The rest of them (passengers) ignore what’s happening, or they don’t hear it, or they too might be tourists from another time, indulging in their own story?
JRA warms to the cognitive challenge of the task at hand. Of late, distractions, some of them beautiful while others have been as dark as they have been opaque, thinning his intensity and resolve—ultimately his ability to formulate a plan and then plot. He senses Mirah’s energy close by. It acts as a concentrate or additive to his, now that he has made his mind up about his friend’s Lunar’s agenda which is basically a reaction to his personal development back in the future, which points to the current episode in the 80’s as Lunar’s doing. Aleisha and Hone are innocent bystanders who were happy with their existence somewhere around the end of the first decade. Signs that time was running out were starting to show, as JRA cannot pin point the exact time from whence they came. With only history to go by now, which neither he nor his characters are on record, apart from a criminal record, and Lunar’s awards as an adman, JRA must align himself and the cast correctly, each one with their destiny. From his own path as a small time hood to Novice writer, right through to Mirah’s a cop.
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
“The Dirty Lowe-down”
Inside the party for which the theme is “Race Car Drivers and Podium Girls from the 1930’s” Lunar finds a drink.
The slinky model Lunar’s seen around town has a little more than her smile and sparkling green eyes to lure an adolescent’s eyes and mind away from her body only covered in three satin sashes strategically crisscrossed to hide her pearls. It’s not until her male counterpart a male model from Auckland Lunar’s seen on TV commercials, sidles up next to her that Lunar wishes he’s never seen her before. At first Lunar wishes the ground would open up and swallow him when he catches a glimpse of the size of the bulge in the dude’s g-string painted over in a racing suit.
“He roots for the drivers not the podium girls,” the model who hangs out at the place Johnny won’t take Lunar to, has a reaffirming smile that sparkles perfectly with her effervescent eyes that twinkle like stars when the lights dim in the large warehouse.
“I’ve seen you dance,” she tells Lunar, as onstage made of scaffold that disappears into the night sky through holes in the roof, Wellington’s top DJ, who the organisers have managed to lure away from his resident gig at two of the city’s hottest clubs lets the record go—Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody.”
Lunar looks at the tray of drinks the model has. “All white spirits, and by the way my name is Sara” she tells him.
Mirah steps onto the platform at the railway station where more music greets her. Above the city bound swarm of passengers that surround the tall woman, Mirah spots JRA and his crew now at the front as they enter into the station.
Mirah zig-zags her way through half-cut people, to keep in touch with the cast that dip down and out of sight into the tunnel. When she catches up, JRA and Lunar are face to face in the middle of the tunnel, forcing people to walk around them.
Off duty, Mirah doesn’t feel as confident. Both characters carry more than just a streak of violence in them. She calculates the distance between her and the two men for which she has already decided that she will take affirmative action in JRA’s favour. It’s the only way to avoid the scene escalating, and from a distance, Lunar comes across more of a dick head than JRA….
Mirah was sure she had a firm hold around Lunar’s neck as she lays looking up at him and JRA from the ground. She swore his stubble scratched her on the cheek as she twisted his body while standing on his foot.
The locomotive doors open and outside in the WELLY atmos, where moving notions carry themselves on artic drifts warmed by earnest currents on a jet stream at the whim and therefore the careful disposal of an impassioned author, slick but true tones furnish the torrent and also placid walkways to the Golden Mile. In this instance, Boz Scaggs paves the way with a funkdafied and soulful bass line.
Aleisha has completely forgotten about her circumstance, in which she risks losing all that she had worked for. Hone still has a nagging knot somewhere in him from a high and dry situation years from now, which he may never know about, let alone walk back into to carry on from where he was rudely yanked, by a torn tale, JRA is akin.
