Alice in LalaLand


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Alice in LalaLand

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I am sitting on the soaked pavement playing a freakishly out of tune guitar and making an utter fool of myself.

Well Windy Wilson lied. He promised me sun, and all I get is rain. Rain freaking rain. Isn’t life beautiful? That was sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice.

Sorry. I’m being a bitch.

Man, I need an energy drink, and all I got are these damned sweet wrappers. Is my music that bad? Money would be nice, I’m not a public freaking litter bin. My fingers dig deep into the depths of my pockets. 20p. Nice.

Relevantly, I play a nice little rendition of “I Need A Dollar”, which earns me roughly 10 more pence and a couple of distressed looks. Oh how nice, a pigeon has donated me it’s lovely shit too. Don’t I love pigeons? Again, sarcasm.

Shards of sunlight poke through the clouds, and miraculously, the rain clears up.

A nice little snotty tissue lands in my guitar case. I take a hint and start packing up my guitar, trying to look as cool as I possibly can whilst emptying my case of today’s earnings into a bin.

“Dude.”

I swing round. Charlie Parker’s shifting underneath his guitar-case that’s looped over his back. He stuffs his hands into his pockets and grins a bit.

“Nice performance.” His eyes spark beneath the heavy black curls weighing down on his head.

“Shut up,” I tease. “How much did you see?”

“All of it, man. The pigeon poop was class,” he chuckles, adjusting the lifeless beanie hanging off the back of his head. “You walking home?”

“Is that an offer?” I say, cocking my head.

“Indeed it is Miss Jenson. Are you going to take it?” He smirks.

“Indeed I am, Mr Parker.”

            Charlie buys us both a Red Bull which manages to last us the whole way back home. We take the long way, through the park so we can sit on the swings for a while.

“How’s gigging?” I say, running my hands down the cold silver chains that run up the swing-frame.

“Not great,” Charlie shrugs, staring at his hands. “The band’s not exactly working how we used to, y’know? I mean, it might be exam-stress and stuff, but we’re losing it.”

“Aw man, I’m sorry.”

He scuffs his feet on the dry ground where there used to be grass, and shrugs again. “Doesn’t bother me. I’d be glad to get a break from the guys from a while, if not forever. Dude, we don’t even hang anymore. It’s just, hook up and practise, then leave. It’s like we’re breaking up but haven’t realised it yet.”

I nod. “Right. But you guys were awesome when you had it going though.”

“Mm, we were. But, I dunno, we’re pretty much packing up and I’m not complaining. I think we’d all be happy to call it quits.”

A comfortable silence stretches out between us.

“So,” Charlie says finally. “School’s all good?”

I groan, rolling my eyes. “You have no idea. I failed my science test. Failed. School sucks, man. I wanna get out and focus on life. Not shitty educational crap.”

He nods. He gets me.

“You could always drop out,” he suggests.

“Drop out of school?” The words taste cold and dangerous on my tongue. But yet so tempting.
“Yeah, why not? You’re sixteen right? It’s perfectly legal.”

Considerations creep into my mind, but I push them out as quickly as they came as I think of mum’s view on this.

“No way. Mum would actually murder me. Or kick me out.”

“Mate, it’s your life,” he says, the words pressing hard into my mind. “You aren’t your mum’s nice little puppet, or doll or whatever that she can control. This isn’t a videogame where someone decides your fate. It’s all up to you. You wanna leave school? Then get the hell out of there. Man, Alice don’t you get this?” He rakes a hand through his curls. “You have the opportunity to live your life. You’d be a god damned fool not to take it.”

            We slow down when we get closer to my place.

“I haven’t seen you in ages,” Charlie says, flicking an inky curl from his eyes. “We need to do this more.”
“We really do. I mean it, talk to me on facebook or something and we can sort stuff out.”

“Sure, man.”

“Thanks for walking me home Chazo,” I say, nudging him. He scrunches up his nose.

“Not Chazo. That’s lame and cringey dude,” He laughs.

“Fits you perfectly then,” I tease. He shakes his head sarcastically. His body looks all small and skinny under the weight of his guitar. Charlie looks like the kind of guy your mum wouldn’t want you to bring home. He’s seventeen and covered in tattoos, which is technically illegal over here in the UK. They stretch up his skinny pale arms, reaching for his neck, and disappearing under his thick dark curls that fall just below his earspike. His face is actually quite striking. He used to wear these cute hipster glasses, but they’ve been long since replaced with contacts. Skinny jeans hang half-way down his butt, undies all on show and that. He’s got a pretty cool eye for fashion though. Today he’s in a white photographic band t-shirt with a loose denim shirt hung unbuttoned over the top. Double denim. Only Charlie can pull it off. His beanies are like his trademark. He leans back on the heels of his Vans.

“You should probably go in,” He suggests, nodding up the drive to my house.

“Oh. Yeah.”

            The house stinks of..awfulness. Mum’s hovering over the oven, holding a tray of what looks like failure.

“Oh hey, mum,” I drawl. “You’re having fun.”

She shoots me a quick look. “I am baking,” she points out, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

“Baking what?” I peer over her shoulder at the gooey mess splattered across the tray. “It looks like you’ve murdered some preschoolers for dinner.”

That earns me a killer glare.

“They’re cookies, darling,” she sighs, shoving the tray into the oven and slamming it shut. Her brown hair hangs like a greasy veil over her face. “I’m stressed, so the least you can do is shut up with your sarcasm.”

I am so loved. Hello to you to, mother. I grin and shrug. “Well let me know when the kids are cooked. I’ve always wanted to go cannibal.”

Dad pops up from nowhere. “How was busking? Rich yet?”

“Ha. Didn’t get a penny,” I snort, tugging on my empty hoodie pockets. Mum shakes her head.

“That music’s wasting your life. You need to do something productive,” she says. If she wasn’t my mum right now, I’d punch her pretty damn hard.

“Right. Because you’re totally doing productive things with your life. Leaving the work to dad while you laze about in front of the TV to watch bloody Coronation Street. Cut the crap mum.”

Hurt registers all over her face, and I push away the guilt as quickly as it comes. “I’m going into my room. Don’t come in. I’ve got productive things to do, like writing an essay on life three hundred years ago. I hope your cookies burn and rot in hell.”

The last bit was kind of a joke. I think.

 

 

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