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What the fuck just happened, Mikey?
Just get a drink, get in the tub, and get a grip, for fuck sake.

He stomped through the bedroom, to the bathroom, and turned on the taps, then trampled his way back to the lounge. He opened the doors of his mini bar, which had been well stocked with full-sized bottles a couple of days ago. There had to be some in there somewhere.
He took out untouched supplies of vodka, gin, brandy, leaving them, haphazard on the counter top. He crouched to get a better view inside, straining to see right to the back of the cupboard. Yes.
He almost cheered with relief, as he snatched for the half crushed cigarette packet which peeked teasingly out from behind an old, long forgotten bottle of Jack Daniels. Flicking out a smoke, and counting two more left, he moved to get up, and took out the JD, caressing it like an old girlfriend. He lit the first cigarette of his waking day, on the way back to his bath, and took a deep satisfying drag, savouring the buzz which signified the end of a nicotine fast.

The bathroom was full of rising steam, now, which didn't help his giddiness. The saccharine sweet aroma from the k-mart bubble bath, which he didn't remember pouring in, caught in the back of his throat, triggering a coughing fit. He sniffed at the mouth of his bottle, and grimaced at the strange smell, so far removed from what he was used to.
It didn't really matter, since he was going to drink it anyway. Didn't they say the best cure for a hangover, even a prolonged one, was hair of the dog? The fact that it cured a mind which thought to much was just a bonus.
He took a gulp, screwing up his face, and almost choking, as it burned its way down his chest.
Speaking of chest...
He placed the bottle in the basin, balancing his cigarette on the edge of the porcelain, and tugged at his t-shirt, yanking it over his head, throwing it into the far corner.

Another drag of the ole pain stick, swig of the good stuff. Oh, Christ, buttons. Why did Levi's have so many Godamned buttons?

Mikey frowned at his reflection.
"I can do this. I can," he mumbled around his cigarette, fingers feeling like so many chipolatas. Finally, on reaching the last button, which he actually didn't bother to undo, he allowed his jeans to fall around his ankles, and stepped out of them.
Exposed, and vulnerable. Well, what else was new, he thought, lowering himself into the warm comforting waters. He closed his eyes, letting his body drift, fetus-like in its ebb and flow.
He knew only too well what had happened, while he had been sleeping, at least. The dreams. They hadn't visited him in years, and he was far from happy with their return.
It had been the car of course, Marlon had been right on the button about that. But, shit, how could they still be so crisp, clear, after so long.
he sighed, wanting more than anything, to speak to his wife. To ask her-

Fuck, now I'm gonna go ahead and have a crisis of conscience, aren't I? Last time I drink year old Jack. There's no way I'm calling Paula. We're finished, it's over. Deal Mikey. Just deal. 'Course, that's easy to say. Shit, why does she have to be so stubborn?

A bell sounded from the bedroom, and he cracked open a suspicious eye, straining to see his computer screen from across the two rooms. An email by the looks of it. Probably from Stan, his agent. He huffed, taking the now soggy dogend from his lips.
"Can't I get any peace?"
He dipped himself under the surface, looking for all the world as if he intended to stay down there, then suddenly stood up, sloshing water over the edge of the bath, sending clusters of rapidly disappearing bubbles floating skyward, only to be caught in the suction of the extractor fan.
He groped, eyes tight shut, at the pile of fluffy, freshly washed towels. And wrapping one around his head, he hauled on his robe, and padded bare-foot to his office chair. The tie came lose as he sat down, allowing a cooling breeze to drift across his revealled chest and nether regions. And it felt good, real, to be sitting there, open to the world, when the world wasn't around to demand it.

But it's not from Stan, is it, you Dumbassed drunk?

He shook his head, it wasn't from Stan, with another kissass email about some part that Mikey would be 'just perfect' for, as if he didn't work enough in this fucking rat infested town. It was from Ethan.

Hey Jimmie,

It's almost time for school, and I really don't want to go.
Our Maths teacher set this impossible homework, it's algebra. He says he wants us to get the practise in, since we don't actually have to cover it for another couple of years, and he thinks it would be a good idea if we aren't so scared of it when the time comes.
But, it's so confusing. I just know I've done it all wrong, and that everyone is going to laugh at me.

Anyway, I thought that as you're a little older than me, that you might be able to help me get it better. Mr. Harris just doesn't explain it, well, he does, but just once, and really quickly, and I get lost.
I don't know whether you do algebra over in America, but thought I'd ask...

Talk to you after school, anyway,
*Who is really dreading Maths!*

Shit, shit, fuck, shit. Maths, of all things.
Why me? Heh, talk about getting caught in a lie.
I hated school, and I barely remember surviving the Algebra lessons. Gawd, something about ex minus why, where something is an axis. My head hurts already.
Really sounds like he's havin' a tough time though, huh? I hate when teachers drive kids to despair over a bunch of useless letters. Shit, eleven is no age to be sounding that desperate over homework.
Let's see, he wants help with Algebra. Who do I know who's a brainiac?
I'm coming up blank here, People.
I hate fucking irony.

Michel sat, slumped with his head between his knees. How was he going to come out of this one, unscathed?
For the perhaps the first time ever, he wished he was any one of the parts he had played. The janitor with a keen grasp of chemistry from the Clean Up films, or the butler who could work out the speed, and angle needed to aim a bullet just so from "The Bulter Never Strikes Twice", somebody with more smarts than he'd been given.
But, he wasn't, and this wasn't a movie. It was a kid's life. A kid who was relying on Mikey to help him. And, Mikey couldn't help.

