Friday, 22 August 2008

MEET BRIAN, PART THREE

aka THE POETRY BOOK

(a little later than the promised time, but come on, you were totally expecting that)

As I mentioned in my first expose on Brian (second expose here), Brian self publishes his own materials, these materials ranging from history books to novels to books of poetry. Because, of course, unlike your typical published writer who has a speciality, Brian excels at all things and thus publishes in all areas. Please ignore the fact that he pays for the privelige of being published rather than the other way round, and simply accept that Brian is all things to all men.

I also mentioned that he tries to sell these masterpieces of the modern craft of writing to his colleagues, presumably because there are only so many times you can try to sell shitty pamphlets to your mother before she threatens to evict you from your basement residence. Some of the guys and girls, those who suffer from the human emotions known as sympathy and guilt, will occasionally purchase one (recent works include a history of Bonnie and Clyde and, if you can fucking dig it, a story about a struggling writer), but as I am sure you are aware I am not cursed with these petty weaknesses. I eat sympathy and shit guilt, motherfuckers.



(what)


So one day I'm making some boxes - I fucking love my new job, where the box-making is left to whoever pussys out first, which is never me - and of course Brian singles me out. Brilliant! I was just thinking I wanted to talk to a self-obssessed loser!

"I published a new book today," he says, an expectant smile on his face. No hello, no how are you, just a strong implication that I should buy something from him.

I debate which route to follow. Should I just ignore him? That was working increasingly well, although there was always the niggling worry of the tubby prat going postal. Should I try and divert his attention to a different topic? Not going to happen. Should I divert his attention to someone else? I didn't really want to inflict Brian on poor Maciej again, and the only other person around was Becky, who'd quite happily send Brian straight back over to me.

Should I... should I buy a book off him?

Ha!

"Cool," I say, settling for being as noncommital as possible.

"It's retailing for £3," he says. Retailing. I fucking love it. Not 'I'm selling it for £3', which is of course what is happening, but 'retailing', as though it's a real fucking book that real fucking people would pay real fucking money for. Here's a pro tip: if you're selling a book for three fucking quid, odds are you aren't meant to be saying it's 'retailing'.

"That's quite a good deal," I observe, sagely, as if I'm a man who's bought many books at a wide range of prices, which is closer to the truth than you will ever know.

"Could I interest you in a copy?" He pushes on, like a retarded bulldozer.

"Maybe," I say, stalling, the gears in my brain running at triple speed trying to work out some way to avoid dropping 300 pennies on some foetid bullshit. I mean, yeah, it's only three pounds, right? That's so little money it doesn't even matter, right?

WRONG.

1. I'm working in a pizza place, so you can safely assume I'm skint, and £3 could buy 3 double vodka red bulls at the right club on the right night. So in the grand scheme of things, three quid = mad coin.

2. It's the fucking principle of the thing. And you know I'm a man of principle.

"Could I... could I sample it first?" I ask. YES! Genius. I'm so fucking smart. "Only," I continue, hastily remembering Brian's fondness for reciting his own work to people, "only I'd like to see how it looks on the page, you know?"

"Okay." Brian agrees warily, eyeing me in a way that makes me a little uncomfortable. "But what if you read it all in one sitting? Where does that leave me?"

Ha!

Hahaha!

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Yeah, I'm going to read the whole book. Sure.

"If I do that," I assure him, flashing my most winning of grins - the grin that has launched a thousand dicks ships - "I'll buy it for sure."

Brian smiles, satisfied, and leaves me the fuck alone. I make some boxes, which after a few minutes of conversation with Brian feels roughly equivalent to fucking Shyla Stylez on a bed of acid infused 50 quid notes.

Later that night, at ten o clock, Brian's heading home. The shirking bastard never stays 'til close, whereas I do pretty much all the time. I don't suffer from sympathy or guilt, but I do have a deer-in-the-headlights to tendency to freeze and go "uhhhh.... no, I'm free tonight" whenever my boss rings me up.

That's right, I'm banging my boss.

"Here's the book!" he announces cheerily, thrusting a crappy green booklet with what looks like a caricature of the crucifixion on the front of it.

I look a little closer.

Yep. That's a caricature alright.

A caricature of the crucifixion.

