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CHAPTER EIGHT
A Fruitsalad By Any Other Name

We arrived at the theatre just as a show was letting out. A mob of people swarmed us, pushing us back in a sea of bustle, as we tried to make our way to the doors. Then, just as suddenly as it started, the people dispersed and we were left standing there. The only thing left to do was enter. So we did. We walked into the hall, which was really more like a room filled with old posters, and puddles. I figured the puddles were from the people walking around in the snow and coming in. The posters were probably suppose to be there. We walked over to the ticket girl and asked for four tickets to their liveliest performance. She informed us that it had just let out. I wondered why people were in such a rush to get out of the place and she said that somebody had accidentally dropped a vat of liquid nitrogen and the end of the play, and it had seeped out into the crowd. Of course this intrigued Len and Winter who asked if they could be shown inside to look for broken off, frozen feet. Surprisingly the ticket girl said why the heck not, and ushered them down the hall. Not the hall we were standing in, but another hall, and another type of hall, come to think of it. A hallway, really, but why argue semantics?

As they left, Bunni turned to me. “So, Tim, about last night…”

“Last night? Oh, I ahh…” I let the ahh hang in the air. It felt right.

“Yeah. It was just a one time thing, okay?” She gave me a smile and ran her hand up my arm. “Well maybe not just a one time thing, but let’s just be friends, okay?”

I looked at her face, and then her hand. I guess this was her way of saying I was alright in the sack, but I can’t really take any of the credit for that. Winter taught me literally everything I know. I spoke up. “You don’t have to worry about that, unless I am incredibly drunk again. The, err… having sex part, not the being friends part. Lord knows I could use a few good friends.”

“Which is just what you have,” exclaimed Len, as he came back out of the dim entrance to the auditorium. He came over and gave me a big hug. I just sort of rolled my eyes. “Unfortunately you don’t have any frozen feet. Looks like our luck is running out.”

“You know what else is running out?” the ticket girl asked. “Time. You guys had better leave now.” She smiled, and pointed to the door.

And so we did.

Len asked what time it was, and Bunni pulled a funny little gold pocket watch from her purse. After finding out it was later than expected, we all decided on going to our respective homes, and maybe meeting at that same diner for lunch tomorrow. I was thoroughly satisfied with this, and so we all hopped back on the subway. The trip was pretty uneventful. I’ll give you a quick lay down of a bit of conversation that was had.

Bunni: So one time I saw a guy make a fruit salad with a sword. It was messy and fun.

Len: Did you get to eat any of it?

Bunni: Well, I had some watermelon.

Me: You mean pieces of watermelon?

Bunni: No, slices.

Me: If you just ate slices of watermelon you aren’t really eating fruit salad, you are just eating slices of watermelon.

Bunni: Well he hacked up other stuff. Like, apples and oranges and… I can’t remember, but he hacked up some other stuff.

Me: But if a bunch of chunks of them aren’t combined into a little bowl or plate, then it isn’t really fruit salad.

Bunni: Well the other fruits were all over the walls and floors.

Len: So?

Bunni: So you couldn’t eat that.

Len: I would have.

Winter: That’s the difference between you and humanity.

And so on and so forth, until we got to our stop. Actually, until we got to Len’s book shop. After that the girls said they knew their way home. Me, however, had to call a cab. I waited outside, after refusing Len’s offer of spending the night. He was even going to let me sleep on the lump he called a bed, while he took the floor. As tempting as that was, I was really looking forward to getting back to my apartment and hiding all the pictures of Winter I had around, so that she would never know that I still obsessed over her. That would be crazy of me, right? I mean, even if we did get back together, she was dead, and that would just be wrong. You can’t have relations with somebody who wasn’t living anymore. They’d arrest me, and then I’d be getting even worse sex. All in all…

The taxi pulled out an a Turkish fellow stuck his head out the window. He asked if I knew a Timothy, which I did, and he was me. We drove off to my house, but I was pretty tired at this point, so I didn’t really say anything. I didn’t really do or think or pay attention to anything either. The driver could tell I was feeling bland, because he didn’t even try to make small talk, and I’m pretty sure he drove by my place twice before stopping. I tipped him a dollar anyway. I turned my key and then trudged up the stairs, trying to trip on that stupid cat that was always hanging around my building. Like I said, I don’t like cats, and somebody keeps letting it in, every time I shoo it out, so I’ve just given up trying.

As I opened the door to my apartment, I was assaulted with the delicious aroma of popcorn. Popcorn and certain, terrible doom. I’m not sure how I managed to smell doom, but it just so happens that I did. A spotlight turned on, and shown directly on my coffee table, where fleas preformed an amazing routine of death defying feats on tiny little circus apparatus. I stared, transfixed, when a pair of shoes all of the sudden came down and crushed the whole thing. They were some rather elegant looking, brown, men’s shoes. Coming off of them were the ends of two, light blue pant legs. The colour seemed to match something I had seen before, but I couldn’t quite place it, so I didn’t bother trying.

