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Jake Black's a man on the edge, but he doesn't know it. He and his friends go on a tea and drug-fueled investigation into a local murder. Cheap hobbies are hard to come by when you're unemployed and your friends are all just a little nuts.
A novel of the nineties, 'BLOOD DRUGS TEA' is a fever dream of a man cracking for love, a depraved comedy, and a sordid mystery with an easy smile and a hidden heart.
Bear with me if I ramble somewhat. I want to finish this before I die. It’s my first and last draft. I can’t go back. This story takes place now, but it's probably later, when you are.
Sometimes, I tape myself sleeping. The tapes are interesting, but I only get one third of the day free. I watch every tape. I don’t know why I do this, but I’m certain I will. I tell you this because I understand you need something to relate to here. Something familiar to plant your feet in as you read, so you don’t fly off at the handle. Or become a public enemy. The Government doesn’t allow people with groundless feet to read. It’s subversive.
Five was always a good number. There are five of us at the beginning of the story. There are fewer of us at the end, though, so it didn’t take too long to write.
This is the part where the narrator says ‘the names have been changed to protect the innocent’. Ordinarily. Instead, I’m going to say ‘the names have been shortened to save me from carpal tunnel syndrome.’
I had tunnel vision before. I can’t for the life of me figure out how your carpals get tunnelled. They’re in a tunnel already. It’s called the wrist.
I have trouble sleeping. Sometimes it makes me angry. I’m using the generic ‘it’ here. I don’t know what makes me angry, just as I don’t know what it is that stops me from sleeping. I’m fairly sure ‘it’ can be applied to the cause. It can be applied to anything. Not as a salve, though. I tried that before and I bled for days. ‘You shouldn’t try surgery on yourself,’ I said. I thought I was an arsehole and didn’t listen. Turns out I was wrong.
First impressions are rarely right.
I sat in front of the computer that first night. It was past three in the morning. The insistent glare from the screen made my eyes sore.
I used to get up in the night and look in the mirror at myself. My eyes were red and shiny. The filmy surface always tightened, trying to pull my eyes shut. I wouldn’t let it, though. When you go to sleep the film hardens and turns into eye snot. If you don’t let your eyes close the film isn’t allowed to force your eyes shut. Stay awake for long enough, eventually it crusts over the surface and keeps out the dust. I once wondered if I stayed awake for a month, maybe, could I make a mould of my eyes? I waited three days. The crust dried and I blinked. My work was lost. The not-blinking is the hardest part. Staying awake is easy.
I’ve been awake for every minute of various days. I wonder if other people have seen all times, or if without fail for the whole of their lives they miss 4.33am. I think they should have extra time for those of us who need it.
I’m waiting for an image of a girl to download.
I’ve seen much the same position before but I still come back for more. I’ve got her head and a bulging cheek so far. I started the download at . It’s now 3.72am. Or it should be. Perhaps I should shut down one of the other five movies I’m trying to download. Maybe that will make it go faster. I refuse on general principle though. If, with my pathetic, organic mush processor I can manage to do five things at once, I don’t see why the computer’s processor can’t manage it. I know it’s the connection. That’s no excuse.
I know I’m just going to watch them and then feel guilty about having porn on the computer. Sometimes I reformat my whole hard drive and hope the evidence will go away.
I blink and break the film and start again.
Time works differently for some people. Some people are called folk. Some folk are evil.
Time and evil seem linked there, but I don’t think they are.
Time for me is a soapy bubble. I’m stuck in it. The bubble changes shape, depending where I push. I can see the other people on the outside.
I got bored of waiting and cut the connection. It was a fateful decision. I should have let it run. At least I would have had some decent porn to peruse. As I cut the connection the phone rang. I got up to answer it, leaving the study and going into the front room. I walked in slippered feet, quiet on the carpet. The phone gained more insistency and I picked it up. I didn’t think it was unusual to get a phone call past three in the morning. I looked at the mantelpiece. It was , near enough.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hello,” replied Reb. “You got your shoes on?”
Why he thought I’d have my shoes on at in the morning, I couldn’t say.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I found something. Something interesting. You should take a look.”
“What is it?”
“A body. Pretty fresh by the smell of it.”
Carter Street. I just found it.”
“Tell me about it then.”
“You should really see for yourself. More impact that way.”
“I’ll be right there,” I said and hung up. There was no point in hanging around. Time is often short, but for Reb it's a mirror. He sees only what’s behind it. He’s dysfunctional in the extreme. His name’s not even Reb, it’s Rob, but he hasn’t the moral fibre to fight it. All he wants is to be left alone and given some recognition. He goes out all the time. I know he doesn’t talk to many people. He walks a lot.
My story should start somewhere. I don’t think it’s here though.
Here. Here is where I am going to start the story. But first, an explanation. I’ve read A Brief History of Time (OK, half of it) and I know all about the universe. But I reckon Stephen Hawkins is wrong. I don’t think there was a big bang at all. I think at the start of the universe, there was this big spinning top, and the universe fell off it. Ever since, things have been spinning away; atoms, galaxies, people.
Things spin, apparently, because of the Coriolis effect, named for some not-very-famous Frenchman, Gustave someone or other. You can look it up if you want. Although Gustave doesn’t sound very French to me. I reckon it’s because of the big spinning top, though.
Anyway, gravity holds us down, magnetism pulls us in, and things spin. It doesn’t explain why people revolve around each other, but save your time. The unifying theory of everything is: things spin. At least, that’s the way I figure it.
So it begins. I begin.
With a circle.