So much for, I don't lie, eh, Mack?

"Shit," he cursed the ceiling, his eyes watered with shame. "Time to come clean I guess."
He stood, groaning, his robe dropping to the floor as he went to his emergency cupboard, and took out the suitable set of clean clothes.

I don't look too bad for my age, do I?
Could do with some toning work, I guess. Mr. Gut is down to the drink, so he can stay. As for Mr. Happy, well, shit, I did just get out the bath. He's always there when I need him, which is the main thing.
I need a shave. And, Crikey, when did that happen? I'm receding! No one told me that before.
Christ, as if I didn't have enough to worry about, they'll be casting me as Old Man in Sweat Pants before too long.
Well, a man can hope for a quieter life, can't he?

"Do you stock any books on Algebra?"
The sales assistant looked blankly at him, after the obligitory double take on the look-up.
He flashed a smile, truly charming now that his face was no longer overgrown with stubble. "Research, Honey. For a role I'm thinking about taking." Not exactly a lie, he added silently.
She grinned coyly, "Of course, Mr. Mack."
She stepped away from the counter, motioning for one of her colleagues to fill in. "How advanced were you thinking about going, Mr. Mack."
"Mikey, please. Well, not terribly difficult stuff. Let's start with absolute beginner, and see how that works out, Ok, Hon?"

Please, don't hit on that sweet assed college girl, Mike. It's not worth the hassle.
Oh, meet Mikey Mack Public, by the way. Just incase the alarm bells were going, and you wondered where the switch happened. I mean, shit, I am an actor, y'know. 'Cept, I hate this guy, so don't expect to see him too often, cool?
You know, if I didn't have a particular mission right now, and some serious books to study, I could if I wanted. Have her, I mean. I've been known to be wrong in the past, but not often. And she so wants to ask, right now. She perhaps even will, as I'm leaving the store, she'll run after me, like I forgot something, gather up her *a-hem* assets, and blurt it straight out.
And, of course, I'll compliment her on her posture, and alas, politely decline.

The boy sat staring at his screen, whilst his hands fiddled incessantly, willing Jimmy's handle to pop up in the messenger window.

School had been much the way he'd anticipated, except he was saved the embarassment of being teased over his awful algebra, by Mr. Harris taking it in to mark, instead of having them mark each others, which was his usual favourite trick. His classmates, for want of a better word, had still teased him anyway, today his hair was their chosen target. Apparently it wasn't scruffy enough.
Ethan's mind had boggled. What was the point in brushing, or combing hair, only to make it look like it hadn't been brushed or combed? Some of the other boys even went to the hairdressers to pay them to make it look messed up. He was pretty sure, that when his Mum was around she would be able to do just as good, or bad depending on how you looked, a job as any stylist. He shrugged off the thought as hopeless, he still wouldn't fit in. And it'd be typical of his luck, that the moment he went for the 'I just fell out of bed. Honest' look, the 'I spent ages smoothing each hair into place' look would come back, alienating him even more. He had grown tired of trying to change himself to adhere to the trendy and desirable.
He swivelled impatiently in his chair, idly listening to Clare make tea.

-Hey Ethan-

He was here. Jimmy was here.
James lived in America. And they'd never met. Ethan had no idea if he realised it, but James was his best and only friend. There was nothing Ethan wouldn't or couldn't tell him. Maybe it was because they'd never met, Ethan wasn't sure, not that it mattered.

-Hey Jimmy! Boy am I glad to see you...
Ethan, I have to tell you something.
Okay...*sounds serious*
It is. And I'm so sorry...
Do you remember the first time we chatted, about Mikey Mack Movies?

How could Ethan have forgotten. Not only was Mikey Mack his ultimate hero, but James was the only teenaged boy Ethan knew who absolutedly hated Mikey Mack films. Hated to talk about them, hated the plots, the stunts, the hammy acting, everything. He'd ranted for almost an hour that first time, swearing and everything. Ethan didn't swear, but it was okay for Jimmy because he lived in America, and was older too.

-'Course I do.
Look, Kid.

James always called him Kid. Ethan liked it, he'd never been given a nickname.

-There no easy way to put this...I guess all I can say, is...Shit, look, Kid, I'm not who you think I am.
What are talking about, James?
Didn't you ever wonder why I didn't like those movies? Hell, everyone likes Mikey Mack, right?
Of course they do, but it's no crime to not like them...
Ethan, I am Mikey Mack.

Ethan blinked at the screen for several minutes. What sort of joke was that? James was only thirteen. Confused, and a little annoyed, Ethan was lost for words. Why would Jimmy lie to him like that? His screwed up his face, as if trying to make his eyebrows touch in the middle.

-Look, Kid. I know that this is a tough one to swallow, but please, you have to believe me.
Prove it.
How...ask my something. Anything...
Yeah, but if I know it, then you could easily find out, you're online afterall.
Just pluck a question out of the air, if it takes me more than 10 seconds to type an answer, then you don't have to believe me. But, I'm through lying to you, Kid.

Ethan typed furiously, holding his wrist before his eyes, and focusing intensely on the second hand, before sending his question.

-Who directed Clean Up 2?-

The seconds ticked slowly, like someone had dipped it

It's not easy having a good time. Even smiling makes my face ache.- Frank N. Furter.


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The following comments are for "So, How Cool Is This? Part 3."
by Jasmine

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