I was incredibly impressed with my last blog post. I spent a lot of time on the graphs. It got four views. So back to the extracts it is. Here’s something i started working on when it was too hot to do anything else.
A night to remember.
Andrew woke up with what could be described as the exact opposite of a start. His eyes were open but weren’t quite registering images. He was only vaguely aware of existence, and that awareness mostly manifested itself in the form of a horrific taste at the back of his mouth. Slowly, but surely, other sensations came into being, almost none of them pleasant.
His brain felt as though it was too big for his skull and his gurgling innards gave him the distinct impression that he had eaten a donna kebab last night. There are only two kinds of people who eat donna kebabs, incredibly drunk people and those who gave up on life years ago. He assumed, as hazy memories started floating back to the forefront of his mind, that he belonged to the former.
He sat up and instantly regretted it. The four white walls that made up his box of a room became smeared into one, and for a small moment, he was convinced he was in some sort of afterlife. Spears of obnoxious sunlight pierced his small window and highlighted his generally clean room. Everything was in its proper place, save for his suit trousers which lay in a crumpled heap on the floor not, as they should have been, hanging on the small hook on the back of his door.
He instantly became aware of an immense pressure squeezing his bladder and made an unsteady dash for the toilet. His vision clouded, and his memories became momentarily jumbled as his head failed to adjust to its new altitude. At the age of 28, he could no longer handle his drink. In fact, he had been unable to handle his drink since he was 25. Before 25 he could drink until he could only perceive reality in patches and still make it to work the following morning. One cup of coffee and he’ll be close to okay.
That changed on his twenty-fifth birthday.
He fumbled with the flap in his boxer shorts, searching for his elusive and incredibly sweaty member. At long last he managed to release it from its cotton, polyester blend prison and the bathroom was filled with the sound of his piss.
‘I wish I was dead.’ He groaned to himself. It was not the first time he wished it, and he doubted it’d be his last.
In the kitchen he almost tripped over an empty bottle of sambuca. He stooped to pick it up and almost toppled into the overflowing bin. It always took a while to regain one’s balance after a night of heavy drinking. And heavy it must have been if sambuca got involved. Sambuca is a drink only the already drunk think to drink. Andrew dropped it into the small recycling box, only for it to clink off the top of numerous other bottles and retake its position on the floor.
‘Have it your own way then,’ he hissed before whacking on the kettle. The aged white appliance spluttered indignantly as it went about its task.
They had been at the Rising Sun, a large pub complete with a pub garden… there may or may not have been a gazebo. The summer was trying really hard to prove itself the last couple of weeks. The sun shone from morning to late at night scorching the world below. Needless to say, this meant that there had been hundreds of people squeezed into garden.
Jack had been playing. He had been booked to play. There had been a chalk board outside saying, ‘back by popular demand: Jack Readly.’ Andrew hadn’t really seen much evidence of this popular demand. He had known Jack for years and he only agreed to watch him with great reluctance. It was had been the same old set list. The same one he’d played since the university days.
Andrew selected two pristine white mugs and poured a generous amount of coffee granules into each. He put the kettle out of its misery and poured the day-old water into the mugs. The bitter scent wafted into his nose, making him feel even more sick. With trembling fingers, he lifted the mugs and strolled towards Jack’s door.
Jack’s room was larger than Andrew’s, which meant he had decidedly more room to fill with crap. There was a behemoth of a desktop computer on a desk, around which gathered a number of figurines and tiny statues. Iron man, Captain America, Spider-Man, a xenomorph, Sonic the Hedgehog… they were everywhere. Andrew regarded them with derision… and a hint of envy. Whilst he judged his flatmate for squandering what amounts to hundreds of pounds worth on crap for children, he also envied his ability to take pleasure in having never grown up.
He placed one of the coffees on a cluttered bedside table near Jack’s sleeping head. The head was round and covered in black hair and scruffy beard. His mouth was agape, and Andrew could smell his breath from where he stood. It was not pleasant.
‘Coffee,’ he said.
Jack said nothing. He was dead to the world and once again, Andrew envied him.
Back in the living room Andrew sat down on the sofa, still dressed only in his boxers. He sipped the coffee that was still too hot, but he’d be damned if he was going to wait. He stared at the black television screen, into his own tired eyes. His own cheeks were covered in a smattering of light brown fuzz. His large ears looked larger than usual and his thick hair splayed out in the most remarkable of formations.
His brain must have shut down, as the next thing he knew, Jack was emerging from his room and his mug of coffee was empty.
‘Morning sunshine,’ said Jack grinning. Though it was a forced grin, Andrew could see that he too, was regretting so many life decisions.
‘Don’t use that word around me,’ Andrew groaned. Already he felt uncomfortably hot. His back was sticking to the leather sofa and his testicles were swimming. He detested the sun. He detested it with every fibre of his being. Not only was it painfully bright, stiflingly hot and incredibly intrusive, it also had the remarkable ability to turn everyone into idiots.
‘Must have been a night to remember,’ said Jack. ‘I only wish I could.’ Andrew heard the kitchen tap hissing and cringed at the disgusting slurping sounds his flat-mate made when the idea of filling a glass seemed too much.
