Tales of Alfie, Floorboy and Me

"I want to be amazing," I said to him as I spilled onto the bed and coffee fell onto his head.

"You're quite an act," was the reply and his thoughts soared out the window, his heart was soured out of control.

His lashes were slightly longer on the left eye and he took advantage of that, held it against me and used it as revenge.

I was sorry for my being so lumpy clumsy around him and he was too.

"Look," I begun but he turned and the anger glistened on his lips and sparkled as he flipped,

"You are a Disaster, and lookit my eye what have you done to it."

A bleak-black coffeestain had etched onto the cornea of the eye-with-slightly-longer-lashes and it was blinking frantically at me. Blue-eyed accusation.

"Fuck, are you two completely arseholed?" the Brit chap would shout at times, sporadically. Making all of us wonder whether or not he was very right in the head, but it was his flat and if he considered laying face-down on the floor was a perfect way to spend an afternoon then who were we to question his decision. We were right at Frognal Street and the view was alright. Half a block away stood the house that Siegmund Freud had lived in for the last year of his life, hiding away from the ferocious Nazis of Austria.

"He didn't even want to leave for London," muttered the Briton boy and I wondered how he could possibly know what I was thinking of.

"You're a barking barmy," the other lad told me, the sored-eye soured-heart one. "And a duffer too."

The London sky outside was shouting at me to stay inside, so I obeyed rather grumpily. The boys in the livingroom were off each of their individual rockers and I felt like lobotomizing them both. I got up the bed and out the room into the kitchen, looking around for something sharp but the best I could conjure was a saggy toothpick. Couldn't be fagged to look further so I decided against trying to save what little sanity the loonies in the room next-wall had left.

Why were we here? Well, we had been in a band together a while ago but some weeks after our last gig we became very catatonic at the fame we'd face so we went away and smoked up for a bit and became depressed authors of nonsensical semi-autobiographies instead.

This was on my mind when I took hold of some hot, muggy paper and pursued my destiny back into the livingroom and my boys and my mess and the coffee on the floor and in the eye, and I wiped it off and I wiped the faces off the floorboards and the funny little birthmarks on Alfie's knees.

"This is not for you, it's for me," I would smile and Alfie would smile back with his coffestaineye and his bitter heart and the smile would be empty but it would be a smile nonetheless.

"Hunky-dory, hunky-dore, hunky-bore," mumbled the boy on the floor and his skinny jeans were loose on his skinnier legs and the white t-shirt proclaimed his love for obscure British electroindie, but you couldn't see that because it was on the other side of the shirt and the other side of the shirt was frenching the wooden floor.

"You've made a real hash of your life and I think we're bound to be miserable," blue eyes fired at me.

"I don't think being miserable is even half as bad as it's blown up to be," I claimed, "and I don't think we'll be that off being it."


Later in the afternoon, when evening was beginning to dye the sky pink, I went to take a smoke off the windowsill and as usual the lady across the street started screaming Italian insults at me.

Floorboy heard the signora and came to my side. He gazed at her in a dumbstruck dumb fuck manner and shouted insults at her in his own made-up, madness mother-tongue. After that he held out his tiny hand at me like a child beggar and I gave him a fag. He lit it while he climbed up onto the sill and crawled into my lap. The hair on his head was sooty even though I could still bring to mind a vague remembrance of it being a sandy yellow, a long time ago.

"Do you remember Lord Wotton?" he asked my thigh. I sucked on the Richmond Superking before I thought of a reply.

"At times."

"He had your eyes."

Inhaling nicotine and tar. Exhaling carbon dioxide.

"And your madness."

He laughed at this, and his lips were thin and pale. Inhaling calm. Exhaling worry and hurt.

"I wonder where he went," Floorboy remarked in a solemn tone.

"He's probably living high life chasing rats in the underground," I said comfortingly.

"He was the only one I ever loved," said the boy who spent most of his days on the floor, and at this confession I had a complex emotion.

"This place is in shambles," complained Alfie from under the bedsheets. He didn't really want to speak, he just wished for some attention. I had another complex emotion upon realising this. "We should do something about it."

"We could re-arrange the furniture," suggested Floorboy while crushing out the last glow of his ciggarette onto the windowsill, which was already quite blackened by previously put-out fags.

Alfie and I looked around the small room. There were two rickety old chairs by the other window, and a television set on the floor and an ashtray, and the big white bed that we all shared. There were two cardboard boxes in the small passageway leading to the kitchen, and these contained our clothes and other humble possessions. We also had a meagre safe underneath the bed, and in it lay only a few bags of benzoylmethyl ecgonine and a ruby on a thin golden chain.

"We have nothing to re-arrange," we said in unison.

I laughed because there was nothing else to do.


Life crept on much in this fashion for months on end until one evening when Alfie found Floorboy on the roof of my mouth and suddenly we weren't three musketeers anymore but more like one half of the Beatles and a Yoko. Alfie shouted like Floorboy used to shout when he was in his worst distress and we knew it was serious because he ran out the doors, down the stairs and out onto the summer street and off into the sunset and all the while we could hear him yelling out his agony.

"Will he be alright?" Floorboy asked, but it was no use because I was flat out on the floor, weeping my misery onto the wise old wood.


Alfie returned the next morning. I sat up in the bed I'd crawled up into, and I knew he was there before I saw him in the doorway. He stared at me without seeing me for so long that I understood that he was contemplating murdering us, so I gently sat back and waited for him to reach a decision. Floorboy was snoring next to the safe, and his nose was powdery and his cheeks salty.

He didn't kill us, but he looked at me and his entire being expressed a huge, hurting Why.

"We just wanted to numb the loneliness for a while," I explained.

And Floorboy concurred, "I don't think being miserable is even half as bad as it's blown up to be."



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