Urgent Needs

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Urgent Needs

***Adult theme – Language***

I’d been in this club, dancing with a chick who’d seemed willing to get horizontal with me.  She said she’d arrived with someone else and would see me outside.  The fact that I believed her shit will give you an idea how drunk and stoned I was.  Hope springs more than eternal when my mind is altered.  It was after three in the morning, the place had closed, the staff had gone somewhere else and still I waited.  The street was deserted and it was raining.  Well, not actually raining if I stood still, but when I moved forward, I could feel little drops of cold gently colliding with my face.  I stood still and allowed the influences I had absorbed to rock me backward and forward.  They (those wonderful influences) enabled me to reason I was conducting a scientific experiment to determine the quality of the rain, provided it was rain.  I brushed my face with my hand and gained some satisfaction in feeling the wetness.  A phone rang.  How could that be?  I was amidst grey surroundings devoid of anything but the floating wetness and me.  I became a mite miffed at the interruption, although it didn’t completely break my reverie because I looked about me, half expecting the scene to lose all colour (all that grey) and a director to urge me to run to the telephone kiosk I suddenly saw across the street.  I looked around to confirm I was alone.  Being alone meant nobody would know if I was fool enough to succumb to my curiosity.  It was my night to act the fool.  My second-to-last ex would pick it up.  ‘You never know, it could be an emergency,’she would say.  After another second or two of hesitation, I again wiped the rain from my face, suppressed my need to urinate and ran to answer the call.

“Hello,” I said, slightly breathless from alcohol and exertion.

“Oh,” said a flat, female voice.  There was a pause and then she said, “You’ll do.  Thank God!”

“I will?  Why?”

“I’m trapped and I need your help.  Can you come and get me out of here?”

Maybe my second-to-last ex had a point.  “You’re having a fuckin’ laugh, aren’t you?”

“No, please, I’m serious.  My name’s Tess Bailey.  Please help me.”

“This is a street phone.  How come you called it?”  There was a long pause.  “I haven’t got all night.”

“Look!  It’s not easy.”

“It’d better get easier if I’m gonna help you.  For starters, you can tell me where you are.”  There was another long silence.  I banged the phone on the side of the kiosk in case the hearing part was faulty.

“Stop that!”

“No, you stop it.  If you’re inta long dramatic silences, you’ve got the wrong man.  I’m outa here.”

“No!  Don’t go.  Please.  I…I met a guy last weekend and we arranged to meet again tonight…last night…whatever.  We had a few drinks and then he invited me to his place.  We came in a taxi and I paid more attention to him than to the route we took.”

“Can’t you remember the address he gave the driver?”  I probed.

“No.  Only Glen Waverley.  Anyway, I like to be tied up and he had some handcuffs so, well, you can imagine what happened.”

“So where’s this guy now?”

“I think he’s dead.  Oh, God this is so embarrassing.  You have to help me.”

“Dead!  He’s fuckin’ dead and all you feel is embarrassed.  How the fuck did he die?”

“I don’t know.  I think he might have had a heart attack.  We were playing a game and he undid the left handcuff.  He said he was going to get something and I sensed him feeling his way around the end of the bed when I heard him gasp and drop to the carpet.  I’ve been trying to get his attention but he isn’t responding.  I remembered seeing a phone on the bedside table and so I felt around and found it.”

“So why didn’t you call the cops?”

“And be found naked and handcuffed to a bed of a near stranger!”  The woman’s voice was rising.  I wasn’t sure if it through anger or hysteria.

“But it’s okay if I find you, is it?  This all sounds a bit farfetched to me.”

“I’m serious!” she screamed.  “I tried to punch out the number of a friend, but it’s not easy when one hand is restrained and you’re in a completely darkened room.”  She gave me the number.

I looked at the number of the phone I was speaking into and saw she was close enough for me to stay on the line.  “How about you give me your number and I call your friend and tell her to call you?”

“I don’t know the number here.”

I’d have to think some more.  “Ya try and call anyone else?”

“No!  I thought of all the people I know and there’s only one person I would allow to see me like this.  I was trying to get her, not you.”

“If you say so.  Exactly how dark is it?”

“Very dark.  I enjoy a little sensory deprivation now and then, if that’s all right with you.”

Her words could have been titillating, but the sneer in her voice made me feel like a voyeur.  “All right, all right.  Enough with the snide.  So, why don’t you hang up on me and try and call your friend again?”