Entering into the station, “So, what do you feel like doing mate?” JRA quizzes Lunar for ideas. “Feel like visiting an old haunt to relive glory days? In which you might be a second or two slower, and twice as dim-witted?” As the Cut-Throat-Creative, JRA decides that it was time to do his thing, whatever that was in context of the 80’s. All he knew was there were no half measures to be taken, as Mr Nice Guy, or as devil’s advocate as he tries to find friction for him to anchor the angst required to carve possibilities for a tale that cannot be mistaken for a random rant by an aimless underling, in terms of not yet having been published as an author, the one thing JRA can recall about himself leading up to the conniption in the chaos he always believed he had under control.
“I smell a party somewhere,” Lunar loves the idea that he finally has JRA on the ropes, a sure sign is when JRA a thoughtful guy feels he has to lash out to make himself heard.
“That’s like saying, there’s a Ferris wheel somewhere around here at the Winter Show. Come on mate, I need more. Has the Ferris wheel been taken over by fast moving Zombies? Or, has the motor spun out of control? Now that you’ve brought us here, what the fuck, you feel like doing asshole?” It’s fair to say that JRA was up in Lunar’s shit.
Aleisha pulls the front of her fur coat around her. Hone notices his mother’s distress about what’s going down and is next to her, with an arm he puts around her as he guides her to the side, away from where things have finally erupted between Lunar and JRA.
Toe to toe there’s not much between to the two friends, maybe JRA’s lightning speed and reflexes, which Lunar more than makes up for with durability to take a hit and counter while going backwards.
A warm flow of air passes between them, which JRA recognises as Mirah.
“Mirah, she’s a cop,” JRA raises his hands as he steps back.
Then the current wraps itself around Lunar. His hair and face become messed up, his body is twisted one way then the other.
“Remember your probation officer, the first one. Like her, but only hot,” JRA tries thinking of someone else, who he can liken Mirah to, who’s obviously stepped outside the realm they’re in for whatever reason. Most likely from an unforeseen burst of energy, which the sub dimension they’re in could not support.
“That lawyer chick that saved my arse from Jail. Twice as hot in this case. Three fold and then some, easily!” JRA goes overboard to ensure, they don’t lose anyone in the past, which he needs Lunar’s help for an entity he sure hopes is Mirah to materialise.
Mirah hears the words as she places her hands on the ground to sit up. JRA has his hand held out. “You nearly fell into the abyss Ms.”
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
“So what do you think?” Lunar remains still as he realises that somewhere behind him is Connie. After seeing some of the outfits on show tonight, the highlight of his evening is about to be unveiled.
Lunar counts mitigating factors in his favour if this was it.
From one of the ruined windowless offices that look out on the party in full swing, Lunar finds Jerry in the crowd. Not far from him, Sara. Lunar stretches their association and the sordidness that ensues when Jerry looks for a drink. The interaction is fleeting, but Lunar works the innocent contact so it warrants retribution which he will deliver in a manner, Connie’s outfit allows him to.
“I’ve been thinking about it all week,” Lunar admits. “Stay back, Jerry’s looking up this way.” Lunar waves at no one for effect.
“Shit!” Connie who remains well out of sight’s answer is music to Lunar’s ears.
“Trust me I don’t hate him, I just like you more.” Lunar feels Connie’s hands on his shoulders as he watches Jerry exit the building.
Mirah trudges along behind Lunar, who follows Aleisha behind Hone who’s behind JRA as the procession takes one of the tracks covered over by trees along the city parameters. Still mystified by what she’s doing here, Mirah keeps quiet for now.
She remembers being at the bowling club with her parents. Before that she recalls watching them have a drink at the Oaks bar. Other than that, there’s a void as deafening as the voice that screams danger.
“There’s a track that’ll take us down there….” Mirah recognises the voice as one of the comedians at the bowling club. He was the brash one, who had something to hide.
“You still haven’t told me what we’re doing here mate,” then the one who delivered the punch line for the jokes, and the leader seems like he’s not sure himself.
JRA imagines what it would be like to live sometime in the 21st century. Out all the things that could possibly cross the entertainer’s mind as he leads his troupe down a dirt track that will take them to their next gig, what life in the future would be like beckons his answer.
