Martin Mackenzie cracked open a fortune cookie. It read: trust your intuition; the universe is guiding your life. He often got cookies that said that. There seemed to be disproportionate amount of cookies that said it.
‘What did it say?’ Timothy was tugging at his jumper. He was too short to reach the cookie jar.
‘Doesn’t matter,’ Martin offered the jar to Timothy. Timothy snapped the cookie in two. Pointy flakes of it scattered onto the kitchen tiles.
‘What does yours say?’
‘Love baguettes love?’
‘Love begets love’
‘What does that mean?’
‘Give off good vibes and you’ll get them back.’
Timothy threw the cookie in the bin without tasting it. ‘What’s for dinner?’ he asked.
Martin thought about the fridge and the pantry for a second. ‘Chops and vegetables’
‘Chops and vegetables, fuck that!’
‘Hey!’ Martin had been trying to teach his little brother only to swear if a situation or a person really deserved it. Timothy apologised and went to the lounge room to play Resident Evil 5.
Martin went to his room to masturbate and rip cones. He sat at his computer with his pants around his ankles and his half-erect penis in his hand, having a lot of trouble committing to a video. Trawling through page after page of hairless vaginas, sagging scrotums and cum-dribbled faces, Martin realized he wasn’t particularly horny. Still, he felt like he should probably have a wank anyway because it was guaranteed to make him feel amazing for at least a few seconds. Finally he found a video that would do the trick. It was in the armature section – Martin didn’t like overdone productions – and the girl in it looked vaguely like a girl he’d fingered at a music festival a few months ago. Two nights and three days of amphetamine consumption and dancing had made her genitals smell intense. He remembered he’d first noticed her because she’d been jostling up against him in the crowd playing air guitar and passionately screaming out the wrong lyrics to a song that was playing. She dressed exactly like the kind of girl who would never play air guitar un-ironically. But there she was, pulling out the most extreme, fucking balls-out air guitar he’d ever seen, screaming the wrong lyrics, oblivious to everything else around her. He really loved her after that. Love begets love, Martin thought, a little bitterly. After he’d finished he stared at the screen blankly. The girl in the video looked a lot uglier and more vacant than she had only seconds before.
Martin’s bong was made from a plastic power-aid bottle and smelt like feet. It comforted him to know that he’d never bought a glass bong. Five or six cones later the doorbell rang. He went down stairs and opened the door. It was a pizza delivery guy. You little shit, Martin thought.
‘What?’ Timothy yelled from the lounge room.
‘Did you order pizza?’
‘I’ll pay for it!’
They both knew that Timothy had no pocket money left.
‘What pizza did he order?’ Martin asked the guy at the door. The guy shrugged. He had big eyebrows and one of those Sparticus chins, definitely the glazed, sunken complexion of a full time stoner. Something else about him looked vaguely familiar.
‘Hey man, you didn’t used to play footy for AGS by any chance did you?’ Martin asked.
‘Nah man, why?’
‘Cool, that’s $23.50’
Martin remembered he had fifty dollars to last him the week. There’s no way his mum would repay him for feeding Timothy something so ‘devoid of nutritional value.’
‘What did you order you little bastard?’ Martin yelled to the lounge room.
‘Hawaiian,’ Timothy yelled back. It was Martin’s favourite. You diabolical little shit, Martin thought as he handed over the money to the pizza guy.
After dinner he went back to his room and stared at himself in the mirror for a few minutes; mainly at the crack in his tooth and the reddening of his eyes. Not too bad, he thought, holding up ok. It became apparent he was having one of those anxious, introspective highs. Definitely not the giggly, escapist high, he was hoping for. Was it the new weed he was smoking or just him, he wasn’t sure. Over-analyzing the cause of anxiety was just another symptom of this kind of high. This he knew. Music would solve it. He set his playlist to shuffle and pressed play. He landed on a song he used to like but that bored him now. He thought about deleting the whole album but didn’t.
