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  Sat 30th May 2020

At last, some first rate speed in Bristol. I've had some expensive flat whites since moving here.

I took it round to Hayley's, who rang at half past nine asking me if I fancied an early drink at hers. She said that they'd been doing coke the previous night. "I picked my nose this morning, and managed to find a little lump of it still there." Hayley talked, I listened, but it was easy enough.

Harry came round later, and busied himself at the far end of the garden cutting down the weeds with a pair of scissors. When at last he came to talk to us he was jittery, eyes big, sociability an effort. In the bathroom there were stains on the little table, walls and floor. Someone to whom she had given a key had let himself in and done something that involves bloodletting.

She was pressing me about renting the flat again. "To be honest, Hayley, I wouldn't want to get involved in anything financial with you. I don't trust you with money." "Well, you know looby, my house is your house." She is kind like that.

She told me about the various financial ruses she's got going, farming from a network of lies to officials, exes, men who fancy her, and Harry, so that at the moment, she can pay the rent and the bills, by far the largest of which is her crack habit, without having to work, at least in any institutionalised way. Yet you still can't find the fifty quid I lent you?

I wanted something a bit less loud, so I went to a tree-shaded grassy square nearby. It adjoins a large homeless hostel, so there's a free soap opera going on all day. Someone was overreaching himself by attempting to stand up, and was pulled down with laughing friendliness onto a bench. Outside the pharmacy, a topless man was shouting at a put-upon older man who was trying to explain something. I felt for him, doing his best under the hail of that aggression. A recumbent man in the square, his patience exhausted, sat up and yelled "stop shouting like a crackhead!" When the police arrived, several people stood up on their benches, the better to observe the spectacle.

I said hello to a woman who was sitting by herself, insouciantly swinging a placcy bottle of cider to an inaudible summer track. "Hiya love," she said. Northerner. I gestured questioningly with an open hand, she invited me over, and we started chatting in the recommended turn-taking style. Hayley sometimes isn't good at the "con" element of "conversation".

"What brings you to Bristol?" I asked. "I just wanted to get away." One to leave for now, and let the story emerge over time. The less you ask, the more you learn. "Are you OK? she said, as I squirmed on the bench. "Yeah, it's just I've got a bony arse. I should bring a cushion out really."

On the day I was supposed to start the job I mentioned the other day, (which offered only the minimum wage and minimum holidays), I was offered another, which I have accepted. I'll soon be using needles in a legitimate use. It involves taking blood from people who have recovered from covid-19, then centrifuging it to extract the antibody-rich plasma so that it can be injected into people in the throes of the lergy. I sound like I know what I'm talking about, but the bit I do understand is £10 an hour, £14 after 8pm and £19 on Sundays. Three month contract, which will be OK because me and Kirsty and the girls should be off to Brittany at the end of August.


Comment from: kono [Visitor]

In Hayley’s defense (sort of, lol!) i’ve often noticed when one is partaking of the Ricky (our old code word for coke) it seems as if we all have the most important thing in the world to say and we need to say right now!! haha!!

i would have been getting ready to leave for Jamaica in the next week or so, to say i’m bummed is an understatement. On the bright side i’m now legally allowed to smoke all the ganja i want as the state as granted me a medical card. :)

Thu 4th June 2020 @ 14:17 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I don’t mind her going on, we’ve all done it, and I don’t need drugs to talk piles of rubbish anyway. With Hayley it’s worth being patient for the funny and interesting bits. I’ve been with her a fair bit over the last few days and she’s been calmer.

Shame about Jamaica but what super news about your now legal access to weed! Well played young man!

Thu 4th June 2020 @ 22:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

That is one helluva fine State you’ve got yourself into there Kono.

I must say I’d miss the Northerness of the Northerners should I ever find myself exiled. Had a short but very agreeable exchange with a bloke in the park yesterday as I passed, in my straw hat, the bench he was sunning himself on by the busy tennis courts. The match next to us looked a bit one-sided.

‘Like your hat, mate’
‘Nice one. Nice but of tennis to watch anyway’
‘Aye- mind you the bloke here’s got to be fifteen to one against’
‘In a two horse race and all, the cunt’
Like that for a couple minutes. Ping pong. Easy, a flow. Although sometimes South of Stoke it can seem hard!

Thu 4th June 2020 @ 22:37 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Even funnier… had i been able to get to Jamaica i could have taken my medical card and gotten legal weed there too!! They love us yanks with med cards though i’d still find my local Rasta on the beach because nothing compares to the Blue Mountain Sticky Wicket (and supporting the locals), i’ve smoked somewhere well north of 150 different strains (i have at least a dozen in my stash right now) and the Blue Mountain Sticky Wicket (the name i gave it) still ranks right at the very top, i’d say in the top 3 probably top 2. I mean there was that time in Amsterdam the year the White Widow won the Cup and we all know how that turned out ;)

Fri 5th June 2020 @ 00:34 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Oh it’s fab all that Jonathan – I know exactly what you mean and I miss it down here. I remember when I had to change trains at Wigan a few months ago and the feeling of walking into a pub, plonking myself down and just having that easy chat with strangers is priceless. I really felt at home again.

kono – given my susceptibility to weed I could probably make a couple of grams of White Widow last a fortnight!

I have no idea how one would judge several different strains of Mary Jane. Surely the judges would be completely out of it after ten minutes? :)

Fri 5th June 2020 @ 07:24 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

I reckon that three month contract will be extended!

Sat 6th June 2020 @ 14:53 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

You may be right Scarlet – what a drag this is all becoming.

Sun 7th June 2020 @ 07:05 Reply to this comment

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

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

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

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