At forty nine, the aging comedian is neither weary nor optimistic. In his suit pocket, his memoirs, classified as biographical, gouged by the beat of his heart. Other than that, he has nothing.
“Remember, the merrier they are, the harder it is take them away into candour,” JRA reminds the cast of what lays ahead of them at their next job.
“The bowling club was just a warm up. This is it!” Hone heeds his mentor’s words as they begin the walk down to the road.
Butterflies dance an unruly jig for Aleisha the belly dancer.
“Maybe I’ll be allowed a word edgeways this time,” Lunar calls out in a tone that doesn’t quite undermine the boss, but raise the competitive edge in the team.
“Stick with me and you’ll be fine,” Lunar whispers over his shoulder to Mirah.
“Mirah, you’re our surprise package. By the time we get to the gig, you’ll have your act sussed.” JRA, a storyteller of note springs one on the new recruit they came across sometime during the course of the long night, which fell on him and his crew some time ago.
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
Lunar looks down on himself, as he quickly pulls himself free of Connie’s once delectable body on the floor in the middle of the errant space of the crumbling office filled with sounds and familiar voices, some of them can be attributed to ambience from the party, others not so kind and welcoming.
“Shit that was fantastical,” Lunar enthuses overly to drown out the outcasts he realises are from within then he feels the coke clogged up in his right nostril, the same stuff that still remains in clumps and infested lines on Connie’s bosom.
“You gonna finish this off?” Connie asks about the stuff on her breasts. “It cost good money.”
“Fuck damns ma’m…for a second there I thought you didn’t come,” Lunar is back.
“Stay right there babe, the Calvary and a thousand cocks coming to celebrate lustre’s next stand.” Lunar falls onto his hands that plant themselves either side of Connie’s face. “You like that? Word play, you know? On Custer’s last stand. Imagine being the only lass on the side-lines of a battle field.” Lunar pants, spitting his fantasy in Connie’s face. “Thousands of hungry cocks and only your slippery pussy for miles?” As they do, mere words, spread her legs and devide the obstruct of feeling wanted. Lunar, for special effects, grabs her hair and brings her head up off the ground, bending the woman’s neck till she has to look at him sideways. “Are you admitting that you’re?” Lunar waits for an answer.
“Yes, I’m a slut,” the answer receives its intended response when Lunar plunges further into Connie’s shit when he reassumes his pounding of her arse….
Mirah grabs Aleisha by the arm as JRA, Lunar and Hone form a huddle down the side of the warehouse on the outskirts of the city.
“Who are you? And what are we doing here?” Mirah promised herself she wouldn’t sound frantic or desperate.
“Aleisha, Belly dancer. Used to strip for a living then I bumped into this lot. He pays helluva lot better and you don’t have to worry when you bend over to undo the straps on ya heels at the end of the night if ya know what I mean?” Aleisha, the type of chick you could become besties with, after a walk from the train station, seems like she’s the full quid.
“How did we meet up?” Mirah sounds the complete opposite.
“That’s totally up to you,” In the moon light webbed by almost autumn eaten trees, Aleisha is more vixen than a Vienna patient for a budding Sigmund Freud.
“So you’re some sort of traveling side show?” Mirah tries to sound respectful as Aleisha’s vampiric allure blooms in the scaling moon’s decadent glow.
“Kinda, but not in a bearded lady type way. I digress, Lunar can do Mr Bean/Stallone trying to say his name with his mouth stuffed with a pair of panties and a bra. Sounds hilarious, if you can picture it.” Aleisha takes it upon herself to ensure the woman who might be someone trying to infiltrate their cosy clique, remains puzzled. Then Aleisha ponders whether or not she’s been off putting enough for the chick who continues to size her up and down. It could be for several reasons why a chick as doable as Mirah might be more interested in pushing her for the answers rather than one of the males. JRA was approachable enough, whether or not he’d give her a straight enough answer to wet her appetite at the prospect of things going any further than a teasing session remains unclear. And then she could’ve always hit on Lunar, which would’ve been a lot easier.