The doorbell rang from downstairs again. There’s no way that little shit ordered more pizza, Martin thought. He went down stairs and answered the door. It was the pizza guy.
‘Sorry dude, we didn’t order anything.’ Martin went to shut the door.
‘Hey, wait a sec.’
‘Yeah?’ Martin studied the guys face again. His Sparticus chin looked like it was twitching with nervousness.
‘I know this is a really random ask and feel free to tell me to fuck off, but…’
‘What is it man?’
‘You don’t happen to have any weed to sell do you? Normally there’s no way I’d just ask some random. But my guy’s out of town and I’ve just finished work and…’
Martin thought for a second, he only had like a gram left for the week, definitely not enough to sell.
‘Sorry man. I don’t have much left.’
‘That’s totally fine, thanks anyway.’ Martin watched the pizza guy loping back to his car. He considered the night in front of him: he didn’t really know anyone in his new suburb, all he had a mirror, two assignments that weren’t due for ages, a little brother playing a game he’d already clocked and no real desire to masturbate again.
The guy turned around. Martin went up to him and said in a low voice.
‘I don’t have any to sell, but do you want a couple of cones?’
‘You serious, thanks man that’ be awesome.’
‘Wait here a minute.’
Martin bounded up the stairs to grab his bong and mix bowl. On the way back down he told Timothy he was going down the street to buy some phone credit and not to go anywhere. Timothy had the living room lights off; he was belly down in front of Resident Evil 5 again with a bit of cold pizza on a paper napkin next him.
‘But you called mum before.’ He said without taking his eyes off killing zombies. It always astounded Martin how well Timothy could multi-task.
‘Yes, but I need more you loser.’
‘To call who? Timothy was now using a grenade launcher to kill a particularly giant and veiny zombie.
‘No one, why do you care?’
‘Your girlfriend?’ Timothy was referring to the girl from the festival. Martin had once convinced her to come around to watch David Lynch movies. During the Dennis Hopper ‘daddy likes to fuck!’ scene in Blue Velvet, just when Martin had finally worked up the courage to snuggle in closer, they both caught Timothy spying on them from the stairs. It was awkward.
‘What? Tim, don’t leave pizza on the rug, mum will crack the shits.’
The passenger side window of the pizza guy’s car didn’t open so the smoke on Martin’s side had nowhere to go but back into his face. It was a rusty, mid-nineties Civic with a stereo system that looked like it would be more at home on the bridge of the starship enterprise. The whole car was beginning to smell like feet.
‘It’s fucked. It’s too loud. I can’t afford to get my car serviced after the guy at JB convinced me to get it. But it definitely has increased my gangster factor by at least twenty five per cent.’
The pizza guy pressed play. It was an Easy E track they’d both fallen in love with at an age when it was cool to wag class and hang around train stations with low slung back packs listening to nineties west coast rap. The pizza guy twisted the dial to a volume that made an empty cigarette packet on the dashboard began to dance along to the bass. Twenty five seconds later they both knew exactly when the really good verse was about to drop.
‘I remember this bit man!’
‘This verse is awesome!’
‘Yeah, how good is it!’
Martin rapped the verse word for word, bouncing up and down, hollering at the empty suburban street. The pizza guy had his eyes clenched tight and was haphazardly bashing the air with his fists.
Martin had a moment of clarity; he’d taken a chance and was being rewarded the kind of jubilant high he was hoping for all along. He closed his eyes again and bounced in his chair to the beat. He started to feel like he was falling backwards into the song; like he was losing his grip on gravity. Moments later he realised it was the car that was moving backwards. The pizza guy had left the hand brake off and all their bouncing had rolled them onto the steep hill leading up the new Mackenzie home.
‘Jesus!!’ yelled Martin.
‘How good is it?’ yelled back the pizza guy with his eyes still shut. The car was gathering momentum.
‘Stop the car!’
