It is said that death manifests itself in human form and visits you in person on the day of your demise, usually in the form of a stranger. How you interact with death has great impact on your passing into the next realm.
It was a normal day; a quiet Saturday afternoon. We were pulled up on a small side street, Mark was sitting in the driver’s seat slowly sipping a chocolate maccas thick shake and scrolling through Instagram, Arch was sprawled at the back looking half asleep, only rising to the world of the waking to take the occasional toke of his soggy joint. I was sitting in the front passenger seat smoking my fourth cigarette in a row. I had my hand resting out of the open window and was enjoying the feel of the light rain.
Tame Impala’s The Moment was playing on repeat but nobody noticed thanks in no small part to the LSD by now coursing heavily through our system. I took a final drag and chucked the quarter of my remaining cigarette out the passenger side window and turned to Mark. “Hey pass me one of the MD caps.” But he didn’t hear me, too far deep was he down the rabbit hole of goat dedicated Instagram pages.
“Mark,” I said, louder this time.
“You want one now?” his face still grinning from the afterglow of the goats.
“Yeah, well when else are we going to do this. I’m getting bored. And can we change this fucking song? Arch pass me your phone.”
Arch offered both his phone and some of his joint. I declined the latter and took the former.
“Oi what’s your passcode?”
“It’s bloody 1,2,3,4.” Said Mark before Arch’s stoned ass had a chance to respond. “A real Fort Knox Arch is running aye Arch?”
The sun is going down now, and the MD is starting to kick in. We had spent half an hour circling the outer suburbs looking for a suitable Safeway to pick up some smokes and about 10 apples for some fucking reason. But time was running out, so now we were driving around looking for a good spot to stop this shitheap of a car and finally do what we had set out to do.
“Here cunt, pull up here,” I say.
Mark immediately turns into a back alley so hard that I spill the tobacco from my half rolled cigarette all over my lap and Arch almost chokes on his apple. He does have a tendency to bite off more than he can chew.
I finish rolling my smoke and try to calm my beating heart. It’s always like this before I go in. Every time. I have some go-to breathing techniques and I begin to implement them. Big breath in. Hold. Breathe out. Slowly. Repeat. I’m good.
“Daniel,” says Arch. “You good?”
“I’m good,” I say. “Pass me the blue one this time.”
Arch hands me the blue Power Ranger mask. I take a drag and examine the street. The rain has subsided for now but the pavement is wet. It’s not completely night but the street lights are on. Footy oval to my left. Small milk bar and bakery to my right. Both shut for the weekend. Only one other car parked on the street, nobody is in it. The street is dead. An alley behind the milk bar leads to a small wooden fence, on the other side of that fence is a little liquor store. Their eftpos machine never works. They have cash. Lots of it.
I untie and retie my shoes and feel electricity run down my back. I feel good. I feel fucking powerful.
“Keep it running, I’ll be back in five, tops,” I say. I take a last drag of my cigarette as I step out of the car and begin to walk casually toward the bakery, the street is still dead. I put on the mask once I’m in the back alley. Get to the fence. Breathe. Electricity again. Go.
I jump the fence and land cleanly, run about 20 metres and autopilot kicks in. Time jumps to the cashier, a middle aged Vietnamese woman, shakily filling a plastic bag with the contents of the till while I point my sharp steak knife inches from her face.
The plastic bag full of cash is safely in my backpack as I scale the fence and land on the other side.
“Go go fucking drive cunt.”
The music is loud and indistinguishable from my heartbeat. Lines of cocaine and ketamine in my system do nothing to quell the violent thumping which beats in time with the nightclub speakers. I shove my way through sweaty bodies and make my way to the bar where I see Amber pouring five shots of tequila for a group of glittered teenagers. They look as though they should be at home watching Disney films. The bar is crowded, any form of line is non existent, it’s fucking chaos. I love it. Fucking pigs fighting for prime trough space. I stand to the side of the bar and wait for Amber to see me. Two sick cunt lads next to me are checking her out while she is bending down getting some fresh cut lime wedges from the bottom of one of the the bar fridges for the coronas she’s about to serve to a dissatisfied couple who both seem like they’d rather be fucking literally anyone else over the person they’re about to share their corona with. She eventually sees me, smiles, disappears behind the chaos of the four other bartenders and returns 30 seconds later handing me a gin and tonic that’s mostly gin, I hand her a pill.
I push through more sweaty bodies trying not to spill my gin. Through the crowded dance floor, I see Mark trying to shout over the music into his ex’s ear. She’s laughing, they look happy. I dodge that and keep moving, avoiding Samantha and her work friends, avoid Luca- fuck he saw me. He comes over and says something I don’t hear. He laughs and keeps moving his mouth then moves on. He seemed pretty stoked on something. My throat feels tight, almost there.
The smokers is packed, 30 hairless monkeys tightly confined in a small outdoor enclosure standing in the Melbourne winter cold warmed only by a couple of budget outdoor heaters, their own collective body heat, and the alcohol in their blood as tiny flames at the end of little paper tubes filled with tobacco and 4,000 other chemicals dangle from their mouths. Everyone looks cold. I find a place to stand in the corner, take out my own little paper chemical tube, and light it up.