The moon light resents pupils that dilate to formulate fondness of the heart in the heat of the moment, which eyelids protect as if it were blistering rays of the sun in a scorching desert. JRA recants in his head the repertoire he’s relied on for so long, a love story about a loser and a damsel too blind to see she was from another galaxy and the distress she suffers is from this uncanny relationship and not her destiny.
The wily silver fox, places his right hand on his chest. He feels his life’s work, which fits neatly into one pocket. The two guys standing in front of him resemble people he once came upon. Fuck knows how well they knew each other, and whether they were friends or foes forced to join arms in a twisted plot he is a fan off. The less things made sense to him, the bigger the chance that this was just another bad trip. Certify the experience whichever way, it was still a certifiably crazy experience. Which one day he will find a way to be thankful for.
He decides he will remember them according to their age, youngan and the journeyman. Then he hears two women talking up on the road. The one in the fur coat, blondie and the taller and more aggressive one is red.
Dwindling fortunes and energy sapping Meisters after your life’s work dominate an already bleak horizon for JRA, as he musters experience, well-tried courage and Pacifican pride to make sense of the puddle he’s stepped in….
(Sometime in the ‘80s)
Sara passes by again, smiling as she holds her tray out for Luna who might be in need of a refill? Lunar toasts her with a half filled glass and a smile that says he’s fine for now.
Over at the bar, Connie makes herself known to one of the drivers favoured to take out tomorrow’s race. The fact he’s even here at this time of night raises eyebrows from a few people.
Lunar feels great, when sees the famous driver’s obvious body language in response to Connie’s whom Lunar hasn’t quite made his mind about, whether she’s unsatisfied or insatiable? To Lunar, it’s a woman’s prerogative to fuck as many men as she can, as long as he was one of them. Matrimonial duties aside, if she chooses to get shacked up and go barefoot and pregnant to reproduce and get matching wrinkles from stress then that’s her choice. In reality there was no such thing as a slut as far as Lunar was concerned, just dudes, who wanted to own something they shouldn’t be allowed to. The same rules applied for men in Lunar’s world.
Jerry keeps staring. And now that Lunar had one over him, it didn’t bother him anymore. The way Jerry backed off outside when Lunar decided to throw an agro vibe his way further evidence, that Jerry was a wimp. In fact, Lunar was considering suggesting to Jerry that he do the job, they wanted Johnny for.
Mirah keeps walking. The sound of traffic inhibits her from hearing if there’s someone following her. Aleisha’s explanation of who she was, enough for Mirah to set sail.
The older men, she’d seen before and the younger one had that look about him, the same as one of Mirah’s ex-boyfriends.
Whatever she was doing here at this time of night dressed like a teenager is beyond her.
Aleisha the stripper who passed herself off as a belly dancer, was someone Mirah could get to know, real well! The thought of taking her home to meet her parents, both angers and excites Mirah. Her dad’s response to her coming out, and her mother’s support of her when she saves Aleisha from slavery an amazing cocktail that keeps Mirah company beneath the caustic night that blackens the day moments before its rebirth.
Sticks and stones snap and dent the path to truth beneath her feet, while whim and fantasy coerce bravery as Mirah heads into unchartered territories. Honesty and functional, factual, rehabilitating verity pump blood to and from her thumping heart as daylight scares the shit out of the woman who realises the reason for her sleepless nights.
“Let her go,” JRA doesn’t get attached to too many things and gets over most things fairly quickly. It’s probably why, he, Lunar and Aleisha are all alone, but attached to each other in a maligned tale in tatters.
“Young fella, I think this is it,” JRA’s voice wavers for whatever reason, as he tells the kid to get lost. “Get going, you don’t want to this life trust me.”
Hone doesn’t recognise the old guy telling him to piss off, but something tells him, that he means well. So Hone bows his head and goes to leave like a pup being sent from his litter, that’s how it feels for Hone.
“Wait!” Aleisha feels sorry for the boy who’d be the same age her son, who was taken from her at birth.
“For what?” JRA intervenes as he senses there’s something far too complicated, he doesn’t have an explanation for, or worse still he might be the cause of.
