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Based on real events


I see a small smile form on a familiar face in the hazy mirror. Kia ora, brotha, sista, whatever you are today! Nah, nothin’. Blank face, you ain’t even proper present. That’s rude; gimme somethin’ back black, am I beautiful, bro? It stares back at me, sighin’ a silent sigh, anxious twitch in the right eye. It always does that when I begin to panic; I try to act hard, but I always give myself away like I’m donatin’ to charity. God, I could do with a stiff drink right now, stiff anythin’, but I’m half floatin’ off the ground already, dabbin’ my third j in the ashtray. Oh, don’t worry, I’ll scull later; later all fluids will come, right? Forecast said so.

The floral dress hangs off me awkward-like. I’m wet laundry thrown haphazard onto a washin’ line; the colours I’d thought fine, now lurid in the harsh light of this backroom bathroom. Fuck it. I spent the last week drinkin’ way too hard and datin’ way too soft, but maybe tonight I’ll try it the other way ’round, ain’t nothin’ soft by the end of this hot night. Shame, I’m drippin’. It’s humid in and out, these muggy evenin’s tailgatin’ tropical summer days, now a storm brewin’ outside and inside. Head throbbin’ with the electricity in the air, I lift one damp leg to the mirror, sweat mattin’ thick hair that I try to smooth out to no avail. I nod to the hairy me man-not-quite-man in the mirror, and he nods back. I flash myself, and he scowls back big time, ‘You a big commando now?’ he says with his eyes. ‘I thought you was missionary?’ I ain’t a he, I offer, but he don’t believe me. Black heels on a white sink, low-cut, lookin’ even cheaper than they were when I pulled ’em out of a department store sale bin. Big, brown, fat, flat feet push against the faux leather skin, flaky toes desperate to escape for fresh air. How do women do this? Fuck.

The nasty nausea of a nervous shit comin’ on, I squat on the loo, try to clear away that dread slowly arrivin’ like a thief in the night. Nek minnit, feelin’ dirty down there, so I shower again, just in case the night holds beautiful treasures in its dark chest. Rain begins to beat the roof into submission. Refreshed and redressed; yeah, nah, yeah, you look choice, now time for some trinkets. Gold earrings dangle down to shoulders, cradlin’ a hairy neck above a hairy back, I’m like a hairy alpine buttercup, you big korikori you.

I slowly turn my head back and forth and the nuggets of gold slide across my shoulders in a cool massage. Chain-link, with a rock at the end, like my ears are slaves to my head; they pull my lobes down but it’s kinda comfortin’; not holdin’ me down but groundin’ me. I reapply lip paint, my war paint, tribal colour, mock moko, my L’Oréal Storm; a purple grey, perhaps it’s a grey purple, but either way it seems to complement my dark skin, olive tones, the brownness. I towel off my beard, vainly attemptin’ to force the hair to fall down my cheeks, but it bends, curlin’. I could never do straight very well, even my beard hair acts queer. Spray myself down with a fruity natural scent from that store in the city where everythin’ smells like somethin’, but maybe it’s a bit much, even if I am now a peaches and creamy snack, delicious, but maybe I just let myself smell as I do, let my odour be hor d’oeuvres, but I can’t get over bein’ told I smelt a bit funky on the last date, and I’m like no, you smell fuckin’ weird white boy, at least I’m not a musty, perfumed cunt who make noses wrinkle!

Is that it? You done? You ready, big boi, you hot brown honey you? I poke out my tongue in the mirror and bulge my eyes, and I’d scare the shit outta myself if I hadn’t already shat, and shit, I’m rearin’. I pull up all cool-like to the full-length mirror near the door, look up-down the whole damn queer beast, cut in half by a big nasty crack down the middle from when I tripped and hit my head when I been smokin’ too much, and I was dancin’ at myself to ‘Dancin’ with Myself’. I go to touch the top of the skull tryna remember when it split down the middle, and it bled like fuck, and now I know to not go beer before green, ’cos you’ll be feelin’ mean and you’ll trip yourself the fuck up and split your fuckin’ head open, you dumb cunt. I flip off the man in the mirror, you can go get fucked, time to split.

