Connotations

Chapter One: Stanley's Night


I couldn't sleep.

Three in the morning, Sunday laughing, computer buzzing, I couldn't sleep. Nothing to do, head hurting, ankles itching, tongue drying, eyes watering, dick aching, foot fizzing, dawn breaking; I couldn't sleep. Sun rising, clock ticking, and god shit damn a dingle-fucker I couldn't even get in those four fucking hours before the clock struck 'Get the FUCK up' and I had to drag my sorry, hung-over ass out of bed. Fuck.

I rolled over and slammed my head into the pillow. Waited. Still awake. I smothered my face in sheets and breathed in the goddamn Bounce. Waited. Still awake. I counted several sheep, and when that failed me, a few fuzzy fucking kitties and a humpback whale too. Waited. Still awake. I looked up at the pimpled white ceiling and groaned, throwing my clumsy hands over my face. This is what you get, I thought, this is what you get for drinking coffee at four in the after-fucking-noon. Ironic thing was, I had knownthat this would happen, even as I had tilted back that non-re-usable cup of strongly caffeinated happy juice and enjoyed my few minutes of high on the fly oomph, and that was what killed me now. Running my tongue along my teeth, I could still taste the damn Africa Sweeny or whatever the fuck kind of coffee it was (coffee is coffee is coffee), and that, more than the drone of my Sony or the throbbing of my dick, was what was really got me. I had known...

Outside, it was still dark, and that provided some sort of pathetic comfort. It would be hours yet before the sun showed itself to me, reminding me, taunting me, that it would be a sad day in my neighbourhood. Poking me in the ribs and jogging the bell, striking the chord, teasing the ball of yarn and yelling the sore, redundant reality of my mistake in my face. I had sipped the Arabian Ruben or whatever of light in the sky and then night had come. And the battery juice had stuck around, propping my bloodshot eyes open so that I could look at the damn clock until the cows came home. Counting seconds.

"You know, Stan, you could try smiling for a change. Just try. Might be a good look on you."

What the fuck had she meant by that? I smiled my fair share- I simpered and smirked my way around candy mountain. Sure, so I didn't cast sunbeams out of my yap like the rest of the world. And I didn't smile into a lens - ever. I hated people who smiled into the camera, hated it as much as I hated ballet dancers, and almost as much as I hated thick-crust pizza. Smiling into the camera was a fad that had developed alongside eating one's vegetables and dotting your I's; crossing your T's. It was a ridiculous ritual following the absolute and lonely cliché of faith- following blindly into the mist and hopping onto the bandwagon of Kodak moments and strawberry slurpees. Someone holds up a Polaroid, instructs you to voice a hard and melty dairy product best left on nacho chips, and you immediately succumb, exposing your gums to the flash of said person's memories. And that gum-revealage right there... that aint a smile. It's a cop-out. It's a product. It's some rotten, ugly thing mass produced on conformity's assembly line. Henry Ford invented mass production for cars, people... not smiles.

As I had told her many a tedious time, I would beam when there was something to beam at- some rare castle in the sky that star-fell into my periph. And to her customary reply of 'That's cheap' or 'must suck to be you'or some other morbid bullshit, I would only give her the 'fat cat' look, as she called it. The smug, superior, 'I know something you don't know' look I am oh-so-known for, because apparently it makes me look just like Spongebob Squarepants when he finds out that yes, yes Squidward really doeslike Crabby Patties. Because what Gwen Watson didn't get was how brilliant my smile preservation really was. How utterly, dumbfoundingly, knee-knockingly fuck-tastic. Flashing your pearly whites every which way was the same as whoring your genitalia out to whoever said please. Please and cheese stand hand in hand where my brilliant metaphor is concerned, and that's fucking genius. Saving a smile is like saving yourself for marriage. Rewarding, unexpected, sacred, and it's sure to make the people experiencing the moment cry out in jubilant, pleasurable glee when the time finally arrives.

She'll see.

