The party was at a stranger’s house, on Brompton Way. Accident, or rather misfortune, had brought him there. He’d skidded out of control on his motorbike – drunken driving, the kind your parents warn you against. The kind he won’t remember in the morning – until he feels the bruises on his arms and touches the hardened blood scratch on his face.
On entrance, a little man offers him a drink. He grabs it. The cup is pink, crisp plastic, the drink a fizzy blue. He says 'the name's Orion'. Downs it. Crushes it with his foot. The narrow hallway stumbling through is cramped with tutu-wearing girls, sat on the floor, ash blonde and nails and gold. The boots stomp, leaving a trail of hardened dirt and slush on tulle. Arms grab his thigh; pull on his checkered shirt from left and right. A lucid blitz – he knows he’s headed for the telephone. Probing the space as dim light bounces off the tin-foil-covered walls of what seems like the lobby filled with cigarettes and pot, he blinks the smoke out of his eyes. The tears get stuck. 11:55.
There in the sharp angle of a corner a blue-black girl fidgets with her bag. He swings towards her, looking at her through the salty globules in his eyes but vacant-eyed, forgets about the call, calls to her, helps look inside her bag. Glossy hair, pale cheeks, woolen jumper; mint; lint; flint; a pair of soft-feel tights between her hands.
‘… from somewhere,’ he thinks.
‘----’, she --.
‘And so I’m pretty sure I’m only 75% fertile,’ he blurbs.
She drifts away ablaze ('look up!' she says) probably unimpressed but probability was never on his mind. He looks up to a greenish light; there through the ceiling is a glow apocalyptic way too small to notice but too radiant to not. And so he turns to follow her towards it but two diamond eyes appear and stop him in his tracks. They whisper something in his ear and slip a kiss into his mouth. Hard candy.
Lingering and whiskey-wet the taste of Joan’s last kiss still stank of smoke and nipples on his lips. Repulsion drove him into her – wham! Crashed into her – slipped out of her as she slipped into the green dress, cigarette hanging from her mouth, on an autumn day in spring. (‘The corpse of what used to be the love of our lives’). Staggering alleyways, lamppost orange, all led to the foot of her bed. Again and again. Sordid wake-up calls on side-streets, he smelled of trash and lost his keys too many times. With her, knocking on strangers’ doors on Christmas day, screaming for her in the middle of a dark neighborhood street, fairy lights in gardens, snowman lawns, memory blanks the following day. (‘This year I’m gonna do this –’). A motorcycle ride around the block, to get to a phone.
‘This – this – this way!’
A buzz fills the room with electric laughs; they drill into his heavy-headedness. A pulse swims down to his limbs and up to his face and back; the dizzy room is echoing with bass. She grabs him by the hand, she smells of mint. Crawling up a long ladder, arms before legs, the scent of blue-black orchid brushes his face, slow-moving, elating, through the hole in the ceiling. The sky reveals itself in all its New-Year grace. The promise of renewal is a gloating hoax above the clouds, a fake. TEN – NINE – lasts for a minute – EIGHT – then dissipates. SEVEN – the stare of a stranger – SIX – FIVE – where do I know you from? – FOUR – from somewhere – THREE – Naked figures on expiring background. TWO. (Gasps) Ofcourse. ONE. The sky explodes with kaleidoscopic lights.