Out the door I strut, into the storm, new night, new me, yep, have fun, don’t be a dumb cunt, enjoy yourself for once you depressed fuck, you didn’t not take your pills for nothin’, better to just be manic and impress him right, then be a depressy bessy and lose another lover? Ain’t it? Maybe, too many maybes, maybe when you bisexual, bipolar and biracial, sometimes people just gonna say bye, rather than dig their shovel down into your deep, dark, dauntin’ hole. Oh well, time to paint the town black.

I hear the wild chatterin’ of drunken office workers as I lounge, uncomfortable, on the Friday night train, zoomin’ into the city centre where a man awaits his meal, me. They dress like little peacocks, not realisin’ they bin birds, and that’s an insult to the ibis; matchin’ black suits, checkered shirts, patterned animal ties to match their shoes, like they’ve just walked out of a photoshoot for White Men Weekly, look at this little flock of parrots, bet they pigeons at home. I’m breathin’ slowly, but a little heavily—I had to run for the train, while tryna stop my Marilyn Monroe moment in the wind, don’t wanna scare the children. The suits smell like liquor, but these are rotten spirits, they’ve been rollin’ around the piss-stained floor of a pub, and now they rise from the grave.

I’m incredibly and incredulously nervous—who wouldn’t be? Seen so many girls and boys and in between, been a lil’ datin’ fiend, and none of these fish have wanted to bite my bait. I’m a dour little fisherhuman sailin’ along on my little lonely boat at the edge of the ocean, sea full of plastic hearts and false promises. The suits flash little lethal looks at me, sneerin’ like they’ve just stolen my winnin’ lottery ticket, and I gaze back at them all nonchalant on the outside but freakin’ the fuck out on the inside, their queermisia aflame, settin’ this train alight, but no one gonna help me put it out, they never do.

Last time I was on the train, I got kicked off ‘cos I lost my ticket, but I started to get angry at the guards, and I shouldn’t have, but I was havin’ a time, and they called the cops, and all eight of the pigs rocked up and searched my bags, and just lucky I ain’t have a stash. They just gave me the hundred-dollar fine, and I won’t be able to pay it for a while, so it’ll probably be two hundred, but fuck it, fuck ‘em.

Next stop, doors open, air flows in, and it distracts me from the cunts down the way. One of those rare old trains, no air-con, my pores are gaspin’, fairly sure one of them has morphed into a fuckin’ mountain on my face, and my sweat tryna climb it. Some cops get on at the stop and go to harass the friendly black fellow who said I looked cool on the platform earlier, and I’m tempted to get up and intervene, but it’s fuckin’ terrifyin’, and I don’t wanna draw attention to myself and I’m pretty sure I’ll get arrested for just bein’ me, so I watch, betrayin’ him, a stranger, and hope to sweet hell someone stands up for him. But they don’t, and he off, and I punch the seat in front hard in anger, you coward you, stand up next time. Fuck, my hand, fuck man. Fuck. Why none o’ them help out? They don’t even look.

‘Faggot,’ I hear, loudly, clearly, not a shred of pretence. I shake it off—well, I try to shake it off. I know it’s them, the squawkin’ suits. I distract myself again and look up at the train map, checkin’ how far I’ve got to go before I can escape this slow burnin’ hell. It’s a while, but I’ll be right. Don’t overthink it. Nah, fuck you. Overthink it, mate. I close my eyes; I feel too naked in this fluorescence. I feel the carriage enter a tunnel. I love it when trains go into tunnels and the power goes off, it makes me feel safer, as everyone else moans and groans I climax to myself in the pleasant darkness. I wish and I wish, and I wish it to happen now: maybe the train could even derail, just fuckin’ kill me. I open an eyelid and, nope, still bright, still alive, still fucked.

The suits have steered themselves closer, they’re watchin’ me, I’m their entertainment now. They seem to be on their way to a concert, and it appears I’m the openin’ act. ‘Faggot’ again, and the word rings in my brain, my head, my heart, my soul. I want to get off. All I can do is stare at them. If the doors opened right now I’d Sparta-kick these white cunts onto the tracks, and watch with glee as their suits and their ties and their shoes got torn to shreds. I bite my lip as my brain goes to tell them this. ‘What the fuck are you lookin’ at, you brown gay cunt? Fuck off, faggot.’