One day, Gwen will look back through the content of her digital's memory stick, and among the flocking visions of my flat, colorless face, she'll see it: Stanley Watt, in all his rosy-cheeked, shining-eyed, split-mouthed glory. And she'll be floored. It will be as if heaven had opened herself up and let the light of 

her innards pour out onto the top of Gwenny's head. Bathing in the guts of holiness, her blind sighted eyes will be washed clean, and the world will be seen in a new light. My grin will cure fucking leukemia and solve global poverty. People will turn on the streets and their pores will be cleansed. Pit-bulls will stop biting; politicians will stop talking. It will be beautiful. A rare beauty, but I like those. The Pandora's Box of smiles...

Shit...

I found myself smirking at the sealing (nothing big) and re-routed my train of thought. My head jerked to the side and landed on ugly, red, glowing numbers. Three forty-two. Three quarters of an hour had falcon-dived closer to the fish of morning while I had pondered on the guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea and Carl Zeiss lenses. Rolling over, I tried desperately to suck the soul out of my pillow. Mom always laced the laundry with some gypsy sedative akin to lavender. Picked up at the little East Indian incense shop down the way. Said it helped her sleep.

Counting whales did more for me than this shit.

You want some gum? It's minty fresh.

Gwen always kept spearmint gum tucked away in the mayhem of her purse. Always. I liked watching her reach for it; dip those long piano fingers of hers into the soft blue slip thing and fish around, like a woodpecker digging for grub. Blabbing on about one stupid thing or another, she'd keep her eyes up while those fingers searched. And sometimes she'd crinkle her nose in strain, straitening her arm to plunge deeper, deeper... I liked that. It made her look like fucking Tinker Bell- a Tinker Bell with tight little arms and a tight little waist and tight little tits that pushed against the inside of her shirt when she went digging in her magic purse. I liked it when she pulled the gum out, too. Always quick, with the little fragrant rectangle held between her fingers like a cigarette. It made my palms wet.

It was four o-clock in the morning now, and the point had been lost. I sat up in bed, letting the dark blue quilt sift down my bare chest. It was something like the ten second rule, I figured: sleep was plausible up until around four hours in bed. After that, it was safe to assume I was doing something wrong. Patting my gut, I got to my feet and padded across to the door, stepping over the assorted shit that I was hitherto too lazy to find a place for. Shirts, Twix wrappers, fish food; quarters. I was a lazy fucker, and I knew it. Somehow, though, I didn't really give a shit. And I managed to make it to the hallway just fine...

It was beyond fucked, but as I opened the door, my stomach turned over. Always had, ever since I was a three and a half foot tall chubby fuck with fudge in his teeth. There was something about that moody hallway with all those chipping doors and the crackly red carpet. Something not quite right. Something fucked. Something oogy. I remember watching Alice in Wonderland way back when and thinking shit, my basement's got Wonderland Fever, or something like that. It reminded me of some warped sort of mental asylum, or rather, a place they put people they wanted to make crazy. Thirty feet of stained rug, and three doors on either side, staring each other down, ready to pounce. It gave me vertigo. And my room just happened to be at the head of the table.

My steps were thin as I stumbled to the stairwell and creaked on up, relying on the handrail to guide me. The light here was burnt out, and as I rounded the top, my toe caught hard on a nail.

"Fuck!" I tore my skewered toe from the floorboard."Oh Fuuckkk!" It took a second for blood to show, but a second was enough. Oozing quietly through the sock onto the wood, it fwooshed like a fucking geyser. "Mmmph, fck, shhh, mmh" Oh god it hurt. Putting the weight onto my heel, I hobbled over to the kitchen counter and fumbled for the tap. The water came out hot. Way too fucking hot. "Oh FUCK!" I was now more pissed off than anything, and my voice echoed off the dark kitchen walls, no doubt shattering and clacking off the floor into my mom's bedroom. I didn't give two shits. My toe was on fire, and the thick stream of H2O was steaming and hissing violently at me, wanting to pick a goddamn fight. My hand slammed down hard on the metal lever, and the angry noises stopped.

"Stan?! Stan is that you? Are you alright?" My mom's monotonous voice didn't even register. I just let out a robustly primitive grunt and peeled the bloody sock from my foot.

