“I can help you. Come to mine for faith healing on Saturday,” urged Nikki van der Zyl as she clasped my hand. I was interviewing her about life as the voice of Ursula Andress (and six other Bond girls) at the time and was unsure how we had gotten so off topic. Yet, even at 77, Nikki still sounds like Honey Ryder – rendering the request impossible to refuse, despite my having been a full-time wheelchair user since before I can remember.
In the dream, Charlotte was laying on her right side on the bed, with her arm propping up her head. Wade was flat on his back. White blankets were ruffled between their bodies. Charlotte could feel all her clothes, but it was a dream feeling so she could not tell if she actually had any clothes on. Wade was shirtless. She could see his upper half, stocky and soft.
An invisible rope, hooked around my neck, pulls me along when I’m sleep deprived. I let somebody in on this secret, performing a mime to illustrate the dimensions, and am about to confess that my thoughts are preoccupied with death, anxiety and self-loathing, but she is already half-heartedly pretending to send a text. The number of syllables in the word insomnia is up for debate.
Birdman ended and the credits began. I watched the names of the cast and crew for a few seconds, before slowly getting up and exiting the auditorium. As I walked down the stairs, through the foyer and towards the door, things retained their sense of the ordinary, their levelness.
EXT. PARK – EARLY EVENING A London park in autumn. Ducks float in fountains. Leaves blow in the breeze. A vast white tent is visible through the trees. Inside that tent is an art fair. INT. ART FAIR – EARLY EVENING An evenly lit, and exactly white-walled gallery stand. CONCEPTUAL ARTIST (young man, worried expression) is having a conversation with HOLLYWOOD ACTOR (drug-addled, sex symbol).
Like Celine Dion and Michael Jackson, she had a gift that could never be bought – the gift of absolute pitch. If you threw Clara a song, she could play you back the notes by ear. She could do this on the piano at the age of two, because she was a v-i-r-t-u-o-s-o. And when she was four, she stood up on a table and breathed rapid hellfire from behind the chin rest of the devil’s instrument.
I’m house-sitting for a friend. I’m doing it very gladly as this house is considerably nicer than mine. It has AC, my house doesn’t. And it’s high up in the hills offering spectacular views of the low, sprawling mass/mess of Los Angeles. Certain landmarks are easy to make out.
Satan came in the night, through a temporal gateway in the ozone layer. He had been nurturing the hole for years, reflecting the sun’s rays towards the Earth’s protective shield. Raising the planet’s temperature to be more agreeable whenever he would have to visit.
Growing up on a farm in rural Iowa, water was something that came out of the faucet to quench his thirst after a bicycle ride down the seemingly endless, flat gravel roads, sweat soaking through his shirt. It was something slopping out of the dog’s bowl as she lapped it up with her long wet tongue.
The rumours are true. I am but a disembodied head – the virtual made flesh. I, Neil Sean of the Metro newspaper’s The Green Room, Sky and Fox News and Travelodge’s former writer in residence, sprang forth from the lager-addled mind of an overworked subeditor with a hacking cough that could wake the comatose.