Ian is in his room.
He is listening to Elliott Smith very loud. He is listening to ‘Needle in the Hay’. This is the song they used in the suicide-attempt scene of The Royal Tenenbaums. Ian knows this. I know this too. We watched that film together.
The song ends. Then it starts again. Then it ends. Then it starts again.
The song is played the whole time it takes for me to make beans on toast, eat them, and wash up my plate and saucepan and knife and fork.
I imagine Ian attempting suicide as I eat my dinner and wash up my things.
I go up the stairs. I pass Ian’s room.
You idiot kid / You don’t have a clue, sings Elliott Smith from Ian’s room.
I knock on Ian’s door.
Ian opens his door.
You okay? I ask him.
Yeah, says Ian.
Needle in the hay / Needle in the hay, says Elliott Smith.
Now just guitar being strummed.
I peer into Ian’s room. There is no obvious suicide attempt being carried out in here. There is just Ian’s bed and Ian's desk and Ian's computer (a Kate Moss screensaver blinking) and an open packet of crisps and Ian in the doorway, looking at me.
Ian closes his door.
So I go and lie down on my bed and try and think about Carmella but she keeps turning into Carol, and then Elliott Smith stabbing himself in the heart with a knife, and then Carol again. Carmella is busy hiding away in which ever country she comes from. I don’t have a stereo. I listen to ‘Needle in the Hay’ until I fall asleep.