Single Status Update
Like the screeching and wailing of the damned themselves, the machine bleeped.
A mighty fist rose high from slumber, swinging forth into the dim new day. It descended with violence, smashing into the infernal machine and silencing it once and for all. Hard knuckle rapped hard on plastic, the alarm clock was silenced and went skittering across the bedside table, dislodging pens and lighters in it’s wake. It crunched to a halt against a brimming glass ashtray, and the ashtray in turn toppled from the tabletop and split it’s load all over the already much soiled carpet.
Ash motes filtered through the intruding fingers of sunlight. Barry groaned in his filthy pit.
Naked feet swung out from underneath the comforting sheets, accompanied with the usual blast of trapped nocturnal flatulence and a mighty yawn that smelt not much better. The beast had awoken, and proceeded to scratch itself.
Barry was greeted by the sight of his ashtray upturned upon the floor, the gray contents splattered out around the point of impact and dogend shrapnel scattered far and wide across deep and clinging carpet. He groaned again, stooped with protesting back to reinstall the ashtray back into its rightful place. Satisfied with kicking the spilt debris underneath his underwear drawer, Barry sparked up the first fag of the day.
The near constant groan of rude awakening turned to one of pleasure as the smoke merrily burnt and cleansed its way down his windpipe and filled his lungs. Barry exhaled, watching the smoke dance through the intruding sunlight and darken his world once more.
Bugger this, he thought, extinguishing the spent fag and going back to bed.
Barry lay beneath sheets that had nurtured him since birth. As once they were clad in Optimus Prime, now they were stained and bleached by time and youthful misadventure. As stinking and grotesque as these sheets were, they were as comforting as a particularly warm and minging womb. They smelled familiar, if rank. Legions of dust mites trouped below the slumbering Barry, ever industrious as the bed’s owner slept away the day.
Barry and the dust mites were rudely interrupted as the door to his chamber was flung wide and the other occupants of the abode made their play. Barry’s male parent, a grouching, bestial ogre of little humour and even less hair screamed his way into Barry’s subconscious and rose him once more.
“Wake up and get out of bed you lazy bastard!”
The ogre hit the light switch and brought the naked bulb into shining life, causing the unnaturally anemic Barry to scream and recoil from the light in a vampiritic fashion. Sighing resigned obscenities under his breath, the ogre stalked away.
“Git,” mouthed the Barry from beneath his sheets.
Fag number two was lit and inhaled as Barry staggered around his dark little room, his feet slipping on the multitude of desiccated magazines and papers that littered the floor of his lair. His dressing gown located and donned, Barry cracked his spine into an upright position and made his uncertain way across the hall and into the family bathroom.
The change of scenery he witnessed on his way was startling. From the death-metal nightmare that was Barry’s room into the lobby was an amazing transformation. Past the black-painted boarders of the Barry’s domain the walls were clean and white, if overbearingly patterned with flowered wallpaper coupled with nasty wood-stained sideboards. Barry left gray ash footprints across the well-tended lobby carpet as he staggered unheedingly towards the toilet, eyes half closed against the unwelcome and painful sun that now blasted through windows with unrestrained gusto.
Cursing the intruding light, Barry locked and barricaded himself into the bathroom and went through his daily hygiene rituals. He brushed his teeth with a humongous dollop of fluoride paste and a decrepit brush, inspected the newly cleaned teeth in the mirror and debated shaving. He studded the protruding and hairy chin reflected in the mirror thoughtfully. It was attached to a long head topped with mousy brown hair, sideburns so massive and rhombus-like that they would never truly go out of fashion. Green eyes peeked out over the blue-tinted fleshbags that were the stigmata of Barry’s reckless sleeping patterns and his parents’ ruthless and draconian enforcement of their “Wake up before 2pm or die” mindset.
Shaving, Barry decided, was too much effort. Much simpler to just let his chain grow wild, hairy and free as nature had surely intended.
After a generous spraying of deodorant to tame the smell striking forth from his armpits, Barry exited the bathroom and descended downstairs to hunt up some breakfast.
The ogre growled as Barry pushed open the door and entered the lounge. He was sat upon his throne, rolling tobacco and paper protruding from his lips and in the act of busily surrounding himself with smoke. The television in the corner displayed other large and sweaty ogres in thongs and neon pants grappling and stomping each other to the obvious delight of the thronging crowd.
Wrestling, Barry registered with disgust. Past the living room and the foul reek of the ogre’s smoke, his mother busied herself in the kitchen. She was baking a treat that Barry referred to as ‘Shit Pie’. With grace born of self-preservation, Barry meandered past the ogre, mindful to give the creature a wide berth as he smelt out whatever abomination was being concocted in the kitchen.
The kitchen, clean and free of tobacco smoke and the ogre’s lumbering presence, was exclusively the domain of his mother. Unwanted intruders were chased off with tongue and sharpened cooking implements. It was here that the Mother devised unique and hideous tortures in the guise of pies, cakes and mysterious Yorkshire puddings.
The she-devil herself stood thumping pastry prior to inevitable cremation. There was a savage light in her eyes that Barry did not care to look upon as she battered and abused the yeasty dough with a thick rolling pin.
Sensing his gaze, his mother looked up at the Barry as he invaded her kitchen. Mock surprise twisted her cruel lips as she spat sarcasms at our poor and misunderstood hero.
“You’re up early,” said she, looking at the clock as the big hand slowly crawled vertical.