“An eye for an eye, eh old friend?” said an almost indescribable voice. Obviously only almost indescribable since nothing can be totally indescribable if you can describe it as indescribable, but then again, that negates the whole thing, which means it isn’t really indescribable, making your description wrong, meaning you’d have to give a new one, and since now you had no words to use you couldn’t describe it, making it indescribable, but that would just start the cycle anew. Anyhow, the light didn’t shine bright or far enough to allow me to see any more than that.

Asking who he was got no better result.

“My dear boy, I cannot believe that you don’t remember me. Has it really been so long as to make you forget? I think, perhaps, that a demonstration is in order.” The person behind the voice stood up, their feet coming off the table and going to the floor. As the legs straightened they began to become more visible, until I could see just to the knees. Who the person was, was still totally unknown.

The next thing I remember, I was waking up on my couch, with a pain in my lower back. Sleeping on the couch always seemed to do that. I glanced over at the VCR and thought to myself, oh shit I had to get to the diner for lunch, but then I realized that I had never set the clock on that thing so it always just flashed 12:00 at me. Swinging my legs off the sofa, I got up and walked over to the kitchen. Really, it was all one room, but I liked to have the furniture arranged in a way that would trick people into thinking that my apartment had more than three rooms. Frankly, I think I did a pretty okay job of it. I took some Count Chocula down from the cupboard and poured myself a bowl. As the milk turned a disgusting brown, I flicked on the TV. I never paid for cable so the most I could hope for was CBC, and a lot of static. But that wasn’t so bad CBC had Twitch City on every so often. Well, often enough for me to almost have the complete two seasons on tape. It was sitting in the VCR right now as a matter of fact, so I pushed play and watched. Some things in this show really spoke to me. Especially the final conflict. Man, was that ever true to life. After watching an episode, and finishing up my breakfast, I tossed the plastic bowl and spoon in the general direction of a pile of dirty dishes, sitting in a vat which I once called the sink. I checked the time, eleven fifteen , and headed for the shower. Stripping down, I realized that I didn’t even know where that diner was, and was about to give Len a call, when I came across yet another realization. I don’t have Len’s phone number. As I was about to call the whole day off, I noticed a napkin in my pocket. There was a phone number written on it in lipstick. Bunni, I thought. I can just call her and find out. Now to only find the phone.

I had never liked phones, but figured it would be a necessary evil, since it was a quick way for people to get in touch with me. Of course, I didn’t really have any friends or business associates, so the only person who would get in touch with me would be my publicist, but then again I hadn’t written anything in months, and even when I do most of the time it’s crap that they can’t use anyway. But still, my mom had gotten me a cordless phone that told me who was calling, and had a built in answering machine so I figured, what’s another bill right? Needless to say, I only have the phone a few more days before they disconnect me. Finding the stand, I pushed the little button that made it ring when you lose it, and heard a sound from under a pile of dirty clothes and sheets. I dove in and, wrestling with a bed sheet I had once spilt mustard, ketchup, relish, and onions on during a particularly festive moment of hot dog eating, dug it out and dialled the number on the napkin.

I let the phone ring four times, but nobody picked up. And since an answering machine didn’t kick in by then I figured there was no answering machine at all. After hanging up, I decided I might as well take a shower, since the warm water always soothed my thoughts. Of course, as goes the world, it seems that taking a shower is what causes people to call you. Luckily for me, I brought the phone into the bathroom in case of just such an incident. I stuck my head and arm out of the shower curtain and grabbed the phone. Water splashed onto the bath rug with reckless abandon. Len was on the other side of the line.

“Hey buddy. Is that… Are you in the fucking shower?” I heard laughter from Len’s end of the phone. “Man, what are you doing?”

“Well obviously, I’m cleaning myself off from the dirt of being in contact with you.” More laughter. It seemed too early in the morning to hear it so I told him, “Please stop laughing. It’s too early in the morning to hear it.”

“Too early? Man, it’s 11:30 ! You should be here by now dude. We’re suppose to have lunch with the girls today, remember?” I heard somebody slam a door in the background.

“Yes, well, I don’t know how to get to your place. Remember, I woke up in Bunni’s bed, so…” I got cut off.

“That’s great man, but look, I got my first fucking customer out here. I own a bookshop, dude! A mother fucking bookshop!” I could tell he was quite excited about this. “Anyhow, I gotta go man.”

And with that, I was left holding onto a phone receiver, standing half way in the shower like an idiot.

I finished up cleaning, and then stepped out and grabbed a towel. The soft fibres brushed against my face and body, taking away the soaked feeling, but leaving a moist one in its place. Then I got dressed and pushed star sixty-nine. And then you can probably guess that Len answered and we talked and blah blah blah. Oh man, I feel so terrible right now. I really don’t think I can even get through the chapter. Not that it matters. I mean this whole chapter has just been rambling on and on. There’s no defining centre to it at all. I mean sure, it flows in logical procession, but it’s not exciting. It doesn’t do anything to boggle the mind. Oh God, I can’t do this anymore. You know that one wheel that comes off the car, and then the car flips a couple times and explodes? I’m the squirrel that wheel hit. Let’s move on to the next chapter.