I go to stand, but it’s not worth it. I close my eyes again and go to another place. The water, ocean, bath, shower, pool, whatever. I’m at a party on the beach and everyone is hi-fivin’ me, no hugs thanks, not into that, I wish I were, they’re so nice sometimes, but there’s fireworks and people like me and I’m not alone, not anymore, and I’m surrounded by fine brothas and sistas from other mothas and mistas, and everyone is wearin’ what they want, and everyone’s skin shines bright and beautiful, no matter how dark they be. I feel safe in my head, but reality shoves me out. I open my eyes, and a lady ‘cross the corridor looks sadly at me, askin’ me if I’m all right with her nice blue eyes, and I shake my head a lil’ to let her know, but give her a thumb up so she doesn’t have to worry. Sorry lady, I’m not all right, but I’ll be okay, what you gonna do anyway? The train rumbles into the deep, dark, dauntin’ night. Oh well, time to paint the town black.

I smell the white bourgeoisie before I see ’em, a waftin’ scent of money and power and too many candles. Always with the fuckin’ candles, why don’t you burn somethin’ proper for once. I waltz in, havin’ made it through the catcallin’ minefield that is the street. Gettin’ more than a few looks, the whole damn restaurant throwin’ shade over ‘ere. Should’a bought that beard oil last week, I’m lookin’ like a fuckin’ homeless magical wizard right now, I’m Dumbledark, motherfuckers.

I tell the door dude that I’m here for Dave, yeah two, me and ‘im, sweet as, but he says there’s no Dave on the list, and he look me up-down like I’m an exhibit at the Museum for Weird Shit, and asks if I’m in the right place, and so I narrow my eyes at him, then raise my bushy eyebrows high all threatenin’, and we have a stand-off for like a second. ‘You got any room then, for two?’ I ask, with more than a bit of venom in my queer-as-fuck fangs, and he holds his pen like a knife just for a moment, before he rightly gives in and shows me to a seat in the back corner, probs’ where they shove the freaks so rich folk don’t have to look at them. Fine by me, fucker.

The joint is full, and I’m feelin’ a bit overwhelmed, so I go for the sparklin’ water, what like thirty bucks a pop I guess, may as well spoil my fine-ass self, and then another dude comes over and put a gigantic napkin in my lap, and in my brain I’m like woah get your fuckin’ hands away from there, but then he just politely passes me a drinks menu, then politely tells me to have a look, then impolitely fucks off to the Maître Dickhead, whisperin’ to him, and I get all paranoid. I breathe in, and I breathe out, but I breathe a bit too hard and start to drool. Pull. Yourself. Together. You. Cunt. I skim the drinks menu and my eyes fall on the specials and—oh fuck. No wonder all the old whiteys are here: it’s Valentine’s Day. Hah. Probably celebratin’ their dusty ol’ fifty years of marriage hell, full of seethin’ hatred for each other, but they stayed together ’cos of the kids, y’know. It’s all g’, they tell themselves, here’s your golden anniversary gift, I bought it for you from a store that probably runs off human rights abuses across the world, oh here you go darlin’, I love you, I love you too honey, and they sit together silently in their white, luxurious home with the white, luxurious dog that shits on their white, luxurious carpet and the white, luxurious husband blames this on the white, luxurious wife because she should have taken that white, luxurious dog to that white, luxurious dog trainin’ school and and they argue white, luxurious arguments over white, luxurious wine and he gets into a white, luxurious rage, and beats her with white, luxurious fists because he’s white, luxurious scum, and the white, luxurious police get called by the white, luxurious neighbours because we can’t have any noise on this white, luxurious street, and these white, luxurious cop cars roll up and ask white, luxurious questions, but the white, luxurious husband tells them that there ain’t no dark and terrible problems here, and holy fuck, I’m super fuckin’ high. I start to hallucinate a bit and I imagine that I’m on a beach in Hawaii on Capitalist Love Day 1779, and instead of this dank-ass whiskey I somehow ordered, I’m drinkin’ the blood of Captain Cook and his mates, suckin’ down their bone marrow, you come here pretendin’ you a God, you takin’ advantage of Polynesian hospitality mate, it’s your problem you pretended to be immortal, gonna stone you to death bro, pity we didn’t get there before you fucked everyone else up first, ooh baby, chief chef cook me up some Cook, I’ll eat your heart, body, and soul, you goin’ straight down to the fires my brotha, but no, they’ll make statues of you, and my fantasy is interrupted by you, Dave.