“Because, shit as you are, I don’t want to lose contact with you.”

“Well this shit needs a piss.  Try your friend again and if it doesn’t work, call me back.”

“No.  I’m scared and it’s very dark.”

“I thought you liked the dark.”

“Not when I’m handcuffed to a bed and alone with a dead man, I don’t!”

I could understand that but I’d downed a lot of beer in the club and my need to drain off was growing urgent.  “Is this a mobile phone?”

“No.”

“Do you have a mobile phone?”

“Yes, I have one!  It’s in my handbag which is with my clothes on the other side of the room”

“You have one hand free.  Can’t you get off the bed and drag it to where your handbag is?”

“I already tried that, well, I tried to get to Robert’s body.  He’s…”

“Yeah, I can guess who Robert is.  What’s his last name?’

“I told you, I don’t know.”

“So you let a guy whose last name you don’t know handcuff you to his bed in a house at an address you don’t know.  Ya wanna buy the Bolte Bridge from me?”

“Now who’s getting snide!  I know I’ve been stupid but there’s nothing I can do about that right now.  Anyway, as I was saying, this bed must be made of cast iron or something because I couldn’t move it.”

“All right.  I have a friend works for Telstra who could pinpoint exactly where you are if your mobile was switched on.  Why don’t you try moving the bed again?”

“I’ve already tried several times, you shithead.  I’m not going to put down this phone in order to try again.”

“Shithead?  I guess your situation isn’t as bad as you would have me believe.”

“Jesus!  Look, I’m sorry.  It’s just…you pissed me off, is all.”

I stood on one foot and then the other as I looked around for a toilet.  I didn’t see one.  “Is there a lamp on the bedside table?”

“Look, don’t you think I’ve tried all this.  I’d do anything to get out of this predicament alone, believe me.  So, no, there is no lamp on the bedside table.  I knocked a few things to the floor when I searched its surface, but I don’t think there was a lamp.”

I was switching feet so rapidly, I felt like Bojangles performing a tap-dance.  “Okay,” I said, devoid of ideas.  “What the hell do you want me to do?  You don’t know where you are, you can’t get to your mobile phone and I’m in desperate need of a piss.  I’m calling for a short hiatus while I go for one.”

“No, please don’t hang up.  Don’t leave me.  Please.”

“I have to.”

“No, don’t!  Please don’t.  I need you to stay on the line.  Please talk to me at least ‘til the sun comes up.”

“I thought the place was artificially dark.”

“It is, but…”  She made a sob-like sound, and then apparently pulled herself together.  “You stay right on this phone, you bastard!  Take your piss while you talk to me.”

“Nah, I can’t do that.  Look, I have to go.  Instead of replacing the receiver, I’ll let it dangle while I go and relieve myself.  When I’m done, I’ll come back.  Okay?”

“Promise?  Please don’t hang up.”

I let go of the phone.  As I hurried to the wall of the club, I shouted over my shoulder, “I’ll be right back, luv.  Don’t worry.”  Maybe we could date.  At the wall, I lived one of life’s greatest pleasures; emptying a seriously swollen bladder is happiness to the nth degree.  I felt at peace with the world and forgot all its troubles.  Steam rose as my urine joined the rain.  I rocked forward and let my head bang against the wall.  It didn’t hurt.  I realised the wall, the ground and I made a triangle.  As the ground and the wall were at a ninety-degree angle, it was a right-angled triangle.  Didn’t Pythagoras prove that the square on the hypotenuse was equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides?  Yeah, that was it and I was the hypotenuse.  I was close enough to six feet so my square was thirty-six.  My heels had to be about three feet from the wall and that made a square of nine.  If my head rested on the wall at about five feet from the ground it would make a square of twenty-five.  Twenty-five and nine is thirty-four.  Shit!  Nine from thirty-six is twenty-seven.  What’s the square root of twenty-seven?  Five point something.  Who cares!  My stream lessened.  Getting into bed would be a delight.  Oh to be rid of my constraining clothes, especially my ill-fitting shoes.  Cool sheets and a pillow waited for me; all I had to do was to get to them and surrender.  My stream withered, then stopped.  The pleasure had gone but another other one awaited me in my bedroom.  I set out for the colourful lights of Main Street.  A taxi would cruise by soon enough.