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A stranger gives me a new drug

  Sat 30th January 2021

On Sunday I was released from isolation. I felt a prisoner not of the virus but of Cath, who kept me in despite her taking us up to the local rugby club, getting tested, and both of us being negative. "But it's the incubation period," she argued.

I want to keep things sweet with her because I'm moving out soon, but seeing last Saturday's sun, brilliant on the snow, made me rock and pace like a lunatic confined. I'm reading a book about the history of corridors and the loony bin plays a big part in the way that corridors have become somewhat menacing spaces in our imaginations. By the end I was thinking "I'll be down the funny farm soon."

Mel came along with me to see the flat I've been offered. I'd been sent instructions about how to get the "key", a retro-fitted name for some sort of electronic device shaped like a huge teardrop. We stood fiddling with the key's lock box outside. A bus driver and two residents inside watched us through the glass-pannelled door as I tapped the fob ineffectually on various rectangular surfaces.

Eventually one of them let us in. I explained ourselves to the trio and we were pointed upstairs to what will soon be my flat. It was institutional, beige, with dilute cigarette smoke following us. The flat next door had a black and yellow sticker on its door warning that CCTV was in operation.

The flat's small, no separate bedroom, but with a cosy and worktop-rich kitchen. The floor is laid with some sort of composite panelling, and whatever you call the things that run round the perimeter of a room with tacks sticking up from them, that receive carpets. I've got various tatty bits of recycled carpet that might do in the short term.

Standing in the window, we held each other still, no stroking or effort to please, or to translate anything into movement. She was insulated thickly, but with my arms clasped round her, I knew what is underneath. "Don't just see it as a shag pad though looby. You've got to live here too."

On leaving, we had to ask to get through a crowd of people. I thought for a moment it must be a residents' meeting forced outside, but then I saw a wreath to "Gran".

I went round to Hayley's and met the man she's currently toying with. He walked in apologising for the smell of tarmac, him being a road worker. I said not to worry and that I don't mind a bit of solvent abuse myself. We got on well. He was a chatty Traveller with some enthrallingly horrible anecdotes of neglect and abuse from his mum, which he had the grace to turn away from quickly.

Hayley was tendentiously distancing herself from her boyfriend, criticising him in his absence in a way I found awkward. After Mr Tarmac had left, she was talking about the unexciting sex she has with K. "I feel like I'm on an extended German exchange trip."

She texted as I was on the bus. "He's nice isn't he? Needs grooming, but a bit more interesting than K." True, his hair was a mess, but I don't think that's what she meant.

I had a new drug last week, one which didn't even exist a year ago. ((4-hydroxybuytl)azaediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldeanoate) won't give you anything more than a stiff arm for a day or so, but together with a couple of other chemical sesquipedalia, it'll protect you against a novel communicable disease. I got it early by virtue of still being registered as a casual cleaner with the NHS. I'm doing a night shift tonight, as I'll be paying two lots of rent for a short time.

I rang Trina. Relations are cordial at last. I asked her if she'd mind witnessing my will if I posted it to her. I could have asked Mel and Hayley to do it down here, but I thought it might please Trina to be entrusted with the task.

A minute or so after we'd finished talking, she rang me back. "It was just to say, I love you, and I think I always will."


Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Awww…. Trina!!

Are you taking over ‘Gran’s’ flat do you think?


Sat 30th January 2021 @ 17:10 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I know. But if you don’t feel it, there’s nothing more can be done.

And yes, there’s been a corpse dragged out of my flat. That’s the only reason you’d give up an assured tenancy, surely?

Sat 30th January 2021 @ 20:58 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

You know reading these posts it’s almost impossible to keep up with all the women you’re involved with you lucky bastard!!! lol!! Congrats on the “shag pad” though, once you take up residence i’m sure you’ll make it your own…

Good news on the “new drug” as well, i’m way down the list here in the States seeing that i’m healthy and apparently “young” though i’d say my gig as the shopping serf should bump me up the list as i could be classified as a quasi-front line worker but i believe that will fall of deaf ears, with my spring soccer travels coming up though i’m a bit nervous but one must be brave to be a soccer mom! Keep up the good work my friend!

Sun 31st January 2021 @ 15:05 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Oh yes you surely deserve it soon, delivering the meals and things to people stuck inside.

Honestly kono, it sounds better than it is. With Sexy Ex Boss it’s just flirting, although it’s a bit borderline sometimes, seeing she’s married. Hayley is sextastic-looking in her miniskirts and superb tits, but too wrapped up in herself. We’ve had sex once but had anything continued I’d have been a mixture of a banker and a social worker, which would have been a bit difficult for a selfish person on just above the minimum wage.

Mel’s the lass I actually have sex with, and she’s more amenable to my suggestions.

I hope your turn with the jab comes round soon. It was a great feeling walking out of that clinic the other week, that there might be a bit of light at the end of this dismal tunnel.

Sun 31st January 2021 @ 17:59 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Don’t you worry my good Sir, i have my scorecard and know which lady friend is which, i just find it fascinating how many women you have in your orbit you sexy beast ;)

Being healthy and with no underlying conditions (that i know of) i have a feeling i’m down the list a ways, it’s cool, i’ll wait my turn and be careful in the meantime, the main reason i want it is so that i can take chase a bit of tail and not have to worry about getting sick, lol!! I’m a selfish prick but at least i’m honest, haha!!

Mon 1st February 2021 @ 00:51 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I’m not sure anyone who, despite very little help from other person there, conducts himself at home the way you do, especially in regards to your sons – can be described as selfish.

Tue 2nd February 2021 @ 23:19 Reply to this comment

Bored plants. You’ve still got the touch, you son-of-a-gun.

I got two GREAT apartments in NYC because the previous tenants died of AIDS. The first one I moved into still had a large store of medication in the refrigerator.

I have terrible cabin fever. I’m losing my mind. We just had a major snowstorm, 17 inches!, which isn’t helping matters. But your prose always lands me in a better place.

Thu 4th February 2021 @ 02:54 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Oh dear! That’s funny but sad at the same time. Never mind, a flat in NYC is not to be sniffed at.

IKWYM about cabin fever. Ten days was enough for me.

Thank you. I will endeavour to write more, as a social service :)

Fri 5th February 2021 @ 15:53 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

Well Looby this is fascinating and involving as ever, so I don’t know where to start (let alone finish).. so I will limit myself to offering the observation that a book on ‘The History Of Corridors’ sounds like exactly the sort of thing a man of your particular sub-stream of erudition should be associating themselves with, and if anything I am only surprised that you haven’t got in there first and written the damn thing yourself. I definitely think you could knock out a serviceable sequel and the nicotine-stained passageways, byeways and thoroughfares of your soon-to-be new socially-subsidsed abode sound like a promising setting for a contemporary update on such a promising theme. Sure as hell sounds like it could get a little steamy in there at intervals, play it down as you will (you game old codger you)!

Thu 11th February 2021 @ 23:32 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Thank you Jonathan. I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of material from the in-corridor Wednesday afternoon socials.

(For some reason b2e isn’t letting me do an a href, saying the “a” is illegal) but Corridors: Passages of Modernity, by Roger Luckhurst is one of those fascinating works of social and psychological history that shed a light on a space in our daily lives rarely talked about but in which we spend a lot of our time. I asked for it as a Christmas present as I’m guessing it’s a thirty-quidder.

Fri 12th February 2021 @ 11:31 Reply to this comment

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M / 57 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

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