(As an aside, it totally figures that Brian would carry copies of his book with him everywhere he goes, even on the day of it being published).

By the time I've stopped staring at the drawing on the cover, Brian's gone, like some kind of vampire. An evil, evil vampire. A vampire that's been crossed with a Vogon.

"What the fuck is that?"

It's Hannah, one of the receptionists, and she's frowning quite intensely at the cover.

"I have no fucking idea."

Turns out it's a book of Christian poetry! Brian's not even a Christian, as he's told me more than once in his interminable lectures concerning life, the universe, and BULLSHIT, but he's written a book of Christian poetry, and apparently self-illustrated it with drawings that settle precariously on the border between disrespectful and insane. The "poems" ALWAYS followed a rhyme scheme that went roughly AAAABBBBCCCC, and there was no evidence of rhythm or meter whatsoever. Because of his insistence on continuous rhyming of the same word, he'd end up really stretching on the later lines of the poems.

Man, you have no idea. Unfortunately I can't actually remember any actual excerpts (I am going to get on the phone to Hannah later today and try and see if I can get a copy of it because now I actually kind of wish I had spent the equivalent of three double vodka red bulls on this masterpiece of shit), because I read it for half an hour and work and promptly forgot it existed as soon as I went out on my next drop.

Fast forward a week later and Brian's in work again.

"So, uh, can I have my book back now? It's been longer than we said."

"Oh... oh, yeah, shit, man, I totally forgot! I left it at home. I'll bring it in for you tomorrow, dude. Sorry."

Shit. Where the fuck is it. It's somewhere in the restaurant, but I can't even look until Brian's gone. At ten o clock, same as every night he works, Brian fucks off, and I enlist Hannah to search for the 'book'.

We don't find it. Anywhere. It's not even a big place. What the fuck.

I could just pay £3 for it. As I said, I regret not buying a copy now. But not then. Never then. I'd be damned if I was going to support Brian's lifestyle of producing horrible 'works' and inflicting horrible 'conversations' on 'me'.

And so it continued for the next three or four weeks, my excuses becoming more pathetic and stretched as Brian became increasingly irate with me. Man, I don't even know why, he should have taken it as a compliment that someone was holding onto his book for that one. His fucking bedroom must have been full of them. Thing is, Brian becoming pissed at me had an absolutely magnificent upside: he stopped talking to me. He'd ask for his book, get all pissy when I fobbed him off, and that would be it. Some other poor bastard got the day's topic of discussion (I say discussion, but that implies there was one than one person doing the talking).

My evening surveys of the restaurant looking for the book of Christian poetry became laxer and laxer until, in the last week of the ordeal, they stopped altogether. Call me a dick if you want, but you've never had to work with Brian.

Actually don't call me a dick. Fuck you if you call me a dick. That's not on.

So, the joyous days of not talking to Brian were getting in full flow, until one early evening as I come into work what do I see but the leering, poorly drawn face of Our Lord and Saviour leching up at me from his cartoon cross.

It's the book.

It's back to fucking haunt me.

Which meant, unfortunately, that Brian was back to haunt me.

Turns out that the owner had come in the morning after that fateful night when I received the book, and had flicked through it while waiting for Becky to turn up (presumably so he could have a go at her for being too competent and pleasant, whatever, I don't know, dude's a knob). He found it so hilariously awful that he took it home to do readings from it for his family. Fair enough, man, I mean the guy's a total cunt, but I kind of admire any father who gives his children tragically shit Christian poetry for their bedtime reading. Rock on, man. Rock the fuck on.

And yeah, Brian started talking to me again, but I went out that Wednesday and you know what?

I drank a fucking shit ton of double vodka red bull.

2 comments:

Betty said...

I have no doubt that you could ask the readers of your blog for the $6 (I don't have any fancy Ls on my keyboard :( ) and we'd paypal it to you within a week. You need to post excerpts of this terrible writing, MG. YOU OWE IT TO YOUR PUBLIC

Melancholic Goat said...

Sometime in September/October I'm returning to the area to visit a mate for his birthday. When I do, I'm going to call in and get a copy. I don't want any donations though, because then I would feel like the book wasn't all mine. And it must be mine.

IT MUST.