A COLLECTION OF STORIES BY LUKE TAGG
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SMOKE: Bed City

Originally published: 3 March 2005

Have you ever slept in one single comfortable bed in your life? I haven't - not one.

I still have not yet progressed beyond those appallingly bad foam mattresses you always had as a kid and they've only got worse over the years as I have got heavier.

I've only ever had thin foam mattresses on beds with wooden slats underneath and if I ever find the bastard who invented them I will tie him down to one of them and force him to lie on it for at least five minutes, just to get a taste of his own incredibly bad medicine.

It's ridiculous, man - what was his thought process?

"Hey, I know - I'll save myself some wood by making a bed with holes in it, then cover it with a thin mattress that loses all bounce and spring it never had after just one night's rest, after which those slats will poke into ribs and sore backs and hip joints and the like making the whole thing a nightmarishly uncomfortable experience.

"I'll make millions by denying good, honest, church-going citizens their democratic right to a decent night's sleep."

Well - he did indeed make his millions doing just that, which just goes to prove the dictum that there's a sucker born every minute.

I don't know why I've never been able to escape those monstrosities, but all that happened was that I graduated from a crap single bed to a crap double one. The same problems exist no matter how big they make the bed and not even the promise of pressurised foam mattresses is enough to offset the horror.

Sprung mattresses have always just been too expensive for me when I've been shopping for beds and I've always had to take the cheaper option.

Besides - naturally I've slept on one or two spring mattresses on occasion and if anything they've been even worse than their foam brothers. I always seem to get the only broken spring in the bed and it usually tries to insinuate its way directly up my ass.

Last night I was driving home from dinner in that hotbed of sex, lies and dirty video tapes - Pinelands - and passed by the intersection at the bottom of Keurboom Rd, where it runs into Belvedere.

On the corner there used to be a 7-11 which always had strange managers and weird sex fiends hanging around, but I discovered that it was no more - it's been replaced by a white monstrosity of cheap bright lights called Bed City.

Not the sort of place you want to engage with sales staff in after smoking a spliff and forgetting your Safyr Bleu - serious paranoia under those lights, baby.

Not that dissimilar to 7-11s, ironically - I hate going into a 7-11 at night because my eyes are always bloodshot and I only ever seem to be buying Rizlas. I get knowing little smiles from the chicks who work the register. It's appalling, man.

So I really don't do bright lights in shops.

Nor do I do bed shops in the suburbs, I'm afraid - there's just something incredibly tacky about it. I don't know what, but it just doesn't seem right.

I don't know what it is with bed purveyors and suburban business premises - not 500 metres down the road, in the direction of Wynberg, there's another slumber place called Sleep Essentials, which is sandwiched between a rambling old mansion that houses the School of Magic on the right, and Debonairs pizza on the left.

Then there's that ridiculous Dial-A-Bed business - if you suddenly discover at 3am that you don't have a bed you can just call 'em up and have them deliver one to you within the hour. It sounds good on paper, but who discovers at 3am that they suddenly don't have a bed?

If you're discovering that sort of thing at 3am you're probably not in any condition to be dealing with the consequences there and then, much less dialling up a shiny happy bed salesman and asking him to come around to install a brand new Edblo.

If I discovered I didn't have a bed at 3am I'd do what I've done many times before when times were harder and luxuries hard to come by - I'd simply roll up my jacket as a pillow and crawl under the carpet.

It's not comfy by any stretch of the imagination - you get bitten to hell and gone by weevils and carpet mites and your sinuses take a severe beating as the accumulated dust of years gets up your nose, but with 24 lagers and half a bottle of Jack in you it's a mighty damn fine sleep under the circumstances.

Beats a foam mattress any day.


And just the name Bed City is all wrong - the two words in that title are just about diametrically opposed to one another in terms of connotation.

I like my bed warm, private and stuffed with women, and if I want to get all businesslike and hardass and professional I go into the city.

Ne'er the twain shall meet.

It's why I never grooved on that airline commercial in which a dude awoke to find himself sleeping in the middle of Times Square. I just don't think so, man - you'll wake up to a thousand folks walking by, cackling and pointing at your fine, proud, dawn-ushering erection.

I just don't see the emotional connection between beds and cities. No - really I don't.

All I crave is one decent night's rest on a superb bed. My back problems are staggering and every morning I start my day in fresh agony - I should have a bed that takes the strain off and rests my back, not one which spends all night hammering away at my spine and joints with sledgehammers.

Or what about the Pastiff? It's a name I came up with when a stoned student, to describe the phenomenon that happens when a heavy man and a light woman sleep in the same bed together - his weight compacts the mattress and forces it down, while she floats on top of it on her side.

This creates a divide in the middle of the bed - a miniature hill - called the Pastiff.

She spends all night rolling down it and you spend all night trying to push her back up and the dog - fed up by it all - gets discreetly out of bed and starts sucking her wet bum noisily and with obscene relish under the bed.

After years of sleeping like that the Pastiff becomes ingrained into your mattress and no matter how many times you turn the mattress around it makes no difference at all.

These are trying times we live in, friends - very trying indeed. They can send a man to the moon and make a global network that connects all of humanity in all parts of the world, but they can't make a bloody bed that is comfortable to sleep on or a mattress capable of fending off a Pastiff.

It's all about priorities, man. Let's get them right.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
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Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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