Bernard’s Watch(ing you), Episode 3

(You can find Episode one here, and Episode two here)

Bernard watched attentively as his lecturer explained what the course would be about. He glanced about searching for Charlotte amongst the herd of dozing students. He couldn’t see her anywhere. Bernard looked to his left and appraised the slumped student on his laptop. He was flitting lazily between Facebook and Guardian Sport. There was also a window opened called LiveJasmine.com. I like flowers too mused Bernard. What a silly way to spend his time, Bernard thought to himself as he furiously typed every single word the lecturer said. His fingers moved swiftly and deftly and the sound he was emanating was like a hoard of locusts.

The lecturer gazed out at the audience “Any questions?” he asked. Bernard’s arm shot up like an unwanted erection in year 10.

“At what point will we be doing Marx’s critique of the capitalist structure and his dialectical theory of history?” Bernard asked, knowing that his question showcased his stupendous genius.

“Week 17” came the blunt reply. The lecturer’s eyes were blank. Why wasn’t he staring at me with admiration and hope, thought Bernard, surely my question illustrated my intelligence, surely he wants to nurture me and make me his protégé?

“You may be dismissed” he said as students streamed past Bernard. Bernard was expecting someone to congratulate him on his brazen question but it was not to be. He could merely overhear innocuous conversations: “Did you see that girl at the front?” said one sexually frustrated teen to another. “Man, I was so fucked last night; I had 10 pints” said one liar to another. “My daddy works for Goldman Sachs” said one twat to another.

Bernard began to reflect on his time at school as he trudged out of the lecture hall on his own. He could still hear the accusatory jibes ringing in his head. “George Bernard Shawsese” they had called him, for his religious obsession, borderline addiction, of the works of Martin Scorsese. Bernard had vowed that at university he was going to drop the ‘George’ from his name, and be known only as ‘Bernard’. It had a nice ring to it and made him feel like a bear. He had considered introducing himself as Bernardé but then he realised he was neither French nor handsome enough to pull off such an audacious name. Bernard it would be.

“Shall we head back?” a recognisably alluring voice cooed. Charlotte stood behind him; he could almost feel her deliciously stale breath warming his neck. She needs a glass of water, swooned Bernard feeling his heart batter against his chest like a bird on LSD.

“Yes, we shall” replied Bernard, whilst frantically trying to quash the evolving bulge in his crotch through his hand in his pocket. Luckily Bernard was wearing his favourite tight-fitting ‘Game of Thrones’ y-fronts and the bulge was thoroughly nipped in the bud. Bernard and Charlotte began the short walk back to halls. She languidly began to link his arm. I feel like Snoopedy Dog, Bernard thought to himself.

The walk back was great, thought Bernard as he reclined in his room. They talked about some really important things; whether the world exists or maybe we’re just brains in a vat; perhaps Marx was right, but his timing was just wrong; is it possible to do a truly selfless act? All sorts of enlightening things that no one had ever talked about before.

When Bernard and Charlotte got home they went to dinner at halls together. It was simply awful; some sort of curry that had goat in it – a goat! -, tasteless rice, all pleasantly topped off with a flourish with a block of sponge coated in lobulated ‘custard’ which Bernard was sure the cook had spat out. But the awfulness of the dinner was made redundant by Charlotte’s transcendental presence. She had such an ease within herself; when someone asked a question she averted her eyes and shifted her feet, when a boy said hello she spluttered like a dying fish, when Bernard told her he liked her hair she scratched at it awkwardly like a starving mouse. Just how I like girls, he thought rubbing his knee.

Bernard returned to his room to do some reading for his class in a week’s time. Bernard liked to seek solace in his academic articles. His brain was expanding like the broken condom that brought him into this life.

It was a Tuesday night and Tia Maria, Xi ‘Jacques’ Wan and Karl were all going to a pubbing house. A house of pub called ‘The Rocket’. Bernard immediately thought of astronauts and the fragility and inanity of human life when he heard the name; he has no control over his soaring philosophical thoughts. Bernard had thought this a great idea; apparently it was a pound a pint! I only need 3 quid to have a great night Bernard thought smugly rubbing his knee.

And a great night he did until it ended acrimoniously with Bernard calling Karl a ‘pseudo-intellect’. Bernard deeply regretted this slight. He had never said anything quite so scathing before, and it weighed heavily on his conscience like Mrs Crocker’s leering breasts weigh heavily in his darkest dreams.

