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A good bit of crack

  Sun 12th January 2020

I'm in a pub in Bedminster, a comforting, down-at-heel suburb. From time to time, sticks belonging to the infirm spank the floor. Fat, chatty waitresses who know everyone, take the gentle piss out of the knarled 11am drinkers. I said to the woman behind me in the queue at the post office, "I'm only in here for a stamp," and she gave me one for free. Bedminster's a relief from the over-smiling in my white laarger up Gloucester Road.

It was a blank hour with Tess the other day. In an uncomfortable cafe in which two snarling dogs were trying to establish a hierarchy between themselves, we had Earl Grey tea to accompany what we both knew was an inconsequential conversation.

I had put myself in a fix. I had suggested Tess could come out dancing on Friday, but not knowing if she'd want to I'd asked Hayley first.

It was left to Wendy to suggest that asking along another (young, sexy, miniskirted) woman to our first night out together was not the way to treat a blameless woman who has taken the risk of contacting me on a dating site. As I've found that middle class people are sometimes more sympathetic to any ruse based on the accumulation of money, I invented a lie about being offered some work that night, gambling that she wouldn't go out by her own and find me and Hayley on the dancefloor. She at least pretended to believe me.

I rang Kim, who offered different advice, saying that it might make me look better in her eyes if I said that Hayley was coming along, but I stuck to Wendy's suggestion, which was probably for the best given the ensuing events.

Hayley texted as I was on my way to meet her. "I've got a treat for you." I thought it would be a new miniskirt.

We had a pint in Wethers, during which she told some edited stories about the vile treatment she's getting from her boyfriend, who is indeed a boy but no friend. She has a lack of self-pity which moves me and brings out my tendresse towards her. She's high on the priority list for social housing, and when she moves out will give her abuser a false address and a key: to my house, not hers. He met me once, and doesn't know where I live.

We then went round to the flat of someone who sings with a very well-known Bristol band, and her producer boyfriend. "The thing about [your abuser]", he said, "is that he's just about bright enough to realise he's thick." Hayley passed him £40 and he cooked the crack up on a spoon in an illictly fascinating process. Hayley divided the crack into little piles, before putting one in the pipe. It's lovelier because it's got boundaries of affect: it strokes all your skin at once but leaves you clear-headed.

A seventy-year-old ex-Navy bloke popped in to buy a not inconsiderable quantity of coke. "That's a good firm handshake you've got sir," I said. "All those years spent dragging people out of the sea."

In the little club, where two of my favourite DJs were playing, I was irritated by someone stood stock still on the dancefloor staring at his phone. "Could I just very politely say, that you standing there looking at your phone really kills the atmosphere." "I'm just texting my daughter," which left open the question of why one has to stand on a dancefloor to start texting.

I was caning the poppers somewhat (crack has a rapid diminuendo). With no prior indications of anything being wrong, I passed out, causing more of a disturbance on the dancefloor than anyone on a mobile phone. I was hauled out by the door staff and thought my night was over, but with rare tolerance, they let me back in after ten minutes in the open air. I gave all my poppers to Hayley.

Back inside, friendly enquiries about whether from strangers restored my spirits and my legs; my brain pleased to have its oxygen supply back. Hayley got chatting to a man who thought she was about twenty-five; two decades out.

We went back to Hayley's friend's art gallery-like flat, a Gothic-Catholic cabinet of curiosities. We slept uncomfortably, on the same settee on which Hayley was so overwhelmed by the sex we had the night we met in February, that she hasn't dared suggest it again.

I was late for work at the crack of six pm, but they're always glad to see a kitchen porter when they've got a big function on. From the loos, I texted Hayley.

You, my darling, have it so hard yet you never let it get you down. I don't know how you cope, but you do. I'll give you my spare key and as long as I'm in you can stay at mine any time. You are a loveable little [pet name no.1] and [flirtier, miniskirt-related pet name no.2] and I am very fond of you. I can't wait till you get your house, and we will watch [the abuser] collapse into his own needy heap of shit when his violent controlling behaviour has no victim to pick on. I love you Hayley, you are dear to me xxx.

I swallowed everything, and went back to washing up two hundred side plates. She replied asking me what I'm doing for my birthday and whether I fancied a night out in London.


Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

I’m surprised you remember the evening at all! You must be some sort of medical marvel.
When is your birthday?

Tue 14th January 2020 @ 02:08 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well, I was only absent for a couple of minutes, and I had Hayley and the door staff to fill me in about the missing episode.

My birthday’s a couple of months away. I don’t know precisely what Hayley is suggesting, but we like the same kind of music to dance to.

Tue 14th January 2020 @ 07:19 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Learning how to rock up my own coke was probably not one the better things i learned along the way… except of course when i enjoyed that sort of thing lol!! There are some old posts about my fling with what Hippie Jack referred to as “freebase” and not “crack", semantics really…

There’s also that post about thinking my ticker was in a state cuz of it but it really just turned out to be my predilection for cheap Scotch at night and bottled OJ, coffee and donuts in the morning… and for some reason walking to the A&E and you call it.

and amidst all the shite in the world that post is rife with the milk of human kindness, from gifted stamps to tolerant door staff to friendly strangers. Sounded like a fine night out!

Sun 19th January 2020 @ 06:12 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Your problem my friend then was sugar :)

Yeah, I think all this bollocks about “you’ll be addicted after one pipe” is just that. I like it, but not to the extent of paying 40 quid every fifteen minutes. Speed’s my thing really. It’s cheap(er) than chips, what homeopathic nutcases call a “rescue remedy.”

It was a great weekend. Unplanned, like the best ones always are. Hayley’s fucking brilliant, doesn’t ever ask anything of me.

Mon 20th January 2020 @ 11:48 Reply to this comment

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M / 60 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

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