Dear friends,

As you may or may not know, my brother and I have written a book which is now available to order. The following is a short exert. This book has very much been a labour of love created over several years. It tells a story of existential crisis and the culture clash of capitalism and the art community. If you’re interested in buying a copy more details can be found here: https://www.createspace.com/3457354

Chapter Ten

Inside my apartment I walked towards the fridge and found two beers. Sophie was seated cross legged on the floor. I collapsed in my old, fraying green armchair, placed one beer on the ground next to me and started sipping on the other.

‘So are you going to give me a drink?’ she asked.

‘Oh sorry dear, drinks are just in the fridge, help yourself.’

She did not seem offended and when she re-entered she sat in the same place, smiled and spoke.

‘So I heard that you were writing yourself.’

‘Where did you hear that?’ I enquired.

‘Don’t know, words just travel. They float about landing in many unexpected places. I think Joseph may have been saying that.’

‘Oh you know Joseph, Joseph Smith?’

‘Please, everyone knows him. I also know about your insane engagement speech, but everyone knows of that as well.’

‘Yes apparently so,’ I mumbled.

My brother has fame and I, seemingly, have infamy.

‘What’s it called?’

‘My novel?’

She nodded.

‘Greatness.’

‘That’s a touch pretentious,’ she laughed.

‘Not if it’s true,’ I mumbled.

‘So what is Greatness about?’ she asked still laughing.

‘Well that’s a hard one to answer actually …,’ I began.

‘So nothing,’ Sophie cheekily interrupted.

‘No, wait, it’s about something. I think. Well its several stories and themes rolled into a series of short stories.’

‘Example?’

‘Well I want to write about a character named Josh Jones. He is just this average cat trying to write a story and …’

‘So the old story within a story, play within the play? That’s been done, and by Shakespeare what’s more.’

‘Sorry, I didn’t finish. In the story you see, he is writing, he is writing about a character trying to write a story.’

‘So it’s a story within a story within a story?’

‘I think.’

‘Hmmm.’

Suddenly there was a loud knock but before I could even get up the door violently swung open and there walked, or rather stumbled in, a muttering Joseph Smith and the two girls he was with before.

‘How did you know I was here?’ I asked.

‘We, err, I … fuck,’ Joseph said in a slurred voice.

‘Well that clears everything up,’ I said to myself, but earning a chuckle from Sophie.

‘We didn’t know you were here,’ one girl spoke.

‘In fact I think Joseph was hoping that you would not be,’ the other girl said.

‘Well that’s lovely,’ I rolled my eyes.

‘Don’t be like that. We would not be hitting your place at all except … shit off, you have a record player!’ Joseph spoke before he lowered himself to the floor and lay down, curled up like a cat on a familiar rug.

‘And a typewriter!’ said the girl in tights pointing to the corner of the room.

‘Got any drink?’ the girl in cowboy boots asked.

‘Sure,’ said Sophie, ‘in the kitchen.’

My apartment consisted of one main room, an armchair, a mattress that lay on the floor, a small bathroom and a kitchen. That’s all one needs. Cowboy Boots brought in a six pack from the kitchen. I turned on a record. It was Joan Baez. Joseph looked like he would be out of order for the rest of the night.

‘So little brother,’ spoke Cowboy Boots.

‘Younger brother,’ Sophie corrected. 

‘Sourires!’ I corrected.

‘What do you think about your brother’s recent works?’

‘Oh Christ,’ I sighed, ‘I have not read them.’

‘Liar,’ said Sophie.

She was right.

‘But you know,’ spoke Cowboy Boots, ‘Pau, the greatest writer of our time, has gone all religious. What the fuck is that about? Preaching at us?’ 

‘Maybe you need to be preached at.’ I said.

‘But seriously to say society is only the way it is because it’s religious and just does not know it, how pretentious is that?’

‘I don’t think that was his point,’ I said.

‘Well what is his point?’ Cowboy Boots asked.

‘What’s it matter what I say about him? I’m not him. I’m not even like him. Fuck, what if we weren’t even brothers? Would you still ask that? Would you even be here?’

‘Well what are your thoughts?’ Sophie asked in a warm voice.

She asked the right question. She had her finger on the pulse. I sat up and thought for a second then changed the record, putting on Lightning Hopkins’ ‘Nightmare Blues.’

‘Everything works in opposites, black white, north south, happy sad, my brother and I. The only things that make sense are contradictory. The idea of compromise is weak and a very human idea. It’s a simple logic. There is a far greater logic in this universe, this reality. It works with opposing forces, tension. In dialectics, forces collide and push against each other. Sometimes one idea gives way to another, sometimes they combine together to create a new point of view. The best logic can incorporate both ideas in all their opposing strength together, that’s purity and that’s perfection. When you find that you have found G-D.’

‘G-D’s a lie,’ spoke Tights.

‘You’re a lie,’ I drily replied.

Joseph rose up from his slumber and murmured. Eventually he asked if anyone wanted to hear a poem.

‘Ok,’ the girls answered much louder than the ‘no thanks’ I said under my breath.

‘It’s a good one, my best poem yet,’ he announced whilst lifting himself to his feet. He was still rather dazed and had trouble standing in one spot. So we swayed around, trying to help him stand whenever he needed help. He started to speak.

‘I wrote this in a dream once, when I was old Leadbelly.’

Reaching down he started to take off his shirt.

‘Is this part of the poem?’ I asked the girls.

‘No talking!’ he demanded. Then leaning forward he proceeded to vomit on his trousers and my carpet.

‘Ewww,’ exclaimed Cowboy Boots.

‘We better get him home. I guess he’s in no state for sex tonight,’ said Tights.

The two girls, Tights and Cowboy Boots that is, got up and helped Joseph to the exit. Before Joseph left he turned to me.

‘Did you like my poem?’

‘Sure just not on my carpet,’ I replied.

Joseph smiled and waved before tripping over. The girls picked him up again and they left.

‘So that’s the great poet,’ I teased.

‘Well do you know any better ones?’ Sophie said.

‘Good point.’

‘I want to take a bath.’ 

‘Help yourself.’

She walked into the bathroom leaving the door open. I walked to the kitchen to wash my face but no water came out of the tap.

‘Your bath is fucked,’ she called out.

‘No it isn’t’

‘Well there’s no water.’

‘Apparently not,’ I replied.    

‘I feel ill.’

I could hear her throwing up in my basin.

‘Make sure you wash it all away,’ I mocked.

After some time she came back in the room only wearing her skirt and stockings.

‘I am going to sleep,’ she casually declared.

‘Ok.’

‘I don’t want to have sex with you.’

‘Ok.’

We lay together on the mattress and pulled the old blanket my grandmother knitted for older brother over us. We slept. 

For another sample chapter check here: http://benjaminthomasjones.com/?p=172

 

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