I can’t act. Maybe that’s because I can’t lie. It’s also because I can’t – I just know that. I’ve never really tried. But I can only ever be myself, and that’s a hard enough gig some days. But I can stand up and read – poems, stories, that sort of thing. I’ve delivered guest lectures, coached sports teams, given speeches. I can speak. Often far too much. But I can do the public speaking thing. So that, plus the desire to one day write a play got me booked into the Fringe Festival one year. I decided I would write a monologue show. I’d been putting together these stories. No real theme to them – beyond exploring lives, in some cases trying to write miserable or nasty characters. I put a few together for a monologue show and had the crazy idea of even delivering one myself.
I have already shared the other monologue I wrote – because it works (I think?) as a short story. It’s called Illuminating Samantha. And it was performed on the stage by the brilliant Regina Tuzzolino. An American friend that I met when she lived in New Zealand way back when we were both locked in different lives.
The other story I wrote – the one that set it off – and the one I delivered on stage as a monologue, I only did it twice (two consecutive nights at The Space in Newtown, Wellington) was (and still is) called Knowing Lisa. It’s a nasty story about a total jerk. I had fun trying to inhabit the character. With my complete non-acting background. I sat on the stage smoking a cigarette and delivering these lines from memory.
It’s the sort of thing that might get you cancelled now. But it’s a work of fiction. I was never this person. But I feel like I met a few people dangerously close to this parody. And they’re still out there of course. Sadly.
So here, now, because I woke up today and remembered the absurdity of me attempting to ‘act’ or deliver a monologue – is my story Knowing Lisa:
It’s just one of those things I guess, knowing Lisa. She’s a neat person, one of my favourites, but you know, we don’t always get on. It’s nothing unusual; after all she’s a woman. Before you rant and rave and cry sexism, hold on to your pretty panties, I was just about to say and I’m a man! Christ, you know. So delicate! Both men and woman are illogical, love is illogical – hence men and women that are seemingly obvious in their unsuitability ‘hooking up’, getting together, fuck it happens all the time.
Lisa tells me that men are obviously stupid and don’t think about the science of their anatomy, otherwise we wouldn’t favour dark sheets. She has – as she often can do – a point. But it’s quickly countered. Women don’t think much of their biological necessities now, do they, I mean they favour white knickers for fuck’s sake, I mean that’s like trying to camouflage dogshit to the neighbours by covering it in gladwrap but still leaving it on the lawn. Fucking hell.
But Lisa’s a good sort. For a chick.
And who am I? I’m Jack. Jack Mason. Yeah, I live with Lisa, we moved in about eight or nine weeks ago, moved in as in ‘sharing the rent’ – I’m not her boyfriend. Fuck that, no way. She fancies me though, oh yeah, you can’t half tell, always arguing and badgering and coming on to me in an angsty ‘screw you’ when-I-actually-do-want-to-screw–you-kinda-way. I mean she’s nice and all you know, like I said, a real neat person, she’s hard case, makes me laugh. But fancy her? No. Simple. End of story. She does like me though. That I am not imagining. Oh yeah she likes me lots.
It’s all over her, not every day o’course. Might as well be though.
I met her at work, not my work, her work. She works at a café down the road from my work (ha, I say that like I own the place. Should do, mind you! Do all the bloody work.) What do I do? I sell chainsaws, mowers and BBQs. I’m fucking good mate, fucking good! Sell ice to Eskimos and a fucking freezer to store it in and a fucking ‘chili’ to take to the beach, not that they do that much mind you! Or do they? Like the horny bitch says to Pinocchio: Fuck Nose. Ha, and I bet she’d love it if he lied, you know, tell a lie; tell the truth; tell a lie; tell the truth…anyway, it’s safe to say, before I wander fully off the topic that I am a fucking great grade-A ship-shape spot-on top-dog salesman. I not only take coals to Newcastle…mate, I make a fuckin’ profit and yeah yeah you know what I’m saying. I’m good. Boss is a complete cunt. Does fuckall, plays golf heaps – he’s no good, I’d thrash him – and generally just fucks around.