I’m watching the smoke, tracing its path from my mouth to the sky when I see him approach.
“Got a light mate?” He asks as he pulls out a cigarette. I bring my flame to his smoke and observe him for a moment as he takes his first drag. Something is off about him.
“So what do you do?” The mundanity of my question immediately aware to both of us the moment it leaves my lips. It’s starting to drizzle slightly and his smoke has gone out, I pass him the lighter.
“I’m a writer,” he mutters, as he re-lights his smoke.
“A writer? you got nothing better to do aye? What do you write about?”
“I dunno,” he shrugs. “I write what I see.”
“Oh yeah? And what do you see?”
He pauses for a moment and takes a long drag of his cigarette, staring at me as he does so with the slightest hint of a grin but eyes that betray no emotion. He exhales and I finally submit to his game of chicken and avert my gaze slightly. The flow of time is off. Why isn’t he speaking? How long has passed? He’s fucking with me… I can’t tell if he’s fucking with me. It’s the drugs... You’re just being paranoid.
Did I say that out loud?
“Your shoulders are a bit tense for one thing,” he finally says. “And you’ve scanned this whole crowd three times in the last two minutes. You did something you regret today. Either that or you’re just worried about the repercussions. Your eyes scream of concealed chaos, and that’s not just from all the coke and ket you’ve been hoovering in the toilets.”
He takes a drag.
“You’re not as collected as you think you play yourself off to be. You’re scared, but it’s too late to change who you are.”
The rain is falling harder now, he holds his palm out facing upwards, feeling the drops. His slight smile widens but his frozen eyes betray false sincerity.
“Hey don’t take it so serious. I’m just fucking with you,” he says as he flicks his smoke into the ashtray.
“Thanks for the light.”
I’m standing in the corner of the smokers, watching the smoke from my cigarette float to the sky when I see Amber carefully manoeuvring herself and two gin and tonics through the crowd and in my direction.
“I saw you pop out and thought I’d join you for a quick smoke. Fucking so over this job,” she says as she lights her smoke. I can see from her jaw that she’s feeling the effects of the pill I gave her earlier.
“Hey have you spoken to Rachael today?” she says. “She called me earlier and said she hadn’t heard from you all day - that you weren’t responding to her messages. You should at least tell her you’re alive. She really cares - and deserves better than some douchebag who won’t even give her the common courtesy of responding to a fucking message… hey… you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“You’re right. She does deserve better; she hasn’t figured that out yet” I manage to mutter as I drop my smoke to the ground. I stub it out with my shoe and tell Amber that I’ll see her inside, that I’m not feeling that hot. This is not a lie. My vision is fucking tunneling and I…. can’t… fucking… breathe.
I need to calm down. Breathe. Get to the bathroom. Ketamine will calm me down. It calms down horses, I reason, I’ll be fine once I get some into my system.
Once in the toilet cubicle I shut the door and pull out the small bag of ket from my pocket, I dig my sweaty, shaky finger straight in to what remains, scoop up as much as I can, and bring it to my nose. I stumble for a moment and finally figure out how to put both toilet seats down. I sit and try to keep it together as the cubicle spins in alternating directions and at varying speeds. I give in to the cruel conductor and lean my head low between my legs.
I need to pull myself together. I have no energy; shit I can’t even get up. A bump of coke, a big bump of coke will give me the energy to get to the bar. I’ll have a drink, have a smoke, get some air. I’m good. I just need a bump…
Fuck, passed out for a second. Ok, get up Daniel. I stumble to my feet and lean my body against the cubicle wall, I stuff my hand into my left pocket and drop my phone on the floor as I pull out the remainder of my coke. I pour it all into my left hand and my nose swiftly follows.
The floor feels further away than normal. Don’t look down. Breathe…. Breathe…. Brea-
But no more oxygen enters my lungs. My vision goes to black and my limp body collapses, my head smashes hard onto porcelain, though this does not concern me.
My heart gives in before I hit the ground.
When I met them… after the tunnel, after the light... after the long shitshow highlight reel that was my life, they cut me a deal.
I’d be allowed to watch my own funeral, and keep my memories, but I wouldn’t be allowed to progress to the next plane.
Something else was in store for me.
It’s been months since I died, and not once have I left the cubicle. Not that I haven’t tried. Every time I attempt to do so I fucking die again. So here I am, stuck in this weird purgatory. I know this sounds crazy, I mean, I certainly never believed in any of this shit – reincarnation? Are you bloody kidding?
The days are long, silent and boring, and the nights are loud and filled with people throwing up and snorting coke in what is essentially my home now. For months I’ve watched the city’s degenerates congregate in their pathetic inebriated states, I’ve seen more dicks than I can count, witnessed at least four dudes experience what can only be described as explosive diarrhea, and a myriad of other disgusting shit I’ll spare you the details of for now. But it’s fucked. Living in a nightclub toilet cubicle is fucked. Even more so when no one else can even tell you exist.
