Deconstruction by Richard L. Wiseman
It was June 1989 and it was like retiring at the peak of a career. My last exam was over. I put down my pen and stopped working, just as I was told and that was the end of my education. At two thirty I finished my Modernism paper and by three thirty I was happily drunk in the union bar.
Neville, my long time friend and flat mate, was slumped in the corner of a booth mouthing the word ‘finished’ with a silly grin on his face. I smiled paternally at him and patted his arm.
“Oh yesh, we made it. People said that we wouldn’t get here, they said it was an imposhible dream, but here we are.”
I waved my arms in an expansive gesture as if the union bar was the final destination of a major expedition. It was near closing time at the bar and lots of final year literature students, like us, were celebrating the end of the course. We smiled at each other and waved across the crowded bar. We were comrades now. The war was over and it was liberation day.
Alan, a tall muscular maniac, had liberated his penis from his trousers and was standing on a table shouting, ‘ Hot dogs’ until four girls doing ‘The Time Warp’ jumped to the left and sent him crashing, penis in hand, into the lap of the head of English literature. Alan looked up into her eyes and said “Deconstruct that yer bat” and fell under the table. Neville and I looked on with glazed eyes. Finished. Finished. Finished.
That night we held a party at our house. About three hundred people turned up, along with the police and the main protagonists of the neighbourhood watch. It was like the last night of Pompei. There were naked bodies everywhere and the vomit flowed like lava. I spent most of the night consoling a girl called Linda, who had turned up dressed as a tart because she thought it was fancy dress. What had upset her was that no one wanted to get off with her, even after she had done a solo strip at the top of the stairs.
At two in the morning two wandering students from Birmingham went fishing in next door’s goldfish pond with Linda’s discarded fish net stockings. They woke up the neighbour who set his Rottweiler, Dennis, on them. When the police turned up all the lights were on in the street and all our neighbours were standing in the street in their bedclothes watching the two students from Birmingham, Linda, who was naked, the man from next door and Dennis, the Rottweiler, fighting over the stocking which contained three goldfish. I hid in the under stairs cupboard whilst the police carted practically every body away, including some of the neighbours, who had been watching the fight over the fishnet stockings full of goldfish and cheering and clapping.
In the morning I was woken up by the sound of barking and someone screaming. I woke up wrapped around our hover mower in the under the stairs cupboard. I removed the plug from my ear and struggled out of the cupboard. I was hunched like Quasimodo and this crippled appearance stopped the barking of Dennis the Rottweiler and the screaming of Neville, momentarily, when I walked into the kitchen. They regarded me for a brief second and carried on as they were. Dennis was eating a black cherry yoghurt, carton and all, and Neville was nursing a bitten hand. The kitchen was a disaster area. I was surprised that there were no UN troops, red cross and CNN newsmen attending the scene of what looked like a cross between the results of a civil war and a hurricane. Dennis was sitting amongst the remains of the contents of the fridge. Dennis finished eating the yoghurt carton and began licking away at the coating of food on the floor, stopping only to check the movements of Neville and to burp. There were cornflakes all over the floor soaking up a lethal cocktail of alcohol and fruit juice and Dennis lapped them up with gusto.
“The bastard bit me” Neville moaned nursing his hand. “I was trying to get a yoghurt.”
I nodded manically and turned back towards the lounge. I stumbled over the rubbish which coated the floor. It had been some party. Out in the front garden clothing hung on bushes and a half naked man lay on the piles of bin bags that we had collected due to our forgetting to move them a couple of yards into the street for the dustmen, who were too moral to enter our garden. There was dew all over the pale white reveller and to a casual observer it looked as if we had thrown a corpse out with the rubbish. A drop of dew fell off his nose and he groaned. I took in a few deep breaths and held my head with pain as I coughed.
After a search for a cigarette packet that wasn’t empty or damp, a few puffs on a cigarette and the carefully executed luring of the Rottweiler from the kitchen by use of a trail of beer soaked peanuts, Neville and I cleaned up the house.
The house had a few people sleeping in it and took most of the day to clean up. Some of our impromptu guests were bitten by Dennis who was a little tipsy by lunch time. Eventually we lured him into the bathroom with small cheese biscuits. As we were cleaning up we noted a steady stream of taxis bringing neighbours back from a night in police cells. Dennis’ owner was out in the street shouting for his dog. The dog was fast asleep, drunk, in the bathroom. Neville and I plucked up courage and carried the dog next door. We handed him over on the doorstep. The neighbour straining under the weight of his dog looked at us in silent rage. We backed away apologetically.
The last two weeks of term were spent repairing the house and avoiding the neighbours. After all the goodbyes and apologies we were ready to leave. We packed all our gear into Neville’s rusty Datsun and drove away rapidly like bank robbers from the scene of a crime.