Do You Remember? (Laurie Steed)
It’s fifteen years since the accident and the guy who fell off the ute is back on track. He’s got a job at DPC and has coffee-drinking competitions with a blond-haired, blue-eyed guy called Adam Eisenberg from Ontario, Canada.
I agree to meet the guy and Adam at an Irish pub in Northbridge because it’s Friday night and I’ve got nothing better to do. The guy says he needs to go to the toilet and leaves me with Adam Eisenberg, who asks where all the girls are:
“They’re all around you,” I say.
“Not these girls. The girls.”
“You mean women?”
“The girls out west,” he says, like I know what he’s talking about.
Further discussion reveals that Girls out West is a porn site where bored girls take their pants off in storerooms, parks, and outside abandoned houses. I say it sounds creepy and Adam says it should be but it’s not.
“Who’s your favourite?”
“I like Chloe,” he says.
“Chloe,” he says, “is dynamite.”
He tells me about a particular photo shoot; she’s wearing a green coat but then she takes off the coat and she’s wearing nothing underneath. She lays down in the grass and starts playing with herself. “You can see the houses over the fence,” says Adam. “They’re just in some park somewhere and she’s playing with herself, with like dildos and shit. It’s wild.”
“So what makes her so special?” I say.
“You ever seen a girl, wanted to be with her, in her?”
“Well that’s it,” says Adam. “Come on, let’s blow this joint.”
I know I came with the guy who fell off the ute but he’s nowhere to be seen. I remember a bouncer hauling someone out and we both said “Taxi,” and then I laughed so hard that beer came out of my nose.
It’s fifteen years to the day since the accident. I know this is not where I’m supposed to be but my brain doesn’t work so well anymore. The guy, his brain doesn’t work so well either. He padlocks his water bottle, he can’t drive a car and he takes his PlayStation 3 plug with him when he leaves the house because he’s sick of his sister using his things.
“The guy,” says Adam, “is my best friend. Well, when he shows up. Word is that he used to be a hell of a guy.”
“He is a hell of a guy,” I say. “You talk like that again, we’re going to have a problem.”
“Whoa, psycho. You got issues? You want to talk?”
“No,” I say, and take a swig of my beer.
“Better just to forget,” says Adam.
“What do you mean?”
“Sometimes we forget such important things,” says Adam. He takes a swig of his Corona. “Where’s the guy?”
“I don’t know. Shit, I honestly can’t remember what happened.”
“He said you forget things all the time.”
“It’s him; he forgets,” I say. “But he made me promise, I remember that. He made me promise to–“
“I need Chloe.”
“Shut up, you’ll make me forget.”
“She’s my girl.”
“Man, just put a…shit! I forgot.”
“It was Chloe. We were talking about Chloe.”
We weren’t talking about Chloe, I think to myself. We were talking about a day, and I was driving, and the guy was so happy. So happy to be free for the day, and I put my foot down on the accelerator and said hold tight, man. For God’s sake, hold on tight.
“Where are you going to live, anyway? You can’t stay at the hostel.”
“The guy who fell off the ute has me covered.”
I stare at him. “You call him that too? Why?”
“He doesn’t remember a thing before the accident,” says Adam. “Far as I can see, it was his Ahab.”
“You know what I mean,” says Adam. “Big Fish. Drama. Crash bang chaos.”
We start walking home because that’s what you do with a guy who’s hopped up on Red Bull and Vodka and looking for a specific pair of tits.
“So why Chloe?” I ask again.
“She wants me,” he says. “It’s the way she looks at me.”
“She’s not real,” I say.
“Who’s real?” he says. “You got a forgetful friend with a fucking etch-a-sketch for a brain. Where is he, anyway?”
“He got kicked out of the club,” I say. “Quit yelling.”
“God, I love Chloe,” he says. “She reminds me of Angela.”
“She used to be my girl.”
“She dumped you, right?” I say.
“And who are you, Mister know-it-all?” says Adam. “I asked the guy who fell off the ute. He says he doesn’t even know you.”
“I knew him before the accident,” I say. “His name’s Andrew. I picked him up to go off-road on his eighteenth birthday. And on the way to the hospital, I held the cloth to his head saying, “Please, please don’t die.’”
“You’re out of your mind. Fucking Australians,” says Adam and then sits down on the kerb, his head in his hands.
I leave him there thinking, man, there’s something I should be doing and it’s not this. My phone rings. It’s the guy who fell off the ute and he asks where we are. I say, “We’re here, where are you?” I hear a dull hum in the background; another man shouts; the guy cuts in and then out of reception. I ask again where he is. He says “It’s amazing, Simon; it feels like I’m flying,” and then the phone goes dead.