Thursday, 17 September 2009

Roll the dice.

It took a good few hours to recollect the events of the night before.

My body switched to tidy-up mode, and I practically flew around my cube in a numb worker-drone state of mind, restoring it to some semblance of order and sanity. My brain was inert, on auto-pilot. No sentimentality or introspection was permitted, only basic functions and sensible behaviour.

I pulled on a grubby old sports sweater, a pair of worn-to-destruction Reebok Classics and an ancient no-name creased set of jeans covered in paint, ink and god knew-what-else.

Flashbacks were strictly off-limits until I had tidied the flat up, lashing a bulging bin-liner full of leaking half-empty booze cans and wine bottles outside into the purple-plastic wheelie-bin on the street.

Then a thorough brush and mop of the fake wooden floors.

Prison inmates on remand would have been in awe of my feverish cleanliness.

Makeshift ashtrays were emptied, windows were thrown open. A shot of sickly air-freshener in each room, hell on the nose and lungs. A cursory blast in the kitchen, a few loose glasses in the sink that I didn't recognise washed, dried and polished until they sparkled like newly-forged crystals.

OCD to the max.

The bathroom was fairly decent..until I went to check my reflection and realised the mirror had vanished, a rusty nail stuck into the cheap plaster where it had once hung.

I scoped around....there it was.

Sitting square on the living room floor, still bearing the powdered scars from the night before. My reservations about drug abuse and how it messed up people suddenly hit me.

Then the machine in me said:



Job done, no questions asked.

It took maybe two hours, exerting myself with a frantic energy that left me lying on the couch sweating and gasping for a ciggie. Then, and only then, the barriers in my head rolled down and I could think again.


Where were we again?

OK yeah....

Last night....

I took a long, hard drag of a smoke, lying on my beat-up leather couch whilst my memory kicked in.

The chemicals felt ugly, diseased, harsh on the throat.

But they were hard-earned.

Like the crow's nest crew-member on the tower of the Titanic, I saw the truth in front of my face...

.....too late.


Glad you mentioned that. I knew something was missing, demon.

OK, yeah. But what else?

How did I get here?

We had sat there when Hayley and Ste had bailed, flush on the living room floor. My right hand intwined into her left, a few minutes of uncomfortable silence.

A couple of "Remember that time when..." conversations.

A lot of "I'm sorry for when I...."

Did this, did that whatever and whatever you didn't do.

Nervous pauses, drunken kisses that meant nothing, really. But when you thought back, that intimacy was worth waiting for on such a crazy night.

A bed shared.

Nothing sexual, mind. We were both too skulled to do anything physical. Just the warmth of soft smooth female arms and legs clasped around your wasted form was enough.

And then..

She left.

No goodbye, no goodnight kiss.


A solitary text message.



I glanced at my watch, amazingly still intact and working.

15:00. SAT.

I recall laughing at that moment to myself and thinking:

"It's only 3:00pm. You can shave, shower, brush your teeth and preen yourself in that time-gap"....

That's right, my boy. But what you have to ask yourself is:

Do you really wanna get into this female?
Is she worth it?

Just roll the dice, boy...see what numbers come up...."

Get your head TOGETHER.


The alarm on my mobile blared. I groaned as I reached down to the side of the bed and roughly slid the handset open then closed, de-activating the shrill ring-tone.
I lay there like a beached whale for a while, breathing heavy and wheezy, head spinning queasily.

The nicotine and booze still held a nasty grip of me.

Then it hit me - I had stuff do do.

What, you again? You still here, little demon??

Despite the shooting pains down my neck, spine and legs, I dragged myself sideways out of the bed. My hair was sticking up all over the place, I must have looked like Don King after an electric shock. I simultaneously coughed and sneezed, doubling up as my confused and beat-up body protested against being made to start up so early. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, squinting blindly like a mole poking it's face out of drainage pipe.

What had happened?

I shuddered as a slow, hazy recollection became gradually clear in my third unseen mind's eye.... The one set dead centre of my forehead.

At first, it was just stark monochrome black and white images flashing through my memory bank......

The odd snippet of a drunken conversation which at moments crossed the border between madness and genius. Totally random subject matter, some topical, some insane and obscure. I found myself laughing out loud at some parts of it, cringing at others. Yet still quietly reciting out loud to myself what I could recall.

