Anyone familiar with Jack Kerouac will know of his ‘spontaneous prose’. His method was well developed and it had its rules laid out in his “Essentials of Spontaneous Prose”. For his ‘set-up’ he compares it to an artist before they put pencil to paper, or a brush to canvas: “The object is set before the mind, either in reality, as in sketching (before a landscape or teacup or old face) or is set in the memory wherein it becomes the sketching from memory of a definite image-object. . . .”
I took that idea of a blank canvas and the brush, but without a clear object or idea. I opened a word doc and jotted down whatever arrived in an attempt at writing a very short, somewhat coherent story. I suppose you could call that ‘spontaneous prose’, or ‘subconscious prose’.
This is how many writers approach the first draft of their works, with nothing really in mind. Then they take that first draft (or ‘vomit draft’ as some writers call it), and refine it from there. But here I wanted the vomit to remain; there’d be no clean up on aisle five. So I’ve called it Expressionism, and this is my first effort. No edits, no path — just words that flowed out onto the page.
Take them, slowly.
Take them in a few mouthfuls.
Down them like there’s no tomorrow.
They’ll dampen the thoughts but liven the spirit.
I pass through the narrow, rain-speckled, rouge-lighted laneway with a stumble and a fumble. I curse — cunt — who? Anyone. Whomever. And I fix my long cashmere coat and I will an argument with someone, but no one’s here.
Who’s around then?
Some taxi tarts. Some residual rodents of the night before. Some of those without a home to go to. Some of the heroin heroes and the wannabe di Neros waiting for the moment to pounce.
I’m classless — that’s lacking class, not a class. Gauche. Inelegant. Ungainly. Graceless. I do have a class. A working one. But I’m not stateless. Of which I’m not a devoted fan — not a centralized, expansive, militarized Europe. Who decides on the situation when Theresa, Jacob, and co. set sail? Us? No, the Junk, that’s with a ‘yuh’ — Here, you! Piss off!
I don’t want to get into that, though. Who wants to? We’re all tired of it. All we want to do is to be left alone. Let us be. Let us do a bit of work and live life to a decent standard. Let us work and play. Let us live and love and let us not be drowned by the greedy and the corrupt.
We’re drowning. A stretched arm from the icy wall of water. A gasp, an open-mouthed cry — a raw caw, caw, caw. Can’t… breathe… Help… No help. No, we don’t need help, we need release. Release from your cold, stifling, suffocating grasp.
You. Corrupt. The Corruptors. The parasites. But enough of that… Because I’m loaded. I’m loaded on liquid pills and I’m looking for some new thrills. Some cheap thrills. Something that will let me forget… something… someone…
I approach The Beast. I don’t notice him at first. He’s the man with the plan.
‘All right, Beastie,’ I slur.
‘Sebastian,’ he purrs. ‘Sebastian, you’ve looked better.’ His voice. That voice. The Beast, a paradox. He’s a gentleman — a cock-hungry gent who speaks the Queen’s English as well as Hitchens the Polemicist did.
He chuckles, does The Beast. He laughs giddily like a schoolgirl.
He’s big — boisterous belly; nosey navel peeking through his partially unbuttoned shirt.
‘Sebastian, be a darling and give me your lighter. Mine… lost its way somewhere earlier in the night. I can hardly be held responsible for everyone and everything.’
I fumble around in my pocket and find the lighter. I rev the engine — the flame greets the ciggie.
‘I’ve got work in the morning,’ I tell The Beast.
‘You mean in a few hours?’
‘Yessssss.’ I stumble. ‘I’ve got work and it’s for the devil.’
‘The big C…’ he nods his head.
‘Tell me, Beasty boy,’ I say, attempting to stand up straight, with dignity — whatever that is. ‘Do you think we’re headed for the big bang of the nuke? Europe… Balkanization… China… The T Man… Where are we headed?’
‘Oh,’ The Beast says. ‘Oh, my sweet little Sebastian. That’s not for me to say… I’ve got a date with Mister Junk and The Elephant’s Whiskers — they’ll decide your fate… they’ll make the call on the Big Bang…’
‘What’s the way to go? I don’t want the big C…’ I say, half moaning… ‘I gave myself to It…’
‘It doesn’t matter,’ says The Beast, dropping the fag and twisting his foot on the concrete. ‘It’ll all be over soon.’
‘Soon,’ I say. ‘Soon I’m in work… It won’t be over by then…’
‘I’ve got to go,’ says The Beast. ‘I’ve got a lot to devour.’
‘So…’ I hiccup. ‘So, does the big C,’ I say.
‘We’re not so different, then,’ he says as he paces down the street — giant, meaningful steps.
I lean against the wall. The Beast left a half-empty pint behind.
I reach for the liquid pills.
I drink it.
We all drink it, in some way.
– 20th September 2018 — 8:19pm