This story is one of many re-edits of the original story ‘Night owl’ by Brandon Scott Gorrell, the Alpha version can be found here and the other edits are listed on Brandon’s site.
The screen on my laptop goes black
I knew the power cable had come out. I watched the orange light flashing at me but I didn’t have the energy or the inclination to do anything about it. I’ve already checked my emails about sixty times in the last ten minutes. Refresh, wait, retry. And repeat.
Leaning back I put my finger in the ashtray, I fingered the ashtray.
Tee was round earlier which was weird because it was the first time he’s been here, to the house I mean. He brought a bottle of red wine and some grass. I tried to roll a joint but it went wrong and was really loose and about an inch long. It was nice weed though.
We drank the wine from cheap coloured glasses, you know, the sort you get when you’re having a party, plastic, disposable, and we talked about our friend Ana.
I’m in love with Ana,
I want to shout out of the window “I love you”.
She doesn’t know this, she is unaware. Nobody knows I’m in love.
It’s not true what they say about having to love yourself before you can love someone else. I am definitely in love with Ana, I know this because I just don’t care, she can do what she wants to me, she ignores me and goes out with other people. I will always be there for her to come back to.
This has been going on for two years, we do things together and go on pretend dates. I mean I pretend they are dates, I pretend our brief encounters are dates.
She doesn’t know I’m in love with her. I’ve told her like three times now but only when we’re shit-faced drunk. We always wake up in bed together. Me holding her not the other way round, I’m very aware she never comes to me in the bed, she is never holding me. We always sleep fully clothed and when anyone ever asks she always tells them we are just friends.
I’ve never seen her naked.
I showed her my pubes once, I’d shaved them into a runway stripe like Pamela Anderson, I named it the manzillian. That’s as far as we’ve gone. I’ve never even kissed her.
I can hear someone next door. Banging. Not ‘banging’. Crashing about, rearranging furniture. It’s too late to be doing that.
I climb off the bed. It takes a lot of effort and I’m not sure why I’m standing up. I can tell no one else is in. The house has that feeling, even though it’s not silent, there’s no sign of life.
I check my keys and my wallet are in my pocket and go out the front door, slamming it hard to make sure it shuts properly.
I hate it when people invite you to a party and then tell you it’s in a bar. That’s not a party.
I’m going to a ‘party’.
Ana said she would be there. I text her on the way but get no reply.
I get to the bar and have to stand behind four people who are younger and having more fun than I am. I overhear the bouncer telling them it’s £3.50 to get in tonight, I’m not sure if I want to go in but I find myself digging in my pocket for change.
I don’t want to get stamped but the bouncer insists. So they can tell I’ve paid if I go out and want to come back in again. I tell him I don’t mind paying again but while I’m arguing this point some chick just grabs my hand and stamps me anyway.
I give her a look that says thanks but really sarcastically, a smile with a squint. I look at my hand and the black ink of the stamp spells INSECURE.
The music is loud. A girl hands me a flyer and says something that I don’t hear. The flyer has ‘BSG’ written on it in big letters. I fold it and put it in my back pocket.
I go to the bar and order a bottle of red wine. The girl behind the bar looks at me funny. The music is relentless. I look around and can’t see anyone I know.
A girl bumps into me as I’m paying for the wine on my card, she has a green badge on that says ‘kiss me I’m a rapist’ I want to kiss her then I realise it’s a guy.
I put my coat behind a sofa and sit down. I realise I didn’t pick up a glass. I drink from the bottle.
I take a wander round the bar. There are no girls in here.
I decide to finish the bottle of wine and leave. This takes a lot longer than I thought it would. Half way through I mouth the word ‘unsuccessful’. Somebody touches my arm but I can’t work out who it was.
On the walk home I go into Subway. The guy behind the counter tries to make me get a ‘foot long’. He really tries to get me to have the big sandwich, like too much. I’m too drunk to be hassled.
I wake up the next morning, fully dressed apart from my shoes. The laptop is on the floor. My shoes are on the floor next to the Subway wrapper. I feel like shit.