I was snapped back to present day reality at the Piccolo Cafe by the ballyhoo of yet another madman crashing through the door. I'd been surfing the infinities of cyberspace via my laptop and it was a rude jolt to suddenly find this maniac spitting in my face and throwing the furniture about. His name is Gregory, another troll from under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, he gets about with his shirt open down the front so we have to look at his hairy man-boobs and he's always having a wild, raving conversation with himself, "Gregory did this, Gregory says that...", it's distracting in the extreme.
As usual, he's spent all his money on the drug-addict whores up the street and now begs for coffee and cigarettes off Vitto, snatching what he wants from the table and yelling how he deserves it after all his good custom. In his fury he threw more objects willy-nilly, swearing like a Blooper, just missing some mums and dads with their kids, all the straight customers jumped up and disappeared and Vitto had to call the police to have him taken away, his medication crammed down his throat in some back-street clinic I hoped.
As soon as one lunatic goes, another takes his place, as if there's a sign in all the out-patient psycho-wards saying, "If you're flipped out, go to the Piccolo, don't come here!" Philomena the bag-lady has pushed her way in and squeezed all her belongings into the corner, in her seventies, eternally wearing a night-dress, she seems to suffer from dementia and causes havoc having hissy fits wherever she goes so that no hotel or rented premises will have her and the poor bitch is left to live on the streets. Here she is raving nonsensically at anyone and everyone, disturbing other conversations and, to put the cherry on the cake, dropped a turd onto the floor right between her feet.
When it was pointed out she denied ownership and poor old Vitto had to get down on his knees and clean it up. She hissed and squawked till she was asked to leave and give us all a break to which she started screaming like she was being raped, then picked up a glass sugar container and threatened to klonk Vitto on the head with it. We all had to keep our distance as she was a vicious old battle-axe, an accomplished cabaret dancer in her day, she had the legs of a mule and could kick your guts in if you got too close. We had to wait for another hour before she slowly gathered up her many plastic bags and split, banned from ever crossing the threshold again.
I hoped I could soon catch my breath and get back into cyber-surfing but along came another flip-out, this time one of my best friends, Charles Fauntleroy, as if I don't have enough madness surrounding me. He's let his obsession for Peter Pumpkin get out of control, as if he's an egregious junkie denied smack, only he's denied love, like Glen Close in "Fatal Attraction", and I got to see up close how mad he is, not believing the tales recounted to me in the past. Last Friday night, after a hectic day had by all, me and Peter decided to have a quiet one, a drink at Allison's house, who herself was ill and exhausted, then home for a good sleep. Charles rang and asked if he could join us, we made our apologies and said, "Not tonight, we're having an early one, see you soon."
This sent him over the edge, he felt rejected and that he was missing out on something, possibly a liaison between me and the violin virtuoso, he thinks we're the Three Stooges and are contracted to always be together. He rang again and was again politely told we needed to chill, and then he set to harass us inordinately, ringing/texting all our mobiles seventy-seven times each, no exaggeration, our conversation interrupted, Peter's practice at violin disturbed, a pleasant evening ruined by Charles' spoilt-brat demands, till we all turned off our phones to shut up the racket.
Just as we were drifting off into ecstasy to Peter's new gypsy violin compositions there was a loud banging at the front door, like the cops doing a raid or some Muslim father come to demand his virgin daughter's return. Peter let the hysterical slob in, Charles launching into his old refrain of being vulnerable and needing support, and apologising for his furor but he was a sensitive being who needed much mollycoddling. I could stand it no longer and rushed out yelling, "Get out of my way you fat cunt! Your behaviour is appalling, I now see how your obsession with Peter is offensive harassment and for this you are being sent to Coventry for a few weeks!"
I ran off up the street but to my horror he chased me, trying to explain himself, asking why we didn't include him in our soiree and repeatedly moaning, "What does this all mean?" like it was some intellectual stage-play whose metaphors he wanted to solve. I yelled for him to "fuck off!" and finally shook him from my tail a few yards from my front door. And here he is at the Cafe Lobotomy with a torrent of excuses and apologies which I don't want to listen to, much else of my life is a mess and I don't need him adding to it. I told him I'll calm down in a few weeks but so as not to enable his temper-tantrums I was giving him a rude REALITY CHECK and banishing him from my presence for awhile.