“Can I give you a hug?” Are the only words that Aleisha can find to bridge the maternal yearning within, the handsome boy triggers in her.
“Sure,” Hone opens his arms for the lady, who’d be around the same age as his mother, who was also pakeha.
“You’re such a good man, I know it. Even though we don’t know each other, if you know what I mean….” The embrace is engrossing for both people, what Aleisha says is overwhelming for Hone. Neither one of them knows who the other is, as borrowed time in the sub dimension has run out. JRA steps in and pries them from each other. “Sad movies make me cry too. Come on the popcorn’s run out. Nek session’s about to start…”
JRA turns away quickly as something tells him the boy and the woman are connected in some way. The guy his age leaning against the wall has a smirk, not exactly what JRA needs to look at right now.
“Long train running, what can I do for you?” JRA can’t be bothered with niceties.
“It’s what I can do for you my friend,” Lunar is sure he finally has JRA where he wants him. “Can’t remember who you are? And you have that sneaking suspicion that this might be real and not an acid trip you took when in the wee hours once upon a time your life fell apart?”
JRA goes to take a step forward so he can take a closer look at the person with the ungrateful tone in his voice. Somewhere behind him to his left, a woman sobs uncontrollably as footsteps belonging to the kid transpire as they crunch stones on a new path to freedom.
“It’s Lunar bro! Your best pal! Remember me?”
The name sounds familiar, as JRA feels a hand on his shoulder. It’s the woman, which the guy standing against wall has something to say about also.
“Always gets the fucking chick, don’t ya cunt!” The low gravely tone, wakes JRA from his state of shock.
Then down the path, a door opens and two people exit the building, a big man and young guy. A heated argument that started inside the party becomes animated.
“I told you, it’s not my decision. They want Johnny to do the driving and that’s it.” The man mountain for whatever reason is explaining himself to the kid the same age as Hone. “Johnny don’t drive like that no more. He drives like your nanna, who by the way left her falsies under my pillow.” And with that the kid starts dancing around like Ali.
JRA takes Aleisha’s hand from his shoulder and holds it as Lunar appears next to him.
“My money’s on the kid,” Lunar seems confident.
“He’s gonna need divine intervention. Anyone who dances on the street should have a ghetto blaster and some lino with them.” JRA shares his thoughts.
The kid moves in and dips to his right and throws a right into the bigger guy’s rib cage. From a distance it appears to be nothing more than poke in the tummy which merely fires up the big guy, who bends down as the kid gets two more strikes in and picks the kid up in the bear hug.
“My money’s on King Kong giving the perfect Liverpool kiss right now,” JRA looks at Lunar, so he doesn’t have to see it. The noise is blood curdling even from twenty metres away.
JRA starts walking towards the fight with Aleisha at his side. Lunar waits to see if the kid can come up with a move as the big head butts him again.
“Hey, put him down,” JRA asks as the bouncer, he recognises from one of the doors, as he head butts the kid he used to know again.
“It’s Jerry, eh?” That seemed to do the trick as he throws young Lunar on the ground and turns towards JRA.
Lunar watches on from a safe distance somewhere behind JRA who makes light work of it all, when he takes out Jerry’s left knee with a kick for which JRA still has his hands by his sides, then one more kick to Jerry’s head as Jerry keels over, a toe-hack to the temple that sends Jerry down and out cold.
(Sometime in 2014)
“Screems From Da Old Plantation,” echo on the street, acoustics embody essence defined in reflections of different looks and faces in shop windows, rebounding of parked cars and busses carrying passengers who feel fine in close confines. Up on a balcony made for the view and not as a platform, Lunar Bois swirls his flat white round and round, till the coffee fabricates dark syrup from creamy milk. Down on the Golden Mile citizens and tourists sweep WELLY pavements with their feet carrying with them particles of the story on the soles of their feet, if not in the souls of their being, the wind has scattered unceremoniously to bless the coolest little capital on the planet.