Most of the time.
Oh right, I haven’t mentioned it yet have I?
I’m a mosquito.
Yep. A fucking mosquito. I just woke up back in the cubicle I died in after the funeral. One second I’m hovering over my crying mother, the next I’m here. I didn’t even notice I was a mosquito at first – the first thing I felt when I opened my eyes was hunger. Ravenous, insatiable hunger. But there was nothing to eat… until he walked in. I remember his name because his mate called out to him while he was pissing. Jared. You always remember your first bite.
As he unzipped his jeans I began to make my way to the back of his neck. It was hard to land, I was still getting used to the whole flying thing, and the cunt was drunk and swaying from side to side as he tried and failed to hit the porcelain target. But I was starving, and hunger is the great motivator. I managed to land and before I knew it my body was filling with this random asshole’s blood.
And then I learned lesson one of mosquito school: don’t hang around the fucking café after you’ve finished your meal – otherwise a giant hand from the sky will crush you faster than you can say oh shit a giant hand from the sky. See, that first hit of blood was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and I just kept sucking and sucking until I couldn’t move, and pretty soon Jared wised up to what I was up to and the cunt fucking killed me. Bastard.
The next day, I awoke in the same cubicle. It was as if nothing had happened, my body felt fine, and I still had my memory, but I was still a mosquito. It’s been a few months now, and I’ve figured out the rules to this fucked game I find myself in. Every time I die, I awake the next day perfectly unharmed and always in the same spot - just behind the stack of spare toilet paper. Also, for some reason, every time I try to leave the cubicle, something kills me. Usually some guy swatting me… I think. See, that’s the thing about getting crushed to death by a quick hand – usually it happens because you don’t see it coming. So it’s kind of hard to ascertain just what killed you in hindsight. It just happens. One second you’re flying yeah? The next everything cuts to black and you hear a big crash which rocks your whole body. But no pain.
So I don’t try and leave the cubicle anymore. And I don’t kill myself anymore either. Let me explain that one. After Jared murdered me I found myself once again in the same predicament. I opened my eyes and felt nothing but intense hunger. And so it went like the last time, some drunk dude came in, started pissing, and that’s when I swooped in, had my fill, and flew the hell away to a perch where no hand could swat me. From there I sat and watched a few dudes come in and out to piss, all the while I tried to figure out just what the fuck was going on. Now that I wasn’t so hungry I could concentrate. I remember dying in this cubicle as a human, I remember the funeral, then here. Why am I here? I thought.
It didn’t take me too long to conclude that this was some sort of punishment for being a fairly shit person for pretty much my whole life. And once I reached that conclusion I then pretty quickly decided I didn’t want to live as a damn mosquito. So I decided to land on the arm of the next guy that used the toilet, and stay there until he noticed me, and hopefully ended my existence.
And my plan worked without a hitch, I was killed instantly and painlessly, only this solved nothing. I awoke the next day behind the toilet paper stack, but something was very wrong. I tried to fly but my wings were small and deformed, and that wasn’t the only issue, every breath was a painful struggle. I could hardly move and remained that way for three agonizing days until a spider came along and ate me. That wasn’t pleasant. That wasn’t painless.
After that I awoke once more, hungry and apparently healthy. This time I fought my urge to feed and instead flew directly into the toilet bowl just as some dude was flushing. The violence of the flush killed me before I could drown, but when I awoke the same thing happened. Bad wings and bad lungs. Do mosquitos have lungs? I dunno. All I knew was that whatever made me breathe wasn’t working right. This time I spent 10 days in pain before I eventually carked it from starvation.
So I guess another rule is: whenever I kill myself I’m punished in my next life.
Anyway, when I awoke after the starvation ordeal I decided no more opting out. I would instead try and figure out how to die once and for all – how to finally pass on to the next plane. So after feeding I decided to try and explore my surroundings, this is when I learned the hard way that I was somehow confined to my cubicle. It took me six deaths to finally stop trying.
And so my first two weeks as a mosquito passed. A strange mixture of depression with waves of intense hunger. But eventually, like with most things, I adjusted to my new reality. After a month I was an expert in sucking blood on the sly, and boredom wasn’t really a thing – actually, I began to really look forward to the evenings, when gacked cunts would start showing up to the club and I’d finally have something to break up the monotonous silence that is a nightclub toilet on a Monday afternoon.
The shit you hear in nightclub toilets man.
And I guess that brings us to the present. I’ve figured out why I’m here. See, all my life I’ve done things an ethical person would regret, this I’ve already alluded to – but the main theme was theft to some degree. Stole money, stole food, clothes, bikes, street signs, girls, you name it. In fact, in a fucked up way I’ve always been instantly more attracted to a girl when she was unavailable, if she had a dude that just made me want her more.
I’ve stolen all my life and now I’m apparently doomed to steal blood for the rest of my existence.
-To be continued-