Anyway, right, I’d bloody had it one day, complete fucking gut’s full so I took a long lunch break and went wandering; stumbled into this café, the one where Lisa works and well, after a yarn, turns out she had a spare bedroom and wanted some rent, so I moved in even though she was clearly hitting on me by offering. I didn’t need to tell her that I was fucked for a place to live and had been sleeping in the back of my van for the past three and a half weeks and showering at the gym, nah, let her have it, or rather, let her think she’s getting it, if you know what I mean.
What does she do at the café? Oh she owns it, but she works there too, like works works, she’s like getting my chocolate brownie after I’ve had my fucking fancy-ass coffee. So I can see right then and there she’s a good bitch you know, hard case after we’ve had a yak and all that. So I move in and like I say that was a couple a months ago now or so. And it’s all good.
Knowing Lisa has its ups and downs, like living together and that, you know like I can’t really have a girlfriend cos I imagine that’d just send her over the edge you know. And I’m a G.C when it comes down to it. What’s that? Oh, a G.C? Good Cunt. That’s me man, G.C. Geefuckingsee. So I wouldn’t do it to her you know, what’s the point, saves me money not having a Mrs you know, and I get to hang with the guys and I practically got a woman begging for it in a two-bedroom pad at home! Not shitting ya, I reckon I wouldn’t even need to give it half the fucking nudge I normally need to and I’d have her. I’d feed it to her no sweat, she’d love it, and she’s tidy and all, but nah, no point when I know she wants it. Better to wait til she absolutely needs to have it and til I want it too. When I want it, she’ll fucking need it, know what I mean, and she’ll love it even fucking more.
So I was out in town the other night right, like last night and I went to this bullshit fucking live music venue, I don’t know what the fuck it’s called, sounded bloody Spanish, like some kinda Diego/Wop kinda name. But, ah, the mates wanted to go you know, reckoned there was some kinda crash-hot band playing there or some fucking guy with a fucking gee-tar or whatever. All I know is when I get there, some dork is sitting on a stool with like a bloody primary-school-teacher-stamp-pad and some 80s bloody belt-bag or whathaveyou and he’s trying to stamp me and demand I play like $10 to get in. I mean I haven’t even heard the cunt that’s playing yet – what if he’s no fucking good? Then the guy gives me like some bloody religious sermon about how he’s just doing his job and so’s the dude playing or whatever and blah blah blah and I’m saying mate do I charge you 5 or 10 bucks just to look at a fucking chainsaw? No, I don’t. You can look all you want around my shop. And he’s looking at me through these horn-rimmed focal thingees all queer-like, like I’m the one that’s missed the boat! And I’m trying to get to my point by saying look man, I’m not here to finance the cunt’s album or tour or career or whatever the fuck he thinks he’s doing, I’m just here to look at some skirt and chase a few beers with a few bourbons.
Then Lisa bowls over, she’s inside with some of her mates and she slaps a tenner down quick-as and the guy, who was clearly rude-as, stamps me figuring the conversation between us is now over, which is just typical of his fence-sitting-philosophy-student-parents-are-loaded-but-he’s-on-the-dole-and-working-on-the-door-here-under-the-table-whinging-pansy-know-it-all-type. But I’m inside by now, and could give a shit. New Zealand Music Week apparently. My arse! Whoever heard of any decent fucking New Zealand music. What a crock. Paying ten fucking bucks! Ha! I thank Lisa, shout her a drink, but only one mind you, otherwise she’ll be hanging herself by the lightshade if she can’t have me at the end of the night.
So then, mid-drink and we’re sipping away and fuck knows where my mates’ve gone but Lisa’s flapping away about this and that and I’m all, you know, why’d you fucking pay for me and shit. Then she’s all some shit about the guy going out with some tart from her work about him being good. And giving local musos a chance and all and fascinating as it all is to her and to the liberal left and all the drunk spics in this sifty shithole – to be perfectly honest – I am not really listening. I am just thinking mostly. Thinking who does that arrogant wanker up there think he is, Mr Fucking Gee-tar Man. Ha! What a way to bum it through life. I start trying to focus in on what he’s playing cos, you know, I’m here now, and I can play the odd chord myself you know. So I start listening in and this cunt’s all over the place trying to say mystic shit and tune his guitar differently and play blues this and folk that and I think folk that alright! Ha-ha! And I’m pretty funny actually, even after a half-dozen Exports and a hippie of vodka.
