It's never much fun getting fired. But when you are a human cannonball, it comes with the territory. And Dylan's ballistic style was always going to land him in trouble.
He was a talented writer, our former arts writer, one of the best - and i've worked with some damn fine talent during my nine-month sojourn at The Newspaper. Dylan's words glowed with a white fire. He had the imagination and verve to carry the bright and blazing torch of prose well beyond the pale. He was a natural with words, and was never more so than when being ejected from the various bars around town. He would invoke heaven and hell in his brilliant drunken diatribes, bringing down all manner of blessings and disgrace upon our bleary heads. You could call him a troubled writer. And as his sometimes unwilling accomplice, i too was troubled, mainly by where we were going to drink the following night as we were systematically banned from each of the town's few watering holes. Even our friends started banning our late night, inebriated visits. Dylan was indeed a troubled soul. I got along with him famously.
Miss Polly and i went to see his bizarre film, Enter The Hobo, which had been included in an international comedy film festival in the nearby hippy commune of Denmark. We drove down there, bought some wine, ordered a pizza and sat through what Miss Polly later dubbed "officially the worst film of the entire festival." I didn't think it was that bad, although it was clearly a stoner movie. The pizza was a good call.
Anyway, after a particularly spectacular drunk one night he finally lost his artistic licence when he was fired on the spot. That night Lorenzo and i were nearly killed. But as we tore down the winding road around Mount Clarence, the silver sea shining like a sharp flat blade in the abyss below, i was totally fatalistic. Faster, faster! I cried. You need to accelerate through those corners! Keep the car balanced! Hit that bend at its apex! And so on.
And of course it all ended badly. We skidded to a halt outside Martine's place, where Derek, Dolores and Tiffany had just returned after the pub, but they wouldn't let us in. Tiffany, who is quite a responsible girl in a glamorous kind of way, tried to take Dylan's keys. But we took off again, back up the mountain, in an ill-fated search for a higher plane. Ours was a spiritual quest. There was a bottle of spirits out there somewhere with our name on it.
So Derek rings on the mobile. "What do you think you are doing, you fools? Make him stop. He is in no condition to be driving. Get out of that car," he admonishes.
"Sure Derek. What would you know about it?" i demand, as i am flung hard against the window winder as Dylan negotiates another hair-brained bend.
"I work in the emergency department, i see what happens," Derek says.
"Try telling that to James Dean," I shout, and terminate the call.
I had absolutely no idea what i was trying to say, but i was saying it with great conviction. An ashen-faced Lorenzo jumped out at the next intersection.
It was a sad day, helping him empty out his room. It wasn't much of a house, out past Highway Meat Supply in one of the undesirable suburbs. The back door was broken and couldn't be locked. His flatmate was away on the mines. The recent downpour had covered the kitchen floor with water. Some aboriginals whom Dylan had given a lift home the night before had stolen all the cassettes out of his car. There was nothing much in his room to put into a storage unit anyway, but he insisted on doing just that. "I'll be back at Christmas," he said.
A clock radio, a small collection of the worst records i have ever seen, a cheap portable television and a box of oddments. Even in the smallest storage unit in the complex, his collection of belongings looked pathetically small. I tried to explain that he wouldn't miss any of this stuff, and that he would never come back for it, but after he accidentally snapped the key off in the roller-door, it was settled. We tossed the remaining LP records. Max Bygraves went onto the roof. An accordion band hit the forlorn-looking basketball hoop by the cyclone fence.
"I'll be back," he said.