The pizza guy couldn’t hear him; he was still bashing the air and living the thug life inside his head. Martin reached over and grabbed the wheel. He meant to aim the car into the safety of the bins he’d put out earlier but he’d never been good at his left and right in panic situations. He desperately shoved the wheel up instead of pulling it down and sent the car almost into the middle of the road. The pizza guy finally realised what was going on and plunged the brakes. Unfortunately this stopped them in the path of a heavily customized Skyline travelling at top speed. The Skyline clipped the pizza guy’s back bumper, lifted off the ground where the hill leveled off, screeched around 390 degrees and came to a stop only centimeters away from a street light.
The pizza guy turned off the stereo, his chin was twitching again. Without saying a word he sped them over to the destruction-poised Skyline with his rear bumper scraping along behind. Martin felt strangely calm as they checked what had happened to the driver. A huge man in his mid twenties with rugby-player ears was splayed face down across the driver and passenger seats; little rivulets of blood were escaping from his shaved head in the place where he’d obviously smacked it against the window.
‘Fuck Jimmy, fuck fuck fuck!’ pleaded the pizza guy tapping on the window. The hunched over mass of a man didn’t respond. Still inexplicably in a state of zen-like calmness, Martin dialed triple O and waited for the emergency responder.
The pizza guy snatched Martin’s phone away. Every surface of his face was gleaming in the street light. Martin lunged to reclaim the phone but the pizza guy darted away, panic had made him nimble.
‘This isn’t a fucking joke.’
‘A joke? Jesus Christ the guy is hurt.’ Martin lunged again but the pizza guy skipped away onto the nature strip.
‘Think about it,’ he panted ‘we’re fucking stoned. They’ll fucking test us man. Fuck!’
Martin looked through the window again at the massive man, he had an illegible tattoo graffitied across his shoulders. It was rising and falling very slowly; he was still breathing.
‘This man needs a hospital. Right. Now,’ yelled Martin lunging again for his phone. The pizza guy jumped back shook his head. Stoned eyes had never looked so wide. Martin started running back to the house, maybe his mum had finally fixed up the new landline connection. The pizza guy sprinted up behind him and grabbed at his shoulders. Martin elbowed him away and ran faster.
‘Just fucking wait. We’ll take him there ourselves. Fucking WAIT!’
Martin elbowed him away and ran at full pace up to his front gate. Timothy was on the front porch with a toothbrush dangling from his mouth, staring. He must’ve heard the smash.
‘Go inside Tim!’ Timothy stood still, seemingly unable to process what was going on.
‘I bloody mean it Tim, go inside!’
He gave a bewildered nod and rushed inside leaving the door open behind him. It started to dawn on Martin that maybe Timothy witnessed the whole thing. The idea of his little brother spying on his police interrogation from the staircase shocked him into action. He ran back to the car where the pizza guy had begun trying to heave the unconscious mass into the passenger seat.
‘This feels wrong,’ panted Martin, attempting to twist the guy’s legs into the footwell. The plan was to prop him up, drive him to the hospital (the pizza guy kept insisting it wasn’t far), dump the car at emergency and get the hell out of there. But moving the dead weight of a BO-drenched brick of a man was proving difficult, even for two people. Part of the problem was that their shoving seemed to have tangled the man’s singlet up in the stick shift.
‘Fuck, man just shut and push,’ the pizza guy was shoving from up underneath the man’s armpit. They both gave one more desperate heave and twist. Suddenly the man flinched, gave a grunt and a gurgle then slumped back down into the passenger seat. The pizza guy got out of the car; he paced in circles and kicking the air. Martin gave the injured man a tentative prod but there was no reaction. It took a few laps of the car before he could effectively block the pizza guy’s path.
‘Let’s just get this done, ok?’
They drove in silence. Martin stared directly out the window at the street-lit pastiche of architecture that lacing together the beach front end of his new suburb. Thinking about the possible reasons why the nouveau riche had decided to move into homes with either Victorian quaintness or postmodern edginess helped Martin stay out of the immediacy of their fucked situation. Suddenly a random trace of information sparked back into his head.
