Bernard’s Watch(ing you), Episode 2

(You can find Part 1 here)

‘Hello motherfuckers’ said Bernard. All three of them turned to him. Tia Maria’s expression was unreadable but it conveyed at best bewilderment, and at worse burning resentment; Xi Wan was smiling manically like a squirrel on a gram of MDMA and Charlotte giggled nervously touching her luxurious straw-like hair as she did so. Oh my Christ oh lord, screamed Bernard internally, why did I just say that? I don’t even believe any of them has had intercourse with their mothers; he didn’t get a waft of Oedipus from any of them, so why had he addressed them in such a way?!

Bernard tittered awkwardly and pushed his shaggy mop out of his eyes. “I’m sorry about that” he began to say when the door to reception crashed open behind him. Karl strode in with the glitter of intelligence burning in his eyes. “Hello dear friends, so we are all going to this tedious tour of campus” Karl announced with a thespian flourish.

“We sure are Karl!” said Charlotte enthusiastically. She’s never that enthusiastic with me, Bernard thought desolately.

“Shall we set off then” Karl asked as he strode towards the door not waiting for a reply. He had craftily disguised it as a question but it wasn’t, it was a command. He set off along High Holborn at a rather unforgiving pace. Oh my, Bernard thought queasily, it should be me leading this band of merry-men.

The five of them arrived outside the Waterstone’s knowing they had suffered an absolute ordeal. Karl had yapped on non-stop about his take on the political institutions of Europe and how Britain was simply miles behind when it came to levels of democracy. When he took a break from his litany, the others had literally nothing to say to one another. Bernard had tried to extract a conversation from Tia Maria about his hopes and dreams but he had simply shrugged and said ‘I don’t know mate, the only hope I currently have is that this fucking hangover pisses off’. Bernard didn’t know how to respond to that but noted mentally that the thing happening to his body was a ‘hangover’. Bernard decide he should just laugh but he did so a shade too loudly, and Tia Maria just stared blankly at him. ‘Yeah same mate, I mean, what a bloody pain in the arse hey!’ Bernard had responded. Swearing had never come easy to Bernard and it was twice today that he had sworn for literally no conceivable reason. The words were like acid in his mouth; not the drug though, the corrosive substance. Bernard had overhead a stilted conversation between Xi Wan and Charlotte about male circumcision. I wonder how that came about Bernard thought to himself.

The tour had been similarly painful. Bernard was aware that he had nothing to say to these people. They were his only ‘friends’ so far, but there was only so many times you could ask someone “So, what course do you do?” and it not just become rude. Even now, he couldn’t for the life of him remember what they all did, despite asking them individually, soberly, what they did at least 5 times. He thought Tia Maria did Geography, Xi Wan Accounting and Finance, Charlotte Government but he couldn’t be entirely sure. He didn’t dare ask again, he couldn’t take the raised eyebrows anymore. Of course, he remembered what Karl did. He broadcast it to all and sundry. He had to do Politics and Philosophy, Bernard thought, he’s a certain rival for a First.

He had overheard the others talking about some sort of ‘Welcome Party’ at a mysterious, exotic place they called the ‘Tuns’. I suppose I should go Bernard thought; it could be fun. I certainly won’t be drinking though, I don’t want to embarrass myself any further, he concluded.

It was around 12pm and Bernard was in hell. This exotic ‘Tuns’ place was exotic only in the sense that it was an urban rainforest of death, desolation and dickheads. The humidity of the place was breath-taking. Sweet was dropping down the walls, ponderously tumbling down the walls like wax and the foul stench of beer hung in the air. The lighting had a strange blue hue, like the innards of the main protagonist in the video for that musical classic ‘Blue (Da Be Dee)’. Bernard was confused; he had seen 3 boys with their shirts off swinging them over their veined heads with a look of ecstasy on their face. Bernard had slurred to Charlotte “why are they doing that” but it accidentally came out as “buy me some hats”; Bernard had been drinking again. When he had earlier told Tia Maria of his intention to not drink he had looked aghast. He had called him a pussycat minus the cat and thrust a can of Stella Artois into his hand. Then he had gathered the others and started chanting forcefully “down it, down it, down it”. The others joined in, a fervent enthusiasm burning in their eyes. Bernard felt compelled to ‘down it’; he felt like he had just wandered into an extract from Lord of the Flies – he didn’t want to end up like Piggy. After ‘downing’ the first can Bernard felt like a regal prince; a glorious lion amongst a flock of seagulls. So he went down to Sainsbury’s and bought six more.

Here he was, in a room as muggy as a reptile room. He was dancing in a peculiar way, watching Karl and Charlotte gyrate as he did so. His knees were crouched and his entire upper body was violently vibrating and shaking, as if he was having a stroke. His back was stooped forward and his right arm was placed across his chest as if he was going to be blessed by a priest in a purple velvet robe. He looked like a drunken, malfunctioning robot. It was an odd sight to behold. It was an odd, but endearing sight.

At around 2am ‘The Gang’ had decided to leave the ‘Tuns’ and stagger home. Tia Maria was missing; he had been sighted with a human of the female variety. Xi Wan informed Bernard of this and the interesting titbit that she had seen his hand resting on her bottom. I wonder where he is, Bernard thought. Is he sexing with her?

Bernard clambered into bed in his Bart Simpson pyjama’s safe in the knowledge that he had had on the whole a fun night. University is strange, Bernard thought to himself as he lovingly stroked his wiry pubic hair, but I think I’m going to enjoy. So far, so good.

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.