Sunday, June 2


THE QUESTION WAS: do I go out and drink, or stay in and drink?
London made up my mind for me. I had to conduct a survey with one of the associate directors. He is a short, large Italian who has little regard for the way things work and even less for the people in charge. He and I get on well and talk at great lengths on company time about how we hate the company. The sun bloomed around noon so I suggested we walk to Southwark. As we went along he talked constantly and got out of breath; I was driven to slow down. It felt good to walk through the city and have the sun on us. If only I’d not worn a jacket, as there was no need for it. We extended our route back so that we could soak up the afternoon and discuss how much we enjoyed London.
‘I will go out and drink,’ I decided.
It was a colleague’s twenty-first birthday. She booked an area in a bar. I had to focus very hard on the walk down there to get into the mood, so I walked ahead of everyone else and made plans. After a few beers and a few shots, I was in good spirits and I did not waste time on any of my usual worries. How worries plagued me! but right then I didn’t feel them and, drink in hand, even felt good for it. We were in the basement of the bar, so that sunlight couldn’t reach us; 10,000 leagues under the sea. A group of young women, a few years older than I, sat in the booth next to us; they put down a cake-stand that was full to capacity with elaborate cakes that one of them had baked. I eyed the cakes greedily and came up with a plot to steal some of them.
One girl, Michelle, who works in our office, was in attendance. She never goes out with any of us – ‘After a few drinks, my tongue gets a little loose.’ Michelle doesn’t like her job or the people who work there. She has amazing breasts and wears tight tops with sinking necklines. All of the men try not to stare at her breasts. I like her. On Friday night we very quickly became friends. We went outside for cigarettes and talked there as the sun sunk slowly behind a nearby building site where all the machines were frozen in weekend silence. It was interesting to listen to her, having worked together for so long with so few words. It was interesting to listen to her, about her family and her previous jobs and her impending marriage.
The birthday girl and her friends showed up; three virgins who were visibly nervous. One of them said she wasn’t drinking because she goes to university and does enough drinking there. One day she will ruin her own children, forgetting they are lumps of stardust that fell out of her cunt. The other was a scare-eyed girl with wiry hair tied back. I said to Michelle – ‘I quite like that one. I think I want to fuck her.’
‘Just to ruin her?’ Michelle understood.
‘Yeah, there’s something about her like that.’
The wiry haired girl couldn’t even say the word ‘sex’ without gagging on something in the back of her throat. She was probably a Christian who’d never wet a bedsheet with anything other than urine. Still, my drunkenness found something in her very attractive.
‘Shall we get another bottle of wine?’ Michelle asked.
‘Yeah. Wanna do a tequila, too?’
When we walked back to our table I felt the tequila clinging to the inside of my cheeks and Michelle slapped my bum hard.
It was an occasion for one of the young women at the table next to ours. As soon as I saw her I left my eyes there for some time. She was blonde, wore a thin tan dress that she tied at her waist with a narrow black belt. Perhaps it was her birthday, too. I stared at her and when her eyes caught mine I held my own. Eventually she came over, took my hand in hers and offered me to dance. I spun her in circles so that I might take her in; bum, legs, flowing blonde hair. We danced and put our bodies against each other. She said something to me that I didn’t hear. Why ask her to repeat it? If I couldn’t hear her then I decided that it was not something I was meant to hear. She walked away from me. I watched her walk away from me. Her bum swung underneath her thin tan dress. She was something else. She was better than me.
I walked back through the city at eleven o’clock; in my world, not theirs; listening to music and dreaming about things that may have happened. My cousin’s husband was guarding a bank and he stopped me, so we said hello to each other. I didn’t like to be seen by him when I was that drunk but I had no choice. We spoke for a while then bid each other good-bye.
Blackness – where I remember nothing.
The cocktail of drinks I had drunk left me with periods of black blankness. It’s possible that I was floating along during those times with no thoughts or anything going on in my brain.
A train waiting to leave.
Strange! My right hand was covered in blood! Where had the blood come from? I turned my hand over and looked at the blood that bled. I clenched my fist and more blood bubbled out. From there, I painted the wall of the train; no special shapes or characters; just blood.
Then I licked all of it off, getting some of my lips and licking it off there as well.

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