“Things to do, people to see,” replied the Barry, edging past his bitter parent and making for the coco pops.
“Job center, employment, things of that nature,” stated his Mother with a calm authority that Barry dared not disobey nor question.
“Jobs for everyone!” said the Barry, grinning widely and making arcane circling gestures with his arms.
“See to it that you are gainfully employed before nightfall,” said the Mother, attacking the dough with several unmanning swings from her rolling pin, “Either become a worthwhile and contributing member of society before this day is done or never again dare to darken my door with your worthless presence.”
“It is a certainty,” said the Barry as he glugged milk straight from the carton before applying a liberal amount of the White Stuff to his bowl of coco pops.
“See it is so,” warned his mother as the Barry escaped her wrath, clutching his breakfast and returning to his chambers. He made a brief stop en route to collect his mail, disregarding the multitude of credit card bills and final demands and instead snatching the brown envelope that contained his giro.
Barry hummed ‘God Save the Queen’ as he tackled the stairwell, giro clamped between his teeth and coco pops borne in a bowl before him. Brown, chocolately puffs of wholesome sugar and rice escaped periodically from the sloshing milk lake as he climbed, falling from their container and then trodden mercilessly into the carpet to mark his accent.
Barry blithely passed by his ashen footprints and returned to his room. He was posed the logistical challenge of opening his bedroom door with both hands currently occupied with his burden of coco pops. With application of logic and a brief nod to his simian ancestry, Barry attempted to manipulate the door handle with his foot. More coco pops were liberated upon the carpet before Barry gave up and decided upon the application of force. With the door kicked open upon its broken clasps and hinges, Barry beheld the welcome darkness and familiar smell that greeted his nostrils. He entered, kicking the door shut behind him.
- - - - - -- - - - - --
Barry crunched his way through his coco pops whist sitting on his beloved and nurturing bed. He thoughtfully regarded the posters and pictures that adorned his black walls in their multitudes. Here Rob Zombie glowered through reams of makeup, there Trent Reznor looked on in all his broody and angsty glory. In amongst the rock stars and the vinyl records nailed haphazardly into the plaster were pictures of Barry. Barry as a youth, his hair still blonde and in the bloom of childhood before the later years of alcohol and cigarettes. Barry in school, his wretched blazer and gray socks. Barry in art college, which he attended for two days armed with a biro pen and a pad of Post It notes on which he scribbled down details of post-modernist, well, whatever.
Photos of Barry drunk, photos of Barry inebriated, photos of Barry intoxicated. Photos of Barry lying in a pool of his own vomit with a great big smile on his face.
He crunched and regarded that particular scene. The inner artist within Barry decided the photo would have been more striking if rendered in black and white.
His eyes were drawn away from that less than glorious moment in his life and back to the photo of Barry: Post Fetus five years. It was hard to connect that particular child’s face with the one borne by Barry the Vomit Eater. And yet it was so.
How the innocent have fallen, mused the Barry as he spooned chocolate rice cereal into his mouth.
Shaking off the melancholy mood that currently beset him, Barry drained the chocolate milk at the bottom of the bowl, dumped said bowl in the pile of crockery that lay at the foot of his bed and decided to get dressed. Regretfully he slouched out of his favorite dressing gown like a lizard shedding its skin and raked in his laundry basket for something suitable to wear for the occasion. For trousers he selected dark gray jeans, for socks he found a mis-matched pair of colourful atrocities that were almost clean. He carelessly slipped on his Magic Boxer Shorts he had purchased for 50 pence on e-bay before turning to the complicated matter of putting on his trousers.
The Magic Boxer Shorts had been a mistake, Barry mused sadly. It had been three weeks, and so far none of their magical female-attracting abilities had manifested themselves.
Barry thought perhaps the smell of Magic Boxer Shorts worn non-stop for three weeks might be interfering with their magnetic powers. Still, you never knew when a drop dead gorgeous woman without a nose might walk into the pub. Barry found that it always paid to take no chances.
For T-shirts, Barry raked out a selection of three possible candidates. T-shirt number one was a basic black cloth job, fairly fresh but lacking that certain creative ‘oomph!’ that Barry had come to expect from his clothing. So it was out.
T-shirt number two was an ancient Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, rescued from an unappreciative band of Heavy Metal philistines during their first German tour. The colours were all faded and the print was cracked like crazy paving, but Barry knew a T-shirt of this vintage would never fail to impress those of an intellectual gothic bearing. A definite underdog in the clothing selection stakes.
T-shirt number three, Barry’s personal favorite, had a giant multi-coloured beaver embossed upon the chest with the slogan ‘Evil Beaver’ scrawled across the back in a dripping bloody font. It was stylish, insane, and had an enormous beaver on it. It was truly the perfect garment, and as such Barry was most distraught to discover upon pulling it from his washing basket that someone had burned a bloody great big hole through the Beaver’s head.
“They have burnt my beaver!” Barry cried, inspecting the damage with a blurry eye. He dimly remembered his last alcoholic blitzkrieg, when the bastard Paul had ordered tequila and promptly set fire to the deadly drink. The recollection bloomed full in Barry’s head as through a drink addled fuzz he watched his shirt combust before his eyes, feeling the burning heat as it burnt through towards his nipple and the sudden cold impact of a pint discharged against the blazing inferno.
“You will be avenged,” Barry swore to his stricken shirt.