‘How was I?’ he asked as he returned to the sofa.
‘Hmm?’ Andrew avoided the question.
‘Last night, the gig, did I kill it? I seem to remember it going well.’
Andrew had been to almost all of Jack’s gigs. A generous person would have said he was very good. A tactful person would say ‘I’m impressed that you got up and did it in front of all those people.’ Andrew opened his mouth and then closed it again.
‘I remember it too,’ he said. Which was only a partial lie. He remembered shutting his eyes and groaning as he moved onto his second ill advised tequila as Jack enthusiastically informed the crowd that ‘this next one is one of my own.’ Andrew couldn’t remember if it was Lisa or You Took My Heart. Both used the same chords, he was sure of it, and both were about Lisa, whose real name was Elizabeth.
‘Two hundred quid they paid me.’ Said Jack, ‘not bad for a night’s work.’
‘You spent one-hundred-and-fifty on drinks.’ Andrew reminded him.
‘No I didn’t… how?’ Jack protested.
‘We moved onto Bluebells.’ Said Andrew, remembering this detail the first time.
‘Bluebell’s is terrible, why would we go there?’
‘Because the Rising Sun was closing. And there were women at Bluebells.’
‘You don’t even like women,’ said Jack.
Whilst this was not strictly true as there are plenty of women in the world Andrew liked, he had to concede the point.
‘That’s what I said, but you were having none of it. Buying rounds for everyone you were.’ He said.
‘Damn… did I get with anyone?’
‘Damn. Well…. Fifty quid is still better than a poke in the eye with a blank stick.’
‘What?’ Jack fixed him with a vacant stare.
‘The phrase is a blunt stick. What the hell is a blank stick?’ said Andrew.
‘Oh… I’ve always said it that way. Why a blunt stick. Surely a sharpened stick would be just as bad.’ Said Jack.
‘I can’t imagine either would be pleasant.’ Said Andrew, concentrating very hard on not being sick, ‘You spent eleven-twenty five on a kebab, cheesy chips and a can of coke.’ He added. Jack’s face contorted painfully as he struggled with the maths.
‘Thirty-nine-seventy-five then.’ He said.
‘Then you paid for a taxi, was nine quid.’
‘Thirty pounds seventy-five.’ Jack’s face was falling.
‘You gave him a twenty and said keep the change.’ Said Andrew.
‘Because you were drunk.’
Silence fell on the room for a while. A strip of light came through a gap in the curtains covering the balcony doors. Even that was enough to make Andrew feel incredibly irked, and that wasn’t a word he used lightly.
‘Wait where’s my guitar?’ Jack suddenly stiffened, a look of dread falling over his expression.
‘Roy put it in the back room at the Sun. Said you can pick it up later today.’ Said Andrew.
‘That’s good of him,’ said Jack.
‘Hmm,’ Andrew agreed, though in truth, Roy had forcibly taken it from Jack when he got stuck on an eternal loop when giving his best rendition of Hey Jude. Jack stood up and made for the curtains. Andrew made to protest, but found he hadn’t the energy and sank into bitter resignation. His flat-mate threw the curtains asunder and the dreaded white light of the sun exploded into the room. Jack stood swaying slightly as he peered out the glass panels of the balcony doors. Nine-floors up they were. Gave them quite the view of the town of Pridgeton.
‘How much did we drink last night?’ asked Jack uncertainly, eyes transfixed on the world outside.
‘I dunno, too much,’ said Andrew. His tongue felt like a dry sponge and the coffee hadn’t helped at all. His head was throbbing and he still felt sick. The words ‘I wish I was dead’ was heading rapidly towards his lips.
‘Enough to miss a nuclear war?’ asked Jack. Andrew considered this question for a moment and recalled the empty sambuca bottle.
‘Probably,’ he said.
‘That makes sense then.’
Andrew frowned. Against the balcony doors, Jack was nothing more than a silhouette, a shadow against a backdrop of white and yellow.
‘What makes sense?’ he asked.
‘The town…’ said Jack slowly. His lips formed words that his brain had yet to form. Andrew rubbed his eyes and groaned before standing up.
‘It’s a shit hole, it’s always been a shit hole,’ he said holding out his arms to steady himself.
‘Yeah, but at least last night it was still standing… and wasn’t so… on fire.’ Said Jack. Andrew joined him by the balcony doors, squinting against the painful intensity of the light. He had to agree with Jack. He had lived in Pridgeton all his life, save for three years of university. It had never been pretty. It was what it was and that was a hastily constructed London overspill built as cheaply as possible. Charm was an expensive commodity and as such, Pridgeton had all the charm of a racist mullet.
It almost looked better in its current state.
Tendrils of black smoke twisted into the air at various points. Tower blocks which had definitely been standing tall the night before lay somewhat more horizontally in the morning sun. Rubble dotted the place, orange flecks of fires winked back at them here and there. Jack hesitantly put his hand on the door handle. It lingered there for a moment before he pulled it inwards. The living room became filled with the sound of distant sirens, the chug-chug of helicopters and the occasional shrill scream.
In short, the general sounds of disaster.