As not sleep for me I took a bow from my bed and crawled – so as not to wake the gang of liars resplendent and dazed on my surface floor – to the window where, with my only good hand (the left) I flung open the left curtain and took a look down to the street below (I was on the first floor) in search of some kind of activity – distraction, so to speak – that would at least justify my rising and would be, at the very least, more than just the mere passing of driven cars. To no success, yep. Cars there were plenty, up one way, down the other. But no other activity. I checked my watch: 2.15. The moon hung low and bright and the crepuscular air – or better description of a later dark – gloomed in, offset and bitten into by the glare of the street lamps, the passing driven cars and the teeming hordes of fireflies who had decided, upon seeing my face at the window, to present me with their Dance of the Fireflies that only fair few poets and luminary drunks across the entire force of land had had the pleasure of witnessing. So I drew the curtains. 2:15 eh? No wonder the activity was small. Not counting the fireflies, of course, who I could hear buzzing angrily outside, their anger pricked by the fact that no-one – no-one – had yet so far drawn their tiresome glowing proceedings to a justifiably premature halt. So, yes, quiet down on that street, disappointingly so. But then, what did I expect – a barrelful of noisy motherfuckers?
Do fireflies hum? My awareness of them still dancing outside could have been just as well conveyed by me, say, seeing little flecks of light occasionally flashing through the curtains. The visual, rather than the aural. The essence of their firefly-ness caught, retained and utilised.
Well, and. At this point, bored with staring at the occasional flashes of flick, or whatever it was, flashing through the curtains, I turned back to face into the room and was greeted by a couple of the liars rising. What you do there liars? I asked, reasonably, before waving them down with a quick gesture of my hand that expertly got across (or, conveyed, again) the basics of: Shut the fuck up, cunts, and get back to sleep! Oh, they understood alright, those damn liars.
But sleep? Ah, they were having none of it. And I couldn’t really blame them. Sleep? You know, every night I manage, on average, five or six hours sleep. And it’s just not enough. No wonder I feel terrible all the time. No wonder I’m such a bad-tempered, unpleasant git. No wonder I look like how I’m supposed to look five or six years from now. Then again, the curious thing is that my libido (or, rather, my interest in sex) grows in proportion to the amount of sleep I have. I mean, in reverse. So the less sleep I get, the more interested I am in sex. Small sleep, big libido. Little sleep, large libido.
Anyway. The fucking liars (as I now call them) were all wide awake by the time I’d finished ruminating on how interesting my lack of sleep was. Stirring and groaning still, they were making what can only be described as a right old racket. Jesus fucking Christ! I shouted, will you lying cunts keep the fucking noise down! Which, as I could have easily anticipated, only had the effect of waking my wife and upsetting and agitating the fucking liars even more. I tell you, at times like that I wish I were the sinking moon.
My wife and the moon. She a gaze up to the moon a night after night and say her wishes and prayer to it. I say to her, Jeannie, Jeannie, the moon is not God. And she look back at me, all eyes a tear, and she say: Georgie, that face on the moon is the face of God, you see? Look. So I look and I see the face but I don’t see no resemblance to God. How you know what God look like? she ask, my wife, and I concede she have a point. He could, that face, be the face of God. So I say my prayers to the moon and send up my wishes too. Ah, you cannot beat the moon, no.
My wife rises to her elbow, leans back, sardonically throws her hair across her left shoulder, smirks that smirk, grunts that grunt and says, what the fucking hell are you pricking about at now? Pricking about? I ask you, is that any way for a wife to speak to her husband? Apparently so, because she says it again: always pricking about, like the big prick you truly are. Shh, I say, you’ll wake the fucking liars. We’re already awake, they whisper out loud, in unison. They’re already awake, confirms my wife, probably because of all your pricking about.
No, but really, that pricking about thing was a new one on me. She must just lie there, thinking them up.
So she, my wife, abuses me some more. The fucking liars interject. I haplessly protest. And so it goes on, killing time for the next half hour by which time the fireflies have literally burnt themselves out, their empty carcasses having plummeted to the pavement below where they will be trodden in by children’s feet in the morning. Although one firefly, Freddie, will somehow stay alive. And he will also somehow be rescued by one of the kids who takes him home and nurses him back to health. And what happens is that they develop this perfect friendship which is marred only by the jealousies of the kid’s older brother – but even that gets, you know, resolved. So this friendship goes on and they have a few adventures. But something’s not quite right. The firefly doesn’t burn as brightly as he used to. So they top him up – by filling his abdomen or whatever – with luminous stuff. To no avail. And, of course, the reason he’s not shining as brightly as he once did is because he’s missing his friends and his family. His own kind. He has to go back to the firefly culture in order to survive. It’s all very well him trying to assimilate and carry on like a species traitor – not to mention sponging off the kid and taking advantage of his good nature – but there comes a time when every bear, I mean firefly, has to heed the call of nature and the bonds of family and do the right thing. Of course, if it was me, I’d have the kid saying something like: Fuck you then, what do I care – I’ve got my real mates too. Go on, get lost nobhead. But in this version – the real version – they kiss and hug and promise to see each other again. The ending, a sentimental tour de force, has the firefly providing light to the doctor who, while trying to remove an enormous tumour from the kid’s brain, suddenly finds himself plunged into darkness as a result of the power cuts generated (if you will) by the greed of those low paid motherfuckers who man the hospitals. So yes, the firefly lights up the room so the doctor can see to successfully remove the tumour that was literally seconds away from killing the kid. The last page, the two of them reunited, the kid in his pyjamas, a huge bandage round his head, the firefly perched on the end of his nose. Not a dry eye in the house.
Of course, while I’m imagining this scenario, tears rolling down the contoured valleys of my mottled cheeks, my wife wonders what the fuck she’s doing wasting her time talking to such a useless twat of a husband who, even as he’s being told off for pricking around, is still pricking around, albeit in his own mind. So she throws a shoe at me which bounces off my forehead. Clonk. What? I ask. Never mind, she says. Just never mind, okay, dickhead. Sigh. Just once I’d like to fall out with her without her calling me a name.
So I’m standing there, in front of the curtains, my wife quickly back to sleep, the fucking liars flagging, and I ask myself why I crawled out of bed in the first place. All this trouble prevented, maybe, had I simply stayed in bed. That’s right, says one of the fucking liars, you’d have been better off staying in bed. How did you know what I was thinking? I asked. We liars – or rather, fucking liars, as you now like to call us – know everything. The ins, outs and upside downs of everything. You see, many moons ago we
And the moon I say, Jeannie come see, look the moon! And we two stand there, the window, the clouds parting like two hands, the moon in all its glory. There, she say, ah, it is His face. Oh blessed moon, blessed moon! But this time I cannot take it so far. I say, Jeannie, I cannot do this. There is no God’s face in the moon. They are the footprints of astronauts. Americans. Yes, Jeannie? Yes, yes! she cries. You happy now? I know there’s no God in the moon. I know that. You think your wife is stupid, a simpleton. But I know. I see what I want to see. And God sees me seeing. He knows too. He knows better than you Georgie, better than you.
The fucking liars are fagged out and fast asleep. The talkative one, the one who told me how it came to pass that they could read minds, is particularly fast asleep. I prod him with my big right toe, dig it right into his eye socket. He remains asleep.
The thing is, at least I now know why the fucking liars are always asleep on my bedroom floor. My knowledge of that, of course, won’t prevent me from slinging them out. But at least I’ll do it with some small degree of remorse.