Something Gothic This Way Comes

I wake up at about four in the afternoon and lay there in bed for another hour, thinking. I stare at Brandon Lee on my wall for a while and then wince as a shaft of sunlight cuts through the gap in the curtains and falls across my face. I sigh and reach for my stereo remote control, turn it on, hit play.

Trent Reznor croons in that sexy voice of his and I smile briefly, happy to be alive, and then remember that I shouldn’t be like that, that a smile is my umbrella and that I don’t want an umbrella because umbrellas are for squares.

Reluctantly I get out of bed and move to the computer, flop in front of it and, while I wait for the internet to connect I light a clove cigarette and inhale deeply, my lungs rasping. I check my email and go into the alt.gothic chat group, debate for a few minutes on the negatives and positives of Estee Lauder foundation (positive: it makes you look spooky, negative: it clogs up your pores and ruins your complexion), and then the phone rings. I pick it up and it is my good friend Ash, who tells me that if I want to do an e with him I will have to be at Subculture by ten at the very latest.

I remind him that Subculture is so goth it doesn’t even open until 11:30 and he is quiet for a while, probably working this over in his brain, so he tells me to meet him and some friends at Underground at ten and we will drink chartreuse and go to Subculture from there. I tell him okay and I move into the bathroom, where I spend the next three hours showering, shaving my legs and giving myself a manicure.

I go back to my room just as my ultra-square flatmate, Linda, is getting home from work, and she starts to say something about me not cleaning the house like I had promised but I give her one of those evil looks I have been perfecting and she throws down her bag and goes into the kitchen, where she bangs pots and pans for a while. I shut my door and turn the stereo up even louder, throw myself onto the bed and open my diary. I doodle in it for a while and then open my new Anne Rice book, read thirty-two pages, fling it aside and masturbate uselessly for over a half an hour. It’s not getting me anywhere and I realize what time it is so I go back to the bathroom, the smell of roast chicken wafting from the kitchen, and I shower once more and sit naked in front of the mirror powdering my breasts, adding a little rouge to my nipples, and then I paint my nails, let them dry, and then it’s time for the makeup.

First a little concealer to cover up any blemishes, and then the base, and I build on it from there, the final touch being a liberal smear of dark red lipstick. I change my mind, wipe it off, use black lipstick instead, and then I do my hair, oblivious to my other ultra-square flatmate, Suzie, banging on the bathroom door and telling me that she desperately needs to take a shit. When I am satisfied with my appearance (which takes less time than I thought it would), I exit the bathroom, totally naked and, just to annoy Linda, I go into the kitchen and get some guava juice from the fridge, pour myself a large glass, and take my sweet time drinking it.

Linda coughs politely a few times as she squeezes past me (we have a small kitchen) and, although I find myself attracted to her, I do not make any advances. So then I go back to my bedroom, pull on my PVC g-string and bra, satin corset, and I slip into my ultra-tight spiderweb dress. I pop two Prozac and then it’s back to the bathroom for a touch-up, then back to the bedroom where I pull on my fishnets and stiletto boots. I pile everything I could possibly need for the night into my bag, check the time (it’s 9:18), turn the stereo and computer off, a little perfume, then a little more, and I go through the lounge room, out the door, down the hallway, into the elevator, ground floor, lobby, main entrance. As I am crossing the street, I do not see the bus as it descends upon me.


  1. One of those stories that seems to be going nowhere, yeah yeah, blah blah makeup, eating, dressing, going down the stairs, but a nice sudden surprise ending that of course made the toure a poignant entreaty on how our lives are so fragile as we go through them so mindlessly. It reminds us that at any moment it could be the last one. Should we dwell on that? Does it mean that we should live every minute like it’s the last? Well, if the dumb broad had looked both ways like we are taught as children, she would have made that date. But come to think of it, I don’t see the same commercials as when I was a kid. Look both ways before you cross. Cross at the green. How about the one in which the guy climbs the flag pole to get away from everyone sneezing and coughing without covering their mouths. Now all you see are anti-drug and anti-smoking and anti-sex commercials. It seems the little niceties and safeties of life have gone by the wayside. One of my big pet peeves is the way the whole world stops for that big yellow thing, The School Bus (did you know you can get a ticket for having a vehicle that is “school bus yellow” — I wonder how much royalties Crayola would have to pay?–, and actually have to pay the ticket?), from which emerge children who are taught that it is okay to walk around with their heads in the clouds while a guard is holding a stop sign and stopping traffic in both directions. I have seen kids just get off the bus, walk around it, in front of it, cross in front of it and cross the street, all without looking away from whomever they are walking and talking with or whatever they are doing while they are walking, not once making sure the guard is doing his/her job. In fact, a friend of mine got into a jam at an intersection, backed up and knocked over the guard who was crossing a kid between cars! The guard got up and started smacking my friend’s window with his stop sign in a murderous rage, while my wussy, too concerned friend was trying to open the door to see if the stupid old fart guard was all right. I pulled him back in for his own safety and yelled at the guard to bring him back to his senses, which angered my narrowly-escaped-from-harm friend (sometimes you just can’t win!). The guard angrily waved us away, and all the way home my friend kept saying I was wrong for yelling at the old boob, and I reminded him that the guard let us go without a fuss because ultimately, he had been in the wrong, knew it, and knew he would lose his job over it. The big point here is, thank god the kid wasn’t knocked over, or my friend would now be involved in a lawsuit.
    But the bigger point is, all this protection of the precious little kiddies can’t be doing them any good. Look at the teen criminal record, look at the death rate from accidents and other incidents. Well, the poor little kiddies are getting killed, and so I guess that’s why folks are having them in bundles, as if the world is underpopulated and the land is boundless.
    I know I seem to have gotten off the track, but this is my main goal: the example I always use when I complain about the school bus stoppages, is what will they say when the little kiddies move to the big city, decide they can cross 42nd St. between 5th and 6th with their head in the clouds, and get run over by a …..
    Thank you … er, …oh, Anonymous? What a pity…

  2. Actually, I just wrote it because I wanted a gothic chick to be hit by a bus.



  3. That’s what i figured, but as writing is bound to do, there is so much I could have said on several topics. The subconscious works on so many levels at once, that there are bound to be numerous issues where you have placed none. I hope you don’t mind that I am resharpening my essaying skills on yor work. Perhaps I will work on another aspect on another night, no time tonight. Hope you did enjoy my essay, though. I did enjoy your story. I mjust put one up myself. Of course, as far as the essay goes, I did get a little out of charcter — i.e., personal — in my comments about the guard, but as the story was true, I felt I would throw a little expository realism into the telling. Thanks for the share…. keep writing.

  4. I thought your response was great. Certainly the most intricate feedback I’ve had on anything in a good while! – Psychopomp

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