STAND CLEAR DOORS CLOSING
In my opinion she had had it coming, she was annoying, and I have a short fuse, short enough to punch old ladies in the neck, it was lucky her grandson wasn’t there as I probably would have pulled his hair and called him names… sticks and stones and all that.
But now I had the new problem, these commuters around me had seen what I had done on the platform, and even though no one was saying anything I could read their expressions, all emotion and self-righteous indignation aimed right at me, but its London, and everyone is too pussy to say anything.
I pulled out my pocket whisky and took a sip, more looks, looks that say “Why isn’t this terrible man abiding by the rules, there are rules and laws to be obeyed” – sure.
The tube pulled up at Leicester Square, the lady I had clocked was probably still being tended to by well-wishers and guilty, power loving business busters with lovely suits and garish neck-ties. I stepped off and I was free again, incognito in the city, I am a million people all rolled up like chewing gum, different colours and flavours to be saved for later and be picked apart and thrown away.
Drinking alone in the city is not for the weak minded, it’s easy to be drawn into the false sense of security whisky can give you – king of the world complex can get you in trouble – I shouted in a policeman’s face – right in there trying to shove words up his nose, force them through his sinuses into his brain to be contained and remembered. He told me to move along, “move along sir,” – sir? Ha! Stupid constable with his training and reports, shiny boots and mammary on his head.
I took another swig from my pocket, burning amber liquid down my throat straight into my gullet messing with my head. I slapped a woman’s ass, an old woman, probably in her seventies, walking stick, little bag – you know the type, probably going to the theatre to soak up some commercial culture, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde – garbage, shit on stage – gimme live music from bad musicians in sweaty hovels and I’m a happy drunk. The woman’s ass I slapped pulled out an attack whistle, started blowing on it like her life depended on it and some painted ravers started dancing around her in funny little circles, I walked away, wry grin.
Into a bar, picked up a glass and threw it at a barman, “You fucking stink at pouring drinks!” I shouted, “Your mother pours drink up her ass with more sophistication you leper!” A walking muscle in a black suit and fluorescent armband grabbed me by the neck, “Right you… out!”
Out I went into the street again, onto my ass in a sticky black puddle, book shops and guitars behind glazed fronts, Denmark street, decent bars with bad music, bad music that sounds good with whisky in your head.
I could hardly walk in a straight line weaving my way through tourists, am I a tourist? Only been in this mad city 18 months, but I think I’ve gone mad, made of glue sticking my words to phoneboxes next to calling cards of unfortunate whores, here’s my phone number, call it and I’ll call you a pervert.
I finally made my way to work, “Yeah I’m sober boss, of course I’m sober, what kind of jackass goes to work drunk?”
“Well get behind the bar then, there’re customers waiting to get drunk.”
I’m in my black shirt and nice trousers trying to pull pints of beer without spilling them on my shoes, but it’s like a swamp back here, I’m slipping around like I’m on oil, inevitably I fell, straight on my ass, a whole pint on my chest.
“Get your ass up and get the fuck out of here!” My boss sounded angry, patrons leaning over the bar to get a better look. I took out my pocket whisky, “No point in subtleties anymore ay boss, fancy a hit?” I guessed his facial expression wasn’t interested in my offer.
I didn’t fancy going home to all the pubic hairs on my floor, I had myself a free evening, I was supposed to be working, a pocket full of whisky and a phone full of phone numbers of people I didn’t like. I called a random number, “Hello,”
“Fuck you I hate you.” I hung up, didn’t wait for a response.
Some fiend tapped me on the shoulder, I spun with vigour, my jacket opening like an umbrella into the face of someone I had met, someone I had probably spoken to at length at some kind of awful art party or single launch.
“Hello mate, haven’t seen you in ages.”
“Who… the fuck are you?” I spat.
“Andy, we met at Amy’s thing.”
“You know you’re probably right, whisky?”
“Err no thanks mate, what you doing tonight?”
“I’m actually on my way to fuck your mother in the mouth.”
The comment went down well – he laughed, it confused me as I turned to walk away from him as he was still talking to me, I didn’t care for anything else he had to say. I was hungry, but didn’t fancy the stuffing balls or sambucca in my freezer, but there was no money in my pocket – only whisky, and that was burning a substantial hole. You can find food anywhere in central London at any hour, mostly expensive tripe, pig guts – and eating pig guts with a belly of liquor isn’t good. The lights were turned up too high in the sandwich shops, burning the balls of my eyes as I leant on the glass counter with grubby hands.
“Make me a sandwich there would you there for me please there mate?”
“What would you like?”
“A sandwich, bread with filling, too difficult? Here let me make it.” I tried to climb over the counter, my ass hanging out of my trousers in someone’s line of sight, a nice hairy ass crack with your sandwich. The guy pushed me back, and I fell on my ass again, that was the third time that night I had fallen on my ass and I still found it funny. I tripped over a suitcase or some ridiculous handbag – knocked over a table, coffee spilling on the floor and splashing up the walls.
“Ooh sorry about your coffee squire, let me buy you another one. MATE! MATE! Another coffee over here.”
“Just leave please sir.” (there was that sir again.)
An angry custodian piped up, “Yeah just get lost you drunk fool.” He pushed me out the door, but I managed to stay on my feet, laughing at him for being able to stand, he didn’t know that, he had no idea what I was laughing at, just some mad pissed fool in the early evening.
My phone started buzzing against my leg in my pocket.
“Hello!” I shouted too loud.
“Dan. What the hell are you doing? Bert just phoned me from the pub and said he kicked you out for being drunk.”
“Yup, sounds right.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You better not lose another job because of your stupid drinking habit.”
“My drinking is highly necessary I’ll have you know, it took me years to reach this level.”
“Level? What do you mean level.”
“This level, this level I’m at here right now at.”
“Please stay out of trouble and get on the bus – come home now.”
“I’m afraid that is not going to happen, I have a date with the night.”
The phone went dead, deadline at the other end of the line, all good for me, I hate phones, stupid electric gadgets strapped to our faces like ringing tumors.
Being drunk is fun, makes you feel happy, no depression just smiles, just keep it all in order, don’t let your mind wonder, don’t let it find the demons that linger in your motor neurons waiting to make you cry, make you fret and worry about crap that doesn’t matter. Pro drinking, how un – pc of me, all these doctors and bullshitting bloggers telling me I can’t do this and can’t eat that and shouldn’t fuck those; tyrants of the twenty first century.
I stole a loaf of tiger bread in an all-night super-duper-market and wondered around for a while tearing chunks off and eating them with my mouth open, talking to random passers-by spitting crumbs over their lapels and their socks and their watches and haircuts.