A sloppy, un-coordinated kiss here...

A lusty grope of flesh there.

Small-talk, the usual nonsense.

A drink - possibly red wine, couldn't be certain - sent tumbling in agonisingly slow-motion across the fake wooden living-room floor, to sniggers of embarrassed laughter. An old tea-towel appearing in my right hand to try and lamely soak up the resultant mess.

Ash and dead ciggy stumps strewn about, like my flat was the dance surface of an illegal night-club.

A TV set left on at low-volume, nobody paying it any attention but everyone seemingly feeling more comfortable that it provided light and sound, to act as a canvas for our drunken conversations.

Suddenly, the Little demon on my shoulder smacked me on the head and forcibly pulled my eyelids open.

Ah yes...that was it.

Hayley and Ste had got off around 4:00am, I reckoned. They were well and truly out of their boxes by that time.....And I had Linda to myself for maybe 2 hours....

What else?

A moment....It's hard for me too y'know boy......

Shoulda seen it coming.

It's a strange beast, shock. Like a patient mugger hovering over your shoulder, it has an evil habit of striking you over the head and spearing you right through the fucking heart, just when you feel serene and easy.

It's the horrible rush of blood to the head and the sensation of feeling your own pulse racing though your veins for what feels like the first time in your life, that drags you back blindly into reality.

The only other time you got that feeling were when you get involved in a fight or had a near-miss on a busy road...that awful dry feeling in your mouth and a shudder down your spine.

I used to believe nothing could faze me anymore, I felt steeled to anything, and after a lifetime of watching television and films, felt there was nothing visually I couldn't handle.

That all changed with a screeching change of gears when I stepped back into my living room, bottle of red wine and four glasses on a slippy, ready-to-tip-at-any-moment tray.

In a triangle sat Linda, Ste and Hayley, the couple from hell perched on the edge of the couch, Linda virtually on her knees in front of them. I recognised the small rectangular mirror from the bathroom teetering precariously on the knees of Ste, as Linda leaned forward and took a line of powder through a rolled up £20 note with ferocious appetite. She leaned her head back, squinting, throwing her hair away from her face, savoring the hit for a second. I saw that the mascara around her eyes was smudged as she laughed out loud to herself and rubbed her right hand roughly against the bottom of her nose, her eyes still shut.

Ste looked up and offered the mirror towards me shakily.

"'Y' 'avin some?"

"Nah.....I'm...not into it.." I responded, my voice sounding far away and distorted, and disturbingly not just through the alcohol. It was like I was not really standing there, as if I was looking upon myself from the top corner of the room.

Lisa rubbed her eyes and nose and smiled deviously at me.

"Sit, by me.." She said as she shifted across the floor to the other side of the room, and sat with her back pressed to the side of the armchair.

I was compelled by an unknown force, a hidden hand pushing me towards her.

It was with a mixture of silent shame, drunken exasperation and overriding lust that I sat next to her as she scanned me up and down, a glint of mischief in her piercing gaze...

Friday, 11 September 2009

My place.

"Careful...Watch that step there.,... Apologies, some tight-arse neighbour in the block keeps stealing the light-bulb from this corridor and you can't see a thing" I said as led Linda towards the door of my cube, closely followed by a pissed-up, mumbling Ste and a cackling Hayley.

We had left the Rubber Soul bar, and then stopped off in a taxi on London Road to stock up on booze and ciggies from the seedy 24-hour store, before finally landing back at the cubes.

I had to bite my tongue when Linda had insisted that her friends come along - I didn't want to have to put up with them in a packed bar, let alone in my own home. I thought they would have their own place to go to, but obviously not.

I sheepishly unlocked the door and ushered them inside.

Still, if it means you can get into Linda then so be it...

Why of course, little demon.

"Ooohh... It's a tidy little place, innit Hayl?" Said Linda, seemingly genuinely impressed with the living room as she scanned around it, inspecting the walls, floors, general decor and furniture in that way only females seem to do.

True, I had maintained the place and kept it tidy remarkably well, which was rare for me.

There were usually books, magazines, comics, manga serials, dvd's, clothes and the likes strewn all over the place. Although the black coffee table in the centre of the living room was it's usual busy self.

