2. A DRINK, PERCHANCE TO DREAM

Terrance Gonzo’s Asylum For The Half-Baked features a dose of bad luck, half-formed sketches of events, gleaned from people who probably shouldn’t have been there, who may even regret ever having had met me.”

Section 1: It was interesting from day one

Sinbad Trevelyan was sat in the corner of a dimly lit all-night Schnitzel bar called Hitler’s, nursing a bourbon. His discomfort had been noted.

‘You don’t talk to the girls?’ asked the barman.

He was a decent chap, small feet. Sinbad wasn’t sure if the two were linked.

‘Not at the moment, no,’ replied Sinbad.

He was still troubled by his Picasso sex dream. Had it been her leg or my eye? he thought.

‘You don’t think she’s pretty?’ the barman said, pointing at a brunette at the end of the bar.

‘Er, yeah.’

‘Why don’t you go and talk to her?’

Sinbad thought it the best piece of advice he’d ever been given. He got a taxi home.

 

As luck or intelligent design would have it, Sinbad met this very same brunette a few days later at a gig. Fortified and feeling a rare connectedness to the world, he approached her outside. They spoke for less than four minutes. In this time, he got her number.

 

Sometime later he wrote the following:

I could feel the television

eating my brain.

I’d made myself a slave

To all things I liked

and most of all

To all the time I had

That started to feel not enough.

Still

There are certain things that aren’t for me.

Like a nine to five job and cycling in London.

I turn on the telly. ‘Benidorm A & E’

Kinell. Channel change.

A man tries to hail a bus from the wrong side of the road.

Now I get a text from this new one. Romance via technology. The illusion of intimacy

And we

text all week

Incessantly

And facebook

Incessantly

And it’s fine. And it’s

Flirty

But we start to know a huge amount about each other and when it comes to the date the reality is we’ve only spent five minutes chatting

at a gig

the week before.

Yet if I was minded, I could ask how her brother’s feud with their father was going.

I mean, naturally

I demurred

But the easy getting to know you stuff had been done

Yet it hadn’t

Not really

But you couldn’t talk about that cos it had already been covered

So we knew each other but

didn’t know each other at all.

Why can’t we just wait til the date?

The illusion of intimacy.

I’m gonna have to be right on my game if I’m to stand a chance

I’m never ready

At least rarely

There’s work ahead

Stay honest.

 

Every time I don’t hear from her

I think she’s changed her mind

It’s the fear of rejection in a relationship that worries me

not the initial pursuit

(I’m not sure what worries me there)

And this feeling seems to be becoming more acute

Life is like a Venn diagram

With

Hidden thought

Chance encounters

And

Shades of understanding.

How far do you spin from the nucleus?

 

Being with a woman I really care about

Makes me less brave

To start with

Or

At least

At the Start

I don’t know what happens

Beyond

The Start

 

After this, things went steadily for a time. They had been seeing each other a little while when he met her brother and her for a pint at the pub.

 

He realised he looked a right dick clutching his Franz Kafka anthology. Like he was signposting his rabid intellect. He’d not intended it to be so. He just had it on him to read on the bus or if he had to wait somewhere, or if they had been late.

He thought: Thank god I didn’t say ‘oh no, I’ve read Metamorphosis, it’s the other, less well-known stories I’m reading’. But he may as well have done. Her brother looked at him with a disdain that reeked of you aint good enough for my sister.

Which may just have been his own fear.

He felt there was a good chance he’d fall in love with her. She was certainly the girl, the woman, who seemed to approach his heart with the most ease. Yet he couldn’t consummate the union how he wanted. Because his feelings were so strong, an obsequious, almost reverential quality overcame his lovemaking. It rendered him too respectful. And he felt inadequate. Ultimately he feared this may drive her away.

The next day he looked a right nutter bringing his own sandwiches to the cinema. On his own. On a Monday afternoon.

Or any time.

Bit train-watchery-paedo.

Don’t you think?

Sat there with all the other anal retentive cinema goers. Please no-one make any noise, he thought.

Afterwards he walked home, and into his local shop.

‘Ah my friend, how are you?’

‘So so.’

‘Oh sorry to hear. But listen. You’ll like this. We’re renovating the beer fridge.’

Be grateful for small et ceteras…

 

The next time he saw her he was in good spirits. He’d started to believe, to overcome his fear.

He was feeling expansive and descriptive.

 

‘I have a dream and in my next dream I explain what the last dream was about as though I’m awake. And I’m talking full-on magical splendour, real meaning-of-life type stuff.

Then I wake up from dreaming and have that wonderful split second in which I have the knowledge of this thing I’ve just discovered. Then, as I try to formulate it into an idea, it vanishes. I end up chasing my tail in my brain, seeing this info burning away as I run after it.

And the answer was there was never anything there – I’d been tricked by my brain into thinking I’d thought something profound. I had the illusion I’d discovered something but it was just garbled words.’

‘Yeah, think I’m gonna go,’ she said.

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