Bernard’s Watch(ing you), Part 1

Episode 1

The M5 stretched gloriously out in front of Bernard. Not only was he appreciative of the grey artistry, but today the M5 was more than just a modern architectural masterpiece; it was an opportunity. Today was Bernard’s moving in day at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science. Today, Bernard was diving headfirst into an intellectual world of discussion and high powered debate. I am going to simply flourish, Bernard thought to himself. He caught his reflection in the wing-view mirror. Looking back at him was an enigmatic, brooding political philosopher to be. His hair was sufficiently messed up, but in a good way. It said, look at me, I don’t care how my hair looks because my hair is sat atop a brain so magnificently analytical that even my hair can’t contain itself. Bernard’s dad looked at Bernard outside the corner of his eye. Christ, he thought, I hope he gets a shag at this university.

School had been difficult to Bernard. An awkward looking child with long gawky legs and sinewy arms, he had the gait of one who knew that their penis was just a bit too small. He was awful at sport, and the only thing he did excel at he was mocked for; academia. Just the word sent a warm tingle through his body. This feeling must surely be better than sex, Bernard thought to himself with the assuredness of one who has seen but one pair of breasts. That was when Mrs Crocker’s blouse fell down in History class to reveal two veined monstrosity’s that burrowed deep into Bernard’s innocent soul. That incident had troubled Bernard greatly. Yes, school had been hard for Bernard, but university would be different. Bernard simply couldn’t wait.

“Do you need a hand with that dusty old suitcase?” asked a spritely young American in a pinstripe suit as Bernard clambered out of his battered old Megane with a wheeze. The “that” sounded like an elongated vowel to Bernard, he simply despised the Southern drawl that these Southerners have picked up from the gutters of American populist literature. “Why are you wearing that dusty old suit?” was Bernard’s response. His quick rapport was followed by a warm feeling that spread into a smug grin. This feeling, he thought, was akin only to the delectable feeling of urinating underwater.

It was evening time and Bernard had only met his 5 flatmates. The first person was the laconic American who had left a bitter taste in Bernard’s mouth. Will they all wear pin-striped suits he thought desolately? The next boy was decked out in jeans, white pumps and an awfully tight-fitting Hollister top. Perched upon his head was the most hair gel Bernard had ever seen. He insisted that Bernard call him Tia Maria, after his favourite liquor. Xi Wan was the third; a softly spoken Malaysian girl who went by the name of Jacques. Fourthly there was Charlotte who transported Bernard into an infinity pool of rosewater. Her small brown eyes seemed to look deep into his soul past what he previously thought was an impermeably philosophical armoury, mainly because he’d never locked eyes with a girl before, not since Mrs Crocker. Although her brown hair was unwashed and tangled, her skin pasty, her cheeks sallow and her lips the antithesis of voluptuous, Bernard saw in her what he had never seen in any other girl. Potential. The anticipation that proceeded the introductory pleasantries nearly killed Bernard. Thankfully, her first words boded well for Bernard’s dreams. “A bit of light chick lit” she jeered gesturing at Bernard’s copy of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. Bernard’s legs gave way.

When the mists of burning sexual frustration cleared, a face he didn’t recognise clattered into view. “Hello, my name is George Bernard Shaw, I’m studying Politics and Philosophy, my favourite book is Machiavelli’s Discources on Livy, it’s much better than The Prince don’t you think? I’m from Ireland, I got straight A’s at A level; no I didn’t go to private school” gushed Bernard’s well-versed introductory speech.

The face responded with a cursory shrug of graceful shoulders “I’m Karl Popper. I did go to private school. I personally think Discources on Livy was a bloated piece of literature. It is far surpassed by the sharpness of The Prince, and the ambivalence of the book that has so stimulated discussion, don’t you think?” Bernard was speechless. An equal, he exhaled internally. Someone who can match my intellectual prowess, someone I can journey with. Of course, this jubilance did not manifest itself in Bernard’s actions. He remained cool and composed.

“Interesting” said Bernard, as his door swung behind him with a resonating clang.

It was 4am in the early morning, the latest Bernard had ever been awake. He had lost his dignity on the dance floor of Tiger Tiger. Two shots of vodka, followed by 2 cans of cider. What was he thinking? Bernard was sure he had seen Tia Maria drinking at least 8 cans of beer over the course of the evening of debauchery. Bernard looked into the mirror of his room. A bleary eyed, wobbling 18 year old stared blankly back at him. I hope I didn’t look this when me and Charlotte dissected the social structure of Western society, Bernard worried to himself.

Bernard concluded that he was drunk. This was not what he had been expecting.