From what Lunar makes of what his friend has written about him and for his sake he hopes, abstinence suggests that there was time when the tides of the moon meant little more than the difference between wading in excess that came up to your ankles, or above the waistline. Now the moon simmers for more worthwhile reasons, like being able to recall moonlit excuses to share moments with someone special, that all superlatives combined could not describe.
For now the compassionate sun blesses the traveller who’s become accustomed to the straight and narrow path. His HUAWEI alerts Lunar that an email from the blue chip client Lunar pitched last week has arrived. And then another one arrives from another million plus dollar account Lunar had all but given up hope on.
Lunar can’t help but notice the awards that line the shelves of his office, and prints of his best work that the interior designer insisted he hang on the walls. He used to see them as just decorations made of relics of moments in life when for whatever reason everything came together, which took some doing, considering some of the states in which he achieved the milestones. For someone who found his way into the business by pure chance, when he and JRA became entangled with Lunar’s former boss in the course of his affair with Aleisha, Lunar had done okay for himself. For years Lunar believed that it was favours afforded by what he had covered up for his former boss, as gopher, with the official title of junior copywriter. But then the awards for stuff Lunar churned out in a delirium of booze, sex, drugs all smoothed out with a mild case of schizophrenia to add true edge to his work began coming. As agency head, his boss, sold the ideas to the creative directors and sales who would then sell them to staff and clients and soon Lunar’s thoughts and irreverent rants were feathered down to meet the client’s needs, and out the other end popped a unique and polarising angle of the “need” and a simple, stylish but practical, thought provoking, heart-warming solution or campaign.
Since abstaining from almost everything but breathing, his meds and caffeine, which his psychiatrist strongly suggested he drop too, Lunar discovered “Authentic Self.” The voices which were now mild in comparison to what they used to ask Lunar to do, reminded Lunar of how powerful he was, which Lunar subdued with conscious reminders of how much he loved his coffee and if what the voices wanted him to do was worth giving up his one and only remaining fix. It also uncovered respect for all things. From the amount of effort it takes to nurture an idea, cultivate a relationship, develop a concept, and win hearts and minds with a sustainable and recognisable brand, logo, emblem, product, service, which endured upheaval, downturn, act of God and man-made disasters and a bad day. But probably the most valuable find was self-respect and respect for the needs of others.
The trip back to the eighties, which JRA depicted perfectly as it happened in Lunar’s dream last night was a test of sorts for Lunar he reads about in the LATEST UPLOAD.
Seated on a park bench against the wall, Mirah takes the beer Lunar hands her, like the one he passes to Aleisha. Next to them Hone who looks out for someone in the crowd as the band setup for a free concert at the Embassy end of the Gold Mile in the sunny cove under the watchful eye of the Tripod by Weta Workshop. At the side of the stage JRA talks with one of the band members, who must be someone close, as he and the bearded guy holding a bass guitar share a laugh, an honest one.
“You actually have to live out life’s riddles to come up with the answer,” Mirah sounds oddly philosophical for someone so sceptical.
“Knock, knock,” Aleisha asks. “Who’s there?” Mirah then sips her beer as she waits for Aleisha, “Sponty” she replies to which Lunar interrupts, “Spontaneity incredulously sad the morning after?” Aleisha hangs her head, her smile says that Lunar either hit the jackpot or was way off the mark and spoiled the joke. “Spontaneously combust you asshole.” Aleisha cuts eyes at Lunar before she spontaneously busts into laughter.
Hone relaxes as he spots Skylah in the crowd coming towards him. Glancing sideways at his mother, Mirah and Lunar “talk about cryptic and self-loathing. Guilt’s got all your asses. Luckily you aint got long,” Hone then cracks up.
Skylah, still high from the experience she reads in the LATEST UPLOAD in which she’s mentioned yet again. “My friends back home are so jealous, all of them GUIOPERA and Lazoo freaks, and little o’l me meets characters of the down under franchise, and you.” Skylah places her arms around Hone’s neck. “More handsome and more talented than Lazoo…” “Kia Ora for that, my beautiful wahine.” Hone becomes misty eyed as he recalls the nightmare which spontaneously Lunar, JRA, Aleisha and Mirah who no one knows much about, all suffered, like some sort of virus, which Hone is still not sure wasn’t real.