Then I hear that there was some girl up there reading poems before I turned up and I am thinking people actually pay for this shit? For fuck’s sake! Lisa’s all in my face again trying to say that Tania, I think her name was, was good reading these poems and shit and I am thinking to myself Lisa you are never gonna get fucked by me, except maybe on the rent! Ha-ha, nah, I wouldn’t do that, well, not likely. Lisa’s alright still, you know she’s still a laugh.
Then this guitar guy, who’s still fucking going, gets into this bloody blues thing, driving those strings hard and I might not know that much, but like what Paul Simon said about his old partner’s solo career – you know, I don’t know much about Art, but I know what I like… Yeah, huh-huh, well that’s me man, I know what I like, so when this cunt starts cranking on this Muddy-Waters-sounding thing, well, I’m all go eh, I’m up there and I am into it. Two hands up, four-finger whistling, pumping the air, I am all over it all of a sudden and I think fuck that’s alright for ten bucks after I down my last bourbon and fuck off.
Yeah well, I don’t remember terribly much more about the night, didn’t talk to Lisa in the morning, didn’t see her, but just had lunch down at her café and this girl’s serving me going on about how I musta really like Carl’s show and I’m like who’s Carl? Then she tells me Carl’s her boyfriend and he played the guitar at the Diego/Wop bar and this girl – ‘Trina or whoever – starts trying to tell me that Lisa’s gone shopping around for a new flatmate and that she’s gotta be the bearer of bad news, doesn’t want to, but that’s how it is. I’m like what?!
So this girl sits me down with a short black coffee and a flat white sandwich and tells me that Lisa’s highly pissed at me cos apparently I burst into her room last night and tried to “get it on with her”. I listen but, you know women, what’s the point right? Fuck. So I just listen and then think whatever, that bitch is just frustrated that I didn’t fuck her so she’s made some story up to counter that, to tell workmates it’s all sweet. It’s no biggie, I still think Lisa’s a good bitch, she’s just a bit messed up, I mean just cos she says “Hi-Jack” does not at all mean she’s gonna get a stick-up! Ha ha, you know, but fuck I’ve been over this, I like her and all but man, fuck, whatever. She’ll come round. I tell ‘Trina this, then tell her I’m back off to work.
I better do something decent tonight like rent a chick-flick and get some gook takeaways or wog-babs or something. If I get that ‘Erin Brokovich’ flick I can kill two birds with one stone. And hopefully get stoned. Perfect, Lisa’ll think it’s a good girlie flick and she’ll fork out some of her stash and I’ll get to perve at Julia Roberts’ tits for two hours, go to bed wasted and whack off. That’s the plan. And between formulating that good plan and sussing out a couple of fine birds on some slender stalks, I’m back at work.
But at work there’s like this angry fax from Lisa, well not angry, it just says she doesn’t want me to live there anymore. And I won’t rip into her and all that, but it looks like I’m moving out, she’s trying to say she’s not into it all, me living there and that after what’s happened. But I’ll tell you what’s happened, I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again: The bitch is on heat; and she’s hot for me. What can I do? I’d talk it through with her but I am sure she’d just get all flustered and parade her emotions around in fancy-dress calling them opinions and I’d blame the tides for her PMSing on me. And I’d think again how stoked I was for being a strong man and sticking to my guns and letting her work it out for herself, good bitch that she is, that I’m just not interested.
So I’ll probably just flag replying to this fax, some people never learn, you know. No more late lunches for this ladies’ man, new café to look for next week and back hard at it, working for some selfish know-it-all prick. But ah, could be worse, at least if I go back to living in the van I’ll be able to hook up with some tart who’s got a nice pad and I can crash there without paying any rent. Cos she’ll feel sorry for me. The silly bitch.
Yeah things’ll be sweet, probably better off. It’s a shame though, I’d kinda like to end things with Lisa better, but this was always gonna happen, she’s too much like a guy, all funny and on-to-it and shit like that. So even if I tried to tell her that that was ok, her liking me and shit – no biggie and all that, knowing Lisa, she just wouldn’t get it.
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