I had snapped to reality, general cleanliness and basic common decency in a fit of energetic boredom a couple of days earlier and sorted the place out completely.

Perhaps a bit of foresight?

Nonsense, my boy. "An Englishman's home is his castle". You should take more pride in your lair.

Too right, little demon. You are a gold-mine of sensible advice, alright.

It certainly did look different, almost cozy again.

At least to my own eyes.

"Yeah...It's alright like..." sniffed Hayley, as she and Ste simultaneously slumped on the couch.

I realised with disdain that they had swooped on the only seating that allowed space for two people, which left only the small leather armchair.

That meant I had no real forum, no rock on the idealistic beach - to sit next to Linda and get a grip of her....after a further heart-to-heart, of course...

Patience... You ain't gonna be sitting in here all night...


"Say, I'll put that ale in the freezer, eh?" I said, pointing at the cheap carrier bags on the floor crammed with cans of lager and wine.

"Yeah...Yeah... Good shout, that, lad..." drawled Ste, sinking back into the couch, the booze taking grip of him as Halyey snuggled her face up into his chest. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the sight of Linda rising from her seat, as I enthusiastically took the bags in both hands and barged into the kitchen, kicking the door open.

I messily placed the alcohol in the freezer, shuddering slightly as I unexpectedly felt two arms slide around my waist and Linda's voice behind me.

"See the problem with you is that you were always sooo...Stubborn..." She whispered, as I stood straight with my back still to her.

"Nah....I'd say it was simply being an original myself, like.." I replied.

"You're an individual, that's for sure....Never met anyone as nuts as you, really" she laughed as I turned to face her, a bottle of red wine in my right hand.

"Yeah, so I've been told...."

There was the slightest pause as we gazed at each other, then..

I kissed her full on the lips, stroking her hair with my free left hand as she pressed herself against me, leaning against the still-open freezer.

I placed the bottle down behind me and let my digits wander.

She was open, responsive...aggressive, almost. The lurking, primal expectancy I had held onto all night since running into her hours before was now a very real moment.

Told you, didn't I? Patience, Patience.....

"LINDDAAA!" came the unholy shriek from the living room, shocking her into pulling away from me.

She shot out of the kitchen and ran away from me like a disobedient child.

"For fuck's sake..." I muttered, not even bothering to lower my voice.

I actually wanted her to hear that. I'd had just about enough of these tag-ons and they'd only just stepped into the place.

I continued sorting the freezer out, stocking it up with booze, scowling to myself as I heard a muffled conversation in the living room next door.

If I was going to nail her, it would have to be the hard way.

Never an easy thing when there's an annoying outside influence on the scene....

Yeah, too right, I almost spoke out loud, digging some wine glasses out of the wall cupboard unit, before I headed back into face them.....

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Coming briefly up for air.

"Shuurrup lad...So you finally gettin' to the interestin' bit of this story? Gettin' into this scatty bird I mean?" Dean smirked, leaning forwards, offering me a smoke.

I snapped to attention abruptly in my armchair, out of what felt like hibernation.

It felt like waking up from a dream, yet here I still was, awake and in the flesh.

I glanced at the clock on the living room wall - 10.00pm.

Christ, had I been talking for nearly two hours?

It didn't feel like that long.

Still, Dean wanted to hear the end of this particular tale and seemed attentive and appreciative enough of what I had been "going into one" about.

It was refreshing to have someone else to rant to, rather than a blank sheet of cheap lined A4 paper. I took the ciggie from his outstretched hand and sparked it up, relishing the nicotine hit as it raced through me. Then that horribly disorientating dizzy, swaying feeling struck me swiftly, the kind you only get when you've just had your "first smoke of the day".

"Cheers, mate" I hacked through a cloud of evil-looking yellow chemicals.

"So, go 'ead lad....You were just about to nail this bird then?" Dean said, his eyes slowly expanding in that strange, rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights-of an-on-rushing-truck way as he shuffled back in his seat.

You could weave a thousand stories into that face, it was so alive and unsettling.

It was facial expressions like that, that masters like Goya, Dali, Picasso and the likes would have killed each other over in a fight in the studio, to grab the oils and brushes and capture it on canvas first.

How could I not indulge him?

"Sorry yeah, I kinda lost track there again for a minute..... Apologies...Back to the story, Dean..."