Sometimes I wish that I was someone else. Like I was a whole other person. A different character with a different name, and Sparrokei was just some name I threw around on drunk dancefloors. I’m Sparrokei, I train animals for films, like that movie about the bears. My name’s Sparrokei, I write books about investing in property; are you looking to buy?
It would be more believable, anyway. My real name would be Romulus, I think.
My last paycheck came in today. I don’t know how long I have to make it last, but it could be a while. A friend asked me to help her today, and she said she’d buy lunch, so I went along. She’d been staying at another friends after the old man she had been house-sharing with made a pass on her. She held my hand the whole way we walked up the street, and would stop to look at me when I said something she thought that I thought was interesting. I train animals for films, and circuses. Lions are my speciality. She would have stopped, turned to me, really? She would have said. No wonder the old man made a pass on her.
She had dumped all her stuff in this hotel she worked at, and we were going there to get it all so she could move. I don’t know how you could forget how many bags you left somewhere, but she said she did. To suck me in, I guess. She had lots, I saw, when we got there. We started hauling them down to the street together until I gave up and sat there amongst all these pathetic plush toys and collages of photographs with girls doing stupid things with their mouths. Looked like they were blowing bubbles in some. All over the world – showing their teeth, like at the dentist, on the Chateau D’If, France; licking their own chins, almost, in London. The rest of the stuff was clothes and posters in garbage bags.
I would despise myself if my life ever came to a pile of garbage bags and ugly photos, piled on the steps of a footy-head hotel.
The days are tough, hey, says this tramp who’s wandered up to me and the mound of garbage bags.
I’m collecting cigarette butts, she says.
Yea, times are tough alright. I’m not wearing shoes, I realise.
You want a cigarette butt? You get a few together and you can make one smoke, or you can just have one puff of each, ya know.
I look to her and don’t say anything. I think of my car, the half-smoked cigarettes dropped at traffic lights all over the city. The way the smoke rises up afterward.
I’m gunna see Billy, she says, hope times look up hey.
I am Sparrokei. I own a chain of hotels. I import rare cars from England. I smoke cigarette butts.
I am Romulus.