"Mmmmh..." It was so fucking tender, I couldn't even stand it. The sock was soggy and dripping with gore, and as I looked down at my ripped flesh, the onslaught of blood, the gaping mouth of it; the tatters of skin hanging from it, I felt a bubble of puke well up through my-

"Stanley?! What in god's good grace is going o-"

"AH! Nothi- Mom, I'm FINE. Go back to bed." I grabbed the home phone from its cradle. "I stubbed my goddamn toe on the stair."

"Do you want me to get up?!"

I was already punching in numbers, blinking away tears and swallowing back my dinner. "Jesus ma, no! Go back to bed!" It pissed me off that I was shaking, and that my voice sounded so damn pre-pubescent. The blood continued to flow onto the floor as the phone rang in my ear. One...two... what the fuck was I doing?! I slapped the mobile shut and tossed it back onto the counter, before running coldwater and soaking a paper towel. As it dropped to the hardwood, I stepped down and moaned as the liquid seeped into the fresh and raw. "Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck..." I watched and gripped the counter top, sure that my eyes were ridiculously wide. "Mmmmh..." Oh god, oh ouch, ohhh mother of mother-fucking mercy. Despite the fact that I lived off cigarettes, metal and the prospect of sex, named my numerous fish after serial killers and sadistic revolutionaries, faved 'lemmings jumping off cliffs' on YouTube, had several evident chips in my shoulder and never passed up a grotesque big-screen slasher, seeing myself bleed never failed to freak me out. And this wasn't just bleeding –no... this was draining. This was Niagra Falls meets Kill Bill Volume One meets Old fucking Faithfull. It was as if someone had popped a loony into the Gumball machine of my biological fuel. As if the carbonated juice of my circulatory system had been shaken hard then opened. Cum had swapped RBCs and I had fucked the goddess of my floor. A machine gun of life bullets. I was peeing this shit. It just kept coming, and coming, and I just kept watching and staringand the bile rose and it just kept COMING and COMI-

Ring...

"Eh?" I snapped out of survival mode; my head snapped to the left; my eyes snapped even wider.

Ring...

The stupid little light fluttered as the phone vibrated across the counter. Like it was fucking alive.

Ring...

Wasn't it four in the morning?

Ring...

Who the fuck...

Ri-

Strangely frantic, I clumsily snatched the phone from the granite and held it to my ear. "Yah?" My voice was a fucking squeak.

"Stan?" It was Gwen.

"Yea, what do you want?"

"You just called me..."

"Me? No, don't think so."

"No, you definitely just called me. It woke me up."

I suddenly remembered my strange dialling earlier..."Oh, yea I guess I did call you." I grimaced; shifted my foot.

"Yah..." A yawn. "Why?"

"I dnoh..."

"It's four thirty in the morning, Stan."

"I was...nn.. masturbating."

"Mmm."

I cautiously shifted my foot on the wet paper towel..."Nngh, fuck!"

"Havin fun, Stan?"

"What? Oh, yea. Loads..." I busied myself with wetting another sheet. Ultra-Absorbent my left testical...

Gwen sighed, and I dropped the second sheet to the floor. Stepped on it. "Ah!"

"Stan, what the hell are you doing?"

"I, like, shishkabob-ed my toe."

"What?"

"On a...nail. On the stair."

Her voice was suddenly and weirdly concerned. "You okay?"

"No, it hurts like a fucking bitch."

"Is it, like, bleeding a lot?"

"Enough."

"Shit Stan, you'll need a shot for that." A pause. "I'm gunna come get you, okay?"

"What? Fuck, no. Go back to bed."

"Shut up hobo."

"Gwen, go backto your fucking bed. That's where I'm going. It's four in the fucking mor-" bph.

Holding the receiver away from my ear, I stared down at the little microphone, too stood-up to be pissed off and to distracted to call her back. Who the fuck was this girl? I set the phone back down on the counter and wet another paper towel...


R/R lovelies. Constructive criticism is encouraged. I know it's a bit of a complicated read - but that's what I'm going for. The more people review, the sooner I'll have the next chapter up. Also, if the language offends you, don't flame it please. It's style and characterization, guys. It's just art.

-Surrealism