The irony isn’t lost on me. You. It’s you, the white saviour of my savage ass. You Captain Cook-lookin’ motherfucker you, I bet you’ll Endeavour to make me yours. I’m fuckin’ serious, you look like ’im, you sure you ain’t one of ’em statues brought to life, you come to colonise this primal little feral? Your white handsome expensive piece of ass arrivin’ out of the blue like a tall ship on the horizon, glidin’ across the smooth floor of this smelly eatin’ hole with your sails hoisted in the air. I bet you bringin’ gifts, I bet you want to trade with me, you’re gonna lure me to your hut on the edge of the village with promises of wine, food and weaponry, a whiskey, a steak, and a cock. I’m talkin’ shit to myself of course, just dreamin’ my little dreams, You lil’ korikori in June, you still gotta bloom. But I’m hungry, and as you sit, speakin’ your white noise, touchin’ your gentle white skin, apologisin’ for bein’ late, but it’s cool, it’s cool, I’m on Central Island Time hunny, you talk and you talk at me, and you’re much more animated in person, a total bullshit artist, but you’re hot, and I’m lost in your lyin’ words, and these vices aren’t helpin’ ’cos I’m desperate. Once were warriors, and now I’m a slave to you. I trip on your trap and fall into your deep, dark, dauntin’ eyes. Oh well, time to paint the town black.

I taste the inside of his mouth as we mack on in the back of the taxi. Well, he macks onto me, peppermint gum mixin’ with whiskey and steak and cigarettes and pheromones. Quiet moans. I’m not feelin’ well too well at this point in the evenin’, and I dunno why I’m doin’ this, he here makin’ me feel like I’m just his object of enjoyment, his servant of smut. He whispers little demeanin’ whispers in my ear, and I’m along for the ride, but you got some toxic tongue there, boy.

We only exchanged a few words on the app, but he said he wanted to go out with me, and I was like, well I’m all in on anythin’, and the dinner seemed to go okay, but I think we was a bit loud and pissed off the whole room, but fuck ‘em, you ever heard a bunch of screamin’ white ladies outside the clubs before, ay? He said a few weird things over dessert that rattled my brain holes, but I was too wasted to deal with it, and I didn’t wanna make a scene. Little racist things, little hatin’ things, little things that didn’t seem to matter in the grand scheme, ’cos they all say shit like that, they all are hidin’ a deep, dark, dauntin’ aggression and power, but maybe, just maybe, if I’d just told him to shut his fat hole and left, I coulda saved myself the whole damn mess. A mess is a mess is a mess.

He paid for the entire meal, just like I hoped he would—hey, don’t judge, I ain’t payin’ hundred dollars for some dry-ass steak and dry-ass whiskey, I’m here for the wet ass only. We didn’t talk ’bout much, just basic shit, no deep divin’ here, but it’s fun, but it’s shallow, and I dunno how much I expected from a man like that. Good of ’im though, I deserve that free shit, I’m a queen, but I feel like he’s just flauntin’ his wealth, tryna get me wet, and to be honest, it ain’t workin’ as well as we both thought it might. I ask if he can stop, I don’t wanna do this, but he continue to stick his tongue down the throat, and I’m gaggin’ on it, it tastes like Grandma’s old dry liver, put some fuckin’ sauce on that bro, season that shit. Could just be the comedown of the drugs, and the incomin’ hangover, but I’m gonna fuckin’ vomit if he don’t evacuate my oesophagus, I’ll evacuate into his mouth. I yell at the driver to stop, he’s a nice Middle Eastern guy, but I think we scare him and he doesn’t know what to do ’cos we on the freeway, so he swerve a bit, he was goin’ a bit fast, but I don’t mind, but Dave somehow diplomatically gets the driver to pull over, like he’s a politician forcin’ a handshake.