JRA looks for a way back to where Lunar and the gang are, but the crowd which has showed up blocks the way, so he has to walk across the front of the stage in front of people, a nerve racking encounter for the shy guy.
Onstage, STIRLING HERN begin the occupation of the top end of the Golden Mile on this perfect WELLY STORY day with their unique form of indulgent fusion that collects funk, rock and holstered genius unleashed in sensible ripples to please the music connoisseurs and pop experts alike. HERN, the lead singer and JRA’s brother-in-law, a muso’s muso who gave up on his dreams for bigger dreams than stardom doesn’t get much kudos for his talent, treats the welly crowd with his resonant voice and understated stage presence in “I'm on my own” the first of his four originals, which JRA urged him to do, even promising that he would write Geoffrey into the story if he did them.
JRA finally makes it back to the crew as HERN launches into “Jamaican Afternoon.” Hone and Skylah slow dance to reggae influenced number. JRA pulls up next to the couple, “Do Loyal with STIRLING HERN for me,” Hone nods with his eyes closed in happiness made with Skylah, sunshine, family and music. JRA finds a seat in the immeasurable satisfaction that his house was in order.
Aleisha ponders hidden meanings of the dream in which she realised the bond between mother and son in the dying moments, from which she woke crying. Then she settles for the obvious as HERN churns out “Lately.”
Mirah holds her beer up to JRA as he takes one from Lunar who has a tray of beers and a water in hand. JRA touches glasses with Mirah. “So the job on the Welly’s top 10 spots?” Mirah decides she might as well make the most of the opportunity.
JRA takes a gulp, then another that nearly empties the glass. “In the end it was inside job at the armoured car company which the insurance company paid for when negligence was proven when it came to bare that all 10 businesses and the armoured car company shared the same insurance broker. Takes from the hotels and bars were marked. The hit went down at the depot on the Monday morning….”
“And the driver?” Mirah secretly crosses her fingers as she waits for his answer.
“Fiction I guess,” JRA shrugs his shoulders.
Onstage, HERN dedicates “Sacrifice” “to the cast of WELLY STORY…”
“Morning bro,” JRA marvels at resilience displayed by a fly caught in a spider’s web up in the corner of the ceiling in the café he has his first coffee for the day, while he catches up with Lunar on the HUAWEI.
“Morning bro to you too,” Lunar sounds fresh and rejuvenated on the other end of the line.
“You know I have to print it?” JRA gets the formalities to do with copyright and sensitive issues that may harm relationships, out of the way as he asks Lunar to approve what Lunar reads in the LATEST UPLOAD. “There’s a fly caught in a web up in the corner. He spends all his energy trying to free himself, then he realises that he’s at the end of his life anyways. Do you think he should’ve just waited and hopped that the spider was some Xena/Amazon type octagen?” JRA waits for Lunar’s answer.
“Depends if the fly’s a lover or fighter. Octagen?” Lunar’s answer makes JRA smile. And then he feeds his friend the oil Lunar relies on. “Home-made meme for the mo, means black widows aren’t the only sexy species of spiders anymore. For today only though bro! Octagen, eight wheel car, eight sided pyramid that reflects underground, Nurofen, new, eight times the strength encased in next gen-gel…”
“Re the story Johnny, you have to do something about the tense; it’s past, printed mate. What can I say but thank you brother….” JRA takes the HUAWEI from his ear and looks at it like there’s something wrong with it and then he ends the call.
In the air the foreboding sense of solidarity stirs. JRA counts his blessings to be born in a city and country so forgiving, that someone like him and his past can resurrect his life as it was meant to play out. JRA looks forward to Hone’s rendition of the Kiwi classic accompanied by one of his favourite artists, HERN, as DOBBYN drops into the WELLY STORY with the real McCoy.
To be continued...