It’s me, AB. I’m not crazy. I’m living in an alternate reality, trying to get my old life back, but I’m not crazy. Tomorrow I meet the man who took everything from me. I really don’t know what I’ll do when I see him.
Before I do that I need to crawl the hell out of Steve Hofmeyr’s trailer and inhale a bottle of aspirin.
I stagger off Steve’s bed, almost avoiding the Pick-Up-Sticks thicket of blondes, but my big toe catches in the cleft of a shaved armpit and I crash into the chaise longue. Luckily, Steve’s stomach absorbs most of my impact. Unluckily, I have a bird’s-eye view of the psychedelia of Steve’s shirt.
I am violently sick all over Steve and the chaise longue. I’ve lost a crucial battle against my body, which has sued for peace and partitions. My stomach has mutinied, tearing off its lieutenant’s pips and joining Steve’s shirt for a life of conceptual art. I want to die, but not in this twisted world.
“Sorry Steve, have to go, send me the dry-cleaning bill.” I unstick myself from Steve’s chest, hop off the soiled sofa and limp to the door of the trailer.
“AB, don’t go out there.” Steve peels off his shirt with a sound like Velcro. I tell my stomach not to listen.
“Why not, Steve?” I ask, forehead kissing the door. There’s nothing he can say to stop me. I lean on the handle and open the door. The bright morning sun detonates in my eyes and I scream like Oscar did the night I saw him die.
I drag the door shut, lock it. Heave and heave and heave until there’s nothing left. My stomach is doing victory rolls and my brain (OSCAR?) screams at me (DEAD?) from across the battlements.
“Because, AB.” Steve stands up. The blondes are sitting on the bed, in formation. Three rows of three.
“You haven’t been outside in a week. The sun could make you legally blind. Secondly, you’re completely naked.” One of the blondes (top row, left) holds up my jeans, a second (middle row, right) produces my belt and a third (front row, centre) waves my underpants at me. As if on cue.
“Number three, you’re badly dehydrated, covered in your own filth and in need of basic medical aid. Lastly but not leastly, we need to have a chat, you and I.”
OK. So maybe there were one or two things that Steve could say that, upon reconsideration, could get me to hang around a bit longer.
“I’ll put the coffee on while the Blondieguards make you some breakfast and clean you up. Then we’ll chat.”
TO BE CONTINUED