I basically dive out the fuckin’ window and everythin’ goes, anythin’ goes, and that song is now on repeat in my fuckin’ head, what the fuck, and I’m like one of those worms that chunder its guts up to eat. Dave jumps out and strolls over to me, and he starts to spout shit that I suspected but never thought I’d hear outta someone’s mouth this close to me, fuckin’ sand niggers, his drivin’ is fucked, sorry about that, and I’m just about to tell him that he’ll be sorry, to tell him to shut the fuck up you stupid racist cunt, but I’m in no state to, so I just continue to drip bile from my mouth, as he do, and try and block it out, everythin’ suddenly went downhill real quick. I’m crouchin’, ready to lash out if he says one more ignorant thing, and my head is bubblin’, I’m kinda confused, I’m suddenly tired, tonight’s too much for this big boi.

Dave guides me back into the cab, and the driver ain’t happy but he wants the money, and Dave tells him to fuckin’ drive, and there’s somethin in his eyes that scares the driver, so he goes silent, and off we go again. Dave slides his fingers over various parts of me, but I push ‘em off, denyin’ him, but he keeps at it, he says somethin’ ’bout bein’ sexy even if you vomited, and I’m real uncomfortable, and I don’t really know where I am, and right now I just wanna go home. I tell him this, and he says, okay, okay, we’ll go to mine first though, and he lifts his hands in a mock surrender. I hear him ask, ‘So, what are you?’, and before I can answer, ‘You look exotic. I like that. Not a fan of the dress, though. You’re not trans right, you have a cock, right?’ and I’m disgusted inside, but my ego takes over and I somehow spit out, ‘Māori. Yeah, I got a cock.’ He then proceeds to ask me questions like I’m tryin’ win a million on Who Wants to Be an Exotic Lookin’ Queer? Do you know Taika Waititi, is he related to you, what do you people eat, apparently you cook shit in the ground, that’s weird, you don’t look very brown, like you’re brown, but hardly, haha, why are you here then, do you follow rugby, All Blacks are shit, haha, why do they do the stupid haka thing with the eyes and the tongue, reckon you could do that tongue on me?

I feel like I’m trippin’ ’cos who the fuck talks like that, and it all swirls ’round my head, and I feel like he’s got a kink for brown bois ’cos he says he’s never had a Pacific one before, they’re usually pretty ugly, but you’re not, and Asians are pretty good, but he’s not a fan of Africans, and we drive past a local park and there are a few brothas out havin’ a smoke and a feed, and he looks them up-down and smirks a lil’ smirk, and I swear to fuckin’ god if my body didn’t feel paralysed right now I’d knock him out, but all I can do is breath and be still my achin’ heart.

It’s fine, just get out at the lights, and never talk to him again. It’s fine, it’s just another fling, he seemed so nice before I met him, but a lot of them are like that, they look good, but they open their mouth and any respectability just melts away. You get to the lights and it’s red, and you go to open the door, but your eyes are closin’, and you try to wake up, but you off to bye-bye land, and your brain has given up and your body has clocked off, and you feel like you might have been drugged, but you’re not sure, you were smokin’ hard tonight anyway, and you remember the last time this happened when you were in Germany on NYE and you set fireworks off in a phone box and under a car and nearly killed a cat, or that time that you vomited on some lesbians outside that gay club in front of some cops, and the last thing that flashes before your eyes are the lights goin’ green, his hand grabs yours, he pulls you back to him and shushes you, and ’round you closes the deep, dark, dauntin’ void. You don’t think wanna paint the town black no more.

You touch your face and force your eyes open and awaken in the half-light of an unfamiliar—what the fuck is it—a livin’ room? It ain’t mine, it smells too white, too clean, too alien. You feel around and scout out a couch, maybe a couch, maybe a bed, nah, not bed, definitely a couch, where the fuck am I? As your brain adjusts to the feelin’ of your head bein’ crushed under the weight of bad decisions last night, you notice that somethin’ ain’t right, and somethin’ is warm around you, holdin’ you, and you feel a heavin’, and you feel a breathin’, heavy and hollow. You feel an unwelcome guest, the nasty nausea of somethin’ inside you that shouldn’t be there, at least you didn’t let it be there. You can’t move yet as much as you want to and you groan some words out that don’t make no sense, and the breathin’ turns sharp, alert.