‘How do you know his name?’ Martin asked.
‘What?’ the pizza guy had found some gum and was chewing manically, constantly giving sideways glances at their crash victim to make sure he was neither dead nor fully conscious.
‘Before, you said “fuck Jimmy”, how do you know his name?’
‘Look, it doesn’t matter, we’re nearly there.’
‘What do you mean it doesn’t matter? Do you know the guy or not?’
‘Trust me, the less you know about this guy the better.’
‘Who the fuck are you, James Bond? Just tell me who he is.’
‘Look, this is nearly over, it doesn’t matter who he is.’
‘Just tell me you Sparticus fuck, I have a right to know!’ The pizza guy stopped chewing for a second.
‘Sparticus? What does that even mean?’
‘Sparticus, you know ‘I am Sparticus!’ it’s a movie from the sixties.’
‘I know the movie you dick, but why are you calling me a demi god, that’s the worst insult I’ve ever – ’
‘Have you even looked in a mirror? Your chin looks like a fucking donut.’ There was another silence, the pizza guy opened his window and spat out his gum.
“Yeah but Kirk Douglas got heaps of pussy in his day, so I don’t actually get how I’m supposed to be insulted.’
‘Just tell me who the hell Jimmy is!’ The pizza guy said nothing, he just sped up through an orange light. Martin looked out the window again and gave up asking, why did it even matter? They just needed to get him the hospital. Then he needed to get home before his mum found out that he’d left Timothy by himself. Those were he only two things that mattered now. The unconscious man let out another gurgle. The pizza man sped up. It was ok though, they were supposed to be nearly there.
Martin had almost convinced himself that everything might just turn out ok when he heard a high-pitched cough from the backseat footwell. Timothy was crouched in a shadow, pretending to innocently pick at the floor mat. He must’ve snuck in the car when Martin was trying to stop the pizza guy pacing. They looked at each other but Martin pretended he hadn’t seen him. Maybe he’d stay quiet. But Timothy was never one for staying quiet if he felt like he was being accused.
‘Mum said you can’t leave me at home after dark if you’re going to drive somewhere.’ As soon as the pizza guy heard the voice of a seven year-old from the back seat, he hurled the car onto the gutter.
‘Both of you get the fuck out now!’
‘Don’t swear at my brother,’ yelled Martin, shaking the pizza guy’s headrest with both hands. (In hindsight this was pretty lame act of intimidation, but it was all he could think of.) The pizza turned around lifted his fist in the air.
‘Fuck!’ screamed Timothy. They both defused a little and looked Timothy who was still matter-of-factly picking strands of carpet away from the floormat, ‘I think in this situation, it’s ok to say fuck.’ Martin and the pizza guy had no choice but to burst out laughing.
It took Martin and Timothy half an hour to walk home. They talked about Resident Evil 5 and the possibilities of Resident Evil 6 most of the way. When they got back their mum was in the kitchen on her hands and knees with a brush and pan sweeping up flakes of fortune cookie.
‘Where the hell have you both been?’
‘We just went to take a game back to the video store,’ explained Martin, he’d been thinking about how to execute this excuse for at least fifteen minutes.
‘It’s nearly ten! You know this is not on Martin.’
‘But we didn’t want another fine.’ explained Timothy, knowing it was probably the wrong time to speak.
‘You, get to bed now!’ Timothy went, Martin opened his mouth to explain away the situation some more, but his mum stopped him.
‘I don’t want to hear it Martin, you get to bed too. You’ve got uni tomorrow, don’t you?’ Martin’s protest reflex nearly kicked in, but didn’t. Instead he just nodded and went upstairs to check on Timothy.
Timothy was on top of his buzz light year quilt playing with a bulging snaplock bag.
‘You want some lollies?’ he asked Martin, ‘they taste gross.’ Martin snatched the bag off his brother. It contained ecstasy tablets, easily at least 1000 of them. The Skyline was the only possible place he could’ve found them.