Ayesha the Drag(on) Lady is on one of her periodical manic flights, jabbering and posturing like Fu Man Chu on acid, when I tried to get a word in she rushed over and slapped my face to which I could only laugh, she's so pathetic a slap back wouldn't improve things. Tired of howling at the Full Moon Cafe I went home but that was like going from the pan to the fire, Northcott Place is the biggest lunatic asylum in the southern hemisphere, the State having closed down all the chronic psyche hospitals and dumping the mentally ill into public housing, most of them at my joint. There's a new guy directly above me who rushes from his apartment many times a day screaming for the birds to stop twittering and singing, he throws buckets of water at the trees and waves big sticks, yelling, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" He's even threatened the old ladies on his floor to get the fuck out of his face whenever he meets them in the corridor and has us all quaking in terror at where it will all end.
And my next door neighbour, Cursula, is the worst of them all, she gets the Shit-brown Ribbon for grungy contrariness. It all came to a head the day before I ran away to Nimbin, after her Mongolian yurt had been burnt down she'd rebuilt her hobo's camp up into a vast ragged circus-tent in front of my door, attracting every drunk, junkie, schitzo and derelict in the area to sit yahooing with her till dawn. I was too scared to go out my door but luckily she had another fight with her boyfriend Bawl and called the cops on him, they first took him away and fined him for "disturbing the peace", then came back the next day, saw the mess she'd made of the area, discovered she was sleeping in the workers' toilet instead of her own apartment and dragged her off to Caritas Acute Psyche Clinic for a few weeks respite.
Respite was what I got, peace and quiet reigned through the nights, I finally caught up on my sleep, the neighbours cleaned up her mess and the Housing Department came and told her if she continued with the dumpster-diving she would get evicted. She's come back in the last few days, within seven minutes she started the noise and rubbish collection again, speaking loudly lots of nonsense in an elevated whining voice, typical of long-term Methadone addiction, her brain-cells fried and re-programmed into maniacal self-centerdness.
She woke me up whining loudly to some fellow zombie how her next door neighbour hates her and won't let her keep her precious stuff stacked up out the front. I heard the zombie reply, "Don't worry luv, I've got a six foot boyfriend who'll come and sort him out. I promise you you've got support, I know lots of people who have filled their flats with junk till you can't squeeze in, what's wrong with that?" I tried not to worry but this isn't the only one, Cursula has inveigled other deadheads to join her brigade, no one else listens to her, she's like the Witch of the Zombies and can set her army of the walking dead onto whoever crosses her, and so I lay awake shitting myself cogitating how I could counteract her cunning passive-aggressive war tactics?
I know, I'll get a zombie of my own to sick onto hers, it'll be like" the Zombie Wars" with Northcott as the battlefield. A mate of mine has come from out of the past, just got out of gaol, seven times as nasty as anything she can throw up, with one of those zombie wranglers around his neck I can direct him to whatever bastard she's entertaining out the front. Again she woke me up bullshitting to some workers trying to concrete our verandha about how she's an artist and it was an artist's studio she'd built into the workers' toilet. I screamed from my front door, "She's no artist, she's a drug addict trying to manipulate you!"
She then whined, "Gee Toby, I hoped you'd just wish me well." "You're kidding, after seven years of living hell I wish you dead, do us all a favour, kill yourself!" "I'm calling the police on you for saying that, you not allowed to say that to me!" "Oh yeah, call the cops again, they just love coming here to deal with you. Like you called the cops on Bawl, he won't be back, you'll die a lonely old hag. The cops'll just cart you back to the bin!" She seems to have gone back to the bin of her own accord, for her it's like a holiday camp with dinner served up and a team of therapists waiting on her hand and foot, she'll have them all around her little finger, manipulating the system to get what she wants.
But at least the nights have grown quiet again, I have to take advantage of this halcyonic interlude to rush through my creative projects and/or get some sleep as madness rains down like hail-stones in these tough times and I'll have to work hard not to join their howling, full moon disaffected ranks.
P.S. I saw one of those old lunatic asylum movies once where a nutter was about to tear a few heads off until they played classical music to him and he calmed down. And music did indeed soothe this savage breast, all is not dark and nasty in my world, for I went to the Sydney Opera House to hear the Sydney Symphony Orchestra play William Walton's "Balshazar's Feast", conducted by Vladimir Ashkanazy, that intense genius who has blessed Sydney with his talent this year. I got swept away, lifted out of my body and floating above the choir, tears brought to my eyes, white light hot in my forebrain, music makes the shadows flee and life worth living.