You look down and you see that your dress isn’t where it should be, it up ’round your neck, and your earrings are cuttin’, and your heels are missin’, and you see a terrifyin’ shadow, on you, in you, takin’ you, controllin’ you, and your fight or flight kicks into gear, and you snap awake in an instant, not blurry no more as you take in the full extent of what’s happenin’. You scream a ‘No!’ You scream a ‘Get the fuck off me!’ You scream a ‘Help!’ You scramble, you use all your brute Māori strength, passed on down through your whakapapa to throw the figure across the room, no effort required, and you hear a thump, and you hear a slight moan, and you just know you must escape. You hyperventilate, and you sweat, and you scared, and you suddenly know the true terror that strikes the heart of your fellow abused, and you run. Out into the storm, the storm that’s in full swing, beatin’ down roofs and flingin’ bins and snappin’ trees, but you don’t care.

I run, I run, I run. I’m flyin’—if I weren’t so fuckin’ out of it, I’d be impressed with myself. I run through bushland, I dunno where, nothin’ familiar, but it’s important that I put distance between me and my attacker, this warrior ain’t ready for a fight, he’s retreatin’. I stumble past a low-hangin’ tree, and feel a pain in my ear, and I reach up, and my earring is gone, lost in the night, and there’s blood, but my ear is still there, and this pain wakes up all the other pains that been lyin’ dormant. My body is achin’, none more than a tender area downstairs, and I reach down and there’s blood there also and I freeze. Just for a moment, but keep runnin’, and my nose starts to bleed, and it’s drippin’ down onto my dress, and everythin’ drippin’, I’m bleedin’ from all holes, and it’s still the same night, no mornin here, the streets are empty, this suburb soulless, I’m just a ghoul out on the haunt, fresh from my sweet death.

I spot a public toilet and I launch myself for it, slammin’ the door shut, but wait, what the fuck, it’s one of those automatic toilets, ah, fuck, I press the button for it to close over and over and over, and it does. Silence. Breath. Heavy. Drippin’. Terror. A white voice states that I have fifteen minutes, and then funky jazz music starts. I laugh a small laugh and turn. I see a small smile form on a familiar face in the hazy mirror. Then it bursts into tears. It cries and it cries and it cries, and it’s tormented. It stops for a moment. It stares back at me, sighin’ a silent sigh, anxious twitch in the right eye. It always does that when I panic; I try to act hard, but I always give myself away like I’m donatin’ to charity. The floral dress hangs off me, bloody and wet. I pull it up, and a piece falls off it. The heels aren’t there, my feet are cut open. I wiggle my toes, you free darlin’s. The earring, the single rock, hangs off my lobe. I rip it off in one fell swoop and throw it at the mirror, which cracks. The lipstick is far gone, just a faint purple smudge. I wipe the rest of it off with rancid toilet paper. Shame. Head throbbin’, sweat mattin’ thick hair that I desperately try to smooth out to no avail. I nod to the hairy me no-longer-feelin’-like-any-kind-of-human in the mirror and he nods back. Kia ora brotha, sista, maybe you’re both, all at once, am I still beautiful?

I feel the top of my head and old wounds have split right back open. The jazz music reaches a crescendo as I vomit again. But there’s nothin’ left. Just fluids, comin’ back up bad-way, forecast said so right? The tears come again, and the mirror man turns ugly; I flip him off, you can go get fucked. I spend the next ten minutes of my time arguin’ with myself, like a little kangaroo court in my head: judge, jury and executioner. I eventually declare myself not guilty, but the jury is still out on the perpetrator. I try to wash everythin’ off me, but it clings, sticky and suffocatin’. The jazz stops and the door opens. Out into the storm I go, but it’s subsidin’, the remnants tricklin’ down over my face. I lie in the grass off a park and relax into the warm, wet earth. There’s a fire in my heart. I become one with the fire and the earth and the water from above, ‘cos that’s all that matters right now.

I close my eyes. I remember them sayin, ‘Just be yourself.’ I think about how hard that is when the world just wants to see you burn, it just wants to control you, to own you, to mould you, to monetise you, to fuck you, to hurt you, to hold you down, to take the sovereignty of land, body, and soul. A quote floats into my mind, ‘The individual has always had to struggle to keep from bein’ overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of ownin’ yourself.’ Hah, go get fucked Nietzsche, get the fuck outta my head. We’re too poor to pay that price. Instead, I think about my favourite Māori proverb: The corner of a house can be seen and examined, not so the corners of the heart. I wonder just how deep, dark and dauntin’ the hearts of these men can be. Oh well, all I know is that my heart is painted black, you Takatāpui you.

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